Archive for September 2016

Gary Johnson

I just listened to a female veteran in California say she is for the marijuana initiative and would probably vote for Gary Johnson.  Huh?  Clearly she does not know what libertarians stand for.  She could kiss goodbye the Affordable Care Act and the VA.  Rolling Stone did a really good job of pointing what should be objectionable to all persuasions and I will repeat it here.  Voting third Party is more than likely a vote for Donald Trump.  And since most of the people about to do that are Millennials like the woman above, it is truly sad that they are that clueless about Ralph Nader or about what they are about to bring about in this country if Donald Trump wins.  So many people, so ignorant of history and the facts:

Here’s what liberals, conservatives and Johnson’s fellow libertarians should know about the man hoping to scoop up the votes of Never Trump-ers and Never Hillary-ers alike.

If you lean liberal and…

…you believe college should be tuition-free:

Johnson disagrees. “I would not believe that colleges or universities should be free,” he told ProCon.org in June. “They would be too expensive from a federal standpoint. If states want to do that of course, that’s their prerogative. But should they be free? No, they shouldn’t be free.”

…you’re against big money in politics, and specifically Citizens United:

Johnson says corporations should give as much money as they want, as often as they choose, to whomever they please. “I think it [Citizens United] comes under the First Amendment, that they should be able to contribute as much money as they want,” he told The New American in 2012. (He reiterated that sentiment this year.)

…you’re against fracking:

While Johnson admits fracking is an incredibly inefficient and environmentally destructive form of energy extraction, he thinks we ought to be doing more of it. “I have spoken to my former environmental secretary,” he tells ProCon.org, “and what he says regarding fracking is that it’s only 10% effective, that there are environmental concerns, and that he believes that more research needs to be done on fracking. Number one, it could become much more effective, meaning it could have a much higher yield. So it sounds very pragmatic to me, but that would be where I’m at.”

…you’re against the TPP:

Johnson doesn’t really know the specifics of the trade deal, but he supports it nonetheless. “My understanding is that it is more free trade than not. Is it a perfect document? Based upon what I understand it is not, but I could not tell you what the specifics are for why that’s not the case other than that it’s better than nothing given the current state of trade. So I would be in support of TPP.” (All three of his rivals – Clinton, Trump and Jill Stein – are against the deal.)

…you’re against the Keystone XL pipeline:

Speaking of details, when Johnson last publicly discussed the Keystone XL, in 2012, he also didn’t have a firm grasp on those pertaining to the pipeline – a project later spiked by the Obama administration, and which Trump has vowed to revive. Nevertheless, he said he would support it. “I completely support the Keystone Pipeline if it’s not an issue of the government implementing eminent domain to procure right of ways… I really don’t understand where the regulatory hurdles are… I would certainly remove the regulatory hurdles,” he said.

…you think the minimum wage is too low:

Johnson thinks this is a “non-issue” – because, as the Libertarian nominee has wrongly claimed, hardly anyone works for minimum wage. Here’s how he put it on HuffPost Live earlier this year: “Minimum wage, look, I think [everyone is] missing the boat. Why doesn’t he raise it to $75 an hour? Well, of course he can’t raise it to $75 an hour because then prices would go way up and nobody would be able to afford to hire anybody. ‘Oh, I see $75 is too high but $10.10 is just the right number?’ How do you arrive at that? Why not let the marketplace arrive at that? And I just think it’s much to do – minimum wage is much to do about nothing. I mean, nobody works for minimum wage [anyway]… [Just] showing up on time and wearing clean clothes gets you way above the minimum wage.”

…you support paid medical and family leave:

“I would be opposed to that,” Johnson told ProCon.org earlier this year.

…you think we should have virtually any reasonable restrictions on the purchase and ownership of guns:

“I don’t believe there should be any restrictions when it comes to firearms. None,” he said to Slate in 2011. When asked by the site iSideWith.com this spring, “Should there be more restrictions on the current process of purchasing a gun?” Johnson said, “No, only for criminals and the mentally ill.” In a June interview with CNN, he elaborated on his thoughts about keeping guns out of the hands of individuals with mental illnesses, proposing a hotline as a possible solution, above policy changes. “We’re not looking to roll back anything, but with regard to keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, with regard to keeping guns out of the hands of potential terrorists, Bill [Weld] talked about establishing a 1,000-person task force to potentially address that – look, a hotline? We should be open to these discussions,” he said.

