ChrisWeigant.com

Friday Talking Points -- Making America Respected Again

[ Posted Friday, June 11th, 2021 – 17:56 UTC ]

President Biden is currently in Europe, in the midst of his first trip abroad since he took office. So the folks at Pew Research decided it was a good time to see how America is now viewed by the rest of the world (or the countries with advanced economies that were surveyed, at any rate). The answers are exactly what you'd expect them to be -- America's standing in the world has dramatically improved, now that a sane adult is in charge of the country once again (instead of an unstable and temperamental toddler).

Before we get to the numbers, though, a quick summary from Politico captures the feeling perfectly: "When we talk to European diplomats and officials, they all say the same thing -- the Biden presidency is a 'sigh of relief' after the 'near-death experience' of Trump." Of course, European diplomats are not the only ones who feel this way, as tens of millions of Americans have indeed had similar feelings since January. Perhaps the biggest beneficiaries (on a day-to-day basis) of this renewed respect for the United States are the American expatriates living in Europe and elsewhere around the world. No longer will they have to be regularly embarrassed by their own country's president. No longer will they have to hang their heads in shame when their friends ask how America could ever have elected such a buffoon to lead it. No longer will twentysomethings enjoying a Eurail Pass feel the need to sew Canadian flags on their backpacks and add "...eh?" to the end of all their sentences, to put it another way.

First Lady Jill Biden is perhaps the best ambassador of this newfound feeling of goodwill. On the trip with her husband, she wore a jacket with the word "LOVE" prominently emblazoned on the back. Many were quick to compare this sartorial choice to Melania Trump's contemptuous jacket (which she wore while travelling to visit children separated from their parents at the border due to her husband's cruel policy) with the cold-hearted message: "I really don't care, do U?" displayed for all to see. Just to rub in the stark difference even more, Jill Biden released a photo of her poring over a thick briefing book in preparation for the trip, since neither one of the Trumps is exactly a noted reader of important information (and that's putting it mildly). Jill's message couldn't have been clearer, which she even reinforced to reporters: "I think that we're bringing love from America. This is a global conference and we are trying to bring unity across the globe and I think it's needed right now, that people feel a sense of unity from all the countries and feel a sense [of] hope after this year of the pandemic."

No wonder America's standing has improved so dramatically. How dramatically? From that poll:

Trust in the U.S. president fell to historic lows in most countries surveyed during Donald Trump's presidency, according to Pew.

Under [President Joe] Biden, it has soared. In the 12 countries surveyed both this year and last, a median of 75 percent of respondents expressed confidence in Biden to "do the right thing regarding world affairs," Pew found, compared with 17 percent for Trump last year. Sixty-two percent of respondents now have a favorable view of the United States vs. 34 percent at the end of Trump's presidency.

"The election of Joe Biden as president has led to a dramatic shift in America's international image," the Pew report reads.

. . .

The United States' favorability rating grew at least 23 percentage points from last year in France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom, and a majority of respondents in all four view the country positively.

Among all 16 publics surveyed this spring, German Chancellor Angela Merkel ranks just ahead of Biden in the percentage of respondents who said they trust the leader's decision-making on world affairs, with a median score of 77 percent. But Biden, with 74 percent, garnered higher rates of confidence than French President Emmanuel Macron, [Vladimir] Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

More Biden/Trump numbers from the raw data, in head-to-head comparisons: 77 percent of people agreed that Joe Biden was "well qualified," while only 16 percent would say this about Trump. And only 14 percent called Biden "dangerous," while a whopping 72 percent applied the label to Trump. The biggest disconnect? Biden was called "arrogant" by only 13 percent of people surveyed, while an astounding 90 percent agreed that Trump was arrogant.

Biden is using "America is back!" as his message for the trip, but he could just as easily have claimed he was "making America respected again." That's probably closer to the truth of the matter.

Biden's message was ostensibly tailored for the Europeans, but it's also a pretty powerful one domestically as well. Before he departed on his trip, he wrote an opinion piece for the Washington Post where he touted his own record so far:

Thanks to the American Rescue Plan and our domestic vaccination strategy, our economy is now growing faster than at any time in almost 40 years. We have created more jobs in the first four months of our administration than under any other president. Wages are increasing for American workers. And, as America's economic recovery helps to propel the global economy, we will be stronger and more capable when we are flanked by nations that share our values and our vision for the future -- by other democracies.

Also announced right before the trip: 31 million Americans are now covered because of the Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act -- another record-setting number.

Unlike Trump, who loved to brag about how superlative his presidency was (usually without anything to back up his empty braggadocio), Biden is already setting impressive records. Which is pretty worthy of respect no matter where in the world you live.

Let's see, what else is going on over on this side of the Atlantic? Right before Biden left for his Europe trip, he formally withdrew from the talks with Senator Shelley Moore Capito over a pie-in-the-sky bipartisan infrastructure bill. Another group of Republicans jumped in, in an attempt to waste even more time hunting the elusive bipartisan unicorn, and they even grandly announced they had a deal. Of course, there was no actual deal, since the two sides have irreconcilable differences over how any of it should be paid for. Republicans want to raise the gas tax while Democrats are adamant that no taxes be raised on anyone making less than $400,000 a year and instead want to tax only people making more than that, as well as giant corporations. This is the circle which cannot be squared in all of this bipartisan Kabuki, and it shows no signs of being resolved at any point. Reportedly, the Democrats are now moving forward on passing Biden's entire economic package using budget reconciliation rules which prohibit the filibuster, so at least they're not sitting around waiting on the non-existent bipartisan fantasy any more.

This is what bipartisanship gets you, in fact -- the Senate just released a report on the January 6th insurrection (which leaves plenty of enormous questions unanswered), but to get the Republicans on the committee to sign on to the report they had to not actually call it an insurrection. This is funny, after all the noise Republicans have been making of late over Democrats insisting on using "woke" inclusive language. It seems Republicans only get "woke" when they have to euphamize an insurrection attempt against Congress, the U. S. Capitol, and American democracy. What snowflakes!

