House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has been facing wide pushback for her recent defense of members of Congress who continue to trade stocks while in office.
Last week, when confronted with a Business Insider report that found dozens of lawmakers and staffers had, at some point, violated a law that prevents insider trading, she declared, “We are a free-market economy. They should be able to participate in that.”
Pelosi and her husband have had a famously successful run with their personal market holdings and saw their family’s wealth increase over the course of the pandemic, as she and her husband consistently placed market bets that have more than proved their worth.
Now, however, it appears that lawmakers from both parties are speaking up against the practice of playing the market from a position of increased knowledge and power.
Rep. Abigail Spanberger, a moderate Democrat in a hotly contested Virginia district, recently tweeted in response to Pelosi, “No. It cannot be a perk of the job for Members to trade on access to information.”
Rep. Andy Kim (D-N.J.), another member locked in a tough district, agreed. “Americans are losing trust in government and we need to show we serve the people, not our personal/political self-interest,” Kim said.
Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.), whose personal fortune tops $60 million, said he “disagree(s) with the Speaker.”
Also taking a hardline stance against trading while in Congress is Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., who says she holds no individual stocks or digital assets.
“There is no reason members of Congress should hold and trade individual stock when we write major policy and have access to sensitive information. There are many ways members can invest w/o creating actual or appeared conflict of interest, like thrift savings plans or index funds,” she said.
Earlier this Congress, Spanberger introduced a bill that would require lawmakers, as well as their immediate family members, to place their assets in a blind trust while the members remain in office.
Phillips, who is a cosponsor of the bill, said “I’ve done it, and I believe we all should.”
The bill has drawn a wide array of support from around the chamber, including incoming House Freedom Caucus chairman Scott Perry (R-Penn.).
Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), an original cosponsor of the legislation, recently tweeted, “Actually, Members of Congress SHOULD NOT be trading stocks themselves while in office.”
Several members of the Upper Chamber came under scrutiny last year for selling off substantial amounts of stock in late January and early February 2020, as they were receiving classified briefings pertaining to the onset of the novel coronavirus.
Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) stepped down from his post as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee after he was accused of insider trading. Sens. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) also faced questions.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi doesn’t want Congress banned from trading stocks because she profits big from her and her husband’s investments on a regular basis.
In a press conference on Monday, the Democrat said that representatives and senators should do their best to comply with the reporting standards required by the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, signed into law in 2012, but rejected the suggestion that legislators and their spouses should be barred from trading.
“We are a free market economy that should be able to participate in that,” Pelosi said.
Like many others in Congress, Pelosi and her husband, Paul Pelosi, a San Francisco real estate investment mogul, have poured tons of money into the stock market and profited millions off of shares largely staked in Big Tech stocks such as Alphabet, Google’s parent company. According to disclosure forms collected in the House, Pelosi has reported holding stocks in Microsoft, Roblox, Netflix, and recently sold Facebook and Apple shares.
Pelosi isn’t the only member of Congress who makes money off of trading on some of the same companies that are regularly called to testify in front of her chamber’s committees. A recent report from Insider found that 49 other legislators not only frequently involved themselves in stock trades but also failed to disclose their dealings in accordance with the STOCK Act in a timely manner or at all. The list is filled with Republicans and Democrats who, despite the law designed to curb any insider trading and conflicts of interest, “offer excuses including ignorance of the law, clerical errors, and mistakes by an accountant” to justify their lack of financial disclosures.
Several members of Congress have lobbied for a ban on trading including members of the left-most wing of the Democrat Party such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.
“It is absolutely ludicrous that members of Congress can hold and trade individual stock while in office,” she tweeted at the beginning of December. “The access and influence we have should be exercised for the public interest, not our profit. It shouldn’t be legal for us to trade individual stock with the info we have.”
Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., even went so far as to introduce legislation barring lawmakers and their aides from dealing in the stock market while in office. The bill gained support from some Republicans including Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida and Michael Cloud of Texas, who helped introduce it in the House. But with so many legislators involved in trading, including those in Democrat leadership such as Pelosi, it is unlikely that a full ban would ever become popular enough among members to pass without more pressure.
