For the Sake of History

Below are a small collection of links to articles, blog posts and videos that might be of interest a few days, weeks, months, and/or years from now. Not sure if any of them will amount to much, but at this moment in time they help explain some of what is going through my own head. I’ll add more as I find them over the next couple of weeks.

An historical look at what Donald Trump’s presidency might mean for humanity.

A melodramatic post-mortem for America.

Michael Moore on MSNBC’s Morning Joe discussing the why’s and how’s of Trump’s ascendancy.

The 2016 Exit Polls

Bernie Sanders shares his thoughts.

Theories on how Trump won.

Thoughts on what those who voted for Trump can expect from those who did not.

The “normalization” of Trump begins.

Why white women vote Republican.

An angry journalist on why myths and falsehoods believed by Democrats lead to Trump’s victory.

The rift between urban and suburban voters.

The End Is Nigh

I don’t recognize America anymore.

There is an old saying, wrongfully attributed as being a Chinese curse, that goes, “May you live in interesting times.” It’s meant to be read as ironic, the implication being that uninteresting times are peaceful and boring, while interesting times are full of turmoil and conflict. Well, no matter what you may think of the outcome of last night’s election, I think we can all agree that we’re now living in interesting times. And while I am personally horrified at the prospects that I see ahead of us here in America, there is no denying the fact that last night Donald Trump became the next president-elect of the United States of America.

I still can’t believe it.

I know a lot of you are thinking, “Get over it. Don’t be so melodramatic. The people have spoken and he’s the president, but this isn’t a dictatorship. There are checks and balances in place that will keep him from doing anything truly horrendous. And if he’s a bad president in four years we can put somebody else in office. It’s really not such a big deal.”

To you I respectfully say, “You’re wrong.”

Last night America elected into the highest office of the land the most hateful, racist, xenophobic, misogynistic, and spiteful candidate ever to run for president. A man whose presidential platform centered around the alienation, vilification, and deportation of a vast swath of people who he calls rapists, drug dealers, and murderers. This is a man who belittled, bullied, and insulted his way to the top of the Republican ticket using hate speech to incite enough anger in his followers that he could point them at whatever target he wished and they would willfully, gleefully attack. Mexicans, Muslims, African-Americans, women, the media, his political opponents, and even his supposed political allies. No one was spared. His entire candidacy is based on inciting fear and stoking the fires of anger towards minorities in the general population. And historically, people who depend on vilification of a subset of their citizenry in order to win public approval and lead their country have had to follow through with their threats and promises or face the wrath of the masses themselves. So, I fully expect the wall to be built, and for people of color to be shipped “back to their country” regardless of how many generations they’ve lived in America.

I hope I’m wrong, I really do. But these are the things that will keep me awake at night for the next four years.

The seething anger that many Americans, myself included, have felt towards the political leaders of this country over the last 20 or more years has led to this. For years and years now, so very many years, we the people have been forced to choose between two political parties that have forgotten who their constituents are, and who, once in office, conveniently forget the promises they made to get to that office. By doing that over and over again, time after time, year after year, election after election, the ruling class in Washington has made it clear that there is no longer such a thing as a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

And so, entered Donald Trump.

He realized before anyone else that there was just enough fear, anger, and hate to be found in the electorate, that if a charismatic leader could capture it, that person had a very good chance of winning the presidency. Here was somebody who saw the people that felt forgotten by their party. He heard them when others turned a deaf ear. He said the things they wanted to hear and promised to supply all the things they thought they wanted. But unlike everyone else seeking their votes, Donald Trump didn’t speak down to them. He spoke in a way they understood without using political correctness or Washington doublespeak.

And the people ate it up.

Now he’s the president. The man who praised the leadership styles of Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un, and Saddam Hussein will now get a chance to lead. The man who personally insulted his political rivals, vilified immigrants, ridiculed vets, mocked women, and endorsed violence against his political opponents will try to unify America. The man who couldn’t be bothered to prepare for presidential debates, who has bankrupted 4 businesses, who has lied to and cheated his business partners, bankers, and employees, will oversee the most complex and most powerful economic power in the world. The man who doesn’t know what nuclear triad means, who has suggested that North Korea and Japan should have nuclear weapons, and who believes that Crimea already belongs to Russia will now be commander in chief. Since World War II, every military engagement authorized by Congress has been under the leadership of a Republican president. The Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War, the war in Afghanistan, and the Iraq war were all initiated by Republican presidents. That even includes the Lebanon crisis of 1958 and the multinational force in Lebanon in 1983. Donald Trump has made it clear that he is willing to start fights with anyone who he feels has insulted him, and he has shown no ability to control his emotions whenever he has been attacked. And now he, and he alone, has access to the nuclear codes.