We have two items for the "you just can't make up how stupid Republicans are, at times" files this week. The first was Louie Gohmert proving vying for the "stupidest member of Congress" title (a competition he regularly used to win, but now has to up his game since people like Marjorie Taylor Greene arrived to challenge him). In a hearing, Gohmert asked the supervisor of the National Forest Service the following question:

I understand from what's been testified to, the Forest Service and [Bureau of Land Management], you want very much to work on climate change. I was informed by the past director of NASA that they have found that the moon's orbit is changing slightly, and so is the Earth's orbit around the sun, and we know there's been significant solar flare activity. And so is there anything the National Forest Service or B.L.M. can do to change the course of the moon's orbit or the Earth's orbit around the sun? Obviously, they would have profound effects on our climate.

The astonished official managed not to laugh in Gohmert's face, and instead politely responded: "I would have to follow up with you on that one, Mr. Gohmert." She deserves a raise or at least a fat bonus for not blurting out: "Holy mackerel, are you really that stupid, Congressman?"

But these days, as we noted, the competition is fierce. Representative Mo Brooks is being sued by Representative Eric Swalwell for his key support for the 1/6 insurrectionists. Everyone else Swalwell is suing has accepted the lawsuit's existence, but Brooks has been doing a hide-and-seek routine for months, to avoid being served with the court papers. So Swalwell's process server served his wife instead. Brooks had a public hissy fit afterwards because apparently the process server walked into the (open) Brooks family garage to serve Mrs. Brooks with the court papers. Brooks tweeted out a photograph of his computer screen (not a screenshot, which was apparently too complicated for a member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Cyber, Innovative Technologies and Information Systems to manage), which was displaying the state criminal code entry on trespassing. The only problem was, Brooks forgot to take down notes taped to his screen which revealed a PIN and what appeared to be his email password. And it took him over 20 hours to realize it and take the photo down. So Gohmert's got all kinds of competition these days!

And we end this week's roundup with two amusing footnotes about what is bugging Biden on his trip to Europe. Literal bugs, in fact. First the press plane accompanying the president was delayed for seven hours after too many cicadas flew into the engines, and then Biden himself was attacked by a rogue cicada on the tarmac. Biden calmly brushed the huge insect off his neck, turned to the reporters and made a joke about it. Or, to put it another way, nothing really bugs Biden all that much -- even actual giant bugs!

 

Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week

We found two minor news items noteworthy this week, but didn't think either one of them rose to the level of the Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week award. The first was the news out of Washington state, where the state government officially sanctioned a "Joints For Jabs" program that hands anyone who gets vaccinated on-site a free pre-rolled marijuana cigarette. Of course, we had to write about this one earlier in the week (with our apologies, once again, to Cheech and Chong), just because it was one of those things pretty close to the top of our "certainly never thought we'd live to see this" list: a governmental agency legally passing out free weed. We've come a long way, baby, as the (tobacco) cigarette ads used to say....

The second wasn't even on our list of highly-improbable things, but perhaps should have been. Here's the story, for those who may have missed such important political news this week:

A New Mexico sheriff who is running for mayor of Albuquerque was interrupted while on stage at a campaign event by a flying drone with a sex toy attached to it and a man who punched him.

Bernalillo County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales' campaign said the Democrat was unharmed and "will not be intimidated."

The Albuquerque Journal reported that a video posted on Facebook shows Gonzales answering questions from the audience while standing on a stage at an events center when the drone bearing the sex toy started buzzing near the stage.

A sheriff's office report said the owner of the event center grabbed the device.

Not exactly impressive, but was certainly worth pointing out, don't you think?

Sex (toys) and drugs aside, though, we do have a rather impressive collective winner of this week's MIDOTW award: the Texas Democratic Party. They are fighting back against the effort to pass Draconian voter-suppression laws in perhaps the best way possible: by putting their money into a massive voter registration drive. What is particularly notable about this effort -- which follows the admirable path Stacey Abrams laid down in Georgia -- is how early they are starting. This is not some last-minute thing a couple months before an election, this is instead much broader and more foundational. The New York Times had the full story:

The Texas Democratic Party and a coalition of allied progressive groups announced a major voter registration program on Tuesday, pledging to focus on registration in racially diverse communities at a time when the Republican-controlled Texas Legislature is vowing to pass a host of new voting restrictions, many of which would disproportionately affect communities of color.

The plan, which aims to register at least one million Democrats out of the state's three million unregistered eligible voters, will be a combination of old-school field operations, mail outreach, digital ads and door-to-door canvassing.

. . .

Gilberto Hinojosa, the chairman of the Texas Democratic Party, said that the program would most likely cost $13 million to $14 million this year, making it the single biggest investment in voter registration by the state party in its history. And the party is embarking on the effort in an off-year for national elections, an often sleepy time with a disengaged electorate and a recharging political base.

. . .

"We have historically had turnout issues in Texas, particularly with the Latino community, which is a big part of our base," Mr. Hinojosa said.

The program will take a targeted, nearly voter-by-voter approach to registration. If a voter lives in an apartment building and has no phone number on record, the first outreach will probably be an in-person visit or a flyer left by a volunteer with registration information. Younger voters will be targeted with online ads. And a new app called Register Texas (different from a 2020 web tool by the same name) will allow activists to sign in and find canvassing opportunities to register for.

The effort follows the blueprint laid out by Stacey Abrams in Georgia, with Texas Democrats aiming to cover every corner of the state to find voters to register.

"We got clobbered in the rural areas and in West Texas," Mr. Hinojosa said. "So we've got a lot of work to do, but we think we can do it. Because the payoff for the Democratic Party nationally is great. If you're able to take back the State Legislature, put yourself in the position of winning the next U.S. Senate race and also the governor's mansion, then Texas is well on its way to becoming the battleground state that everybody wants it to be."

Republicans are plotting to suppress Democratic votes? Then overwhelm them with so many votes it won't matter. The success Stacey Abrams managed in the two Georgia Senate races did not happen overnight, it was the direct result of years of hard work signing people up to vote. That's what it takes -- a sustained and very broad effort. And that is precisely what Texas Democrats are attempting.

Now, there are those who are pretty cynical about the perennial pipe dream of turning Texas blue, mostly because no matter how high people have gotten their hopes up in the past, it just never seems to materialize (over and over and over again).

But then, that's the way we all used to see Georgia, too. And Virginia, before that. And Arizona. And Colorado. It can work, in states with quickly-changing demographics. So it is not completely out of the question that it could eventually bear fruit in the Lone Star State as well.

For making such a monumental effort to do so -- for putting up an impressive amount of money, and for doing so early -- we have to give a group Most Impressive Democrats Of The Week award to the Democratic Party of Texas. Well done, and we all wish you luck in your effort!

