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Gender: Male
Hometown: America's Finest City
Current location: District 50
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 11,830

Journal Archives

Chris Christie Makes Cameo Video For Montana Democrat (By Mistake)

The former New Jersey governor is the latest Republican politician to be tricked into making a video for the opposing party.

Chris Christie, the former New Jersey governor, on Thursday became the latest Republican politician to be fooled into making a campaign video on behalf of a Democrat.

Mr. Christie is one of many of Mr. Trump’s current and former associates available for hire on Cameo, an app that allows users to commission personalized videos from minor — and increasingly major — celebrities.

The video, which cost $200, was framed as a jovial message to a person named Greg, who Mr. Christie was prompted to encourage to return to New Jersey, Greg’s former home.

What Mr. Christie did not know was that the video was meant for Greg Gianforte, the Republican nominee in Montana’s governor’s race. It was commissioned by the campaign of Mr. Gianforte’s opponent, Mike Cooney.


Lies, Damned Lies and Trump Rallies

Who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?

By Paul Krugman

Donald Trump lies a lot. In fact, he lies so often that several media organizations try to keep a running tally, and even try to draw political inferences from fluctuations in the number of lies he tells in a given month (although the trend has been relentlessly upward).

But we’ve crossed some kind of threshold in the past few weeks. It’s not so much that Trump is lying more as that the lies have become qualitatively different — even more blatant, and increasingly untethered to any plausible political strategy.

Back in the day, Trump lies tended to be those like his repeated claims that he was about to unroll a health care plan that would be far better and cheaper than Obamacare, while protecting pre-existing conditions.

Those of us following the issue closely knew that there was no such plan, indeed that there couldn’t be given the logic of health insurance; we also knew that he had made the same promise many times, but never delivered.


Texas Voters Line Up To Shoot Ballots At Local Election Range

CANYON, TX—Loading their firearms with enough ammo to mark their preferred candidates for each race, Texas voters lined up to begin shooting their 2020 ballots at local election ranges, sources confirmed Thursday.

“It’s always nice to stare down the ol’ iron sights and make your voice heard by leaving a bullet hole on your favorite politicians,” said Cal Humphries, 54, who shouldered an AR-15 and fired multiple rounds into a sheet of paper that hung from a target retrieval system to indicate his choice in a series of down-ballot judicial races.

“Being able to hit a bull’s-eye on your Senate pick is a hallowed right that our ancestors fought and died for. Just make sure you’re using the right caliber bullet, though, or your vote may be disqualified.”

At press time, a visibly furious Humphries was heard cursing loudly after one of his shots was slightly off, leading him to accidentally select Green Party presidential candidate Howie Hawkins.


The Loss of Naivete'

By Charles M. Blow

How could we have been so blind? How could we have been so naïve? How did we not believe that the worst was possible until we plummeted into it?

We didn’t believe that a demagogic tyrant-worshiper could rise to the presidency.

The founders of this country worried obsessively about the rise of a demagogue, and the power of foreign influence on our democracy. And yet somehow, over the years, after centuries of American presidents behaving in ways that at least demonstrated a fealty to the country and its institutions and the power of precedent and legacy, those fears waned to a whisper.

Having a demagogue, partially installed by a Russian disinformation campaign no less, who exalted our enemies in the world and hammered our friends, was somewhat unthinkable. This was America. We would only go so far. We might race up to the precipice, but we would never hurl ourselves into the abyss. Wrong.

With the election of Donald Trump, America did the unthinkable, shocking itself and the world: It put the most powerful country in the world under the control of a lying, grifting, shady carnival ­­­­­conductor. He had no experience in governance and no expertise. His entire life was a game of smoke and mirrors, double talk and double-dealing.


Four Wasted Years Thinking About Donald Trump

By Michelle Goldberg

It’s very hard to catalog all the things we’ve lost under the presidency of Donald Trump.

As I write this, over 225,000 Americans have lost their lives to Covid-19. Many of our children have lost months of school. Soon a huge part of the country will lose Thanksgiving.

