Monthly Archives: March 2019

It’s not over for Pussygrabber, so don’t dance a jig — or despair — just yet

“President” Pussygrabber learned from the best, the Devil himself. (Pussygrabber is pictured above with the late Roy Cohn (the late Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s lawyer) at the opening of Trump Tower in Manhattan in 1983.) The ethics- and shame-free Cohn was Pussygrabber’s personal lawyer for 13 years before he finally was disbarred and then died of AIDS. But Pussygrabber’s ongoing criminal legal problems should prove to be much more difficult for him to surmount than was special counsel Robert Mueller’s restricted investigation of his criminality.

We’re supposed to believe that although he surrounds himself with felons and aspiring felons — Michael Cohen, Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, Michael Flynn, et. al., et. al. — “President” Pussygrabber is a fucking Boy Scout, the poor, poor victim of a “witch hunt.”

We’re also supposed to believe that Pussygrabber flunky William Barr’s Reader’s Digest Extreeemely Condensed Version of The Mueller Report faithfully captures the content of the full report — which Pussygrabber says he is fine if it’s released, except that he and Barr probably had the understanding long ago that Barr would do everything in his power not to release it.

So Pussygrabber gets to have it both ways: claim that he’s fine with the full Mueller report being released while knowing that his political operative, his lap dog, won’t release it.

Even if Barr did more or less faithfully summarize the Mueller report, which is uber-dubious at best, I don’t know in what legal ways Robert Mueller’s hands were tied, such as the apparent prevailing belief among many within the legal community that a sitting “president” can’t be indicted.

And proving a crime can be very difficult, what with such mob-style tactics as evidence that goes missing, perjury and witness tampering.

The only thing we can say for sure right now is that Pussygrabber is very, very good at making sure that someone else always is left holding the bag (ask Cohen, Stone, Flynn, et. al.). He’s been doing this his entire life, which isn’t a shock, given that he was Roy Cohn’s protege (Cohn was Pussygrabber’s lawyer for 13 years).

To me, the degree to which the Repugnicans are celebrating when we’ve only seen Barr’s crib notes of the full Mueller report — the report that our tax dollars produced and that thus we, the people, should see — is just another sign that even they know that Pussygrabber is guiltier than sin.

And this isn’t over. With other investigations into Pussygrabber & Co. still ongoing or about to start, Pussygrabber isn’t home-free.

I, for one, wasn’t holding my breath on the Mueller report. Again, Pussygrabber is nothing if not a cockroach, a survivor. But while his very apparent Russia-related treason may not be easy to prove, his other, more pedestrian crimes should be much easier to prove within the restrictive legal system, and I think that he’ll find it much more difficult to influence those who have not already been on his political team and who don’t have to worry about losing their jobs should they disobey their master.

The Repugnicans shouldn’t be dancing a jig; they should be buckling up.

But if they think that Pussygrabber is in the free and clear now, good; they’ll be caught all the more unawares when the house of gilded cards at long last comes tumbling down.

P.S. I recommend Slate.com’s Dahlia Lithwick’s take on this. She concludes:

… In a world in which facts really mattered, the notion that Republicans “won” and Democrats “lost” the Mueller report, based on an incomplete summary that drew hasty conclusions without showing any work, would be laughable. Especially if the author of that summary auditioned for his job by claiming that presidential obstruction of justice couldn’t ever be a real thing, anyway. William Barr could write his [summary] in 46 hours because he had always known what it was going to say.

We do not live in a black-and-white world. The answer is not that Trump either did nothing wrong or committed massive crimes for which he can be removed from office. Mueller’s report — were we ever to inspect it –appears to have split the difference, and delivered its findings in nuanced shades of gray.

But at this point, it almost doesn’t matter whether we can inspect it. The lines are drawn and the legal questions have been answered, not with findings but with political sides retreating to partisanship — one side says the president is cleared (and is now doubling down on attacking the press and the Justice Department) and the other side looks at the brick wall it is facing and concedes that maybe it’s not worth it, anyway.

This has been the state of play for years now. The biggest question just might be why we expected anything else.

Indeed.