[Congratulate the Texas Democratic Party on their official website, to let them know you appreciate their efforts.]

 

Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week

There were some things that didn't exactly fill us with glee this week from the Democratic side of the aisle, but we're going to ignore all the minor ones to beat the same drum, once again.

Senator Joe Manchin wrote an opinion piece for a hometown newspaper this week where he explained his newfound love for the filibuster -- a love so deep it is now more important than several of the things he used to care quite a bit about.

His logic (if you can call it that, it's a lot closer to "magical thinking") is that protecting voting rights simply must be done in a bipartisan manner -- which totally ignores the fact that one of America's political parties is now fully dedicated to destroying voting rights in as many places as possible. These efforts, where successful, have all passed on strictly partisan lines, which only heightens the irony.

Manchin's piece has many "if I doesn't laugh, I thinks I'm a-gonna cry" lines in it, our favorite being: "our party labels can't prevent us from doing what is right." This, as he argues that doing what is right simply must have the correct party labels attached to it, or else it somehow shouldn't happen. If party labels don't matter, then who cares whether the vote is partisan or not partisan? Caring about this aspect is doing nothing short of making party labels the centerpiece, rather than "doing what's right," which is truly the important thing. This point flies far over Manchin's head, obviously.

Again, Manchin actually admits this within his piece:

Unfortunately, we now are witnessing that the fundamental right to vote has itself become overtly politicized. Today's debate about how to best protect our right to vote and to hold elections, however, is not about finding common ground, but seeking partisan advantage. Whether it is state laws that seek to needlessly restrict voting or politicians who ignore the need to secure our elections, partisan policymaking won't instill confidence in our democracy -- it will destroy it.

As such, congressional action on federal voting rights legislation must be the result of both Democrats and Republicans coming together to find a pathway forward or we risk further dividing and destroying the republic we swore to protect and defend as elected officials.

In other words, the Republicans are allowed to "seek partisan advantage" which will "destroy" our democracy -- but to combat this, a certain amount of Republicans simply must be on board with the effort or else everyone should just sit back and allow the republic to be divided and destroyed because to fight partisanship with partisanship is even worse. Worse than our democracy being destroyed, mind you.

Salon ran a very interesting article which explored what might actually be going on with Manchin, seeing as how he used to actually be for the bills he is now singlehandedly blocking:

Sen. Joe Manchin, the West Virginia Democrat famous for his vow to maintain the Senate filibuster and thereby scuttle much of President Biden's agenda, recently published an op-ed opposing the For the People Act, Democrats' whopping voting-rights bill. That article strongly echoed talking points from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce -- and appeared shortly after the influential pro-business lobby resumed donations to Manchin's campaign after nearly a decade.

Manchin, who co-sponsored the sweeping voting rights legislation in 2019 and has supported filibuster reform in the past, became the first Senate Democrat to oppose the bill this week while reiterating his opposition to changing the filibuster, a key roadblock to voting reform. Skeptical members of Manchin's party have questioned the reasons for his opposition, especially after after a recent poll found that a majority of West Virginia voters support changing the filibuster rules and that 79% of the state's voters -- including a large majority of Republicans -- support the For the People Act.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., suggested that Manchin's opposition to the proposal and filibuster reform may really be about measures in the bill aimed at cracking down on lobbyists and dark money.

That certainly makes a lot more sense than any reasons Manchin has offered up for his change of heart.

The best take on the situation we read this week didn't exactly pull punches in the language used:

Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) has the right to live in a make-believe wonderland if he so chooses. But his party and his nation will pay a terrible price for his hallucinations about the nature of today's Republican Party. And even this sacrifice might not guarantee that Manchin can hold on to support back home.

Manchin's declaration Sunday that he will vote against sweeping legislation to guarantee voting rights nationwide and that he "will not vote to weaken or eliminate" the Senate filibuster is a huge blow to President Biden's hopes of enacting his ambitious agenda. There's no way to spin this as anything other than awful.

. . .

Manchin did say he supports another proposed House bill, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would essentially restore provisions of the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act forbidding some states to change election laws without obtaining preclearance from the Justice Department. The original preclearance rules were struck down by the Supreme Court in 2013.

But Manchin wants this, too, to win bipartisan support. Unless Manchin changes his position on the filibuster, 10 Republican senators would have to cross the aisle and join with Democrats. So far, there is one -- Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). The other nine must be in some parallel dimension, visible only to Manchin, where all the leprechauns, tooth fairies and unicorns are hiding.

Leprechauns indeed.

Manchin's fellow Democrats were also not exactly pulling punches, either, in their reaction to Manchin's article:

At the heart of their frustration is that Manchin is not asking for policy concessions but that legislation must have bipartisan backing to garner his support. Many Democrats view the idea that there are bipartisan deals to be struck on major parts of the Biden agenda as hopelessly naive, and that anger bubbled over on Sunday.

"Manchin's op-ed might as well be titled, 'Why I'll vote to preserve Jim Crow,'" Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.) tweeted.

"We didn't need an op-ed to know you're unwilling to protect our democracy," Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) tweeted.

Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) said his office had reached out to Manchin's several times to discuss how they could move forward but had not heard back.

"Sen. Manchin isn't interested in engaging in a conversation on the filibuster," Bowman said. "He's interested in serving a corporate agenda."

But Manchin did get some praise for his stance this week. From Donald Trump (who conveniently seems to have forgotten how hard he pushed Mitch McConnell to scrap the filibuster rule when he was in office). If the only person who agrees with your political position as a Democrat is Donald J. Trump, then (to state the obvious) perhaps it is time to rethink your position?

For his announcement that easily half of Joe Biden's agenda should now officially be considered dead, this week's Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week was a no-brainer this week. And you can take that "no-brainer" remark any way you wish.

[Contact Senator Joe Manchin on his Senate contact page, to let him know what you think of his actions.]

 

Friday Talking Points

Volume 622 (6/11/21)

Another mixed bag this week, with a few Donald Trump items thrown in just for fun at the end. As always, enjoy responsibly.

 

1
   Did I blink and miss it, or what?

Maybe he was trying a new career as a standup comedian? That's the only possible explanation we can think of....

