Thursday, March 28, 2024

Newsletter in the Strict Sense of the Term


Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ) in the Capitol just after midnight, January 7, 2021, helping to clean up the garbage left by the marauding Yahoos. Photo by Andrew Harnik/AP via NBC News.

Unbelievable torrents of news over the last few days, as if coming down on us from one of those "atmospheric rivers" they have in California now (of which I have a mental picture like a Dr. Seuss drawing, with foamy, roiling blue waves at the border of the stratosphere and lots of careless but energetic fish doing aerial maneuvers).


In New Jersey, First Lady Tammy Murphy dropped out of the Democratic primary race to replace the abominable Senator Robert Menendez, now under indictment for (among other things) representing Egypt instead of New Jersey on the foreign affairs committee, though he still claims to be running as an independent. The presumptive nominee, Rep. Andy Kim of the suburban district 3 east of Philadelphia, filed immediately after Menendez's indictment, but Murphy seemed inevitable, with her husband's political might behind her and the special Jersey trick known as the County Line, where 19 of the state's 21 counties print their own primary ballots with a top line which the voter can pick to vote for all the candidates endorsed by their party machine at one blow, which generally always wins.

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Literary Corner: Just as Phony as It Can Be

To the tune of:


Gee but I'm happy to be back
Back at the Mar-a La... go
Where I have all the stuff I lack
When I'm on the road and fighting the Gesta... po
It's the same dilemma
Everywhere I go
I get charged with libel
When I'm only tryin to sell you a Bible
And I'm slapped with another indictment
When I only want to spark some excitement
Just tryin to keep the customer satisfied

Federal judge complains to me
Why you lyin to the bank... boy
You have lost your dignity
And now you're really lookin like a skank
It's the same dilemma
Everywhere I go
I get found liable
For a thing that people do in the Bible
And the rage increases
When I'm only tryin to get close to Jesus
But I'm trying to keep my customers satisfied
I don't really have a lot to say, except the news that Trump has gone into Bible sales made me think of the lovable Peter Bogdanovich movie with Ryan and Tatum O'Neal and Ryan O'Neal's death a few months ago and all the goodness and humor that seems to have disappeared from the world.

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Literary Corner: So Vicious, So Horrible, So Beautiful

Martin Sheen as General Lee cheered by the brigades under his direct command, the Army of Northern Virginia, played by unpaid Civil War reenactors, I'm unable to determine at which point in the story (but probably near the beginning, when these troops arrive in Pennsylvania), in Ronald F. Maxwell's 1993 film Gettysburg. It's part of the lore of the movie that the whole sequence is entirely spontaneous, not part of the script but improvised unbidden by the extras, filmed only because the camera operators realized something exceptional was happening and Sheen was responding in kind, which he does, really gorgeously.

Never Fight Uphill, Me Boys

By Donald J. Trump, 45th President of the United States

Gettysburg, what an unbelievable battle
that was. It was so much, and so interesting,
and so vicious and horrible, and so beautiful
in so many different ways—it represented
such a big portion of the success
of this country. Gettysburg, wow—
I go to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania,
to look and to watch. And the statement
of Robert E. Lee, who's no longer in favor—
did you ever notice it? He's no
longer in favor. "Never fight
uphill, me boys, never fight uphill!"
They were fighting uphill, he said.
Wow, that was a big mistake. He lost
his big general. "Never fight uphill,
me boys," but it was too late.

Much Worse Than Bloodbaths

 Something from the Republicans on ci-devant Twitter:

Folks, I think President Biden is merely trying to take the Ex-Guy seriously but not literally, as the very serious journalist Salena Zito advised us back in the day, and the very serious billionaire investor Peter Thiel, cheerfully plagiarizing her (he has nothing to fear from Christopher Rufo) in a talk at the National Press Club:

I think one thing that should be distinguished here is that the media is always taking Trump literally. It never takes him seriously, but it always takes him literally. ... I think a lot of voters who vote for Trump take Trump seriously but not literally, so when they hear things like the Muslim comment or the wall comment, their question is not, ‘Are you going to build a wall like the Great Wall of China?’ or, you know, ‘How exactly are you going to enforce these tests?’ What they hear is we’re going to have a saner, more sensible immigration policy.