This scares me so much I can barely breathe.

This morning I woke up with no idea how I was going to face my children for the next four years. How do I teach them that bullying is bad when a bully has won the White House? How can I expect them to study and learn, to use facts and figures to back up their arguments, when making up facts, spouting lies, and glorifying unpreparedness can win you the presidency? How can I expect them to be nice, to respect the thoughts and feelings of others, when they can just point to our new president and say, “He doesn’t so why should I?”

I honestly don’t know what I’ll say, I just hope I won’t burst out in tears.

So, to those who now live with me in Trumpland, I urge you to be prepared. Be prepared to see more hate crimes and violence against minorities on your TVs, because our next president has endorsed and encouraged such behavior. Be prepared for more earthquakes in Oklahoma, a neutered EPA, and fewer and smaller protected national parks, because our next president has made it clear that conservation of the environment doesn’t matter. Be prepared for the rights of the LGBT community, minorities, and women to be set back dozens of years, because our next president has been consistent in his degradation of them throughout his candidacy. Be prepared for our international allies to distance themselves from us, and for the countries we currently vilify to become our new best friends, because our next president has shown no understanding of the intricacies of international politics. Be prepared for economic disparity greater than we’ve seen in recent memory, because our next president believes losing money or bankrupting a business is perfectly acceptable as long as his own finances remain safe. And America, be prepared for war, because our next president has made it very clear that his idea of diplomacy is to bully, insult, and frighten his opponents.

Be prepared, America. The monster we thought we defeated has stepped back out into the light, but this time, instead of fighting it we’ve greeted it with open arms.

CNN Interviews the Final Five Presidential Candidates

CNN is “interviewing” all five remaining candidates. Below are my thoughts on each interview.

First up is Kasich and his “I’m an adult” shtick. Honestly, that act doesn’t play very well when he’s the only one in the room. Contrasted against the other two remaining Republicans, he does look very much like a levelheaded, mature candidate, but on his own, he comes across as curmudgeonly and unhappy. He also sounds the most like an “establishment” player, which in this election cycle is almost guaranteed to alienate the bulk of republican voters.

Next up, Ted Cruz.

~~~

Wolf Blitzer is interviewing Ted Cruz and actually asking some pretty good questions containing quotes, facts and figures. Unfortunately, Ted Cruz is doing his best to ignore every question by turning his answers into an attack on Obama, regardless of how tenuous and ethereal that mental road map might be.

Ah, and now as we reach the halfway mark of Ted’s interview, he’s begun trying to attack Trump. And he’s explaining how he and Marco haven’t spoken at all about joining forces. Rrrriiiiight.

Next up, Donald Trump.

~~~

Donald Trump confuses me. He is being given several opportunities to denounce racism, hate speech, bigotry and xenophobia by Wolf Blitzer and yet… and yet he never takes the opportunity to do so. He skirts the issue every time. The closest he has come has been to say he doesn’t want or need the KKKs support. But he doesn’t denounce them as a group.

Now he’s admitted he would open a hotel in Havana, Cuba even though the standard republican stance is that ending the embargo is “bad”.

And now, OMG, NOW he’s not-very-subtly pointing out that if he doesn’t get the nomination in November there MIGHT be riots. I mean, he wouldn’t condone it and he’s totally against riots, but he doesn’t have control over the people… sooooo…

Oh boy. And now he’s defending his use of uncouth verbiage as “showbusiness talk” that doesn’t matter. And his feud with Megyn Kelly is because she attacks him and she “deserves” to be attacked back. This makes me wonder how he’ll treat ANYONE who disagrees with him should he ever become president. How will he deal with the media, journalists, bloggers, late night talk show hosts, comedians, foreign dignitaries, or even barbers in a local barber shop?

Oy…

Anywaste, next up, Hillary Clinton.

~~~

Hillary is way better in a one-on-one interview than she is at the debates. She appears more relaxed and personable, which is a marked difference from how I usually perceive her.

So far, Hillary’s answers to the questions she’s being asked have been actual answers without dodging or realigning them to standard stump speech talking points. But she has a major problem.

For example, she’s spoken in depth about her involvement with the talks between Palestine and Israel in 2010 and how she wants to work on a two-state solution and not fully back Israel only. It’s a nuanced stance that is important to understand, but I think that’s one of her real problems. She never seems to pick a side, or walk a straight path to an answer and the general public doesn’t see that as thoughtful and nuanced. They tend to see it as wishy-washy, or non-committal. And that’s a big deal.

Anderson Cooper just threw her a total softball question so she could explain what she meant when she said, “campaigning doesn’t come naturally” to her. Her answer was detailed and logical and humorous and absolutely rehearsed. It just helps illustrate how hard it is for her to relate to people in a warm and human way, which I believe is her biggest flaw as a candidate.

Next up, Bernie Sanders.