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No big bump for Beto

Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke speaks during a campaign stop at The Beancounter Coffeehouse & Drinkery in Burlington, Iowa.
Reuters news photo

Hopefully, the days of blank-slate dork Beto O’Rourke, who might be a good fit for Texas but who is a shitty fit for the entire nation, wildly gesticulating on counter tops like a hipster on crack will be limited.

Three nationwide polls of Democrats and Dem leaners taken after Beto O’Rourke’s official entry into the 2020 presidential race on March 14 show that he got only a small boost from his launch.

A Faux “News” poll put him at 8 percent, an Emerson College poll at 11 percent, and a CNN/SSRS poll also at 11 percent, for an average of 10 percent. (Before his launch, he’d averaged around 7 percent in the nationwide polls.)

Joe Biden averages 28 percent in the three polls mentioned above, Bernie Sanders averages 23 percent, and Kamala Harris averages 11 percent, maintaining their long-standing order of being at No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 in the nationwide polling, respectively.

So Beto is at a whopping fourth place, and poor Elizabeth Warren is at fifth, averaging 6 percent in the three polls mentioned above.

(If you think that my methodology of using the three latest post-O’Rourke-entry polls is flawed, know that Real Clear Politics also comes up with the same rankings as I did: Biden, Bernie, Harris, O’Rourke and Warren, in that order.)

Methinks that the 2020 Democratic field is pretty set. It’s not impossible for a third-tier candidate to break into the second tier (Pete Buttigieg, for example, strikes me as quite capable of that), but I don’t see the top tier changing; Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders have been at No. 1 and No. 2 for a long time now (and Harris has been at No. 3 for a long time now, if we also want to include her in the top tier, even though she has no more than half of the support that either Biden or Bernie does).

Cory Booker can’t get even 5 percent in most polls, and no one else in the field who I haven’t already mentioned can even match Booker.

Sure, it’s a crowded field, but support for the candidates already is settling, with the top three — Biden, Bernie and Harris — already garnering more than 60 percent of the support that’s to be had.

Liz Warren, methinks, would need a miracle to garner the presidential nomination. She geekily is pumping out new policy ideas at least on a weekly basis, but she has failed to gain traction, and I don’t see what’s going to change that.

As to why Liz is fizzling, my top two guesses are that the Dem voters intuit (probably correctly) that as an egghead she would lose to the anti-intellectual (to put it mildly) “President” Pussygrabber, and that the blonde-haired, blue-eyed Warren reminds the Dem voters too much of the last Democratic candidate for president who lost (the president-determining Electoral College, anyway).

I’m not saying that what’s working against Warren is fair, but whoever said that politics is fair?

Harris should be doing a lot better in the polls than she has been doing, based upon the corporate-media pundits’ routinely putting her in the top tier — even at No. 1, even though she’s never been at No. 1 in any fucking reputable nationwide poll.

I still think that at this point Harris’ best bet is to get the veep spot, and given that she’s a woman of color in today’s political environment, I give her a high chance of succeeding at that, if she’ll accept it.

The idea of Joe Biden naming Stacey Abrams as his running mate right out of the gate — which both the Biden and the Abrams camps have denied is a done deal — is an awful one.

It would be a slap in the face to Kamala Harris and others who are out there campaigning right now and who should get the veep spot, and the baldly pandering gimmick would be a clear sign of Team Biden knowing how weak their candidate is. (Since I want Biden to lose, maybe I should call it a great idea!)

Also, we need to rid ourselves of the idea that if you almost won your last election — hello, Beto, Stacey and Andrew Gillum — you should win not only a participation trophy, but you now should be a political rock star.

Win your fucking last election — and then we’ll talk.

Having lost your last election — even if it was close and even if there is good reason to suspect that the election wasn’t entirely on the up-and-up (I mean, Florida and Georgia) — doesn’t put you in a strong political position. (Again, all is fair in love and war — and in politics.)

As much as I’m not big on squishy centrist Kamala Harris, who takes a “bold” stance on something only after the majority of Americans already have done so, at least she won her last election.

And speaking of Harris, there’s a huge difference between supporting someone for the U.S. Senate and for the White House. I was OK with voting for Harris for the U.S. Senate in 2016, but given her political record and the fact that she’s been in the Senate for only two years and a few months, am I ready to support her for the Oval Office? Hell no.

