erik lundegaard

Politics posts

Saturday October 17, 2020

Voting Day

Tweeted this the other day:

That was ... Thursday? Just two days ago? Wow. Like everything in the Trump era, it seemed like forever. 

Yesterday evening, Friday evening, our ballots finally arrived. I was going to fill mine out with a glass of hopefully celebratory bourbon but instead waited until this morning with a cup of coffee. I remembered Election Night 2016, that horrible evening, when it suddenly seemed clear that Trump would win, and I immediately stopped drinking. I decided I needed to have my wits about me if I was living in a country dumb enough to elect Donald Fucking Trump president of the United States. So I wanted to send him out with that same feeling. This morning, sitting at my desk, The Stranger endorsements up online, and my Covid-era album, George Harrison's “All Things Must Pass,” playing, I had at it. I went federal office first, tackled the rest (maintain ... maintain ... fuck Tim Eyman, man), then walked both my wife's and my ballots over to the nearest ballot drop box—the one at Seattle Central on Broadway. I think I did that a few years ago? Maybe 2014? That one was a weekday evening and no one was around. This was a cool, drizzly Saturday morning, and in the span of two minutes I think I saw a dozen people drop off their ballots. Almost everyone smiling behind their face masks. It was a good feeling. 

Other differences? I added my email address on the back of the envelope in case there were questions. And I kept the “Remove this stub” stub so I can track the ballot and make sure it's counted. I know Washington isn't a focus but I trust nothing about this guy. 

Again, it felt good. Keep it up. Vote. Assume nothing. Seventeen days.

It's not always going to be this gray.

Posted at 12:11 PM on Saturday October 17, 2020 in category Politics   |   Permalink  

Friday October 16, 2020

Sasse-ing Trump

'What the heck were any of us thinking, that selling a TV-obsessed, narcissistic individual to the American people was a good idea?“

Yes. What the heck were any of you thinking? 

For the past four years, Ben Sasse, U.S. Senator from Nebraska, always seemed like one of those potentially reasonable Republicans who might speak up about the damage Donald Trump is doing to the executive branch, the federal government, American democracy itself. Might is the key word there. He always sounded like he might say something ... and then he wouldn't. And disasters would continue apace.

Three weeks before the 2020 election, during a telephone town hall with constituents (Sasse is running for re-election, too), he finally let loose. Highlights:

  • On COVID: ”He refused to treat it seriously. For months, he treated it like a news-cycle-by-news-cycle P.R. crisis.“ Trump's leadership during the crisis wasn't ”reasonable or responsible, or right.“
  • ”The way he kisses dictators' butts. I mean, the way he ignores that the Uighurs are in literal concentration camps in Xinjiang right now. He hasn't lifted a finger on behalf of the Hong Kongers.“
  • ”The United States now regularly sells out our allies under his leadership, the way he treats women, spends like a drunken sailor.“
  • ”He mocks evangelicals behind closed doors,“ he added. ”His family has treated the presidency like a business opportunity. He's flirted with white supremacists.“

About fucking time. Imagine holding all this in for years. For years

And why is he talking now? Apparently it's the fear of a blue tsunami. It's less the damage Trump is doing to the country, in other words, than the damage he's doing to the GOP:

[Sasse] predicted that a loss by Mr. Trump on Election Day, less than three weeks away, ”looks likely,“ and said that Republicans would face steep repercussions for having backed him so staunchly over four tumultuous years.

”The debate is not going to be, 'Ben Sasse, why were you so mean to Donald Trump?'“ Mr. Sasse said, according to audio obtained by The Washington Examiner and authenticated by The New York Times. ”It's going to be, 'What the heck were any of us thinking, that selling a TV-obsessed, narcissistic individual to the American people was a good idea?'"

Welcome to the party, pal. Looking forward to those steep repercussions. 

Posted at 08:10 AM on Friday October 16, 2020 in category Politics   |   Permalink  

Saturday October 10, 2020

Trump, and the Worse Devils of Our Nature

“When our leaders encourage domestic terrorists, they legitimize their actions. When they stoke and contribute to hate speech, they are complicit. And when a sitting president stands on a national stage refusing to condemn white supremacists and hate groups, as President Trump did when he told the Proud Boys to ”stand back and stand by“ during the first presidential debate, he is complicit. Hate groups heard the president's words not as a rebuke, but as a rallying cry. As a call to action. ... 