~~~

Bernie Sanders’ first set of questions from Anderson Cooper is all about foreign affairs, which is in my opinion Bernie’s weakest subject. If only because of Hillary Clinton’s obvious foreign policy credentials. Unsurprisingly, he can quote facts and figures toe-to-toe with Hillary Clinton and Anderson Cooper, and his answers have a lot more to do with his moral judgement and past foresight as a Senator, and not any actual policies of bills he’s pushed forward.

In many ways, Bernie’s foreign policy plans seem eerily similar to Trump. When distilled to their most basic parts, they both seem to be isolationists who want to retreat from America’s traditional role of being a sort of “World Police Force” and instead rebuild the nation. Admittedly, Bernie seems to have real plans (even if those plans major budgetary issues) and Donald Trump seems to want to bring back the years of white power, women’s suffrage and minority oppression back which…. ugh.

And in the end, Bernie manages to work in his stump speech talking points to remind everyone how he’s different than Hillary Clinton WITHOUT going into the shaky specifics of funding or implementing said plans.

~~~

And that’s the end of this installment of “When the World Went Mad in 2016”. Have a good night!

Florida Republican Debate

I missed the last two debates due to a very crazy work schedule, but I’m finally able to watch again so… much rejoicing?

This particular debate is important for two reasons;

  1. It’s the last debate before Florida’s Winner-Takes-All primary. With 99 delegates up for grabs, if Donald Trump wins Florida he is almost guaranteed to win the Republican nomination.
  2. If Cruz can make the case that he is the ONLY candidate with any chance to actually take on Trump then the anti-Trump Republican movement will be forced to hold their noses and side with Cruz. No matter how much they dislike Cruz, he may very well be their last, best, hope.

~~~

And this debate begins on a somber note with a moment of silence for First Lady Nancy Reagan, who passed a couple of days ago.

Also, uncharacteristically, Trump is wearing a red tie. I believe this is the first debate where he’s wearing his party’s color. And yes, it does make his face look even more orange.

~~~

Each candidate has had a question and so far not a single insult or jab. This might actually be the first substantive, policy-focused Republican debate of the entire campaign. Will it remain this civil? I’ll need to wait and see.

~~~

Wow, every Republican candidate other than Kasich wants to abolish common core, and wax poetic about how bad it is and how Obama has made it so bad, yet none of them seem to recall that it was GW Bush who sowed the seeds for common core by instituting No Child Left Behind.

~~~

Now on to Social Security. Rubio answered the question of how to address Social Security with a detailed explanation of his plan. Trump, on the other hand, addressed the question by saying he wouldn’t touch Social Security and he’d solve the problem by making America great again so we’d all be rich enough to not care about Social Security and then getting rid of fraud and abuse. When Cruz is asked the same question he pivots to accusing Trump of being just like Hillary Clinton and how he (Cruz) is the only one who is an actual Washington outsider willing to take on special interest lobbyists, and failing to mention that he has absolutely no friends.

~~~

Trump just confirmed that he believes Islam hates us. When asked if he truly believed 1.3 billion practitioners of Islam hated Americans he replied, “A lot of them do.”

I can’t help but see parallels between the way Trump is vilifying ALL practitioners of Islam and calling for Americans to do “something” about them, and the way certain other historic leaders demonized other sects in order to gain power and lead their people down the path of atrocity.

~~~

Rubio, Cruz and Kasich all agree that there cannot be peace between Israel and Palestine. They each give their reasons, in well spoken, thought provoking ways. Trump on the other hand wants to try to broker a deal between the two because he’s the “best negotiator” and he’d “make the best deal”.

~~~

A thought; since this has been the most civil Republican debate of the entire race so far, with each candidate actually answering questions and explaining their plans for running the country, will Trump’s more sedate performance help or hurt him?

~~~

Okay, so far in this debate, Cruz, Rubio and Kasich have all laid out their ideas, ideals and plans in detail while Trump has, as far as I can tell, has only spoken in broad strokes without detail or depth. Not sure which method will ultimately prevail, but it is interesting to note that in a more civil debate like this one it appears to be FAR more noticeable when a candidate never actually answers a question.

