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  • Guilty of All Charges April 21, 2021
    On Tuesday, after three weeks of jury selection, another three weeks of testimony and 10 hours of deliberations, Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, was found guilty of murder in the death of George Floyd.The jurors found Mr. Chauvin guilty of all three charges: second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Sentenc […]
    thedaily@nytimes.com (The New York Times)
  • A Wave of Anti-Transgender Legislation April 20, 2021
    Just four months into 2021 and there have already been more than 80 bills, introduced in mostly Republican-controlled legislatures, that aim to restrict transgender rights, mostly in sports and medical care.But what’s the thinking behind the laws, and why are there so many?We look into the motivation behind the bills and analyze the impact they could have.Gu […]
    thedaily@nytimes.com (The New York Times)
  • A Difficult Diplomatic Triangle April 19, 2021
    When a nuclear fuel enrichment site in Iran blew up this month, Tehran immediately said two things: The explosion was no accident, and the blame lay with Israel.Such an independent action by Israel would be a major departure from a decade ago, when the country worked in tandem with the United States to set back Iran’s nuclear ambitions.We look at what the bl […]
    thedaily@nytimes.com (The New York Times)
  • The Sunday Read: ‘Voices Carry’ April 18, 2021
    The Skagit Valley choir last sang together on the evening of March 10, 2020. This rehearsal, it would turn out, was one of the first documented superspreader events of the pandemic. Of the 61 choristers who attended practice that night, 53 developed coronavirus symptoms. Two later died.The event served as an example to other choirs of the dangers of coming t […]
    thedaily@nytimes.com (The New York Times)
  • The Agony of Pandemic Parenting April 16, 2021
    This episode contains strong language and emotional descriptions about the challenges of parenting during the pandemic, so if your young child is with you, you might want to listen later.Several months ago, The Times opened up a phone line to ask Americans what it’s really been like to raise children during the pandemic.Liz Halfhill, a single mother to 11-ye […]
    thedaily@nytimes.com (The New York Times)
  • The Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Pause Explained April 15, 2021
    Federal health agencies on Tuesday called for a pause in the use of Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus shot as they examine a rare blood-clotting disorder that emerged in six recipients.Every state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico halted their rollout of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine almost immediately. The same went for the U.S. military, fede […]
    thedaily@nytimes.com (The New York Times)
  • A Legal Winning Streak for Religion April 14, 2021
    In a ruling a few days ago, the Supreme Court lifted coronavirus restrictions imposed by California on religious services held in private homes. The decision gave religious Americans another win against government rules that they say infringe on their freedom to worship.With the latest victory, the question has become whether the Supreme Court’s majority is […]
    thedaily@nytimes.com (The New York Times)
  • Cryptocurrency’s Newest Frontier April 13, 2021
    It started with a picture posted on the internet, and ended in an extravagant cryptocurrency bidding war. NFTs, or “nonfungible tokens,” have recently taken the art world by storm. Sabrina Tavernise, a national correspondent for The Times, speaks with the Times columnist Kevin Roose about digital currency’s newest frontier, his unexpected role in it and why […]
    thedaily@nytimes.com (The New York Times)
  • Europe’s Vaccination Problem April 12, 2021
    Europe’s vaccination process was expected to be well-orchestrated and efficient. So far, it’s been neither. Sabrina Tavernise, a national correspondent for The Times, spoke with our colleague Matina Stevis-Gridneff about Europe’s problems and why things could get worse before they get better.Guest: Matina Stevis-Gridneff, the Brussels correspondent for The N […]
    thedaily@nytimes.com (The New York Times)
  • The Sunday Read: ‘The Ghost Writer’ April 11, 2021
    The author Philip Roth, who died in 2018, was not sure whether he wanted to be the subject of a biography. In the end, he decided that he wanted to be known and understood.His search for a biographer was long and fraught — Mr. Roth parted ways with two, courted one and sued another — before he settled on Blake Bailey, one of the great chroniclers of America’ […]