So Trump never told people to inject themselves with bleach as a COVID cure, not literally; he merely said he thought it might be a good idea, injecting it or using it for "almost a cleaning", that or light, or UV, that was the bit that got me, the idea of injecting people with light, or sticking it in you "some other way", which he believed William Bryan, head of science and technology at the DHS, had just told the press conference about, while Trump complacently "clasped his hands in front of his stomach", as Politico later wrote, before offering his own remarks:

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

The Normalizing

Semaphore tower, via Encyclopedia Brittanica.

The Semafor story ("How Donald Trump learned to love the January 6 prisoner movement") about the lengthy evolution of Trump's views on the January 6 insurgents—

A detailed examination of his public statements and ten interviews with people now involved in the movement to support January 6 defendants show a gradual path from Trump’s instinctive support for some of the most hardcore members of his own MAGA movement to a semi-formal alliance with an organization founded by the family member of a January 6 convict.

—is the most classic example I've seen in a long time of the Trump "normalization" narrative, portraying the ex-president as a deliberative thinker, carefully considering how to respond to a problem, right from the lede

On January 7, 2021, as shell-shocked staffers swept up the Capitol and National Guard troops patrolled the Mall, President Donald Trump released a video denouncing the “heinous attack on the United States Capitol.” He declared himself “outraged by the violence, lawlessness and mayhem” and promised “to those who broke the law, you will pay.”

As if he'd had anything in particular to do even with writing the text for that video, which he read aloud in his most dead-voiced, resentful fourth-grader manner, making one of his typical reading-disability errors (because the phrase "in so doing" is a little too fancy for him),

Friday, March 15, 2024

Word and Deed

Gaza around the turn of the 20th century, via Palestine Remembered.

Jonathan Capehart was on my radio yesterday morning, talking about his NBC interview last week of President Biden, and they came to this exceptionally fraught moment:

Jonathan Capehart (06:22):

Some have suggested you should go back to Israel and address the Knesset, the Israeli parliament. Is that something you would do?

President Joe Biden (06:31):


Jonathan Capehart (06:35):

Would that have to be at the invitation of the Prime Minister or could that be at the invitation of the President?

President Joe Biden (06:42 [after a pretty substantial pause]):

I’d rather not discuss it more.

Biden didn't mind saying he might address the Knesset, but he didn't want to say who might be inviting him. Or rather, since you wouldn't expect it to happen other than by an invitation from Prime Minister Netanyahu, who is by definition the head of the government in the Knesset, and runs the things that happen there, he didn't want to say that it might be from somebody else, such as President Herzog, the head of state (whose only direct interaction with the Knesset is when he's accepting the resignation of a prime minister, or inviting a politician to try to form a new government). Or he couldn't or at least didn't want to deny that he might have an invitation from President Herzog, let's say, so he preferred to drop the subject and let Capehart make of it what he would.

Brian Lehrer, the host of the radio show, was suitably gobsmacked, and expressed himself, as people so often do, with a "can you imagine" scenario, like "Can you imagine if some foreign leader came to Washington and addressed Congress over the head of President Biden?"

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

News From Bob-Bob


This is just maddening. I don't know about Rodgers, but there's no way WWE wrestling great and former politician Jesse Ventura is signing on to Bob-Bob's campaign. He's been a fervent advocate of masking

Former Minnesota governor and professional wrestler Jesse Ventura shared harsh words for non-mask wearers amid the pandemic, saying had Americans refused to make similar sacrifices during World War II that Adolf Hitler would have won the war. 

"The country sacrificed in WWII. Do you think there would have been any argument over wearing a mask for the people of WWII? I’ll tell you if we behaved like we are right now, Hitler would have won," said Ventura. "He’d a won because this country won’t face any type of – they don't want to sacrifice."

and of COVID vaccine

It seems as if Bob-Bob may have been misled by SOMETHING ON THE INTERNET like the thing where some fool showed up on one of Ventura's TV shows in 2009—

An old video, from a TV show aired in 2009 named “Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura” is doing rounds on social media. The video is getting attention on social media as several users are linking it to the COVID vaccination drive that was started in 2021.
In the show Jesse Ventura and his team of investigators examined mysterious conspiracy allegations of recent times.

