The Republican Debate, 2/6/16.
Oh. My. God. I knew it was bad, just not this bad. They couldn’t even find their podiums at the start - obviously they couldn’t hear the announcers. Trump and Carson, waiting for the fanfare that never came, tonight’s Laurel and Hardy. And they almost forgot to introduce Kasich! ABC produced this like one would produce a boxing match. Or “Family Feud”!
Quick take, and a panacea.
The moderators encouraged infighting. The first few questions were opportunities to bash each other. Astonishing. Useless. Issues? HAH. Weird paranoiac fantasies, with invisible evildoers. Must. Use. Bombs. And. Torture. To. Protect. Millionaires. And. Defunding. Planned Parenthood. While. Saving. Unborn. To. Build. Border. Walls. Because. Tax. Cuts. Not. Immigrants. EMINENT DOMAIN!! ISIS. Gentrified. Me. Worship. Peace. In. Our. Time. Repeat.
Sorry, lost it there for a sec.
1. Jolly Kasich forgets nouns, subjects to sentences. Hard to follow, even if you’d want to.
2. Jeb Bush is old-guard GOP Sominex.
3. Marco Rubio is a Chihuahua gnawing at Obama’s ankles, as Satan eternally gnaws Judas’ ankles at the bottom of Dante’s Inferno.
4. Donald Trump is radioactively obtuse.
5. Cruz is frightening, simply frightening. Like a malfunctioning electric bread knife amongst fingers.
6. Ben Carson’s overprescribing downers to himself.
7. Christie seems to aspire to the post of Governor-in-Chief, not President.
What a sad situation for America. An embarrassing display of fermenting grey matter. I am embarrassed, international friends. Mortified. Dear God, ABC even had downloadable *bingo* cards for viewer use. Trump and Bush sounded the most reasonable out of this crew tonight ... if a group of rabid bipedal mammals can be called ‘reasonable’. Rubio had the most astute description of the ISIS situation that I’ve heard yet. The only moment of clearheaded sanity in the whole debate, and the only one from him. Which may only mean he’s read the same online sources I have (!).
Overall, theirs is a strange parallel universe. Their fear and insecurity seethes dangerously, my friends. They see dangers under every rock. In their zeal, the poor and disadvantaged are going to be savaged. There’s no two ways about it.
So I leave you with something to salve your soul. I need to reset my moral compass after all that, myself.
Robert Kennedy. The excerpt of his speech to South Africa in 1966, that his brother Edward read at his funeral in 1968.
There is discrimination in this world and slavery and slaughter and starvation. Governments repress their people; millions are trapped in poverty while the nation grows rich and wealth is lavished on armaments everywhere. These are differing evils, but they are the common works of man. They reflect the imperfection of human justice, the inadequacy of human compassion, our lack of sensibility towards the suffering of our fellows. But we can perhaps remember - even if only for a time - that those who live with us are our brothers; that they share with us the same short moment of life; that they seek - as we do - nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can.
Surely, this bond of common faith, this bond of common goal, can begin to teach us something. Surely, we can learn, at least, to look at those around us as fellow men. And surely we can begin to work a little harder to bind up the wounds among us and to become in our own hearts brothers and countrymen once again. The answer is to rely on youth - not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the love of ease. The cruelties and obstacles of this swiftly changing planet will not yield to the obsolete dogmas and outworn slogans. They cannot be moved by those who cling to a present that is already dying, who prefer the illusion of security to the excitement and danger that come with even the most peaceful progress.
It is a revolutionary world we live in, and this generation at home and around the world has had thrust upon it a greater burden of responsibility than any generation that has ever lived. Some believe there is nothing one man or one woman can do against the enormous array of the world’s ills. Yet many of the world’s great movements, of thought and action, have flowed from the work of a single man. A young monk began the Protestant reformation; a young general extended an empire from Macedonia to the borders of the earth; a young woman reclaimed the territory of France; and it was a young Italian explorer who discovered the New World, and the 32 year-old Thomas Jefferson who (pro)claimed that “all men are created equal.”
These men moved the world, and so can we all. Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.
Few are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world that yields most painfully to change. And I believe that in this generation those with the courage to enter the moral conflict will find themselves with companions in every corner of the globe.
For the fortunate among us, there is the temptation to follow the easy and familiar paths of personal ambition and financial success so grandly spread before those who enjoy the privilege of education. But that is not the road history has marked out for us. Like it or not, we live in times of danger and uncertainty. But they are also more open to the creative energy of men than any other time in history. All of us will ultimately be judged, and as the years pass we will surely judge ourselves on the effort we have contributed to building a new world society and the extent to which our ideals and goals have shaped that event.