~~~

When asked point blank if they would acknowledge climate change and pass laws to help curb its effects, Marco Rubio claimed no laws will help solve the problem and refused to acknowledge that man is contributing to global climate change. Kasich agrees humans contribute, but argues about how much, and then throws every renewable energy buzzword he can at the moderator until his time is up. No one bothers to ask Cruz or Trump what they think.

~~~

The moderator, Jake Tapper, has just confronted Trump by quoting his own words at him about the violence occurring at his rallies. Trump, in a typical move, rambles on without answering the actual question and winds up praising policemen and women which get a bit of confused applause.

~~~

Okay, time for closing remarks.

Trump: People like me. People love me. Many, many people. Fabulous people, who all love me. Because I’m just that important. So embrace these people who love me and unify with them and vote for me or I’ll swallow your soul.

Rubio: You know I have no chance, [sob] they know I have no chance, [whimper] and I know I have no chance [keening noise]. But please, for the love of all that’s holy, let me win my home state of Florida so I can at least go out with my head held high. Oh lord, why hast thou forsaken me?!

Cruz: I’m crazy but I can keep it together long enough to be president if the voices let me. Vote for me, my medication is wearing off.

Kasich: I’ve been an adult this entire campaign so please vote for me or you’ll wind up with one of these schmucks. Hey! Look at me, I’ve got big-boy pants!

Texas Republican Debate

Another Republican Debate tonight. I know you’re all as excited as I am, so grab your favorite snack, pump up the volume and enjoy the show!

Or, you could enrich your life by doing practically ANYTHING else.

OMG, When I decided to watch every debate this election cycle, I really had no idea there would be so dang MANY of these things.

~~~

Okay, Rubio is already taking some shots at Trump and Trump has gone full bulldog. I cannot believe people see Trump as presidential in any way. He just told Rubio to “be quiet for a minute.” while Rubio was speaking.

And now Cruz is attacking Trump. And Trump just said, “You don’t have a single endorsement.

You have no friends and you work with these people.” OMG, it’s going to be a bloodbath tonight.

~~~

And now it’s time for the Great Mexican Wall. The president of Mexico said they’d never pay for the, and I’m quoting here, effing wall, and Trumps response is typical, “The wall just got ten feet higher.

~~~

Shouting match between Rubio and Trump. Rubio is getting in some good zingers, but I’m not sure his delivery is helping. He consistently looks surprised that he got to say something clever.

~~~

Wow, compared to everyone else, Kasich still sounds like the adult on the stage. He sounds almost rational.

Aaaannd Ben Carson is still on the stage, but forgot to listen to what was going on and was surprised when he got asked a question. He actually needed to ask for it to be repeated. Oh, Ben. You need to go home and take a nap.

~~~

Moving on from immigration portion of the debate and into SCOTUS. Cruz is laying it on thick about how conservative the judges he nominates would be. And then Trump weighs in, mentioning how Cruz supported Judge Roberts who was “terrible for republicans” and demands an apology from Cruz about some slight Cruz made about Trumps sister. And now They’re shouting at each other.

And here comes Rubio. Oh boy, the three of these guys just can’t answer a question without getting a dig in on an opponent. And then the opponent gets to respond, and then the first guy can respond, and so on, and so on until they’re just shouting over each other or making angry noises as they stare death at the moderators.

~~~

While discussing how he would choose a nominee to replace a judge, Ben Carson just used the phrase “I would look at the entire fruit salad of their life.” This is comedy GOLD.

~~~

Does anyone else wonder if it’s in any way telling that Donald Trump seems to always wear a blue tie? Isn’t blue a Democratic color? Hmmmm…

~~~

Okay, Rubio has opened up a can of Whoopass on Trump and for the first time, Trump seems to have no answer at the ready. Rubio just called Trump out, asking him for details on his proposed healthcare plan, and Trump had no real response. And then… the audience booed Trump. Could this be a turning point for Rubio?

~~~

Now, during the Healthcare portion of tonight’s debate, Cruz is truly attacking Trump on his healthcare plan and when Trump tried to dodge Rubio came in out of nowhere to help continue the attack. I guess everyone finally got the message they should go after the leader if they actually want to win.

~~~

Interesting that both Cruz and Rubio have finally decided to attack Trump by asking for specifics to his plans. And no matter what Trump’s response is, they point out that he still hasn’t given any details or real specifics to ANY of his proposals or plans.

~~~

And Trump just insulted one of the moderators who dared to ask him to release his tax returns by claiming his radio show had horrible ratings and no one listened to it anyway.

~~~

After the commercial break it’s time for foreign policy.

Trump just said he would try to stay neutral and won’t take sides between Israel and Palestine, but he’s a big supporter of Israel. So… what?

And now everyone else on stage (except Carson, who is probably sleeping) is frothing at the mouth declaring their strong support for Israel and calling into question Trump’s abilities to lead if he won’t stand with “America’s strongest democratic ally in the Middle East.” Trump does not look happy.

~~~

And Carson is getting his moment in the sun. And I’m already bored. NEXT!

