Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Republican Princesses and the CNBC Pea

Image result for Hillary at benghazi hearing                          Image for the news result

Seriously? Hillary was on the hot seat for almost 11 hours with a majority of hostile interrogators who accused her of ethical lapses and outright criminality, of poor judgment and of being too cold and callous to give a damn about the deaths of her people yet she managed to take it in stride and maintain her equanimity.

But the Republicans were positively crushed because those terrible questioners from CNBC were so mean to them! They asked them hard questions that they didn't want to answer. The R's remind me of the Princess and the Pea. They are so sensitive, they get bruised even if the pea is under ten mattresses. And they only had to face less than 10 minutes a piece compared to Hillary's ten hours but they whined and wailed during a two hour debate (because 3 hours was just too long dontcha know), then continued into the next day and beyond.

These are the people who are trying to assure us they'll be able to stand up to Vladimir Putin and ISIS when they can't even stand up to John Harwood!

They are even furious at their own leadership because Reince Priebus, Republican Party Chairman, allowed this travesty to happen and put his sensitive candidates in a position to have their feelings hurt so badly. So they ditched him and all the campaigns are meeting to figure out how to take charge of their own darn debates. Fair debates, debates that will make them feel good about themselves. Ted Cruz thought having Mark Levine, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity would be a great idea. I think they should throw Ted Nugent in there too, just for the entertainment value since that what such a gathering would be - a comedy show rather than a serious debate.

In truth, CNBC did do a pretty lousy job. They often lost control while the candidates talked all over the questioners and one another. And I don't like those gotcha questions either but trying to get candidates to attack one another has been par for the course in all the debates so far. A good debater handles them gracefully as Mike Huckabee did the one about whether he thought Donald Trump had the moral authority to be president. Even bad debate questions can be an opportunity for skillful debaters.

Reince Preibus is acting as if he's still in charge. He's like a puppy desperately whimpering and wagging his tail, hoping the candidates will let him join the party again. In an effort to show how much he agrees with them, he announced that NBC is out. The debate scheduled to be moderated by NBC in February is canceled or it will be given to someone else....or something.

Meantime, we don't know what the future holds for Republican debates. Will Trump donate a hotel ballroom? Will they cull their own moderators from right-wing talk radio, as Cruz suggested? Will they forego moderators altogether and just have a free-for-all? It will be fun to find out what they come up with.

And while all this was going on, the various fact-checkers were fact-checking the claims made by the Republican candidates and it isn't looking good for them. Turns out, practically everything Carly Fiorina said was untrue. Donald Trump was flat-out lying when he accused Becky Quick of being wrong when she said he called Marco Rubio Mark Zuckerberg's "personal senator". It was right there on his very own website. Even the National Review, a conservative magazine, said Ben Carson was dishonest about his ties to Mannatech, a health nostrum company. George Pataki said Hillary Clinton's personal server had been hacked. Not so. Ted Cruz was wrong about both loss of manufacturing jobs and women's wages under Obama. None of their tax plans are very good for the lower and middle class, reserving most of the gains for the rich, in typical Republican fashion. This was despite their seeming to have suddenly discovered income inequality.

So, really, it's too bad the Republicans were able to transfer so much of the attention to the flap about CNBC (and the "liberal" media, in general) instead of their own flaws.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Random Observations

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I've been listening to a lot of political talk radio during my long commutes to work, including the Patriot channel. The right wing hosts are desperately trying to convince listeners that the chaos taking place in the House of Representatives is a good thing! The Freedom Caucus pulled off exactly what they wanted. They got rid of Boehner; they scared off Kevin McCarthy. Much of the party sees Paul Ryan as their great white hope but the conservatives don't like him either. He's a squish, don't you know? If Boehner tries to stay on past his sell-by date, they'll call a vote to force him out. No one knows what will happen next. It is anarchy in the House and the right-wing is loving it!

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I've been watching Facebook and the right doesn't seem to have seen this yet. Expect a shitstorm when they do. They want him hung; they want him burned at the stake. Instead, the officer in charge recommended what is essentially a misdemeanor sentence. A reduction in rank, a loss of a percentage of pay but no jail time and some continuation of veteran's benefits. Of course, this isn't a done deal as it has to go up the chain of command and what happens is likely to be affected by politics rather than rationality (isn't everything?)

Conservatives haven't read the full reports. They haven't heard the interviews. They are basing their opinions on emotion only. The hell with the actual facts of the case.  


Another day in America, another school shooting....or two....or three. Gun worship has become a virtual religion in the U.S. No price is too high to pay for our guns. The lives of our children? Collateral damage that must be tolerated. There is no common middle ground with ammosexuals. They go from background checks straight to gun confiscation in 60 seconds. Never mind that no one is suggesting rescinding the second amendment. They see the smallest effort to alleviate our national epidemic of gun violence as the camel's nose under the tent. You think we surely must be reaching a tipping point when the America people will finally say, "enough."

Image result for planned parenthood hearing                        Image result for benghazi hearings


Kevin McCarthy only said out loud what we all knew - the Benghazi hearings were never about finding out what happened that night but rather, to besmirch both President Obama and Hillary Clinton, particularly as it regarded Hillary's presidential run. The hearings have been a farce from Day One. Documents demanded, witnesses called, Democrats not informed who those witnesses were or allowed to question them, selective leaks rather than releasing entire transcripts designed to put the spin on events the Republicans preferred. Benghazi is now the longest running investigation ever in our nation's history - longer than the assassination of a president, longer than the resignation of another president, longer than selling arms for hostages to Iran, longer than freaking 911!

And for their second act, the Republicans engaged in an investigation of Planned Parenthood during which they called the producers of videos that have been proven to be doctored (again, Democrats were not allowed to ask questions) but no representatives of Planned Parenthood itself. When they finally did demand the presence of Cecile Richards, Planned Parenthood director, they bombed her with harsh and leading questions, then didn't allow her to answer. Can you say kangaroo court?

Remember all the wonderful things the R's said they were going to accomplish if only, (please, please, please) we voted them back into the majority in the Congress? Can you think of even one of those things they've actually done? They evidently majored in Investigations and forgot to take Governing 101.

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This was on my Facebook newsfeed today. Oh, the conservatives love them some Putin in comparison to the contempt in which they hold their own president. "Oooh," they simper, "he's so strong and manly!"

Jesus, People, Putin is a brutal, murderous ex-KGB thug. Is that really want for America? Truly?

When Putin tells us that he's bombing ISIS but our own government says he's targeting Syrian rebels in order to strengthen Assad, conservatives would rather believe Putin. They are strangely gleeful when they think Putin has put one over on Obama. In other words, they root against their own country. Sort of like when 47 Senators led by Tom Cotton sided against our government in the Iran negotiations. Doesn't that seem uncomfortably close to treason to you?