Ditto for O’Rourke — I gave him a small amount of money to help him defeat Ted Cruz this past November, but do I want this milquetoast centrist Texan anywhere near the White House? Hell no.

Experience counts. I’d prefer even crusty centrist Joe Biden, I think, to someone as inexperienced as Harris or O’Rourke.

Barack Obama showed us what inexperience in D.C. — like Kamala Harris, he’d been a U.S. senator for only two years before he announced that he was running for president — does to a presidency.

It’s taboo within the Democratic Party to utter the fact that Obama at best was a caretaker president, but everyone knows it, which is why, methinks, neither O’Rourke nor Harris is going to get the nomination this time around; we were punk’d once and probably can’t be punk’d again — not this soon, anyway.

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Gavin Newsom leads again

Getty Images photo

Gavin Newsom, then still mayor of San Francisco, is pictured above marrying lesbian activists Del Martin (left) and Phyllis Lyon (right) at San Francisco City Hall when same-sex marriage briefly was legal in California in 2008 (after a California Supreme Court ruling) before being shot down again by California Proposition H8 (and before being made legal again by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015). Martin, who had been with Lyon for more than 50 years before they were married in San Francisco in 2004 before having that marriage declared null and void, died two months after the photo above was taken. Then, as he is now, Newsom was ahead of his time.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’

“But I tell you, don’t resist him who is evil; but whoever strikes you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also.”

— Jesus Christ, Matthew 5:38 and 5:39

Oh, to be surrounded by so many “Christians”!

These “Christians” (and some ignorant, hateful others) are pissed off that recently elected California Gov. Gavin Newsom this past week announced that as long as he’s governor — he just started his first four-year term and probably will get another term — no one on California’s death row (there are more than 700 of them) will be executed.

He doesn’t have the power to eliminate the death penalty in the state altogether, but as governor he does have the power to suspend executions.

I expect that the death penalty will be in abolished in California before Newsom is out of office.

Why?

Let’s back up a little bit: It’s much reported that Newsom has suspended state executions against the will of California voters. That’s pretty much bullshit.

California voters last weighed in on the death penalty in November 2016, but the statewide ballot measure that would have repealed the death penalty that the voters shot down didn’t lose overwhelmingly. It was 53 percent don’t repeal to 47 percent repeal.

Another death-penalty-related ballot measure on the same ballot, a really mean-spirited one, sped up the process in which the state should commit executions (because When the penalty is your life, hey, let’s get this over with already! What could go wrong?), but that one passed by only 51 percent to 49 percent.

Newsom isn’t up for re-election until November 2022. By then, I’m confident, the needle will have moved to majority opposition to the death penalty in the state of California.

And Newsom — who moved the needle on same-sex marriage when, as mayor of San Francisco, he declared same-sex marriage legal in his jurisdiction in 2004* — is moving that needle.

Newsom was elected governor over his Repugnican opponent in November 2018 by 62 percent to 38 percent, and in this solidly blue state he has the political capital with which to move the needle.

Those who have been iffy on the death penalty but who support Newsom and the Democratic Party are going to find their support for Newsom and the Democratic Party to be more important than any tepid support that they might have had for the death penalty.

And sure, let’s talk about the will of the California voters. Again, only a slim majority of them backed the death penalty — more than two years ago. A super-majority of them voted for Newsom about four months ago.

The bloodthirsty California wingnuts (a minority in the state, thank Goddess), as usual, don’t even make any fucking sense on this issue. The last person executed in California was way back in 2006, under then-Gov. Arnold “Baby Daddy” Schwarzenegger (a Repugnican, of course), and the executed was a legally blind and diabetic 76-year-old man in a wheelchair. (Woo hoo! “Justice”!)

For the past 13 years there have been no executions in California, but now it’s “important” that we crank up the lethal injection machine?

It’s not that I don’t have sympathy for the survivors of those who have been murdered by stone-cold killers (the term that the wingnuts love to use). If a loved one of mine were murdered, no, of course I wouldn’t be happy. I might come to a place of forgiveness for the murderer, but probably not initially, during the shock of the event.