~~~

It seems a little odd to me that all the people on the stage are talking about how much they love Israel and how they would always stand with them, yet many of their supporters openly profess their hatred for Jews. Things that make you go hmmmmmm…

~~~

It appears that Cruz is going after Trump’s money, pointing out how much Trump has donated and/or given to Democratic people and causes. Rubio is attacking Trump on his policies and plans, pointing out that there ARE none. So far, I think it might be getting under Trump’s skin.

~~~

And now they’re back to talking about the Great Wall, asking Trump why he’s willing to build a wall for Mexico, but not Canada. He dodges and weaves by saying it’s too big and not important, but Mexico is evil so… BUILD THAT WALL!

~~~

Wow, Puerto Rico gets a shoutout with Rubio getting a question about its economy and appeal to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Nice!

~~~

I wonder why there haven’t been any reaction shots of former President George H. W. Bush, who is in attendance this evening. I bet he and Barbara have already soiled their Depends four times while watching this Festival of Hate.

~~~

Closing remarks!

Ben Carson: Look, my hands have saved lives. Vote for me, I have hands!

John Kasich: I’m special and still the grownuppiest of these idiots. Vote for me, Special K!

Marco Rubio: I should be your nominee because I am [fill in the blank] and I will [fill in the blank] for [fill in the blank]. Vote for me or else I’ll sweat to death from nervousness.

Ted Cruz: I have friends and I’m not a dirtbag. I promise. Now please, someone like me?

Donald Trump: I’m not a politician, so of course I’ll make a terrific politician. You can make America great again by hiring the least qualified person to be the most powerful man in the country. Trump SMASH!

South Carolina Democratic Town Hall

Once again, I’m watching the latest Democratic Town Hall with Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, while also keeping an eye out on the Republican Caucuses in Nevada. I’m not sure there will be anything to really report on, or even summarize, when the night’s over, but it won’t be from lack of watching.

One thing I do want to note is something I’ve noticed over the last few days in regards to everyone’s favorite Oompa Loompa, Donald Trump. I have noticed a marked change in his rhetoric lately that I find quite telling about his future political plans. Although he is still Trump, and he is still making… flamboyant statements, he’s become a bit less confrontational during interviews. And he doesn’t seem to be attacking people as vehemently as he has even just last week. He seems to be trying to pivot and appeal to more than his base, but I’m not too sure it’s going to work. Now, since he first announced his candidacy, I’ve maintained that he had a ceiling of about 30% nationally. And in nearly every nationwide poll, it seems he hits that ceiling to a tee.With all the other candidates that have dropped out, you would think the front runner would pick up some percentage of those votes, yet it doesn’t appear that Trump has, and that’s telling. Now, we’ll see what happens tonight, since this is the first GOP contest where there is clearly only three real contestants left. Maybe, this time for the first time, Trump will do better than his polls suggest, but I don’t think so. Currently, his average on RealClearPolitics stands at around 37% of the vote in Nevada and I think he’ll underperform. If he does underperform, that means that as the field of candidates shrinks Trump is losing votes to the other candidates, instead of gaining votes. Yes, he’s still the obvious GOP leader and yes, if anyone other than Trump was winning by such wide margins they would have probably been anointed the GOP nominee. However, if he really does have a ceiling, if he really cannot get more than 30% of the nationwide GOP vote, then I don’t think he can win the Republican nomination, let alone the presidency.

Democratic Nevada Caucus

So, it’s now predicted that Hillary Clinton will win the Nevada caucuses by around 4%. However, it needs to be pointed out that according to all the polls prior to 2 weeks ago, she was supposed to win by 20%. Yet, since she managed to win Nevada by that narrow 4% margin, the pundits are claiming she is a shoe in for the Democratic nomination, which is odd, since they claimed the same thing in 2008 when she managed to beat Obama and win Nevada by 10% (which is 6% more than the 4%). We all know how well that went for President Hillary… Oh, right.

Now, once again, I want to make it clear that I haven’t made up my mind on who I’d vote for in November. And even if I had a candidate I liked more than any of the others, since I’m not affiliated with any party (not even Independent) I won’t caucus or vote in a primary. So nothing matters to me until everything shakes out and we have actual nominees to research and decide upon. However, with all that said, it’s not Hillary who I’m confused about today. I think she ran a good campaign in Nevada and her victory speech was far more open and inclusive of the American people. It was a whole lot less about HER and how she would do things for people, and more about how everyone working together can make a change.

What has me scratching my head are the pundits and commentators reporting Hillary’s win.

They’re all acting as if Hillary has no history of losing steam to a rising star with a groundswell of support from young and disenfranchised voters. It’s happened before and, when you look at the numbers, it appears to be happening again. Sanders was supposed to lose big in Nevada, this was supposed to be Hillary’s “Firewall”. But winning by only 4% when she was supposed to win by over 20% may be enough of a “win” for Sanders to keep his momentum going into Super Tuesday.

Whatever the case, I can’t imagine the Democratic race ending anytime soon.

GeekMan’s South Carolina Republican Primary Thoughts

Tonight is yet another Presidential primary debate, this time the South Carolina Republican debate. And once again, I’ll be live blogging my thoughts and reactions the entire time. What makes this debate so interesting is two important newsworthy events. First; the group of candidates has narrowed considerably with only six (SIX!) candidates left standing after the New Hampshire caucuses. Businessman Donald Trump, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, former neurosurgeon Ben Carson, and Ohio Governor John Kasich. Of these six, both Kasich and Carson will need to do well in the South Carolina primary, or their campaign’s will probably implode.

The second newsworthy event just happened a few hours ago when it was announced that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died. He was a very conservative judge, and I think everyone on that stage will have an opinion on who should be the one to appoint the next Supreme Court Justice, whether that should be the current President, or whoever the next President will be.

So, let’s get this party started!

