It’s funny, how stuff you know can hit you like something you don’t know. I think I already deleted the email, but a newsletter I get — pretty sure it was the What a Day end-of-day roundup, from Crooked Media — made a simple statement that stuck with me. Basically, it observed that if the president could restrain himself in the simplest ways, if he could simply go through the presidential motions of not being a jerk, of not tweeting stupid shit, of not behaving like the Fonz at what should be a solemn occasion, of standing up, and showing up, and being what we think of as presidential — essentially, if he could practice the self-control and social skills we expect of seventh graders? He’d be coasting to a not-embarrassing midterm election and most likely a second term.

The economy is good, jobs are plentiful, we’re at what we now consider to be more or less peace. All the conditions that once were considered good enough for re-election for the chief executive.

But he just can’t do it.

That’s sort of astounding, when you think about it. Every week, every 48 hours, something happens that goads him into being his worst self. He has the self-control of a toddler, the sense of propriety of an outlaw biker. And this is who is more or less guiding our nation.

I’m flabbergasted anew. Really.

Or it might be that I, we, just bought our li’l girl her first car today, and I’m in shock from dropping a tidy sum on a vehicle I’ll never drive. Ah, well: She earned herself a full scholarship. She has dutifully ridden the bus for three years now. She has legit needs to get back and forth to Detroit and elsewhere, and she’s earned it. So a used Subaru Forester, big enough to hold the upright bass, small enough to not drink all the gas in the world, will be hers in a couple of days. All-wheel drive will help in Michigan winters. It’s a milestone, and she deserves it.

Couple things:

Like most of you, I’ve been thinking about September 11, 2001 today. I am not thinking of flags waving slowly in the breeze, or eagles with tears dripping down their feathered cheeks, or What I Was Doing When I Heard the Terrible News, because ultimately, who cares? I was getting ready for work. We had the Today show on, as we often did. The first plane was surely an accident. I drove to work. There was another plane. Kate was at her sitter’s. The morning was a blur. A couple of moments stand out:

That was the day we had digital cable installed, an upgrade from the regular stuff. I was of course riveted to CNN that day, and the cable guy needed to disconnect everything for a few minutes to make the switch.

“I can barely stand it if you turn it off,” I said. I believe Ashleigh Banfield was near hysterics, asking some NYC official if the reports she was hearing about bombs in the sewers were true. He stared at me, blankly. I nodded to the screen.

“Yeah,” he said. “Crazy.”

A few days later, in Target: A woman earnestly explaining to two cashiers that the date of the attack was chosen for its numeric significance. 911, you see, like the American emergency number. The cashiers were totally into this idea.

It didn’t occur to me then, but it does now, that the cable guy, the woman and the two cashiers = four votes, whereas Nance = one vote. And the next thing you knew? We were in Iraq.

Couple more things:

I’m not Nancy Pelosi’s biggest fan, but this excerpt, from this story in Time magazine, is dead on:

Also, Alex: If your dad keeps having trouble getting his driver’s license because he can’t find his fucking naturalization papers, SPREAD THE WORD. I have some people you can call. That shit is outrageous.

Time for “Better Call Saul.” Happy Wednesdaying, everyone.

Posted at 8:48 pm in Current events |

35 responses to “Self-governance.”

  1. Suzanne said on September 11, 2018 at 9:23 pm

    I heard a clip of Trump’s PA memorial speech today. Listen to any scripted speech he gives with a TelePrompTer and you can hear audible strain in his voice as he tries to stay on task. It really is incredible. He can hardly do it.

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  2. brian stouder said on September 11, 2018 at 11:32 pm

    9/11/01 was, for me, the first time that ‘BREAKING NEWS’ exceeded my capacity to accept it.

    We also were watching the Today Show, and as Nance said – the event started out looking like a horrible accident.

    I went off to work, and the internet was apparently so overwhelmed that it was pretty much ‘down’ – and Pam called a few times with updates; as when the second tower was hit, and then again when one collapsed.

    I said something like “so the upper stories are gone?” – and she said “NO – it is gone!”

    And then she called back when the seond tower collapsed, and I again asked for a clarification – and again she said something like “they’re both GONE!”

    And then she called back to say the Pentagon had been hit, and was burning – and I (sincerely!) said “I don’t believe that; it sounds like a rumor” – and she said something like “I’m watching a live report – it blazing and smoke is billowing!”

    Events had (vastly) out-paced my capacity for belief, period. She could see it, and I couldn’t imagine that it was genuine.*

    I guess I’ll break down and buy the Woodward opus, if only because…..this nation of ours may well re-elect that guy.

