Trump Fans and Foes : Mirror Images

I have no illusions about Donald Trump as now former President of the United States. I pretty much liked his policies while cringing nearly every time he spoke in public. I wanted some other Republican to be President. I really liked Marco Rubio, but sigh, it wasn’t to be.

I definitely recognize that Trump has a coterie of followers who are “true believers”. Nothing he does or says elicits disapproval from them. They are fan-boys. But I also recognize there he has a coterie of “implacable foes”. Nothing he does or says elicits approval from them. Both groups are very catholic in their viewpoints. And neither side recognizes the other side as their mirror twins.

There is a news organization calling itself “The Intercept”. I’m not sure what they are intercepting, but it is very clear that they are solidly left-leaning. In the interest of hearing all sides of issues, I subscribe to their email reports. Today there was a particular report in the periodic newsletter, and it dealt with the Trump fans. The headline went like this:

I Tried to Make Claims About Election Fraud So Preposterous Trump Fans Wouldn’t Believe Me. It Was Impossible.

I’m not going to reproduce the article here, you can go look at it yourself, if you’re interested. Just click on the headline above.

The point I have to make is that The Intercept may not recognize that there is an inverse community of people for whom the statement:

I Tried to Make Absurd Claims About Trump’s Perfidy So Preposterous Trump Foes Wouldn’t Believe Me. It Was Impossible.

would be equally true.

I’ll let someone else try that experiment, but I’ve seen them. I’m personally acquainted with some of them. One man, whom I have known online for many years on a particular discussion forum not dealing with politics (I’ve never actually met him), seems to believe literally everything and anything negative that has ever been said about Trump. Whenever the topic comes up, he simply cannot converse normally about Trump. Trump is evil incarnate. Trump has never ever done anything good. Besides his unreasoning hatred of Trump, this man is good and thoughtful.

And he’s not the only one. Another man whom I am similarly acquainted with online, once excoriated me as a racist because in an online communal rant he started about Trump being a racist (this was on Facebook), I dared to post something that had nothing to do with Trump’s racism. One of this gent’s sycophants wrote something that was factually incorrect (again, nothing to do with Trump, particularly), and I simply called out the incorrect information.

That made me a racist. Because I failed to call Trump a racist. After I gave up trying to defend myself on his timeline, this man followed me to my own timeline to accuse me of racism!

It actually reminded me of the annual “Hate Week” in the classic novel 1984. Except that Trump Hatred is year-round. As is Trump Love, clearly.

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Blackridge Capital Associates: a Scam

A couple of weeks ago I got a mysterious phone call. The caller was asking for Roger, my wife’s late husband, so I told the guy that he was deceased. I told him that I was married to his widow. He then started telling me about some shares that he owned that they wanted to buy. Knowing nothing about any such thing, I told him to send an offer through the post, and we’d consider it after talking with our attorney. We don’t have an attorney, but it seemed like a good thing to say. Frankly, it sounded a bit “off” in the first place. Why would they continue talking with someone about a business matter who had just denied being the person they wanted to talk with? I hung up figured that if it meant anything we’d eventually hear more. I told my wife about it, but she wasn’t sure about shares in any company. So, never mind.

And then late last week we got another call, and my wife talked with the caller (while I listened in). The caller claimed to be with some investment services firm called “Blackridge Capital Associates” that was working with another firm that was working on a hostile takeover of Arriva plc, a UK transportation company (“plc” is a UK business entity type and stands for “public limited company” and is kind of like “LLC”, but not quite). This company was trying to buy as many shares of Arriva’s stock as they could, said some shares were owned by Roger, and this was the purpose of the call. Before proceeding further, they wanted Wendy to sign a non-disclosure agreement. They sent an NDA form to Wendy via email and requested her to sign and return it before they would discuss the offer further.


My wife didn’t remember if Roger had owned stock in Arriva, so called her sister,as she had been the estate executor, to see what she knew. It turns out that he did own stock in Arriva plc. As his estate executor, Sally had Roger’s stock certificates which he had bought back in 1998, and he had purchased about 800 shares. The potential offer for the shares was between 30 to 40 pounds, which would yield at least £24,000. Nice! The caller had, however, briefly mentioned the need to purchase an insurance bond. It was “Refundable,” the caller said. That was a caution flag. We were suspicious, but hopeful. Her sister and I wanted her to hold off for a bit while we checked this out further, but she decided to sign the NDA and send it back immediately, as they requested. Just in case this was legitimate — she didn’t want to miss a chance at selling the shares.