In the video we see a woman, who is said to be Dr Lima Raibow, speaking about how the World Health Organisation (WHO) has been working on vaccines since 1974 to cause permanent sterility worldwide. In the video Dr Lima says that the WHO is concerned about the “90% too many people in the world” hinting that the UN agency is planning to depopulate the world on a large scale under an inoculation program.

—and decided that this piece of (irresponsible and irritating) showbiz represented his kind of people, without bothering to ask Jesse what he actually thought about the matter.

In this, Jesse is in the same position as Martin Sheen, Dionne Warwick, Mike Tyson, and Andrea Boccelli, artists that Bob-Bob announced would be coming to his birthday party before they had RSVP'd.  

American Values promoted the event last week by sharing it on X, previously known as Twitter, and the Daily Mail reported the appearance of all four stars at the gala. CBS News obtained a copy of the invitation, and although it didn't include the names of the artists, the super PAC confirmed the report.

But soon after the PAC's social media post appeared, Sheen said in an Instagram story, "I do not endorse RFK Jr. nor I will I be attending his party." Sheen, who played fictional President and former New Hampshire Gov. Josiah Bartlett in the award-winning show, added that he's "whole heartedly supporting Joe Biden and the Democratic ticket for 2024."

And Warwick and Boccelli followed up soon after saying the same thing. Last I heard we didn't know about Killer Mike. And Bob-Bob followed up by announcing he wasn't going to the party either.

This announcement is just more of the same. Bob-Bob is a completely unserious person, and if you take him seriously you're being a fool. Don't do it.

Monday, March 11, 2024

But Look, Clearly


Screen capture via Fox 5 San Diego. Rep. Greene looking a little like Spike Lee at a Knicks game, if the Knicks wore red, except Spike knows the difference between a basketball game and a joint session of Congress.

I'm just not ready to stop talking about the SOTU, because there are still more ways in which it was totally unique that I haven't gotten to, in the laundry list body of the speech as well, like when he warned the attendant justices of the Supreme Court that overturning Roe v. Wade had been a serious political mistake, throwing their own words in their faces:

Look, in its decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court majority wrote the following, and with all due respect, justices, “Women are not without electoral, electoral power” — excuse me — “electoral or political power.” You’re about to realize just how much you got right about that.

Clearly, clearly, those bragging about overturning Roe v. Wade have no clue about the power of women. But they found out when reproductive freedom was on the ballot. We won in 2022 and 2023, and we will win again in 2024.

If you, the American people, send me a Congress that supports the right to choose, I promise you, I will restore Roe v. Wade as the law of the land again.

Some nominal supporters of abortion rights were stomping on this because Roe v. Wade wasn't, in fact, all that radical, allowing states to set whatever restrictions they wanted on terminating pregnancy after 24 weeks, but those critics might not be aware of what "codifying Roe" has come to mean since Dobbs. It's not your grandfather's Roe, as evidenced by the formula advanced by Abigail Spanberger (D-VA, not known as a wild-eyed leftist):

The Spanberger-backed legislation would create a statutory right for providers to provide and patients to receive an abortion — without facing medically unnecessary restrictions. The bill would also block the government from requiring providers to provide inaccurate information to patients, remove the ability to require that patients make medically unnecessary in-person visits before receiving an abortion, and restrict the government from forcing patients to disclose their reasons for seeking an abortion before receiving care. 

Proponents are now rejecting the ahistorical idea that fetuses have rights that compete with those of the pregnant person, regardless of Justice Alito's bogus arguments. The new version is an unqualified right for the person with the womb.

He's also taken heat for referring to the man who has been charged with murdering a University of Georgia nursing student last month as "an illegal" in the speech, during his back-and-forth with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, although the way he used the word suggested he wan't entirely familiar with it (I think he picked it up from whatever Greene howled at him, but I'm not finding a report of her exact words):

Lincoln [recte Laken] Riley, an innocent young woman who was killed by an illegal, that’s right. But how many thousands of people are being killed by legals?