…you think the Affordable Care Act serves an important purpose, and you’d like to see it preserved:

In 2011, Johnson swore he would repeal Obamacare. “I would do everything I could to repeal President Obama’s health care plan. I think that very simply we can’t afford it,” Johnson said. “The long-term solution to health care is a free market approach to health care. And by the way, health care in this country is about as far removed from free market as it possibly could be.”

If you lean conservative and…

…you’re pro-life:

Johnson isn’t. As he told the Daily Caller in 2012, “I leave abortion to the woman. I just fundamentally end there. I absolutely support a woman’s right to choose.”

…you’re worried about ballooning government debt:

Johnson says he’s a fiscal conservative, but, as the National Review points out, when he was elected governor of New Mexico, “Johnson inherited a debt of $1.8 billion and left a debt of $4.6 billion.”

…you think the United States has an immigration problem:

Johnson disagrees, as he told the Texas Tribune earlier this year. “I think we should make it as easy as possible for somebody who wants to come into this country and work to get a work visa. I’m not talking about a green card. The solution is to create a moving line. Don’t put the government in charge of quotas. There will either be jobs or there won’t be jobs,” he said. “Yes, there should be a pathway to citizenship, and there should be an embrace of immigration as something really good. They’re not taking jobs that U.S. citizens want.”

…you’re concerned about resettling Syrian refugees in the United States:

“We need to take our share,” Johnson told Reason late last year. But, again, he was vague on specifics. “I’m not sure what that share should be. I’d like to come up with a formula based on our coalition partners. I wouldn’t say zero, but I don’t know if 65,000 puts us in the category of ‘our fair share.'”

…you don’t believe Planned Parenthood should be eligible for federal funding:

Johnson does, as he explained to Larry King earlier this year. “Look, [Republicans] want to spend more money on military but they want to cut it from social programs, from health care. Look, it’s got to be a balanced approach when it comes to government spending with regard to everything. Am I opposed, I’m opposed to cutting the funding, or eliminating funding, to Planned Parenthood. Look, but Planned Parenthood has to take cuts just along with everybody else or we’re going to find ourselves in a really perilous situation.”

…you worry that legalizing marijuana could cause a slippery slope:

It should surprise no one that Johnson, who stepped away from his role as CEO of Cannabis Sativa Inc. before launching his bid for president last year, is in favor of full legalization. “On the recreational side, I have always maintained that legalizing marijuana will lead to overall less substance abuse because it’s so much safer than everything else that’s out there starting with alcohol,” he told CNN recently.

…and you certainly don’t think it would be a good idea to legalize all drugs:

“Would the world be a better place if all drugs were legalized tomorrow? Absolutely. But pragmatically speaking, you’re not going to go from the criminalization of all drugs to the legalization of drugs overnight,” Johnson told the Daily Caller in 2012.

…you’re skeptical of the idea that women should serve in combat:

“Yes, they should,” Johnson says.

…you think the U.S. is justified when it resorts to torture:

Johnson disagrees. “Torture and the practice of detainment without being charged are practices that need to stop,” he said in a Reddit AMA.

…the transgender bathroom issue is important to you:

Earlier this year, Johnson said if he were governor of North Carolina when lawmakers there passed a controversial bill that would force trans individuals to use the bathroom of their “sex at birth,” he would have vetoed it. “In my veto message I would have said this is an issue that has existed forever and for those involved they have been dealing with it and I’d just like to leave it to them to continue to deal with it. North Carolina of course is taking the wrath of the country, as deserved I think, for having signed that legislation.”

…you don’t believe that climate change is happening, or that it’s manmade:

Johnson believes both, but that doesn’t mean he wants to see the government intervening to stop it. “I accept the fact that there is global warming and I accept the fact that it’s man caused. That said, I am opposed to cap and trade. I’m a free market guy when it comes to the clean environment the number-one factor when it comes to the clean environment is a good economy.”

