Reason Roundup

'We Vape, We Vote' Crowd Got Through to Donald Trump, Advisors Say

Plus: Joe Biden still thinks weed might be a "gateway drug," D.C. sex work decriminalization bill won't get a vote, and more...

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The "we vape, we vote" crowd seems to have gotten through to the White House. In the wake of a well-attended protest on the National Mall and other advocacy efforts, President Donald Trump is apparently rethinking a promised federal ban on flavored nicotine vaping products.

Regulators had cleared the ban, and an announcement was expected. "One last thing was needed: Trump's sign-off," reports The Washington Post. "But on Nov. 4, the night before a planned morning news conference, the president balked."

An adviser to Trump told the Post that Trump was worried that the ban would lead to job losses and that this would cause him political problems. In addition:

Officials said the blowback to Trump's vow to ban most flavored e-cigarettes had rattled him. In an aggressive social media campaign—#IVapeIVote—advocates claimed the ban would shut down thousands of shops, eliminating jobs and sending vapers back to cigarettes. The president saw protesters at events and read critical articles. His campaign manager, Brad Parscale, privately warned the ban could hurt him in battleground states, said a person who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. Trump was now upset with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, who had taken the lead in rolling out the plan, said three officials familiar with the discussions.

Good!

The New York Times is framing this as Trump caving to "lobbyists" at the expense of children, because its editors have never encountered a destructive moral panic they didn't want to exacerbate.

But this is very good news for all the adults who enjoy nicotine vaping products in flavors other than tobacco, the countless former cigarette smokers who used these products to quit, and, yes, even The Children too. For those who do still find ways to inhale something they shouldn't—and of course some will, as some teenagers always do—it's profoundly less dangerous for them to be sneaking a mango Juul pod or some other known-source and ostensibly accountable brand and not whatever crazy crap a black-market, random-origin nicotine vaping products may contain.

The vaping-linked illnesses everyone's been panicking are a result of synthetic vitamin E filler (and maybe other substances) that people were inhaling from mostly black-market THC vape pens. So dialing back plans to drive more nicotine vapers to the black market is not only a good political move; it's the most prudent way to protect public health.


FREE MINDS

Can an old drug warrior learn new tricks? Democratic presidential candidates such as Sen. Kamala Harris (D–N.Y.) and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg have tried, with the former now denouncing cannabis criminalization and the latter now claiming that he regrets his city's stop-and-frisk policies.

But another 2020 candidate—former Vice President Joe Biden—can't seem to let go of his old tough-on-crime talking points and Drug War propaganda. He's still opposed to the idea that marijuana should be legal across the country because it could be a "gateway drug."

"The truth of the matter is, there's not nearly been enough evidence that has been acquired as to whether or not it is a gateway drug," Biden told a townhall crowd in Las Vegas on Saturday. "It's a debate, and I want a lot more before I legalize it nationally. I want to make sure we know a lot more about the science behind it."

This is, of course, silly. As Ellen Cranley at Business Insider points out, serious researchers

have found no solid evidence to support the claim that using marijuana leads to the use of harder drugs. A 1999 Institute of Medicine report said marijuana "typically precedes rather than follows initiation of other illicit drug use" but "does not appear to be a gateway drug to the extent that it is the cause or even that it is the most significant predictor of serious drug abuse; that is, care must be taken not to attribute cause to association."

The National Institute on Drug Abuse says research shows "the majority of people who use marijuana do not go on to use other, 'harder' substances," and drug use can be affected by numerous other biological and environmental factors.

Biden did say that individual states "should be able to make a judgment to legalize marijuana" and that mere possession "should not be a crime."


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  1. The “we vape, we vote” crowd seems to have gotten through to the White House.

    The anit-vapers simply need to be the last people to whisper sweet nothings in the president’s ear.

    1. Hello.

      Trump loves jobs so much the Democrats will run on a platform of joblessness just for spite.

      1. The dems have pretty much always been the party of joblessness. Employment means self-sufficiency which is anathema to them.

        1. Very few Donkeys clapped when Trump trumpeted “lowest BLASCH unemployment ever” in his SOTU speech, while the Heffalumps cheered spasmodically.

          That little gem of a clip should be played every hour in every US city to show how the Donkeys really care about their house naggers.

      1. The bad news is that prog states and cities will work even harder to ban all vapes because Trump “approves” of it…

    2. Trump is direct democracy. Whichever way the wind blows, he will go. That’s not a bad thing.

    3. That’s excellent. The idea that teens will stop vaping if they can only vape tobacco flavors is rediculous. I was a cigarette smoker in high school and I would smoke whatever brand/ flavor I could get my hands on. The only people who will be affected by a flavor ban are the adults vaping legally. It’s also pretty easy for people to add artificial flavors into unflavored nicotine liquid. Usually it’s even less expensive to make it home. There’s going to be a lot of people getting sick because they don’t know what they are doing. A ban would also lead to a black market industry because because you can only get it on the street.

      1. But think of all the jobs black market vapes will create for prison guards, someone’s gotta full those cells left empty by pot legalization

  2. Officials said the blowback to Trump’s vow to ban most flavored e-cigarettes had rattled him.

    When that knee jerks before you get a chance to check which way the vapor is blowing.

    1. Bob Dylan lyric?

      1. Tangled Up In Blowback

  3. The truth of the matter is, there’s not nearly been enough evidence that has been acquired as to whether or not it is a gateway drug…

    When an establishment candidate starts out with telling you the truth of the matter, you can be certain that the matter’s truth will be nowhere to be found.

  4. …and Pete Buttigieg continuing to surge in Iowa.

    Can you surge in Iowa without promising a whole lot of what you can’t possibly deliver? Has anyone tried?

    1. All you need to do to win Iowa is suck ethanol’s dick, and you will finish in either first or second place.

      1. That’s what Kanye calls Kim around the house.

    2. Not to mention throbbing and quivering.

  5. Here’s the rundown of this week’s impeachment testimony lineup.

    Unless there will be a surprise witness shouting to the committee that it’s out of order while Schiff desperately tried to gavel things under control, I’m not interested.

    1. It looks to me like Schiff has been lifting weights. Trump looks like he’s gonna have a heart attack.

      1. I keep waiting for Schiff’s eyes to pop out of their sockets.

        1. When Trump wins next year, your wait may be over.

      2. Thursday I said Yovanovich was expected to cry during her testimony. You said “you are insane.” Sure enough

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZqFnxad7os

        Don’t you ever get tired of being a complete dumb ass? Just a little?

        1. It’s Monday and Mean Girls for Trump are already getting mean.

          1. Everyone knew she was going to be coached to cry and sure enough she did. You seem to not be able to give a rational response to that. Like Pod, you never get tired of being a dumb ass. Doesn’t being made to look like a fool bother you at all?

            1. The Trump apologist Mean Girls club here regularly resorts to using personal insult. Pod makes an innocuous joke about a couple of pompous public figures who are in the news. So, in your mind, that entitles you to personally insult him. Every single one of the Trump apologists here conducts themselves like a 12-year-old.

              1. Mike, have you noticed you only defend other leftists while you claim neutrality? Someone else does this too… he goes by a name starting with J….

                1. Thank you for speaking of Jeff as a distinct person from me. Yes, I have noticed that he sometimes uses insulting, personal rhetoric, too. He shouldn’t do that.

                  1. Lol. Wow you’re dumb.

              2. By the way, o see your continued persistence of not providing any actual facts to the discussion continues.

                1. See comments below. Admittedly, my comment above was off-topic in the sense I was talking about commenters’ behavior here as opposed to factual discussion of the impeachment inquiries.

