Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Best of Times or the Worst of Times?

Image result for pope francis with children          Image result for donald trump

When these two men, Pope Francis and Donald Trump, epitomize our world today, it seems we live in an era that calls for song lyrics and literary quotes to adequately describe. 

At 68, having seen what I've seen, I think "so true" when I hear the Grateful Dead sing - "what a long, strange trip it's been". I've watched my country go through so many cycles, I'm dizzy from swinging left and right. 

Charles Dickens described our time perfectly in A Tale of Two Cities - "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair."

I'm not a Catholic and never will be again but I cherish Pope Francis' message of compassion and peace and inclusion, that's where my hope comes from. By contrast, Donald Trump's message of narrow-minded harshness and greed is the source of my despair.

I am old enough to have seen everything - cold wars and hot wars and silly wars (Grenada comes to mind). I've seen us when we had faith in science and trust in our government and the wonders they could perform together - moon landings and space capsules and cameras to Mars, eradicating diseases, technology that makes a cell phone more powerful than what used to be contained in a whole room of computers, surgery so precise it allows us to separate conjoined babies (here's to you Dr. Carson, I disagree with your politics but I totally respect your incredible medical skills), Of course, I could go on forever with the achievements we have accomplished in my lifetime.

I've seen us rise up against war. I've seen us march for equality - civil rights and women's rights and migrant worker's rights. I remember when corporations that profited immensely in the U.S. felt a sense of  responsibility to their country and their community - often helped along by the unions. I remember when, collectively, we felt compassion for the poor and discriminated against. I remember when we valued education above all else. I remember when we respected our earth and supported wetlands and endangered species and wilderness areas. 

And then the pendulum swung to the far side. We are now fine with being embroiled in endless war even though we scorn our government and believe it is worthless. How can that be? Do we trust them or not? Well, we don't protest about war anymore. I wonder why that is? Maybe because we have no draft so only one percent of our population fights our battles for us.

We pooh-pooh science. The politicians know better than the professionals, don't you know? No such thing as climate change, moron! Ignore those melting ice caps and mega-storms. 

We're sick of whiners complaining about their civil rights being violated. Obey the law and the police won't be forced to shoot you. You bring it on yourself! And we're damn sick of the poor too. The majority of them are lazy deadbeats who want "free stuff", even the little kids and wounded soldiers and 95-year-olds and the severely disabled. And we're double-damned sick of immigrants risking their lives to come here for a better one. 

We've lost our respect for education and our teachers (you know most of them are unionized, don't you?) We're letting our public schools deteriorate in favor of for-profit institutions from which politicians make big bucks. Every state can choose its own curriculum. If its more superstition than fact, well, that's okay. I think I got an excellent education when I graduated from Wabash High School in 1964 but I think many kids today are getting shortchanged. 

We've decided the earth is here for our use and if we ruin it for future generations, too bad so sad. We need the fracking and the oil spills and the bomb trains that travel through our towns to maintain our way of life. We need to drill the Arctic and to sell the Apache Holy Land to the mining company and to slice the tops off our mountains and to despoil our water sources. 

And guns, we must have more guns. We'll tolerate anything for our guns. A whole class of small children killed? Collateral damage. We just have to deal with it because....the Second Amendment. It probably doesn't matter about laws now anyway. We are awash in guns and they aren't going away.

While all this is going on, one of our major political parties has lost its mind. They compete with one another to see who can be the meanest. Who can say the nastiest things about minorities and women and immigrants and poor children and gays. They compete to see who can start more wars. They'll go to Iran on Day One and shoot the Ayatollah. They'll take on Putin bare-handed. They'll personally lead the charge against ISIS. Of course, when any of them had the chance to go to war themselves and actually face the enemy, they all declined. 

So, in America today, we are roughly divided between the Pope Francis outlook on life and the Donald Trump outlook - love versus hate, knowledge versus ignorance, peace versus war, respect for others versus contempt for others. Cherishing our earth versus abusing our earth. 

Your choice, America. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

911 - Wrong Lessons Learned


Well, tomorrow is September 11 and there are lots of "Never Forget" posts on Facebook. And, of course, we never will forget the 911 attacks because they were tragic and heartbreaking and stunning. They revealed how heroic everyday Americans can be, especially police officers and firemen and EMTs and construction workers and airplane passengers and just regular people who postponed their own lives and faced danger to help in any way they could.

