Saturday, October 01, 2016

(more #2) What people are saying about the debate.

I watched the debate last night and thought it was pretty much a tie.  Maybe I had such low expectations of Donald Trump that all he had to do was not to say something really stupid that he would have to explain and walk-back the next day in order for me to think he did OK. I guess I graded on a curve. I think Trump came across less bombastic and less obnoxious than I expected.  Hillary came across as the unlikable slick contemptuous crooked political insider that I expected.

From the content of the policy positions they articulated in the debate, a reason I would not vote for Hillary is that I do not want a $15 minimum wage, so called equal pay-for-equal-work, government mandated profit sharing or the new government entitlement of paid maternity leave.  I would not vote for Donald Trump because, he was unclear and inarticulate in explaining his position on first-strike, his support for NATO, and his criticism of NAFTA.

Hillary lost a point in calling Trump a racist. Trump scored a point in advocating law and order in response to the recent racial riots across the country.  However, he lost a half point by advocating stop and frisk as a national policy. Trump could have scored a point by making Hillary defend Benghazi, the pay-for-play scandal,  the Clinton Foundation, and other Clinton scandals. He missed an opportunity. To be fair however, it would have been difficult the raise those questions.  The moderator should have asked Hillary about those things. The moderator asked Trump about his taxes and several other thinks that put Trump on the defensive and never asked any hard questions of Clinton. With a fair moderator, I think Trump could have clearly won the debate.

It seems I am in the minority in thinking the debate was essentially a tie.  The mainstream media seems to think Hillary won.  I think most of the media are in Hillary's pocket anyway however, and are predisposed to spin their analysis in  Hillary's favor.  I gave up expecting any objectivity from the mainstream press a long time ago, so I am not surprised.

Here are what others are saying about the debate.
From AEI: 
As of the afternoon on Monday, multiple polls showed Clinton and Trump neck in neck. Bloomberg reported a 46-46  tie between the two main party candidates, whereas adding in Green Party candidate Jill Stein and Libertarian Gary Johnson gave Trump a two percentage point lead. Meanwhile, Quinnipiac showed Clinton up one in both such contests, Monmouth and NBC/SM gave Clinton the edge, and the LA Times/USC poll gave it to Trump.
Members of AEI’s Political Corner — Karlyn Bowman, Timothy P. Carney, Norman J. Ornstein, and Ramesh Ponnuru — quickly dissected the debate for us. Their main take-aways are below:
Karlyn Bowman
Hillary had a strong opening and she held on to her lead throughout the debate because she addressed the questions directly, and was more organized in her responses and better prepared than Donald Trump.  She seemed cool, calm, and collected throughout. He was none of those things, although he improved as the evening wore on.
Even when he made compelling arguments — and he made quite a few — he didn’t necessarily win the point because of a generally undisciplined, scattershot approach and frequently repetitive answers to the questions and too much focus on his businesses.  Toward the end she seemed to be a little too self-satisfied.  He  could still win this election, but he didn’t win the first debate.
Timothy P. Carney
The biggest factor in the first debate was what never got addressed:
Hillary Clinton has been the co-head of a foundation whose donors simultaneously gained access to her State Department. Donald Trump used his foundation’s funds to pay fines incurred by his businesses.
The Clinton Foundation and the Trump Foundation were never mentioned in tonight’s debate.
Hillary Clinton has consistently stood behind her unauthorized invasion of Libya which paved the way for ISIS’s growth and expansion. Libya was mentioned, but neither Donald Trump nor moderator Lester Holt asked Hillary Clinton to defend her position.
Immigration was the center of Trump’s campaign, but it never came up. They had a lengthy discussion of national security, but neither Trump nor Holt brought up border security.
While cable commentators have declared Hillary the winner of the debate, the pertinence of the whole evening is dubious, considering how some of the most salient issues were never addressed.
Norman J. Ornstein
Each candidate had fundamental goals this evening. Trump’s was to look even modestly like a president, in carriage and temperament, along with showing a modicum of basic knowledge of policy. Clinton’s was to show a calm and reassuring demeanor, with some warmth and emotion, while also showing the competence to be president. The bottom line to me: Trump failed miserably on all fronts, Clinton exceeded expectations. To be blunt, I have never seen a more lopsided debate. After the first fifteen minutes or so, where Trump was focused on a strength and trade, he made Admiral Stockdale look like a champion debater. He was angry, rambling, fidgety, and often simply incoherent. On fundamental policy knowledge, he did not even know what first use is.
He won’t lose support from his core, but I think this will help her move some on-the-fence voters in her direction, and I suspect will make it even easier for her to solidify support from educated white women and from African-Americans. If so, even if the gains are at the margins, that will be all she needs.
Ramesh Ponnuru
If Clinton were aiming to disqualify Trump, she failed. She got under his skin a few times, but he never blew up. He kept repeating the same points, but it came across as message discipline rather than ignorance.
But maybe that’s the wrong way to look at it. Even the polls that show him slightly ahead—and most of them still don’t—show that Americans think she is qualified for the job and he isn’t. It is a testament to her other weaknesses that this set of perceptions has not been enough to put her ahead. But it is Trump’s most serious vulnerability, and I don’t think he did much to address it tonight.