”Instead of uniting the country, our president has spent the past seven months denying science, ignoring his own health experts, stoking distrust, and fomenting anger and giving comfort to those who spread fear and hatred and division. He has proved time and again that he is more focused on his chances in the upcoming election and picking fights with me and Democrats across the country than he is on protecting our families, front-line workers and small businesses from covid-19.

“As a result, at least 212,000 Americans are dead. More than 60 million have filed for unemployment. And still, the president has not developed a national strategy on testing, protective medical equipment or masks.”

-- Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, who was the target of a plot by 13 men to kidnap and kill her because she tried to keep her state safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, and was demonized by Trump and right-wing media for doing so. In an Op-Ed in The Washington Post 
encouraging unity.

Twenty-four days away from Nov. 3.

Posted at 12:29 PM on Saturday October 10, 2020 in category Politics   |   Permalink  

Friday October 02, 2020

U.S. Covid Case No. 7,279,109

Thursday night at around 8:00 PM I tweeted the following:

It's Oct. 1 and our “October Surprise” so far has been:

Stay tuned.

Two hours later, Trump tweeted that he and Melania had both tested positive for Covid.

I didn't want this to happen. Not because I'm concerned about Trump. You kidding? No, Trump is a horrific human being who appeals to the worst instincts in people, undermines the rule of law, undermines American democracy itself, embraces dictators and dictatorships, is probably corrupt as hell in his finances, and has bungled the Covid pandemic from the get-go. In January and February, he said it was all going to be fine, he praised President Xi for his actions in China, he claimed that it would go away with the warmer weather, and he called it a hoax and blamed the Democrats and the news media for hyping it. And that was just at the beginning. That was before he began pimping for hydroxychloroquine and bleach. And all the while, he dismissed mask-wearing. He refused to do it, then did it once in a blue moon, then mocked anyone who wore a mask. He accused them of being politically correct. As if it was a matter of politics rather than science. So it's almost karmic that he got it. It's Biblical: As you sow, so shall you reap. This is the reap.

But no, I didn't want him to get it. Because it changes the narrative—slightly. Yesterday, Trump was a horrible human being and everyone knew it. Today, Trump is a horrible human being but let's not say so. He's sick after all. He's at Walter Reed, after all. 

Republicans are already playing to this strategy. Or they're accusing Democrats of low blows even as they're administering them themselves. Joe Biden, of course, has been classy and empathetic throughout, and for the moment his campaign has pulled negative Trump ads. The Trump campaign, no surprise, has not followed suit. They're still assholes. The Republican “R” stands for Ruthlessness. When it's not standing for Racism, Rich Bastards and Russia. 

Under Trump's watch, I'd guess Trump is about U.S. Covid case No. 7,279,109, while more than 200,000 Americans have died from it. I sincerely hope he's not one of them. I hope he gets well soon, so he can get back on the campaign trail and open his piehole and lose votes and lose the election. So we can begin to get back to being a country again. 

Posted at 05:32 PM on Friday October 02, 2020 in category Politics   |   Permalink  

Wednesday September 30, 2020

'This is What Trump is Like. Every Day.'

What—me worry? 

“Republicans are resigned to the fact that Trump is unlikely––or unwilling––to course-correct. 'Trump thinks he won. He didn't,' said another Republican with ties to the campaign. 'But does anyone have the balls to tell him that? No. They'd be fired.'

”Trump doesn't accept the consensus that the debate was a disaster because, sources said, he was unabashedly himself. 'The thing about the debate is people got to see why no one that has any integrity can work for Trump. This is what Trump is like in the Oval Office every day. It's why [John] Kelly left. It's why [Jim] Mattis quit,' said the prominent Republican. 'Trump doesn't let anyone else speak. He really doesn't care what you have to say. He demeans people. He talks over them. And everyone around him thinks it's getting worse.'“

-- from ”Trumpworld Panics Over Debate Fiasco as Campaign Turmoil Mounts," by Gabriel Sherman, on the Vanity Fair site

Posted at 07:18 PM on Wednesday September 30, 2020 in category Politics   |   Permalink  

Wednesday September 30, 2020

Trump's Taxes

I still haven't finished reading all of the New York Times' scoop on Donald Trump's tax returns, written by Russ Buettner, Susanne Craig and Mike McIntire, which broke Sunday afternoon, but the key elements are in the first few grafs: as president of the United States in 2017, Trump paid only $750 in federal taxes; the year before, as a candidate, he paid only $750 in federal taxes. And for 10 of the previous 15 years, he paid no federal income tax at all. 