              3. Oh, are we adopting the premise that mean words equal violence now?

                People have been insulting each other on these boards for years, so spare us the face-fanning. If Pod can fucking handle it, you can too.

                1. I’m trying to find where I talked about violence above.

                  1. So quit getting the vapors about it.

                    1. Fuck off, Red Rocks, you lying sock-puppet asshole. 🙂

                      And I mean that in the most friendly, non-violent way.

                    2. ::whines about Trump Mean Girls::
                      ::calls others liars when whining is pointed out::

                    3. You really didn’t get that that was a joke. Even with the smiley face?

                    4. Jokes should be funny.

                    5. Admittedly, it wasn’t that funny, but I had just been lectured by Red Rocks about how I shouldn’t take personal verbal attacks seriously because they aren’t violence.

                    6. “Mike”
                      You should take “verbal” attacks seriously
                      Because they are true, and you deserve them

                  2. John literally used the word “Thursday” in his post lil mikey. Do you think today is thursday?

                    1. Whoops. Many for your next response.

                    2. There’s not one occurrence of the word, “Thursday”, in this comments section except in your comments.

              4. No, he said I was nuts to think that she was going to cry. Sure enough exactly what I said was going to happen did. So, he deserves to be called out for being so wrong.

                You really seem to have no idea what is going on here. You just sort of spew buzz words without any understanding of what they mean or any regard to how they relate to the conversation.

                1. Did Pod say this on some other day, on some other comment thread? Because there’s nothing here where Pod says anything about your being nuts.

                  1. He used the word Thursday in his post….

          2. Cry more Jeff.

          3. Mike is continuing to pretend he is neutral in his analysis.

        2. She didn’t cry. And even if she “looked like she might cry” that doesn’t prove your belief that it was orchestrated.

          1. It’s typical of the Trump apologists here that they always spin the narrative from what actually was said or what actually happened.

            1. Yes, they believe their lying eyes instead of the lying talking points.

              1. But often leave out inconvenient details, or oversimplify the timeline.

                For example saying things like, “We have the transcripts”, when the timeline in the case outlines a weeks-long series of meetings, phone calls, texts, and emails. And even the transcripts of the July 25th phone call are not verbatim and one witness claims important content was omitted.

                1. Meetings that were never mentioned as being important until it turned out that the transcript didn’t say what the Democrats claimed it did. The Democrats forever moving the goalposts and saying “but there is more” each time one of their lies is revealed is not Republicans spinning anything.

                  1. It’s not moving the goal posts. It’s investigation. The case against Trump started out with the July 25th phone call; more stuff has come up.

                    1. More irrelevant stuff has come up.

                    2. The investigation has turned up nothing about hearsay and opinion. You said above you addressed facts. Where are they?

                    3. Yeah ‘more stuff’–like “this guy told me that he overheard this woman say she heard Vindman say that he was pretty sure he thought Trump wanted to do something inappropriate”

                      That kinda stuff.

                    4. Or more stuff like David Holmes’ firsthand testimony of a phone call between Sondland and President Trump.

          2. She absolutely cried. She welled up and played the poor woman card just like everyone said she was coached to do.

            The good news is that no one watched it or cared. So, there are upsides to running an impeachment circus that can’t sell tickets.

            1. She’s human John. If she got emotional then so what. I didn’t notice it and I watched the dang thing.

              1. She did exactly what everyone said she was coached to do and you said was “insane” to think would happen. Sure she is human. In this case it just means she can follow orders.

                1. I’m sorry I called you insane. I didn’t mean it literally. You still have not proved she was instructed to cry or that her emotions were disingenuous.

                  1. The fact that she did it and everyone predicted it is pretty strong evidence that she was. it is not conclusive but certainly strong. Moreover, the fact that all of the lying trolls like you were instructed to dismiss the possibility is even stronger evidence she was coached.

      3. For people who don’t lift anything other than a soy latte, someone who does even a modicum of physical fitness looks like Rambo.

        1. Can you hit a 300 yard drive? Run a 6 minute mile. Do 20 pullups? 50 pushups?

          1. Sure, can’t you?

            1. I just did 50 pushups. I’ll hit that drive this afternoon. Maybe I could do 20 pullups? I was knocking down 25 when I was doing p90x a couple years ago. I probably couldn’t do 25 at this moment. I’m skinny but nothing but muscle.

              1. Lol. My Mom’s prettier than yours.

              2. “Feats of Strength” – relevant to nothing.

                1. When do we get to air our grievances?

                  1. I got a lot of problems with you people.

  6. Seattle Police Captain Randal Woolery was arrested in an undercover prostitution sting conducted by his own colleagues

    Does professional courtesy mean nothing anymore? No heads up? No looking the other way? I suppose that’s reserved for when an unarmed civilian and/or his dog gets shot to pieces.

    1. Double standard! I demand a retrial!

    1. If Dan Rather is on the case, you can bet there’s solid evidence – remember that “Gunga Dan” was the one who uncovered the smoking gun letter that proved Bush had skipped out on his National Guard obligations. I’m 100% confident he has just as much evidence of Trump’s wrongdoings as he did of Bush’s.

      1. Rather may have been the first journalist in history who actually became a meme.

    2. Truth and facts closing in are what Democrats fear the most

  7. Three Indiana judges are being disciplined after getting into a drunken brawl with strangers in a White Castle parking lot.

    “Your face is overruled!” SMACK

    1. All whacked out on sliders.

  8. Amazon is funding housing and other services for homeless families in Seattle.

    HOW CAN THEY AFFORD IT?

    1. Seattle was more hoping for free shipping out of Seattle.

      1. I’m sure they’d’ve been happy to send them to HQ2.

  9. Mexico has replaced Central America as largest source of migrants taken into custody at the border

    These highly skilled doctors and engineers just want to enter our country and contribute to our economy. But Orange Hitler locks them in concentration camps and forces them to drink from toilets.

    #OpenBorders

    1. I’m sure the janitorial, kitchen, and gardening staff at Trump resorts are all fully-vetted American citizens.

        1. Orange Man is a somewhat reprehensible human being.

          1. “Mike Laursen” though, is thoroughly reprehensible

      1. More of Mike’s neutrality.

        1. I should be more clear. I am not neutral on questions of Trumps personal character. I am neutral about his impeachment.

      1. Yes, brevity is the soul of wit.

  10. “I got my rights to do anything I want to do, I’m a police officer.”

    “Nothing shocks me, I’m a scientist.”

    1. “Nothing shocks me, I’m a scientist an electrician .”

      1. Are people frequently shocked to learn of your electrical skills?

    2. The father of one of my ex’s kids is a cop.

      One day the kid said “My dad’s a police officer. He can do anything he wants.”

      I said “I hope he still has to follow the law.”

      Kid looked at me like I had three heads.

      Thing is, cops can literally do whatever they want. Who’s going to stop them? Certainly not their fellow cops.

      1. Did you get a visit that evening starting with “My kid says you’ve been giving him a hard time”?

        1. No. But one time he visited while I was making some beer. He said he smelled marijuana. Had to show him the hops in their packaging before he relented. Dude was a fucking dick.

  11. Bloomberg … regrets his city’s stop-and-frisk policies.

    “I’m sorry my actions hurt my election chances.”

    1. Was trying to replace it with “stop and shoot” policies.

  12. “I got my rights to do anything I want to do, I’m a police officer.”

    An overt attitude like that is either brand new or cultivated over years of no accountability.

  13. More bad economic news.

    Charles Koch current net worth: $61.7 billion

    Imagine how heartbreaking it must be to work your way up from humble beginnings, become one of the 10 richest people on the planet — then watch your fortune stagnate because of high-tariff / low-immigration policies. Well, that’s the pain Charles Koch feels every day of this #DrumpfRecession.