    thedaily@nytimes.com (The New York Times)
  • Odessa, Part 3: The Band Bus Quarantine April 9, 2021
    Odessa is a four-part series. All episodes of the show released so far are available here. Last fall, as Odessa High School brought some students back to campus with hybrid instruction, school officials insisted mask wearing, social distancing and campus contact tracing would keep students and faculty safe. And at the beginning of the semester, things seemed […]
    thedaily@nytimes.com (The New York Times)
  • The Case Against Derek Chauvin April 8, 2021
    In Minneapolis, the tension is palpable as the city awaits the outcome of the trial of Derek Chauvin, the police officer accused of murdering George Floyd last summer.The court proceedings have been both emotional — the video of Mr. Floyd’s death has been played over and over — and technical.At the heart of the case: How did Mr. Floyd die?Today, we look at t […]
    thedaily@nytimes.com (The New York Times)
  • Targeting Overseas Tax Shelters April 7, 2021
    The I.R.S. says that Bristol Myers Squibb, America’s second-largest drug company, has engaged a tax-shelter setup that has deprived the United States of $1.4 billion in tax revenue.The Biden administration is looking to put an end to such practices to pay for its policy ambitions, including infrastructure like improving roads and bridges and revitalizing cit […]
    thedaily@nytimes.com (The New York Times)
  • A Vast Web of Vengeance April 6, 2021
    How one woman with a grudge was able to slander an entire family online, while the sites she used avoided blame.Sign up here to get The Daily in your inbox each morning. And for an exclusive look at how the biggest stories on our show come together, subscribe to our newsletter. For more information on today’s episode, visit nytimes.com/thedaily. Transcripts […]
    thedaily@nytimes.com (The New York Times)
  • A Military That Murders Its Own People April 5, 2021
    Two months ago, Myanmar’s military carried out a coup, deposing the country’s elected civilian leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, and closing the curtains on a five-year experiment with democracy. Since then, the Burmese people have expressed their discontent through protest and mass civil disobedience. The military has responded with brutal violence. We look at the […]
    thedaily@nytimes.com (The New York Times)
  • The Sunday Read: ‘The Beauty of 78.5 Million Followers’ April 4, 2021
    During the pandemic, cheerleader-ish girls performing slithery hip-hop dances to rap music on TikTok has been the height of entertainment — enjoyed both genuinely and for laughs.Addison Rae, one such TikToker, is the second-most-popular human being on the platform, having amassed a following larger than the population of the United Kingdom.In seeking to mone […]
    thedaily@nytimes.com (The New York Times)
  • Inside the Biden Infrastructure Plan April 2, 2021
    President Biden is pushing the boundaries of how most Americans think of infrastructure.In a speech on Wednesday, he laid out his vision for revitalizing the nation’s infrastructure in broad, sweeping terms: evoking racial equality, climate change and support for the middle class.His multitrillion-dollar plan aims not only to repair roads and bridges, but al […]
    thedaily@nytimes.com (The New York Times)
  • A Union Drive at Amazon April 1, 2021
    Since its earliest days, Amazon has been anti-union, successfully quashing any attempt by workers to organize.A group of workers at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Ala., just might change that — depending on the outcome of a vote this week.We look at how their effort came together and what it means for the nature of work in savvy, growing companies like Ama […]
    thedaily@nytimes.com (The New York Times)
  • A Conversation With Senator Raphael Warnock March 31, 2021
    Republican-led legislatures are racing to restrict voting rights, in a broad political effort that first began in the state of Georgia. To many Democrats, it’s no coincidence that Georgia — once a Republican stronghold — has just elected its first Black senator: Raphael Warnock. Today, we speak to the senator about his path from pastorship to politics, the f […]
    thedaily@nytimes.com (The New York Times)
  • A National Campaign to Restrict Voting March 30, 2021
    Georgia, a once reliably red state, has been turning more and more purple in recent years. In response, the Republican state legislature has passed a package of laws aimed at restricting voting.Today, we look at those measures and how Democrats are bracing for similar laws to be passed elsewhere in the country. Guest: Nick Corasaniti, a domestic corresponden […]
    thedaily@nytimes.com (The New York Times)