…you’re a Glenn Beck fan:

Beck has said he will “probably” vote for Gary Johnson this year, but that didn’t win him any points with the former governor. Johnson is not fond of the conservative pundit, and he hasn’t been for a while. “I have not watched Glenn Beck. I don’t watch him,” Johnson told Salon in 2010. It was only after a sustained lobbying campaign that Johnson finally sat down for an interview with the radio host earlier this month.

If you lean libertarian and…

…you think the government has no business telling a person what clothes they can or cannot wear:

If he were elected president, Johnson told Reason earlier this year, he would sign a law banning burqas. “Under sharia law women are not afforded the same rights as men,” Johnson said, by way of explanation. “Honor killings are allowed for under sharia law and so is deceiving non-Muslims.” (He was later forced to walk back this stance.)

…you think the government should not force businesses to provide goods or services to anyone:

thought, ‘What about the employees? Aren’t they hostage to a smoking environment, even if they don’t smoke?'”

At the Libertarian debate in April, when Johnson was asked whether a Jewish baker should be forced to bake a cake for a Nazi family, he answered in the affirmative. His position rubbed a lot of Libertarians the wrong way, including his rival for the nomination, Austin Petersen, who said Johnson’s position “betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of the free market; you have to allow the marketplace to work. The government cannot stamp out bigotry. The government is not supposed to make us into better people, that’s not what the United States was founded on.”

…you don’t think the government should micromanage things like food labeling:

Johnson believes genetically modified food ought to be labeled. “I have celiac disease, so I need food labeled. I think food should be labeled, and that would include GMOs in food,” he said in a Reddit AMA.

…you don’t think the government should decide when or where a person can smoke a cigarette:

Johnson has evolved on whether the government should be able to issue sweeping declarations like “No Smoking” in restaurants: “I was opposed to the government mandating that restaurants not allow people to smoke, believing it becomes the customer’s choice whether they go in or not,” Johnson told the Wall Street Journal in 2010. “But then, I

And finally:

If you’re a reasonable human being, of any political persuasion:

Johnson has said in the past, despite overwhelming scientific consensus, that vaccines should not be mandatory – a view that any reasonable person, regardless of political affiliation, would agree is a threat to public health.

He also lacks basic knowledge about the world. In an early September appearance on Morning Joe, Johnson did not to know what Aleppo – as in, the city in northwest Syria – was. He similarly stumbled later in the month, when he was asked repeatedly by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews to name a world leader he respects; the Libertarian nominee forgot the name of former Mexican President Vicente Fox and then spun his wheels for many awkward moments before his running mate, Bill Weld, finally jumped in to name a single leader who is both living and currently in office. (Weld went with Angela Merkel.)

Update, August 23rd: This article has been updated to include additional context about Johnson’s public statements regarding gun restrictions.

Update, August 25th: Since this story was published, Johnson said his position on vaccinations has evolved. Vermont Public Radio reports that Johnson said Wednesday, of his past remarks about vaccines, “You know, since I’ve said that … I’ve come to find out that without mandatory vaccines, the vaccines that would in fact be issued would not be effective.” He added, “this is a local issue. If it ends up to be a federal issue, I would come down on the side of science and I would probably require that vaccine.”

Update, September 29th: This article has been updated to include references to Johnson’s two “Aleppo moments.”

Is the stupidity of this choice dawning on you now?

All You Need to Know About Donald Trump is Already Out There

And yet almost half the nation did not get the memo.  Trump is leading in Nevada, a state he should lose based upon the number of Latinos living there.  I heard one Latina, a small business owner and a woman, say he would be good for her business. What planet is she living on?  He obviously hates women and Latinos, and by what measure would he be good for her business?  Well, he will cut taxes and end regulations.  If that were the key to success we would be talking about the wonderful Bush Boom back in the early 2000s or the Kansas miracle today, neither of which happened.  Both ended up disasters. But wait, he is a successful businessman, ergo, he knows how to run government!

Well, we might argue the successful businessman thing since we have no idea how much he is really worth and some estimates say that if he had just invested his Daddy’s money, he would be wealthier than he is today.  But let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and say he is a “good” businessman.  What does that entail?  Well, he made money, but how, and in that how, how does it make him a good leader?  Apparently like most Americans, she has not attempted to connect the dots on this one.  So let me help her.  And all she needs to know is his one comment last Monday night when Hillary was telling us that he did not want to show his income tax return because it shows he paid no taxes, and he said that makes him smart.