National Review: The Goldberg File, by Jonah Goldberg
I thought Trump lost the debate, but not overwhelmingly. He was clearly the winner of the first 30 minutes or so, and if he’d stayed that guy for the full 90 it would have been a hugely consequential rout. But then, Hillary implemented “Bait Trump Protocol Alpha-1,” when she brought up how he got his start with a $14 million loan from his father. (She got the details wrong, but it doesn’t matter. When you’re baiting fish or Trumpzilla, the lure doesn’t have to be real, it just has to be shiny. In fact, getting the bait just slightly wrong makes it even more irresistible, because we all have a natural instinct to correct falsehoods aimed at us, and Trump more than most.)

So Trump bit the shiny thing, and for the rest of the night, plodding, dull Hillary Clinton led Trump around the stage like a matador with a red cape. And, four days later, Trump is still charging around like an enraged bull. At first I thought Clinton’s use of Alicia Machado was odd. There are so many Trump victims out there, why use one with such a weird past? But that’s what was so brilliant about it. If Machado were a nun, it’d be harder for Trump to attack. But Trump thinks he can win this one on the merits and so he won’t let go of it. He didn’t learn the lesson of his feud with the Khan family: The only way to win such fights is to not engage in them at all. The debate wasn’t a disaster but how he handled the post-debate spin was, and continues to be.  

WashingtonPost: Clinton shifts the election in her direction
Donald Trump scowled and fumed and fussed and interrupted. On Monday night, he was forced to defend business practices that involved not paying workers and contractors, a tax plan that offers most of its benefits to the wealthy, the fact that he did not pay any federal taxes in some years (which he called “smart”) and the debt incurred by his businesses.

Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House
Rod-- After last night, one thing remains clear: Hillary is not fit to be your Commander in Chief.
In his leadoff answer, Mr. Trump warned that Ford was planning to slash thousands of American jobs to relocate small-car production to Mexico – a claim the company’s chief executive has denied. Mr. Trump insisted that he had not called global warming a hoax perpetrated by China, though he has said precisely that on Twitter. And Mr. Trump repeated numerous times that he was against the war in Iraq from the start, which is plainly contrary to the facts.

National Review, Morning Jolt with Jim Geragjty
It’s been enough of a topsy-turvy year where it’s quite possible Trump enjoys a surge; particularly for the first half-hour, he came across as a figure you could picture in the Oval Office. But there seems to be pretty broad consensus that she got a lot of attacks in, mentioned a lot of the unsavory or controversial parts of Trump’s record, and made him spend a lot of time on the defensive. He never got around to mentioning some of her weakest spots — the Clinton Foundation, allegations of favor-trading, Benghazi, her support for arming the rebels in Syria. He barely mentioned Libya. The word “e-mail” came up four times in ninety minutes. This morning he’s blaming the microphone. Last night on CNN, Corey Lewandowski blamed Lester Holt. But the person who has more control over Donald Trump’s debate performance than anyone else is . . . Donald Trump. No one else can go up there and make his argument for him. 
DetroitFree-Press: Clinton-Trump debate: The lies, and the candidates whotell them
Forget about how ill-prepared Trump was compared to Clinton, or how boorish he seemed, interrupting her and moderator Lester Holt over and over. Trump’s performance was so bad that he even continued it after the debate, when he lied about a lie he uttered in the back-and-forth: he denied that he’d said it made him“smart”that his tax returns would show he has often paid no federal taxes.