I then did a little research on Arriva. It turns out that Arriva had been bought out by Deutsche Bahn (DB), the German national railway, in 2010. Its until then publicly-traded stock was at that time delisted from the European stock exchanges. DB had in fact been trying to sell its ownership in Arriva, and had almost done so in 2019 — but doubts surrounding Brexit had caused that to be suspended. The question that immediately occured to me was “How can someone do a hostile takeover of a wholly-owned subsidiary?” The definition of being a wholly-owned subsidiary is that the majority of one’s shares are owned by the company one is subsidiary to! So how could someone find enough loose shares to overcome this?


I decided to research this “Blackridge Capital Associates” outfit. Their web URL could be deduced from the email address they were using, and their website looked kind of legit. The verbiage was well-worded, it seemed to describe what they seemed to be on about, but it was a bit too generic. A check of their code-behind indicated that they were using a generic contact management system, the kind that might be offered by one of those web hosters that you can sign up with for just a few bucks a month.

There were also suspicious omissions. Nothing about who ran the company, the kind of business entity it was, or any kind of business associations it might be part of (e.g. BBB). I then checked for NY state business entity registration in the Secretary of State’s database. There were a couple of similarly named outfits, but their own name was absent. They said they were a globally recognized firm, but a Bing search of their name yielded one and only one hit — and that was to their own website! And how long had the domain name existed? A WhoIs search revealed that the domain name had been registered on 29 May 2021. Finally, a check of the Wayback Machine (the Internet Archive) showed that their website was first archived on 2 June 2021.

What are they trying to scam us out of? The advance payment was revealed to be 15% of the value of the shares they allegedly want to buy. 15% of £56,000 is £8,400. That is what they are after from us.

An additional check I was able to make was due to them giving us a “share verification” document supposedly originating from Euroclear, a Belgium-based financial services company that specializes in the settlement of securities transactions. I contacted Euroclear’s fraud department and I received this response:

Euroclear UK & Ireland Limited can confirm this letter is not authentic, has not been sent by us, or with our knowledge or approval. To this end, as you suspected, our logo has been used fraudulently. … This ‘Share Verification scam’ is a repeat instance of a potential fraud event we have seen before which has been reported to Action Fraud UK.

The purported source of the letter Blackridge Capital Associates does not appear on the Financial Conduct Authorities list of recognised firms.  The website https://www.fca.org.uk does provide additional advice on how to protect yourself and a link to report any unauthorised firms.

In order to help others who may be being scammed by Blackridge Capital Associates, I have registered a domain name, blackridgecapitalassociates.com, and set up a website to tell those who do a web search that they are being scammed. The scam company’s own website blackridgecapitalassoc.com may not last long on the internet, so my own “shadow page” will not last much longer than theirs does. But for the moment, it will hopefully be of some help to some people.

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The Battle of Kassel from German Eyes

Recently I was reading a random article on Wikipedia about the World War II battle in which American troops captured the city of Kassel in Germany. The Battle of Kassel occurred just a few weeks before the end of the war, and was fought between the American 80th Infantry division under the command of Major General Horace McBride, and a cobbled together force of second-line German troops led by Major General Johannes Erxleben.

In the infinite wisdom of the Nazi high command, the city of Kassel was declared a “fortress” city. As such, it was to be defended to the last, and its commander was forbidden to surrender. What the German commander had left to defend the city with was pathetically inadequate, but to his men’s credit they fought admirably and bravely for three days before their commander bowed to the futility of further resistance and surrendered.

The story of this battle rather intrigued me and I decided to dig into the web in order to find more about what happened. I managed to hit paydirt in the form of an account by the officer that General Erxleben sent to negotiate the surrender with General McBride. Apparently, the officer, Dirk Uhse, who was Erxleben’s adjutant and probably a captain, was to negotiate either a ceasefire to allow civilians to flee, or permission for the German force to withdraw from the city. This was to be an attempt to save either the city or at least the city’s people, from destruction.

