Saturday, October 31, 2015

Looking for a Fool and His Money



You read it here first, although it was very obvious: Jim Webb has an op-ed in today's Washington Post that says he is "in the process of deciding" whether to mount an independent campaign for President. Webb is certainly a different kind of Democrat, but the party is big enough to include him. He essentially failed to make his case in the debates.

In the op-ed he gives his rationale for considering a third-party run. What he doesn't do is paint a picture of how he could actually win.

Addendum:

Using Webb's campaign button in no way implies support or an endorsement. And to prove it, here:


Friday, October 30, 2015

Fantasy GOP Team


In the last post we talked about Fantasy GOP©, the exciting new game where contestants select five GOP debate participants after each debate, trying to build a team that will have the highest cumulative polling increase. We haven't seen any polls yet (and still have to decide which poll will be the "Official Fantasy GOP©" poll) but here are our choices:

Kasich - Make sure you see Uncle Ted's comment on Kasich at the end of the last post. I agree that Kasich will not get the nomination, but we're talking about temporary polling increases, and sane Republicans have nowhere else to go.

Rubio - Duh!

Huckabee - Protected the old people's Social Security.

Cruz - Scariest guy up there, but he'll get a boost (mostly mostly from Trump's people, who are bored already) for attacking mainstream media.

Graham - A sentimental favorite (always a bad move in a contest). He was on the undercard with Pataki, Jindal, and Santorum (sheesh!) so nobody saw him, but Lindsay, who has never seen a problem that couldn't be bombed or invaded, had the best one-liner: "Make me commander-in-chief and this crap stops!"

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Last Night's Republican Debate


Once again, we didn't see the whole thing. You can watch that kind of nonsense for just so long.

Talking Points Memo reports that:
Carly Fiorina, who is barely in the running, got more time than anyone else. Jeb Bush got the least by a significant margin - less than Rand Paul, Huckabee, Christie, people who aren't even really in the race.
The debate was sponsored by CNBC, a right-wing, wacked-out network for day traders. Josh Marshall found it to be just as weird as I did:
[A] big reason the debate was so weird was that so many of the questions were based on obscurantist and myopic CNBC nonsense - which is not only far-right and identified with great wealth but specifically owned by the bubble of Wall Street. That led to a lot of odd questions - like Jim Cramer's saying why aren't GM execs going to jail, Santelli's wild questions or that question about fantasy football. Lots of people are into fantasy football. But whether it's betting and whether it should be regulated, that's a Wall Streeter question - in the same way huge amounts of the money that gets pushed through political betting sites comes off Wall Street. It's hard for Republicans to say this. But I think this is a significant reason why the debate seemed so odd. And it made it kind of odd to hear anti-liberal bias attacks on the moderators when they were asking questions like shouldn't the Fed be forced to take us back to the gold standard. [My italics]
I mean: really, what a bunch of fruit cakes.

Which all helped make John Kasich sound like the only sane man person up there. Will he see a significant bump in the polls? Are there still enough sane Republicans to make a difference? In a sane world, yes. But I hereby declare a copyright on the concept of Fantasy GOP.  Using your "skill", choose your team of wackadoodles, and I'll choose mine. Five to a team. Whosever team gets the highest cumulative bump in the post-debate polling wins. And don't forget the undercard.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Republican Amnesia


As far as we know, Bernie Sanders was the first to talk about "Republican Amnesia", the inability of Republicans to remember the mess they created. It was only 7 years ago.

Looks like Hillary has picked up on it.



Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Webb and Chaffee


We have to admit being surprised at how poorly former Virginia Senator Jim Webb has done in the Democratic campaign. A former Republican, he seemed perfectly poised to collect the votes of the so-called "Reagan Democrats".  Upon withdrawing, he said, "I fully accept that my views on many issues are not compatible with the power structure and the nominating base of the Democratic Party."

Dissect that, and what you've got is an appeal to folks who are part of neither the party power structure nor its nominating base – those Reagan Democrats. But it looks like Reagan Democrats have joined the Students for a Democratic Society under the heading, "Do They Even Exist Anymore?" No doubt many of them can be found in the Tea Party.

If you're planning on running for President, make sure your ego is big and your skin is thick. One certainly gets the impression that Jim Webb makes it in the ego department. He, at least, takes himself very seriously and is obviously dreaming of a third party candidacy at this point. I suspect he'll find one or two dim bulbs with the money to enable his fantasy for a while. We'll see.

Now, what to say about Lincoln Chaffee? He seems like a very nice person.

Colbert skewers them both (via Crooks & Liars):



Sunday, October 25, 2015

Bernie Sanders Gets It Right


This is a clip of Bernie Sanders' speech at the Jefferson Jackson dinner in Des Moines last night. From about 0:30 to about 2:30, Sanders articulates a theme that we have heard hardly at all, but I think has a powerful punch: Republican Amnesia.



Sanders starts painting the picture of how bad things were when Obama took office in 2009, but kept it short. Things were much, much worse. And there is a lot more to be said about how much better things are, despite the constant lack of patriotic cooperation from the Congressional Republicans.