Claims have been made about the increasingly infamous Dominion Voting Systems and their possible bias toward the Democrats this election cycle. There is also intrigue concerning Scytl, a Spanish provider of electronic voting systems and election technology, including allegations about a “raid” on its servers in Germany. It’s apparent that something happened, the military was used but at whose behest? Were the Trump friendly patriots trying to retrieve evidence or was it a deep-state attempt to cover something up?
Representative Louie Gohmert of Texas recently appeared on Newsmax to explain as much as he can about what was going on:
Incidentally, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s Vulcan Capital has invested $40 million in Scytl. In addition to the raid on Scytl, Dominion Voting Systems connections are also being called into question after news broke about a former staffer of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) being hired as a lobbyist for the company. The connections don’t end there, the company also has ties to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and the Clinton Foundation. Perhaps it’s all circumstantial, but at the very least it’s a severe conflict of interest that merits investigation.
Last week, the Colorado-based Dominion made a statement refuting any ties to another multinational voting systems corporation “Smartmatic” while admitting that the two firms worked together in the Philippines and said it bought some assets from Smartmatic-linked Sequoia about 10 years ago. The firm confirmed that it made a donation during a Clinton Global Initiative meeting in 2014, but it asserted that it has “no company ownership relationships with any member of the Pelosi family, the Feinstein family, or the Clinton Global Initiative, Smartmatic, Scytl, or any ties to Venezuela.”
The Associated Press could very well be covering or misdirecting the more undiscerning., but even AP noted that former Pelosi Chief of Staff Nadeam Elshami “is part of a lobbying team representing Dominion, according to public disclosures,” adding that the team “includes Brian Wild, who counts Republicans such as former House Speaker John Boehner and former Vice President Dick Cheney among his past bosses.”
Sidney Powell, the all-star attorney for General M. Flynn and newest addition to President Trump’s legal team, alleged that Smartmatic and Dominion were used to bolster Biden over Trump, adding that she has enough evidence of election fraud to launch a widespread criminal investigation.
“We’re getting ready to overturn election results in multiple states,” Powell recently said on Fox Business. “I don’t make comments without having the evidence to back it up.”
“They can stick a thumb drive in the [voting] machine, they can upload software to it even from the Internet … from Germany or Venezuela even,” Powell said, adding that operations “can watch votes in real-time” and “can shift votes in real-time,” or alleged bad actors can “remote access anything.”
“We’ve identified mathematically the exact algorithm they’ve used—and planned to use from the beginning”
Dominion has yet to respond publicly to Powell’s comments, but they have previously stated that all claims of voter fraud are “Conspiracy theories and 100% false”, citing the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), which has unabashedly called the 2020 election the “most secure in American history.” They fail to mention, however, that Dominion Voting Systems is a member of CISA’s Election Infrastructure Sector Coordinating Council, so to “prove” their innocence they’ve cited themselves. Makes perfect sense, right?
EDITORS NOTE: Try not to focus on the partisan outlook and take the information for what it is, no one is saying “Repent! And become a Republican!”. Here at UNW we understand the historic significance of BOTH parties, but in recent decades these parties have come to represent financial and geopolitical interests more so than the people. Equality and safety are the buzzwords of our time and it is a competition of deceit and posturing, if you think otherwise I would welcome you to put in a little more effort in understanding our world and the true root of its problems (Central Banking, IMF, BIS, CFR, Trilateralists, etc) rather than taking some corporate talking heads word for it.Realize that these individuals are operating from a place where they see one set of rules for us and a completely different set of rules for themselves.Rationalize this however you will, it is your right after all!
1. “It Was A Setup”: Nancy Pelosi’s Secret Blowout
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) sparked outrage when footage emerged Tuesday depicting her getting her hair done at a salon that has been shuttered for six months under San Francisco’s strict coronavirus restrictions. Shortly thereafter, she was on MSNBC claiming President Donald Trump “slapped science right in the face” by holding a convention at the White House without masks and social distancing.