~~~

I guess they learned their lesson from the last debate. They called everyone to the stage first and THEN announced their names. Well, at least this way Carson won’t miss his walk-on cue.

~~~

I wonder if Trump would have gotten the applause he just received for his call to, “Delay, delay, delay.” any Supreme Court Justice Obama might nominate if the Republican audience in attendance were willing to believe that Clinton or Sanders was going to win the Presidency in November.

~~~

Rubio is coming out strong tonight. No 30 second, prepared talking points for him this time.

~~~

Wow, Trump and Bush are really starting to get on each other”s nerves. Their back and forth on foreign policy, specifically dealing with ISIS and Putin, is so nasty it’s almost embarrassing to the entire Republican party.

~~~

Trump keeps getting boo’ed for nearly everything he says. And now there are actual insults flying between Bush and Trump over family members and 9/11, of all things. And then Trump insults G.W. Bush during a GOP debate which allows everyone else on stage to declare how much they love G.W. for keeping them safe after 9/11. Which, of course, leads to a Trump diatribe on how G.W. lied to America. OMG, Trump is almost literally chewing the scenery as he turns a brighter shade of orange while shouting at the world about how horrible G.W. was. And every other candidate is having a hard time containing their laughter.

~~~

I just want to take a moment to give a shout out to the moderators, they’re not letting the candidates get away with avoiding the questions.

~~~

Cruz just proposed a flat tax and Rubio is proposing that families should be able to get the same tax write offs as corporations. Both are interesting, and not traditionally Republican, ideas.

~~~

Now Bush is attacking Kasich for no reason I can discern. I’m beginning to believe both Bush AND Trump are a little angry and slightly unhinged this evening, although at least Bush has enough self control to avoid chewing the scenery as he attacks.

~~~

Rubio is really nailing his debate performance tonight. Of course, after his last performance I’m sure he practiced like heck so he wouldn’t repeat that debacle.

~~~

And now, just to keep things interesting, Cruz and Rubio are going after each other over immigration. OMG, Rubio just questioned Cruz’s ability to speak Spanish and Cruz just answered in Spanish.

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On a side note, the crowd is too distracting during this debate. CBS is not doing a good job of crowd control and it’s making this debate difficult to follow.

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As of right now, Kasich is certainly coming across as the most moderate, and sanest, of the candidates. He’s the only adult on a stage of crazy children.

~~~

Another commercial break and I have a few thoughts. One; Trump is not doing well at all. He appears to be on the verge of a complete meltdown on the stage and I think Jeb is doing his best to push Trump over the edge. Two; Right now I feel that Rubio, Cruz and Bush are doing exceptionally well, Kasich is acting the most “adult”, but I’m not sure if that’s enough to help him gain voters. Trump is having a meltdown, and Carson… why is he still on the stage?

~~~

Here we go! Trump attacks Cruz, calling him the biggest liar on the stage and a nasty guy. When Cruz tries to speak, Trump shouts over him. The moderators can’t get a handle on this train wreck and Trump is about to cross over from Presidential candidate to comic book villain. If he whips out a mask and cape, I’m going to name him The Trumpeteer.