Sadly, though, in a larger sense, 911 also revealed that, collectively, we are hardly the land of the free and the home of the brave, as we always proudly declare, rather, we willingly traded principles for security and bravery for fearfulness.

We created a Department of Homeland (a word I despise) Security - uber-expensive, blackly covert, mega-powerful and unaccountable. Do you know what all the DHS does? Nope, me neither and they make sure we never will.

Here's a hint though. They are working on a project called FAST, the Future Attribute Screening Technology because...terrorism. FAST will remotely monitor physiological and behavioral cues, like elevated heart rate, eye movement, body temperature, facial patterns, and body language, and analyze these cues algorithmically for statistical aberrance in an attempt to identify people with nefarious intentions. Predictive crime prevention - what could possibly go wrong? How do you prove your innocence when FAST accuses you of a crime you going to commit in the future?

After 911, we passed the Patriot Act (complete name: "Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001" about a wide umbrella.

Title V was one of the most controversial aspects of the Patriot Act. Title V dealt with National Security Letters, which were administrative subpoenas used by the FBI and probably other government agencies. A NSL is a demand issued to an organization to turn over data relating to an individual. They required no probable cause or judicial oversight. In addition, they contained a "gag order, preventing the recipient from revealing that the letter was ever issued.

Fortunately, the ACLU filed suit and the courts found that NSLs were unconstitutional but the American people, as a whole were unaware of what their government was doing...and probably didn't care because we are less than concerned about government over-reach. "Just keep as safe. We'll pay any price in liberty" seems to be our mindset.

Elements of the Patriot Act were scheduled to sunset, and a few did, but gee, mostly Congress just couldn't bring themselves to give it up.

Pre-911, America's reputation was rather that of the world's moral arbiter. We stood firm (well, mostly) for civil rights and equality and justice. We signed on to the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which not only required that we not torture people ourselves but we not send prisoners to other countries where they would likely be tortured. You know, like extreme rendition.

Then WE were attacked and all that high-flown moral stuff went right out the window. We could no longer afford to be honorable. So....extreme rendition and Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. We slid into the black hole of shame - waterboarding and rubbing feces on people and leading them around naked by dog collars and making them stand on boxes with their genitals wired for shock. Not only did we allow and/or encourage our soldiers to do such things, they actually seemed to enjoy it.

We threw people into Guantanamo because someone said (and surely no one would have been swayed by the $5,000 bounty the U.S. paid) that they'd engaged in terrorist acts. We didn't know for sure if it was true but what the heck, better safe than sorry, right? We didn't accuse them of any particular crime, just a sort of amorphous allegation of wrong-doing. Out of the original 780 detainees, military tribunals have convicted eight of them. Hell of a success rate, isn't it? Detainee...don't you love that word? they aren't exactly convicts or inmates or prisoners....just detainees. There's charges, no trial, no sentence, no out date, no resolution. Many of them have been cleared by a commission to be released but we haven't released them. So much for our much-vaunted Rule of Law. No right to face your accuser. No right to know exactly what crime you're accused of. No speedy - or even un-speedy trial, no habeas corpus.

And we hate these guys so much that when, in desperation, they try to starve themselves to death, we stick a tube down their throat and force food down them to keep them alive. America the Merciful.

President Obama wants to close Guantanamo. For one thing, it costs about a $1,000,000 annually per prisoner to hold people there versus about $30,000 in a federal prison but here in the "home of the brave", we are afraid to so much as allow them on our soil 'cause, you know, they are just so dangerous and scary. Geez, how gutless is that?

Many of us turned on all Muslims. Can't trust any of those rag heads, sand jockeys and those are the nicest descriptors. We were outraged that they'd dare to put a mosque anywhere close to Ground Zero....sort a "kill them all and let God sort them out" mentality.

We went to two wars because of 911. In the first, Afghanistan, we were there to try to get the perpetrators. Okay, that is a valid reason but 15 years later, Osama bin Laden is dead and al Qaeda is scattered across the middle east....but we are still in America's longest war. Does anyone know why?