    #HowLongMustCharlesKochSuffer?

    1. I don’t get this joke. It was not funny the first time, and is now simply space wasting.

      Frankly, you’re better than this.

  14. “It’s a debate, and I want a lot more before I legalize it nationally. I want to make sure we know a lot more about the science behind it.”

    “But enough about Medicare For All.”

    1. The top comment in the Wash. Post said, Oxycontin is a gateway drug for heroin. Cannabis is a gateway drug for pizza.

      1. Don’t give them any ideas. These do-gooder busy-bodies will ban pizza next if they think some fat people will eat less.

  15. Hong Kong protests and police responses intensified over the weekend.

    Don’t the protesters know how awkward they’re making it for the NBA?

    1. Is it time yet for the government to pump in an undisclosed chemical agent?

    2. We should send them NBA jerseys to wear to the protests.

      That would be sweet payback to LeBitch.

      1. Specifically Houston Rockets jerseys, I guess.

  16. Trump making an unscheduled visit to Walter Reed Medical Center

    They wanted their medical students to view a perfect specimen of health.

    1. Burnt steak with ketchup and Diet Coke soon to become federally mandated public school lunches.

      1. Would be better than the slop they’re serving now, albeit only marginally.

        1. It’s what Trump eats, therefore it’s perfect.

          1. I’d certainly prefer those Trump Tower taco bowls to the hamburger-mac swill that typically passed for cafeteria lunch, that’s for sure.

            1. GTFO! That goulash was one of the best things ever.

  17. Byron york gas a good piece discussing why the democrats are so desperate to hide the whistleblower and the origins of the Ukraine investigation, including this gem from a supposed witness’s lawyer:

    “I’m just saying it is outside the scope of what I believe his testimony is, which is whether President Trump jeopardized U.S. national security by pressing Ukraine to interfere with the 2020 election, and by withholding a White House meeting with Ukraine and military assistance provided by Congress to help Ukraine counter Russian aggression, as well as any efforts to cover up these matters.”

    To think they were trying to keep a visage of a non partisan inquiry.

    Also discusses Tim morrisons testimony, finally released saturday because it is awful for Democrats, and how Morrison, Vindmans boss, had issues with Vindman often leaking confidential information in his duty even prior to july 25th. Tim also stated Vindman never came to him about the call and instead ran to friendlier ears despite Tim being his boss and agreeing to all of Vindmans change requests to the July transcript. Which did not include the use of the word Burisma according to Morrison (another Vindman lie).

    https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/columnists/democrats-dont-want-public-to-know-origins-of-ukraine-probe-like-they-didnt-want-public-to-know-origins-of-russia-probe

    1. Likewise it is becoming more apparent that it was Vindman who originally ran to Ciaramella to concoct this leak.

      https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/ukraine-whistleblower-still-attending-white-house-meetings

    2. THE CHAIRMAN: Okay. I just wanted to follow up a bit on this.

      One of the concerns, and there may be an overlap between the first two concerns you mentioned about the caII, and if the call became public. First, you said you wene concerned how it would play out in Washington’s polarized environment and, second, how a leak would affect bipartisan suppont for our Ukrainian partners.

      Were those concerns nelated to the fact that the President asked his Ukrainian countenpant to look into on investigate the Bidens?

      MR. MORRISON: No, not specifically.

      THE CHAIRMAN: So you didn’t think that the President of the United States asking his counterpart to conduct an investigation into a potential opponent in the 2020 election might influence bipartisan support in Congress?

      MR. MORRISON: No.

      THE CHAIRMAN: And you weren’t concerned that the President bringing up one of his political opponents in the Presidential election and asking a favor with respect to the DNC server or 2016 theory, you weren’t concerned that those things would cause people to believe that the President was asking his counterpart to conduct an investigation that might influence his reelection campaign?

      MR. MORRISON: No.

      THE CHAIRMAN: That never occurred to you?

      MR. MORRISON: No.

      THE CHAIRMAN: Did you recognize during the — as you listened to the call that if Ukraine were to conduct these investigations, that it would inure to the President’s political interests?

      MR. MORRISON: No.

      1. “Are you a machine that just says ‘no’?”

      2. THE CHAIRMAN: Let me put it a different way. As you listened to the call, did you fail to recognize that if Ukraine were not to conduct these investigations, that it would not inure to the President’s political interests?

        1. I hope the Chairman realizes that these hearings possibly inure to his party’s political interests against a political opponent.

    3. the investigation seems to have established that Trump’s alleged misconduct exists in the eye of the beholder.

      Well, then, the taxpayers should be happy with this progress!

    4. Morrison testified that other foreign aid being offered by the U.S. at the time was reportedly under review — not just to Ukraine. And he confirmed earlier testimony that the aid being held up did not include the essential Javelin anti-tank missiles, which were being delivered to Ukraine through a separate procurement process.

      1. The Ukrainians never thought the aid was being held up on the condition they investigate Biden. Not a single person in the Ukrainian government has ever said they thought that. And remember, the aid was released. And the Ukrainians never investigated Biden.

        Yet, I am assured that all reasonable people think there was a quid pro quo or bribery or some other word they think the public will latch onto. WTF?

        1. I’d like to hear all the witnesses before concluding anything.

          On one side, we have several witnesses, mostly American diplomats, testifying there was quid pro quo.

          From the Ukraine, we have one public YouTube video from Zelensky that there was no pressure, but several different people testifying that Zelensky was privately asking for advice on how to deal with the pressure. We have one foreign minister, Prystaiko, who denies pressure but it has not been established that he was privy to all relevant conversations. We just found out that Sondland had a closed-door meeting on July 26th with Zelensy aide, Andriy Yermak, and then shortly after told Trump in a phone call that Zelensky would do the investigation and would do anything Trump wants him to. I don’t think we have heard any denial of quid pro quo from Yermak.

          1. On one side, we have several witnesses, mostly American diplomats, testifying there was quid pro quo.

            And none of them had a single factual basis for that opinion. A lot of people who hate Trump got up and said they thought there was. But, none of them had ever so much as talked to the President, most of them didn’t even hear the call, and none of them had any evidence or reason to justify their opinions.

            Yes, the accusation has been made. But that accusation lacks any supporting evidence or credibility.

            From the Ukraine, we have one public YouTube video from Zelensky that there was no pressure, but several different people testifying that Zelensky was privately asking for advice on how to deal with the pressure.

            That is just a straight up lie. No one has testified to that. More importantly, no one has testified that any one in the Ukrainian government thought there was pressure. This despite the fact that all of these people making the accusation were acting as virtual agents of the Ukrainian government. We are expected to believe that Ukraine felt all of this pressure but never once told any of their numerous allies in the government

            We just found out that Sondland had a closed-door meeting on July 26th with Zelensy aide, Andriy Yermak, and then shortly after told Trump in a phone call that Zelensky would do the investigation and would do anything Trump wants him to. I don’t think we have heard any denial of quid pro quo from Yermak.

            That is another bald faced lie. That is not what happened. Sondland didn’t say that.

            Look you lying sack of shit, stop posting complete lies on here.

            1. Zelensky advisor, Volodymyr Leshchenko, said: “It was clear that Trump will only have communications if they will discuss the Biden case. This issue was raised many times. I know that Ukrainian officials understood.”

              This was from an ABC News interview with Leschenko:
              https://www.axios.com/zelensky-ukraine-trump-phone-call-biden-case-907c2ff6-5017-454c-a671-85077fc4025a.html

            2. https://thehill.com/policy/international/europe/467777-white-house-alerted-in-may-of-ukraines-concerns-with-giuliani

              “The White House was alerted by at least mid-May that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had concerns about President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and his pressure campaign, NBC News reported Monday.”