Now think about what that means.  For a business and maybe that misguided soul in Nevada that was smart, more income for her business, but who did it stiff?  You and me.  Who pays for fire, police, and rescue?  Who pays for veterans health?  Who pays for fighting forest fires, or responding to national disasters? Who pays for the weapons and body armor for our troops?  Who pays for the roads and infrastructure we all use?  Who pays for Medicare and Social Security most of us depend upon? Well, apparently not Donald.  He is smart because he shoved the bill across the table to you and me.  That is who she admires?  That is who she thinks will make America great again?

It has been noted yet unabsorbed that businessmen are terrible economists for the most part.  What might be good for their bottom line is generally not good for the whole economy.  Example, a prudent business man will reduce staff in hard times.  But if everyone does that, we have depression where there are few wages to buy things and a spiraling effect of fewer wages and more reducing.  Now that is just simple economics and gives you simplistic view of why business thinking (microeconomics) does not apply to the economy in general (macroeconomics).  But step back a minute, what has the Donald actually said he will do?

Well, he will cut taxes and like George Bush did, create a tremendous deficit will little effect except to make the rich richer.  He will end regulations.  Which would those be, minimum wage?  Great, business could cut payroll and increase profits until it dawned on them that when people earn less, they have less to spend.  What else has he laid out?  Nothing.  He will negotiate better trade deals how?  Well trust him.  Now here is the really amazing thing.  He was caught in over 20 lies last Monday night and he lies all the time.  The latest is how he blatantly lied to Cubans in South Florida about never doing business with “that killer” Fidel Castro.  If we know anything about Donald Trump, he will tell you anything you want to hear for your vote, and like the contractors who never got paid for work performed for him, he will stiff you later.

So why is all this being ignored?  Why is it that what in years past would be un American and unpatriotic in the flag waving Republican Party now becomes the norm?  How does a Latina from Nevada think Donald Trump would do anything for her or this country?  How do lies and obvious ignorance about the reality around us not become a liability?  I think we have truly entered George Orwell’s 1984, not with the government controlling our thoughts, but not having thoughts at all anymore.  Must be something in the water that ate our brains.  That is all I can come up with.

Book Review

From the NYT this morning:  “In Hitler, an Ascent From Dunderhead to Demagogue – A new biograph protrays Hitler as a clownish, deceitful narcissist who took control of a powerful nation thanks to  slick propaganda and a dysfunctional elite that failed to block his rise.” 

Hmm.  Could that be a description of the rise of Trump with slick propaganda full of lies, an elite Republican Party that failed to challenge him, and the one thing that was not mentioned, a press asleep at the wheel?  My how history repeats itself.

Third Party Nonsense

Question at Chris Mathews’ “Johnson Town Hall” interviewing the Libertarian candidates (who nominated themselves):

Student: My Name is Braden Luke and I am from Westchester New York and I have a question for Governor Johnson, What do you have to say to people who say a vote for you is a wasted vote?

Governor Johnson:  Well, a wasted vote is voting for someone you don’t believe in and that’s a wasted vote.

Wild applause form the very young and small audience in whatever college town they were in.

So what is wrong with that answer?  Why doesn’t it reflect a reasonable choice because neither candidate from the major parties makes you happy? Because it does not reflect the actual choice we have.  I can choose to vote for Clarabell the Clown if I believe he is more representative of my views, but Clarabell the Clown did not win the nomination and has absolutely no chance of winning the election.  So is it a wasted vote because Clarabell is a copout and it may have a  negative and quite possibly disastrous  impact on the actual outcome.  Basically your choice not to vote or to vote third party might just help the candidate that could do serious damage to this county.

Here is what you need to think about.  The third-party vote you might cast in protest is a spoiled brat vote because you did not get your way.  It is precisely what shirking your duty looks like.  It is not some high-minded choice, but a failure to understand that you must now step up and make a choice.  The system worked, we have to candidates.  We all hear the language that democracy is messy, and in compromise, which makes the system work, does not make anyone happy.  Well here you are.  Either choice might not be your choice, but one is going to be President so get off your ass and make a choice.  That is what citizenship requires.

