TomCat

Goal: 50 Blue States

 Posted by at 12:09 pm  Politics
Aug 292016
 

When a Presidential election year becomes focused in an individual, who is thoroughly evil to the core, it’s far too easy to lose sight of the fact that Trump is nothing more than a an unfiltered reflection of Republican policies and values. In reality, there are Republicans at every level of government who are just as cruel, making every red state an open wound in need of repair.  Fortunately, we have Paul Krugman to point out such things.

0829medicaidSomething terrible has happened to pregnant women in Texas: their mortality rate has doubled in recent years, and is now comparable to rates in places like Russia or Ukraine. Although researchers into this disaster are careful to say that it can’t be attributed to any one cause, the death surge does coincide with the state’s defunding of Planned Parenthood, which led to the closing of many clinics. And all of this should be seen against the general background of Texas policy, which is extremely hostile toward anything that helps low-income residents.

There’s an important civics lesson here. While many people are focused on national politics, with reason — one sociopath in the White House can ruin your whole day — many crucial decisions are taken at the state and local levels. If the people we elect to these offices are irresponsible, cruel, or both, they can do a lot of damage.

This is especially true when it comes to health care. Even before the Affordable Care Act went into effect, there was wide variation in state policies, especially toward the poor and near-poor. Medicaid has always been a joint federal-state program, in which states have considerable leeway about whom to cover. States with consistently conservative governments generally offered benefits to as few people as the law allowed, sometimes only to adults with children in truly dire poverty. States with more liberal governments extended benefits much more widely. These policy differences were one main reason for a huge divergence in the percentage of the population without insurance, with Texas consistently coming in first in that dismal ranking.

And the gaps have only grown wider since Obamacare went into effect, for two reasons. First, the Supreme Court made the federally-funded expansion of Medicaid, a crucial part of the reform, optional at the state level. This should be a no-brainer: If Washington is willing to provide health insurance to many of your state’s residents — and in so doing pump dollars into your state’s economy — why wouldn’t you say yes? But 19 states, Texas among them, are still refusing free money, denying health care to millions.

Beyond this is the question of whether states are trying to make health reform succeed. California — where Democrats are firmly in control, thanks to the GOP’s alienation of minority voters — shows how it’s supposed to work: The state established its own health exchange, carefully promoting and regulating competition, and engaged in outreach to inform the public and encourage enrollment. The result has been dramatic success in holding down costs and reducing the number of uninsured… [emphasis added]

From <NY Times>

I’ve been using the joke, "Please don’t Californicate Oregon!" for around thirty five years.  That needs to be updated: "Please Californicate Texas!!!"

Every Republican in office is

one Republican too many!

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Aug 292016
 

Today is the last day in the 80°s, and then we have over a week of low 70°s forecast, and I’m really ready for the change.  Last night I slept well for the first time in a week, but feel almost as if I had no sleep at all, so I’m adding a nap to today’s to-do list.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:56 (average 4:31).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: When Dr. Amjad Bahnassi, a psychiatrist who lives in the central Massachusetts city of Worcester, wants to visit his son’s grave, he braces for the drive to the Muslim burial ground in Enfield, Conn., about 60 miles away. It is the nearest cemetery devoted solely to Islamic burials — and, he said, it is filling up.

Dr. Bahnassi, the chairman of the board of the Islamic Society of Greater Worcester, knew the area’s Muslims needed a closer place to bury their dead. The group thought it had found one in rural Dudley, about half an hour away: a patch of more than 50 acres, past a sweet corn stand and deep blue ponds, where there is unused farmland and wetlands hidden from the road by trees and tangled bushes.

But the organization’s proposal to build a cemetery there became a lightning rod in this small town. It was denounced at meetings and ultimately turned down by the Zoning Board of Appeals, prompting charges of bigotry and drawing scrutiny from the United States attorney for Massachusetts, who announced a civil rights investigation on Aug. 18 into the town’s actions.

“I’ve been here since 1983,” Dr. Bahnassi, 56, a Syrian immigrant and an American citizen, said last week as he stood on the land. “I don’t deserve to die here?”

