Something’s brewing out to sea.

Hello from the deep freeze. Drove to the pool at 6:20 a.m. to find it closed. If there’s anything worse than venturing out in 2-degree weather for a predawn workout, it’s having it cancelled, after you’re dressed and your contacts are in.

Oh, well. Compared to some of you guys, I have it easy. For some time now, I’ve thought that weather reporting, especially TV weather reporting, is well into boy-who-cried-wolf territory; the other day, I watched an entire TV weathercast that failed to mention the actual forecast temperatures, so fixated they were on the wind-chill numbers. If you wear clothing, and enough of it, wind chill shouldn’t be a problem for the vast majority of us who don’t have to work outdoors in cold snaps like this.

And then I go on the WaPo last night and read the news of a “bomb cyclone” forming as we speak off the eastern seaboard. A bomb cyclone, if I understand it correctly, is the new, sexy name for a bad blizzard:

Forecasters are expecting the storm to become a so-called “bomb cyclone” because its pressure is predicted to fall so fast, an indicator of explosive strengthening.

Yep, it’s 1978 all over again:

The third lowest non-tropical atmospheric pressure ever recorded in the mainland United States occurred as the storm passed over Mount Clemens, Michigan, where the barometer fell to 956.0 mb (28.23 inHg) on January 26.

So I guess those of you in the midst of that soup have it worse. At least the roads are clear here. For now.

Man, does the dog hate this crap, though. Even in her fetching winter coat and with mushers’ wax on her paws, all she wants to do is get the job done and go back to standing in front of the furnace vents.

As for me, I ate very lightly yesterday, abstained from alcohol and feel much better today. Even with my aborted workout.

For today, a rich banquet of linkage.

From Politico, an analysis of the Trump administration’s foreign policy that will not make you sleep well tonight, particularly in light of the dick-measuring button tweets last night. Here he is, meeting with leaders from Latin America:

After the photo op was over and the cameras had left the room, Trump dominated the long table. His vice president, Mike Pence, was to his right; Pence had just spent nearly a week on a conciliatory, well-received tour of the region, the first by a high-ranking administration official since Trump’s inauguration. To Trump’s left was his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson. “Rex tells me you don’t want me to use the military option in Venezuela,” the president told the gathered Latin American leaders, according to an account offered by an attendee soon after the dinner. “Is that right? Are you sure?” Everyone said they were sure. But they were rattled. War with Venezuela, as absurd as that seemed, was clearly still on Trump’s mind.

A thesis statement, after a couple more disturbing anecdotes:

So what the hell is going on? I’ve come to believe that when it comes to Trump and the world, it’s not better than you think. It’s worse.

How comforting.

Not that things are better on the domestic front. The House Intelligence Committee’s Russia investigation may well produce two reports:

In an interview with me, Rep. Jim Himes of Connecticut — the No. 2 Democrat on the House intel committee — said that Democrats are seriously exploring the possibility of issuing a minority report that details (among other things) the degree to which Republicans tried to impede a full investigation, should that end up happening. In this scenario, the public would at least have a clear sense of just how far Republicans went to protect President Trump and his top officials from accountability.

“It’s in both the Democrats’ and the Republicans’ interests to … write a report based on a common set of facts,” Himes told me. “It would be a tragedy if the report has a minority section that says, ‘Look, we wanted to talk to these two dozen witnesses and weren’t able to do so.’”

But I don’t want to bum you out on a day when just stepping outside is…trying. So here’s this: The year in weird Florida news, a veritable Whitman’s Sampler of giggles:

When a SWAT team raided a home in the retirement mega-community of The Villages, police found more than just the meth lab they’d expected. They also discovered it was a chop shop for stolen golf carts. …A Plantation police officer giving a gun safety lesson to schoolchildren warned them that his Taser was not a toy, then accidentally Tasered a 10-year-old. …Police in Fort Pierce said a man jumped into a burning car, drove it around the block, stopped, jumped out, then fired several shots into it.

PS: It wasn’t his car.

Happy Wednesday.

Posted at 9:22 am in Current events |

46 responses to “Something’s brewing out to sea.”