I found this on a website devoted to celebrate Kassel’s 1,100 years of history. This account can be found on this page: Die Kapitulation der “Festung Kassel” am 4. April 1945 vor dem Weinbergbunker.

Here follows my translation of Captain Uhse’s German-language account:

The surrender of “Kassel Fortress” on April 4, 1945 in front of the Weinberg bunker
by Dirk Uhse

In mid-March 1945, through a series of coincidences that were so common in military life, I was assigned to the staff of the commandant of Kassel. As an intelligence, legal and orderly officer, I was a kind of “man Friday”. The commandant was Major General Johannes Erzleben, an active-duty officer in the intelligence troops. His being assigned to his home country was due to a war injury that obviously and severely handicapped him. Regardless, as far as I could tell, he tried to the best of his ability to fulfill his difficult and most thankless position as well as possible. Particularly noteworthy is his endeavor to spare the heavily afflicted civilian population all avoidable inconveniences. Unfortunately, his reputation in Kassel was tarnished by the fact that immediately before the surrender he accidentally shot a man whom he thought was a looter. But this act, too, was ultimately due to his constant concern that the civilian population could be endangered or harmed by riots.

His staff consisted largely of older officers who had been relieved from active service for various reasons I cannot go into here.The majority of these officers, however, had always done their often difficult duty. I consider it my duty to expressly acknowledge this. The main task of the commandant was to defend the “Kassel Fortress”. This fortress existed in the largely bombed-out Kassel. I had not seen any defensive structures, unless one would regard some very questionable barricades on the arterial roads as such. The members of the Kassel replacement troops formed the core of the crew. The attitude of these soldiers, some of them very young, some of them aged and often wounded, was highly commendable. They were supported by convalescents, refugees, local air defense, police, labor service and Croatian militia. I don’t know the strength of this garrison. In no case would they have been able to hold the vast city against even an infantry attack. In addition there was the completely inadequate armament. The fortress artillery was, as the saying goes, “represented by flags”, but some non-movable anti-aircraft guns may have been present. Incidentally, one saw infantry weapons that would have been better suited to display in an army museum than in the hands of a combat force.

The more time went by, the more hectic the perseverance slogans became. The terms “final victory” and “miracle weapons” were greatly thrown about. As part of a withdrawal movement (in good German: retreat), a higher command staff came through Kassel, and its commanding officer left us in no doubt as to what would happen to those who would not “hold out to the last”. Then he moved further east. At the beginning of April two representatives of the Reichsführer SS, Heinrich Himmler, appeared in Kassel in uniforms I was unfamiliar with. They looked and acted like gangsters. They too called for defense “down to the last bullet”, otherwise court martials would stimulate the will to resist a little. Then these two resisters disappeared as suddenly as they had appeared. The commandant of Kassel was put under pressure from all sides and in every conceivable way to hold his “fortress” down to the last man.

As March turned into April 1945 the Americans advanced into the areas south of Kassel. The fighting in the “apron of the fortress” flared up. On April 3, 1945, I had been on a motorcycle for most of the day. Late in the evening I returned to the Weinberg bunker, the command post of the town or combat commander. Dead tired, I went to sleep in a corner. In the middle of the night I was woken up and taken to see the general. A younger officer told me beforehand that a negotiator should be sent to the Americans, but the general couldn’t find one. As I entered the command room, I saw General Erxleben sitting at a table, with several older officers around him. There was thick silence. In one corner I noticed the general’s pale and overtired wife, who had accompanied her ailing and needy husband to the bunker and looked after him there. At that time, more than 4,000 civilians are said to have found refuge in the Weinberg. Erxleben asked me if I wanted to go to the American commander on his behalf to parlay. Drowsy, I brought out the obligatory “by your command”. Now the commandant became lively. He told me emphatically that it was by no means an order. Rather, he was asking me to do him this favor and wasn’t going to hide from me that the task would be extremely risky in more ways than one. Now I’m perking up too. But I saw no reason not to comply with my boss’s request. Any child could see that the defense of this so-called “fortress” was madness. The general now instructed me to visit the American commander and negotiate with him either free withdrawal for the remainder of the troops or at least for the civilian population.