I wonder what bogus explanations Republicans have for this bigoted cruelty. Do they fear being haunted by Radical Islamic Terrorist ghosts?

From Daily Kos: Rudy Mancuso has just put out a clever, funny, and all too real YouTube video showing those of us who have inquiring minds — just what the world might look like through the eyes of a Trump voter.

 

Funny, but all too true. When he reached the bathroom, he should have flushed the glasses, or better yet, flushed Trump.

From The Guardian: Climate change is going to halve the area suitable for coffee production and impact the livelihoods of more than 120 million of the world’s poorest people who rely on the coffee economy, according to a new report by the Climate Institute, commissioned by Fairtrade Australia & New Zealand.

The report findings follow stark warnings by some of the world’s biggest coffee producers, including Starbucks and Lavazza, who have said climate change is posing a severe risk to the industry. [emphasis added]

Dang!! When I regained consciousness after three weeks in a coma last September, the very first thing I asked to be given was coffee. They explained I could not drink it with my tracheostomy ventilator. I pointed to my IV. It’s time to get serious about climate change!!!

Cartoon:

0829Cartoon

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Keep Dreaming His Dream!

 Posted by at 12:20 pm  Politics
Aug 282016
 

0828KingDream

Martin Luther King, Jr. influenced my political thinking more than any other individual.  I was fortunate to have worked under him on Vietnam Summer and to have been present on the Washington Mall fifty-three years ago today on August 28, 1963. It’s hard to believe that we are once again fighting the battle to secure the voting rights won as a result of his dream, and to restore them, where racist Republicans are outlawing the right to vote. After his speech, I need say nothing more.

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Aug 282016
 

Wendy is already on her way here, and I want to get as much as I can written, before she arrives.  Other than dusting and polishing the TomCat, we’ll be cleaning, cooking, changing printer toner, tightening nuts and bolts on my wheelchair, and doing the dreaded task.

That’s as far as I got.  Wendy has come and gone, having accomplished all of the above.  I’m quite tired, so please pardon my brevity.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:34 (average 4:53).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: One day after an audio popped up incriminating Maine’s Republican governor for saying 90% of drug dealers are black and Hispanic, a second video was posted on Friday exposing even more extreme racist and dangerous hate speech. Here is the text is the short 34-second video along with the text where Gov. LePage is basically saying to shoot the enemy — and the enemies are blacks and Hispanics.

“That guy’s a bad guy. I don’t care what color he is.  When you go to war. If you know the enemy, the enemy dressed in red and you dress in blue, you shoot at red — don’ t shoot! Kem, you’ve been in uniform. You shoot at the enemy. You try to identify the enemy. And the enemy right now, the overwhelming majority of people coming here (to the United States) are people of color, or people of hispanic origin.”

Barf Bag Alert!

 

The only reason this Republican racist keeps winning is that opposing votes are split between a Democratic candidate and a third party candidate.

From Alternet: Sarah Palin, still feeling the Trump love from afar, but a teeny bit worried.

Like Ann Coulter, Sarah Palin loves her some Trump, even if his campaign has done its darndest to keep her at arm’s length after she made some truly incoherent speeches on his behalf. But like Coulter, Palin is a little worried that Trump might be going soft on all those rapists Mexico is sending here.

On Thursday, Palin decided to phone it in to Fox’s Eric Bolling, who was sitting in for Bill O’Reilly. Her main point: Donald is still going to build that wall. “Donald Trump understands that enforcing the laws and building that wall are paramount to what the will of the people is, and thank God, he’s still preachin’ that!” she reassured the worried Fox audience.

Hallelujah!

Apart from the wall, Palin also had some carefully considered, reality-based plans to discourage people who are here illegally. “Well, we have to quit incentivizing those who are here illegally, keeping them here, by not employing them, not giving them free health care, free college, free phones, free Happy Meals, free anything!” she said.

WTF is she talking about!

Perhaps Katrina Pierson summed up the whole Trump campaign words-to-reality-relationship best this week when she explained that contrary to appearances, Donald Trump was still the same old bigot he always was. “He hasn’t changed his position (on immigration),” she said. “He has changed the words he is saying.”