    And if that happens, nobody gets to say “we didn’t know”

    *The book “The Looming Tower” is a great bit of recent history, and not for nothing – it was a direct result of President Obama’s policy-change that the US was able to kill Osama bin Laden, after GW essentially gave up on the chase

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  3. Jakash said on September 12, 2018 at 12:37 am

    “That’s sort of astounding, when you think about it.”

    I’ve been thinking about it all the freaking time, which is why if Mueller and Co. don’t manage to take out My Pants along with Hair Furor, the Russian meddling and Republican voter suppression will essentially have still accomplished their purpose. The 2016 election should be invalidated. And we all get ponies, which is equally likely!

    Brian states: “And if that happens, nobody gets to say ‘we didn’t know'”

    As far as I’m concerned, nobody gets to say that now.

    Nor did they in 2004, but I suppose that’s somewhat more controversial to many.

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  4. Dexter Friend said on September 12, 2018 at 12:58 am

    Peter Jennings was on the tube when I saw the live telecast as plane2 hit. Jennings stayed on the job way into the dark night of 9-11.
    We hear how so many young folks ran straight to military recruiters to join any military branch that would have them tout de suite. Not all that many…only 8% of Americans have any sort of military experience and damn few were, as we said, “in the shit”.
    I am into “Better Call Saul” too but tonight I watched History’s 9-11 shows again, so I never forget the horror. 9-11-18 was cloudy , then in late afternoon gave us the same bright cloudless sky of 9-11-01. Man, that was a fucked-up day. I better run to see if the repeat Saul is about to come on TV.

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  5. Dexter Friend said on September 12, 2018 at 2:07 am

    The fight commences, as Vanessa had a CT scan, an MRI, and a nuclear scan to detect or rule out any other cancer cells, to find that she only has the isolated spots in one breast. Next, another biopsy on a lymph node and then a course of treatment will be mapped out. She’s feeling strong and ready to dive into treatment. ~

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  6. Connie said on September 12, 2018 at 9:20 am

    My brother has always had to find a vehicle that will hold an upright bass, plus a bass guitar and some amps. Often what looks like the perfect vehicle just won’t do it.

    Unfortunately last spring’s bout with pneumonia has put an end to his performing career. It’s hard to sing bass when you are on oxygen. We thought he was finally dying of his long time kidney cancer, and after after several weeks of serious sickness his oncologist sent him to the hospital where he was diagnosed with pneumonia. Pneumonia is better, but. So now on our once a month dinners in Lansing (coming from two different sides of the state to meet in the middle) he is accompanied by an oxygen tank.

    OTOH having medicaid has made a huge difference in his life. He raves about the hospital social workers that have helped him get support services.

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  7. Peter said on September 12, 2018 at 9:20 am

    “It seems to enrage people that Pelosi feels entitled to things: money, power, respect”.

    I’m no big Pelosi fan either, but seriously, is there anything out there to back that statement? Has she gone around town flashing bling? Has she humiliated members of congress who don’t show the proper deference to her?

    By the way, I’m enraged that people are upset by our president’s remarks about Puerto Rico. Did you know Puerto Rico is an island that is surrounded by water? You did? Then why didn’t you call the White House and tell them? On top of that, FEMA was waiting for the President of Puerto Rico to ask for assistance – but they were too proud to call the White House and ask.

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  8. basset said on September 12, 2018 at 9:21 am

    Good choice on the Subaru, ours was still running great when we sold it with 194K on the counter. Keep the oil changed, though, and when you’re due to replace the timing belt, don’t put that off.

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  9. Sherri said on September 12, 2018 at 9:34 am

    9/11 almost did me in. I was already suicidal and feeling dead inside and my reaction was not grief or anger but more, see, what’s the point, it’s all so random. I heard about the first plane on NPR as we woke up, and my husband turned on the TV, but I turned off the radio and didn’t watch the TV.

    I also remember having to sit down with our first-grader and talk about what had happened before walking her to school.

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  10. JodiP said on September 12, 2018 at 10:00 am

    Sherri, it was a terrible time for people with mental illness. I worked on an inpatient psychiatric ward at the time. The staff had to deal with their own reactions, but also help the people who were hospitalized. Thank you for reminding us all of this.

    Dexter, I hope all goes well with Vanessa’s treatment.

    Palette cleanser. I made this last night. I am really looking forward to lunch.