Because of the Trump administration’s barbaric family separation policy, 545 children may be lost to their parents forever. America has lost its status as a leading democracy. We lost Ruth Bader Ginsburg, so we’re probably going to lose Roe v. Wade. More people have lost their jobs under Trump than under any president since at least World War II.

Compared with all this, mourning the cultural casualties of the Trump years might be frivolous.

But when I think back, from my obviously privileged position, on the texture of daily life during the past four years, all the attention sucked up by this black hole of a president has been its own sort of loss. Every moment spent thinking about Trump is a moment that could have been spent contemplating, creating or appreciating something else. Trump is a narcissistic philistine, and he bent American culture toward him.


Colossal Reef Discovered Off Australia's Coast Is Taller Than Empire State Building

Scientists have discovered a new detached coral reef at the northern tip of the Great Barrier Reef – and it stands an impressive 500 metres (1,640 feet) high, taller than the Empire State Building, the Sydney Tower and the Petronas Towers in Malaysia.

It's the first such discovery in the region for 120 years, made by a team from the Schmidt Ocean Institute using underwater mapping technology, and then captured on camera by the SuBastian diving robot. The researchers are currently on a 12-month mission to map the underwater landscape around Australia.

The gigantic reef, separate from the Great Barrier Reef but still fixed to the ocean floor, joins several other tall reefs in the region – including the one at Raine Island, an important habitat and breeding area for green turtles.

"This unexpected discovery affirms that we continue to find unknown structures and new species in our ocean," says Wendy Schmidt, co-founder of the Schmidt Ocean Institute. "The state of our knowledge about what's in the ocean has long been so limited."


Trump Killed the Pax Americana

By Paul Krugman

There are, I suppose, some people who still imagine that if and when Donald Trump leaves office we’ll see a rebirth of civility and cooperation in U.S. politics. They are, of course, hopelessly naïve. America in the 2020s will remain a deeply polarized nation, rife with crazy conspiracy theories and, quite possibly, plagued by right-wing terrorism.

But that won’t be Trump’s legacy. The truth is that we were already well down that road before he came along. And on the other side, if the Democrats win big, I expect to see many of Trump’s substantive policies reversed, and then some. Environmental protection and the social safety net will probably end up substantially stronger, taxes on the rich substantially higher, than they were under Barack Obama.

Trump’s lasting legacy, I suspect, will come in international affairs. For almost 70 years America played a special role in the world, one that no nation had ever played before. We’ve now lost that role, and I don’t see how we can ever get it back.

You see, American dominance represented a new form of superpower hegemony.


Trump abdicated America's international leadership role, and has allowed China to fill the void. What a humiliation and a disgrace.

How Will I Ever Look at America the Same Way Again?

By Frank Bruni

It’s always assumed that those of us who felt certain of Hillary Clinton’s victory in 2016 were putting too much trust in polls.

I was putting too much trust in Americans.

I’d seen us err. I’d watched us stray. Still I didn’t think that enough of us would indulge a would-be leader as proudly hateful, patently fraudulent and flamboyantly dishonest as Donald Trump.

We had episodes of ugliness, but this? No way. We were better than Trump.

Except, it turned out, we weren’t.


Win or Lose, It's Donald Trump's Republican Party

The G.O.P.’s politicians, activists and voters are still figuring out what that means.

The tourism bureau of Manatee County, population just over 400,000, advertises the expected trappings of any placid gulfside community in southwest Florida — a historic fishing village, an award-winning local library system, outlet malls. Eighty-six percent white and a noted second-home locale for retirees fleeing the Northeast in winter, Manatee has voted for every Republican presidential nominee since 1948 — the sort of homogeneity that typically produces staid politics. In the summer of 2020, as the county’s residents turned their attention to the race for District 7’s seat on the board of county commissioners, some of the hot-button issues were a new storm-water fee and the wisdom of using public funds to extend 44th Avenue East.