The salon owner, Erica Kious, told Fox News, “It was a slap in the face that she went in, you know, that she feels that she can just go and get her stuff done while no one else can go in, and I can’t work.” She added that she “can’t believe” Pelosi was not wearing a mask.
In response, Pelosi deflected and blamed the salon owner for the incident, saying, “I take responsibility for trusting the word of a neighborhood salon that I’ve been to over the years many times. And that when they said, ‘Well, we’re able to accommodate people one person at a time, and that we can set up that time,’ I trusted that.”
“As it turns out, it was a setup. So I take responsibility for falling for a setup,” she added.
On Wednesday, Kious denied Pelosi’s accusation to Fox News host Tucker Carlson and described the incident as “hurtful,” given that her business has been devastated by the lockdown restrictions and will likely never recover.
2. “I’m The Public Face”: Lori Lightfoot’s Bad Hair Day
Pelosi was not the first politician to wade into charges of coronavirus hypocrisy after getting her hair done. In April, Chicago’s Democrat Mayor Lori Lightfoot had to defend herself after a hair stylist revealed on social media that she had given Lightfoot a haircut. For most people, such an activity would have been a violation of the mayor’s own stay-at-home orders, which deemed not just haircuts non-essential, but also long outdoor jogs and bike rides.
When reporters asked her about why she was able to get a haircut when everyone else in her city was not, Lightfoot deflected by claiming that Chicagoans don’t care about things as inconsequential as her hair.
“I think what really people want to talk about is, we’re talking about people dying here. We’re talking about significant health disparities. I think that’s what people care most about,” Lightfoot said.
“The woman who cut my hair had a mask and gloves on so we are, I am practicing what I’m preaching,” she further explained, suggesting that her position as the mayor necessitated the trim. “I am the public face of this city. I’m on national media and I’m out in the public eye. I take my personal hygiene very seriously. As I said, I felt like I needed to have a haircut. I’m not able to do that myself, so I got a haircut. You want to talk more about that?”
Lightfoot was also criticized for banning protests around her own house after rioters wreaked havoc in her city, including along its famed Magnificent Mile.
3. “I’m Not Going To Run Away”: Gov. J.B. Pritzker Marches With Juneteenth Protesters As Family Escapes To Florida Estate
Democratic Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s lockdown was particularly strict, leading him to clash with a downstate judge, as well as with police who refused to arrest individuals in violation of the “emergency orders” he pushed through in May. His edict threatened fines, misdemeanor charges, and imprisonment for businesses that defied his shutdown mandate. Pritzker eventually backed down.
As The Daily Wire reported, several Illinois churches also sued Pritzker after his “Five Point” coronavirus plan potentially shut down religious services of more than 50 people until 2021 or until a vaccine is found.
Pritzker was met with intense criticism from Republicans, therefore, when photographs emerged that showed him marching in Chicago with large crowds to commemorate Juneteenth, when outdoor gatherings were limited to less than 10 people, according to NBC Chicago.
“The governor flaunting his disregard for his own rules is a slap in the face to every Illinoisan who has been diligently following them,” state GOP spokesman Joe Hackler told the Chicago Tribune.
Regarding the charges of hypocrisy, Pritzker stressed the importance of resisting systemic racism, adding, “I go places, and it’s very difficult to get socially distant when an awful lot of people show up, and I’m not going to run away.”
During an April 30 press conference, billionaire Pritzker lost his cool when a reporter asked him why his wife and children had scuttled off to his family’s $12 million equestrian estate in Florida, where stay-at-home orders were less onerous than in Illinois.
“Well, first of all, I want to say that in, in politics, it used to be that we kept our families out of it,” Pritzker responded. “My official duties have nothing to do with my family. So, I’m just not going to answer that question. It’s inappropriate, and I find it reprehensible, honestly, that, that that reporter wrote a story about it.”
4. “I Felt It Was An Important Moment”: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
Across Lake Michigan from Pritzker’s state, Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer condemned protests against her administration but changed her tune regarding the protests that erupted in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
In April, Michiganders stormed the State Capitol in Lansing to dissent from Whitmer’s stay-at-home orders, which kept “life-sustaining” abortion clinics open while forbidding things such as professional lawn care or traveling to a family member’s house. In response, Whitmer slammed the protesters, suggesting they were racist, and threatened to extend the order even longer.