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  11. susan said on September 12, 2018 at 10:06 am

    basset, the newer Foresters have timing chains, which are not such a hassle as timing belts, although more expensive to change. They don ‘t need to be changed as often as belts, though, and I understand if a chain goes, your engine won’t automatically be trashed.

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  12. mm said on September 12, 2018 at 12:26 pm

    Nancy Pelosi *does her job*.

    I’ve heard from several fox viewing friends about how much they hate Pelosi. It isn’t her fault that the republicans can’t control their caucus and that they need her help to pass a budget.

    My only gripe is that the Democrats need to get some young blood into leadership positions.

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  13. brian stouder said on September 12, 2018 at 12:58 pm

    Jodi – that looks like the palette-cleanser to cleanse all palettes!

    Looking at it, I think I caught a little of the aroma

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  14. Julie Robinson said on September 12, 2018 at 1:01 pm

    Jodi, that’s the second tomato pie type of recipe I’ve looked at today, so it must be a sign from the universe that one is in my future.

    This video is almost 23 minutes long, but if you can make the time I think you’ll feel better about our world. It’s from the guy that planted our front yard garden in Orlando, and has remained in the neighborhood building other community feeding programs. Back when he lived in San Diego his bike was stolen, and his response was unusual to say the least:

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  15. Scout said on September 12, 2018 at 1:17 pm

    So to people who say, “I am no fan of Pelosi…” I have to ask why, exactly? I think she is a strong and capable leader who does her job very well in spite of all the armchair critics who constantly slag her. I’d like to hear why people think she is so terrible, other than being OLD.

    Even though the economy is still chugging along (thanks Obama!), and the tangerine dumbshit-in-chief hasn’t managed to tweet us into a war (yet), the sheer volume of corruption, scandal and lies out of this admin is unprecedented, at least in my lifetime. Russia most certainly installed the jerk and anyone with even a modicum of common sense knows it. The only thing giving me any hope right now is that Mueller seems to methodically building an airtight case against him and Pence and the whole cabal of enablers who are all also in bed with Russia.

    I’m trying to be optimistic about the midterms, but with the GOP cheating, gerrymandering, and disenfranchising plus the general apathy of voters, I cannot bring myself to count on it.

    I’m so tired of being outraged every single day. I’m too old for this.

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  16. Bitter Scribe said on September 12, 2018 at 1:52 pm

    To me 9/11 will always be one of the biggest bumblefucks in American history. We should have treated the bombers, and especially those who put them up to it, like what they were: criminals. Instead, Dubya decreed a “war on terror” (how do you wage war on an emotion?), carried on about “radical Islam,” and made up a whole new thing: “enemy combatants,” who didn’t have the protections of prisoners of war and could be held indefinitely, tortured, etc.

    This was outrageous, on several levels. Not only did it make martyrs out of those prisoners and disgrace American ideals of fair play: it played right into their masters’ hands by legitimizing them.

    This “why do you think people don’t like you?” stuff reminds me of a scene in a novel by the late Philip Roth, where some teacher in England asks a young Jewish refugee with kindly concern, “Why do you suppose people have always hated you Jews?” She snaps back, “Ask the madmen who hate us!”

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  17. Jeff Borden said on September 12, 2018 at 3:28 pm

    Osama bin Laden hit the lottery with 9/11. Everything single thing he dreamed of accomplishing with the attacks on New York and Washington came true. Bog the U.S. in endless war in the Middle East? Check. Create a narrative of Christianity vs Islam? Check. Bleed American finances? Check. Create a climate of fear and resentment against non-white Americans, particularly Muslims? Check. Create deep political divisions in the U.S. and the West? Check. Destroy whatever moral high ground American democracy might’ve held? Check, check and double check. (Do you think we’d shrug as easily at children being taken from their parents at the border and held in camps if we hadn’t accepted torture and dark sites during the Iraq war?)

    Perhaps the invasion of Afghanistan was a righteous cause since the Taliban harbored bin Laden and his zealots, though historians over the past couple hundred years who labeled that nation the “graveyard of empires” might’ve disagreed. But an administration that sought to use a war as a political club –and cowardly Democrats largely caved in to the pressure applied by the Bush administration– put us on a path that is never ending.

    What infuriates me is this: the Republican House spent years and millions investigating Benghazi, obviously to weaken and even destroy Hillary Clinton. Four good men lost their lives in that fuckup. But not a single fucking probe of how we were lied into an expensive, unwinnable war that has created the ongoing chaos in the Midle East.

    And now we have an administration even dumber and more depraved. What a shitty commentary on our nation.