"Mitch McConnell sanctimoniously declared this week that, quote, it's pretty clear the era of bipartisanship is over, unquote. To which I respond: um, excuse me? Mitch? Just when, exactly, did this golden era of bipartisanship begin? Because from what I can remember, Mitch McConnell has been actively destroying any vestige of bipartisanship for over the past decade, at a minimum. This is the same McConnell who forced every single piece of legislation to clear the 60-vote filibuster hurdle, in an unprecedented maximization of partisanship. The same McConnell who turned judicial confirmations into a partisan take-no-prisoners battleground -- remember when he refused to even hold hearings on a Supreme Court justice for a year, and then turned right around and hustled one through in weeks when his own party was in charge? Does anyone else remember that? Because I do. Remember when he swore a vow to do everything in his power to make Barack Obama a one-term president, no matter what that meant for the success of America? OK, that was a while ago, so let's instead remember just last month when he swore a new oath to devoting 'one-hundred percent of our focus... on stopping this new administration.' That's the same Mitch McConnell, right? Who just declared the 'era of bipartisanship' to be over? I'm sorry, Mitch, but I must have blinked and missed it, because if there was any actual era of bipartisanship it must have lasted about a nanosecond -- because for the last decade and more, you have been the absolute world champion at killing any hint of bipartisanship in the Senate stone cold dead. So please, spare us the gaslighting now, will you? Unless you're trying to make us laugh."

 

2
   Tax the rich

An idea which just gets more and more popular over time.

"There was an exposé published this week which showed how little the wealthiest Americans paid in federal taxes -- a tiny, tiny percentage of what an average blue-collar worker pays. Some of these billionaires actually wound up paying zero income taxes at all in some years, while they went right on amassing fortunes worth billions of dollars. Democrats think this is wrong, and want to make them pay their fair share. They've wanted this for a while now, but now we have actual proof of why this is such an important goal. When a billionaire pays not only a lower tax rate but less absolute dollars in taxes than a nurse or a firefighter, then something is seriously wrong with the system. This is precisely why making billionaires pay a fair share is so wildly popular with the public. Stop the free ride for the one percent!"

 

3
   Republicans want you to pay more for gas

This one is kind of tricky, because there are a lot of Democrats who think raising the gas tax is a good idea too. But let's make absolutely sure everyone understands who is now proposing it, and what the other option on the table is, because that puts it into some needed perspective.

"Don't believe all those reports you may hear about some sort of 'bipartisan infrastructure deal' being struck between Democratic and Republican senators. While they may be able to agree on how much to spend and what to spend it on, the two sides are as far apart as ever on how to pay for it all. Which brings up a big point the Republicans really don't want you to know. Democrats -- led by Joe Biden -- have insisted that taxes will not be raised on people making less than $400,000 per year. Democrats want to tax big business and the ultrawealthy to pay for infrastructure improvements. Republicans, on the other hand, have drawn a red line and say they simply cannot vote for increasing taxes one penny on billionaires or gigantic corporations. Instead, they want you to pay for the whole thing. They want to raise the tax on gasoline that we all pay at the pump. Of all the possible ways to raise money, that's the one they chose -- making you pay more for gas. Democrats are against this because it would hit the poorest drivers the hardest. Instead, Democrats want the wealthiest to pay more taxes, not the poorest. That's the difference between the two sides, and it doesn't seem to me to be a difference that either side is willing to budge on, no matter how they may promise they've got a deal. I'll believe it right after I see 60 senators vote for it, in other words."

 

4
   Tax the rich, help American families

Democrats really need to stop allowing Republicans to even use this word with a straight face.

"Everyone calls Donald Trump a 'populist' and says that the Republican Party has somehow realigned itself to be a populist party now. This is utter hogwash. Republicans are the ones fighting hardest for the richest among us and they want to stick it to the average American family every chance they get. A study just out proves this beyond a shadow of a doubt. If Joe Biden's economic plans were enacted into law, it would dramatically hike taxes on only the tippy-top of the income scale, while it would cut thousands in taxes from the average American family -- especially those families with children. That is true economic populism, folks. Helping the little guy and making the fatcats pay. What could be more populist than that? And not a single Republican is for the idea, which only goes to prove they're about as far from real populism as you can get, ideologically. The GOP is the party of the elite, just as they've always been. Democrats are the true economic populists, and if the Biden agenda is passed we will prove it to every American family in the nation."

 

5
   Wrong yardstick

Please point this out with every chance you get, because so many people are drawing erroneous conclusions from meaningless data.

"When you hear economic numbers for approximately the next year's time, please take them with a grain of salt. Because the normal way of measuring progress simply does not work right now. In normal times, one month's figures would be compared to the same month from the previous year. This would show the change, over time. But let's everyone please remember where we were one year ago -- in the grips of a pandemic, a lockdown, and the economic crisis it caused. Obviously, those numbers are pretty meaningless in the grand scheme of things, when you're trying to measure inflation or any other economic marker. To get an accurate picture, you need to go back two years, and treat 2020 as the aberration it really was. Is inflation up last month from the same month in 2019? No, it really isn't. So stop fearmongering about the change since 2020, since it is the equivalent of Noah measuring how rainfall patterns have changed exactly one year after the Flood. It just makes no sense at all, in terms of understanding what is truly going on."

 

6
   Trump's lies keeping insurrectionists in jail

The irony is so thick with this one you can cut it with a knife.

"Many of the people charged with participating in the January sixth insurrection against Congress are now trying to convince judges to let them out before their trial dates, rather than having to stay in jail. They are arguing that it was a one-time event that is not likely to be repeated in the future. But many judges are denying these motions for a rather astonishing reason -- because Donald Trump won't shut up about his Big Lie. Because Trump is out there still fanning the flames of revolt and refusing to accept the incontrovertible fact that he lost the election, the judges have decided that similar insurrectionist attempts are clearly possible in the near future. What this means is that these people probably would have been given the benefit of the doubt and let out before their trials but Trump himself is essentially keeping them locked up. The irony would be pretty amusing if this weren't such a serious subject."

 

7
   Definitely on fire, that's for sure

Poor, poor, pitiful Trump.

"Donald Trump gave his first public speech in months last weekend, and it was the usual rant about his Big Lie and all his mountain of grievances against anyone who has ever said a bad word about him. In fact, it was a lot lower-energy than usual, for Trump. He barely raised his voice, which you've got to admit was pretty un-Trumpian. He looked downright sleepy, in fact. But that's not what anyone was talking about the next day, because the internet was consumed with the question of whether Trump had actually put his pants on backwards or not before his speech. And whether he was actually wearing an adult diaper or had just gained a whole lot more weight. Now, there were disagreements on both these points, but the one thing that everyone could agree on was while Trump's pants may or may not have been on backwards, as usual, his pants were definitely on fire throughout his entire speech."