And our second war, Iraq, was a farce from Day One. It was based on lies and secret agendas and revenge and oil and egos. And, despite George W standing on a aircraft carrier with a Mission Accomplished banner across his head, it was a disaster and the mission, whatever it was supposed to be, was never accomplished. This after ten years and trillions of dollars and tens of thousands of lives lost and we are still there too, facing an even deadlier enemy that we created ourselves in ISIS. And we're left with many more thousands of grievously injured warriors who will need care for least, those who don't commit suicide.

So, no, I will never forget 911. I will remember the actions of the valiant but I will also remember how badly we failed this horrendous test. We are less free and less brave and less honorable now. I guess that's what the terrorists were hoping for.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

How My Son's Death Changed Me

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In the last year or so before he died, my father told me more than once that he was tired. He loved me and mom and my son but he was just tired. He said that one night, he would go to sleep and my Grammie would be standing with her hand out and when that time came, he was going to take her hand and go with her. He didn't want me to be sad, he said, because he was ready.

He died in his sleep, peacefully. His heart simply stopped. My fond belief is that when he closed his eyes, Grammie was standing there with her hand out.

My son's most loving supporter throughout his life was my mother, his Grandma. In the same way as my Dad, my dream, hope, fantasy, call it what you will, is that when his heart stopped, Mom was standing there with her hand out. Whether that's the case, I don't know....yet.

Having said all that, my son's death did not turn me toward religion. I am somewhat spiritual but not religious in the traditional sense of the word. I don't claim any particular faith or denomination. I do not have a personal relationship with god. I don't even know if there is a god. I call myself an agnostic in that I don't know the answers and I don't think anyone else does either. The only tenet I try to live by is the Golden Rule, not because I'm afraid of going to hell, but because that what makes me feel good about myself.

I always have to smile a little when I hear or see people speak after they've experienced a tragedy and say things like,  "it was my faith in God that got me through it." It's not true, of course, though they may believe it. People like me, who have no particular faith, survive just the same. It is what people do. They endure the immediacy and gradually, the pain eases, not completely, but enough to be bearable.

So, John's death didn't change my religious views. Instead, what it brought me was a mild feeling of being disconnected, rather as if I'm in a hot air balloon floating slightly above life, more like a watcher than a participant.

There is also a sense of peace, in a way. Life has done its worst. Nothing else that ever happens can compare so there is no longer anything to fear. I don't have to worry anymore because there is no thing or no one to worry about. (Don't take this to mean there aren't still people I care a great deal about). John's theme song should have been, "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For". He struggled to find where he fit in and never did. I pray (yes, I do - you can be uncertain and still pray) that he's found those answers.

I'm not depressed although sometimes when I least expect it, the realization that he is gone punches me in the gut. I expect that will always be the case though it may happen less often as time goes on.

I still love NASCAR. Go, Jimmie Johnson! I still love reading - thank you, Andrew Vachss and Diana Gabaldon and so many more. I love the Outlander series and can't wait for the new season to start - Sam Heughn as Jamie - yes! I still love music - rock and roll, country, blues, blue grass, David Garrett's classical violin. I love throwing money down the slot machines at a casino. I love admiring my flowers and playing with my pets and traveling and sharing good times with my friends.

I still care passionately about politics....but it is in a different way, a more detached way, one step removed. I will always debate on Facebook and certainly I'll always vote for who I think will do best for America but it is less personal for me now with the awareness that it is up to others to decide and there is nothing I can do but watch from my hot air balloon.

It isn't my children and grand-children and great-grandchildren who will pay the price or reap the benefits of what mankind finally decides to do with his earth.

The answers are out there....somewhere....but not yet.



Sunday, August 30, 2015

Conservative Cognitive Dissonance


Image result for cognitive dissonance        It is called Cognitive Dissonance or Denial, if you prefer, and we all engage in it to some degree. I do it whenever I light a cigarette. I know it's bad for me but I put that reality out of my head and smoke anyway.

In today's America, cognitive dissonance is rampant. You only have to read through your newsfeed on Facebook to see it staring back at you daily. Of course, as a liberal Democrat it seems to me that conservatives are far and away more prone to cognitive dissonance than progressives. (You can tell me in comments if I'm wrong!)

For instance, five years ago Colorado instituted a new program to provide free or reduced-cost contraceptives to teenagers. By all accounts, it was a huge success. The teen birth rate dropped by 40 percent. Yet in 2015, Colorado Republicans declined to continue to fund it.