The future does not belong to those who are content with today, apathetic toward common problems and their fellow man alike, timid and fearful in the face of new ideas and bold projects. Rather it will belong to those who can blend vision, reason and courage in a personal commitment to the ideals and great enterprises of American Society. Our future may lie beyond our vision, but it is not completely beyond our control. It is the shaping impulse of America that neither fate nor nature nor the irresistible tides of history, but the work of our own hands, matched to reason and principle, that will determine our destiny. There is pride in that, even arrogance, but there is also experience and truth. In any event, it is the only way we can live.
Copyright, I assume, belongs to the Kennedy family. I hope they won’t mind. I think we all need this bit of remembrance right about now.
Not one candidate, to my knowledge, characterized either an immigrant or a Democrat as a fellow human being.
I weep very real tears for my country.
Jacobin: Hillary Clinton’s Empowerment.
“... taking politicians’ rhetoric at face value is one of the gravest errors that a progressive can make.” Hoo boy, do we know that one. Article pretty much hashes Ms Clinton, and loses focus at the end when addressing feminism. Interesting individual links/details used as corroboration. Hefty grain of salt overall (check sourcing).
naked cap: Gaius Publius - The Pressure on Warren to Support Hillary Clinton.
Of interest. Stick to your guns, Liz.
Atlantic: Clinton and Sanders Fight Over How to Tame Big Business.
Worthy read. Though I can’t help thinking articles like this award more historical background and altruistic motivation than actually exists - we saw this with the deep analyses of Obama’s policies, pre-election. No great shakes, in retrospect.
SF Reporter: Too Much Prosecution?
Oh, joy ... the Koch brothers in New Mexico. How to make my day.
Thoughts on the Democratic debate, 2/4/16.
I held my nose and dove into the political quagmire a little earlier than I wanted to, because last night’s debate was touted as “likely one of the more substantial debates”. Alas, substance was lacking, as was real debate. Given what I’ve read over the past weeks, the same old porridge served up with a new topping.
First, the debate moderators. Maddow and Todd had great questions, but did not police the debate well enough. Sure, these are famous people. But they’re people. You can tell them to shut up, or you turn off their microphone. The A/V guys would love to do it. Disrespectful? Not as disrespectful as outstaying your welcome verbally. Skilled debaters thrive on limitation, the same as children. So exercise your authority.
The two candidates overall. Oh, how I’m let down. I’d like to get excited this election season; these two are a rum lot. I suppose because Clinton was considered such a strong candidate going into this contest, no really fine Democrats would throw their hat in. After all, because of ’08 she’s “owed” the nomination, right? Wrong. I’ve mentioned the Bob Dole nomination as a previous model. I find significant flaws in both Sanders and Clinton, flaws strong enough to give Republicans a reasonable chance.
Candidate Sanders first. He’s been my favorite, not because I believe he can win, but because there’s nothing wrong with having a leftward candidate to push the likely nominee to make leftward concessions in their platform. We’re allowed to dream, surely. Progressive remorse over Obama is huge and unappreciated. We desperately need some hope.
This is the first time I’ve sat through an entire debate with him, rather than just getting video bites. I am astonished at his verbatim repeats of his platforms. Instead of a One-Note Charlie, he’s like a Six- or Eight-Note Charlie. I can see why Hillary agreed to more debates. This behavior will mitigate against Bernie after one or two more events. Even the clueless media will pick up on it. They’re great notes, but he expresses them virtually identically each time.
For all his good ideas about domestic policies, the gap in his foreign policy knowledge is stark. Even moreso because he is a smart man, surely he understood this would be part of the job qualifications - and yet he STILL hasn’t got any good verbal comebacks for questions that are patently obvious. Come on, Bernie, at least baffle us with some bullshit. It’s better than tonight’s performance. It makes me question his overall judgment. More than anything else, this bothered me the most and makes me question all the fawning support.
Todd’s question about Afghanistan seemed to sail right by Sanders. I know what he was thinking, the ISIS solution of “Muslims fixing Muslim problems” would solve Afghanistan as well, but Sanders cannot assume everyone in America understands these nuances. Only on Todd’s prodding did he meld his ISIS comments with Afghanistan. This … imperviousness … alerted me to his age. I started looking for ‘senior moments’, and thought I caught the shade of a couple instances.