-- Chris Weigant

 

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground

 

63 Comments on “Friday Talking Points -- Making America Respected Again”

  1. [1] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Under [President Joe] Biden, it has soared. In the 12 countries surveyed both this year and last, a median of 75 percent of respondents expressed confidence in Biden to "do the right thing regarding world affairs," Pew found, compared with 17 percent for Trump last year.

    Of course, Trump will use that to his advantage in his re-election campaign to say all that it means is that America is no longer feared and countries can't wait to start taking advantage of us all over again.

    It might even work. ;)

  2. [2] 
    John M from Ct. wrote:

    I liked the one about the adult diaper but needless to say I wouldn't click on any link that promises to focus on the former prez.

    Also a nice touch that judges can see what, it seems, a lot of people in the press and national security establishment don't want to see: that the former prez and his people are pushing (or is it putsching?) as hard as they can to promote continued insurrection and/or a coup d'etat to make him dictator-for-life.

  3. [3] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    BAD: Finding out Trump’s DOJ pulled your iPhone’s data without your knowledge

    WORSE: Finding out they also pulled your teenager’s iPhone’s data

    WORST: Finding out that pulling THAT data was the idea of Matt Gaetz!!!

  4. [4] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    EVEN worster: finding out matt gaetz pulled your daughter's data personally.

  5. [5] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Some of these billionaires actually wound up paying zero income taxes at all in some years, while they went right on amassing fortunes worth billions of dollars. Democrats think this is wrong, and want to make them pay their fair share. They've wanted this for a while now, but now we have actual proof of why this is such an important goal. When a billionaire pays not only a lower tax rate but less absolute dollars in taxes than a nurse or a firefighter, then something is seriously wrong with the system.

    It’s not just the Democrats that really want the super-rich to pay their fair share in taxes; it is the majority of Republican voters as well!

  6. [6] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    The reason Dems/Libs think the ultra-rich don't pay enough tax is because our taxation system was (quite logically) set up to tax income, and most Dems/Libs are too economically ignorant to understand the definition/concept of 'income'.

    When a Jeff Bezos creates a fantastically successful business by making it possible for us to buy everything we need and have it delivered to our door without the need to go shopping and get exposed to the virus, the price of his shares in the company he created goes up like crazy, but that is not income until such time as he chooses to sell some of his stock.

    What you guys all really want is NOT an income tax, it's a, wealth tax, but only Fauxcahontas actually comes right out and advocates for that.

    But a wealth tax wouldn't just snare Bezos. The clerk in the Whole Foods store in San Jose who lives in a modest shack that he bought for $15,000 45 yrs ago will now be billed for a wealth tax on his $2.5 million shack!

  7. [7] 
    andygaus wrote:

    What was significant about Trump's speech was not that he had his pants on backwards (in fact, he didn't), but that he really did have his brains on backwards. At one point, he said something like "they've been removing...even the removables...and it's horrible, horrible." So vote for Trump in 2024! He'll keep Democrats from removing the removables.

  8. [8] 
    John M from Ct. wrote:

    CRS [6]

    You're right that most people don't get the difference or understand the ins and outs of taxing wealth vs. income for the super-wealthy.

    But for the record, Warren's proposal starts at $50 million, so all those humble minimum wage clerks who happen to live in $2.5 million houses - a large class of Americans, of course - would not be affected.

    Bezos is not the best example to wring out our pity because his company is successful. As the richest guy in the world, there isn't a tax proposal in the universe that he couldn't pay without noticing it. As you admitted, when you switched your argument to a guy on minimum wage.

  9. [9] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @crs,

    it's not necessarily that we're all too dumb to understand the difference between income and wealth, nor even the difference between income and realized capital gains. it's just that creative accounting and gaping loopholes have intentionally made it possible for people who make a sh*t-ton of money to pay practically nothing in taxes. which is extremely unfair to people who make a lot less money in more traditional ways.

    at least in theory, i don't think corporations should have to pay tax any more than they should be allowed to engage in political speech, because they're not people. but the people who make money by investing in those corporations should absolutely have to pay taxes on anything they acquire as a result of owning. and the people who own the corporation should have limits placed on their ability to use the corporation's money to engage in politics.

    limited liability is great. zero taxes (or even significantly lower tax rates) for those fortunate enough to make zillions of dollars in realized gains and dividends, is insane. and it places the rest of the gainfully employed on the hook for everything the nation provides.

    including pie.

    JL

  10. [10] 
    italyrusty wrote:

    '... this renewed respect for the United States are the American expatriates living in Europe and elsewhere around the world. No longer will they have to be regularly embarrassed by their own country's president. No longer will they have to hang their heads in shame when their friends ask how America could ever have elected such a buffoon to lead it.'

    As an American citizen with Italian residency, I completely agree. Italians are perhaps the most supportive, unquestioning Europeans of the United States of America - the grandchildren of those alive in WWII still express their gratitude to me for the liberation by American soldiers from Mussolini and the small gestures of kindness, like chocolate bars to the Italian children and food and clothing to the half-starved families. But during the past 4 years, even they began to question whether American democracy is an example that their chaotic government should emulate.

    Another important indicator of the start contrast between Presidential visits to the Continent is the news coverage. Before, during, and after the 'Former Guy' set foot in London or Warsaw, I dreaded the tsunami of articles about Trump's misbehavior; there was little of substance in ANY of his trips.

    Meanwhile, POLITICO.EU has a dedicated page to Biden's arrival in Cornwall:
    https://www.politico.eu/tag/biden-in-europe/

  11. [11] 
    italyrusty wrote:

    At least worthy of a dishonorable mention is Sen. Jack Reed. No one in the progressive outrage echo chamber has mentioned this, as far as I have seen. Is it too much 'making sausage' rather than click-bait tweeting?

    'Ms. Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, has won backing from President Biden — something President Barack Obama never openly gave — and numerous colleagues who voted against the bill the last time it came to the floor, a rare turn of events in a deeply divided body.