What are "legals"? Sounds like he means legal immigrants, who are of course the least likely people in the United States to commit a violent crime, or any crime at all. The most likely are those who are citizens by birth, with the undocumented being somewhere between. (The best-confirmed example is homicide convictions: 2.8 per 100,000 US-born residents, 2.4 per 100,000 undocumented foreign residents, and 1.1 per 100,000 for the documented foreign-born.) Given that there are maybe 13 million undocumented  migrants and 30 million documented ones vs. about 285 million US-born, that certainly adds up to thousands of killings by the last group for each one by the first.

José Antonio Ibarra, the alleged murderer, is a Venezuelan asylum seeker, and thus not exactly "illegal" anyway. He and his then wife and her child crossed the border at an unlawful spot near El Paso in September 2022 and surrendered to CBP, which paroled them, and then somebody, presumably Governor Greg Abbott, had them bused to New York, where they were given court dates, and where he found work delivering meals and maybe got busted in Queens for endangering the welfare of a child, riding his moped with the wife's kid on his back, with no helmet (but NYPD has no record of the arrest). He eventually left New York to join his brother, who was living with a fake green card in Athens, Georgia, and found work there, but made his immigration court appearance in New York in December, and then apparently did this horrible thing, killing Laken Riley with a blunt instrument and dragging her body into the woods, though the wife continues to doubt he was the one who did it:

“We got married so we could join our asylum cases,” she told The Post. “He was the person I thought I could see through. We’ve known each other our entire lives. He wasn’t aggressive, none of that,” she said. “We had problems as a couple but our problems weren’t physical. We wouldn’t punch but we’d raise our voices."

Completely lost in the discussion is the thing Biden actually said to Greene after that, his important comment on the case, improvised away from the written text, which a lot of listeners may not have understood, though the congressmembers definitely should have:

To her parents, I say, my heart goes out to you having lost children myself. I understand.

But look, if we change the dynamic at the border — people pay these smugglers 8,000 bucks to get across the border because they know if they get by, if they get by and let into the country, it’s six to eight years before they have a hearing. And it’s worth the taking a chance for the $8,000.

But if it’s only six weeks, the idea is it’s highly unlikely that people will pay that money and come all that way knowing that they’ll be able to be kicked out quickly.

Most asylum applicants are going to lose their cases, even in New York, where immigration judges tend to be a lot friendlier than in Texas, and in many or most of those instances they probably don't really deserve to win, at least in terms of the law as it's written. But the law as written also demands that the cases be heard. 

Biden is saying that the incredible bottleneck that has existed for some time in the system, while Congress fails to pass a comprehensive reform, actually encourages people without credible fears to come to Mexico and cross into the waiting arms of a CBP agent, because they know that, while they will eventually lose and get deported, they'll have six or eight years to make and save some money before that happens, enough perhaps to turn into landlords when they get home. If José Antonio Ibarra's asylum case had been heard in El Paso a few weeks after his arrival, in October 2022, Abbott wouldn't have had an opportunity to bus him to New York, and Ibarra wouldn't have had an opportunity to commit any crimes there or in Athens. More than that, as Biden suggests, if he knew he'd be sent back to Venezuela that soon, he'd likely never have left.

That's a major part of the reason Biden's proposals for "fixing the border" always depend so much on beefing up the resources of the system, the CBP agents and immigration judges, along with trying to get people to apply for asylum without coming to the US, from consulates in their home countries, or from the Mexico side of border using the phone app. And (the legally and morally questionable aspect) making it easier for CPB to deport them straight away. It's because our immigration system is broken, as they say, and when they say it's broken they don't mean it's evil, though its consequences often are evil, hurting innocent people for no good reason; they mean it doesn't work any more—it's in need of major repairs that Congress has been putting off for many years, mostly because Republican members are afraid their voters won't like it.

Though there are Republicans, often in Great Plains states like Oklahoma that have been bleeding population for a century, who realize that we need more immigration, not less, which is why James Lankford worked so hard on the bill currently languishing in the House because Trump ordered Mikey Johnson not to put it on the floor.

I could wish Biden wouldn't work so hard insisting that Lankford's bill is "conservative"

In November, my team began serious negotiations with a bipartisan group of senators. The result was a bipartisan bill with the toughest set of border security reforms we’ve ever seen. Oh, you don’t think so? Oh, you don’t like that bill, huh? That conservatives got together and said was a good bill? I’ll be darned, that’s amazing.

but I understand why he does it: to highlight the perversity of the Republicans rejecting it, after wailing all year about the situation at the border, out of nothing but Trump's fear of giving Biden a W.