~~~

Trumps face has so orange that it’s begun to blend in with the backdrop behind the stage, like an angry, sunburned chameleon.

~~~

Even though this debate is basically the Trump/Bush show, I think Rubio, Cruz and Bush are doing the best. Rubio isn’t getting much airtime, but he’s really doing well with what he is getting. Cruz is also having a great night whenever he has a chance to speak. And Bush is deflecting every Trump attack and hitting back with pointed remarks. Of course, I’m sure Trump will find a way to spin his horrendous performance into gold, but right now he seems to be completely unhinged.

~~~

Closing remarks (as I hear them):

Kasich – I’m an adult! Listen to me as I adult. Guys, what’s with all the hate? Can’t we all just get along?

Carson – Why am I on this stage? Maybe I should quote Stalin… yeah. That’s a good idea.

Bush – I’ll be the best President because I know what to do when nature strikes. We had rain in Florida when I was Governor, so… yeah. Vote Jeb!

Rubio – Today in America wrong is right, right is wrong and if you don’t vote for me then there could very well be human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria! See? I’m not a robot!

Cruz – I’ll be the best President because I don’t have anything else to do since I don’t have any friends and my family doesn’t like me. Wait, did I say that out loud?

Trump – Trump winner! These guys losers. Make great! Trump SMASH!

~~~

Okay, overall this was the most INSANE Presidential debate I’ve ever seen. It was a verbal wrestling match with nearly every candidate jumping into the ring almost without provocation. Trump was totally bonkers, attacking his fellow candidates left and right, failing to answer questions and, when asked for more detail on his policies, completely dodging the questions by attacking someone else. Now, Trump’s base has been loyal throughout his campaign so I’m not sure his performance tonight will actually hurt him, but I’m pretty confident it won’t help him gain any new votes. Cruz had a strong night, deflecting every attack aimed at him while sticking to his policy talking points. His performance may have helped gain a few more voters. Rubio, who needed a great performance in order to wash off the stink of his last horrendous Marcobot debate debacle, was at his best. He not only answered questions in specific detail, he even managed to get in a few good zingers. Bush was perhaps the most improved of the debate. He stood up to Trump and actually managed to get under Trump’s skin so deeply this evening that I think he was the main reason Trump went off the rails. More impressively, he also managed to answer questions in detail and call the other candidates policies into question at the same time. A very polished and improved performance from Bush. Kasich is still the most moderate of the Republican candidates during an election season where everyone seems to be leaning further and further to the right. I think he did a good job of answering questions, but his constant pleas for civility during the debate might not help him gain votes when the constituency seems to want a bloodbath. Lastly, there’s Carson. His performance was, once again, forgettable. I’m fairly certain he’ll be the next to drop out of the race, most likely after the South Carolina primary when he comes in dead last.

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And that ends my live blog of the South Carolina Republican Primary debate. If you enjoyed reading it, please leave me a comment below!

GeekMan’s Milwaukee Democratic Primary Thoughts

Tonight I’ll be reviving this dusty blog the only way I know how; by live-blogging the Milwaukee Democratic Presidential Primary Debate. I’ve been actively live-posting my thoughts on Facebook of each of the previous Presidential debates, both Democratic and Republican, and I think my FB posts have gotten large enough to warrant their own place on the web, instead of being buried and forgotten on FB.

One thing to note; unlike most live blogs, this one will not run bottom up. I’m keeping all my thoughts contained within a single post so everything will flow from oldest post (this one) at the top, to the last post on the bottom. This way you, the reader, can read everything in order without having to scroll up to read my thoughts in order. So, if you’re reading along while the debate is progressing and you’ve reached the end of the page, hit the refresh button on your browser because I’ve most likely made another post.

And now, without further ado, I give you GeekMan’s Primary Thoughts.

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And we’re off. Opening statements seem to be their standard talking points. Bernie is hitting all of his standard checklist items of wanting a revolution where everyone comes together to make a change from the bottom up. And even though he isn’t chewing the scenery during his delivery this time, you can feel how hard it is for him to keep it under control. Hillary is still talking about how she’s going to do things for people and how she’s going to make progress, but she never seems to include all the voters in her plans.

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Shallow observation time.

Someone managed to comb Bernie’s hair, but he hasn’t been able to get control of his flailing hands.
Clinton looks very poised, but I’m wondering how the choice was made to wear the gold, mandarin-collard jacket.

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First question leads directly to health care, one of the pretty clear differences between the two candidates. They both want the same thing, but Bernie wants to start a war with drug companies and politicians to get universal health care while Hillary wants to continue making incremental changes to ObamaCare until we reach 100% coverage.

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So far, three questions in, and Hillary is beginning to get a little specific with her plans, talking about the costs and how she’s hoping to find the money. Bernie is still sticking to broad strokes and little to no details on how he’ll get the money to accomplish his goals.