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  18. David C. said on September 12, 2018 at 6:07 pm

    I learned the hard way that cars with timing chains will trash the engine if the chain gives. I had a KIA that had the timing chain tensioner go out, the timing slipped, and the engine was toast. The car had only 107,000 miles on the odometer, but it was ten years old and wasn’t worth putting $4000 into it for a rebuilt engine, or even $3000 for a junkyard engine. I looked it up and all Subarus since 1996 have interference engines, but I think I was just unlucky so I doubt it will be a problem. Subaru engines, I’m told, are pretty bulletproof.

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  19. The Garden Fairy said on September 12, 2018 at 6:39 pm

    On the “obtaining ID” thread —

    snip>> Nearly three dozen states require voters to show identification at the polls. And almost half of those states want photo IDs. But there are millions of eligible voters who don’t have them. A 2012 survey estimated that 7 percent of American adults lack a government-issued photo ID. <<end snip

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  20. Charlotte said on September 12, 2018 at 7:40 pm

    Nancy Pelosi, Serena, Hillary, and all the women coming forward now that CBS is booting Les Moonves — Linda Bloodworth Thomason on Moonves not quite killing her career because he hates women. I’m SO bloody tired of this bullshit.

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  21. Jeff Borden said on September 12, 2018 at 8:12 pm

    It would appear the North Carolina General Assembly, which in 2012 legislated a stop to using climate change science research because it depressed beachfront property values and caused insurance companies a little agita, has underestimated Mother Nature. The number of potential ecological disasters this hurricane could cause N.C. underscores the role our weak-willed, easily-purchased politicians play in our deteriorating nation. Hog waste reservoirs and poulry waste reservoirs sit open and unprotected, repositories of heinous biological dangers, will likely be swamped. It’s entirely possible, if not very likely, water supplies will be tainted. Enormous coal ash dumps, approved by the dunces in Raleigh, are likely to wash away with the wind and rain. They, too, contain a alphabet of poisons unhealthy to humans. Thanks, Duke Power! There are also several nuclear plants in the path of the storm, too.

    This is the price people pay when they elect stupid, ignorant yet arrogant people to public office.

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  22. Peter said on September 12, 2018 at 9:53 pm

    Not so fast on those Subaru engines. I love Subarus, but my son has blown two engines so far – both on older cars. The 2000 Outback had 180 K, but we didn’t notice that a couple of gauges were busted, and so my son didn;t know that the engine was overheating until the head gasket blew.

    Well, it was a good run, so we bought a used 2002 Forester really cheap. And two months later a rod went through the engine block. Cost 5K to get a rebuilt engine but he had already sunk money into the car.

    The good news is that it’s been five years and the Forester is running great – and the body is in great shape.

    Subaru engines from 2000-2006 have had problems. From what I’ve read, newer ones are doing fine.

    Why do I keep buying Subarus? Their all wheel drive is sooooo good. I haven’t skidded or have been stuck once in the 18 years I’ve driven a Subaru, and I am not anyone’s idea of a careful driver.

    One other tip – make sure you don’t buy a Subaru with frameless doors like my 2000 Outback. We bought a remote starter, and we could start that car first time even at 20 below, but the doors would freeze shut at 0 degrees, so we used to take a hair blower to warm the door up to get in the car.

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  23. basset said on September 12, 2018 at 10:42 pm

    I should have said timing chain, that’s what our 07 Outback had. Replaced it with a late-model, off-lease Toyota RAV4 because we couldn’t find another Outback for anything like a reasonable price and I didn’t want to deal with the buying experience any more than I absolutely had to. The Toyota’s OK but doesn’t have Subie character.

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  24. Sherri said on September 13, 2018 at 12:07 am

    I have a 2004 Acura MDX with <100k miles on it that my daughter is driving, and while it runs fine, the light on the dash that shows the odometer is broken. So, I don’t know how many miles are on it, and it would cost upwards of $800 to get it fixed. My daughter is hoping to go to Japan next year, so I don’t want to buy a new car for her, but if she does go, I want to get rid of this one, because we don’t need three cars if she’s gone. But without the mileage, especially because I know it’s lower than average mileage, I don’t know what I could get for it. The question of course is, is the difference more than the cost of fixing it? I have no idea.

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  25. David C. said on September 13, 2018 at 6:06 am

    Sherri, if it has a digital odometer, the mileage is still stored in the computer. Any auto shop should be able to read out the mileage, so discount the car by the price of getting it fixed and you’re good.

