Archive for February, 2016

I could write a lengthy article filled with multiple attacks that Sen. Rubio hit Mr. Trump with but I won’t do that here. I did that in this article. I could write about Sen. Rubio hitting Trump with a health care haymaker. I won’t do that because that’s what this article is about. (I am tempted, though, because Sen. Rubio hit Trump so hard on Trump’s answer so hard Trump’s great grandkids will be born with a concussion.)

I could provide links to the various articles out there that talk about how Rubio and Cruz tag-teamed Trump, after which Trump whined that he got too many questions from the moderators. (Yes, that really happened.) Instead of doing those things, I’ll just post this picture because it says it all:

That picture shoots Trump’s criticism that Rubio was sweating all to hell:

“It looked like he just came out of a swimming pool. He was soaking wet,” Trump told CNN’s Chris Cuomo. “He’s a meltdown guy. I mean I look at him, he’s just pouring sweat. … We need somebody that doesn’t sweat.”

Trump would be fun to play poker against. He’s got tons of tells. One thing that’s clear after tonight is that he gets rattled when people question his understanding of issues. The minute that Rubio and Cruz ripped on him, he became unhinged. He started making wild accusations. When the camera panned out, Trump’s posture was terrible, what with his jaw jutting out, his nose in the air.

While Rubio and Cruz both had strong nights, Rubio’s performance was the strongest. He taunted Trump and laughed while he watched Trump disintegrate. At one point, Trump looked like a patient who hadn’t taken his medication for a few days.

The important thing for Cruz and Rubio to do is to keep taunting Trump. Questioning his policies clearly got under Mr. Trump’s skin, too. It exposed him as an empty suit, something that hadn’t been done to this extent prior to last night’s debate.

One other thing that I’ll talk about is Trump’s insistence that he’s pro-Israel. Here’s what Trump said and Sen. Rubio’s response:

TRUMP: I may not be successful in doing it. It’s probably the toughest negotiation anywhere in the world of any kind. OK? But it doesn’t help if I start saying, “I am very pro-Israel, very pro, more than anybody on this stage.” But it doesn’t do any good to start demeaning the neighbors, because I would love to do something with regard to negotiating peace, finally, for Israel and for their neighbors.
RUBIO: I don’t know if Donald realizes this. I’m sure it’s not his intent perhaps. But the position you’ve taken is an anti-Israel position. And here’s why. Because you cannot be an honest broker in a dispute between two sides in which one of the sides is constantly acting in bad faith. The Palestinian Authority has walked away from multiple efforts to make peace, very generous offers from the Israels. Instead, here’s what the Palestinians do. They teach their four- year-old children that killing Jews is a glorious thing. Here’s what Hamas does. They launch rockets and terrorist attacks again Israel on an ongoing basis. The bottom line is, a deal between Israel and the Palestinians, given the current makeup of the Palestinians, is not possible.

And so the next president of the United States needs to be someone like me who will stand firmly on the side of Israel. I’m not — I’m not going to sit here and say, “Oh, I’m not on either side.” I will be on a side. I will be on Israel’s side every single day because they are the only pro-American, free enterprise democracy in the entire Middle East.

Apparently, Trump hasn’t figured it out that the Palestinians are terrorists yet. That’s stunning. Not taking sides between Israel and the Palestinians is taking the terrorists’ side.

Finally, Rubio made this great point:

A couple points, number one, I do think it’s amazing that on this stage tonight there are two descendants of Cuban origin, and an African American. We are the party of diversity, not the Democratic party.

Technorati: Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Opposition Research, Donald Trump, Trump Towers, Illegal Immigration, Obamacare, Israel, Republicans, Election 2016

When the first rumor got out that Jason Lewis was thinking about running for John Kline’s seat, the DFL’s opposition research staffers must’ve smiled for a week. As a former radio talk show host, and a provocative, feisty one at that, Lewis certainly wasn’t a stranger to controversy. It isn’t a stretch to think that the DFL will deploy their war-on-women chanting points if Lewis is the GOP candidate in Minnesota’s Second District.

Let’s hope that they do.