A little more than a month later, Whitmer, whose coronavirus response has been ridden with allegations of scandal and hypocrisy, marched in close quarters with protesters yelling, “Hands up! Don’t shoot!”
Maintaining that ample hand sanitizer was present at the march, Whitmer said, “I felt it was an important moment to show my support and show a unified leadership out of the executive office of the governor and so the lieutenant governor and I joined.”
Whitmer spokeswoman Tiffany Brown simply denied that the governor had violated her own rules about social distancing, despite photographic evidence proving otherwise.
5. Pennsylvania’s Gov. Tom Wolf and Dr. Rachel Levine
Another governor who disregarded social distancing rules to march with Floyd protesters was Democratic Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf. On June 3, he gathered with them in the state capital when Harrisburg’s Dauphin County was in the yellow phase of its color-coded reopening plan, which limited outdoor gatherings to 25 people or less.
Wolf also raised eyebrows when, according to a March investigation by Spotlight PA, his family’s central Pennsylvania cabinet supply company “continued operating during the coronavirus shutdown despite having its waiver rescinded by state officials.”
Rising to Wolf’s defense was his transgenderhealth secretary, Dr. Rachel Levine, who drew scrutiny for removing her mother out of a personal care home as the coronavirus was devastating elderly populations. Regarding why Wolf marching with hundreds of protesters was acceptable, Levine said in part, “There are obviously significant social issues that are present, that people feel that they need to have a voice, and so the governor is always supportive of that and is participating.”
Levine stoked outrage even among Democratic state lawmakers when Pittsburgh NBC affiliate WPXI uncovered legal documents showing that Levine had come to a confidential settlement agreement with a car show in Harrisburg that allowed them to get around the lockdown. Citing it as an “ongoing legal issue,” Levine refused repeated opportunities to explain why tens of thousands were allowed to shuffle through the car show’s four-day event during a time when outdoor gatherings were limited 250 people or less.
6. “I Understand The Frustration”: Philly Mayor Jim Kenney Gets Caught Eating In A Restaurant
Another Pennsylvania politician who got caught was Philadelphia’s Democrat Mayor Jim Kenney, who took heat earlier this week when someone sneaked a photo of him eating in a Maryland restaurant without a mask, despite the fact that indoor dining is forbidden in his own city.
After he was savaged by Philly residents online, Kenney issued a statement, saying, “I know some are upset that I dined indoors at a restaurant in Maryland yesterday. I felt the risk was low because the county I visited has had fewer than 800 COVID-19 cases, compared to over 33,000 cases in Philadelphia. Regardless, I understand the frustration.”
“Restaurant owners are among the hardest hit by the pandemic. I’m sorry if my decision hurt those who’ve worked to keep their businesses going under difficult circumstances. Looking forward to reopening indoor dining soon and visiting my favorite spots.”
Kenney’s office pointed out to a local CBS affiliate that he was patronizing “a restaurant owned by a friend of his.”
7. “We Messed Up”: Gov. Andrew Cuomo
Along with the flak he has taken for forcing nursing homes to take in coronavirus patients, Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has also been accused of hypocrisy for other aspects of his coronavirus response. In late June, Cuomo issued mandatory two-week quarantines to travelers from certain states, despite threatening in March to sue Rhode Island for having done the same to New Yorkers. Violators were threatened with fines up to $10,000.
New York state Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt told the Democrat & Chronicle that such orders were “hypocritical,” adding, “This draconian policy means anyone traveling for a business conference to a state on his list will be forced into quarantine, and anyone who already made vacation plans will too.”
The quarantine rules apparently did not apply to Cuomo himself, who traveled to Georgia in July to deliver PPE and meet with Savannah’s Democrat Mayor Van Johnson. Georgia was among the list of states from which travelers were required to quarantine because of its high risk, but Cuomo nevertheless had his mask off during his meeting with Johnson, elbow-bumping and even hugging him.