Sanders is what, 75? If Sanders was female, I might not worry so much. Women live longer with their wits intact. Yeah, yeah … reverse sexism on my part. But for men, 75-80 can see a lot of decline. Some might call it inappropriate to point it out, but it is important. That flexibility of mind and opinion can disappear quickly.
I won’t belabor his good points. You’ve heard them a hundred times already thanks to your friends (or former friends) on FB.
Last thing. This whole “I won’t attack Hillary” schtick. Oh, it gets applause. And my derision. He won’t attack her over email, but goes after her for not being a progressive? Drop the BS. Gloves on, or gloves off. Make up your mind, and take the lumps for your choice. Clinton accused you of a smear, and in the doubletalk you took advantage of an ill-chosen ‘out’ she provided you with, and changed the subject to ‘issues.’ I side with Clinton here. Say it, don’t spray it. You claim to be a man of integrity. You ducked this; I never would have. And I judge you wanting for this.
Candidate Clinton. After all these years in the public eye, you would think she would have achieved some eloquence. I can feel her fighting for words (remember, I was a teleprompter for years). Nodding her head, eyes cycling, trying to tack words together (oh so slowly) so as not to sound like a fool. Painful. At some points it felt like English was her second language. If nothing else, these debates (if she uses them wisely) can hone her vocal instrument. Last night was NOT a good performance.
You’ve seen the articles condemning her “shouting”, “shrill.” I suspect, given the Sanders speaking style, she feels she needs to surmount his volume in order to avoid being perceived as ‘weak.’ It seems to be totally throwing her off her game. She can be an ‘alpha dog’ without the testosterone, very simply. Well-timed quiet, considered responses would be amazing as answers to many of Sanders’ bellowed statements, and she still hasn’t twigged to that. I expect, given her personality, she feels she knows best and wouldn’t give the time of day to a speech-coach. She’s not going to come off well enough against a withering, foghorn Trump or a debate-skilled sniping Cruz. Rubio and she would end up waffling at each other, leaving us with another 50/50 tossup in the fall.
So her delivery of information is staccato, flawed … and reflects what comes across as terrible low self-esteem. Every Sanders answer, at the beginning of the debate, she wedged herself in with the “I did’s”. Nothing gets me more angry than a pushy interrupter. I find her current persona smarmy and insincere. And for what? A laundry list is a laundry list. Boring. Forgettable. TELL A STORY and ONE REMARKABLE, MEMORABLE ANECDOTE that indicates how your experience and knowledge overcomes Sanders’ lack (hopefully not ‘the sniper story’). Learn from Reagan (oh, the irony), it’s what people expect right now. In her flurry of “I did’s”, she made me realize how many cockups of the past she’s been around for (NAFTA, Iraq, financial crises, Benghazi, emails). She needs to seriously rethink how she relates her resume in debates. [For entertainment, check the ‘history’ tab on her Wikipedia page. Busy, busy revisionism. Frankly, I’m surprised Cruz hasn’t started a carpet-bombing campaign in the entry.]
Some quick comments: As was expressed to me by a young lady, once upon a time at a political event in ‘08 - ‘just because you have a vagina does not mean you are a progressive.’ You were against gay marriage before you were for it. Explain why. Be forthright for once. Shock us. You seriously get mad about being called ‘establishment’, and then you use Kissinger as a reference for the job? Kissinger. And not ‘establishment’. Kissinger?!! Am I in a time warp, parallel universe or something?
Then, is being called a moderate so bad, that you attack someone else and accuse them of a ‘smear’? Do you know how idiotic that sounds? All elections are won over turnout and who casts the widest net - towards the center. She wants far left support sans concessions so damned bad she’s willing to throw the middle under the bus? Fodder for the enemy. Terrible strategizing, if she’s doing any at all. And don’t start this “low blow” or “he’s being harsh” stuff. Either you’re a tough broad, or you’re not. Choose. Now.
A point that gave me hope of Clinton subtlety (a seemingly rare beast, and as such, should be appreciated even if mythical) - I was wondering why the hell she referenced Oklahoma City and McVeigh. That seemed a very weird instance to bring up. Very old - dating her own political history. Trying to avoid blaming Obama for in-country ISIS events? Then it dawned on me - could she be making a veiled threat towards the militia types here in America? Woe be to them if they try taking over more Federal lands under Clinton’s watch, methinks. Thatcher may have been the “Iron Lady”, but she’ll be history’s Rousey to Hillary’s Holm, if my assumption is correct.
I threw wadded-up socks at the television over this: “Wall Street guys trying to stop me”. Nice! A few days after a fundraiser WITH those Wall Street guys. I almost shut the TV off.