In 2014, I wrote more than a few articles about Mark Udall’s re-election campaign against Cory Gardner. This article, in particular, highlights the fruitlessness of deploying the war-on-women tactic. Sen. Udall used those chanting points too often, leading the Denver post to nickname him Mark Uterus in their article endorsing Sen. Gardner.

The candidate most likely to win the DFL’s endorsement is Angie Craig. Based on her issues page, she sounds like a well-financed, cookie cutter progressive. After watching her debate on Almanac, I’m convinced that that’s who she is. She’s great at reciting her lines but thinking on her feet isn’t a strength.

Make High Quality Public Education and Debt-Free College Our Highest Priorities

In other words, she’s a Bernie Sanders socialist. Either that or a Hillary Clinton socialist. (It’s difficult to distinguish between them.)

Build a Sustainable Economy and Create Meaningful, Good-Paying Jobs

Thank God for Ms. Craig for reminding us that government creates jobs:

Let’s support and reward businesses that create jobs and invest in infrastructure and research and development in America.

I’ve got a better idea. How about getting government out of the way and let businesses do what they naturally do. Like most socialists, Ms. Craig apparently thinks that companies don’t invest in their businesses or R & D. It’s clear that Ms. Craig has never seen this video:

Dr. Friedman was right in saying that “the world runs on individuals pursuing their separate interests. The great achievements of civilization have not come from government bureaus. Einstein didn’t construct his theory under order from a bureaucrat. Henry Ford didn’t revolutionize the automobile industry that way.”

While there’s no question that Minnesota’s Second District isn’t as conservative as it was before redistricting, there’s no question that it’s suddenly a liberal district that will support a socialist. Without interfering in the race, the fact is that Jason Lewis would light this socialist-in-training like a Christmas tree.

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The DFL used to represent ‘the little guy’. Now it’s utterly beholden to Big Labor. Because the DFL is that beholden to the unions, they passed a bill in 2013 that a majority of in-home child care providers opposed. That’s why the DFL made sure to rig the election. That’s why in-home child care providers are suing Gov. Dayton, “Josh Tilsen, commissioner of the Bureau of Mediation Services (BMS), and Emily Johnson Piper, commissioner of the Department of Human Services.”

First, “According to the suit: Only child care providers who were actively registered with the Minnesota Child Care Assistance Programs in the past 12 months and who received subsidies from the program in December 2015 can vote to determine whether AFSCME should represent child care providers. That means only 2,348 providers can vote in an election that was announced by the BMS in January.”

BMS should be sued for rigging an election. AFSCME’s unionization push doesn’t just affect in-home child care providers that care for children whose parents receive assistance. AFSCME wants to be the exclusive negotiator with government on a wide range of issues. Despite that fact, BMS is insisting that the unionization vote be limited to a tiny portion of the child care providers. NOTE: There are over 11,000 in-home child care providers.

AFSCME knows that they’ll get defeated if all 11,000 providers get to vote. In fact, AFSCME knows they’ll get trounced if all child care providers vote.

The legislation and unionization efforts will interfere with other child care providers’ abilities to negotiate contracts directly with their clients, the suit said.

Since these are independent small businesses, they should have the right to pick the people they want representing them before oppressive governments. They should be able to change their mind on that decision a case-by-case basis.

Isn’t it absurd that government is telling these entrepreneurs who can represent them in negotiating with that oppressive government? Distilled to its finest form, that’s what this rigged election is about.

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Donald Trump hasn’t stopped telling us how great of a businessman he is. Included in Trump’s schtick is his bragging about how he’s making fantastic deals with the Chinese. Another part of Mr. Trump’s schtick is talking about how “America doesn’t win anymore” and how America will win again once he’s elected president. Kevin Williamson’s article is utterly devastating. Consider Williamson’s article the official death of Trump’s schtick.

Williamson starts by saying “Trump has a peculiar way of speaking about bankruptcy: He has a deep aversion to the word itself. He speaks of “putting a company into a chapter” without ever answering the implicit question: “Chapter of what? Moby-Dick?” The answer, of course, is the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, to which Trump has taken recourse at least four times over the course of his business career. The chapter in question is the famous Chapter 11, which applies to business bankruptcies. Trump proudly insists that he never has had recourse to Chapter 13, the personal bankruptcy code. This is his apparent justification for saying that he’s never been bankrupt. But of course one of the purposes of Chapter 11 bankruptcy is to keep men such as Donald Trump out of Chapter 13 bankruptcy.”