Tim Skow as posted to Facebook
 Hillary ... did well enough... May have even won the debate "BATTLE"... BUT.... she LOST the Election ''WAR''.... Trump wasn't overwhelming... But VOTERS know Hillary...and simply DON'T want to elect her. ..They're looking to see if Trump is a man they can live with, even vote for? Hillary did fine, BUT LOST! VOTERS found Trump as viable compared to Hillary. So she LOST!
No more .. NO LESS

Time: Diligent Hillary Clinton Upstages Donald Trump at Crucial Moment
Perhaps you can’t wing your way to the White House. At the first debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, authenticity proved to be no substitution for preparation. Strong words faded in the face of solid experience. And, in a campaign that has seen norms shattered, there was something comforting about at least one candidate behaving in expected ways — and speaking in coherent, complete sentences. The meeting came at a crucial moment, with six weeks before Election Day. The night’s potential impact had the senior advisers to both campaigns losing sleep in recent days. Only Clinton’s should feel comfortable as they crawl under the covers.
Democratic nominee for president Hillary Clinton edged her GOP rival Donald Trump in Monday's presidential held at Hofstra University before a television audience estimated at 100 million viewers, according to a Breitbart/Gravis "flash poll" conducted minutes after the debate ended.
Pat Caddell, the Democratic pollster and Fox News Insider, told Breitbart News that poll respondents said Clinton performed better at the debate; 48 percent said Clinton did a better job, compared to 43 percent, who said Trump did the better job.
"However, 95 percent of the people we contacted told us they were not going to change their vote based on the debate," Caddell said.

NBCNews: Analysis: Hillary Clinton's Studies for Debate With Donald TrumpPay Off
Clinton gained the upper hand early as Trump grew defensive over personal attacks, dissembled or contradicted himself on key issues, and reopened old wounds on gender and race along the way. He sniffed and huffed his way through the debate, calling Clinton's treatment of him "not nice" and insisting of her attacks, "I don't deserve that." Other times he was hostile, speaking over Clinton in an attempt to dominate her the way he overpowered his male rivals in the Republican primary. But the aggression that made him the big man on the primary debate stage made him seem small in the more sober general election format. And instead of trying to match Trump's force head-on, Clinton incited, dodged, and countered from the flank with the flair of a matador.

Dear MoveOn member,
In tonight's debate, Donald Trump alternately bullied, boasted, rambled, and lied. He cheered for failed and racist policies, from lowering taxes on the very rich to stop-and-frisk policing. Conventional wisdom among mainstream media is that the debate presented a stark contrast, and that Clinton won handily.1

Republican Donald Trump’s performance in the first presidential debate on Monday night was likely to bolster his supporters, but risked turning others off, interviews with undecided voters and experts in both parties said. “I feel that the way he talks to other people, the way that he addresses other people, can be extremely rude and extremely disrespectful, and I don’t think that’s the temperament we should be looking for in a president,” said Garrett Thacker, 30 years old, of Galloway, Ohio, who has voted for presidential candidates in both parties.

From Donald Trump:
You were the real winner tonight.
Without you, I never would’ve had the chance to get on that stage and fight for America. We won tonight’s debate -- and I am confident we will win it all on November 8.

From Hillary Clinton
A few minutes ago I walked off stage after taking on Donald Trump.
I hope I showed that I will never stop fighting for you or the people you love. But I need you with me. Your contribution right now is about much more than money -- it shows that no matter how hard this race gets, you'll still be there for me. Chip in $3 or more tonight and show that you're standing by my side.
WashingtonPost: The Daily 202: Why even Republicans think Clinton won the firstdebate  
The consensus that Donald Trump badly lost the first debate gelled overnight. Liberals predictably panned the GOP nominee’s performance on Long Island, but some of the harshest reviews are coming from conservative thought leaders who had been starting to come around.