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  26. alex said on September 13, 2018 at 6:26 am

    I’m due for timing belts on both a Honda and a Toyota. We did have one go out on a previous Honda but the engine was one of those that’s impervious. (That’s the danger of getting little-old-lady cars. They may not have much wear but likely they also haven’t had much maintenance.)

    I still get incensed when I think back on a Honda I had many years ago. I paid about $600 to a garage in Chicago to replace the timing belt at 180K. They obviously took my money and didn’t do the work. At 208K the timing belt blew in Detroit and my brother, to whom I’d gifted the car, abandoned it there. It had otherwise been the most trouble-free car I ever owned and made me a sworn Honda loyalist to this day.

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  27. Deborah said on September 13, 2018 at 8:26 am

    Good for Kate, earning herself a full scholarship is huge! For some reason I missed that gem when I read your post the first time, Nancy. Congratulations to her.

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  28. BigHank53 said on September 13, 2018 at 8:59 am

    The best way to find out if a particular car engine is reliable or not is too call a couple junkyards and see what used ones cost. The Ford Focus I owned came with two engine options–the older SPI motor that had been used in the Escort and the fancier twin-cam Zetec. A used Zetec could be had for $400 but the SPI–an inferior engine–was $1000. The SPIs blew up more often, so there was a greater demand for them. Used Honda engines are pretty cheap because most of them outlive the cars they’re installed in. I’ve never looked at Toyotas because I’ve never owned one but it’s probably similar.

    Used Subaru engine prices are kind of high.

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  29. Deborah said on September 13, 2018 at 3:43 pm

    Are any of the commenters here in the predicted path of Florence? I think Prospero would have been if he were still with us. And Coozledad is in NC, but I think on the west side of the state.

    I am at Uncle J’s again, it is certainly beautiful here today. Tomorrow the city of Chicago is cutting off water to the two buildings in our coop trust, so we’re staying at uncle J’s a bit longer than we usually do. I don’t really know what the deal is with the city, I think they’re replacing pipes?

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  30. Colleen said on September 13, 2018 at 4:06 pm

    We had a Forester once, and Subarus ever since. Love them. Great in snow, which is moot now that we live in Florida, but we still love our Subies.

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  31. Dexter Friend said on September 13, 2018 at 4:27 pm

    Alex@26: “That’s the danger of getting little-old-lady cars. They may not have much wear but likely they also haven’t had much maintenance.”
    That is so true. I have owned dozens of cars and the low-mileage older ones always begin immediately to have major problems.
    Once, for the novelty of having a police interceptor Ford engine for my super-fast commutes on deserted country roads, I was about to put a bid in on a police cruiser, prowler, black & white, whatever. It was a bid-auction to clear out some old vehicles from a police department lot. I mentioned in to a guy who had done that and he screamed at me to withdraw my bid because he had bought a Dodge cop car with a Hemi, to have a little fun, but the whole car was shot because the engine had been burned up from constant idling. That kills engines. With low-price-no-money-down sign and drive leases (ad today on radio said I could be in a brand new car for $8 a day), it seems logical to see so many new cars everywhere on the roads.

    Last night our house cat escaped after dark and I grabbed my cane and flashlight to begin the search. A few houses away, some people were loudly laughing and talking and one asked if I had lost something, and then proceeded to join the hunt, and was most helpful in locating my cat and getting him inside the house. The guy, maybe 30, seemed familiar vaguely…he also was drunk and reeked of beer and cigarettes, but I wasn’t judging. He was quite a talker and mentioned that he was drinking too much and volunteered he had been forced into AA by the courts, and it was then I remembered him. He told me his first name and I said I remembered him; he always wore his hoodie up at meetings. Yep. He was just a kid back then when he was getting arrested every month for dumb shit, now he’s wiser and doesn’t do dumb shit anymore. He’s learning how to stay on John Law’s good side, while also being drunk every day all day. It’s a wonderful life.

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  32. Deborah said on September 13, 2018 at 4:54 pm

    I’m curious, what kind of annual milage do you folks usually get on your vehicles?

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  33. Deborah said on September 13, 2018 at 5:25 pm

    This is odd

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  34. David C. said on September 13, 2018 at 6:44 pm

    I live only four miles from work, so in decent weather I ride my bike to work. Most years I only put six or seven thousand miles on our car.

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  35. LAMary said on September 13, 2018 at 11:16 pm

    I’ve been muttering to myself most of the day. The denial of thousands of deaths and the idea that something like that would be made up just to hurt him is beyond. He consistently tops his most recent outrage.

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