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Racism seems to be a topic where both candidates want the same goals with little real difference in how they want to reach those goals.

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Immigration question, specifically deportation. Bernie stands tall and promises no more deportations under a Sanders Presidency and that, should Congress disagree, he’d use Executive Orders to force immigration reform. Clinton doesn’t go as far as saying she’d use Executive Orders, but she does promise to provide a path to citizenship for the 11 to 12 million undocumented people living in America.

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A little heated exchange on Social Security. Not on the ultimate goal, where they both seem to agree. But with the method of making that happen and the plans they’ve put forth… well, let’s just say Bernie doesn’t believe Hillary has a plan at all.

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Campaign Finance question gets both candidates fired up as they hit their standard talking points on how evil Wall Street is and how tough they’d be on big banks. Once again, Bernie brought up the idea that having a superpac and getting large donations from major corporations might leave a candidate beholden to their donors once elected. Hillary shot back with her tried and true fact about how Obama was the recipient of the largest superpac in Democratic history when he ran for President, and how it didn’t stop him from doing what needed to be done when facing the great recession.

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And we’re at the halfway mark. Time for a commercial break!

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Foreign Policy:
Hillary’s strongest category, thanks to her four years as Secretary of State. Bernie is weak here, but getting better and is actually making a few good points this time, which I chalk up to good coaching. But no matter how you slice it, Hillary is much stronger than Bernie in this category and it shows.

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The night’s biggest tussle comes right before closing arguments when Hillary implies that Bernie is too critical of Obama to be the Democratic nominee and Bernie fires back that disagreement isn’t the same as criticism.

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Closing arguments:
Back to standard rhetoric and talking points for both candidates. Boring.

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And we’re done. Something I noticed during this debate is that Hillary is really tying herself to Obama in every way she can. For good or ill, she wants to be seen as the heir apparent to the Obama presidency. And Bernie used most of his debate time to try to appeal to minority voters, talking about incarceration rates, education reform, etc.

So, when all’s said and done, I’m not sure any minds will be changed by this debate. Overall, the tone of the candidates answers leads me to believe that they’re beginning to broaden their rhetoric to appeal to more than their base supporters. In my opinion, Hillary did a little better than Bernie tonight, thanks to her obvious knowledge of local issues, like name dropping the Wisconsin Governor, mentioning Unions, recalling Flint, etc.. Bernie relied a lot more on his standard talking points and rarely added any new data to his well-established talking points, which could be problematic as people get a little weary of hearing the same thing at every debate.

Good Night!

New Eyes

I think it’s time for a new monitor.

I have a pretty sweet computer setup, with a monster tower and three monitors, but lately there’s been a bit of a problem. You see, I make a living doing high-end graphics and I also have a pretty serious photography hobby, both of which demand displays that can give me the best images and most true-to-life color reproduction as possible. As I said before, I have three monitors. On the left is my newest monitor, a two-year-old Asus VE278Q. On the right is a ten-year-old Acer AL1916w. And in the center, my main monitor, is the once-awesome, eight-year-old Planar PX2611W.

And it’s the Planar that needs to go.

Colors are shifting, brightness is uneven, fast moving objects like the mouse pointer blur and smear on the screen, and there’s a wavy pattern on the right side that is constantly annoying me while I’m working on graphics and photos. Now, the thing still works, so I don’t want to just throw it away, but it’s obviously not going to continue being my main monitor. All of which is why I think I’ll move the Planar to the right on my desk, which will mean my Acer will move to the donation pile. This will leave me just enough room for a brand new monitor, and I think I’ve found just the baby for me.

ASUS_PA279QThe ASUS PA279Q is a 27 inch, 2560×1440, WQHD, AH-IPS display specifically designed for photo editing and graphic design work. It’s color reproduction ability is amazing. The rated color accuracy is 99% Adobe RGB, 100% sRGB, and 120% NTSC, all of which basically means this monster can show nearly every color that’s possible for current-tech monitors to display. It tilts, swivels and telescopes and has six built-in USB 3.0 ports and a 9-in-1 card reader. And the reviews are universally positive.

Oh, mamma. Sooooo sexy.

So, having done my due diligence by reading reviews, checking expert opinions and comparison shopping, I am pulling the trigger and buying this puppy tonight. By Tuesday I should have it in my hot and sweaty hands and by Tuesday evening it should be all set up and ready to go. Sometime in the next couple of weeks I’ll write up a little review of both the monitor and the X-Rite ColorMunki Display that I’m also buying so I can properly calibrate my monitors. And maybe, if I’m really feeling my cheery-oats, I’ll do a video review as well.

But I wouldn’t hold my breath for that.