The “Great” Debate …

I actually managed to watch the full debate last night without once trying to punch my computer or throw it across the room.  In fact, there were several points at which I laughed aloud, causing the girls to look at me in awe, for it is a sound they don’t often hear coming from me these days.  Typically, I think the value of the debates is far over-rated by the pundits, but it is an opportunity to see the candidates speak for themselves, see how they handle pressure under fire.  But, if I want to know what their platform is, I will go to  which is the best place I have found over the years to get all the candidates’ platforms in one place.

What follows is only my takeaway from last night’s debate.  I have no doubt that others will have different opinions, but since I gave up two hours of my life that I can never get back, I thought the least I could do is opine just a bit.

There are six democratic candidates left from the 20+ that entered the race:

  • Bernie Sanders
  • Elizabeth Warren
  • Joe Biden
  • Pete Buttigieg
  • Amy Klobuchar
  • Michael Bloomberg

The main reason I watched this debate last night … the first one I watched all the way through … was that I wanted to see how Mike Bloomberg handled the pressure of the questions he was inevitably going to get regarding his racist profiling in the stop-and-frisk policy he implemented in New York City, and the reports of sexist behaviour toward women in his businesses.  So, let me start with my take on Bloomberg’s performance last night.

The first word that comes to mind here is: arrogant.  His body language and facial expressions said:  I’m above all of this, I’m far above all these others, why am I even here?  Not one time did he actually smile, not once did he engage in any form of camaraderie with the others, and he rolled his eyes several times when asked a question that he felt unfair, or when critiqued by another candidate.  I sometimes think that body language and facial expressions tell as much as the words that come out of a person’s mouth.

But going beyond that, Mr. Bloomberg’s responses were unsatisfying, at best.  He seemed to defend his stop-and-frisk policy, though he has apologized for it.  But an apology is just words, and as they say, actions speak louder than words.  His defense of the reasons he started the policy was a turn-off for me.  Then there was the little matter of the treatment of women in his company.  Much of what women have alleged, Bloomberg denies, and yet … and yet, those women have been made to sign non-disclosure agreements.  One must ask why.  Elizabeth Warren called on Bloomberg to release the women from the agreements so the public could hear their allegations, but Bloomberg flatly refused.  According to much of what I have read, Bloomberg’s attitudes toward women, his vulgar language and crass remarks, are no better than Donald Trump’s.  If he wants transparency, what better place to start?

There were two candidates whose fire and genuine passion stood out last night:  Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.  The media have declared Sanders the winner of the debate, but in my humble opinion, while they were both great, I’d give Warren the prize.  Perhaps this is a slight prejudice on my part, for I frankly think the time has come for us to steer away from the old, white, male image of the presidency.  Nonetheless, Warren showed us what she’s made of, and I liked it.

Joe Biden.  Sigh.  Poor Joe … by most standards, and judging by history, Joe Biden should be the #1 frontrunner.  He has the most applicable experience, he understands foreign policy in a way that not a single one of the others do, and he has good ideas.  What he lacks, though, is the persona.  He simply hasn’t got the passion, seems to have lost his way somewhere along the line.  Perhaps it is still the effects of his son’s death that have turned his world to grey, or perhaps it is the constant barrage of mindless accusations by Donald Trump that have taken the wind out of his sails.  Either way, he just wasn’t quite … there.

I like Pete Buttigieg, though perhaps not quite as much as I did in the beginning.  A few things stood out last night, but the biggest one was his almost continual attacks on Amy Klobuchar, some of which seemed unfair, to say the least.  The media, and Pete, have made much of the fact that when asked the name of the president of Mexico last week, she couldn’t remember.  It has been blown far out of proportion, and Buttigieg seized on it last night … unrelentingly.  Heck, there are days that I cannot remember my own name, let alone the president of Mexico’s!  Buttigieg does his homework, but it would have shown humanity to have let it drop.  He disappointed me in his attacks on Klobuchar. Buttigieg has a few things in his favour with me, though, and one is that while the other five have a net worth in the millions, or in Bloomberg’s case, billions, Pete Buttigieg’s net worth is approximately $100,000.  This impresses me far more than Bloomberg’s $63 billion.

I thought Amy handled the stress of Pete’s attacks fairly well, but a few times she did seem overly emotional, such as when she said, “Are you trying to say that I’m dumb?” Far too much has been made over a bit of momentary forgetfulness, I think.  Overall, I was impressed with Ms. Klobuchar’s heart.  I believe she cares very much about people and would be a strong advocate for human rights, but I have to wonder if she’s a bit too emotional and too thin-skinned for the job of president, for more than once it seemed as if she was near tears.