I will tell you this, if the race goes to Donald Trump because you did not get your way and decided to cast a third-party vote as a tantrum vote, I will hold you personally responsible for everyone who dies, and die they will, whether from a lack healthcare, from a botched abortion in an alley, from more lethal weapons on the street, from more systemic racism, or a war brought about by Trump’s reactionary behavior, you killed them.  You have a choice.  RalphNader killed hundreds of thousands and he will never accept the responsibility for what he did.  But I know he is an egotistic murder who hid behind idealism.  So are those who think the third-party choice gets them out of their duty to make a hard choice.

Now having said that, millennials are out there for the taking and Hillary has a month to do that. Instead of shaming them into voting responsibly, which I just did, it is time for Hillary to change gears and earn their vote. The country is looking for a change agent and she needs to take that mantel.  Donald has been exposed as unfit, but that is not good enough.  Until she gives millennials something to vote for, nothing will change.  Sadly she has the ability to do it, but so far has taken the easy road.  I will give you the words of Lis Smith who was the campaign manager for Martin O’Malley in 2016 and led Obama’s Rapid Response Team in 2012, on Lawrence O’Donnell tonight:

“I actually think the millennials could be the North Star and the moral compass for the Democratic Party.  That’s for a few reasons.  One they are much more progressive than any other voting generation.  Two, much more diverse.  44% of millennials are non-white.  Third, they grew up in a recession.  They grew up in a period where they only saw government act dysfunctionally.  So they understand how much we need to reform the base systems in our society whether it is the political system, the economic system, criminal justice system, and you want to bust through those systems with real reforms, not just incremental reforms that tinker around the edges.

And fourth, this is why I think millennials are important.  They put the politics of higher purpose above pocket-book politics. Sure they care about free tuition and debt free college, but they care about social justice.  They care that LGBT communities and people of color are protected. They care about climate change, and that is putting bigger issues before themselves.

I think Democrats can learn a lot from that.  So what I think Democrats should do is not talk about Johnson (Libertarians), not talk about that.  Give millennials a reason to go out and vote for them because guess what, if you talk about these issues, you know who else will be energized, Latino voters.  You know who else will be energized, black voters. 

Look, I love President Obama, I worked for President Obama.  I disagree with his strategy on this (shaming millennials into voting).  If Hillary Clinton went out tomorrow and said,”You know what, we need to bust up the big banks and the Wall Street CEOs that were breaking the law should be treated as criminals, we need to fix our criminal justice system, we need to treat climate change as the existential crisis it is, she will motivate people. She will give people a reason to vote for her and not cast some wasted protest vote.”

Lis, you nailed it.  She needs to not be the agent of stability, but the agent of change that they are crying out for.  And what Lis did not say is that she needs to take the fight no longer to just Donald Trump, that point has been made, but to Republicans and their obstructionism and failed policies.  Then not only would she be the agent of change, but might just get the mandate to really change the status quo in Washington.  That is what Bernie did and now is the time to take that page from his playbook. He went to bat for her today and what Lis is suggesting is she actually take the bat from Bernie. It is out there for the taking and the question is, is she ready to unify her whole campaign around a central them of being the real change agent? It would be the October surprise the nation desperately needs.

Hillary’s Preceived Problem

This is from Roger Cohen:

A lot of Americans want change; Trump is the political upstart and Clinton the political establishment. Nothing that transpired in the debate will have altered the fact that millions of Americans want rupture not continuity, and they see in Trump the potential for a radical break from politics as usual.

This from Thomas Friedman:

I am not enamored of Clinton’s stale, liberal, centralized view of politics, but she is sane and responsible; she’ll do her homework, can grow in the job, and might even work well with Republicans, as she did as a senator.

Trump promises change, but change that comes from someone who thinks people who pay taxes are suckers and who thinks he can show up before an audience of 100 million without preparation or real plans and talk about serious issues with no more sophistication than your crazy uncle — and expect to get away with it — is change the country can’t afford.

Electing such a man would be insanity.