While that’s a hard-hitting bit of truth, that isn’t the information that will sting Trump the most. This is pretty damaging:

In 2004, Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts, a holding company for various Trump properties including the Taj Mahal and a riverboat-gambling company in Gary, Ind., went into bankruptcy, having acquired $1.8 billion in debt while raising only $130 million through an initial public stock offering. Same story: Trump had borrowed too much money, at a rate he could not afford (15 percent, in fact, which lets you know how credit-worthy the market deems Trump to be), and once again he was obliged to give up most of his ownership stake.

It’s stunning to hear that Trump had to pay a 15% interest rate on anything in 2004. As Williamson said that “lets you know how credit-worthy the market deems Trump to be.” (Not very!) Though that’s devastating, Williamson isn’t done. Here’s more:

Trump’s second bankruptcy came with his acquisition of New York City’s Plaza Hotel. The great dealmaker did essentially the same thing with the Plaza that he had done with the Taj Mahal: He borrowed too much money at rates he could not afford.

Sensing a pattern? If not, you’re a Trump supporter. It gets worse:

Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts was reorganized as Trump Entertainment Resorts . . . which promptly went bankrupt, filing for Chapter 11 protection in 2009. (That’s right: Trump, who wants to be president of these United States, was in bankruptcy that recently.) Too much debt at an interest rate that he couldn’t afford to pay? Check. Loss of ownership? Check. Trump and his daughter, Ivanka, both resigned from the board just before the bankruptcy filing.

The great businessman who insists he’ll negotiate fantastic deals specializes in negotiating terrible deals that have led him into bankruptcy court 4 times. Each time, Mr. Trump did the same thing. He “borrowed too much money at rates he couldn’t afford.” Shouldn’t he have figured out that he was repeating the same mistake after his second bankruptcy?

Trump, the great negotiator, didn’t learn after his second bankruptcy. Trump didn’t learn after his third bankruptcy. I don’t know that he’s learned after his fourth bankruptcy caused by “borrowing too much money at rates he couldn’t afford.” Rather than him campaigning on the slogan that he’ll “Make America great again”, shouldn’t he pay attention to his businesses and keep them from going bankrupt?

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To say that Mark Levin has lost it with regards to Marco Rubio is understatement. His latest diatribe reads like the rantings of an unhinged lefty. One statement that questions Levin’s state of mind starts with him saying “But Rubio has no significant accomplishments other than his election to various public offices. He has few if any accomplishments outside of politics and virtually no accomplishments in public office as a U.S. senator.”

There’s no question that Mr. Levin is a well-informed conservative. That doesn’t mean he’s always right. This time, he’s terribly dishonest. Yuval Levin highlights Sen. Rubio’s biggest accomplishment, saying “The answer, it seems to me, is that none of it would have happened if Rubio had not made the risk-corridor insurer bailout an issue, starting in 2013. Before that, a few health wonks on the right had raised red flags about the issue, but it wasn’t until Rubio and his staff grasped its significance, insistently drew attention to it, and produced a bill to avert an insurer bailout that the issue became prominent among the priorities of Obamacare’s opponents. Rubio was without question the first and most significant congressional voice on this subject, and if he hadn’t done the work he did, the risk-corridor neutralization provision would not have been in last year’s (or this year’s) budget bill.”

Unlike Sen. Cruz, who shut down the government trying to do the impossible, Sen. Rubio highlighted a provision that would have been used to bail out insurance companies, then wrote legislation that was eventually included in a major spending bill that prevents insurance company bailouts. Is Mr. Levin willing to insist that this isn’t a significant accomplishment? If he’s willing to deny the importance of Sen. Rubio’s bailout prevention provision, then he isn’t honest.

Rubio fancies himself the next Ronald Reagan. But such self-aggrandizement is unmerited.

With all due respect to Mr. Levin, who worked in the Reagan administration, I’ll trust Michael Reagan’s word over Levin’s:

If @marcorubio beats Cruz tonight that’s the win of the night….