This is cognitive dissonance in action. If you have a goal (fewer teens giving birth) and a program that accomplishes that goal (free birth control) and yet you rescind that program, what statement are you making? Can anyone explain?

Likewise, research shows that teenage pregnancy rates are highest in the states with abstinence only programs in their school and yet, Republicans continue to deny teens fact-based sex education.

And, ironically, these are the same people who piss and moan about paying taxes to support the welfare costs of assisting poor families raise their children.

Let's take the Iran Nuclear Agreement. Many Republicans were adamantly opposed to it even before they knew what was in it. It was the same knee-jerk reaction they have to anything espoused by the Obama administration. Some of them admit they believe the answer is war but more say they just want a 'better" agreement.

They don't say how they would propose to arrive at this better agreement. The Coalition that negotiated the plan was composed of the United States, the European Union, Russia and China. Strict economic sanctions were what convinced Iran to come to the table in the first place but our partners have already warned they would drop their sanctions, even if the U.S. reneges on the plan. So what leverage would we use to force Iran to agree to a better deal? There is no realistic possibility.

Which means, Iran would get the sanctions lifted and be in the same position they are in today - possibly months away from a nuclear weapon. Yeah, that sounds like a better deal, doesn't it?

Illegal immigration is a pet Republican issue and has been for years. The Senate passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill a couple of years ago but the House refused to even allow debate on it. I was interested to see what their own plan would be when they took over both houses of Congress but to date, they have proposed zero, zip, nada.

Republicans , who often claim the religious moral high ground, are militantly opposed to both abortion and gay marriage but these are issues that Jesus never mentioned at all. Neither of them is cited in the Ten Commandments. But what Jesus does talk about...a helping the poor, honoring the elderly, caring for children. What? Do conservatives think he didn't really mean it? Upward and onward with Prosperity Theology!

The far right right trumpets limited government until they want the government to curtail a woman's right to plan her family or a gay person's right to marry the person they love or they need help due to a flood, drought or hurricane.

They believe in religious freedom....for fundamentalist Christians but certainly not for Muslims or atheists. They revere the Constitution....except for all the changes they want to make to it, like recalling the Fourteenth Amendment. They love them some Supreme Court long as they are voting the right way. If they uphold Obamacare, then they should be impeached.

Republicans are for a vast military and almost always vote for every bit of military spending that comes down the pipeline (except for veteran's issues, of course). On the other hand, they demand the right to buy any kind of gun and any kind of magazine and to carry those guns wherever they like because, you know, the Revolution is coming, and we may have to fight against that very military we just made stronger. Huh?

I just shake my head in amazement at how Republican conservatives are able to reconcile such conflicting attitudes.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Difference Between Democrats and Republicans

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My least favorite president of my lifetime, until Bush the Younger, was Ronald Reagan. I hated it when he fired all the air traffic controllers in order to break the unions. I hated it when he announced at Thanksgiving that the government would begin taxing unemployment benefits (I was laid off then although I didn't qualify for an unemployment check). I hated it when he showed his contempt for the poor by ordering his Secretary of Agriculture to live on food stamps for a week to show the po' folk how it was done. I hated it when he his administration declared ketchup a vegetable for the purpose of cheapening school lunches.

I thought trickle-down was idiocy back then (meant mainly to give more to the rich) and its been proven to be so in the last 40 years but here we still are, living under Ronnie's same misbegotten policies as the middle class disappears. I didn't think he'd be able to live up to his promise to reduce the deficit while also giving the wealthy large tax cuts and pouring billions into the military and sure enough, the deficit soared under his watch.

I thought it was telling that when Reagan left office, 138 Reagan administration officials had been convicted, had been indicted, or had been the subject of investigations for official misconduct and/or criminal violations - still the worst of any modern administration.

I thought that Iran-Contra was more egregious by far than anything Nixon did. A collaboration with our worst enemies....a flat out defiance of Congress' express orders.

Still, in spite of everything above, there was no suggestion that Democrats wanted to impeach Reagan. We just wanted him gone. We thought when  suicide bombers detonated two truck bombs in Beirut, killing 241 American servicemen, with another 128 wounded, that it was a terrible tragedy. We didn't embark upon years of investigations trying to prove that Reagan was incompetent or simply didn't care or even worse, perhaps complicit.