              “Former U.S. diplomat Amos Hochstein told Hill that he had talked with Zelensky and his advisers about the pressure from Giuliani and Sondland, and they shared how they did not want to be involved in domestic U.S. politics, according to the network.”

              I may have been wrong when I said “several different people testifying that Zelensky was privately asking for advice on how to deal with the pressure.” I may have read about it in news stories rather than testimony.

              1. He clarified he did not take notes but had a “clear recollection that these statements were made.”

                LOL.

                1. It is common for witnesses to work from recollection because they don’t have any notes, is it not?

                  “Mr. Jones, you testified that you saw the defendant run out of the door of the bank holding a gun in one hand and a big cloth bag with a big dollar sign on it. Did you take any notes at the time, or is this only your recollection?”

                  “No, sir, I didn’t take any notes at the time.”

                  1. Your example is of one who saw something first hand and is not an opinion. We are lacking a lot of that.

                    1. Red Rocks “LOL” above referenced Holmes testimony; specifically, that Holmes was not testifying from self-claimed “clear recollection” rather than notes. Holmes testified regarding what he heard firsthand with his own ears, and he claims to have used the precise words that he heard.

                      You just changed the subject to talking about Sondland (I presume). By the way, Sondland will testify this Wednesday, so he will have a chance to address Holmes testimony.

                    2. I was referring to your example. But I see I was incorrect. The person did not see the crime, only someone running away from the crime. We would consider that a suspect if the victim (bank) said their was a crime. But sure, you done necessarily need to review your notes. The victim of Trump’s so called pressure campaign has not reported a crime. So to speak.

                      Sure. You don’t have to look at your notes. Although you probably should before you testify else you could get nailed for perjury. Ask Scooter Libby.

                    3. It would certainly be the smart thing if you work in the Federal government to take lots of notes.

                2. And his memories were recently refreshed.

                  Bogus!

                  1. Red Rocks was talking about Holmes’ testimony, not Sondland’s “recently refreshed” amendment to his closed-door testimony.

                3. So, by the same token, does this mean you give Bill Taylor’s testimony extra credence because he is known to be a meticulous note taker?

                  1. Why give any hearsay credence?

              2. “”“President Zelensky will do ‘anything you ask him to.’”””

                That’s one person’s opinion. If opinions are evidence then it’s evidence against bribery, or pressure needing to be applied. Sound like none of that is need since you have a willing party.

                1. Like I said, let’s hear more testimony. Sondland is scheduled to testify at the public hearings on Wednesday.

                  1. And if Sondland testifies that money was withheld due to corruption and not Biden. Will you believe it?

                    1. I’ll give it some weight.

          2. You have career bureaucrats saying their opinions and saying trump was acting against what they wanted. Stop lying.

            1. How am I “lying” if I am simply repeating what the witnesses testified? The witnesses might be lying, but I am repeating testimony that Trump apologists here want to ignore.

              1. Such testimony has been repeatedly torn apart on these boards, you lying marionette

              2. “”Trump apologists””

                I see people that are not buying into a yet to be proven narrative, and people who have a higher bar for conviction than hearsay. I see many people, including myself that believe you are innocent until proven guilty and it is proper for the prosecution to have a high bar to get a conviction.

                Is that your definition of Trump apologists?

                1. A classic example of Trump apologism was the argument that several commenters made that President Trump wasn’t helping his own Presidential campaign because he was asking for an investigation of Hunter Biden, and Hunter’s not a candidate.

                  A current Trump apologism that is going around is that Trump is innocent because no witnesses have any firsthand knowledge of Trump saying anything about a quid pro quo, even after David Holmes did give firsthand testimony.

  18. Sondland has faced intense scrutiny about his closed-door testimony after he sent the committee a three-page amendment reversing his initial account.

    Perhaps Wednesday’s grilling will refresh his memory again.

    1. I think it’s probably too cold in DC for a barbecue.

    2. The refreshed memory that didnt change anything? Aug 28th, a politico article says Ukraine aid was being withheld. Sept 1st sondland states he thinks ukraine aid is being withheld on condition of the investigations, he talks to his boss. Sept 6th, he texts taylor trump was clear there is no pid pro quo.

      Literally nothing changed with his revision of the sept 1st recollection.

  19. Trump tosses a brick:
    “White House urges passage of bill curbing prescription drug costs”
    […]
    “The effort has progressed beyond anything seen in years, says President Trump’s top domestic policy adviser. “This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to confront these issues in a nonideological fashion,” adviser Joe Grogan said.”
    https://www.sfchronicle.com/nation/article/White-House-urges-passage-of-bill-curbing-14841974.php

    Yeah, in one of Nixon’s lamest moves, we got price fixing which made sure gas stayed where it wasn’t needed and people figured out a way around the rest pretty quickly.
    “nonideological” = stupid

    1. “White House urges passage of bill curbing prescription drug costs prices”, providing an easy way to separate those knowledgeable about economics from those ignorant of economics.

      In other news, King Canute once again orders his throne be taken down to the shore so that he can demonstrate to his advisors his power to command the tides.

  20. Back during the colored revolutions in the early 2000s (George, Ukraine, Yugoslavia), protesters used to encourage average people to go out into the streets in front of their houses, during the nightly government news broadcasts, and bang their pots and pans together when the news was covering the protests. The idea was to let their neighbors know that not everyone was buying what they saw in the news. In fact, the sound of pots and pans being banged together was more informative than the dominant media narrative. As the nightly clanging spread throughout the capital, it became increasingly obvious to everyone that support for the protesters was far broader and deeper than the media narrative would have it.

    I used to wonder if average Americans should have a similar protest against the bullshit media narratives of today, but over this last weekend, I heard average Americans figuratively banging their pots and pans together in their own way.

    1. 1) Charlie’s Angels is the biggest flop of the year.

      Some people find it surprising that people don’t want to pay to be lectured about how white, heterosexual men are racist, homophobic, and misogynist. They’re probably the same people in the media who still can’t figure out why the white, blue collar, middle class thinks that progressives hate them. (Hint: It’s because they do.) Can you believe how much money they invested in creating and marketing this bomb?! You know what they should do? Remake Ghostbusters but with women instead!

      https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/ghostbusters-box-office-loss-sequel-unlikely-918515

      1. It would have been more interesting if they remade Charlie’s Angels with three homosexual transexual men of color.

      2. they made a movie about the Angels everyone hated.

      3. How about a remake of 12 Angry Men.

        “A Dozen Hags Bitching”

    2. “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore”

    3. 2) As bad as Charlie’s Angels flopped, the Colin Kaepernick workout flopped even harder. It didn’t really even happen!

      Kaepernick has been out of the NFL for three seasons now, and no one in the NFL will hire him–or even give him a workout. The reason no one will hire him is because NFL fans are disgusted with people who dis the American flag, and every single team is afraid of enraging their fan base by the suggestion that they might hire him. They won’t even give him a workout for fear of the fan backlash against them if the show enough interest to give him an interview.

      Well, Kaepernick doesn’t buy that explanation, so he’s suing the NFL for collusion. In order to assuage the problem of teams being afraid of a fan backlash if they gave him a workout, the NFL decided to hold a combine and invite every team to evaluate his workout on Saturday. If they’re all basically required to watch him work out, then no team will be singled out by their fan base for expressing interest. So, we’re good to go with the Kaepernick show on Saturday!

      There was a problem. It became apparent before the event on Saturday that there might not be any interest in Kaepernick because of his anti-flag stance and the fear of a backlash–regardless of how well he performed in drills. The NFL’s legal counsel then started thinking about what it would mean for Kaepernick’s collusion suit against the NFL if the NFL held a combine for him–and still no one signed him. So, they asked Kaepernick to sign a waiver stating that he wouldn’t use the combine to strengthen his suit against the NFL.