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Newes From America on Twitter

  • RT @OmarJimenez: BREAKING: Derek Chauvin has been convicted on ALL charges in the killing of George Floyd. #DerekChauvin #GeorgeFloyd 23 hours ago
  • RT @AnaCabrera: CNN: more than 3,000 Minnesota National Guard members activated in the Twin Cities area in anticipation of #ChauvinTrial ve… 1 day ago
  • RT @jimsciutto: Lord. Waking up to news of another mass shooting in America: At least 8 people killed in shooting at a FedEx facility in I… 5 days ago
  • RT @nytimes: Breaking News: The U.S. is set to announce sanctions and other measures against Russia for cyberattacks, bounties on U.S. troo… 6 days ago
  • RT @WestWingReport: First Lady is having what is being called a "medical procedure" at a downtown location - the President is with her 1 week ago
  • RT @AnaCabrera: BREAKING: CDC and FDA recommend US pause use of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine over blood clot concerns 1 week ago
  • RT @CBSNews: Minnesota Timberwolves, Twins and Wild postpone games over shooting of Daunte Wright cbsn.ws/3sd9Kbd 1 week ago
  • RT @CBSNews: Trump predicts GOP will retake Congress in 2022 and White House in 2024 in speech to party donors cbsn.ws/3t9ft3f 1 week ago
  • RT @BostonGlobe: For years, the Boston Police kept a secret: the union president was an alleged child molester bos.gl/FPmFSjh 1 week ago
  • RT @AnaCabrera: NEW: Third explosion recorded at St. Vincent volcano "Vincentians are waking up to extremely heavy ash fall and strong Su… 1 week ago
  • RT @AnaCabrera: JUST IN: St. Vincent volcano in the Caribbean has erupted, ash plumes up to 20,000 feet reported 1 week ago
  • RT @JonLemire: LONDON (AP) — Buckingham Palace says Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, has died aged 99. 1 week ago
  • RT @thedailybeast: EXCLUSIVE: In two late-night Venmo transactions in May 2018, Rep. Matt Gaetz sent his friend, the accused sex trafficker… 1 week ago
  • RT @CharlesPPierce: The peace process born of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 is tottering on a cliff above a roiling, violent sea. https… 1 week ago
  • RT @jimsciutto: “They’ve offered plenty of thoughts and prayers, members of Congress, but they have passed not a single new federal law to… 1 week ago
  • RT @JonLemire: COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Source tells AP: Gunman in killing of doctor and 4 others was former NFL pro Phillip Adams, who also k… 1 week ago
  • RT @ErinBanco: In the last seven days there's been an average of 5,082 daily COVID hospital admissions, 2.7% higher than previous 7 days,… 2 weeks ago
  • RT @JonLemire: ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Cuomo aide says in first interview that the governor slammed door shut before groping her at state mansi… 2 weeks ago
  • RT @brianklaas: Countries ranked by number of prisoners per 100,000 people: 1. US: 639 2. El Salvador: 572 3. Turkmenistan: 552 78. New Z… 2 weeks ago
  • RT @NatashaBertrand: Just in from POTUS: “We mourn the loss of yet another courageous Capitol Police officer, I have ordered that the White… 2 weeks ago

Kenneth, What is the Frequency?

In a strange incident in 1986, Dan Rather was roughed up by a couple of well-dressed goons as he walked home near the corner of 88th Street and Park in New York, with one of them repeatedly asking, “Kenneth, what is the frequency?” The newsman made news himself because the louts, instead of calling the celebrity CBS reporter by his given name, Dan or even Daniel, referred to him as ‘Kenneth.’ This was just weird enough to make the national news. The brouhaha died down and the incident was quickly forgotten until 1994 when a band by the name of R.E.M. out of Athens, Georgia recorded the hit song, “What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?” off their album Monster, which is why anyone remembers the story. The reason Rather came to be asked the strange question by the nutty duo is quite weird and stupid and tragic, and I’ll get into that later in the post, but it’s when we hit the ‘stupidity curve’ as a culture, where schizophrenic news cycles and the weird shit that we see today has hit the fan every day, week and month since.