Now there was a touching scene. When I took off my pistol belt – I had once heard that negotiators are not allowed to carry weapons – the general’s wife suddenly stepped up to me and hugged me in silence. Then I went on my way, with an interpreter and a sergeant to accompany me. The interpreter, as far as I can remember was a Kassel physician, Dr. Sommerfeld, who volunteered. Accompanied by the good wishes of the guards and bystanders, we climbed over the large barricade in Frankfurter Strasse, across from the former Bleil & Wögerer store, at the foot of the Weinberg. Then we marched slowly and solemnly out of town under the brilliant, bright moonlight. I had asked both of my companions to stay as far back as possible so that we would not be dealt with all at once in the “worst case” scenario. While I tried not to get my feet entangled in the wires of the blown overhead line of the tram, there were occasional shots right and left in the side streets of the Auviertel quarter, individual shadows flitted around the corners, flares went up and splinters and debris hit the plastered walls.

Immediately in front of the gate of the Jäger Barracks I came across the foremost American battle post. He was obviously very tired and dozed while standing. When I suddenly stood in front of him, he was so shocked that he almost stumbled over the machine-gun standing next to him. With the help of our interpreter, I tried to make the very suspicious Americans understand my intention. We were then brought into the anteroom of the former Hussar Casino (the later Paradise Club) under an escort armed to the teeth. Here we were searched for weapons, and everything that could endanger the safety of the US Army was taken from us. Surprisingly, our watches were also part of it. When we voiced concerns about this, they pointed their weapons at us. Then we were led, again under heavy cover, into the courtyard of a property on the left-hand side of Frankfurter Strasse, shortly before the railway overpass. Here the three of us – it was pretty cold – had to sit flat on the floor. Our guards positioned themselves in a semicircle in front of or around us. They passed the time for themselves and us by doing targeting exercises on us. Since they didn’t seem completely sober, this pastime was a bit unsettling, at least for us.

By dawn on April 4th I was getting bored, but we were eventually driven by jeep to a side street between Oberzwehrener and Rengershauser Strasse. An American captain received us in a small family house. He spoke fluent German with no accent. From the phone calls he made in my presence, I deduced that he was some kind of intelligence officer handling prisoner-of-war matters. I was finally able to explain the purpose of my coming to him. After a while, a jeep arrived carrying an American general and his adjutant. The general looked splendid but didn’t speak German. He was polite, but not interested in conceding anything. He had the interpreting captain ask me to convey his appreciation of the brave demeanor of our soldiers to my commander. But he could not approve a ceasefire to withdraw either the troops or the civilians: either there would be capitulation or the battle would resume to its conclusion. Under the circumstances, I believe that my decision to go with the first option was in accordance with my instructions. Those who did not experience bombed-out Kassel and its frightened population back then may condemn me if they dare.

Now that an agreement was reached, I thought it appropriate to mention how we had been plundered of our possessions. I was pleased that an officer was immediately dispatched with me to clarify the matter. Although I understood just as little English as the very personable film star who accompanied me understood German, he managed to conjure up my watch in a very short time. Those of my companions, on the other hand, had disappeared.

On the way back to our lines, the officer led us – apparently not without intent – past the American artillery that was deployed. My eyes overflowed when I saw large numbers of guns in heavy, medium and light calibers in the open space of what was later the warehouse yard. If these ever opened fire there would probably have been nothing left of Kassel – though there wasn’t much left, anyway. In Crede’s Villa (I think it was) we found a large number of American officers. The relatively simple arrangements for our repatriation were established. Then we were driven near the battle lines again. Two company commanders, whose infantrymen had advanced between Landaustrasse and Karlsaue towards Frankfurter Strasse and were skirmishing with our riflemen on and around the Weinberg, took care of me. We crawled and climbed through cellars and laundry rooms, over courtyards and bleaching areas. We “requisitioned” a walking stick and a terry towel from an abandoned apartment, with which we improvised a white flag. Then we sneaked around the corner of Frankfurter Strasse and An der Karlsaue. The two Americans patted me vigorously on the shoulder and had their troops cease fire. Once it had gone quiet for a short time, I dashed towards our barricade with a waving white flag. Despite my German uniform, the perplexed guards greeted us with shots, which, to my pleasant surprise, went wrong.