      Kaepernick refused to sign, and the workouts were cancelled. Kaepernick worked out for a few scouts at another site, but very few team representatives bothered to show up.

      What the NFL should do with this isn’t particularly interesting to me.

      Whether Kaepernick refusing to sign means he has more confidence in his lawsuit than he does in his future in the NFL anyway isn’t particularly interesting either.

      The interesting thing is the fans. If you were looking for a better proxy for middle America, you might not do much better than NFL fans–and if hasn’t clicked yet with the social justice warriors at CBS and ESPN, it sure seems to be clear to the NFL owners and the people who manage their teams: Dissing the flag is unacceptable to average Americans–whether you’re doing it to protest racial injustice or for some other reason.

      When you see Kaepernick in the media with all his progressive media cheerleaders complaining about how no one will hire him–that’s the sound of everyday Americans banging their pots and pans together. The media narrative that’s trying to make us out to be a woke society with their new progressive mores is horseshit.

      1. Kaepernick can’t play anymore and he knows it. If he ever signs and tries to play, he will be just another bad quarterback. If he refuses to sign, then he can always claim to be a martyr whose career was ruined because he took a stand.

        Mark my words, Kaepernick will never sign with anyone. He could be offered the starting job in New England over Tom Brady and he would find a way to screw it up and not sign.

        1. Kaep’s doing a lot better running that martyr grift than he ever would putting on a uniform again. I’m pretty sure that’s why Nessa submarined his signing with Baltimore a couple years ago.

          Nike’s paying him millions to be a human shield to deflect from its third-world labor practices. His girlfriend and his marketing team definitely don’t want to jeopardize his health and reputation by actually having to be a professional player, when they’re doing just as well with him off the field and being an avatar for mega-corporate wokeness.

          1. Pretty much that. The only problem is that even his defenders are starting to get wise.

        2. He was offered a job as backup 2 years ago but turned it down because he wasnt going to get started money. This is because he is a bad qb.

      2. He’s pretty sure “team” is spelled “me me me me”.

      3. BTW, Eric Reid, another 9er who took a knee, is playing in the NFL. Maybe it’s something more than Kaep’s recent conversion to righteousness.

        1. A ton of people who took a knee are playing in the NFL. Marcus Peters, for example, took a knee when he was in Kansas City and is making $9 million a year playing for the Ravens right now.

        2. He’s the poster kid for taking a knee.

          Quarterbacks draw more coverage, fairly or unfairly. They just do.

        3. Eric Reid is a dirty player too.
          That anyone got money out of that law suit pisses me off as a fan.
          Hard to find greater meritocracy than playing professional sports.
          Kaep was never any better than Tim Tebow and, while both created oversized media attention, Tebow was at least a + in the locker room and wouldn’t cause half a team’s fans to walk away in protest.
          Kaep is a perfect embodiment of progressivism.

      4. There was never anything stopping Kaepernick from holding his own workouts over the years. Terrell Owens did it when he was over the hill but still owed thousands in child support. Honestly, if I was Kaep I’d have been holding a workout every single month over the last three years, invite every single pro team to these workouts, and get Nike to cover the costs. Someone would have eventually signed him, unless his dumbass Muslim thot decided to sabatoge it with a Django tweet like she did with Baltimore.

        That the NFL would even conceivably enable someone who’s suing them for collusion should have seen it a mile away for the joke that it was.

        1. Kaepernick was willing to work out for anybody. It’s just that no one was willing to take a chance on showing interest.

          Kaepernick damaged his own brand so badly that it’s FUBAR. You know who else dissed the flag?!

          1. P.S. I’m not saying this is the way it should be, necessarily, but I think this is the way it is.

          2. “”Kaepernick was willing to work out for anybody. It’s just that no one was willing to take a chance on showing interest.””

            Was he? He screwed up an opportunity to work out in front of reps for most teams with the NFL making a video to share with all teams.

            He proved that his whole prior narrative is BS. If you are really interested in playing in the NFL, and the NFL sets up a workout for you, just attend and show your best stuff. That’s all you have to do. Don’t make drama for the people to whom you are seeking employment.

            1. The teams that expressed an interest to the NFL as to his availability were reluctant to identify themselves–presumably for fear of a fan backlash. That was supposed to be the point of the workout–so that those teams could see him workout without having to extend an invitation to visit their facility. If he made a video to send around to teams, it was probably also because the teams didn’t want to go public with their invitation. He’s a pariah.

        2. “Honestly, if I was Kaep I’d have been holding a workout every single month over the last three years, invite every single pro team to these workouts, and get Nike to cover the costs.”

          Pretty sure, in Kaep’s ‘world’, he’s the injured party and he’s not about to leave his nose on there in an effort to spite his face.
          Remember, this is a guy who couldn’t count to forty with 10′ numbers staring him in the face.
          An opponent could count on 50 yards per game from that alone.

        3. Honestly, if I was Kaep I’d have been holding a workout every single month over the last three years, invite every single pro team to these workouts

          This is what everyone on the CBS pregame show said yesterday. James Brown made a good closing statement before they went to commercial pretty much saying he’ll never play in the NFL again because he made it about him and not about football.

          1. Kaepernick always struck me as Tebow-like in his ability to use the media to promote his own agenda. Both of their camps always went on and on about how much these guys loved football and would do anything to play.

            Bullshit. If they loved football that much, they’d have taken the opportunities available to them in the CFL or Arena leagues, instead of fucking around playing minor league baseball or being a bobblehead for Nike and woke media.

            That’s what you do when you love the game so much–you’ll play for peanuts in unfamiliar environments. I have more respect for a balloonhead addict like Johnny Manziel, who wanted to get back in the game so bad that he went to Canada to try and build his reputation, even though it ultimately fell apart like everything else he did. But at least he tried. Same thing with guys like Doug Flutie and Kurt Warner. They accepted less than the penthouse because they actually loved playing the game.

            There’s nothing sincere about anything those two have done regarding their relationship with the game itself. It was always a vehicle to promote their own personal brand. Yeah, Tom Brady has that going, too, with his silly TB12 thing, but he also has more Super Bowl wins than any QB in NFL history. He’s allowed that indulgence.

            1. That is the thing, with Brady it is something he does as a result of his success in football. With those guys football is something they hope to do as a result of their successful brand. I do think, however, Tebow is a legitimately good person and nothing like the crying shitbag that Kaepernick is. Say what you want about Tebow but I have never heard him once complain about how he was treated in the NFL. I agree with you that he doesn’t love the game such that he will do anything to play it. But that by itself doesn’t make him a bad guy.

      5. It again bears repeating that when Kaepernick started with the kneeling the 49ers were in the process of replacing him as their starting QB. It seems more than likely that he was pouting about it and only came up with protesting the police as an ad hoc PR move that got a life of its own.

        Kaepernick has an inflated sense of worth as a QB and managed to make himself toxic to the fanbase while pandering to the sports press.

      6. “Well, Kaepernick doesn’t buy that explanation, so he’s suing the NFL for collusion”

        He settled. The waiver wasn’t related.