Nice gig.

Some Dems, of course, with a penchant for turning any victory into defeat, immediately said it didn't matter and that it wouldn't change any minds and then went back to wringing their hands. But there is so much in the article that matters—and some of it may even matter politically. This part:

He reported paying taxes, in turn, on a number of his overseas ventures. In 2017, the president's $750 contribution to the operations of the U.S. government was dwarfed by the $15,598 he or his companies paid in Panama, the $145,400 in India and the $156,824 in the Philippines.

This is on money he made while president—in direct violation of the Foreign Emoluments Clause (Article I, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution), which was designed to prevent federal officeholders from “corrupting foreign influences.” And yes, I know: We've been hearing about that damned Emoluments Clause since Day 1 and it's done jack shit in preventing Trump from such corruption. So no, that's not the part that matters politically. What matters politically is that the president of the United States pays foreign governments taxes but not our government. America First? Not even in the top 10.

Then there's this part, which may not matter politically—it involves math, and you know Americans and math—but it certainly matters in terms of national security:

His revenue from “The Apprentice” and from licensing deals is drying up, and several years ago he sold nearly all the stocks that now might have helped him plug holes in his struggling properties.

The tax audit looms.

And within the next four years, more than $300 million in loans — obligations for which he is personally responsible — will come due.

What does it mean to have a president in hock for half a billion dollars? And whose post-“Apprentice” influxes of cash have been mysterious and probably foreign? Adam Davidson has been writing about this forever. He assumes money laundering.

Back to reading.

Posted at 08:50 AM on Wednesday September 30, 2020 in category Politics   |   Permalink  

Friday September 18, 2020

Is This Why—Dare I Say It—Trump Will Lose?

“Demagogues become popular because they talk about things that matter to people. In 2016, Trump talked about immigration, the opioid crisis and political correctness — things that no one else was talking about. This year, he's talking about things that no one cares about: Confederate flags, Goodyear tires and his Twitter account. He's a demagogue increasingly disconnected from the demos.

”Unlike in 2016, Trump can't afford to talk about the country's biggest problems because he's primarily responsible for them. When he talks about problems, he denies they're problems. He tells sick people they're healthy and unemployed people that the economy is booming. To appeal to voters, he has to lie to them, and on Tuesday he lied to their masked faces. ...

“Campaigns are not about plans. They're about connecting with voters, which Trump so far has failed to do. He has no health care plan and no empathy. Rather than feeling your pain, Trump wants you to feel his.

-- Windsor Mann, a member of USA TODAY's Board of Contributors, and a senior adviser to the Lincoln Project, in the opinion piece “Donald Trump's supervillain ABC town hall made Joe Biden appear almost superhuman,” in USA TODAY

Posted at 11:59 AM on Friday September 18, 2020 in category Politics   |   Permalink  

Tuesday September 08, 2020

The M-A-G-A Took My Country Away

Ramones version here.

Posted at 04:13 PM on Tuesday September 08, 2020 in category Politics   |   Permalink  

Friday September 04, 2020

What Trump Said About the Military

  • On the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris, filled with war dead: “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.”
  • On the 1,800 Marines who lost their lives at Belleau Wood: “suckers.”
  • About World War I: ”Who were the good guys in this war?“ [He also didn't understand why the U.S. would intervene on the side of the Allies.]
  • On flags being lowered half-staff for John McCain: “What the fuck are we doing that for? Guy was a fucking loser.” 
  • On Pres. George H. W. Bush for being shot down by the Japanese during WWII: “loser.” 
  • On the war dead at Arlington, including the son of his then-head of DHS John Kelly: “I don’t get it. What was in it for them?”
  • On having wounded veterans participate in a military parade: “Nobody wants to see that.”