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The Square, Circled

Harvard Square 1974

Rock ‘n’ Roll was in transition in the late 1970s and back in the old days, all the good new music, as usual, was coming from African-American artists and I was totally into ‘black music’ and listening to DJ Antoine and the Quiet Storm at the end of the FM dial on WMBR 88.1, MIT’s awesome college radio station (helping nerds be cool for over fifty years). I remember one of my best friends back then, Mike, who had relatively mediocre taste in music and was kind of dim, had adopted Bruce Springsteen as his very own (as many of our friends have through the years) walling Bruce off and jealousy, weirdly attacking anyone who didn’t like Springsteen as much as he did. Many years later I found out that my stupid friend Michael was actually right about Bruce after all and that I was the dumb one. A note here about my last post (trying to keep these to a minimum) about using mean and pejorative terms on this here blog such as stupid, dumb, moron, imbecilic, Trump Cuck, etc. I’m sorry if they offend anybody and I’m sorry that I use these bad words, but I just can’t help myself, so I sincerely apologize to Mr. Broidy that I called him ‘fat’ in (every) reference to him, however I’m not sorry that I called him sleazy. Watching Aidy Bryant on Saturday Night Live recently, I thought to myself that this funny and delightful (pleasantly plump?) woman probably doesn’t like that word ‘fat’ very much and even when I’m insulting Elliot Broidy, I shouldn’t be calling him that bad word. I should say he’s big-boned. A big-boned, sleazy scumbag. “There I go again” as Ronnie Reagan used to say.

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King Leer

Confidential Magazine

Any reading of the recent drama caused by AMI CEO David (Johnson) Pecker should be called ‘business as usual,’ but I highlight Time Magazine’s March 11, 1957 article Gutterdammerung about the so-called “King of Leer,” Robert Harrison, the publisher of the National Enquirer of the 1950s, Confidential Magazine, the grandpappy of ‘catch and kill,’ yellow journalism and what passes today as the ‘gossip’ business. Jeff Bezos’ recent dick pics aside, the entry of the Russians, UAE and Saudi Arabia into what we might call ‘American culture’ is a trend that is currently being reversed with vigor — and when you mess with the bull, you get the horns (Gavin de Becker on line one). This I know because I tried to cancel my Amazon Prime subscription. Don’t even try it, folks. It’s just too good of a deal. Just don’t make me ‘subscribe and save’ for razor blades, Uncle Jeff, please? Anyhow, Donald Trump has been ‘in the room’ for ALL of this recent shit (believe you me) and speaking of being in the room, as Trump leered over his desk as Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal were paid off with six-figure sums, in this equation, one of two suppositions is true: either Donald Trump is being extorted, or Donald Trump is extorting. That is a fucking fact. Let’s start with Michael Cohen.

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A Metaphor America

George Washington

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE, INCLUDING THE HATERS AND THE FAKE NEWS MEDIA! 2019 WILL BE A FANTASTIC YEAR FOR THOSE NOT SUFFERING FROM TRUMP DERANGEMENT SYNDROME. JUST CALM DOWN AND ENJOY THE RIDE, GREAT THINGS ARE HAPPENING FOR OUR COUNTRY!

It’s probably not gonna be a fantastic year for me, I fear. The above Tweet© is our President’s New Year’s statement to the nation, where he advises us all to just relax, bend over and enjoy the reaming he intends to administer to us all. The year started out well enough, although with Trump, Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham and Fox News conspiring to lock the American people out of 25% of their government (apparently, all run by the dedicated hard work of Democrats, according to The Donald), in Trump’s bizarro-world, our slow motion dismantling of democracy should be something to enjoy, not fear. Donny also tells a seven-year old back on Christmas Day that Santa is a fiction, so here Trump chooses to reveal the first kernel of truth as president in two years — in one of the few places that we actually want our president to lie — when talking to a seven-year old on Christmas Day about the legend of Santa Claus.

