Sunday, September 25, 2016

Pre Debate Thoughts As We Enter the Final Stretch

Well, we're here.  Tomorrow marks the first debate of the Presidential election between Republican candidate Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.  While some people will watch to allegedly determine who to vote for (though I wonder if anyone is really undecided at this rate) others will look for other things to do and wait for the news coverage in order to save their sanity.  Since this hasn't been a normal Presidential campaign it's a little more difficult to determine how the race will turn out.  However, I have been meaning to comment on the race and now seems to be as good of a time as any.

First, how the hell did this get to be a virtual dead heat?  By any conventional wisdom Clinton should've crushed Trump like a bug by now (hell, his primary opponents should've done it early in the primary race just by pointing out his bankruptcies alone).  Yet., for some reason Trump has been given such a benefit of the doubt that most candidates would never get. 

It didn't help that Sec. of State Clinton kept the press at arms length, giving no press conferences between early 2016 and September of this year.  While part of this may have been rooted in letting Trump have enough rope to hang himself, it also left more questions to be raised than was necessary.  Add to this Clinton's post convention move to pick up disillusioned Republicans rather than strengthen any connection with her party's actual base(i.e: progressives and leftists that she actually needs the support of to win in November) and in some ways it seems the wounds are self inflicted. 

This doesn't even take into account the health debacle that seems to have Clinton stumble in the face of the right wing media making it a talking point.  This, despite the fact that if she didn't go to the 9-11 Memorial then the Republicans would've had a field day and crucified her for that - making it a no win situation regardless. 

While this may have led to a situation where a comfortable lead for Hillary Clinton dwindled down to a virtual dead heat it isn't completely hopeless for her.  Anything can happen in the debates which makes them both a game changer that didn't have to be as well as a media spectacle that has the pundits patting themselves on the back rather than do their jobs.

This leads us to the other side - and Donald Trump.  As much as many of us don't want to admit there's a chance he could win in November.  The same man who dilly-dallied when asked if he'd disavow the support of David Duke has somehow been made by the media into someone mainstream America views as a reasonable candidate.  Never mind Trump's history of racially charged rhetoric or his tendency to incite violence at his rallies, for some reason the media has decided to treat him with a lower standard, even saying he sounds Presidential if he avoids saying comething blatantly racist rather than hold him to the same standard as his opposition (or, god forbid, if the media treated Trump the way they treated Bernie Sanders during his run in the primary).  By continuing to allow Donald Trump to coast on this curve they have (hopefully inadvertently) created a candidate that has allowed variations of white supremacy to become normalized and not followed up on questions when he has said he'd basically bring back discrimination (oops, I mean restore "religious liberty", which would allow the conservative christians in his base to discriminate so it's basically the same thing). 

Add to this reports that the debate moderators are not going to face check Trump and it appears that it will be a festival of softballs, with the most dangerous of the two being treated as if he's in a preschool activities day and gets a ribbon for participating. 

So what will happen at the debates?  That is difficult to say since we're not in the thick of it yet.  However, what we do know is that Hillary Clinton has to be prepared to face whatever face Trump chooses to show.  Meanwhile, while many reports have claimed that Donald Drumpf, I mean Trump has avoided typical debate prep other people fear that the Donald will be given softball questions and catered to as if he's special, avoiding the numerous bankruptcies and other skeletons in his many closets that need to be aired out.  Hopefully this doesn't happen but in a situation where a media quest for ratings has allowed a candidate off the hook regardless of his campaigns numerous re-tweets of white supremacist memes (even after he supposedly disavowed it.  Most recently within a day of crying victim of Hillary Clinton calling half of Trump's followers a "basket of deplorables") or any of his other hateful statements. 

As I said earlier, we';re less than 24 hours from seeing how the first debate plays out.  While there may be a chance that some actual journalism occurs, it's also safe to assume that the media will prefer kissing ass to doing their jobs out of fear of not getting invited to the cocktail parties of whoever wins.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

State Level Primary Blah Blah Blah

Today is the state primary election here in Missouri. Like most places who have either had their state primaries or face one shortly, we've had our share of negative ads and robocalls that make people want to turn off their landline and just stream movies until the general election.  While I've been busy house sitting this past week I've had one thougth cross my mind.

Am I the one person out there sick of hearing a candidate blather on about their faith and "religious liberty?"