    But now she is running up against a final hurdle: opposition from the leaders of her chamber’s Armed Services Committee, Senators Jack Reed, Democrat of Rhode Island, and James M. Inhofe, Republican of Oklahoma.
    ...
    Mr. Reed, balking at a remarkable rebuke from a committee member of his own party, moved with Mr. Inhofe to stop senators from trying to advance the bill outside of the committee, where it can be amended to his liking.

    “I commit to ensuring that every idea and amendment brought by our committee members is given due consideration,” Mr. Reed said. He has said he finds Ms. Gillibrand’s bill too broad and overreaching.'
    https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/03/us/politics/gillibrand-military-sexual-assault.html

  12. [12] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Joshua,

    matt gaetz pulled her what!!!???

  13. [13] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    poet [9]

    Yeah, I get all that, but I'd point out that especially within the context of current events, the phrase "The people who make a shit-ton of money . . " are the very people who do wonderful things that make their fellow Americans so damn happy and so much better off that we cannot stop ourselves from throwing our money at them!!

    Think the Sam Walton's, the Jeff Bezos', the Elon MUsk's, etc. Go ahead and envy their successes, but don't imply they accumulated their wealth by being 'greedy' as most Dems/Libs are wont to do, and claiming they are undertaxed.

  14. [14] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Who woulda thunk it?

    A politician (Manchin) influenced by campaign contributions from pro-business lobbyists.

    This is so out of character for someone in his party!

    This MDDOTW award must mean that the Deathocrats have purged the big money interests from their party and are financing their campaigns and party only with small donor contributions.

    I am surprised you haven't written at least one article about this as it would seem to be a pretty large development. Maybe I just blinked and missed that one buried somewhere between all the articles spewing Deathocratic Party propaganda moosepoop.

    I have to wonder who they are asking in the polls about the perception of America/Biden.

    It's probably not people in Syria or Central/South America or any of the other victims of our military incursions around the world.

    It doesn't really show any major improvement in America/Biden's behavior, just that the propaganda is working. Nothing to be proud of.

    TP 5-
    So Biden's op-ed on those four months of data was moosepoop?!?!

    Wow! A several hundred percent increase in building permit applications after a hurricane!

    Have you no shame?

  15. [15] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    "The people who make a shit-ton of money . . " are the very people who do wonderful things that make their fellow Americans so damn happy and so much better off

    [snip]

    don't imply they accumulated their wealth by being 'greedy' as most Dems/Libs are wont to do, and claiming they are undertaxed.

    why on earth not? some wealth is accumulated by creating wonderful things, some is created by being greedy and undertaxed. is there something anathema to your existence in the concept, "all of the above?"

    JL

  16. [16] 
    Alin wrote:

    CRS [13]. Yes. But. The Bezos' of this world provide that service, and make their money, by leveraging the infrastructure of the country that all the taxpayers pay for. Avoiding being one of those taxpayers is what gets you in the "greedy" category.
    Alin

  17. [17] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Stucki,

    It would be interesting to see the total tax picture of Walmart or Amazon, that is all the income tax of all the employees, total sales tax, basically all tax paid in one form or another related to a company. Then compare that same tax accounting to what would have been if Walmart and Amazon had not decimated retail.

    Is Walmart "wonderful" or is it the only choice because through the abuse of economies of scale destroyed the competition? Would all those small stores who were run out of businesses have a sizable percentage of their employees on food stamps like Walmart?

    You seem to require an over simplification of economics in order to make your points...

  18. [18] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    CRS

    THE REPUBLICANS since Reagan have been reducing the taxes of the wealthiest among us. In 40 years the American Dream has been strangled by this "Shrink it to the size that it can fit into a bathtub -- and DROWN it" greed. Our roads, our schools and the economic outlook for all but the top 10% of us have deteriorated. Do you collect Social Security, Stuck? That's horrible and awful "Big Government," Baby, and Repugs wanted to force everyone to invest it with their friends on Wall Street. Here's another item: If the Federal Minimum Wage had just kept with inflation since the late 60s it'd be $26/hour today.

    Anyways, all these problems aren't going to be solved for free. So where do we get the money, Stuck? Do you think maybe we could get it back from the only folks who have money to spare? Or would you like to pay more taxes on your Retirement income?

  19. [19] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Alin [16]

    What does that mean, " . .levering the infrastructure of the country that the taxpayers pay for . . "? You can try to fault Bezos for not paying enough/any income tax (in spite of the fact that he pays exactly as much as the law demands), but the main infrastructure he "leverages" (highways) is paid for by fuel taxes, and I damn well guarantee you he pays, directly or indirectly, his full share of fuel taxes and likely much more.

    And regarding his "avoiding" taxes, do you voluntarily pay any taxes in excess of what is legally demanded of you, or do you "avoid" them???

  20. [20] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    BB [17]

    Re Walton and Bezos "decimating retail". What the hell does that mean? Those guys never did any business with the Mom'n'Pops in the first place. The people who put the Mom 'n' pops out of business were the people who quit doing business with them, right??? So, are you still buying from "small stores" yourself, or are you one of the people who "decimated" them? Fess up, OK!!

  21. [21] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Cadd [18]

    OK, the Reps have indeed "reduced the taxes on the wealthiest among us" since the end of WWII, but a quick perusal of the IRS website reveals that the top half of American earners pay 97$ of all the taxes they collect, while the bottom half pays the other 3%.

    Why is that fair? I'd say Evidently they haven't reduced them enough yet, right?

  22. [22] 
    John M from Ct. wrote:

    On [21]
    Why address a point about the "wealthiest among us" with a statistic about the "top half of American earners"? The two are completely different groups of people, given the way the wealth and income curve goes from near horizontal to near vertical somewhere between the top 5% and top 0.01% of American earners.

    There's a reason Warren's wealth tax addresses only net worths above $50 million, and Biden can confidently promise not to raise taxes on incomes of people earning less than $400,000, knowing he's just reassured 98.2% of Americans he won't raise their taxes. The remaining 1.8% earn 25% of the national income, and own about 40% of the entire nation's personal wealth, and can presumably pay higher taxes without the slightest complaint of hardship, deprivation, unfairness, etc.