But the prime objective is to prevent the convicted murderer from ever murdering again, and keeping him or her in prison for life accomplishes that objective.

For the state to say, “Killing is wrong, so we’re going to kill you because you killed” not only is anti-Christian (see Jesus Christ’s straightforward rejection of revenge above), but it defies logic and reason. Acting as much as the animal as the animal is not civilized.

Even if you are indifferent to whether a convicted murderer is executed or is imprisoned for life, know that the costs to the taxpayer surrounding the death penalty are significantly higher than simply allowing the convicted murderer to die in prison, which itself is a pretty fucking harsh penalty.

And don’t get me wrong on Gavin Newsom. His style always has rubbed me the wrong way; he’s too slick for my tastes. (And I am disappointed that he has endorsed fellow Californian Kamala Harris, a “progressive” come lately, for president, which was premature at best.)

I did vote for Newsom in November, but that largely was because in California’s top-two system, I wanted the Democratic gubernatorial candidate to have every possible vote over his God-awful (redundant) Repugnican candidate. (And I am registered not as a Democrat, but as an independent — because I’m pretty left of center and that’s not where nearly enough so-called “Democrats” are.)

But while he’s not my style, Newsom is a leader, and I’ve long defined a leader as someone who doesn’t just follow along where the majority already is, but who pushes the majority to where they need to go.

By that measure, Gavin Newsom is a leader.**

He led on same-sex marriage, and he’s leading on the abolition of the death penalty, not just in California, but nationally.

P.S. I just saw this paragraph in a Politico story:

Mark Baldassare, head of the Public Policy Institute of California, says that his organization’s polling over the years has consistently shown that around 55 percent of Californians back the idea of life imprisonment over the death penalty. But “that can change’’ during high-profile ballot campaigns, when voters are often reminded of specific heinous crimes, boosting their support of the death penalty, he warns.

Indeed, the people of California apparently already are with Newsom on this, but yes, it’s easy to exploit the issue by appealing to fear and emotion over logic and reason.

*As mayor Newsom did not have the authority to declare same-sex marriage legal in his jurisdiction, and the California Supreme Court later shot him (and those marriages) down.

But, of course, with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling same-sex marriage the law of the land in 2015, history has absolved Newsom, who was ahead of history.

**As is Bernie Sanders, who has redefined the positions that a Democrat (or a Democrat in name only…) must take if he or she wants the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination. Sanders has moved the party to the left quite significantly (something that even one of his detractors had to admit).

Of course, as I’ve written before, I prefer the one who moved the ideas into the mainstream, not anyone who only has followed along and who, if elected, probably wouldn’t actually try very hard to enact these ideas, since he or she didn’t generate them in the first fucking place.

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Beto O’Verrated

My thoughts on Beto O’Rourke haven’t changed since I posted the piece below on December 15, so I’m simply running the piece again here (it’s below).

O’Rourke hasn’t been able to reach even double digits in the nationwide polling of 2020 Democratic Party presidential preference, and for a while now, along with Elizabeth Warren, he generally has been around fourth (or fifth) place, behind Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris (in that order), all three of whom poll in the double digits. (See here and here.)

I expect O’Rourke’s formal announcement of today to give him a bump of a few points in the nationwide polling (maybe five points), but I don’t expect that to stick, since he is a substance-free candidate.

Not only does he lack substance, but I don’t find his slacker-hipster style to be interesting (much more endearing) at all. I find it to be annoying.

O’Rourke needs to grow the fuck up already. We already have a man-child in the White House and we don’t need another.

P.S. I do hope that for however long he is in it, O’Rourke serves to further split the vote, only helping Bernie. My guess is that Joe Biden stands to lose the most from O’Rourke’s candidacy, as both Biden and O’Rourke stand for the same thing: nothing.

Robert's Virtual Soapbox

To those who found Barack Obama’s generic — and ultimately unfulfilled — campaign slogans of “hope” and “change” to be appealing, Beto O’Rourke’s “sometimes saccharine call to summon the nation’s better angels” (per The New York Times) appeals. Let’s smother this one in the crib, for God’s sake.