As for the debate itself … two main takeaways.  First, while climate change and the environment was briefly discussed, it was altogether too brief.  When the DNC refused to hold a debate focused solely on climate change, they made a huge mistake, in my book, for this is the single most crucial issue on the ballot.  While each candidate said one of their first moves as president would be to re-join the Paris Accords, that’s about all we learned.  I want to know details!  I want to know more than the 5 minutes or so that climate change was discussed last night provided.

Secondly, I was put off and rather disgusted by the structure of the debate.  Candidates had small bits of time to answer a question, then when time was up they kept on talking, while all the others on stage were rudely interrupting, and with six people plus the moderators all talking at once, the closed captioning was useless and it was impossible to discern what anybody was saying.  I don’t know what the answer to this is for future debates, but I do wish somebody would come up with one.  It would have been far more helpful if all the candidates had stuck with giving their opinions of the issues rather than their opinions of their opponents.

Overall, I was glad I watched for I got a bit of a feel for the personas of the candidates, but as I said in the beginning, if I want to know their platforms and ideologies, I’ll turn to another venue.   Unfortunately, the infighting is doing nobody any good, and it is almost certain that no single candidate will end up with a clear majority by the time of the nominating convention in mid-July, which opens a whole ‘nother can of worms.  Sigh.

Democratic Jitters

As always, our friend Jeff over at On the Fence Voters is spot-on in his assessment of the current Democratic candidates and their campaigns. He has also drawn a scenario about Michael Bloomberg that, while it doesn’t please me, I certainly cannot argue otherwise. The goal that we must not lose sight of is to topple the bully-in-chief, for another four years under Trump, who has been handed the keys to the kingdom, is unthinkable. Good work, Jeff!

On The Fence Voters

It’s time to state the obvious: Beating Donald Trump must be the main objective in the 2020 election. While we all may have our personal favorites, and should proudly vote for that person in the primary, when it comes to November 3, whoever is the Democratic nominee deserves all of our support.

No matter who it is.

I know this upsets a lot of people. Ideological purity tests are running rampant all over social media. “But wait, he’s too far to the left.” “Hold on. We need to excite the base and increase the turnout. Only a real progressive can do that.” I’ve heard and seen them all. Everyone’s nerves are frayed. We know what the King is doing to our democracy, and none of us want to see what another four years of Trump will do to our beloved country.

Right now, the bane of all of the hand-wringing…

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Wine Caves and Chandeliers

It is rare that our friend Jeff over at On the Fence Voters steps up on the ol’ soapbox and lets forth a rant, but when he does, he does it with far more grace than I do! Tonight’s rant is about how politicians finance their campaigns and what the ramifications are for We the People. Take a look …

On The Fence Voters

My good friend over at Filosofa’s Word, Jill Dennison, likes to warn when there’s a rant ahead. So, Jill, I hope you don’t mind, but I feel the need to notify of an impending rant.

Perhaps it’s the non-stop rain here in the Pacific Northwest, or maybe it’s the grey skies. Whatever the case, something got under my skin from the Democratic debate on Thursday night, and today it’s boiling over.

The whole thing started when Senator Elizabeth Warren went after Mayor Pete Buttigieg, bringing up a recent fundraiser he had in Napa Valley wine country at the lavish home of real estate developer Craig Hall and his wife, Kathryn. The property features a wine cave, with bottles selling for hundreds of dollars each. Photos of the event showed a long table decorated lavishly, with a large crystal chandelier hanging overhead.

But my rant isn’t about Warren going after Mayor…

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Leapin’ Lizards … It’s Snarky Snippets!

When I get upset, I stutter, even if I am only talking to myself.  This evening, I was annoyed by something and though I was only muttering while I typed (pounded) a response (rant) to the comment that annoyed me, I kept trying to say (growl) “he is a criminal” but it kept coming out “crimical” (actually, it was more like ‘cr-cr-crim-crim-ic-crimical).  Finally, I gave up, finished beating the keyboard and sat back, perused the product of my fury, and it was then that I thought … perhaps I have invented a new word!  Crimical … a combination of ‘criminal’ + ‘comical’ … crimical!  What do you guys think?  Gee … I hope Merriam and Webster don’t start calling me day and night, and that the New York Times don’t come pounding on my door!  I don’t want to be famous … really … I don’t.

And now that I’ve shared that with you … I have just a little bit of snarky buildup in the recesses of my mind that I must find an outlet for.