Loved Todd’s question about releasing the transcripts of the speeches for Goldman Sachs. Bang-zoom! Her face. If eyes could be lasers. She’s not a think-on-your-feet person, either. She could have turned this aside with, “Well, whether I talked to Goldman Sachs or the American Breast Cancer Association, I may have mentioned proprietary information which can’t be made public. Any release is up to them.” How neat that would have been! The irony here is … she complained of retroactive classification in the State Department. She’s retroactively classifying HER OWN SPEECHES now. Pot. Kettle. Black.
My sad conclusion: The Democratic Party offers us also-rans, the Republicans a circus side-show. I suppose we’ll have to settle for Clinton as our nominee eventually. She has too much clout behind her, and she’s been calling in markers like crazy all over media, entertainment and political circles. Even the NY Times is retweeting her talking points during the broadcast, as their editorialists cast doubts upon Sanders. I’m afraid New Hampshire will be Sanders’ high point, downhill from there. The whole ‘endorsement’ brouhaha. Too many new people, too fast, without enough organization. You can throw a lot of money at someone, but it doesn’t mean that someone will use it to best effect.
Sanders’ contention that the only way any of this matters - by throwing out the monied interests, bodily riding them out of the Beltway on a rail - is the true bottom line of this debate. And one of the few in which Clinton did NOT wedge herself in with a rejoinder. Her silence here spoke volumes. Very establishment GOP.
Here’s hoping she hires a speech coach. Now I have to get a barf bag out and sample a Republican debate, and write a similar piece.
Have a great evening. I need a drink.
Later: Suggested study material for Ms Clinton.
Meetings this morning, but a commentary on the debates coming later.
I held my nose and dove into the Democratic debate last evening. One of those situations where my thoughts are dragging me kicking and screaming to the keyboard in order to mind-dump. See you all a bit later.
NY Times: Hillary Clinton Raises Her Voice, and a Debate Over Speech and Sexism Rages.
Des Moines Register Editorial: Something smells in the Democratic Party.
“Work with all the campaigns to audit results. Break silly party tradition and release the raw vote totals. Provide a list of each precinct coin flip and its outcome, as well as other information sought by the Register. Be transparent.” The fact the state’s leading paper says something is rotten, makes me look askance at the result.
The Nation: Elizabeth Warren Blasts a Republican Plan to Protect White-Collar Criminals.
“ Banks or payment processors would no longer be held criminally responsible for simply aiding fraudulent activity involving customer accounts, since the fraud was not primarily conducted by the bank, nor against it.” What the bloody hell? Mattresses, not banks. Mattresses. I’m convinced.
Political Wire: Bush Begs Audience to Clap.
I hope history remembers this. How far the Establishment GOP fell due to their encouragement of the sensationalist fringe. In spite of my observation from the other side of the aisle, I can’t help but feel sad. Better to oppose a dullard than quasi-fascists.
NPR: No Comment From Grinning Martin Shkreli At House Hearing On Drug Prices.
Everything that’s wrong with capitalism, in one human waste.
naked cap: Trump’s Neofascism Isn’t Going Away, Even if Trump Does.
“What is worrisome about Trump is two things. First, what should be clear about politics is that the public desperately wants a full employment economy. Trump is promising that. And second, Trump is building institutional links with at least one natural conservative force that hasn’t until recently been considered particularly political: the police.” Oh baby Jesus. And you know I’m no conspiracy theorist. Read “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.” Seriously. Let’s hope Trump will, in his short-attention-span lifestyle, just abandon his political career. Greater concern - other elements have surely noticed. And have started planning, I’m sure.
NY Times Opinion/Kristof: 2 Questions for Bernie Sanders.
“When voters are polled today about how they would vote in a general election, Sanders does pretty well. For example, he beats Ted Cruz in the RealClearPolitics average, while Clinton loses to Cruz. But at this stage that’s almost meaningless: Republicans are blasting Clinton while ignoring Sanders. If he were the nominee, he would be savaged.” Well, a little misleading. Republicans aren’t really blasting anyone yet. Kristof, remember the ‘90’s? No doubt Sanders will catch incredible amounts of hell for ‘socialism.’ The question is, can they dial up Clinton/Obama-level hatred for Sanders? His record is pretty much out there. Socialism seems to be the only lever they’ve got. They can’t attack his heritage/religion (without offending Israel). His record is pretty benign. Easy to attack big plans from a person who’s never passed major legislation. Yet if he had, I imagine he’d make a bigger target. I remain skeptical that Sanders could win nationally against a Rubio, unless his message withstands more serious volleys. Love the man, love his message. Just waiting and watching.