Then I reported the result of my mission and an hour later I was on the back of a truck that was carrying me into captivity.

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The Drama Continues (sunset again)

Yesterday’s sunset was plenty of fun. This is the last sunset of the season that I can video from the steps out the door of the conservatory. At least it’s the last one I can video the full track of the sunset — the rotation of the earth combined with the Earth’s axial tilt will put the closing moments of the sunset behind the house two doors down from us. That’s the house that mounts that TV antenna you see in the video I’ve linked to above. To get the full sunset tonight, for example, I’d actually have to walk up the hill — or maybe go out the front door and video from the neighbor’s across the street? Not sure. Or I could do it from my drone if one of my drones had a decent enough camera with zoom function, which neither one has.

The rest of the world worries about coronavirus and being able to buy food. I’m crying about sunset visibility. So sad.

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North Korea is a Shelter Against Coronavirus!

Kim Jong Un has let us know that his country (“his” country in the same sense as “his” hair — because he owns it personally) is free of coronavirus!

MSN says:

North Korea remains totally free of the coronavirus, a senior health official in Pyongyang has insisted, despite mounting scepticism overseas as known cases of infection topped one million worldwide.

The already isolated, nuclear-armed North quickly shut down its borders after the virus was first detected in neighbouring China in January, and imposed strict containment measures.

Pak Myong Su, director of the anti-epidemic department of the North’s Central Emergency Anti-epidemic Headquarters, insisted that the efforts had been completely successful.

I can kind of believe it, actually. This is far and away the most closed country in the world. So, I wonder when they’ll start receiving immigration applications from people outside North Korea who are scared?  One way Kim could start bringing in extra income would be to offer luxury accommodations in gated communities for rich people who want to come hide — for a fee, of course!

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I’ve been unfriended on Facebook!

This may have happened before, but to the best of my knowledge this is the first Unfriend I’ve experienced!

I posted something which one of my (now former) friends found controversial and offensive, and there ensued an argument over the subject. All OK so far, but then she said that I had posted something not credible and offensive. So I told her that she had no idea how many times I had had to beat my head against a wall trying to keep myself from responding from things she had posted that were offensive and not credible.

All OK, right?  Well, she didn’t like that, and suddenly all the little name attributions FB puts on people’s posts turned from linkable to just plain text.  I checked, and yes, she was gone from my friend list.

I am heartbroken!

Not really. But I do regret hurting her feelings.

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Should we really be panicking over Coronavirus?

In my 68 years on this planet I’ve never experienced anything like this clear panic over a virus.  I’m here in the UK, and the country is basically shut down, as it is also in the US.

But why?

I know, I know, people are dying from it, but back in 1968-1972 we had the Hong Kong Flu pandemic. Its death toll makes the worldwide Covid-19 death toll so far look rather anemic. I’m not making this up.  The CDC currently estimates that, in total, that virus killed 1 million people worldwide and around 100,000 people in the U.S. See HERE.

100,000 people died in the US from the Hong Kong Flu?  I was in the US for at least a portion of that time, and nobody was quarantining, nobody was telling people to stay home, they didn’t close the schools — as far as I remember, anyway.  And the vast majority of victims during that time were the elderly, especially those with other medical problems. Just like what is happening now.

Well, I’m elderly now (shocking to realize!), and I guess I am in the virus’s crosshairs. But fortunately I don’t have any chronic conditions afflicting me — other than being way too overweight. So I’m not too worried.

I’m not saying there is absolutely no reason for concern.  And the pandemic isn’t over, so things may change and get far worse than what we’re seeing so far.  But I am hopeful that it won’t be worse than it was back in 1970.

Have a watch of this video. It might give further context to the problem.

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OK, now which Democrat?

In my earlier post I suggested that I would prefer Bernie to stand against Trump, and if a Democrat were to win the presidency, I would prefer Gabbard.

Well, things have firmed up in the race, so now the only two Democrats in the race are Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.

Oh. My. Freaking. Gosh.