-- from Jeffrey Goldberg's article in The AtlanticThe White House has denied the report. An AP reporter, doubtful, checked with his sources, and they confirmed. A Fox News reporter, Jennifer Griffin, checked with her sources, and they confirmed.

Posted at 02:33 PM on Friday September 04, 2020 in category Politics   |   Permalink  

Friday September 04, 2020

My Talks with Trump III

This is from yesterday. 

In other news, or related news, Trump has ordered his toadies (Bill Barr, et al.) to look into defunding several major American cities, such as Portland, Seattle and New York, because there's supposedly anarchy in the streets. Anarchy? I walk these streets all the time. Nothing close. Even when the CHOP was in full swing in June I walked those streets and never felt threatened; I just felt bored. It was a 1970s crafts fair, not Bosnia 1993. Seattle is beautiful. If there's anarchy, it's coming from inside the White House. And it will keep coming from inside the White House as long as the fat brat is in there. (BTW: Does this mean we don't have to pay federal taxes?)

In other news, The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg reported yesterday that Trump has called U.S. servicemen who died for their country “losers” and “suckers,” and while visiting Arlington National Cemetery with John Kelly, who was at his son Robert's grave, asked, “I don't get it. What was in it for them?” Any other president—any other person—you'd doubt the veracity of the report; but this isn't far afield from what Trump has said in public. Of course, the White House denies the muti-sourced report but an AP reporter, who doubted it, too, reached out to his own sources, and they confirmed.

In other news, Trump is shuttering Stars and Stripes, the military newspaper that's been in existence since the U.S. Civil War. “For no good reason,” says USA Today.

In other news... 

Posted at 08:06 AM on Friday September 04, 2020 in category Politics   |   Permalink  

Tuesday September 01, 2020

Biden on Trump: 'He Can't Stop the Violence Because For Years He Fomented It'

I woke up yesterday morning at 2:30 AM with a heavy heart. Almost literally. It felt heavy with worry. All about the presidential election. I worry Trump will take advantage of protests in the streets to eke out a victory. I think it's a long shot, but he's got a chance. I'll worry about that every day until Nov. 4th. At which point I'll either celebrate or prepare for the worst. Or both. 

Yesterday, at least, was a good day. Biden gave a speech in Pittsburgh that hit the exact right points. My favorite:

“Rioting is not protesting. Looting is not protesting. Setting fires is not protesting. None of this is protesting. It's lawlessness, plain and simple. And those who do it should be prosecuted.”

He needs to say this again and again. And again. Don't assume people know. Make it sink in. 

Also this about Trump:

“He can't stop the violence because for years he's fomented it.” 

And this about himself:

“Ask yourself: Do I look like a radical socialist with a soft spot for rioters? Really? I want a safe America. Safe from Covid, safe from crime and looting, safe from racially motivated violence, safe from bad cops. Let me be crystal clear: safe from four more years of Donald Trump.”

And then last night Donald Trump went on Fox News and compared a policeman who shoots someone in the back seven times to a golfer missing a putt. He said that Portland “has been burning for many years, for decades it's been burning.” He implied that protestors were being paid. And he said the people who were controlling Biden are people in the dark shadows, people you've never heard of, and then talked about people on a plane wearing dark clothes and that “it's being investigated.” He's a loon. 

So it was kind of a good day. But our president is a loon, and the stupid left needs to shape up. There's only one goal now and that's Nov. 3. Eyes on the prize. 

Posted at 02:20 PM on Tuesday September 01, 2020 in category Politics   |   Permalink  

Friday August 28, 2020

Gaffigan Kills

Jim Gaffigan is a standup comic who makes me laugh but isn't, you know, my favorite. He's doesn't push boundaries and his routines don't make me reflect. But he makes me laugh and that's why I follow him on Twitter. We all need a laugh these days. Last night, he gave me more than that. He gave me an absolute burst of truth at the tail-end of four days of lies known as the Republican National Convention.

Know this: Gaffigan is a practicing Catholic and a clean comic—he doesn't swear. He also doesn't come near politics. He also has a lot of red-state fans. That's why what happened last night is so powerful.

Was there any intimation it might come? I guess the night before, Wednesday night, he tweeted simply: “Maybe tomorrow will be better but ...” Just that. Who knows. He could've been talking about dinner. And mostly, in this Covid era, he's been tweeting his kids and his wife, and raising money for a shelter in NYC, and the like. But there it was, Wednesday night: “Maybe tomorrow will be better but ...”