“We messed up,” Cuomo said, when later confronted about the maskless elbow bump. “I mean, yeah, we messed up. I mean, no big deal, in this case.” Regarding why he did not self-quarantine after the trip to a hot spot, “Cuomo said he’s exempt as an essential worker,” according to Syracuse.com.
Though not an elected official, the governor’s brother, CNN host Chris Cuomo, made headlines in April when he got into an argument with a bicyclist who asked him why he was outside without a mask despite having the coronavirus.
8. “He Wanted To Check”: Gov. Ralph Northam
Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam was also caught without a mask during a May visit to Virginia Beach. In a statement to NBC12, Northam’s office said, “The Governor has repeatedly encouraged wearing face coverings inside or when social distancing is impossible. He was outside today and not expecting to be within six feet of anyone.”
He also added that he was there because “he wanted to check beach enforcement and make sure they were following the rules, which they were largely.”
9. “Government Activity Is Essential”: Federal Lawmakers Exempt From D.C. Mayor’s Quarantine Orders
When late Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) died in July, his funeral spanned several days and culminated at a service in Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King Jr. had served as co-pastor with his father. According to metrics laid down three days earlier in an executive order from District Mayor Muriel Bowser, anyone traveling for non-essential reasons to a high-risk hot spot like Georgia had to self-quarantine for two weeks upon returning to Washington, D.C.
The federal lawmakers who were crammed into the crowded pews to listen to eulogies from former presidents, however, were exempt from Bowser’s mandate. Bowser press secretary Susana Castillo characterized the ceremony as an “essential” government activity, telling Just the News, “Government activity is essential, and the Capitol of the United States is exempt from the Mayor’s Order.”
Members of Congress were also exempt from Bowser’s edict that required D.C. residents to wear masks not only in public indoor spaces, but even outside if they “are likely to come into contact with another person, such as being within six feet of another person for more than a fleeting time[.]”
10. “He Wrote The Book On Hypocrisy”: NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio
New York City’s Democrat Mayor Bill de Blasio was perhaps the first to flout his own coronavirus restrictions and has continued to remain at the forefront of politicians who do so. On March 16, the same day he closed New York City’s schools and just one day before he shuttered its 27,000 restaurants indefinitely, de Blasio was seen going to a public gym for a morning workout.
De Blasio’s 12-mile chauffeured jaunt from Gracie Mansion to the YMCA in Park Slope stoked fury even from some of his advisers and confidantes, who described it as “inexcusable, “reckless,” “pathetic,” and “self-involved,” according to the New York Post. He later defended himself at a press conference, saying, “I did not think for a moment there was anything problematic because I knew the dynamics. And again, I have to stay healthy so I can make the decisions for the people of this city.”
De Blasio, who drew swift and widespread condemnation when he scolded the Jewish community after personally helping to disperse a rabbi’s funeral in Brooklyn, nevertheless marched in solidarity with protesters in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
Even after he began feeling sick after participating in the “East Harlem Pray and Protest” in June, de Blasio refused to get tested for the coronavirus, prompting Councilman Robert Holden (D-Queens) to tell the New York Daily News, “He wrote the book on hypocrisy. During his six years as mayor, he’s been nothing but a hypocrite on most things and this is a great example.”
Like many other Democratic leaders, de Blasio drew a distinction between protests against systemic racism and establishments that sustain people financially and spiritually. “When you see a nation, an entire nation, simultaneously grappling with an extraordinary crisis seeded in 400 years of American racism,” he said, “I’m sorry, that is not the same question as the understandably aggrieved store owner or the devout religious person who wants to go back to services.”
Under de Blasio’s leadership, New York City has been hemorrhaging residents, many of whom are leaving permanently. As The Daily Wire reported, Cuomo has taken to begging the city’s rich to return because the state’s revenue is in free fall.
It’s difficult to know when to take Laurence Tribe seriously.
Yes, the notoriously left-leaning Harvard law professor is one of our nation’s foremost constitutional scholars. You might not agree with him, but he’s been both massively prolific and influential in his work.