One Republican vying for the office was George Kruse, a 45-year-old finance veteran and novice candidate who owns a commercial real estate debt fund. Kruse, who has an M.B.A. from Columbia and started his career at an affordable-housing equity fund, says he got into the race partly to address the area’s lack of affordable housing; in interviews with local media, he talked about restructuring the county budget and establishing long-term plans for sustainable growth. But from the outset his campaign included a concession to political reality. The top item on his “Conservative Principles for a Better Manatee” brochure was “Support President Trump to Keep America Great.”

Kruse’s principal opponent for the Republican nomination was Ed Hunzeker, the county’s 72-year-old former administrator, who left the position in 2019 after clashing with the county commission over a controversial decision to authorize the construction of a new radio tower next to a local elementary school. In announcing his campaign, Hunzeker called himself a “strong supporter of President Trump,” and he began flooding Facebook with ad after ad to promote his affinity further (“LIKE if you support President Trump!”). Kruse did not feel his own bona fides were in question; one of the first photos posted to his campaign page showed him smiling with his arm around a cardboard cutout of Trump. Nevertheless, on June 30, he debuted his campaign’s new slogan: “Make Manatee Red Again.” “Real Conservatives in Manatee County are done with the RINO Purple/Blue wave taking over our supposedly conservative County Commission,” he declared.

Three days later, Hunzeker put out an ad juxtaposing photos of himself and Trump and promising: “Ed Hunzeker Stands With Our President.” He followed up with a six-second YouTube video featuring a gentle guitar strum, Hunzeker sporting a button-down shirt and hopeful gaze and a single line of text: “Keep Manatee Great.” Two days later, a slightly perspiring Kruse filmed a Facebook Live to clarify his own allegiance. “People who know me know that I support President Trump,” he said. “They see me get out of a truck with a Trump sticker on the back. They see me walking through Publix with a Trump hat on. They see me wearing a variety of different Trump shirts. I don’t need to tell people I support the president. People just see that I support the president.” He continued: “So, you know, consider that over the weekend.”


Election Day will feel different. Having the right expectations means rejecting Trump's lies.

Election Day will feel different this year. Having the right expectations means rejecting Trump’s lies.

Opinion by Editorial Board

ELECTION DAY this year is going to feel different. Many Americans will have to weigh whether voting is worth risking infection with the coronavirus, perhaps because their absentee ballot did not arrive fast enough, or they worry it would not get back in time to count, or they were denied the option of voting by mail in the first place. For this, they can thank Republicans in states such as Texas and Wisconsin who maintained arbitrary limits on absentee ballots, because depressing the vote, rather than persuading voters, is now a key GOP campaign strategy.

But Republicans did not succeed in suppressing mail-in voting everywhere, and high demand for a safe alternative to in-person Election Day voting means that a massive number of Americans will have voted by mail, or at least attempted to do so. The result of so many people shifting the way they vote will be an Election Day that may not end with the declaration of a clear winner. Some presidential battleground states will count ballots that arrive a week or more after Nov. 3, as long as they are postmarked on time. This is good: Voters should not have their ballots trashed because the U.S. Postal Service delayed delivering them or because of some other administrative issue. Their votes matter no less than those of Americans who cast ballots in-person.

Yet President Trump likely will deny their legitimacy. Polls and early-voting statistics suggest that Democrats will vote disproportionately by mail this year, so early in-person tallies in some key states might show him doing better than the final count will. Mr. Trump has equated mail-in ballots with fraud, and he has laid the groundwork to claim that any delay in reporting results would be evidence the election was fixed. On Monday, he tweeted, falsely, about “big problems and discrepancies with Mail in Ballots all over the USA,” adding “Must have final total on November 3rd.” If that doesn’t happen, the president’s irresponsible rhetoric could trigger a post-election crisis.

As it is, the unprecedented circumstances could lead overwhelmed election officials to make more honest mistakes. Even in normal presidential election years, irregularities occur: A stack of ballots gets misplaced, then found; voting machines conk out; dead people are discovered to be still registered to vote; ballot-counting technology fails; some people have to fill out provisional ballots.

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