Levin hasn’t hidden the fact that he’s supporting Sen. Cruz. He’s certainly entitled to do that. What he isn’t entitled to do, though, is use deceptive arguments to make Sen. Cruz’s chief competitor look bad. I’d expect that from a Democrat. I won’t tolerate that from a former member of the Reagan administration.

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According to this article, Marco Rubio is already benefitting from Jeb Bush’s dropping out of the race. He’s benefitting because Bush’s fundraising team has already started writing checks to Conservative Solutions PAC, the pro-Rubio PAC. In turn, Conservative Solutions PAC has already started running their first ad.

According to the article, a “pro-Rubio super PAC, Conservative Solutions PAC, released a new ad Monday, that cast Donald Trump as ‘erratic’ and Ted Cruz as ‘underhanded.’ Officials say it is part of a ‘multimillion-dollar’ campaign ahead of voting in the March 1 Super Tuesday states.” The ad takes advantage of Trump’s erratic facial contortions and his mocking of a handicapped reporter who told the truth about the protests Trump allegedly saw on 9/11.

Thus far, pundits have said that Trump is politically bullet-proof, that he can say whatever he wants without losing support. That’s an untested theory thus far. Most of Jeb’s advertising and Sen. Cruz’s advertising were spent attacking Sen. Rubio. In the few times when people have attacked Trump or when Mr. Trump has spewed his conspiracy theories about 9/11 or praised Obamacare’s individual mandate, Trump’s numbers dropped precipitously.

This ad hits Trump where he’s vulnerable. Further, it hits Sen. Cruz where he’s most vulnerable:

The biggest takeaway from the ad is that the pro-Rubio PAC didn’t hesitate in attacking Mr. Trump. That’s a stark contrast with Sen. Cruz’s habit of pulling his punches. For all of Sen. Cruz’s talk about fighting the “Washington Cartel”, he’s been wimpy when it comes to attacking Trump. Apparently, the pro-Rubio PAC isn’t wimpy.

Sen. Rubio is moving quickly to capitalize on his momentum coming out of South Carolina:

But on Sunday afternoon, Christie supporters heard from none other than Rubio. “The results we got last night in South Carolina were amazing. My opponents and the media had written us off, but we showed them.” began an email from Marco Rubio for President. In the e-mail he claimed the Republican contest was now “a three man race” but acknowledged “we have a lot of work to do” and solicited donations.

With businessman Donald Trump rapidly tightening his grip with back-to-back primary wins, Rubio’s shot at becoming the GOP nominee hinges on quickly accessing Republican “establishment” supporters, many of which were Christie’s, who pulled the plug on his campaign after the New Hampshire primary.

It will be interesting to see if this momentum helps Sen. Rubio win some Super Tuesday primaries or if this puts a dent in Sen. Cruz’s support. If it becomes clear that Sen. Cruz can’t defeat Mr. Trump, things could change quickly. That doesn’t mean Sen. Cruz would drop out of the race. It likely means that his support would drop.

This Washington Post article essentially admits that Sen. Cruz isn’t serious about defeating Donald Trump. It hasn’t been a secret that Sen. Rubio has been the target of tens of millions of dollars of negative advertising from the pro-Cruz Keep the Promise PAC and Gov. Bush and his Right to Rise super PAC. Keep the Promise PAC has announced that they’re planning on advertising “in Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia, with Alabama and Oklahoma also in the mix. The super PAC will air positive ads about Cruz, and its negative ads will focus more on Rubio than on Trump, Conway said.”

There’s no question about whether Sen. Cruz’s GOTV operation is top notch. It’s the best on either side of the aisle. There’s a major question, though, about whether their communications team is ready for prime time. The fact that they just fired Rick Tyler indicates that it isn’t ready for prime time.

More than a few questions are raised about whether the Cruz campaign should be targeting Rubio, especially on the non-issue of attending committee meetings. The fact that they’re targeting Sen. Rubio with those type of ads as opposed to taking on Trump is a sign that Sen. Cruz is pulling his punches against Trump. Whether that’s because he’s intimidated by Trump or whether it’s because he’s admitting he can’t win the nomination is anybody’s guess.

Whatever it is, it isn’t a sign of strength.