There is a narrative fed by the media that Americans are tired of the status quo and demand change.  That runs through both these analyses.  Hillary does not represent change, she represents the status quo.  That is why there is no real enthusiasm with younger voters.  There is a truth and there are a couple of problems with this analysis, but perception is critical.  The truth is we need change and Hillary does represent the establishment Democratic Party that has been too willing to compromise the country further and further right.  The lie is that the dysfunction is from politics as usual.

Actually, the dysfunction has nothing to do with politics as usual, but the new politics implemented by the Republicans of obstructionism.  The Tea Party simply took this tactic and radicalized it.  Americans in general have been mislead by our media into believing both sides do it, not because the media is evil, but because they confused partisanship with facts and created a false equivalency between the two parties for infotainment.  If Hillary could implement her ideas, we actually would see real change.  And as Tom pointed out, “she can grow in the job”.  As things work, there will be acceleration.

But she hasn’t pushed change yet, only scratched the surface.  She made a grand mistake in the debate last Monday when she did not own up to her statement of the TPP being the Gold Standard of trade agreements.  It makes her look like both sides do it.  She did make a rational point about trade agreements, but it was lost in the Trump attack.  This was a great opportunity to start pushing change.  She could have explained that the TPP is more than just a trade agreement, but a foreign policy instrument to balance Chinese incursion in the Pacific.  While she made that Gold Standard statement before it was negotiated, now she sees how it favors economic inequality and it must be renegotiated in that light.  She should not pander to the no trade agreements crowd, but take it head on.

Her way forward in the last month is to show, as she started to do in the debate, that Trump isn’t change at all.  It is failed economics all over again, that they have been the problem, that her way is actually the new way forward, and if we want real change, it is a Republican Congress that has to be changed.  That should be the talking points from now till the election.  Donald has shown himself to unfit as a leader.  You can ride that pony for about another week, and then go after Republican policy.  That would make Hillary the change candidate.  She has to show she will fight them and their obstructionism because it is that obstructionism that has made government dysfunctional.

Really?

Well the denial is over with mostly.  Fox News of course will continue to spin the debate, but Donald Trump failed and failed miserably.  It is not that he failed, but he clearly showed who he was which was failure.  Now here is where I really find what is going on rather disheartening.  The Republican chatting class are all chatting about how to better prepare him next time as though being prepared would change who he is.  In the political lingo, he needed to be presidential so those on the fence could finally say, well, he could do it.  But what we saw on Monday night was who he really was and he could never be presidential.  Most of us have known that for a long long time, but there is that 7% undecided who are clueless, or that whole pack that is going to vote third party, shirking their responsiblity to make a meaningful choice, which is a choice in itself.

But after watching him expose who he was and how ignorant he is, it was clear he would be a danger to the country.  So how craven are these political pundits that still in some socio-pathological way, still want to dress him up in a false costume so he will pass muster with the mindless out there?  And mindless they are.  The man is petty, misogynistic, reactionary, ignorant, racist, and he was caught in so many blatant lies it was scary.  Whether he believes them or not is irrelevant.  And yet Republicans still want to tell us how he can do better next time?  He is a reflection of how dysfunctional the Republican Party has become and it should wake up America.  From the clown show they called a Presidential primary, to this pathological liar as their standard-bearer, the party has no morals or values.

And yet you cannot keep wondering how conservatives keep enabling him.  You would think at this point they should walk away.  Real conservatism, which I think has run its course, still has values and beliefs and cares about this country.  Anyone associating with the Trump campaign is now forever tainted with the slime that comes off this man.  Is that what Republicanism has become?  They are so craven to party power that they have no values or morals anymore?  I think for most of them, this is sadly true.  How else can you explain it?  On Monday night he was out there for all to see and now they pretend they did not see it.

I think I might know what happened to conservatism that finally left it mired in a moral-less, value-less pit.  It failed.  And when it failed it did not evolve.  Remember the cry of some conservatives about where are the new conservative ideas? There aren’t any.  From Ronald Reagan onward, conservative ideas simply increased economic inequality and set up the economy for the giant crash.  The George Bush years was the epitome of Republicanism and the economy tanked.  They learned nothing.