Conspiracy Theories abound …

Remember back in March when I wrote about a kid named Jacob Wohl, a scammer and conspiracy theorist who had been banned from both Twitter and the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC)?  Well, this young punk teamed up with another conspiracy theorist by the name of Jack Burkman, and they thought it would be cute to make up something to discredit democratic candidate and mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg.  They recruited a young man named Hunter Kelly to claim that Mayor Buttigieg had sexually assaulted him.  They made a really bad video, grainy images with the sounds of traffic and planes flying over, in the driveway of Burkman’s home.

burkman-wohlHowever, whether Kelly’s conscience got the better of him, or he was just left with a bad taste from his association with the two buffoons, he came clean shortly thereafter and said that none of it was true, that they had coerced him to play a role.  Last year, Burkman and Wohl tried essentially the same type of smear campaign against Special Counsel Robert Mueller.  That one didn’t work either.

Isn’t it interesting that the republicans need to resort to this type of thing rather than simply rely on a solid political platform?  Speaks volumes, I think.

A different sort of republican senator?

Hats off to Senator Richard Burr, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman and a republican from North Carolina.  Several days ago, Burr and democratic Senator Mark Warner of Virginia issued a subpoena for Don Trump, Jr. to testify before the committee.  This was around the time that Mitch McConnell said the investigations were over and that everyone should just go home and forget about the Mueller report.



Burr and Warner want to question Junior about his role in the infamous Trump Tower meeting where he, Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort met with a Russian lawyer and others in an attempt to purchase “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in order to help the Trump campaign.  I’ve never quite understood how this is not collusion, but to the point, apparently Burr believes that Junior may have told a few fibs (like father, like son?) the first time he testified to the committee and wants him to come back to clarify some things.

Apparently, Burr’s fellow republicans in the Senate are aghast at his actions and are aligning themselves with poor li’l Junior.  I mean, after all, this investigation is just so damn inconvenient for them.  Here they are, working diligently to rip off the people of this nation, and along comes one of their own trying to {gasp} do the right thing for the nation!  A few of his compadres are standing with him, but most are being obnoxious, as republicans seem to enjoy being.  Burr is remaining firm, however, and it will be interesting to see if Junior’s papá invokes executive privilege on this one, too.

Just some little African-American kids …

You heard about the three children, ages 5, 4, and 1 year old who were shot by police in Hugo, Oklahoma, right?  What?  Sure you did … it was widely reported in … um … the local Fox affiliate KXII News, and … in Ebony magazine.  No, no … you won’t find it in the New York Times or The Washington Post … I mean, it was only three kids, after all.  Actually, in fairness, it was in the Post … 4 full sentences, a week after the incident, buried so deep that I did not see it.

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr …

From the pieces I can pick up, the two plainclothes officers, Billy Jenkins and Chad Allen, saw a man who they believed to be the suspect in a pizza shop burglary earlier in April.  They spotted the suspect, 21-year-old William Devaughn Smith, in his vehicle, preparing to back out of a parking spot at a grocery store, with four children in the vehicle.  They approached him, guns drawn, and later claimed that he attempted to run them over, although eyewitness accounts tell an altogether different story.  As he backed out, he did clip one of the officers with his vehicle, causing a minor injury.

kidsIt is unclear whether Smith realized the two men were police officers, since they were in plain clothes.  It is unclear whether the officers realized there were children in the vehicle. It is unclear and irrelevant why the children were with Smith at the time.  It is indisputably clear that three of the four children were shot.

The children’s mom, Olivia Hill:

“My 4-year-old daughter was shot in the head, and she has a bullet in her brain, and my 5-year-old has a skull fracture. My 1-year-old baby has gunshot wounds on her face. My 2-year-old wasn’t touched with any bullets.”

And now, I am done venting and can settle in to a bigger project I have started.  Have a great Friday, my friends!

Pete Buttigieg: The 7 Issues Guide

Today I bring you the 6th installment of TokyoSand’s excellent series, The 7 Issues Guide, helping us get to know a bit about the platforms of the democratic candidates running for president next year. Pete Buttigieg is on deck today, and he is one that I know very little about. Thank you, TokyoSand, and your diligent volunteers, for helping us get to know Mr. Buttigieg!


buttigieg Pete Buttigieg; Photo by Yuri Gripas, Reuters

The Democrats have a big field of candidates running for President in 2020. To briefly use a sports analogy, I see our candidates as the starting players on the Blue team, each bringing their own unique strengths to the table in a bid to take our country in a very different direction than the one we’re on today.

But as we well know from 2016, the media (and especially social media) gets fixated on non-substantial issues that take up all the oxygen. Plus, they don’t give the candidates the same treatment or the same amount of airtime.

In order to help voters get to know the Democratic candidates, I’ve enlisted the help of a team of terrific volunteers who have helped gather quotes and information about what the candidates have said or done in regards to the 7 issues that midterm voters identified…

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