The fact that Sen. Cruz fired his chief communications officer opens Sen. Cruz up on charges about whether he’s running a dirty campaign. Here’s what Fox is reporting:

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz said Monday he’s fired campaign communications director Rick Tyler, after his top spokesman promoted a video that wrongly depicted Florida Sen. Marco Rubio as trash-talking the Bible.

The Texas senator announced that he’s asked for the resignation at a press conference Monday afternoon.

“We are not a campaign that is going to question the faith of another candidate. Even if it was true, our campaign should not have sent it. That’s why I’ve asked for Rick Tyler’s resignation,” Cruz said. “The standards of conduct in this campaign have been made absolutely clear.”

Sen. Cruz’s campaign is suffering. He fired Rick Tyler for questioning Sen. Rubio’s statements on faith but he hasn’t done anything with regard to the staffers that spread the vicious rumor that Dr. Carson was getting out of the race after Iowa.

The point is that Sen. Cruz isn’t taking on Mr. Trump. Earlier, Sen. Cruz could argue that he wasn’t going after Trump because he was biding his time. That’s a fair point. The question isn’t at what point will Sen. Cruz unleash the heavy artillery on Trump. Rather, the question is whether he’ll continue pulling his punches.

According to this NY Times article, Laura Ingraham wants the GOP to head in a populist direction. That isn’t leadership. That’s capitulation. That’s handing the nomination to Donald Trump. What’s worst is that it means our courts will be packed with activists whether Trump wins or Hillary wins.

Ms. Ingraham is famous for lecturing the DC insiders for their failures. It’s time to lecture her for her foolishness. Populism is what got this nation into this situation. Populism is liberalism with a different name. Populism isn’t rooted in constitutional principles. Populism is prone to mob rule, which is just a step away from anarchy. Does Ms. Ingraham really want to deal with a system of government where the mob rules? Does Ms. Ingraham prefer government of and by judicial fiat? That’s what populism will give us. In fact, populism will give us that sooner rather than later.

If she doesn’t, then she’d better stop being Trump’s apologist. It isn’t just Ms. Ingraham that’s making this tragic mistake, either. Andrea Tantaros, Eric Bolling and Sean Hannity are making the same mistake. That trio has bent over backwards rationalizing away Mr. Trump’s contradictory statements. This weekend, Hannity went so far as to tell Steve Hayes that Trump didn’t say that he’s in favor of the Obamacare mandate even though there’s video of Trump making that statement during Thursday night’s town hall meeting on CNN:

“The establishment G.O.P. is lying to itself. This election at its core is a rejection of their globalist economic agenda and failed immigration policies — and of rule by the donor class,” said Laura Ingraham, the conservative talk-radio host and political activist. “Millions want the party to go in a more populist direction.”

Ms. Ingraham isn’t really that stupid. You can’t be that stupid and be a Supreme Court law clerk. It’s possible, however, to misdiagnose the root cause of the problem. The economy isn’t failing because of globalism. It’s failing because our taxes are outrageous, the compliance costs of our regulations are crushing businesses and our regulations are designed to crush competition.

When Mr. Trump argues that companies are leaving the United States, he’s right. It’s just that his plan to fix that won’t fix anything. The type of tariffs that Mr. Trump is advocating for kill jobs. President Reagan and President Clinton are the 2 greatest job creators of my lifetime. They both thought that the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act caused the Great Depression. Most economists agree with that.

Trump’s economic plans aren’t rooted in capitalism. They’re rooted in corporatism. Trump hasn’t talked a single sentence during the debates about helping small businesses create jobs. Trump certainly hasn’t said anything about regulatory reform.

William F. Buckley once famously said that “A Conservative is a fellow who is standing athwart history yelling ’Stop!’” It’s time this generation of conservatives stood athwart history yelling ‘Stop’! It’s imperative because American exceptionalism is what’s on trial.

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After Jeb Bush suspended his campaign, Sen. Rubio praised him profusely. Almost instantly, the Bush money machine started supporting Sen. Rubio.

While that’s the most noticeable benefit for Sen. Rubio, it isn’t the only benefit Sen. Rubio will get from Jeb’s decision. Other than in Nevada, where Gov. Bush was in the low single digits, Sen. Rubio will pick up most of Jeb’s support, especially in the important state of Florida. Further, while Trump is gaining momentum by winning, he isn’t expanding his support. Leon Wolf’s post highlights something of a struggle for Mr. Trump when Wolf writes “John McCain’s standing in the national polls went up 10% (per RCP average) between the day of the Iowa caucuses and the day of the South Carolina primary. Mitt Romney’s went up 8.5%. Donald Trump’s went down 1.5%. Donald Trump is not building momentum. He is bitterly opposed by a huge remaining contingent of Republicans.”

South Carolina was a damaging blow to the Cruz campaign because the state should’ve been right in Sen. Cruz’s wheelhouse. Instead, he finished third while losing support all week. As Charles Hurt said last night, if Sen. Cruz can’t win in a state rich with evangelical Christian voters, where can he win? That’s a legitimate question but I don’t want to overreact just on the basis of a single primary.

What’s likely to happen, as I wrote here, is that Sen. Rubio will start picking up endorsements from reform-minded governors like Scott Walker in Wisconsin and Mike Pence in Indiana. He’s certain to gain Mitt Romney’s endorsement soon, too. When/if Scott Walker endorses Sen. Rubio, Sen. Rubio will be able to say that he proudly stands with another great pro-reform governor whose state is working infinitely better than DC. If/when Gov. Pence endorses him, Sen. Rubio will be able to deliver the same message.

Most importantly, though, Gov. Bush’s withdrawal from the race raises the floor of support for Sen. Rubio. If/when Sen. Cruz withdraws, Sen. Rubio will pick up a portion of Sen. Cruz’s supporters. That’s before factoring in the negative ads that will certainly pound Mr. Trump.

Jeb’s attacks weren’t sharp. They certainly didn’t put Trump on the defensive. Imagine a Rubio ad showing Trump taking different positions on different days, then Trump denying that he’s shifted in an interview with Sean Hannity. Then see a question pop up on the screen asking “Mr. Trump, were you lying the first time or were you lying the other time?” You could do that with Iraq, Obamacare and Planned Parenthood, just to name a few targets of opportunity.

Thus far, the punditocracy has said that the rules of politics don’t apply to Mr. Trump. I question that because Mr. Trump hasn’t been hit with barrage after barrage of negative advertising exposing him as a liberal. Mr. Trump’s nutroots base won’t abandon him because they’re delusional. Will that apply to Mr. Trump’s sane supporters? At this point, we don’t know. It will be interesting to find out.

According to multiple reports, including this article, this weekend is probably Jeb’s last political fight. His wealthy fundraisers have stopped raising money for him. His crowds are shrinking. Marco Rubio is winning the key endorsement fights. Morale is low at Jeb! campaign HQ. Other than that, things couldn’t be better.

Things are getting bleak when the article includes a sentence that said “3,000 people showed up to the North Charleston Convention Center, filling just half of the cavernous exhibition hall (by comparison, the day before in a rural town of just 20,000 people, Marco Rubio had drawn more than 2,000 on a Sunday afternoon).” The half-empty convention center was for a Jeb! event. The fact that Sen. Rubio’s crowds in small towns are filled to overflowing has led some on Twitter to joke that Sen. Rubio’s big crowds are turning fire chiefs who have to deal with overflow seating against Sen. Rubio.

Jeb! only wishes he had that problem. Seriously, Jeb! isn’t the campaigner that George W. was. Jeb never was in step during this campaign. He didn’t read his audience. Couple that with the pathetic ads his Right to Rise PAC put on the air and you’ve got a campaign going nowhere fast.

Haley’s endorsement Wednesday stung even more because of an interview Bush had done on his campaign bus just a day earlier, when he told NBC’s Peter Alexander that the Haley endorsement, “if she is to give an endorsement, it would be the most powerful, meaningful one in the state.”

“When they rolled out that clip right after Haley endorsed [Rubio], it was just devastating,” another Florida-based Bush supporter said. “You just shake your head watching that. He should have known better than to say that, unless somehow he had a sense she was going to endorse him. It just shows that he doesn’t get the messaging piece of this, or that he’s insulated from what’s actually happening out there.”

Jeb’s ship is sinking. It isn’t that I love seeing it happen. It’s that that’s just reality.

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