Take, for instance, job growth:


Like the graph says, the economy has added 13.2 million private sector jobs in the last 67 months. There has never been a period of uninterrupted job growth as long as this.

Hillary, on the other hand, was back to her irritating self:
Mrs. Clinton also offered an oblique criticism of Mr. Sanders over his record on guns. 
“I’ve been told to stop shouting to end gun violence,” she said, repeating a line she has begun using since Mr. Sanders said in the debate that “all the shouting in the world” would not keep guns out of the wrong hands. “I haven’t been shouting, but sometimes when a woman speaks out, some people think it’s shouting.”
And of me she would say, "Sometimes when a woman speaks out, some people think it's irritating."

Friday, October 23, 2015

Trey Gowdy's Benghazi Committee


I couldn't watch as much of the Benghazi hearings as I had hoped to, but what I saw made me shudder. It is unbelievable that the Republican Party would allow a bunch of intellectual lightweights like they have on this committee to represent them on national television. I've never been a particular fan of Hillary's, but she came out of this looking like a person to be taken seriously – more than you can say about the Republicans.

Hillary says it all here:


video

Friday, October 09, 2015

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Trump


Hitting where it hurts, Nicholas Kristoff writes of Donald Trump:
Back in 1976, Trump said he was worth “more than $200 million.” If he had simply put $200 million in an index fund and reinvested dividends, he would be worth $12 billion today, notes Max Ehrenfreund of The Washington Post. In fact, he’s worth $4.5 billion, according to Forbes.

In other words, Trump’s business acumen seems less than half as impressive as that of an ordinary Joe who parks his savings in an index fund.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Carly


Frank Bruni covers her pretty well. An excerpt:
The Washington Post just published a humiliating account of her sluggishness to pay bills from that 2010 campaign. That she stiffed several vendors until January 2015 wasn’t really the damning part: That’s sadly common in politics.

But The Post reported that one of the people stiffed was the widow of the pollster Joe Shumate, who dropped dead of a heart attack, “surrounded by sheets of polling data” for Fiorina, shortly before Election Day in 2010. Fiorina mourned him as “the heart and soul” of her operation, then neglected for years to fork over at least $30,000 that she owed him.

Martin Wilson, who managed that campaign, told The Post that he occasionally implored her to settle up. “She just wouldn’t,” he said.

It’s striking that he’d tattle like that on Fiorina. She apparently doesn’t leave much love in her wake. Reuters interviewed about 30 people who worked for her in 2010, 12 of whom said: Never again. “I’d rather go to Iraq,” one unidentified campaign aide groused.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

What's This?


It's the new Zumwalt class destroyer.



"The 610-foot-long ship comes equipped with new technologies including radar reflecting angles, a striking inward-sloping tumblehome hull, an all-electric integrated power system, and an advanced gun system."

At 610 feet, it's longer than the battleship USS Nevada.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Oh, Great!


Turns out the sheriff in charge of the shooting investigation at Umpqua Community College in Oregon is what's known as a "Sandy Hook Truther", someone who believes the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., where 20 students and 6 adults were murdered, never actually happened. From Talking Points Memo:
Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin posted a link to a YouTube video called "The Sandy Hook Shooting - Fully Exposed," which summarized conspiracy theories surrounding the shooting and quickly racked up millions of views, about a month after the massacre took place. The post was deleted or made private sometime after 2:30 p.m. Friday. [Oct. 2, 2015]
"This makes me wonder who we can trust anymore..." Hanlin wrote. "Watch, listen, and keep an open mind."
The video opens with text that reads: "In this video I will prove to you there has been a lot of deception surrounding the Sandy Hook shooting. This is a simple, logical video. No aliens, holigrams (sic), rituals or anything like that, just facts." It then intersperses news clips from the time with text raising questions about the "official story" presented in the media, including whether there was more than one shooter and whether grieving parents were actually so-called "crisis actors."
Can't help but wonder what his investigation will reveal.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Vatican Chicanery?


Charles P. Pierce at Esquire asks, "Was Pope Francis Actually Swindled into Meeting Kim Davis?"

Villain: Papal Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Vigano.

Perhaps "tricked" would be a better word than "swindled" here, but it's an interesting story, with insights into the "sanctified r*****ing" that has been part of the Vatican for centuries.

Update

The Vatican has issued a statement:
The brief meeting between Mrs. Kim Davis and Pope Francis at the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, DC has continued to provoke comments and discussion. In order to contribute to anobjective understanding of what transpired I am able to clarify the following points:
Pope Francis met with several dozen persons who had been invited by the Nunciature to greet him as he prepared to leave Washington for New York City.
Translation:

Archbishop Carlo Vigano put that pile of poo there, and let the Pope step in it.

So I owe the Pope an apology. The deceitful coward turned out to be someone else.

Syria Again


I rarely watch CNN or Faux, so I don't get the constant drumbeat of how manly Putin is, and how he's making us look weak.

But if you're concerned about Russia's move in Syria, may I recommend this and this?