But it would be better to highlight the way these "bipartisan" feats of legislation always require Democrats to make all the sacrifices—while Republicans demand to be bribed, as they have been in all these matters involving immigration and foreign policy this year, to do the things they claim to want. It would be better to handle this the way he handled the abortion rights issue, asking voters to send him a better Congress so he can do a better job.

Somewhat edited version at the Substack.

Saturday, March 9, 2024

It's Not Hyperbole, Man!


Holding babies in Rose Valley, PA. Photo by Andrew Harnik/AP via Citrus County Chronicle.  

As I was saying, the last SOTU of Biden's first term was an extraordinary departure from the SOTU norm, which I've been observing off and on since I was a teenager in the Johnson administration (likely for the first time in 1964, when LBJ announced an "unconditional war on poverty in America"), but I don't think I got all the way to what made it so extraordinary. 

Of course one of the reasons it's different is that there's an overriding purpose to this particular speech tied directly to the presidential campaign, as Josh Marshall explains in his Backchannel:

there was one overwhelming sina qua non objective and that was to demonstrate that Biden is vigorous, up to the fight and can deliver on the key requirements of running a national campaign.

Biden clearly did as well with that as you could have hoped for, showing himself to be sharp, energetic, and a master of the detail, displaying passion, humor, and a very good memory. he's absolutely on top of it, as staff has claimed. Nobody who watched it could say he was frail, out of it, or suffering dementia, and we can be confident as he puts himself out to the public in the coming weeks and months that he'll be able to sustain that and an increasing number of voters will get it. He's plainly capable of doing both jobs, of presidential candidate and president; if there's a problem, whether it's bias against the elderly or Fox News or New York Times propaganda, it won't be because of anything actually wrong with him.

So that had been a huge worry among all kinds of Democrats, and I thought it should be a big point in the reaction to the speech, which it has been, and that's great.

But it's not the only point that deserves to be talked about.

Friday, March 8, 2024

Joe Did What? Welcome, Welcome, Welcome

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images via Wisconsin Examiner. Rumor has it that when Donald Trump sent out a post "WHAT HAPPENED TO NANCY?" last night it's because he'd forgotten why the guy in glasses was sitting in Speaker Pelosi's chair.

Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were—are, I suppose—masters of oratory, in their different ways, artists of the art of public speaking, Clinton charming you into his vision, Obama rousing you to fervency, but their State of the Union addresses were never their best speeches, weighed down with all the exhausting details they felt compelled to include. 

Joe Biden's art is not oratory but the art of governance, of which the State of the Union is a (sort of) constitutional part (of course the Constitution only requires him to send Congress a letter, of which he made a tremendous pantomime last night, passing the Vice President and Speaker their leather-bound copies before bringing his own to the lectern, I've never watched that happening before, but the camera loved it as he was doing it), and that maybe accounts for why they're paradoxically his best speeches, even though they may be his longest; he's so deeply aware that he's not just talking about governance, he's doing it, and democratically drawing us into the process, and the details are a fundamental part of that (and not just the part where, as the pundits like to say, the Devil is). The pleasure he takes in it is so evident that we can't help sharing it, and it rarely gets boring.

I dwell on it because it's something people often make a mistake about when they're observing Biden: so many times in the course of the Gaza war they've complained that words are not enough, actions are needed, when words are what they're really asking for (the oratorical call for a ceasefire), and actions are what we're getting (the political work of making a ceasefire happen, going on mostly behind closed doors).

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Martin Luther King on Steroids

Photo by Madeline Gray/Washington Post for Getty Images via Advocate.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Former President Donald Trump likened North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson to Martin Luther King Jr. in an endorsement Saturday, despite the gubernatorial candidate’s long history of controversial comments about homosexuality, religion and victims of sexual abuse.

“This is Martin Luther King on steroids,” Trump said of Robinson at a pre-Super Tuesday rally in North Carolina.

