Wednesday, October 14, 2015

And the Winner Is...

If you're a Hillary fan, Hillary won the debate. If you're a Bernie fan, Bernie won the debate. If you're a Lincoln Chafee fan, I can give you the name of a very good therapist.

Even within the suffocating confines of the Democratic machine, last night's debate was practically Lincoln-Douglas compared to the recent Republican circuses. And I give high marks to moderator Anderson Cooper, who was somehow able to resist asking the candidates who they'd like to see on the $10 bill.

The mass media are, of course, making gleeful hay out of Clinton's attack on Bernie's gun control record. Er... make that gun "safety" record. The Democrats no longer talk about actually controlling guns, because that might hurt the feelings of responsible, liberal gun owners. The emphasis is now upon restricting gun sales to the happiest, most mentally healthy well-adjusted people out there, those who carefully keep their Sig Sauers locked up in designer cabinets rather than leaving their shotguns propped upon against the wall of a red state trailer for the kids to get hold of and shoot each other over puppies.

For whatever reason, Bernie did not go on the counterattack. He did not, for example, point out that Hillary Clinton sold $20 billion worth of lethal weapons to Saudi Arabia while she was Secretary of State, and that Saudi royals then turned around and donated nearly $1 million to the Clinton Foundation. He didn't point out that Saudi Arabia is using these weapons to kill thousands of Yemeni civilians as well as continuing to behead dissidents and stone women to death in their own country. 

As Bernie himself unfortunately admitted, he is no "pacifist." He would continue Obama's drone policy of rendering Muslims into bug-splat. And even though he was the sole Senator to vote against the Patriot Act, he still believes that patriot Ed Snowden should face criminal charges. He did not refute Hillary's specious claim that Snowden would have found justice by going through Congressional channels instead of giving evidence of government spying to the media.

So since Bernie can't or won't, let's talk more about Hillary Clinton's horrible record on guns and all manner of high tech weaponry. David Sirota should have been invited to help moderate the debate, because he conducted a thorough analysis of her record just last spring, when she was busily riding in her Scooby van and shmoozing the scripted neoliberal love to "everyday Americans":
The Saudi deal was one of dozens of arms sales approved by Hillary Clinton’s State Department that placed weapons in the hands of governments that had also donated money to the Clinton family philanthropic empire, an International Business Times investigation has found.
Under Clinton's leadership, the State Department approved $165 billion worth of commercial arms sales to 20 nations whose governments have given money to the Clinton Foundation, according to an IBTimes analysis of State Department and foundation data. That figure -- derived from the three full fiscal years of Clinton’s term as Secretary of State (from October 2010 to September 2012) -- represented nearly double the value of American arms sales made to the those countries and approved by the State Department during the same period of President George W. Bush’s second term.The Clinton-led State Department also authorized $151 billion of separate Pentagon-brokered deals for 16 of the countries that donated to the Clinton Foundation, resulting in a 143 percent increase in completed sales to those nations over the same time frame during the Bush administration. These extra sales were part of a broad increase in American military exports that accompanied Obama’s arrival in the White House. The 143 percent increase in U.S. arms sales to Clinton Foundation donors compares to an 80 percent increase in such sales to all countries over the same time period.
In other words, the Clintons are major arms dealers who, in a reality-based world, would be given an A+ rating by the NRA -- on top of their A+ ratings from Wall Street war profiteers and defense contractors.

But this is an insane world presented to us as fair and balanced and mentally healthy by corporate media hacks whose jobs depend upon the successful alteration of our reality. According to the New York Times, Hillary "turned up the heat" on Bernie so much that they might as well have reported that his hair caught fire and he had to flee the Vegas kitchen. According to the Huffington Post, she crushed him into bug-splat with the merest flick of her pinkie finger. (OK, so he later recovered sufficiently to feebly wave a surviving tentacle in her general direction.)  The Washington Post proclaimed that Hillary towered like an Amazon over the sniveling guys flanking her on the stage. She was "fluid, steady and calm" to Bernie Sanders' maniacal shouting into a microphone, sniffed Dana Milbank.

I haven't yet read all the reviews, but so far, a puff piece by former New York Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni is the one that really takes the cake. From his current perch atop the op-ed page, he gushed in his typical one-sentence paragraphs: 
I never doubted that Hillary Clinton had many talents.

I just didn’t know that seamstress was among them.