  1. Jeff Borden said on January 3, 2018 at 10:21 am

    Those who envisioned a nuclear apocalypse in those dark days of the Cold War generally fell into two camps: Those who feared a mechanical glitch might set off a conflagration (“Fail Safe”) and those who feared a macho military figure (or president) might unleash hell (“Dr. Strangelove”). I don’t think we ever considered the possibility of having an ignorant, petulant, insecure man-baby as president, but here we are with a profoundly foolish person who may well be declining in cognitive awareness with access to the nuclear football. And we certainly would never have imagined a spineless Congress stepping aside and letting the man-baby exacerbate international relations. We had a little more faith in our institutions back then, I guess.

    This grotesque “presidency” already is a disaster. It remains to be seen if it will spiral into the ultimate apocalypse, but with this so-called leader and this squishy Congress, anything is possible.

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  2. Florida Jim said on January 3, 2018 at 11:21 am

    Weird Florida news is always a treat. If you want to see weather reporting that well into apocalyptic tones, though, you should be in here the night before there’s a Possibility of a light dusting of snow. Thankfully, it snowed for only about one minute and we all survived, although the schools here got a now day–to go with the hurricane days from earlier in the year.

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  3. Mark P said on January 3, 2018 at 11:36 am

    TV weather forecasters. Yeah. We were surprised by our recent 8-inch snowfall because the weather forecasters at the Atlanta TV stations didn’t go batshit crazy the night before, as they usually do if there is going to be a heavy frost or a few flakes of snow somewhere.

    I don’t think most people, especially most Trump supporters, understand the danger he poses because of his utter ignorance, stupidity and incompetence in foreign relations. He’s like an idiot running wild through a minefield.

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  4. susan said on January 3, 2018 at 11:49 am

    He is an idiot running through a minefield.

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  5. Charlotte said on January 3, 2018 at 11:52 am

    We got socked with about 26″ of snow that none of the forecasters predicted over Christmas — storm settled in right over Livingston, which happens sometimes when you’re in the corner pocket of 3 mountain ranges. Cold too — below 0F for a couple of days — but beautiful. Bright blue skies, white snow (black dog).

    My Himself bitches about the bad weather forecasting ALL THE TIME. He’s a builder, so it matters, and he can’t find decent info anywhere. I find pretty reliable — seems like they’re crowdsourcing from a lot of people’s home weather stations, so at least there’s real data.

    And with that, we’re taking advantage of a break in the storms to drive to Billings where Himself is buying his first new car ever — Subaru Outback. With cash (which is actually a hinderance these days where it seems they’re more interested in selling you a car loan than an actual car). Also going to check out the French guy who opened a bakery that just sells bread — we live in a real drought zone for real bread.

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  6. Bitter Scribe said on January 3, 2018 at 12:26 pm

    Outside my window this morning, a crew ground down the huge stump of a willow tree that blew down in a storm last summer. They had to wait until now because it’s on the side of a creek hemmed in by buildings, and they had to wait for the water to freeze solid so they could get the grinder across (it’s about the size of one of those micro-tractors). I sure didn’t envy them as I sat typing at my computer in my nice warm condo.

    Now I’m waiting for one of my fussbudget owners to complain about the slurry of sawdust they left in the snow. (I’m the building president. If you live in a condo building and you’re asked to be president, SAY NO.)

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  7. adrianne said on January 3, 2018 at 12:34 pm

    Waiting for the snow bomb to go off. Prolly not until Thursday, so I’ve got one more day of relatively sane weather.

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  8. Scout said on January 3, 2018 at 12:50 pm

    I won’t tell you what our weather is here in Phoenix right now. Suffice to say, it makes up for those 110+ degree days we get in the summer.

    If it weren’t so terrifying it would be hilarious that the Orange Hellbeast is comparing ‘buttons’ with the NK Hellbeast. Also, too, calling it a ‘button’ is probably the most truthful thing the tiny fingered vulgarian has ever tweeted.

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  9. Deborah said on January 3, 2018 at 12:51 pm

    My husband’s daughter and her family did come to Abiquiu and will be here a few more days. It’s great that we get to see the 10 year old granddaughter. No explanation was given about what the problem was earlier.

    My husband’s cousin runs the family car dealership and he says they make zero $ by selling new cars unless they can also finance it. They make their $ on used car sales and that is drying up too because of internet sales.

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  10. Jeff Borden said on January 3, 2018 at 1:11 pm

    It’s amazing what Midwestern weather will do to you. It has been unbearably cold with sharp winds over the past few days. . .the kind of weather that makes you wince as you step onto the porch to grab the morning newspapers. Today, it is 20 and overcast. I actually overdressed and worked up a sweat while walking and playing with the dog in the park. The weather gurus are forecasting 30 by Sunday, which may lead me to wear cutoffs and sandals.

    Back to U.S. politics. . .

    This is the year when we find out just how resilient our democracy is. I question whether we can survive even one term of this petulant asshole, particularly considering the enormous damage he has done in a single horrifying year, so it’s incumbent Democrats retake at least one of the Congressional chambers. Will at least a few Congressional Republicans stand against the madman? Can our institutions survive the constant slagging from the White House? Are our long-time allies willing to forgive and forget the actions of this raging man-baby? Or will China, Russia and other competing global powers move swiftly to take up the slack the shortsighted and stupid leader of our nation is giving them?

    There’s a hideous column today by the Chicago Tribune’s hack rightwing writer, John Kass, in which he declares, “We survived Obama. We’ll survive tRump.” WTF? I’d walk across glass and hot coals for the return of a cool, calm, intellectual leader who thinks beyond his next tweet. Survived Obama? Motherfucker, I thrived with Obama. Like most presidents, his Middle East diplomacy failed, but we were respected around the world. I didn’t worry daily about Obama launching a nuclear war. I do now. Wouldn’t that be the ultimate distraction from Robert Mueller?

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  11. Julie Robinson said on January 3, 2018 at 1:11 pm

    A friend who used to be in the business says the real profit center is repairs. That explains why my dealership offers $12.95 oil changes for the life of the car. It gives them lots of chances to upsell and overcharge for other repairs. I was told I needed a 30,000 mile checkup, for $500. I asked for a written list of what that included (asked three times before I got it) and learned that most of it was visual inspections of belts, fluids, tires, etc. We took the car to our local guy who did the same thing for $80.

    I don’t feel that sorry for them because after we said yes to buying the car they put the big squeeze on to buy an extended warranty. Finally I said it was funny that the wonderful car the salesman had told us about had suddenly become a piece of crap. Any respect I *might* have had went out the door.

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  12. Dexter said on January 3, 2018 at 1:19 pm

    and this says it all…every newscast team is going nutso over Trump’s stupid response to Un,”My nuclear button is bigger than your nuclear button.” Goddam infantile bastards, both of them. And Wolff’s new book has Bannon saying Don, Jr, “walked those jumos right up to that meeting…” jumos? Must be a slur? msnbc showed it in print but did not verbalize, using “people” for jumos. I found only manufacturers using JUMO and so I guess jumo is an anti-semetic slur meaning “Jewish motherf5423rs”—right? Wrong?

    nance. do you get mushers’ wax from Amazon or is it a common item at places like PetSmart?

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  13. nancy said on January 3, 2018 at 1:55 pm

    I think he was shortening “jamoke,” Dexter.

    I’m loving the leaks on this book, btw. Apparently Ivanka has a very high opinion of herself. Who knew?

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  14. Peter said on January 3, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    I read that Politico article yesterday. After reading it, I’m starting to think that Coozledad is being restrained in his commentary about this administration.

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  15. nancy said on January 3, 2018 at 2:14 pm

    Guys. Drop everything you’re doing and read this.

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  16. susan said on January 3, 2018 at 2:46 pm

    Melissa McEwan has opinions on that Wolff piece that is in New York Magazine. Scroll down to the section starting with “Bannon calling the meeting treasonous and unpatriotic is getting a lot of press.” She (and Sarah Kendzior agrees) says,

    …this is a story being crafted in a very particular way to serve a very particular purpose, the centerpiece of which is simultaneously salving the lingering wound to Trump’s ego over the illegitimacy of his presidency and turning him into a god who can win the most important office in the world without any effort. (And certainly without help from the Russians.)

    Her take. I can’t keep up with this shit.

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  17. Jeff Borden said on January 3, 2018 at 2:52 pm

    Holy shit!

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  18. Scout said on January 3, 2018 at 3:01 pm

    I was just about to post the link to the NY Mag story when I saw that Nancy already had. HO. LEE. SHIT. Get a cuppa something and sit back – this is quite a read.

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  19. susan said on January 3, 2018 at 3:28 pm

    Did you see Trump’s comments on Bannon’s words? Gads.

    (from here. It’s tiny print.)

    I don’t know if this is satire or real. You can’t tell, anymore.

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  20. Icarus said on January 3, 2018 at 3:44 pm

    There is no reason we need to live like this. This does not have to continue. It continues because of the false narrative that Congress can’t remove the president unless red-handed evidence of him committing a crime is uncovered. That simply is not true. Impeachment was added to the Constitution explicitly separated from the normal legal process. While a range of opinions exist on exactly what does and does not constitute impeachable offenses, any practical understanding of the process points to the conclusion that an impeachable offense is whatever a given Congress says it is at a given point in political time.

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  21. Peter said on January 3, 2018 at 4:40 pm

    Over at AV Club, they’re noting that Breitbart is going off the rails on the NY Mag article and Trump’s comments on Bannon. The comments are in three categories:

    – nut jobs who love Trump and say that Bannon is betraying MAGA,
    – nut jobs who love Bannon and say that Trump is betraying MAGA,
    – normal people who are posting normal comments and giving the two other sides fits.

    I am not going to subject myself to actually check the site and find out.

    Wow, who would have thought that 2017 was the new normal?

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  22. Jeff Borden said on January 3, 2018 at 7:00 pm

    When you start down the ski slope, speed picks up quickly, Peter. I hope we don’t look back on 2017 fondly, but it’s a distinct possibility with this Congress and this *president. I’m also more than slightly worried that some of the Orange King’s nuttier and more passionate cult members will get violent this year as they react to his constant cries of “deep state” attempts to harm him. And the near treasonous commentary from Fox News personalities encouraging belief the entire Russian effort to interfere with our elections is just a plot to usurp the king.

    I really hope I’m wrong.

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  23. Jolene said on January 3, 2018 at 7:27 pm

    Dexter, did you know a new season–the fourth–of Peaky Blinders was released in late November. I hadn’t heard about it, but saw the ad when I opened Netflix to watch something else. Decided to rewatch some of the past seasons, as I’ve forgotten lots of details.

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  24. BigHank53 said on January 3, 2018 at 8:31 pm

    A reliable weather forecast?

    That’s where everyone grabs the satellite images and doppler radar from. No ads, cause your tax dollars already paid for it.

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  25. Sherri said on January 3, 2018 at 9:44 pm

    The NWS, like much of the rest of our infrastructure, has fallen behind because of lack of investment. European meteorological models are more advanced.

    We’ve been living off the investments made between the New Deal and the Reagan era, when we stopped, and not only is the roof leaking and the paint peeling, there are holes in the floors and walls.

    trump is what I expected he was. The Zombie Eyed Granny Starver and Sen Fucking Piece of Shit are the true evils.

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  26. Peter said on January 3, 2018 at 9:45 pm

    Well, this is under the radar – seems that Don John has dissolved the voter fraud commission because many states have refused to cooperate with the commission, even though there is substantial evidence of voter fraud.

    One person said: “Remember when Obama had days like this? So much winning!”

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  27. Deggjr said on January 3, 2018 at 10:32 pm

    I am going to the local library tomorrow to ask that they purchase “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House”.

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  28. Dexter said on January 4, 2018 at 4:13 am

    Jolene: Peaky Blinders is shockingly dark and extremely violent this year, and so damned complicated it’s hard to follow exactly, and the accents and mumbled dialog loses me at times, but still, it’s gruesome and just sickeningly ultra-violent. So…I LIKE it.

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  29. alex said on January 4, 2018 at 6:55 am

    It appears the voter fraud commission is going bye-bye only because it was one of Steve Bannon’s precious babies and Bannon’s on Trump’s shit list for blabbing to the Fire and Fury author. Good times!

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  30. basset said on January 4, 2018 at 7:11 am

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  31. Sherri said on January 4, 2018 at 8:29 am

    trump cares about something, even though it’s only trump. Bannon only wants to tear it all down, and he’s smarter.

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  32. adrianne said on January 4, 2018 at 11:28 am

    Charles Pierce is a gem. I particularly liked the wolverine line.