“I told that to Mark. I said, I think you’re better than Martin Luther King. I think you are Martin Luther King times two.” (NBC News)

In my alternative history novel, Martin Luther King on Steroids, I grapple with one of the big questions: What if Dr. King, instead of getting a Ph.D. in theology and following his father into the ministry and civil rights activism, had gone into pro wrestling, hooked up with the young Vince McMahon and medical genius Dr. Zahorian, and crafted himself a fantastic body with the help of drugs?

What kind of dreams would that young man have had? What kind of amazing job would he have done, getting himself recognized more and more? How different would our world be today? Let's just say there's a good chance he wouldn't have thought of organizing a nonviolent civil rights movement based on the principles of Tolstoy and Gandhi, successfully pressured the US government into passing the Civil Rights, Voting Rights, and Fair Housing Acts, or lost his life to an assassin's bullet during a campaign for fairness to Memphis garbage collectors.

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Chicken Supremes

Cop with James Earle Fraser's statue of The Contemplation of Justice, waiting for the outcome of Trump vs. Anderson. AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, via WJTV, Jackson, MS. 

I told you the main purpose of the Supreme Court in the Colorado case would be to avoid getting within 500 feet of an opinion on whether the adjudicated rapist and bank fraud Donald Trump ever violated his presidential oath by engaging in insurrection after he took the oath in 2017, and sure enough, they avoided it, though the three liberals, in their dissent-concurrence, did manage to use the phrase "oathbreaking insurrectionist" four times, which is all to the good.

The majority even avoided making the case about the questions of standing and venue—whether the plaintiffs (Colorado Republicans) had standing to sue to keep Trump off the ballot and whether the Colorado judiciary was the place to do it. Instead they argued, effectively, that there was nobody with standing and noplace for them to go anyway, and blaming that on Congress, I mean the Congress of the late 19th century, which had never passed any legislation telling people how it's supposed to get done, so it's useless: it's illegal for an oathbreaking insurrectionist to hold federal office, but impossible to stop him from doing it, because the technique is a lost secret of the ancients.

Sunday, March 3, 2024

Immigration and Caesarism

Jessie Fuentes stands during an August 7 vigil organized by residents of Eagle Pass to protest Gov. Greg Abbot’s policies and to remember migrants who died crossing the Rio Grande. Fuentes is the owner of a kayak business in Eagle Pass, which he started after he retired in order to offer tours of the river. According to Manuel Ortiz, Fuentes is a deeply spiritual man and a lover of nature. He sees Abbot’s barriers as a violation of life, both of the people and of the natural world. “What the government is doing here is killing the river… They are destroying our community.” (Photo by Manuel Ortiz, via Ethnic Media Services)


I was enjoying this rightwinger response to the Senate's immigration bill, from Carl Goldman of the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce, at the Santa Clarita News

Fact #1: The proposed bill will legalize up to 5,000 adults to cross the border DAILY. Children are unlimited. That’s over 1.8 million per year, plus kids. Under the legislation the border never closes.

Fact #2: All future legal disputes will be taken away from the states and controlled by the US Federal DC District Court. This court is perhaps our most lenient court in the land. It would prohibit any Governor and any state Attorney General from effectively challenging any Federal immigration policy, such as the current “open border” crisis that saw 8.5 unvetted illegal immigrants enter the country under the Biden administration, an amount greater than the current population in 36 states.

Fact #3: The bill calls for 3,275 new border personnel. This sounds like a good thing, assisting the already overloaded border patrol. Read the fine print. These new employees won’t stop the flow. Their roll will be to speed up the processing.

Fact #4: Once this law is put into place, it will be extremely difficult to pass a new law tightening policies. It would tie the hand of future administrations from implementing a closure or partial closure of the border.

Fact #5: The Republican led House of Representatives passed HR 2 last May. It created a much more effective set of tighter immigration policies. To date, it has remained untouched for over nine months on US Senator House Majority leader, Chuck Schumer’s desk [except, as reader Foghorn Leghorn points out, when Ted Cruz added the text of HR2 as an amendment and the vote failed, 32-58].

These five facts alone should be enough to convince any rational individual questioning our current open border policy to run as far away from the Senate bill as possible. How any Republican or Democrat Senator could support this is creating insurmountable challenges for our country. Perhaps they skipped over a few of the 400 pages.

—when I started realizing he was right, in a way.