After Trump spoke last night, it was just this: 

 Then nothing for an hour.

And then he went off. Both guns. Blazing. 

  • excuse me while I treat myself to confronting some asshole trolls...
  • Look Trumpers I get it. As a kid I was a cubs fan and I know you stick by your team no matter what but he's a traitor and a con man who doesn't care about you. Deep down you know it. I'm sure you enjoy pissing people off but you know Trump is a liar and a criminal.
  • By the way you can't be against Cancel Culture and tell people to stay out of politics. You know that time you did a job and didn't get paid? That's trump and you know it.
  • I know you hate snobs and elites I get it but look at Ivana and that douche bag Jerod. Think they are on your side? Do you think they've ever done a real days work in their lives. Wake up
  • to those of you who think Im destroying my career wake up. if trump gets elected, the economy will never come back.
  • You know he lies. Constantly. Yet you dont care? What because he insults people that make you and me feel dumb?
  • Fuck Lou Holtz. Biden is Catholic in name only? Compared to who? How many abortions did trump pay for? How many women has he raped? How many times did pull the shit he did in Ukraine. Wake up. He's a crook and a con man.
  • can we stop with this HOLLYWOOD shit. I'm not from Hollywood and Hollywood is just a town. Please say coastal elites (which Trump, Jared and Ivana are) Maybe people on the east and west coasts have different values from yours but they dont like liars and con men like trump.
  • Please dont buy that socialist crap either. Obviously Obama wasn't a socialist. This is all lies to scare you and you know it. Biden is not radical. Are you serious?
  • Remember everything Trump accuses the Democrats of he's guilt of. Dont let the socialist name calling distract you from the fact he is a fascist who has no belief in law.
  • You know Trump just creates enemies. You know you can't trust him. You know he been incompetent during this crisis. You know all those people didn't need to die. Trump talks about the Space Program and you can't safely go to a movie. Wake up
  • Trump budding up with dictators is RADICAL. Trump having interfering with the justice department is RADICAL. Trump pandering to the police and army (I gave 3 raises) is RADICAL.
  • I dont give a fuck if anyone thinks this is virtue signaling or whatever. We need to wake up. We need to call trump the con man and thief that he is.
  • Trump derangement syndrome is part of the con. Wake up. you know Fox News is biased and full of loons. it's how they gaslight and silence criticism. Do you think any of those congressional republicans really believe in Trump or do they fear him dont want to end up like Flake.
  • Trump literally ran Paul Ryan out of politics. Why? Paul Ryan knew Trump was poison. So does Romney. Trump is not a conservative or even a Republican. You know that. You know Barr is dirty. You know if Trump gets re-elected it's over. How many books have to be written?
  • Heading to bed but remember
    - If you want to sound crazy please tell me about THE DEEP STATE.
    - To sound stupid please be against CANCEL CULTURE but then accuse anyone with an opinion of Virtue signaling.
    - Trump Derangement Syndrome is meant to distract from the con of Don

I followed it all in real time. I retweeted it, liked it, loved it, encouraged everyone to follow him. It was just joyous. It gave me hope. 

The part I like best? The assumption that the people he's arguing with know that Trump is dangerous. Gaffigan doesn't give them an out. He doesn't assume they're too dumb or too racist. He tells them right to their faces that they know. He uses the phrase “You know...” 16 times. You know Trump lies, you know you can't trust him, you know Barr is dirty, you know Fox News is biased and full of loons.

God, it made me so happy.

For a moment. And then I read about the left-wing mob picking on elderly Trump supporters in D.C. And today I got into it with other lefties—including friends—who excuse or possibly encourage the destruction of property in the wake of police killings. I.e., Because this guy got shot in the back, then I get to loot that drug store or burn down that restaurant. That'll show 'em. All of that just made me sad. It's the one pathway to a Trump reelection, and the kids, all white, don't seem to care. It's the new form of white privilege. 

But for a moment, last night, Gaffigan killed. Thank you, Jim. 

Posted at 04:22 PM on Friday August 28, 2020 in category Politics   |   Permalink  
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Twitter: @ErikLundegaard

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