  23. [23] 
    Alin wrote:

    CRS [19]. Yes: "leveraging" - thanks for picking that up.
    I was using the highway system as a proxy for the vast network of infrastructure that we all use, but that lots of these big businesses leverage to make their profits, and which it only seems fair that they should contribute to.
    As for saying they these folks merely play by the rules and it's just coincidence that they come out ahead is disingenuous to say the least. These rules aren't laws of nature, they're rules written by lawmakers at the behest of paid lobbyists who get the rules written in such a way that these folks don't pay nearly as much tax as the rest of us. I suspect you know that.
    Alin

  24. [24] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    [21]

    Why it's "fair" is that those at the top have by definition benefitted the most. So they should pay the most.

    You "Flat Taxers" don't understand that when you cut taxes on the rich all of the rest of us either have to make up the difference or go without things like, you know, safe bridges.

    Do you really want to pay more taxes just to give some rich a tax break? Really?

    Did you refuse any of your Stimulus checks because it's Socialism?

  25. [25] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Caddy

    What was it those "at the top" benefitted from? Did they drive on better roads than you and I? Did the military protect them more than they protected you and me? I doubt it.

    An alternative description for "benefitted the most" might be 'Produced the most' or perhaps 'Were the most productive', right?

    Of course, 'Should pay the most' doesn't follow those alternative descriptions quite so naturally, does it.

    No, I did not refuse the "stimulus checks".

  26. [26] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I would like to suggest a theme for the CW Sunday Night Music Festival and Dance Party.

    The last few weeks have been tough for many of us Canadians. First, there was the discovery of the unmarked graves of 215 Aboriginal children on the site of a residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia. They had gone "missing" from their families for many decades.

    Residential schools were devised by Canadian governments as a way to destroy Aboriginal culture. Non-aboriginal governments thought they could rid themselves of First Nations and all of their inherent rights by forcibly taking Aboriginal children from their families to live at these schools and then punish the kids for speaking their own languages and for being who they were.

    These schools began the genocide as early as the 1620s and the last of them closed only in the seventies, the 1970s. Sadly, there are undoubtedly many more of these unmarked graves on the sites of former residential schools across Canada and now investigations will be soon underway to find them all, at long last.

    And, then, one week ago tomorrow, a Muslim family - extended family - were out for a walk on a beautiful Sunday evening in London, Ontario, not far from Kitchener, where I live. They had stopped at a red light, waiting to cross the street when a black truck jumped the curve where they were standing and mowed them all down - a grandmother, a mother and father and their 15 year-old daughter and 9 year-old son. It was a tragic accident, or so we all thought until the police reported the next day that the attack was a pre-planned, premeditated targeted Islamophobic assault on a family simply because they were visibly Islamic, dressed traditionally. I hope the 20 year old man, now arrested and in jail, never sees the light of day again.

    The nine-year old boy is the only survivor and remains in hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

    So, I'm crying while writing all of this and I'd like the theme this Sunday night to be 'spiritual tunes'. That's a pretty broad category of music and so I hope everyone will post their favourites. Because, music is a powerful healing force.

  27. [27] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @crs[25],

    well, for one thing they benefited the most from their ability to lobby congress for tax loopholes, making it fully legal for them to make gazillions and pay zilch. "exactly as much as the law demands" didn't get to be zero dollars by accident - it was lobbied for and written into law by the congress-critters who received campaign money from the firms doing the lobbying.

    in theory, anyone could successfully lobby congress for personal tax benefits, but lobbying infrastructure has significant barriers to entry, so to speak. realistically speaking, it's a highway not every citizen can travel.

    JL

  28. [28] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @liz,

    that really is horrible.

    here's a preview

    JL

  29. [29] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    CRS (21)-
    What a surprising statistic.

    The top half of earners that earn enough to pay income taxes pay 97% of the money the IRS collects in income taxes while the bottom half that does not earn enough to pay income taxes pays only 3% of what the IRS collects in income taxes.

    This does not include income based taxes that the IRS does not collect such as Social Security, Medicare or unemployment taxes.

    All your statistic exposes is that the bottom half should be making enough income to pay their share of taxes and they are not. It does not mean the top half is paying too much.

    We should have a BMI with a progressive flat tax.

    (numbers for explanation of principle only)
    Everyone gets a 20,000 a year BMI. People earning enough to pay more than 20,000 in tax can use the BMI as a tax credit.

    All the income based taxes are rolled into one income tax as the BMI will cover the need for Social Security and unemployment and medicare for all will cover Medicare and all health care.

    The first ten thousand earned is not taxed whether a person makes ten thousand or ten million.

    The next ten thousand is taxed at 1% for everyone no matter how much they earn.

    The next ten thousand is taxed at 2% and so on until it reaches a maximum percentage.

    Everyone pays the same tax on the same earnings.

    Everyone has their basic needs met before they are asked to pay taxes as it should be.

    How can people that don't earn enough to meet their own basic needs be expected to give up any of that income for taxes?

  30. [30] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Nypoet (27)-
    You have a point.

    And then you don't.

    The corporate highway is not accessible to every citizen but there are alternative routes available.

    Citizens are able to participate in voting.

    They can choose to vote for the "congress-critters" that take big money to finance their campaigns or vote for small donor only candidates.

    The only significant barriers for participation are fear and integrity.

    It is too difficult is not a reason for inaction- it is an excuse.

  31. [31] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    [25]

    No, the obscenely wealthy and powerful did not enjoy a smoother ride. Nor did they enjoy extra U.S. Army protection. But the highways on which Amazon merch is shipped on and the protection of the vast American market that purchases from Amazon made Jeff Bezos billions since Covid started. So one cannot say that Bezos hasn't benefitted more than you or I from said highways and military strength...

  32. [32] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    [25]

    Stuck you seem overly enamoured of our Robber Barons.

    "It's simply a PREDATORY PLANET:

    Cows eat grass

    People eat cows

    The rich prey on the rest of us

    And God laughs at it all."

    -- MtnCaddy

    Capitalism prioritizes profit over people. Look at what's happened to our country since Reagan took power! Do you really think things are better now than back in the 50s-60s-70s?

  33. [33] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Think of Socialism as being like a potluck dinner. Some can afford to provide steaks and seafood. The one who loves to bake might provide wonderful pies. And someone whose money is tight might only bring a bag of chips or some paper plates.

    Bottom line is everyone has a finer dinner together than they would have had separately.

    IN CONTRAST

    CAPITALISM would be like one guy trying to obtain as much of the available food as he can, far beyond his needs. And not caring if his neighbors starved because there's no profit in it.