Jesus fucking Christ, I hope that Betomania doesn’t last long.

Indeed, Beto O’Rourke is the white Barack Obama, the candidate with the initials B. O. who is whatever you want him to be, just a blank, white wall upon which you project your probably-futile dreams of hope and change.

“Will a soon-to-be-former congressman, with an unremarkable legislative record and a [U.S.] Senate campaign loss, upend [the Democrats’] best-laid plans?” asks The New York Times, acknowledging that O’Rourke is quite substance-free.

Even O’Rourke himself apparently doesn’t know whatthe fuck, if anything, he stands for.Reports Politico:

Asked if he…

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It’s (still) Bernie vs. Biden

Updated below (on Wednesday, March 13, 2019)

Image result for bernie sanders joe biden death match

Indeed, Bernie Sanders represents the future, while Joe Biden’s probable candidacy is a lazy, unimaginative throwback to the past that never was that hopey or changey.

It’s too early to know how it’s going to pan out, many (if not most) people say of the 2020 Democratic Party presidential race. I disagree.

Running for a party’s nomination for president is such a monumental task that if you haven’t started already, you’re already at a disadvantage, unless you have the name recognition that Joe Biden does.

Indeed, in nationwide poll after nationwide poll, Joe Biden remains at No. 1 as to Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters’ preference for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, with Bernie Sanders close behind.

Two recent Morning Consult polls with gargantuan sample sizes (one at more than 12,000 respondents and the other at more than 15,000 of them) both put Biden at 31 percent and Bernie at 27 percent.

That makes two old white guys the choice of almost 60 percent of the respondents, even though we’ve been told incessantly by the “pundits” that the voters are demanding a woman or a non-white candidate, but preferably a non-white woman (and, the younger the better!).

On that note, in the two aforementioned Morning Consult polls, Kamala Harris came in at No. 3, with only 10 percent in one of the polls and 11 percent in the other; this far in, she has only about a third of the support that Biden does and that Bernie does. (I still say that her best shot at this point is for the veep slot, if she’ll accept it.)

Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro, Tulsi Gabbard, Kirsten Gillibrand, John Hickenlooper, Jay Inslee and Amy Klobuchar (and almost everyone else who has announced) might as well pack it in; they can’t sustain even 5 percent in Morning Consult’s polling.

Elizabeth Warren and Beto O’Rourke, who are tied at fourth place in Morning Consult’s polling, don’t do much better, with neither of them able to reach double digits. (Indeed, after third-place Harris, no one in the Morning Consult polls reaches double digits, which she only barely does.)

O’Rourke was a flash in the pan — stick a fork in him, because he’s done already — and if Warren hasn’t had any traction by now (and she hasn’t), she’s never going to.

This thing isn’t going to drag on and on and on with 10 or 12 or more (at least minimally viable, non-cuckoo) candidates, as has been predicted. The field will be winnowed probably by the first debate in June, I surmise, to fewer than around, oh, say, seven candidates, or maybe seven or eight of them. I don’t think that we’ll really have to worry about overcrowded debates, not after the first one or two of them, anyway.

Success breeds further success (and, conversely, the lack of success breeds further lack of success), and if you’re stuck in the low single digits — or even if you can’t reach even double digits — in nationwide poll after nationwide poll, who really wants to give his or her time, energy, emotional investment and monetary investment to someone who essentially has failed to even launch?

(As a gay man, I find Buttigieg, also a gay man, to be an interesting candidate, but if I’m realistic, no, he doesn’t have a chance. I’d like to see him run for the U.S. Senate or for governor, win, serve out at least one term, and then later perhaps run for president. I do think that he has potential.)

Again, I don’t think that this thing is going to drag out; I think that they’re going to drop like flies, and soon. Who can take on heavyweights like Bernie and Biden over the long haul?

Again, these two old white men already have the support of almost 60 percent of those voters who are up for grabs; sure, it’s early, but come on — what, exactly, is going to happen that is going to change that?

Well, to answer my own question, the only thing that would change that is if Biden doesn’t actually run, which I find unlikely to happen. He’s an asshole and I don’t want him to run, so I fully expect him to run.