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The Spy Who Came

The Daily BeastPhoto Illustration by Sarah Rogers/The Daily Beast

Donald Trump has the power to make me a liar. I said in a post a few months ago, Cheaters Never Prosper that Trump will become our third president to suffer a Senate trial, but I gave a hint of how I think Trump might actually sum up his presidency by noting that Richard Nixon wasn’t ‘impeached’ because he avoided all the unpleasantness at showtime by resigning. I’m sure Donald Trump would’ve thought it insulting to suggest that he resign after his first hundred days, as I did in my post 100 Crazy Nights, but I’d bet he’d take that bargain in a heartbeat now, because that was before we knew about the smokin’ hot Russian spy with an assault rifle: Maria Butina, y’all.

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Consent of the Governed

Fox’s Steve Hilton will tell you that Trump is valiantly fighting elitism from within his own White House, finally getting rid of the swamp creatures (no, not Ryan Zinke, or 81-year old Wilbur Ross, currently missing from the G20, they’re not elites!) folks like Gary Cohn, H.R. McMaster and Rex Tillerson and the other elitists that have finally been rooted out (as RINOs). Unlike Steve Hilton, he’s a real, average Republican. His story is the American dream, so get the fuck out of the way. More the British dream, actually, but who’s keeping score, observing that Steve grew up just outside of London. His family fled Hungary after the 1956 Revolt and they landed comfortably just outside Heathrow airport, the very place they would find employment. Steve didn’t have a father in the house after the age of five, however, but his dad was a professional hockey player, so he wasn’t exactly living hand to mouth. Educated in London, Hilton went to Stanford University and then went to work for David Cameron of the Conservative Party of Britain, one of the most singularly elite men on the planet Earth. No elitist himself, Hilton worked very hard and has amassed over $4 million for his considerable effort, according to wikinetworth.com. A dedicated public servant in government for most of his illustrious career, he proves that anybody can be successful and rich, as long as they’re not some snooty elitist (while being the godparent of a Prime Minister’s eldest child). I believe I’ve worked just as hard as Steve, perhaps not as intelligently or ‘non-elitely,’ and yet I have significantly less than $4 million in my bank account, so this ‘elite’ thing hasn’t paid off as well for me, so maybe Steve actually has a point. Make sure to visit the Millenial’s coolest place to fund their favorite candidates (and Steve’s BIG money maker) Crowdpac!

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Watch Out Now

Loose Lips
On November 6th, America returned the Democrats to House leadership, yet the Senate remains in the grip of the Republican Party after Donald Trump called Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum a ‘Thief’ and also sent the military into The South to save fearful Texans, à la The Alamo, from 1,500 or so itinerant migrants now chilling somewhere near Cancún. Before all the votes are counted and Jerry Nadler has a chance to choose his (oversize) House Judiciary chair, Donald Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions and replaced him with a guy named Matt Whitaker. This guy, the new Attorney General or ‘Top Cop,’  was last seen as a CNN analyst posting an op-ed, Mueller’s Investigation of Trump is Going Too Far. Whitaker, who Trump apparently never met (or did, or didn’t?) once prosecuted an eagle-scout Democratic State Senator in Des Moines, Iowa named Matt McCoy (now a County Commissioner) because McCoy ‘extorted’ $2,000, over two long years, from some poor victim. It turns out that the two grand was a legitimate bill for services rendered, which the client had disputed. For this, McCoy was read The Hobbs Act, but really, he was railroaded into an unjust prosecution — which has taken McCoy over ten years to repay legal fees — and oh yeah,  Mr. McCoy, without a hint of scandal in over twenty years of public service, is also gay. In fact he was the first openly gay member of the Iowa Legislature. After going after the gay Democrat, Whitaker left the Justice Department and began working as a consultant for a phony company that bilked dozens of suckers out of $26 million of their hard-earned money. This is the man who Donald Trump picked to run the Justice Department — a hatchet man.