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  33. Scout said on January 4, 2018 at 11:46 am

    The TPM take on the lawsuit threat is that it isn’t going to happen.
    This part is awesome:
    “Have you ever see a coiled hose that suddenly has hugely pressurized water run through it? We all have. It swings and jerks violently this way and that. It gets everyone wet. There’s violence and chaos but no real plan. It’s reflex. That’s our President.”

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  34. ROGirl said on January 4, 2018 at 11:52 am

    This one keeps running through my thoughts: you can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.

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  35. Jeff Borden said on January 4, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    I guess you’re correct, rogirl, but the cultists in the Orange King’s camp are unshakeable. One of my FB friends is a newspaper columnist in Philadelphia with a wide range of followers. As he has posted and comm
    ented on the latest atrocities, the tRump followers are having none of it. Chaos in the West Wing? No! It’s a powerful leader switching out some staffers for better people. Collusion with the Russians? No! It’s a deep state smear job. Dangerous tweets likely to inflame dictators? No! Unlike the pussy who was in the Oval Office before him, the Orange King is strong and bold and the world trembles at his power.

    How do you communicate with fabulists in a fantasy world? I don’t think you can.

    BTW, back to my worries yesterday that we might look back on 2017 fondly, Steve Chapman of the Chicago Tribune makes the same case today.

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  36. Jakash said on January 4, 2018 at 12:23 pm

    Pierce’s reference to “the Trump spalpeens” had me heading for the dictionary, though the context made it pretty clear.

    Bannon says: “It’s as plain as a hair on your face.” Well, if anybody knows about plain hairs on one’s face, it’s that guy.

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  37. Jeff Borden said on January 4, 2018 at 12:51 pm

    Jakash. . .or gin blossoms!

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  38. Scout said on January 4, 2018 at 1:56 pm

    To Jolene in reference to this from last thread: “Someone posted on Facebook a great meme showing Melania in her New Year’s gown beside a candy Easter rabbit wrapped in shiny pink paper decorated with flowers similar to those in her dress. Unfortunately, I can’t find it again, but it was an apt comparison.”

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  39. Jakash said on January 4, 2018 at 4:38 pm

    A clear, understated, yet devastatingly accurate summation of a point that’s been made here frequently. James Fallows:

    “They know. They could act. And they don’t. The failure of responsibility starts with Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, but it doesn’t end with them. Every member of a bloc-voting majority shares responsibility for not acting on their version of the open secret. ‘Independent’ Republicans like Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski share it. ‘Thoughtful’ ones, like Ben Sasse and Jeff Flake. Those (in addition to Flake) who have nothing to lose electorally, from Bob Corker to Orrin Hatch. When they vote as a majority against strong investigations, against subpoenas, against requirements for financial disclosure, and most of all against protecting Robert Mueller and his investigation, they share complicity in the open secret.

    We are watching the political equivalent of the Weinstein board paying off the objects of his abuse. We are watching Fox pay out its tens of millions to O’Reilly’s victims. But we’re watching it in real time, with the secret shared worldwide, and the stakes immeasurably higher.”

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  40. Sherri said on January 4, 2018 at 5:12 pm

    Which is why the Republican Party must die.

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  41. Joe Kobela said on January 4, 2018 at 5:30 pm

    Just saw darkest hour, I can highly recommend, great acting, cinematography, mostly true story, I enjoyed it more than Dunkirk which I enjoyed but this is better.
    Pilot Joe

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  42. adrianne said on January 4, 2018 at 9:00 pm

    Joe, we’re on for “Darkest Hour” this weekend. Looks great!

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  43. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 4, 2018 at 9:06 pm

    Sherri, it has died . . . yet it walks among us still.

    Stake of oak? Garlic in the corpse’s mouth?

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  44. alex said on January 4, 2018 at 9:29 pm

    Glenn Close.

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  45. Sherri said on January 4, 2018 at 11:11 pm

    Jeff(tmmo), you may not like what the Republican Party looks like, but no party that has control of the Presidency, Congress, the majority of gubernatorial seats and state legislatures, and SCOTUS can possibly be called dead. The current party has melded Milton Friedman’s economics with George Wallace’s politics to build a coalition of deplorables and those willing to look the other way.

    The Republican Party will only be dead when GOP candidates can’t get elected to office because the brand is so toxic.

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  46. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 5, 2018 at 7:39 am

    I said the zombie walks. But inside . . . Mistah GOP, he dead.

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