It seems every candidate on one party is trying to play like their the best and most faithful person out there.  Ads show them praying with their families either just before or just after talking about being pro forced childbirth (or as they call it - "pro life") and brag about their NRA rating.  It almost seems as if they forgot about the First Amendment and the concept of separation of church and state.  Add to it a concept of "religious liberty" which seems to allow business owners of one type of Christianity (which is on the far right end of the religion) to deny services to employees (i.e.: contraception coverage) or allow them to legally discriminate against LGBTQ people and it seems that the sincere faith of a lot of people is being twisted and weaponized into something between a gimmick for votes and a subtle projection of battle against those on the other side. 

It's especially bothersome during an election since this shouldn't be an issue at all.  However, it has become one and how it's being played makes me wonder if t=candidates who do this realize their dog whistles can come back to haunt them.  Especially when we all know damn well that an agnostic or atheist candidate for any office could never state in an ad that he or she didn't care about religion and wanted to focus on the job without facing a shitload of blowback from the same people who use "religious liberty" as a weapon against others. 

After today some of the ads will subside and others will pop up against the other side.  Either way, many people will be sick of this shit by the time the general election rolls around. 

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have shit to do.

Election Update - DRUMPF, I mean TRUMP vs CLINTON or Now We Know (And Probably Wish We Didn't)....

Hey!  Sorry for the time away for posting here.  A lot has been on my mind and I had to both deal with that and take a step away from this to catch my breath and take everything in.  Now back to the blog post.

Yep.  Election 2016 is in the final stretch.  The conventions have been held and we know who's running for President for real in November.  And the results are...Donald Drumpf, I mean Trump for the Republicans and Hillary Clinton for the Democrats.  Admittedly it's not the most inspiring selection.  Both candidates have had record unfavorable ratings in polls and have had campaigns mired in controversy.   While a lot of people have made their minds up normal opinion says the rest of the run is for the undecideds to ponder and make up their minds. 

However, this hasn't been a normal election cycle and what would be unthinkable previously appears to be on the way to becoming the new normal. Because of this it can be safe to assume that most things are up for grabs.  That doesn't mean that the pundits will always be wrong but it does mean to take them with a grain of salt. 

Because of this let's briefly look at the Presidential candidates and what their uphill battles are.  Let's start with Hillary Clinton, a candidate many people think they know form her time as first lady back in the 90s to former President Bill Clinton.The Wikileaks release of documents and e-mails suggesting the DNC's favoritism towards her and implying attacks on her main rival (up to the Convention) Sen. Bernie Sanders wasn't exactly news (many Sanders supporters merely had their suspicions confirmed.  I'll do a separate post on the angry Bernie supporters). However, it did cast a shadow at the beginning of the Democratic convention that made things harder to get on track.  Also, her pick of former VA Gov. Tim Kaine (a man Daily Show host Trevor Noah called a :real life version of every black person's impersonation of a white guy") drew some eyebrows due to his moderate stance on some issues (and his personal stance on abortion versus his voting record - the latter of which was hella better in the Senate than when he was Governor).  Add to this the post convention polls for the Republicans (who held theirs the week before) and there was some concern raised amongs more progressive factions of the Party and the media.  However, Clinton and company did manage to get some of their shit together even amidst the angry Sanders supporters and the protests,  that says a lot more for her than it does for her rival.

With that in mind, let's look at Donald Trump and the fear fest his party called a convention a couple weeks back.  It's clear that Drumpf, I mean Trump's campaign comes with a lot of baggage.  It says a lot when the two living former Republican presidents (George W. Bush (a/k/a Dubya, Bush 43) and his father George H.W. Bush (Bush 41) decide to skip the convention - as did a lot of Republican politicians.  Ladle over the top the sense of terror and fear in the Donald's speech that actually left some in the press afraid for the country and the right wing seems to have made a shit sundae of sorts that may appeal to the Trump devotees but leaves many cold and worried. 

Then there's polling that suggests that a slight majority of each candidates likely voters are doing it to vote against the other person.  How that plays in the next few months is anybody's guess though certain actions that I'll post in another post could cause some to switch sides.   While the pundits may try to normalize the Donald, his own rhetoric and actions may bite him in the ass.

So what's ahead.  That';s hard to say.  Recent events (and a Democratic Convention that ended up looking relatively sane in comparison to the other side) could make things better on that side as November nears.  However, as I said earlier, this isn't a normal election cycle and as the last 14 or so months points out - anything can be up for grabs.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Sorry for the delay...Back to the Front

Hey!  Sorry for being a little incommunicado when it comes to the blog.  Between searching for a second job, trying to get the latest issue done and just trying to keep my wits about me my head was elsewhere.  Now it's time to get back to the grind.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Local Music Related News Flash....

We at TTWN just fond out that Como Girls Rock co-founder Luci Cook is undergoing her third heart transplant today (it might be going on as I type this).  Keeping her in our thoughts as she undergoes this procedure.  Here's hoping that everything goes well and for a quick recovery.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Little Debate That Wasn't

In the midst of the American primary race it can appear that people have forgotten that we have to get along after the conventions and elections.  However, while things can get heated sometimes it can be helpful to enjoy the little delights that happen to us. Or, in this case the little delight that didn't happen.

I'm talking about the press ballyhoo over whether Donald Trump would debate Bernie Sanders. a week or so back  Started from an off the cuff comment on the Jimmy Kimmel show where ztrump said he'd "love to debate Bernie," it' quickly grew steam when Bernie went ahead and took him up on it.

Almost instantly Clinton supporters and the mainstream media acted as if the sky was falling.  Many claimed this would only hurt Hillary Clinton and help Drumpf.  Some sources suggested that the Donlad was only joking.  Almost immediately Trump backed out, then claimed he'd do it if Sanders raised $10 million dollars for a "woman's health charity."  Then, when online news network The Young Turks offered $1 million and a couple of tech firms offered up $20 million in total, Donald Trump backed out claiming it wasn't right to debate the "second place finisher."

Does anyone else think Hillary Clinton should view this as the best primary election gift ever short of Trump being endorsed by Martin Shkreli(which happened shortly after this broke)?

Think about it - for a man like the Donlad who claims to never back down and tells it like it is this opens the door for a shitload of campaign ads and debate comments.  Some in the media think Trump would gain ammunition if he debated Bernie.  The mainstream media and many average people differ wildly on this.  A lot of people I know pretty much agree that if Donald trump chickened out of facing Bernie Sanders, how the hell will he be able to face Putin.  If former Senator and Secretary of State Clinton is as politically astute as her supporters claim she is she should already have this ready to use for ammo - and ready to pounce fifty ways to Sunday with it whenever and whereever necessary.

I know in the big picture this is only a small part.  However, it should put a smile on the face of anyone who wanted proof that the man his followers claim will always fight will back away when facing a smarter opponent. 

That's it for now.  Back to the daily grind.

2016 Primary Race - The Final Stretch is Here

Okay, so it's summer and we're at the first Monday in June.  Normally that would be that but it's June of an election year which means we're in the final stretch of primary season.  Since Donald Drumpf, I mean Trump has gained the delegates for the Republican presidential nomination and only has the convention to deal with let's focus on the Democrats this time around.

Over the weekend Hillary Clinton won the primaries in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.  If you weren't aware of those primaries you probably aren't alone as the media has done very little coverage of them in comparison to what's ahead.   While both primaries are in colonies rather than states they still provide some delegates.

The big deal is on Tuesday June 7, 2016 (or today).  Six states will be holding their primary elections (North Dakota, New Jersey, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, and California).  While all have some importance this time around, the media eye is on California and, to a lesser extent, New Jersey.  So far it appears that Hillary Clinton is leading in NJ and is neck and neck with Sanders in California. 

What will happen today?  The AP has already called Clinton the presumptive nominee using both pledged and superdelegate support.  However,  given that superdelegates can change who they support up until the Convention next month, it isn't that simple.  Some Sanders supporters consider this to be a ploy to keep them from voting today in California (especially important given it's large delegate count).  While I'm not totally convinced of that I can see where the corporate owned media would throw its allegedly neutral hand in the ring to frame it as such.

As anyone who read my posts on the primary race can attest I have been hesitant to say who will win.  While it does appear likely that Hillary Clinton may get the nomination for the Democrats (especially since we're nearing the point where the superdelegates actually have a role in the process) many predictions so far seem to be from a perspective of normal times.  And as the success of Donald Drumpf has shown us, this election year is not normal times.  Maybe Bernie Sanders will pull off an upset in Cali...though such a feat will require a massive voter turnout in his favor.  As of now I really don't know what to expect.