There were moments in the first Democratic presidential debate on Tuesday night when she threaded the needle as delicately and perfectly as a politician could.
Wait. It gets worse:
 He seemed bowed, irascible. She seemed buoyant, effervescent. It was as poised a performance as she’s finessed in a long time, and while I’ve just about given up making predictions about this confounding election — I never thought Donald Trump would last so long, and I never saw Ben Carson coming — I think Clinton benefited more from Tuesday’s stage than Sanders did.
How is one bowed (crushed) and irascible (feisty) at the same time? I have just about given up on making any sense out of Frank Bruni. But wait. It gets even worser:
And she benefited from the visual contrast when she stood side by side on TV next to Sanders, with his slight hunch, his somewhat garbled style of speech, and a moment when he cupped his hand behind his ear, signaling that he hadn’t heard the question.
He evoked yesterday. Despite many decades in the political trenches, she didn’t. It was a nifty trick. Turns out she’s a bit of a sorceress as well.
Bernie apparently does not speak in the pristine Bruniesque one-sentence paragraphs that make up the ideal word salad. But speaking of sorceresses, who are, I suppose, good witches as opposed to hags (Hillary at least puts the bubble back into toil and trouble), here is my published response to Brunhilda:

 Come on now. Did anybody really expect the paper of record and a centrist columnist to declare Bernie Sanders the winner of this debate? The corporate media, Frank Bruni included, have been bending over backward to avoid even mentioning the guy's name. They seem not to have a clue about the mood in this country.

The resounding campaign theme way out here in the sticks is "It's the Corruption, Stupid!" Not about who is the most polished debater with the best hair and makeup, the most nuanced wonky talking points, the straightest posture, and the most discreet hearing aid.

Yes, Hillary Clinton performed very well at the Democratic debate. She has had 26 of them in which to hone her skills -- unlike in this season, when the Democratic leadership is so rattled at the prospect of ABH (Anybody But Hillary) that they drastically limited them to six (the rest coming on weekends and holiday seasons.) So I bet Debbie Wasserman Schultz is kicking herself, seeing as how Hillary had a relatively easy time of it last night.

 And I can only imagine how thrilled Hillary must be that Frank Bruni's idea of a rave review is to call her a talented seamstress. Can a description of a female politician get any more chauvinistically 19th century than that? Not only does Bruni need a Miracle Ear to cure his tone-deafness, a transfer to the Style Section might be in order as well.

And by the way -- the USA turning into Denmark on steroids sounds like an excellent plan to me.


Pearl said...

Karen: I can't agree that Anderson Cooper deserves high marks. Where do the regulations come from that have 30second and 60second limitations and questions to the group on stage that seem to be shot out of a cannon startling the candidates into trying to fit in an appropriate answer to some provocative questions?
He brought up seemingly accusative statements each had made or been involved with at some time or other that required more time to dissect and much more time was needed to allow the deeper realities to be explained. This played into Hillary's agenda with well rehearsed equally rapid explanations of how she had a proper agenda that would solve the most complicated problems on the horizon.

I would have also liked more time allowed for Bernie to go more deeply into some of his comments involving drones and guns and other convoluted topics and how and why he came to specific conclusions as a result.
The whole debate seemed to be a Readers Digest arrangement to fit into the current rapid kind of hysterical behavior of characters on TV.

As to who won is not what is needed. What we learned from the comments each made is what is important.

In a nutshell, the only thing to be concerned about is what will actually work to resolve the important and critical issues we are all facing.
Given that Hillary and others have borrowed Bernie's social democratic agenda, even if they are sincere in their 'progressivism', cannot make it work because they are not prepared to change the corrupt system that exists. And unless enough citizens will support Bernie in creating a political revolution, it won't work either.

Result, a sad feeling that we may be facing a difficult future no matter who eventually steps into the Oval Office.

It is interesting that the group of people that were chosen to follow and record their reactions to the speeches when questioned about who they think had won or made the most impression on them, the majority named Bernie Sanders, to their seemingly surprise.

Karen Garcia said...


Admittedly my standards for debate moderation are on the low side. But can you imagine if Brooke Baldwin or Don Lemon or heaven forefend, Wolf Blitzer, had been chosen to ask the questions? They would have demanded to know what the Dems think of the anti-vaxxers and Donald Trump's hairstyle and what their choice of Secret Service code names would be. Anderson Cooper is as good a journalist as they've got on the Corporate Nooze Network. Or maybe Christiane Amampour.

I agree that the pace was a bit too frenetic. But,I think by the time they get around to airing the next debate, it might be down to three or maybe only two candidates, and they'll be able to deliver more substance then. I very much doubt that Biden will run now, given Hillary's performance. Also I don't think that this debate will effect the polling very much, unless it is to give Bernie a slight uptick among independent voters. I think too that Bernie will come better prepared for the next go-round. He was obviously taken aback by Hillary and tag-teamer O'Malley on the gun issue. O'Malley is pretty blatantly jockeying for position as her veep. I like him even less now that I have heard him debate.

annenigma said...

Yes, there's something definitely slimy about Martin O'Malley, and quite a transparent phony too. He makes my skin crawl.