Well, that certainly clears everything up!

Maybe Bloody Bullseye Barbie will try labeling minority areas with gun sights. It worked when she did it to Gabby Giffords. This is just the fifth of five listed dumb Republican assertions from last week alone. Click through for the other four.

From Crooks and Liars:

Meet Jessica Jin. Texas Tribune:The Cocks Not Glocks movement was created by UT alumna Jessica Jin last October after she learned that sex toys, but not firearms, would still be banned in classrooms.

“As long as you have a dick on your backpack, people will be thinking about the guns inside of other people backpacks” Jin said Tuesday, dildo strapped to her backpack.

On the Cocks Not Glocks Facebook event, Jin wrote: “The State of Texas has decided that it is not at all obnoxious to allow deadly concealed weapons in classrooms, however it does have strict rules about free sexual expression, to protect your innocence. You would receive a citation for taking a dildo to class before you would get in trouble for taking a gun to class.

 

Kudos to the protestors, but they better not point their dildos at TX cops!! They’d be gunned down.

Cartoon:

0828Cartoon

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Aug 272016
 

In a recent conversation, I was asked to explain Alt-Right.  I said that it refers to a a loose coalition of Republicans, fascists, white nationalists, bigots, misogynists and and homophobes that usually encourages their followers to express their hatred through violence.

0827alt-right

Like all political movements, the alt-right has its own lexicon and memes, as well as its own interpretation of news events. Below you’ll find a brief list of terms you may use as a guide if you care to visit the swamps in which adherents to this 21st-century version of white supremacist ideology reside.

1. Alt-right. As Julie Andrews once sang before her character fled the Nazis: “Let’s start at the very beginning.” The term “alt-right” is shorthand for "alternative right." Just as, say, alt folk musicians envisioned themselves as a more modern, hipper iteration of the Dylan-era folk music that preceded them (which really wasn’t folk music at all, but I digress), alt-righties perceive their movement to be the tweaked-for-millennial-consumption adaptation of the ideologies professed by such uncool paleoconservatives as Cranky Uncle Pat Buchanan and Klanboy David Duke.

There are, however, disagreements among alt-righties on the scope of their hatred. The self-parodying Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos, for example, wears his gay identity as a badge, even as he spews vitriol against Muslims and blacks. Others who wear the alt-right label, such as the Daily Stormer’s Andrew Anglin, spurn Yiannopoulos as a “degenerate.” Yiannopoulos’ latest badge of courage is being banned by Twitter for his racist dogging of actor/comedian Leslie Jones, a star of the all-female reboot of Ghostbusters. (Since then, Jones’ personal accounts have been hacked in a brutal cyberattack.)

One form of hatred that appears to unite alt-righties? Misogyny. Man, do they hate feminists! Yiannopoulos even did a lecture tour titled, “Feminism is cancer.”

Gearing up a Twitter offensive in advance of Hillary Clinton’s speech in Reno about the alt-right, #altright members on Twitter set out to define their own movement.

#AltRight means you don’t think a room full of white males is a problem to be fixed,” wrote @hateful_heritic.

#AltRightMeans it’s time to oppose HUD/Section8 housing moving blacks into the suburbs. Save our White neighborhoods”, added@_AltRight_, with an accompanying photo of a lone white man in a swimming pool, surrounded by dark-skinned people.Some posted Richard B. Spencer’s white-identity video, “Who are we?” (Money quote: “I’m a Roman, a Briton, a Dane…”)

From <Alternet>

Here is that "white identity" video.  It contains hateful propaganda to justify white supremacy.

Barf Bag Alert!!!

Note the closing implied call to violence, using "RISE" displayed within flames.

The article’s list of terms you need to understand Alt-Right has seven terms.  I shared one.  Click through for the other sic.

Thinking back to my original conversation, I think they should be called Alt-Wrong.

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Aug 272016
 

The excessive heat warning in Portland has been lifted, and we have three days in the 80°s before dropping into the 70°s.  However, it will take a few days for the building to bleed off the heat.  At 6:00 AM the temperature in the hallway right outside my door was 92°, and my A/C has not stopped running full blast trying to get the room temperature down to 76°.  I have completed most of the optimizing here at the site.  This morning, I took a Lona nap, and am ready for several more.  I can’t wait for my shower tomorrow morning.  I exchanged texts with Julie.  She and Killer Dawg send greetings.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:25 (average 4:19).  To do it, click here. (Yum?)  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Earlier this month Daily Kos endorsed Christina Hartman for Pennsylvania’s open 16th Congressional District, part of our effort to identify strong Democratic candidates targeting GOP-held seats this year who could benefit from your support.

Hartman’s Republican opponent Lloyd Smucker has noticed, and in a new fundraising email his campaign is sounding the alarm bells to supporters. Oh noes! The radical ultra progressives are on the move!

Recently, the Daily Kos, a liberal, left wing but influential website endorsed our opponent. They only support candidates who believe the same ultra progressive agenda that they do. Their agenda is bad for America and bad for the residents of the 16th district.This endorsement will open the floodgates of financial support for her.

And may Christina Hartman boot that Republican mother-Smucker right into the unemployment line!

From The New Yorker: Calling it a “scary moment” and a “close call,” Donald Trump’s campaign officials confirmed that they had recaptured Mike Pence after the Indiana governor attempted to flee the campaign bus in the early hours of Friday morning.

According to the campaign, Pence had asked to stop at a McDonald’s in rural Virginia so that he could use the bathroom, but aides grew concerned when the governor failed to reappear after twenty minutes.

After determining that Pence had given them the slip, Trump staffers fanned out across the Virginia backcountry, where the governor was believed to have fled.

News that Pence had vanished touched off a panic in Indiana, where residents feared that he might return to resume his political career.

LOL Andy! As I see it, Pence crucified himself the minute he became Rump Dump’s running mate.

From NY Times: He led his government to a crushing defeat at the polls last October, then ceded his office to Justin Trudeau and largely vanished from public view. Now, 10 months later, Stephen Harper, the former Conservative prime minister of Canada, says he is giving up his seat in Parliament and quitting politics.

I wish I had a video clip of the Squatch doing her happy dance!!

Cartoon:

0827Cartoon

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Aug 262016
 

Last night, I stayed up late to optimize our site.  First, I analyzed the load times for plugins and found that we had a huge resource hog.  Our Top Commentators plugin used more than three times the resources of all our other plugins combined and was adding 33% to the time it took to load every page.  I really liked it, but dang!!  I took it out.  Next, I optimized the database.  Most important, I have begun optimizing images.  We have over 25,000.  One I have the old ones done, I’ve set up a service to automatically optimize new ones for about $10 per month.  Now I get to venture into the heat for abuse.  I’ll finish when I return.

PT went very well.  Courtney was merciless, but I managed all her tasks.  I stopped at the bank on the way home, but when I got here the elevator was out of service AGAIN.  I had to wait in the heat for an hour, before the repair tech could run the assembled cripples upstairs.  In the interim, I’ve wilted.  This is my only article today.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:48 (average 4:15).  To do it, click here. How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: Warren Hinckle, the flamboyant editor who made Ramparts magazine a powerful national voice for the radical left in the 1960s and later by championing the work of Hunter S. Thompson and helping introduce the no-holds-barred reporting style known as gonzo journalism, died on Thursday. He was 77.

The cause was complications of pneumonia, his daughter Pia Hinckle said.

Ramparts was a small-circulation quarterly for liberal Roman Catholics when Mr. Hinckle began writing for and promoting it in the early 1960s. A born provocateur with a keen sense of public relations, he took over as the executive editor in 1964 and immediately set about transforming Ramparts from a sleepy intellectual journal to a slickly produced, crusading political magazine that galvanized the American left.

0826Ramparts

RIP Warren. Back in the day, I used to read every issue of Ramparts.

From Alternet:

Here are 12 examples [of Rump Dump Racism] cited by Clinton.

1. Deeply Insulting African Americans: Trump’s remarks show he has no appreciation for black culture or achievement, Clinton said, but instead utters one ugly cliche after another. “In just the past week, under the guise of ‘outreach’ to African Americans, Trump has stood up in front of largely white audiences and described black communities in such insulting and ignorant terms. ‘Poverty. Rejection.  Horrible education. No housing. No homes. No ownership. Crime at levels nobody has seen.’ ‘Right now,’ he said, ‘you walk down the street and get shot.’ Those are his words.”

2. Racist then, racist now: Trump has a decades-old history of mistreating and stereotyping blacks, Clinton said, starting with his refusal to rent New York City apartments to them. “When he was getting his start in business, he was sued by the Justice Department for refusing to rent apartments to black and Latino tenants,” she said. “Their applications would be marked with a C—C for ‘colored’—and then rejected. Three years later, the Justice Department took Trump back to court because he hadn’t changed… And the pattern continued through the decades. State regulators fined one of Trump’s casinos for repeatedly removing black dealers from the floor. No wonder the turnover rate for his minority employees was way above average.”

3. His racist lies don’t stop: Before the 2016 presidential election, Trump was at the forefront of the right-wing effort to discredit President Obama’s legitimacy by questioning his national origin. “Let’s not forget that Trump first gained political prominence leading the charge for the so-called birthers,” she said. “He promoted the racist lie that President Obama is not really an American citizen; part of a sustained effort to delegitimize America’s first black president. In 2015, Trump launched his own campaign for president with another racist lie. He described Mexican immigrants as rapists and criminals. And he accused the Mexican government of actively sending them across the border. None of that is true.”

I shared three. Click through for the other nine.

From Crooks and Liars: This is unreal. Kellyanne Conway graced the set of The Rachel Maddow Show last night. Among other things, Rachel asked about the "pivot" away from a total ban on Muslims to an "extreme vetting" of those entering the United States.

As usual, Rachel had clearly done her homework. The "extreme vetting" that the Trump campaign correctly identifies as originating during the Cold War, was vetoed by Harry Truman, passed as an override by Congress anyway, and then found unconstitutional. By all modern legal measures, the similar Trump proposal would also be found unconstitutional.

 

No matter how many times Rachel said it’s unconstitutional, Conway ignored her and circled back to her talking points. Like other Republicans, Trump’s Rectumites don’t care about the Constitution.

Cartoon:

0826Cartoon

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Bernie’s Revolution

 Posted by at 10:26 am  Politics
Aug 252016
 

0825sandersthoughtful

Here is the complete video for the kickoff of Our Revolution, as proposed, promised and delivered by Bernie Sanders, if you missed it, or if you want to watch it again.  Bernie was in his normal superb form and said nothing with which I disagree.

I strongly encourage you to sign up to help, and help him however you can.  Also, let's not forget that Bernie said nothing is more important than electing Hillary Clinton to keep Trump out of the White House.

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Aug 252016
 

Yesterday the heat returned, groceries were delivered, and Wendy came for kitty-primping.  When I got out of the shower and dried, by the time I got back to my apartment, I had to dry off the sweat.  Finally, the site turned to mud, so I spent the first couple hours after breakfast on the phone with tech support.  The problem was that PP was chocking the cache system designed to speed up page load, because we have thousands of graphics that are poorly optimized.  She turned off the cache system and that fixed the problem.  However, cobbling the site together by someone who isn’t an IT pro (me) has taken its toll over the years.  The tech sent me detailed instructions on how to optimize all aspects of the site.  It looks like I have many hours of work to do in the coming months.  Tomorrow, I need to venture into the heat to submit to torture from Courtney, my Physical Terrorist.  Therefore I will probably have no more then a Personal Update for you tomorrow.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:22 (average 4:56).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: Another Earth could be circling the star right next door to us.

Astronomers announced on Wednesday that they had detected a planet orbiting Proxima Centauri, the closest neighbor to our solar system. Intriguingly, the planet is in the star’s “Goldilocks zone,” where it may be neither too hot nor too cold. That means liquid water could exist at the surface, raising the possibility for life.