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Pretenders to the Throne

With Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s announcement that the vote on Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s lifetime appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court will take place tomorrow, I have to remark to myself how far we’ve come as a nation. It seems like just yesterday in American history that anti-Catholic bias and ‘Irish Need Not Apply’ was the norm. When Donald Trump’s daddy Fred Trump was arrested at a Klu Klux Klan Rally on Memorial Day, 1927, the organizing leaflet that was passed around in Jamaica, Queens beforehand warned that “Native-born Protestant Americans” were being “assaulted by Roman Catholic police of New York City.” “Liberty and Democracy have been trampled upon,” it continued, “when native-born Protestant Americans dare to organize to protect one flag, the American flag; one school, the public school; and one language, the English language.” We’ve come a long way. Today, even being an angry, drunk Irish-Catholic isn’t disqualifying for a seat on the highest court in the land.

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The Fifth Columnist

Guernica

There’s an old saying in politics that when your opponent is burying themselves, stay the hell out of the way – if anything, hand them a shovel. As our president has been writing his political epitaph this summer, I’ve been reading a lot of books and working on my tan, yet I’ve been roused from my torpor by another stupid outrage by our So-Called President* – the half-staff / full-staff / half-staff bullshit that took place after the death of John McCain – yet another example of how Trump is utterly unsuited for leadership. Senator John McCain died facing down cancer like all adversity in life, with honor, dignity and courage. John McCain was, by any calculation, an American hero and Donald Trump’s pettiness is only heightened in contrast to this great man’s service to Country. McCain quoted his hero in his autobiography written with Mark Salter, The Restless Wave: Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights and Other Appreciations (2018) where the only man who could live up to this hero’s life was a fictional character:

‘The world is a fine place and worth the fighting for and I hate very much to leave it,’ spoke my hero, Robert Jordan, in [Ernest Hemingway’s] ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls.‘ And I do, too. I hate to leave it. But I don’t have a complaint. Not one. It’s been quite a ride. I’ve known great passions, seen amazing wonders, fought in a war, and helped make a peace. I’ve lived very well and I’ve been deprived of all comforts. I’ve been as lonely as a person can be and I’ve enjoyed the company of heroes.

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Cincinnatus Shrugged

Cincinato_abandona_el_arado_para_dictar_leyes_a_Roma,_c.1806_de_Juan_Antonio_Ribera (2)

Artist: Juan Antonio Ribera, 1806

The absolute batshit-crazy lurch to the right in this country with the election of Donald Trump in 2016 set my hair on fire (scroll blog for reference) and since that time I just can’t seem to stop complaining about THE DONALD. My fear is that his dumb, red hat wearing minions will go down the slippery slope of stupidity with him (see the creepy Mark Meadows, Tom Cotton or Devin Nunes for reference) toward outright anarchy – in what we might best describe as ‘mobocracy.’ With the former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper’s assessment that the Russians swung the election in 2016 to Trump, I have to remind myself that these intelligence folks usually have their hair on fire more than I do – and Clapper is totally bald. I have a full, luxurious head of hair so I’m trying not to panic and begin building a bomb shelter, but Trump’s latest fumble on the international stage, with Kim Jong-untrustworthy in charge, has got me drawing up escape routes, just for fun!

Looking back on the last election, it struck me as strange that the Democrats were holding off an aging, grumpy Socialist from Vermont from upstaging standard-bearer and front-runner, Hillary Clinton. To this day, I can’t figure out how Bernie got so many damned votes. Isn’t it entirely plausible to believe that the coordinated Russian, Saudi and Emirates attack on our election had some effect on the Democratic nomination outcome? Isn’t it also strange that certifiable idiot Donald Trump beat out the best the Republicans had to offer after eight, long years of ‘Obamacare’ during the nomination process? If Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Rick Perry, Carly Fiorina and the dozen or so other serious Republican contenders in the 2016 election don’t realize that they were compromised in the same way the entire country was compromised just a few short months later, then maybe they’re just a big bunch of idiots as well, but we all knew that – except for John Kasich of Ohio (maybe)?

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