The corporate media is gushing that their chosen corporate candidate just happened to supposedly win the debate. It just proves that Bernie is right about the corporate media colluding with billionaires to rig the elections from start to finish. Anyone who thinks Bernie is going to get a fair shake is in denial about the state of our oligarchy. (Or is it a plutocracy?) It's also an object lesson for the young that anyone who dares criticize the corporate media will be ignored and/or marginalized throughout the campaign.

This is why real revolutions eventually become necessary. A rigged system can't be changed from within itself. Even the little old DNC isn't about to let too much democracy happen if it jeopardizes the chosen one - Hillary.

It's good that Bernie finally had the national stage for one brief shining moment, but I doubt many voters actually watched the debate. I had to watch it on the internet since I don't have cable tv, and most people I know don't follow the news or politics at all. Anything they happen to glean is filtered through the corporate media. That said, I wish Bernie luck. He's going to need it. I hope he uses his moment in the spotlight to full advantage because if he loses in the primaries, he's be out of the picture entirely by March and his chance is over and done. He's already pledged not to run for President as an Independent to avoid the risk of helping elect a Republican, but as Hillary once said, WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE!!!??? Despite Hillary's progressive claims, she's still a war-mongering Goldwater Republican beneath the surface.

As much as I like Bernie, I still believe he's weak/wrong on foreign policy. He must not understand that we're an EMPIRE. Funny how he never mentions that. Maybe foreign policy doesn't interest him (it shows) and he doesn't realize it, or maybe he simply doesn't believe it or doesn't want to see it. He could benefit enormously from reading one of Chalmers Johnson books to inform his foreign policy. He could pick up a lot of the Ron Paul Revolution voters if he started addressing imperialism. I think that's what bothers me about him. He seems half baked, focused solely on domestic issues and not connecting the dots. But as Chalmers Johnson put it:

"A nation can be one or the other, a democracy or an imperialist, but it can’t be both. If it sticks to imperialism, it will, like the old Roman Republic, on which so much of our system was modeled, lose its democracy to a domestic dictatorship."

Bernie knows that we have a dictatorship of the wealthy, aka the 'billionaire class' but he doesn't seem to get that imperialism is what gives oligarchs their power. Bernie is ignoring the elephant in the living room, the Military-Industrial Complex - the mighty arms of the imperialist beast. At least he's on the right side of TPP, another powerful tool of the oligarchs, at least as it relates to workers (I haven't heard any objections from him about Investor-State Dispute Settlement, or did I miss that?)

I'm sure Empress Hillary will do a bang up job for the billionaire class as their President Select.

Pearl said...

Clinton leans left in Las Vegas

Worth reading

Meredith NYC said...

The most impressive of the bunch. His best line---Congress doesn’t regulate wall st, wall st regulates congress. That line should be shoved at every candidate in both parties for response, then their answers compared all over the media, and our precious columnists should show where they stand on it. Fat chance, but let’s lay it on the line. This is the basis of everything.

I’m sorry Sanders had to use Denmark, Sweden and Norway as comparisons, great as they are as role HC could just say we are America not Denmark-- end of story. What exactly do you mean Hillary??

Sanders could have used dozens of large nations not deemed as ‘socialistic’, for positive contrasts---say re h/c for all for generations already, and not turning their elections over to billionaire sponsors. The pundits pounced on Denmark.

I’ll have to say Sanders has poor judgment ever to use these. Kiss of death, and red meat to his opponents and the media. Perfect to stir up voter fears. Who in the world is advising the passionate Sanders on how to talk in a debate? Candidates using those words don’t really want to be president, they want to get new ideas into the mainstream, then go back home.

Sanders should have said he’s wants capitalism, but regulated, not cowboy capitalism. He muffed that, so Cooper could then ask the group---is there anybody else who is NOT a capitalist? Very bad ‘optics’.

Hillary said she’s progressive BUT gets things done—(but like what for instance?) She want to reassure voters anxious about Sanders, and he gave her the chance.

Of course it’s Sanders’ policies that would rescue the US from its backwardness. Big money is at the bottom of every issue that progressives complain about. We can’t move on anything—equality, taxes, jobs, infrastructure, h/c, criminal justice.

Most commentators like certain Nobel winners, kvetch in compulsive daily blogs about all our serious problems and the Gop bad guys. But tracing it back to election financing is verboten.

That’s not so bad. I'd prefer an F minus. But he did make a point --just how can you hold a gun seller accountable if the buyer kills someone with it? How would that work exactly, can someone explain? Better to have gun restriction like other countries in the 1st place, so guns aren’t easy to buy. Instead of throwing gun sellers in jail? Background checks won’t warn against anyone unless they have a record and are in a data base.

Hillary made some good statements, can’t recall them offhand—but we don’t know what she’ll actually do after she wins.

The debates after the others drop out between her and Sanders will be more interesting and telling. Maybe Sanders will bring up repeal of Glass Steagall by Bill and ask Hill to respond!

Anderson Cooper came across better than I expected.