And once Reagan was out of office, the Republicans proceeded to ignore all the negatives but instead, to canonize him. They began a massive campaign to name schools, highways and airports after him. They tried to have his image put on our money. So, over the years, he has morphed into Saint Ronnie.

Okay, fast forward to Bill Clinton. The Republicans felt about him probably much as we felt about Reagan but instead of accepting that the voters had spoken and waiting until their turn came around again, they engaged in an all-out strategy of Attila the Hun-like scorched earth. His entire eight years was mired in scandals, accusations, allegations. They posted videos that "proved" he was a drug dealer. They insinuated that Bill and Hillary had their opponents killed. We lived through eight years of Whitewater, the Rose Law Firm, Cattle Futures, etc, etc, etc., none of which turned out to be anything (shades of Benghazi!)  Eight years of implications that Hillary was gay and Chelsea wasn't Bill's daughter. They dug up women and paid them to tell scurrilous stories. They hired Ken Starr whose whose orders were to get Bill any way he could. They humiliated him by forcing him to answer ugly questions publicly. They dragged the First Lady in to give a deposition. They insisted his Secret Service agents testify against him (something that had never been done before).

And they finally impeached him on the flimsiest more a high crime and misdemeanor than declaring an earthworm a cobra. And if that wasn't enough, they published the titillating details of his sex life on the internet....for the public's good, you know.

Did they think they could force him out of office? Probably not, but that wasn't their agenda. Instead they wanted to assure that there would be an asterisk beside his name in the history books. That no schools and bridges and airports would be named after him. They wanted to tarnish him in the eyes of the world forevermore.

They said it was just Clinton, that he brought it on himself, but we know it wasn't just Clinton because they have done the same to Obama. He's not an American, he's not a Christian. Hell, he is secretly in league with the Muslims and wants to hand the country over to them. He's shredded the Constitution. He's this generation's Hitler. None of this has any basis in reality any more than the videos that purported to prove the Clintons were drug dealers and murderers.

There is a whole cottage industry of Republican smear-meisters who've made their livings off trying to destroy Democrat presidents. It is simply the way Republicans do business and we will watch it happen again, in spades, if the next president is a Democrat.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Why Do Conservatives Hate Science?

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Full Text of Iran Nuclear Deal

I've been arguing with a bunch of people on a conservative site that mostly opposes the Iran Nuclear deal. They demand transparency! They want to see the deal for themselves! They suspect there are nefarious reasons why the Obama administration is keeping it secret.

I asked them if they thought they would understand it if they did read it. After all, you have to know about chemistry and physics and how nuclear enrichment works and the mechanics of centrifuges and more. They insisted that they weren't as dumb as I seemed to think they were (though I admitted that I didn't believe I would understand all this exotic science) and they could perfectly well interpret the deal for themselves.

So, I posted it....the full deal (you can read it above if you care to). So far, no one has gotten back to me with their expert analysis.

I don't understand why Republicans seem to hate science so much. Practically every problem we face in the world today, almost every issue, involves science. Science is certainly critical to understanding the Iran deal....that's why we had our top physicist central to the negotiations....and so did the other countries in the coalition.

Climate change which may end up being THE issue of the 21st century is pure science.

Energy resources? Science.

Abortion and the mysteries of of the reproductive system? Science.

Whether homosexuality is innate or learned? Science.

We even learn about our economy through the use of scientific models to predict markets and consumer behavior.

Of course, anything to do with the world of medicine relies on science.

If we ever find a "cure" for addiction, it will be scientists who find it.

Space exploration depends on science.

Farming has become more and more about science.

Computer technology - science.

Every stride mankind has made, both positive and negative (cures for diseases versus nuclear weapons) has come about because of science. People live who would have died because of science. We gone to the moon and to Mars because of science. We've built great buildings and bridges and monuments because of science. (The creators of the pyramids and the Great Wall of China used science whether they knew it or not). We've learned about our earth and our oceans and our air because of science. It was rudimentary science that gave us fire and the wheel.

So, why do so many conservatives pooh-pooh science and scientists? Why would they rather believe fundamentalist preachers than those who devote their lives to research and actually know what they are talking about? Albert Einstein or Mike Huckabee? Stephen Hawking or Rick Santorum? Carl Sagan or name your garden variety "send me $50 and I'll say a prayer for you" preacher.

One possible answer is that conservatives like to be assured that they are absolutely, positively right about everything. Science hardly ever makes such definitive statements. Scientists speak in terms of theories ("what we know so far") because they accept that knowledge is ever-changing and there will be times when they will have to change or expand their theories due to new evidence coming to light.

Preachers don't do that. The Bible is forever correct on all things. Once you know what the Good Book says, you can put that subject aside and never consider it again. There, isn't that much more comfortable than engaging in a constant quest for further enlightenment? Never knowing for sure what all the answers are causes stress and insecurity.

With the casting out of science by conservatives, we are watching the dumbing down of America going on right in front of our very eyes.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

What Did We Learn From the Republican Debate?

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What did we learn from the Republican debate?

We learned that people are interested. The Fox debate garnered one of the largest viewing audiences ever....24 million....for any type of program.

We learned that having Donald Trump on the stage probably contributed greatly to that number.

We learned that Fox News is more interested in creating headlines for their network than helping Republican voters make informed choices about their candidates.  Most of the questions seemed to be "gotcha" questions, either meant to catch a candidate off-guard and put him on the defensive or to pit one against another. The Fox trio seemed to me to be inquisitors rather than reporters trying to garner honest information regarding policy differences.

This was especially true of Donald Trump. It started with the first question trying to elicit a promise not to run as a third-party candidate and moved on to his quotes about women and finished by asking - "when did you become a Republican?" And naturally, being who he is, he faced them head-on, coming across as crass, boorish and arrogant in doing so.

That's what I thought anyway but viewers didn't necessarily agree with me. In the first poll after the debate, from NBC, Trump was judged the winner. Here are the first seven winning percentages according to those polled: Trump (23), Cruz (13), Carson (11), Fiorina (8), Rubio (8), Bush (7) and Walker (7). So, it's Trump by double digits. Take that, Megyn!

We learned in the first gathering....a forum I guess it was called....of what Fox judged to be the also-rans, that Carly Fiorina won big. I'm not a Carly Fiorina fan by any means but she did give clear, concise, commonsense (for a Republican) answers although she needs to work on smiling more. Mostly what I remember about the others was that Lindsay Graham, cannot wait to start bombing somebody, anybody! Pataki and Gilmore were too nice and soft-spoken and mainstream....they don't have a prayer in a Republican field. Rick Perry...I might have slept through his cameo. There were two more but I can't remember now who they were.

In the Big Show, we learned that Republicans just can't manage to look like they give a damn about any woman who doesn't have a fetus in her womb and then it's only for the duration. Most of them want to ban abortion without exceptions for rape or incest or in some cases, even to save the life of the mother. The rest weren't quite as openly demeaning about females as Trump but almost. To Republicans, women are simply lesser beings who should keep their mouths shut and let the men make the decisions because, you (that would be white, straight, Christian men, of course).

We learned that they also don't have much use for African-Americans, Latinos, gays or poor people although they all vied with one another to show that they had definitely been poor people and knew what being poor was all about. Bush and Trump must have felt like they were at a real disadvantage in that discussion.

We learned that, next to Iran, Planned Parenthood is the greatest threat the country faces.

We learned that Scott Walker and Jeb Bush are just flat boring.

We learned that John Kasich was the adult in the room and had enough self-assurance to allow himself to show compassion among a group where compassion was in short supply.

We learned that Republicans are mostly against things...unless it is lowering taxes on the rich.

We learned that Marco Rubio is an appealing young man who needs to season for another four years. (Isn't it the Republicans who have always complained about electing an inexperienced, one-term Senator?)

We learned that you'd be lucky to come up with one witty sense of humor if you put all the Republican candidates together.

We learned that Chris Christie was, in fact, not appointed prosecutor by George Bush the day after 911, as he stated he was.

We learned that Mike Huckabee is a religious extremist and Ted Cruz is just an extremist, period.

Well, I could go on but that's enough for now.

Winners and losers? Well I'm a Hillary-supporting Democrat liberal so I thought they were all losers, including Fox who turned what should have been a serious debate into reality t.v. If I absolutely had to vote for one of them, which thank God, I don't, it would be John Kasich.