      7. The NFL, and who knows if they had this in mind when setting it up, finally got Kaep to do something so transparent that even most of those who moderately supported him see the truth.
        Kaep originally sat on the bench for the anthem because he was pouting that he’d been benched for Blaine Gabbert. When it was noticed and he was questioned about it, he made up some bullshit about the country being racist. He then opted out of his contract and refused to be a back up or take less than $20m/year. When the Ravens were thinking about signing him, he called the team owner a slave owner. When the Dolphins were thinking of signing him, he wore a Fidel Castro shirt to his press event in Miami. He refused to play in the CFL, Arena Football League, or overseas. Then he sued the league.
        Now the NFL offers him an unprecedented work out and twisted the arms of 25 teams to show up. They arranged for multiple NFL personnel to work with him. Kaep sends word, after everyone had arrived, that he wouldn’t work out there and would be doing his own thing an hour away (the Falcons facility is in Flowery Branch, GA – 60+ miles north of Atlanta – easy but long drive). Kaep wears a Kunta Kinte shirt and throws passes in shorts, then says every NFL team is running away from him.
        Truth is: Kaep can’t read a defense, teams figured out how to bottle him up, he’s inaccurate, and his windup takes as long as Tebow’s. He’s not good enough for an NFL team to deal with the category 5 media hurricane that would unleash itself on any team that signed him. He’s a professional race-baiting grievance monger. Playing football is not in his interests, as he’s now made millions as a “martyr”.
        Yet the media, ESPN particularly, still wants to run with the “persecution” narrative. Well, nobody’s buying it anymore. But he is their baby, and they can’t bear to let it go.

        1. When the Ravens were thinking about signing him, he called the team owner a slave owner.

          That wasn’t him, that was his Muslim girlfriend.

          1. Yeah.

            He wore a t-shirt at the workout that read, “Kunta Kinte”

            https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/17/us/colin-kaepernick-kunta-kinte-meaning-trnd/index.html

            Can that be interpreted in any way that isn’t referring to the NFL owners as if they were slaveholders?

            1. If he gets another try-out, I fully expect he’ll acknowledge some progress in this area and where a T-shirt that says “Geordi La Forge”

              1. The first few episodes of TNG, he may as well have been kunta kinte.

            2. I don’t doubt he believes that. I’m just pointing out that it was Nessa who sent out that tweet, not him.

              The tweet was an image from Django Unchained with both Stephen and Calvin Candie, so she was calling Ray Lewis a house nigger on top of it, too.

          2. Point is, he opted out of his contract with the 49ers then sabotaged every opportunity to sign after that.
            He knows his game
            It’s not football
            He’s a pro martyr, not a pro QB

        2. Yet the media, ESPN particularly, still wants to run with the “persecution” narrative.

          ESPN might always be in his corner because they’re retards, but I don’t think every other media outlet is behind him anymore. I watched the CBS pregame show this week and they spent a segment on him. They obviously didn’t come right out and call him a retard, but they all agreed that he’ll never play in the NFL again because of his antics. Not a single person was for him.

          1. Yea, I’ve mostly just seen the ESPN, SI, and NBC/Mike Florio takes

            1. Even then it’s gone from “he’s better than 90% of nfl QBs and the NFL is racist!!!” to “well… Kaep says this is why he skipped his interview”

        3. We’re in a topsy turvy world, where everything seems to have been turned upside down.

          It used to be that the left was trying to convince us that America is fundamentally racist–and the right that would try to counter that by pointing to other explanations for whatever was being called racist.

          The left isn’t telling us that the world is racist anymore. They’re telling us that the new normal is woke. The racist are aberrant anachronisms.

          The reason the NFL owners don’t want Kaepernick on their teams is because their customers loathe him–for whatever reason–and they think that putting him on their team will hurt their business.

          I’m here to tell you that the world isn’t the woke fantasy they imagine. People are very much like they’ve always been–no matter this woke fantasy that’s projected by the media. Moving to the suburbs to get your kids out of schools with underprivileged minorities is just as popular as it ever was, being lectured about why it’s evil to be a white and heterosexual man is just as unpopular as it ever was, and dissing the American flag–as well as all the military and first responders who salute it–is just as unpopular as it’s ever been.

          I’m not here to defend racism, but I’m not about to buy into this social justice fantasy of a brave new world with a new Soviet man either. People are still bigoted, homophobic, xenophobic, misogynistic, etc. by objective measures. The picture they’ve been painting of an American where all the old bigotries have become unacceptable is bullshit. And every time they try to send some progressive signaling mechanism up the flag pole for us all to salute, it exposes the real world for what it is again when real people don’t match their expectations.

          The reason Kaepernick isn’t on an NFL team and hasn’t been on an NFL team is because the fans don’t want him on a team.

          1. Here’s about as short as I can make it:

            The progressive left is trying to foist a political narrative on us that isn’t based on reality. It’s a worldview that can’t accommodate the way real people are in the real world. In the real world, people like Roseanne say stupid shit. If the left can’t accommodate real people in the real world, Donald Trump can, that’s one of the reasons the media and the left try to promote this woke world as if it were real. The other reason is that if their woke reality is unrealistic in that it can’t accommodate the way real people are in the real world, then it’s doomed to failure. In the future, people will look back on this era of popular culture the way we look back at glamorous housewives the 1950s television–completely unrealistic.

          2. IMO, NFL teams don’t what him because they want team players. They want the focus to be on football, not political item de jour.

            1. Yep.
              Kent is waaaaay overlooking Kaep’s qualities as a pure football player.
              He was (who knows about now) good enough to be a backup QB somewhere, Baltimore and Buffalo coming to mind as the only teams that currently run an offense he could fill in on.
              He was maybe good enough to be a bottom tier starter on a shitty team, but the fans of that team would be crying out for a new QB whether it was Kaep or Mitchell Trubisky.
              Indeed, Trubisky – who was benched last night – is a comparable player to Kaep. Trubisky also had a good run for several games last year, but that was it. And Bears fans hate him because he sucks and is dragging a talented team down. Teams figure out how to take away player’s strengths, and if that player has nothing to fall back on they’re done.
              So with Kaep we have a shitty QB whose a divisive locker room presence, creates tons of drama and media attention that has nothing to do with football, and is justifiably hated by half the fans in the league.
              If he volunteered to play for free it wouldn’t be worth it.
              Kaep sucks as a person but, more importantly, he sucks as a player. End of story

            2. They fire coaches and GMs because the fans say so.

              Really, it shouldn’t be hard to argue to people who understand markets that the consumers are ultimately in control. The reason McDonalds doesn’t serve haggis flavored milkshakes is because their customers don’t want it.

              The reason the NFL hasn’t hired Kaepernick is because the fans don’t want it. The reason the NFL had to make a special work out just for him is because the NFL teams don’t give a shit about his abilities. No team in the league gave him a workout.

              Not one.

              . . . because the reason they don’t want him has nothing to do with his abilities–even if they’re great. The reason they don’t want him is because their fans don’t want him. If their fans wanted him, he’d have been starting since years ago.

              1. NFL teams, and fans, will put up with just about anything if a player is good enough.
                Just because it’s not your main point is no reason to deflect from his shittiness as a player

          3. They’re telling us that the new normal is woke. The racist are aberrant anachronisms.

            And yet, that the racists are also everywhere and in charge of every major institution.

            1. They’re supposedly in the White House.

    4. 3) No one brought up impeachment all weekend.

      No one even mentioned it to me! It’s a dead topic.

      I doubt there will be any support for continuing the impeachment at all after Thanksgiving if it keeps up like this.

      1. The Chron keeps flogging it (with what had to be one of the lamest political cartoons ever today), but there was no comment at the bar and grille over lunch, TVs showing sports. Didn’t overhear any comments at Whole Foods, where you’d expect it to be a hot topic, got ‘when’s the crab season starting?’ instead.

        1. I think people are starting to tune out.

      2. Husband drives for Uber/Lyft, says nobody is talking about it. With the 2016 election, people wouldn’t shut up. Now, if they talk politics it’s about whether the car tab initiative will make it through the courts or not.