Although observations in recent years, particularly by NASA’s Kepler planet-finding mission, have uncovered a bounty of Earth-size worlds throughout the galaxy, this one holds particular promise because it might someday, decades from now, be possible to reach. It’s 4.2 light-years, or 25 trillion miles, away from Earth, which is extremely close in cosmic terms.

When I first heard this, I thought it might be a good place to put Republicans, but on further consideration, a mere 4.2 light years is just too damn close!!

From Daily Kos: Many people who are prone to allergic attacks are also prone to having their throat air passages close from the internal swelling and inflammation. Without immediate treatment this can cause many children and adults to suffocate and die. They die a terrifying death of asphyxiation.

In 1977, the life-saving Epi-Pen was created. The self-injecting shot of adrenaline can sometimes halt the air passages from closing further, for a brief period, which gives the victim more time to seek emergency care.

A pharmaceutical company called Mylan [capitalist pig delinked] acquired the EpiPen in 2007, and immediately began hiking up the prices to a whopping 600%. That’s wonderful for the multi-billion dollar company, and it’s been awesome for Mylan CEO Heather Bresch who gave herself a big fat pay raise. Reports show that from 2007 to 2015, Bresch’s total compensation went from $2,453,456 to $18,931,068 [capitalist pig delinked] — yet she can’t afford to offer her “generic” drug at a fair price in order to save the lives of those who are in need and don’t know how to obtain the life-saving medication any other way.

As a former volunteer firefighter, I have used an EpiPen to save a life. I have seen what it does and now necessary it is for someone suffering a life-threatening allergic reaction. Heather Bresch’s Republican greed is obscene!

From The New Yorker: Calling it “the best use of our resources at this time,” the Republican National Committee has decided to pull money originally earmarked for Trump campaign ads and spend it on alcohol instead.

According to the R.N.C. chairman Reince Priebus, the decision to reallocate the funds from television advertising to alcoholic beverages came after careful review of the polling in crucial battleground states.

“With about seventy days to go until the election, we had to consider what was the optimal way for us to get through those seventy days,” he added. “We are confident that we have found that way.”

“The decision was unanimous,” he added.

Dang Andy!! If you’re right, that’s the most intelligent idea for Republicans I’ve heard.

Cartoon:

0825Cartoon

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Aug 242016
 

I’ve looked forward to the kickoff to Our Revolution for some time and will watch what I can of it tonight, but I’ll be tied up with home care.  I was very disappointed to learn that several of his aides abandoned him at the last moment and hope he can proceed with it. I’ll reserve judgment until more info comes out, but fear that some Berners are burning Bernie.

0824map

A week before its launch, a liberal advocacy group started by former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ campaign staffers as the next stage in the "political revolution" is facing a liberal civil war.

One-third of the 15-person team Sanders put together to run a nonprofit advocacy group focusing on issues of election reform and economic inequality have quit amid a heated internal debate about how the organization should be structured, who should run it and whether its existence as a nonprofit violated campaign finance laws prohibiting electioneering by such groups.

ABC News reported last week that former Sanders campaign manager and longtime adviser Jeff Weaver was tapped by Sanders’ wife, Jane, to lead the new group "Our Revolution." Weaver’s presence reignited an internal rift between old guard Sanders advisers like Weaver and the younger generation of political operatives who helped make Sanders a political sensation in the age of digital campaigning…

From <UPI>

It seems like a power play, as Rachel Maddow pointed out.

Unless I hear reasons to change my mind, I would tend to support Weaver, because Jane would not have brought in Weaver, if he wasn’t who Bernie wanted.  Also the younger operatives have been unable to raise money the way they could with Bernie in the race.

Also, as I’ve been researching this story, I’ve noticed many comments to the effect that if "Our Revolution" includes Hillary voters, then they need to move ahead without Bernie.  I can guarantee them that "Our Revolution" includes Hillary voters.  Bernie is one.  Bernie Sanders has done more for progressive politics that anyone else in this century.  Abandoning him over hatred for Hillary, if that’s what’s behind this issue, is the most shameful thing they could do.  Time will tell.

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