Now they are back acting like that never happened, only more aggressive and radical in their approach, losing all tolerance for compromise, enabled by the false equivalency of both sides do it.  Evolving to what reality was telling them was heresy. In other words, in the face of the reality that almost everything they believe in is bankrupt, they created an alternate reality.  Somehow Democrats have caused all the misery and are evil.  Sadly our media played along and enabled them because their lunacy was good entertainment.

So here we are.  We now have seen an ignorant, bigoted, pathological liar exposed and yet they press on as though the emperor just needs new cloths.  The reality is the emperor is a man that could just wreck this country and start WWIII, and yet they press on living in some fantasy reality because the barbarians at the gate (Democrats) might rule on.  Think about it.  Even if you hate Hillary, she won’t wreck the country and she won’t get us into WWIII.  And if Republicans give her a chance and her policies fail, there will be a new election.  But instead, in the mind of the purist, they would rather kill the country than give success a chance.  That is where we are.  That is what has been exposed on Monday night and in the aftermath.  At this point you have to ask how anyone rational could be a Republican.

More More Debate

One other thing that should really scare you about Donald Trump was his comment about the Russians moving toward updating their nuclear arsenal and maybe considering using it as a first strike weapon.  That is true, but did your head snap around?  Did you say so which is it, Valdimir Putan, a decisive leader or danger to the world?  He is not a problem in Crimea or Ukraine, but maybe to the rest of the world?  NATO is important or it isn’t?  He shifting his positions all over the place after some minor enlightenment.  More about that at the end of this blog.

But the really scary part is where he got those facts about Russian, from 60 Minutes last Sunday night.  So he is oblivious to what is really going on in world affairs and then he gets his information from one segment on 60 Minutes?  Oh, and note as the 60 Minutes episode made clear, our military is well aware of the threat and is doing some muscle flexing of its own, flying B-52 on Russia routes that each are capable of carrying 20 nukes.  

Now the first point I will make is that I use to fly in B-52s and sat alert with nuclear weapons.  I was the guy who armed and dropped the nukes (and launched the cruise missiles.  I know something about the tactics.  They get approved all the way to the top.  Our government is well aware and taking measures.  They are gaming that the other side might use a first strike nuk so our leaders can properaly plan and weigh our options.  And the Donald is clueless about all of this.  Just reactionary.

I will make one other observation.  He made fun of the old reliable B-52 and claimed we are not upgrading our nuclear arsenal like the Russians are.  Of course we are and it is highly secret.  But what he is saying is, “Yikes! I just saw this 60 Minutes segment and we need to start an arms race.”  Secondly, yes the B-52 is old, but it has been rebuilt so many times it is not the same airplane I flew in with new everything including targeting and weapons systems.  So we should spend trillions for a new launch vehicle when the B-52 is perfectly suited to this mission and can reach anywhere in the world?  Really, this is you smart, crafty businessman at work?  Be afraid America.

I will leave you with one last thought on the subject.  Republicans just think Donald needs to be better prepared next time.  First and foremost he won’t do it.  He would have to watch more than one segment of 60 Minutes. More likely he won’t show up.  But what does better prepared mean?  If they take seriously that he is now being picked off for all his lies, would he have to learn what is really going on and adjust his policies accordingly?  I don’t think the Donald can afford to be better prepared unless that means camouflaging his lies better and better equipped to distract with throwing dirt instead of with logic and real policies. Yeah, I guess from a pundit point of view, that would be better prepared.  Amazing isn’t it?

Third Parties

Think it through people.  Its either a vote for Hillary or it is a vote for Trump. If you hate Trump, but are not satisfied with Hillary, your vote for a third party is a vote for Trump, pure and simple.  It works the other way around too.  Oh, and please, as the NYT cautioned you this morning, understand what you are voting for:

Gary Johnson:  The Libertarians believe health care should be handled by the private sector — goodbye, veterans’ hospitals — and would end Social Security. The party is devoted to free trade and dislikes any international trade treaties, including those that protect workers. The party is against all forms of foreign aid and military assistance, and a direct attack on the United States is the only instance in which Libertarians favor a military response.  They would legalize marijuana but oppose laws to regulated it.  They oppose most federal spending, including on public education and college assistance. It opposes the income tax, including on the richest Americans. So how does that work?    I wonder who builds the roads?