For better or ill, Tribe was the legal mentor of Barack Obama. He helped kill Robert Bork’s nomination to the Supreme Court through his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. He’s argued a not-insignificant number of cases before the high court. Conservatives may loathe him, but he’s one of the most important legal minds of the past century.
He’s also a man who’s come undone in the age of Donald Trump, using his Twitter account to spread misinformation about the president when he isn’t coming up with his own:
This is like watching the final years of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, when he became obsessed with the paranormal and convinced that fairies existed and had been captured on camera. The difference is that Doyle wrote “The Hound of the Baskervilles” and not “American Constitutional Law,” and he wasn’t being invited on MSNBC to talk about the existence of the fairies. (To be fair, that might have been a bit anachronistic.)
Thus, if you heard the situation Tribe described on Joy Reid’s MSNBC show on Friday regarding what would happen if no presidential winner were declared by Jan. 20, 2021, due to delays or mail-in ballot difficulties — that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would take office as the next president — you were probably wondering whether this was Tribe speaking as a constitutional scholar or as a man who could use a nice, long rest.
The answer: It’s not as bonkers as you think, but the situation also isn’t as well-thought-out as you would expect from one of our top constitutional scholars.
“There is a procedure — it’s a very elaborate procedure — in every state for resolving disputes by the date of the so-called safe harbor on Dec. 8,” Tribe said.
“So, really, all of the efforts that Trump is making to both pretend that he can extend the date of the election, which everyone understands he can’t do that. That date is set at Nov. 3 by act of Congress. All of that is designed simply to cast doubt in the way that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin wants to, and the way that [former Trump adviser Steve] Bannon has tried to do from time to time on the ability of our system to work,” he said.
As for the part about extending the date of the election, Tribe is accurate — and everyone understands, by this point, that the election isn’t being postponed.
The question is what happens if the states haven’t decided winners by the inauguration date.
As for Putin and Bannon, this is Tribe we’re dealing with. There’s always something lurking behind the Trump presidency.
“They’re trying to make it look chaotic, but there’s a fail-safe mechanism built into the Constitution itself,” Tribe said.
“That is no matter how much dust he throws into the gears, at high noon on Jan. 20, 2021, if there has not been a new president elected, at that point, Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House, becomes president of the United States.
“And all of these enablers … at that point would risk committing federal felonies if they were to exercise power which they no longer have because Trump would no longer be president,” he said.
Tribe went on to emphasize that “the default solution in our system is President Nancy Pelosi.”
“You have made, I think, a lot of people’s nights, Laurence Tribe,” Reid said, grinning. “President Pelosi, hmm.”
So, is Tribe right?
The answer reveals the problem with national mail-in voting: maybe, sort of, we don’t know.
First, in terms of Pelosi becoming president in the event of a delayed election: For once, Snopes’ rundown on the matter is pretty accurate. Trump would have to leave office on Jan. 20 — but Pelosi would have to leave earlier, on Jan. 3, as would all 435 members of the House.
Thus, the president would be the president pro-tempore of the Senate, next in line for the office. There would be 65 senators left sitting, a majority of them Democrats. They would likely select a Democrat to fill the Oval Office until the election was held. Of course, as WUSA-TV’s set of constitutional scholars pointed out, state governors could potentially fill those Senate seats.
That’s not going to happen, though, so the question is whether Pelosi would become the president if there were troubles counting mail-in ballots.
The answer, in that case, is a shrug emoji. We don’t know how and when congressional races will be decided. Two Democratic Party primaries for House seats in New York City alone are still being decided — and they took place on June 26.
Laurence Tribe’s answer, in short, isn’t nutty. It’s also not nuanced.
It should give us some of the frightening prospects that an election conducted by national mail-in voting might produce.
And, alas — sorry, Joy Reid, but President Nancy Pelosi probably won’t be happening.
That still doesn’t mean we might be opening Pandora’s Box.
“As far as I'm concerned, it's a damned shame that a field as potentially dynamic and vital as journalism should be overrun with dullards, bums, and hacks, hag-ridden with myopia, apathy, and complacence, and generally stuck in a bog of stagnant mediocrity.” -Hunter Thompson