The Register.UK: US taxmen borked in computer cockup riddle.
Techdirt: Countries Sign The TPP ... Whatever Happened To The ‘Debate’?
“... today’s symbolic signing should really be an exclamation point on the near total lack of transparency and debate in this process. The 90 day window was a perfect opportunity to have an actual discussion about what’s in the TPP and why there are problems with it, but the administration showed absolutely no interest in doing so.”
New Yorker: Bernie Sanders and the New Populism.
“Clinton, although she retains a great deal of support in the Democratic Party, has so far failed to inspire the young. As I noted following the Iowa caucus, her response to the Sanders phenomenon sometimes seems to be ‘No, we can’t.’”
Thrillist: $90K working Burning Man.
They can joke, but the experience list is pretty hefty, seems to me.
naked cap: Clinton Campaign Goes on Tilt as a Result of Dead Heat With Sanders in Iowa.
“Clinton’s favorability ratings have kept falling the more she has campaigned. [snip] Indeed, as of about two weeks ago, Clinton’s approval ratings among black voters in South Carolina had fallen from 79% to 54%. As of then, Sanders had not turned this decline into conversions to his campaign, but small focus groups suggest those voters are receptive to his message. So South Carolina could be more in play than it appears on the surface.” Must-read, esp. for resistant Hillary supporters. If Hillary wants to win, she has to recognize and deal with what Sanders is saying, what his supporters are energized by, rather than just deal with him as an annoying insect. Problem is, of course, we fully expect her to run Center-Left and move further Right than Obama has. Promises and piecrusts. There’s a screed going around on Facebook, the ALLCAPS rant. You’ve probably seen it. I’ve seen it about 12 times in my feed now (‘yay’, he says, with no enthusiasm). It sets up a very convenient straw-woman. If you run across it, give it a few minutes. We’re apparently supposed to give ol’ Hill our support because she’s being unfairly beaten on because she’s a woman. Not quite. I wonder what ISIS and Putin will do, send her a set of fluffy slippers? She sat on the board of Walmart, for Christ’s sake, and didn’t stand up for unions. She’s actively promoted fracking (and her policy site skims over the issue, conveniently) both here and abroad. She was just feted by fracking financiers, just before the caucus. Looking at all the issues she’s been against/for and vice-versa, she makes my head spin. I have not been able to predict what her platform would be from year to year.
My opposition is based on her [temporary] stances and flip-flops on important issues to my local area. If you want me to comment on her pantsuits and hair, I will. I gave Gore hell for not getting into better physical shape for his run, nothing sexist about it. One shouldn’t look like an oiled sea lion when running for office. And, I still have a bad taste in my mouth over Hillary’s run for the Senate. She was a clear carpetbagger in the NY Senate race. She announced her intent to run for the position four days after the impeachment ruling for her husband, and seven months before she ever had a domicile in the state. This whole concept of entitlement smacks of the Bob Dole run. Well-respected, “owed”. That was a huge success, right?
Guardian.UK: Trump may have lost in Iowa but it’s proved he’s a master of social media.
More about what’s wrong with media today, than about Mr Trump. Worth your time, not that you didn’t know it ...
Quartz: The US bet big on American oil and now the whole global economy is paying the price.
Useless media today.
Yesterday, the future of the world was going to be decided by Iowa. Today, minimized. Clickbait, clickbait, clickbait. I might as well walk away from the NEWS section of my aggregator ...
The big news is Sanders and Rubio.
Mark my words. Sit back and watch. Already Rubio’s scored another endorsement. The establishment GOP is going to move fast now. Jeb should pull out, IMHO. Sanders has some significant mountains to climb. If New Hampshire isn’t a cakewalk (and even if it’s not, but we’ll talk about that after Tuesday), he will fade very swiftly. The media is harsh when you lose in your home turf. Horseracing! Love it. And to you pundits, how can you be surprised that young people come out for Sanders? Young folk always come out for the farthest-left candidate, every election cycle. Whether they *vote*, is another story - only Obama’s inspired that sort of devotion.
The polls lost tonight.
That’s the biggest takeaway. Trump led the polls, Clinton led the polls. Both by substantial margins. Bernie virtually ties. And Rubio comes out of nowhere.
Crazy days. More to come.
Entrepreneur: Union Plumbers Donate Time, Supplies to Flint Residents.
Brita’s don’t filter lead effectively. I hope they researched options before doing this. I mean, I really appreciate the gesture. But it should help fix the problem.