  34. [34] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Caddy [33]

    Worst analogy I ever heard! Chips and other snack foods are the highest-priced food in the grocery store. Fresh Idaho Russets are $.29/lb, potato chips are over $6/lb.

    And rich people never hoard food in amounts greater than they want to consume. Food is perishable, and not suitable to accumulate/hoard "far beyond one's needs".

    And of course there's no "profit' in hoarding food, in fact there is a built-in LOSS when the stuff goes bad. There is only (potential) profit in production, not in accumulation.

  35. [35] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    poet [27]

    Nobody "makes gazillions and pays zilch". You and Cadd don't understand accounting or economics. You need to learn to differentiate between 'income and 'wealth'. And if you are envious of the highly-productive folk's ability to influence tax legislation, try becoming highly productive!

  36. [36] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    K, Elizabeth. First "spiritual" song that came to mind,

    And When I Die.

  37. [37] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Stucki [20]

    So you completely ignored my post to fixate on a word you could have looked up in a dictionary while somehow living in a bubble so thick that you have missed the literally hundreds of articles over the last two decades about the effects of Walmart on small towns and the decline of retail due to Amazon? Interesting and certainly offers backup to my last sentence...

    But for your information, no I don't shop at Walmart and generally avoid Amazon, especially these days with it's counterfeit products problem.

  38. [38] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    BB [37]

    I have nod idea what that word is you claim I "fixated upon".

    You evidently missed the point, not I. I'm well aware that Walmart gets blamed for the demise of the Mom 'n' Pops, but I claim that blame is illegitimate. It's the people who quit shopping with 'em that killed 'em. And then you imply (without ever saying so), that Walmart somehow coerced people to abandon the Mom 'n' pops, and that's utter nonsense. Induced, for sure, but did not coerce.

    However, it does appear to be the case that 20 million people every day cast their financial votes in favor of the idea that the 99.99% of us who benefit from abandoning the Mom 'n' Pops more than offsets the hardships inflicted on the .01% who ran the Mom 'n' Pops. But hey, I'm glad to hear that you are one of the .01%, (although I'm pretty skeptical about the veracity of that claim).

  39. [39] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Bashi (37)-
    How dare CRS do what the other commenters do in ignoring posts to fixate on something ridiculous and living in a bubble so thick they have missed the decades of articles on the effects of big money on the Deathocrats and Republikillers and decline of democracy it causes.

    That is why I avoid supporting the big money Deathocrats and Republikillers and their counterfeit products.

    The battle of the bubbles is hilarious to observe but not at all productive.

  40. [40] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Stucki,

    It would be the word you put in parentheses twice in a short post...

    It's good you clarified as the post you wrote comes out as to compete businesses must buy products from one another which would be silly, and I have no idea what you were trying to convey with that.

    Yes, in an extremely simplified way, people did run the demise of small retail by buying from Walmart and later Amazon. What you conveniently leave out is the how, which I mentioned in my original post...

  41. [41] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Don,

    decades of articles on the effects of big money...

    And yet when pressed, you never seem to be able to link to one of these articles. Interesting that.

    The battle of the bubbles is hilarious to observe but not at all productive.

    How could you tell from inside your extra thick bubble of delusion?

  42. [42] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    italyrusty,

    As an American citizen with Italian residency, I completely agree. Italians are perhaps the most supportive, unquestioning Europeans of the United States of America - the grandchildren of those alive in WWII still express their gratitude to me for the liberation by American soldiers from Mussolini and the small gestures of kindness, like chocolate bars to the Italian children and food and clothing to the half-starved families.

    That reminded me of a wonderful movie from quite a while back. I wonder if it's one of your favourites, too?

    La Vita e Bella

  43. [43] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    And, if this doesn't put a smile on your face, nothing ever will!

  44. [44] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I love, love, love Roberto Benigni!

  45. [45] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Well the Harvey Weinstein reference can be overlooked - it was 1998, after all. Ahem.

  46. [46] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Elizabeth, this ain't music. But it'll put things in perspective.

    Give it a look, people. ROKO'S BASILISK.

  47. [47] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

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

    It has been quite a stressful week on top of everything.

    Here is my first selection for the evening - I hope you enjoy it.

    Kashtin

  48. [48] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    does this qualify as spiritual?

    https://youtu.be/_SN1UK8ghGw

  49. [49] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Indeed it does, Joshua! Because it helps to take one's mind off of things and begin to relax. :)

  50. [50] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    "May the stars carry your sadness away."

    Native Song

  51. [51] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    not usually a fan of tributes, but i'm a fan of everybody in this:

    https://youtu.be/6SFNW5F8K9Y

  52. [52] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:
  53. [53] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:
  54. [54] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wh20jRpHiQI">Hoop Dance, extraordinaire

  55. [55] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Kashtin are Innu from Quebec. Here they are with E uassiuan

  56. [56] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:
  57. [57] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I was lucky enough to see Kashtin live in Toronto and Hamilton. I couldn't get enough of their Innu tunes when I was very much involved in supporting the Aboriginal Peoples' struggle for justice in Canada throughout the nineties ... and beyond!

    Here is almost three hours of their music. Enjoy!

    Kashtin

  58. [58] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Well, I was hoping to hear more of everyone's selections tonight but, I know, it's still early.

    It's early morning where I sit and I'm back to work, after eight weeks of lockdown and stay-at-home orders, so ...

    I will leave you with this tune from Neil Young, off of his Prairie Wind album, recorded in Nashville. I wanted to post a link to his performance of this song at the Ryman Auditorium but couldn't find it.

    Anyway, here is When God Made Me

  59. [59] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Bashi (41)-
    You really can't find any articles that mention the effects of big money on our political system?

    While I am not going to waste my time on providing easily available information to someone that is so incompetent, perhaps you could get Nypoet to help you as Nypoet seems to be saying that big money has an effect on our political process in comment 27.

  60. [60] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Don,

    English comprehension a little foggy this morning? I was commenting on your inabilities not asking you to demonstrate them...

  61. [61] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Bashi-
    No problem at all with comprehension.

    You are the one demonstrating your lack of ability.

    80% of citizens have seen enough information to conclude that big money in our political system is a problem.

    You do at least know that the Earth is not flat with out needing a link, don't you?

  62. [62] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Yawn.

  63. [63] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    since when did i say anything about "big money?" it's obvious "big dough" is the culprit, while the flakier, tastier pie crust is eschewed, rather than just being chewed.

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