Jill Stein:  The Green Party.  Ms. Stein proposes to slash military spending in half and close every United States military base on foreign soil — some 700, including bases used in the war on terrorism, as bulwarks against Russian and Chinese aggression and as staging areas for humanitarian assistance to victims of war and disaster. That would send an isolationist message to our allies that would rival Mr. Trump’s.  She wants the federal government to “buy” all existing student loan debt, at a cost of about $1.3 trillion. That’s about one-third of what the entire federal government spent in 2015 — on everything. On top of that, she would also throw in free public university education. These proposals are so off-the-charts unaffordable that they would never pass any Congress, regardless of which political party held a majority. Nice ideas and I want an airplane.  Not going to get it.

Gary appeals to the younger set, but consider what would happen if we did away with Public Education. Who would get educated and who would level the playing field.  Remember back to the Robber Barons?  Slaves and Industrialists.  Oh, and who would build highways, airports, subways, etc?  Jill has some good ideas, but there is no mandate for it.  Congress would laugh her out of town.  But if we just all hold hands it will come true.  Oh, and don’t forget they are against science in terms of inoculations and other modern health ideas.  

So think hard.  Hillary or the Donald will be president.  Gary and Jill are in La La Land and will suck votes that are needed to maybe elect a sane candidate.  So it is your choice.  Choose not to be stupid and irrelevant.

More Debate

One commentator, Mark Schmitt is the director of the political reform program at New America, saw something I forgot to mention that was extremely important in last nights debate, that Mrs. Clinton started to focus on failed Republican economic policies and how Trump’s are nothing more than an extension of them:

But right from the start tonight, Clinton made the choice to take Trump’s economic policies seriously — not as eccentric, but as an extension or expansion of Bush policies. “We have different perspectives,” she said early, describing Trump’s economic policies in familiar terms. She compared the balanced, sustainable economic growth of the late 1990s, identifying it as a product of Democratic policies, with the meltdown of 2007 and 2008. If Clinton continues this line through the remainder of the campaign, it will be a significant shift, and might help Democrats link Senate and House candidates to Trump’s economic policies, by treating them as both mainstream and wrong.

While we focus on style, stamina, and presence, the real fight will be in the last month to show that more conservative economics, whether from Donald Trump or a Republican Party is what is wrecking this country. If she can effectively do this, real change is in the air.

The First Debate

I think I can summarize it this way:  Hillary outperformed expectations and the Donald underperformed.  How that will change anything where people don’t care about facts is hard to say, but I think the Donald’s “surge” is over.  I watched the Republicans throw up a fantasy bubble that he was great, but he wasn’t and while he may have wowed the mindless, he did not win over anybody who is undecided and thinks.  When he went incoherent on foreign policy you should be very afraid. I think if I am right there will not be two more debates.  He will declare a biased press or the fix is in and refuse to further demonstrate his ignorance and lack of policies or plans.

UPDATE TUESDAY MORNING FROM THE NYT (It was a news letter or I would give you the link where each lie is documented):

Dear Times Reader,

He lied about the loan his father once gave him.

He lied about his company’s bankruptcies.

He lied about his federal financial-disclosure forms.

He lied about his endorsements.

He lied about “stop and frisk.”

He lied about “birtherism.”

He lied about New York.

He lied about Michigan and Ohio.      

He lied about Palm Beach, Fla.

He lied about Janet Yellen and the Federal Reserve.

He lied about the trade deficit.

He lied about Hillary Clinton’s tax plan.

He lied about her child-care plan.

He lied about China devaluing its currency.

He lied about Mexico having the world’s largest factories.

He lied about the United States’s nuclear arsenal.

He lied about NATO’s budget.

He lied about NATO’s terrorism policy.

He lied about ISIS.

He lied about his past position on the Iraq War.

He lied about his past position on the national debt.

He lied about his past position on climate change.

He lied about calling pregnancy an “inconvenience” for employers.

He lied about calling women “pigs.”

He lied about calling women “dogs.”

He lied about calling women “slobs.”

So… who won the debate?