      3. No one brought up impeachment all weekend.

        My brother, a progressive, Warren/Sanders supporting public school teacher, brought it up. He didn’t have much to say about it though. He spent about 10 seconds trying to argue that what the Bidens did is irrelevant and unrelated until I pointed out that if Trump was calling for the investigation of actually illegal behavior it’s going to be hard to argue that that’s a crime.

        I opined that if nothing new comes out, the public is going to see this as a big nothing-burger, and that it’s likely to hurt the Dems in 2020. He wasn’t able to do anything other than agree.

        1. That’s really the crux of the matter. If Trump wanted Biden investigated without any particular justification it would be one thing, but it appears that there is at least a fig leaf of cover in that Biden appears to have actually done the things Trump is being accused of thinking about doing.

          Of course, both Biden and Trump can be guilty but it’s a bit beyond the pale to say that investigating Biden in this particular case has no basis other than Trump’s political career. It’s pretty obvious at face value that Hunter’s deals abroad are suspicious and if you inserted Trump Jr. into those same deals people would be foaming at the mouth for investigations.

          Personally, I think it’s a bit odd that if you happen to be running for the Democrat nomination, not even the front runner, you are now functionally immune to investigation by the current administration. I don’t think that’s a rule Democrats really want to put in place, but they sure are talking overtime about it.

          1. it appears that there is at least a fig leaf of cover in that Biden appears to have actually done the things Trump is being accused of thinking about doing

            Yeah, that’s kind of where I am, too. Especially if the spying on the Trump campaign can be covered by the fig leaf of Russian collusion, this one should be a no-brainer even if Trump was politically motivated. Unless he was looking for a fictitious investigation or for Ukraine to just make stuff up, it’s hard to argue he was in the wrong.

            The stuff Rudy was up to is a bit concerning – that’s the only place left where I’d like to hear a bit more about what was really going on.

            if you inserted Trump Jr. into those same deals people would be foaming at the mouth for investigations.

            No doubt. He wouldn’t even be able to go out in public.

            I don’t think that’s a rule Democrats really want to put in place, but they sure are talking overtime about it.

            Well, if it only applied to them . . . but, yeah – I think that’s why they’re trying so hard to pretend they can go after Trump while simultaneously claiming “nothing to see here” re: Biden.

  21. Weed is a gateway alright. Seriously.

    It’s a gateway to the black market because it is illegal. I’ve never had the pleasure of someone behind the counter at a liquor store offer me cocaine. Weed dealers have.

    Make it illegal and I will have to try much harder to find my next gram of coke.

    *** I haven’t done coke in twenty years, and never will do it again. I like my sleep. I was being….. sarcastic?***

    1. The whole gateway drug thing never made any sense. What does it mean to be a “gateway drug”. Does doing one cause you to want to try other drugs when you otherwise would not want to? If so, how does that work? Does it change your brain chemistry?

      1. It means that after you smoke some weed and enjoy it, you want to try other drugs. Of course the same could be said of alcohol. The difference is that alcohol isn’t a gateway, as in an access point, to other drugs. Weed is because it is illegal. For the most part anyway.

        1. Marijuana is a mind-expanding drug for the yutes, a gateway to a new consciousness. After you smoke it and nothing much happens, you open yourself up to the possibility that the government has been bullshitting you about a lot of other stuff as well.

          1. Weed didn’t do that for me. LSD did.

          2. Never mind. You are exactly correct. I misinterpreted your statement.

        2. That is exactly my point. If you are the kind of person who wants that, every drug is a gateway drug.

          1. Do you drink? Do you enjoy it? Does it fill you with an urge to shoot up heroin? “kind of person who wants that” is a rather prejudicial statement. You are dehumanizing people.

            1. I am totally the kind of person who wants that. I didn’t mean it to be dehumanizing at all.

      2. By the way, I’ve thrown songs at you before. I remember you don’t like drummers who like to show off. This song is completely unrelated to that. Just something that makes me want to drive like a madman. Tell me what you think…

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJseqQNQ_zA

        1. Here’s a video I took from one of the last shows I went to. Doubt you will like it. No drum fills though…

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dt23ZZF5SZw

        2. I on the other hand love drummers who like to show off.

          This is an internet classic now. 8 year old girl from Japan nailing the Bonham classic. One of the more difficult pieces. Those are 16th note triplets between left and right feet.

          https://youtu.be/91pz1E8pAOY

    2. It’s a good point.
      The necessity to go black market for weed certainly opens up doors to plenty of other things

      1. Exactly. You had to deal with some questionable characters, and the further up the chain, the sleazier and more dangerous they got.

        1. Even if you’re not dealing with sleazy people directly, it’s where the chain leads.
          There was a time when I could’ve procured just about anything, from hard drugs to weapons to various other things, in just a few steps.
          It’s about knowing a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy…

  22. http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/khamenei-blames-counter-revolution-enemies-for-sabotage-in-iran-gasoline-price-protests/ar-BBWSqTa?li=BBnbfcL

    Things might be getting very real in Iran. You have to love this quote from the Supreme Mullah or whatever he is.

    Khamenei said the increase in gasoline prices was based on expert opinion and should be backed, the TV added.M

    No wonder Obama loved those guys so much.

    1. It’s a really big deal in Iran, and there’s a huge anti-Iran protest movement against the government of Iraq right now, too.

      That’s about the sanctions against Iran biting, as well as the expense of the wars in Syria and Yemen. It’s a common complaint within Iran that the Iranian government spends so much in Syria when Iran is suffering economically.

      It should be noted that most of that pain goes away the moment Iran comes back into compliance with the NPT. If they are willing to suffer this much pain for this long–simply because they refuse to abide by the NPT–then it is unreasonable to assume the intentions of the nuclear program are anything short of nefarious.

      P.S. Trump was right about maintaining our relationship with the Crown Prince in SA, as well–and not just from a pragmatic perspective. Saudi Arabia has been completely transformed socially over the last two years. No, it isn’t a democracy, and political repression is still brutal. But women are driving, the religious police have been all but annihilated, unmarried men and women are sharing the same public spaces, they’ve opened movie theaters, women are allowed at sporting events, they have rock concerts, etc., etc.

      1. What keeps unpopular authoritarian governments in power is money. If they have the money to pay enough people who are willing to pull the trigger to keep the government in power, it doesn’t matter how unpopular they are. When they run out of money, they are in big trouble.

        The people of Iran have hated the Mullahs for a long time. The fact that they are now so willing to protest in what appears to be more violent ways than they were even in 2009, tells me that the Mullahs are running out of or have run out of money to pay the trigger pullers and the populace is no longer afraid of them.

        1. Legitimacy comes from making the right decisions, too.

          Putin enjoys a tremendous amount of legitimacy.

          1. Putin enjoys legitimacy only because he has managed to convince a portion of the Russian public that he is restoring Russia to great power status. That is a feature peculiar to Russia in this time and place and doesn’t translate to other governments.

            A government like Iran has no legitimacy. It has only power. And it keeps that power by a combination of paying people to kill for them to keep it and ensuring that the population is either satisfied enough not to care or too afraid to do anything about it if they do.

            1. No doubt that the Iranian government has virtually no legitimacy–apart from that conferred on it by the religious authorities.

              One of the reasons the Iranian government has so little in the way of legitimacy is because they keep making bad decisions.

              Along with Venezuela, they were the two counties that always voted against raising the amount of oil OPEC should pump–because their oil ministry, like Venezuela’s, is run so poorly, they could raise the amount of oil they pumped if they wanted to–so they always wanted to cut production to keep the price of the barrels they could pump as high as possible.

              Those two governments would enjoy a hell of a lot more legitimacy if they weren’t running their industries so poorly.