Chris Hayes is saying the democrats to get elected have always had to show how much they hate the left wing. But also as Sherrod Brown is saying, old style repubs back when believed in govt itself.

Meredith NYC said...

Hillary is now live at a campaign rally in Las Vegas on cspan. She sounds like Bernie Sanders on a myriad of issues. This is what I admired in her previous speech, but she didn't come across this way in the debate last night at all--i don't think. Make taxes fairer, paid family leave, higher min wage, free college tuition, (did i hear right), criminal justice reform, black lives matter, overturn citizens united, improve obamacare to reduce costs and make it more affordable.

See nyt editorial yesterday, that people are unable to afford the
ACA premiums and dropping out.
ACA is 3rd rate vs dozens of other nations. Repub lite from our Dem pres.
But Bill Clinton set a repub lite norm for dem presidents.

Will Hillary depart from that norm?

Meredith NYC said...

added to above....Hillary is also sounding much more real, sincere and less calculated than she did in the debate. Maybe that's typical of campaign speeches vs debates.

Karen Garcia said...

Charles Blow has now added himself to the courtier press corps feeling the Hillary buzz. He even refers to her as Queen Hillary (whether snarkily or not it is hard to tell, but he does seem to be genuinely smitten all of a sudden. He says she "crushed it." Where is my barf bowl?)

It is punditry like this that inspires me write a red-meat comment in defense of Bernie (although I still seriously worry about his lack of foreign policy chops and his uncomfortable "us vs them" stance on globalization. ) My comment to Blow:

It was a performance, period. And now Charles Blow dutifully joins the elite chorus to make the coronation official. Actually, the Huffington Post was the first outlet to use the phrase "crushed it" to describe the Chris Matthews-like thrill traveling up the giant media leg. That the press esteems style over substance has never been made more abundantly, nauseatingly clear. Paul Krugman wrote a pretty good smack-down of all the columnists and talking heads now tripping all over themselves in their abrupt pivot from Hillary Hate to Hillary Love She didn't change. Her TV persona - her "brand" - has improved.

The irony is that it was fear of her stumbling that caused her pal Debbie Wasserman Schultz to limit the Democratic debates to an undemocratic, ridiculous six. The blessing is that the pundits are finally beginning to stifle their annoying "Draft Biden" chatter.

But guess what? Early polls, albeit unscientific, show that as far as regular citizens are concerned, it was Bernie who "crushed it." In choosing not to attack Hillary on such things as the Saudis contributing $1 million to the Clinton Foundation after her State Department sold them $20 billion worth of lethal weapons, he showed himself to be a focused, decent man more interested in defending the downtrodden than in scoring points to win at any cost.

People don't care about performances. We care, and Bernie cares, about how political corruption enables an oligarchy that is ruining millions of our lives.

Meredith NYC said... krugman trashes the press for their previously trashing Clinton, now raising her up. And he loves to criticize it's personality contest coverage. That makes him look superior to the hypocrite press.

But he was always pushing Hillary. Thus he avoided ever naming Sanders, or even approaching his policies pro/con, something you'd think a liberal economist concerned with economic equality would naturally have done by now. Just what is Krugman's opinion of a financial transaction tax to pay for college tuition--or for any kind of revenue? Only 1 example of many. The economics Nobel (not noble) won't deign to give an expert opinion.

In fact, PK is manipulating, sort of like Debbie Schultz, who limited the debates to 6, to limit the challenge to Clinton by the growing voter surge for Sanders, and public agreement with his ideas.

Re the media personality coverage--well, Krugman may not be Maureen Dowd, but he has mostly avoided issue analysis pro/con lately. He just keeps trashing the Gop nut cases, such easy targets. If he seriously analyzed issues, he'd have to bring himself to cite Sanders' positions vs Clintons. He doesn't want any threats to Clinton. Some commenters say he hopes for a cabinet appointment. Prestige is the concern.

Bruni and maybe Blow are careful how they position themselves. Actually they all likely agree in their heart with Sanders proposals. But they can't let on, so they avoid his ideas. Don't get labeled left. That's the game.

PK is so transparent by now, it's embarrassing. Is this what the Times WANTS? It's sure not giving readers the full range of discussion. Let's see how Krugman can prevaricate when only Bernie and Hillary are left to debate each other. What smokescreen then? Our mighty liberal has fallen. But who knows how many criticisms to his blog aren't published? All my comments don't get in, tho some do.

A decent candidate interested in defending the downtrodden is not exactly highly valued in US media and politics. Even by supposed liberals.

Meredith NYC said...

"Bernie Won All the Focus Groups & Online Polls, So Why Is the Media Saying Hillary Won the Debate?
What the public wants out of a candidate and what the beltway press wants appear to be two entirely different things."
By Adam Johnson / AlterNet October 14, 2015

annenigma said...

Check this out: