Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Hillary At Hofstra Debate Shows Who Deserves To Be President

Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton at the first presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York on Monday.
Trump is on the defensive after Hillary lands a potent blow to do with his tax issues.

Let us concede first that,  for the ardent Trumpie, his standard bearer did "amazing" at the first presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. He hoisted Hillary on her own petard. He "didn't skip a beat" and hauled her "over the coals"  for every and any bit of dissembling she's done in the past 30 years.  He even caught her out in a major whopper, as when she declined to admit she originally embraced the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, and referred to it as the "gold standard".  But, one or two opportune jabs - usually attained by going over one's allotted time - do not a debate victory make. (Never mind those bogus online polls in which reddit users tried to spam the targets and distort the outcomes.)

Now let's transfer to the parallel universe in which reality rules over PR and propaganda. Where global warming is as real as a heart attack, and reason and disciplined rhetoric triumph over harangues, demagoguery and disdain for basic financial facts - such as that trickle down economics and tax cuts do not work, see e.g.


In this parallel universe where objective perceptions trump Trump's insanity it was almost like seeing a mama alligator eat an impudent pup in the first presidential debate last night. Even long time Republican strategist Steve Schmidt noted how Trump had descended into "babbling and complete incoherence" by the end of the trade and tax segments.  Before that, Trump barely held his own - and he only managed that because the lackluster moderator (Lester Holt) allowed Trump to drone on and monopolize the time with no checks made. In the end it didn't matter, because all most of us heard was the Trumpsters's incessant sniff, sniff, sniffing.  At some point we wondered if he needed an O2 tank.

But certainly the sniffling display showed us he didn't merit being considered for President, even on the basis of stamina. If a guy has to sniff for oxygen (or maybe he had a cold, even worse) even 25 minutes into a 90 minute debate how the hell is he going to hold up in a 6 hour critical meeting with Vladimir Putin?  Will he tuck himself in bed and let Donald Jr. handle it? But beyond the sniffling, there was the spectacle of the guy devolving into bombastic replies that were more apropos of  a three year old pitching a tantrum than thoughtful responses in a presidential candidate.

By contrast, Hillary evinced confidence and appeared cool, calm and collected, Her answers were crisp-  mostly within the time (2 mins.) allocated - and showed a thorough grasp of the issues, whether on the economy, trade, taxes, national security or cybersecurity. She also easily rebuffed Trump's desperate attack lines, often themselves misplaced, distorted or outright lies (e.g. the one about Sidney Blumenthal having originated the birther bilge on Obama- and Trump himself being responsible for Obama producing his birth certificate )

Here, Lester Holt finally grew a pair and pointed out that Trump was blabbering about the birth certificate issue even five years after Trump claimed to have resolved it. Holt also went after Trump's rhetorical jugular when he insisted (on his "Law and Order" shtick) that 'Stop and Frisk' was just fine and a judge's original ruling was overturned. But Holt pointed out to Trump: "Stop and frisk was ruled unconstitutional in New York because it largely singled out black and Hispanic young people."

Trump insisted . "You're wrong, it went before a judge who was very against police and it was taken away from her."

But simple fact checking discloses he's a liar. In 2013 a district judge ruled it was unconstitutional saying 'stop and frisk' violated the 4th and 14th amendments, against unreasonable searches and equal protection, respectively.  Subsequently a higher court upheld that ruling, as noted last night by Justice Dept. specialist Pete Williams.

In the initial economics segment Trump reverted to his usual past talking points - heard in the Reepo debates- about monumental tax cuts. Of course, we've seen that one before - during Bush Junior's reign, which fueled a $3 trillion plus deficit we're still trying to manage. Hillary had the perfect phrase for this recycled trickle down malarkey:  trumped-up, trickle-down.

Regarding efforts to return jobs and prosperity Trump appealed to the old trope of cutting corporate taxes, and pushing the bunkum that the corporations are too impecunious (because of taxes) to create new  jobs. In fact, they have been sitting on more than $1.3 trillion and been using to do share  buybacks rather than invest in new plants or labor. Putting the country in further fiscal jeopardy by cutting corporate taxes will merely make matters worse.

What I loved most is seeing how Hillary got the Donald to lose his cool on multiple occasions, often leading to increased sniffling, interruptions and aimless demagoguing rather than debating. For example, at one point Hillary got a jab in noting how Trump declared climate change to be a "hoax". This elicited the instant Trump response: "I did not say that!"   (He did, in 2012.)  The idiot actually fired off a tweet to the effect that "the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese."

In fact, if this ignorant twit knew anything, he'd have known that the "concept" was actually proposed more than a century ago by Svante Arrhenius, see e.g.


But in any case, Trump was caught in another lie. Overall his lie ratio to Hillary's was something like 25:1, if anyone was actually counting.

Trump went on to claim he "believes in all forms of energy" - which means the most CO2 generating fossil fuels including coal, shale oil and tar sands crap. All of which also implies he cannot take seriously their proven impacts on global warming.

What I hated the most was a (mostly) meek moderator (Lester Holt) who repeatedly let this bombastic clown talk over his time limit and interrupt his opponent.  I could maybe tolerate Holt overlooking Trump's parade of lies and exaggerations (which later fact checkers would expose), but when he permitted Trump to exceed his two minute limit for about the tenth time, I got fed up. As wifey asked: "What is wrong with Hillary? Why doesn't she interrupt him?" I had to point out she was probably drilled in proper debate decorum and told not to be so boorish. But as we know, Trump, on the other hand,  makes up his own rules as he goes along. Of course, this appeals to his "basket of deplorables".

One woman in a focus group this a.m. on CBS, asked what advice she would have given Trump last night, offered:

"I'd have told him to answer the question asked, then STOP talking!"

Bingo! She summarized Trump's primary debate defect in one sentence. The boor's predilection to talk over one's debate opponent as well as the moderator. As CBS political guru Bob Schieffer put it: "A debate with the worst decorum I've ever seen."  (Thanks to Trump).

The most amusing part was to do with Trump's taxes and him trying to compare his not releasing his tax returns with Clinton not releasing her emails. In fact, that's a false equivalence. Hillary's emails have already been litigated, both by the Justice department (FBI) and by the media. On the other hand, Trump has kept his tax matters a virtual state secret so we don't even know who he is beholden to, or if he even paid any taxes at all. When Mr. Holt asked him why he would not release his tax returns, as other presidential candidates have done for four decades. “I don’t mind releasing — I’m under a routine audit,”

Hillary correctly pointed out this is total balderdash as the IRS has made it patently clear a person  undergoing audit is perfectly free to release his or her tax returns. So, that was an invalid excuse, and we must wonder what nefarious aspects Trump is trying to hide. More worrisome, what mass of information might he keep from us if President? A nuclear deal with North Korea?  Maybe giving them lower yield nukes (which might fit on rocket warheads) if they turn in higher yield ones?

Who the hell knows? This is a character who - by his current refusal to disclose - would offer the only reply as "Trust me".  As Hillary put it:  "It must be something really important, even terrible, that he’s trying to hide. If he were to get near the White House,” she continued, “what would be those conflicts? Who does he owe money to?”

When Trump criticized Hillary for using a private email server, Hillary didn't hem and haw this time, but came out directly and admitted: “I made a mistake using a private email,”

Almost every media observer and commentator in the days leading up to last night all agreed Trump had one major task: to persuade uncommitted voters that he had the competence and temperament to be commander in chief. Most everyone also agreed that was a relatively low bar for a traditional nominee to pass, but a critical one for Trump given his history of making inflammatory and insulting remarks to almost every demographic group. Alas, for Trump groupies he failed to even meet that low standard last night.

Best debate moment? When Trump brought up Hillary's stamina and she retorted: "When you travel to 112 countries and sit through a House committee for eleven hours then you can talk to me about stamina."

Don't let the spinners blind you: in a crucial venue to decide the next President, Hillary Clinton made a superior case, even with her foibles. She was well prepared, had the majority of facts at her command, while Trump was grossly unprepared - opting for rambling repeats of his earlier Reepo rhetoric. Worse, he was easily rattled - often losing his train of thought -  making one fear what would happen in a ferocious encounter with Putin or the Philippines' Duterte (a Trump mirror image).  Hillary isn't perfect by any means, but anyone who watched last night's debate and doesn't believe she's better prepared to be President than Donald Trump either needs a brain transplant, or a psychological exam.

In the choice offered in this election, she clearly trumps Trump. The rest of the world and most rational people know it. We can only hope there are enough sensible voters left in the U.S. to ensure this clown doesn't emerge a commander -in -chief.

See also:



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