              Trump is gaining legitimacy with yours truly on foreign policy because he keeps making the right choices on things like Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Iran. He has created a reality in which it is in Iran’s best interests to come back into compliance with the NPT. The Iranians couldn’t even provoke an attack by Saudi Arabia–and they were hoping the Saudis would do that so as to break European resolve regarding the sanctions even further. The Iranians have nothing left to do but stew in dissent as the economy continues to suffer or comply with the NPT–and that is specifically because of Trump’s leadership.

              If Iran made the right choices that way, they’d enjoy more legitimacy with their people than they do.

            2. Putin turned Russia into a normal run of the mill country for its citizens. I have a friend who teaches there – as far as lifestyle, it’s basically the midwest.
              When he took over it was in utter financial ruin and the world was freaking out that rogue generals would sell all their nukes to nefarious actors.
              And the Russian people have national pride. They’re not so enamored of great power status as they are grateful not to be overrun by others. Better to be NATO’s boogeyman than NATO’s bitch

              1. I can see the appeal of Putin to the general Russian public, although I know more than a few Russians that don’t think much of him. That isn’t to say I think he’s a great guy, or that I think he should be in charge, but Russia appears to be doing ‘ok’ under his iron fist which appears to be better than the ‘terrible’ they easily recall within living memory.

    2. The revolution 40 years ago began with massive general strikes. When protests happened ten years ago, they were put down pretty quick by Iran’s mercenary police force in conjunction with the country shutting down social media sites.

      Unless actual heads start rolling, this is probably just another in the latest episode of Iranian protest porn.

      1. These protests don’t seem to be being put down by the mercenary police force. The fact that they are occurring in so many places and with such violent results says to me at least that the population isn’t as afraid of the mercenary police force as they have been.

        You are right that there is a lot of Iranian protest porn and there is always a reason to protest. But they don’t protest in numbers this large or as violently. It may be that they will put this one down too. But this does appear to be different than the usual protest porn and I think there is a chance that it won’t be put down so easily.

        1. The danger to the regime is that it’s the middle class this time and the form of protest – people en masse simply parking their cars in the middle of the road – is hard to confront directly

        2. My understanding from Iranians I’ve known is that people are less scared of the regime itself than that they’re skeptical that overthrowing it would lead to an improved situation, given that the current shitty regime is the result of the last revolution.

          1. That doesn’t surprise me. I think, however, things might be getting bad enough that they are changing their minds.

            1. These outbursts do seem to be getting more frequent.

  23. “Hours before they were to attend an educational conference in Indianapolis, three judges went out drinking for a few hours and decided to walk to a strip joint.”

    At 1:40 am and in a drunken stupor is a terrible way to make decisions. And, incidentally, this is why they typically zone the strip joints out in the middle of an industrial park somewhere. When people are making decisions in a drunken stupor at 1:40 in the morning, you want them in an area that’s as sparsely populated as possible.

    1. At least they have this as an excuse for their decisions that night. What about judges’ *judicial* decisions? They can’t *all* have been issued under the influence of late-night drinking bouts, so what’s the excuse this time?

    2. Hours before they were to attend an educational conference in Indianapolis, three judges went out drinking for a few hours and decided to walk to a strip joint.

      Yadda yadda yadda, and the stripper said, “Those aren’t briefs!”

    3. At 1:40 am and in a drunken stupor is a terrible way to make decisions.

      SEZ YOU!

  24. Nate Silver still charlatan.

  25. The “we vape, we vote” crowd seems to have gotten through to the White House.

    Ugh, once again the dirty working class command too much attention from this president.

  26. This is, of course, silly. As Ellen Cranley at Business Insider points out, serious researchers

    have found no solid evidence to support the claim that using marijuana leads to the use of harder drugs.

    Which is, of course, irrelevant. Even if it were 100% certain that any person who tries weed will turn into a hard core junkie, still the government has no authority to ban weed.

  27. The marijuana debate seems to be divided into

    -It’s unsafe, therefore ban it

    versus

    -it’s perfectly safe so long as the government gets its cut, therefore legalize it for anyone willing to comply with govt regulations and (especially) taxes.

    The libertarian perspective – some things are risky but should be legal anyway – doesn’t always get as full a hearing. Where do we draw the line between hang-gliding and toking up, as far as risky behavior is concerned?

    1. i enjoy the freedom to play Outlaw in my singular way.

    2. The libertarian perspective is, will there be a Ramones reunion tour?

      1. Only if Lou Reed will join them.

  28. FREE MINDS
    Can an old drug warrior learn new tricks? Democratic presidential candidates such as Sen. Kamala Harris (D–N.Y.) and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg have tried, with the former now denouncing cannabis criminalization and the latter now claiming that he regrets his city’s stop-and-frisk policies.

    I wonder what Bloomberg’s opinion is on vaping. Oh, here:

    “You don’t let the public do something while the science says it’s probably bad for you and you’re in the middle of conducting research,” Bloomberg continued. “Wait until you do the research. If it’s no problem, no harm, no foul.”

    Bloomberg was joined by Matthew Myers, the president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, which will be responsible for coordinating the push.

    And Harris isn’t quite so fiery, but, yeah:

    Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Support for Senator Mark Leno’s Bill to Protect Children From E-Cigarettes

    1. she is the fucking worst. Thank god she has no chance.

      1. She is by far the worst person ever to seek the Presidency in a major party. Obama is a philosopher king compared to Harris.

        1. Um…Woodrow Wilson? FDR? George Wallace?

          1. She would have been just as bad or worse.

        2. No, Hillary Clinton is the worst person ever to seek the Presidency.

          1. Ted Kennedy is up there too

  29. That’s excellent. The idea that teens will stop vaping if they can only vape tobacco flavors is rediculous. I was a cigarette smoker in high school and I would smoke whatever brand/ flavor I could get my hands on. The only people who will be affected by a flavor ban are the adults vaping legally. It’s also pretty easy for people to add artificial flavors into unflavored nicotine liquid. Usually it’s even less expensive to make it home. There’s going to be a lot of people getting sick because they don’t know what they are doing. A ban would also lead to a black market industry because because you can only get it on the street.

  30. Seattle Police Captain Randal Woolery was arrested in an undercover prostitution sting conducted by his own colleagues

    “I got my rights to do anything I want to do, I’m a police officer.”

    And they would have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for you darn commenters!

    1. Three Indiana judges walk into a strip bar. Who threw the first punch line?

  31. Trump is gutless, spineless, soulless, and brainless.
    Essentially all of the attributes of a sponge … plus a heavy dose of narcissism and megalomania.

    1. Don’t disagree, although I can’t think of a whole lot of Presidents or Presidential candidates who were short on narcissism. Obama was notoriously narcissistic.

    2. Doesn’t say much for you guys that he actually beat you, then.

      1. This is a classic example of assuming anyone who says anything critical of Trump is a liberal, progressive, or supporter of the Democrats.

        1. True, a good deal of them are neocons.

          1. Which doesn’t exactly disprove my point, considering they put up McMullin in a spoiler effort.

        2. “Mike” has never once advocated for liberty.
          Not once.
          “Mike” spends all his time advocating for hearsay-based investigation on behalf of federal mandarins and the intel cabal.
          “Mike” acts like a progressive, while claiming not to be – wholly consistent with progressive behavior, and at odds with libertarians

  32. You should mention that it started off as a hashtag #wevapewevote on twitter and they have a website http://www.wwevapewevote.com it doesn’t take donations and is an awesome project. Give it some credit not just talk so generally.

  33. #IVapeIVote is an old hashtag that is from the liberal party, that is desperately trying to latch on to a non partisan #WEVAPEWEVOTE hashtag and has NOTHING to do with them. What sort of reporting is this?

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