A virtual communist vs an incipient dementia sufferer.

I don’t know what else to say. Neither one should be able to defeat Trump, and either one would destroy the USA.

The Democrat Party has indeed jumped the shark.

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Which Democrat?

The first question occurs to me, which Democrat currently running would I prefer:

  • To face President Trump in November
  • To be president if Trump is defeated in November by the Democrat

The second question is which Democrat would be the absolute worst to win the presidency.

The answers are two Democrats, since one is the answer to two questions.

Who would I prefer to face Trump in November?

The short answer is Bernie Sanders.

The reason for this preference is because I believe Bernie has the best chance among the front runners to get beaten soundly by Trump. He’s also the best chance of causing the Democrat majority in the house to disappear.

Who would I prefer to be president if Trump were to be defeated in November?

The short answer is Tulsi Gabbard.

The reason for this preference is because Tulsi shows patriotism: she’s a serving Army National Guard officer.  She also seems far less crazy than Sanders or Warren.

Would she be a genuine threat to Trump if she were to get the Democrat nomination? I don’t know. I rather doubt it, but it seems possible she might stand a better chance than any of the other Democrats. She’s seems quite personable, has intelligence and ability to think on her feet, is an attractive person, and doesn’t have the baggage that some of the other major candidates have: she’s not an obvious liar like Warren, is not a crazy Socialist like Bernie, nor an apparent dementia case like Biden. I can’t compare her to Buttigieg or Klobuchar, since I’m not knowledgeable enough about them. But I do have a small positive feeling about Klobuchar, given her raising of the hand about concern with socialism at the last Democrat debate (alone of all the others). But that’s all I got with Klobuchar.

I might have to study both Buttigieg and Klobuchar a bit more, given that they have both managed to step a bit closer to front-runner status than they were previously.

Which Democrat would be the absolute worst to win the presidency?

The short answer is Bernie Sanders.

The reason for this fear is that Bernie is, at best, a socialist, and at worst, a closet communist.  He is also in poor health (recent heart attack), meaning that whichever loonie tune he selected as vice president would be president in short order (and I dread thinking who that might be). And it has become apparent that a number of his campaign workers are absolute communist sympathizers, talking privately about sending people  with whom they disagree to re-education camps, among other things. Bernie has attracted such dregs of humanity that I am certain that he would destroy the United States.

Fortunately, he has a snowball’s chance in hell of getting elected.

An Interesting Correspondance

Isn’t it interesting that my preference for Trump’s opponent is the same person who I feel would be the absolutely worst president?

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Yang is Out! Who’s Next?

I’ve been watching the Democratic nomination “progress” with some degree of interest, since whoever is left at the end will face Trump in November. And since no Democrat currently (or previously) running is “safe” for the country, I must regard Trump as the safest choice for 2020.

And now Andrew Yang has bowed out, after his disappointing performance in New Hampshire today. It was inevitable in any case, since his so-called “Freedom Dividend” program is a completely air-headed idea. Who could possibly think anyone would go for it?

So, who’s going to come out on top in the New Hampshire primary?  It looks like Bernie Sanders so far.  I’m writing this while the results are rolling in (watching the “Don’t Walk, Run! Productions” livestream, and Twitter.  I need to go to bed, but this is keeping me up. Why? It won’t matter, but I’m terribly curious.

The former front-runner, Joe Biden, is coming in rather low, with 8.3% of the vote. If you’ve been listening to him lately, he actually sounds like he’s slipped into some kind of dementia.  Pretty sure he won’t be able to recover, from an election point of view.  If true, it’s probably for the best, for him at least, since there seems to be some evidence that he’s corrupt and could face justice. Nobody would pursue a mentally-deficit Biden.

I have a feeling that despite the fact that Bernie, Buttigieg, and Klobuchar are rocking New Hampshire at the moment, the eventual nominee will be Bloomberg, who isn’t even participating in New Hampshire. The Democratic National Committee is completely opposed to Sanders being the nominee, and I am sure that they will bend all their efforts to keep him from winning the nomination.

So, who’s going to be the next dropout out the 8 running in NH?  My guess is that will be Tulsi Gabbard.

I’m going to bed now.

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