On that note, interestingly, a Monmouth University poll taken March 1 through March 4 has a small sample size (only 310 respondents, and I’m a size queen where it comes to sample sizes, which is why I’m in love with Morning Consult, with its huge sample sizes) but asks respondents who their pick would be if Biden did and if Biden did not join the race.

With Biden in the race, he garnered 28 percent to Bernie’s 25 percent, which is somewhat close to Morning Consult’s findings, and with Biden out of the race, Bernie’s support went up to 32 percent, putting Harris at a distant second place at only 15 percent. So, again, even though the Monmouth University poll has a smaller sample size than I’d prefer, it’s easy to predict that if Biden doesn’t run, then Bernie immediately shoots to No. 1.

Indeed, I’ll happily go out on a limb and say that if Biden doesn’t run, then Bernie wins the nomination.

But the most likely scenario, I think, won’t be a repeat of what we saw with the Repugnicans in 2016, with ridiculously overcrowded debate stages, and a long, painfully slow winnowing process that ultimately benefited political outsider Pussygrabber (and thus ultimately would benefit political outsider Bernie, even though this time around he’s not nearly as much the outsider as he was in 2016).

The most likely scenario for 2020, I think, is that Biden runs and that it’s essentially a repeat of 2016: the establishmentarian, corporate-friendly, center-right, Barack-Obama-linked “Democrat” against actual Democrat (ironic!) Bernie Sanders — the dead hand of the past vs. the future.

Only this time, I think, Bernie will dispatch his party-hack opponent more quickly than it took Queen Billary, with her bots within the Democratic National Committee and elsewhere with the national Democratic Party power structure, to dispatch Bernie.

It was, after all, Bernie’s first rodeo. Not so this time.

Update (Wednesday, March 13, 2019): Once again, I have posted something and then felt quite vindicated by prognosticator-god Nate Silver, who on fivethirtyeight.com writes today in a piece titled “Joe Biden’s and Bernie Sanders’s Support Isn’t Just About Name Recognition”:

… But on balance, I suspect that smart observers of the political process don’t give enough consideration to early polls, such as the CNN/Des Moines Register poll of Iowa caucus-goers (conducted by top-rated polling firm Selzer & Co.) that came out last weekend. As we documented in a three-part series back in 2011, the notion that early polling is meaningless or solely reflects name recognition — a popular view even among people we usually agree with — is wrong, full stop.

Other things held equal, for instance, a candidate polling at 25 percent in early polls is five or six times more likely to win the primary than one polling at 5 percent. It would be equally if not more wrong to say whoever leads in early polls is certain to win the nomination. (A candidate at 25 percent is still a sizable underdog relative to the field, for instance.) But I don’t hear anyone saying that. At least, I haven’t heard anyone saying it about the Democrats leading in the polls — Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders — so far this year. …

It certainly is worthwhile to account for name recognition and to go beyond the top-line numbers when looking at these polls, however. In particular, favorability ratings are useful indicators: few voters have a firm first choice yet, so it’s helpful to know which candidates they’re considering, which ones they’ve ruled out, and which ones they don’t know enough about to have decided either way.

When you look at those things, Biden’s numbers still look quite decent, even if he isn’t the sort of prohibitive front-runner that, say, Hillary Clinton was in 2016. Sanders’s numbers look a little weaker than Biden’s, but nonetheless pretty good. Both candidates have plenty of genuine support. …

Yup. That’s what I intuitively believed, so whenever I hear assertions that “it’s too early” to have anything like a decent idea as to who the eventual Democratic presidential nominee will be and that someone who barely polls in the double digits, like Kamala Harris, actually is the front-runner — and that there’s no way that an old white guy could win the nomination, I cringe.

Yes, it’s early, but Biden and Bernie are known (and, again, together the two of them garner almost 60 percent of the support for a Dem presidential candidate right now), and there isn’t much time between now and the first debates for the lesser-knowns to overcome either of them, especially when there are so many lesser-knowns splitting the remainder of the vote, which is only about 40 percent anyway.

Again, this crowded field isn’t really so crowded, not when you look at who really has a chance at the nomination, and those who don’t have a chance are going to drop like flies, probably sooner rather than later.

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