CNN:Post-debate poll: Hillary Clinton takes round one
Hillary Clinton was deemed the winner of Monday night's debate by 62% of voters who tuned in to watch, while just 27% said they thought Donald Trump had the better night, according to a CNN/ORC Poll of voters who watched the debate.

WashingtonPost: What does it mean that Donald Trump lost the debate?
We already knew that Trump is remarkably incurious about policy, boasting about how he does not listen to experts or read much. We already knew where that led him, to ideas such as igniting a trade war, reinstituting torture — worse than waterboarding — and killing the innocent children of suspected terrorists. We also already knew about his temperament — that Trump had engaged in racist attacks on a federal judge and dangerous stereotyping of American Muslims, including a gold star family. We already knew he regularly demeans people based on their appearance or physical disabilities.  
We also already knew that Trump is the most dishonest and least transparent presidential nominee in recent memory, refusing to release his tax returns even though every presidential nominee for 40 years has done so and betting that a visit to Dr. Oz relieved him of responsibility for releasing more information on his health. We already knew that he was an uncommon liar. The Post has only been the latest outlet to attempt to record the full panoply of deceptions Trump tells on a daily basis, such as hisrecent claims that Clinton has “been silent about Islamic terrorism for many years,” and that he “never” proposed targeting Muslims.

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Friday, September 30, 2016

Marsha Blackburn on Giving Up Control Over The Internet

From Marsha Blackburn, U. S. Congressman, TN District 7:

The Obama Administration has recklessly given away control of the Internet’s domain name system to an international multi stakeholder group.  The Obama Administration’s failure to renew the Department of Commerce’s contract with ICANN is incredibly dangerous and will leave the Internet freedoms of Americans vulnerable to international bad actors.  One of the reasons I voted against the CR was because it failed to block funding for the Internet give-away. I joined Neil Cavuto on Fox Business.  You can watch here.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Haslam hosts Marco Rubio for fundraiser at governor's mansion

Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker. Corker was present for the fundraiser, but Alexander had to return to Washington D.C. from East Tennessee on ...

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Monday, September 26, 2016

ObamaCare continues to crash: BlueCross BlueShield pulls out of Nashville, Memphis and Knoxville.

Times Free Press, 9-26-2016 - Tennessee's biggest health insurer is dropping its participation in the Affordable Care Act health exchange next year in the state's three biggest markets, cutting coverage of the 214,000 persons now enrolled in one of the so-called ObamaCare exchange plans by more than half.

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee announced today that it will be withdrawing its ACA exchange plans in 2017 in the Memphis, Nashville and Knoxville markets to help limit its exposure to what has cost the Chattanooga-based health insurer nearly $500 million in losses in the past three years. ... the cutbacks is where ACA individual plans will be offered will likely require about 115,000 individuals to pick from new health insurers next year. (link)

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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Conservatives tackle justice reform in Tennessee and politics makes strange bedfellows.

by Stacey Barchenger, The Tennessean - Is criminal justice reform a conservative issue? A group of thinkers, politicians, advocates and political donors gathered in Nashville Tuesday to answer that question with a resounding yes.

The conversation over wine and hors d'oeuvres at Nashville's Union Station Hotel turned to topics ranging from curbing court fees that prevent people from obtaining driver's licenses, thus capturing people in a cycle of repeat offenses and poverty, to providing jobs for people who are released from prison. Panelists also showed support for decriminalizing minor, non-violent offenses as a way to cut down the state's prison population.

"It's important that conservatives understand the reality of our criminal justice system," said Justin Owen, president and CEO of conservative thinktank the Beacon Center of Tennessee. "We want conservatives to understand what we've been doing for the past 30 years isn't working." (link)

Unlikely coalition tackles criminal justice reform in Tennessee

by Anita Wadhwani and Joel Ebert, The Tennessean, Sept. 20, 2016 -An unlikely coalition of Nashville businesses, social service and advocacy groups is launching an effort to reform criminal justice in Tennessee, where the incarceration rate is 11 percent higher than the national average.

Through the newly formed Tennessee Coalition for Sensible Justice, backers plan to pursue legislation initially focused on juvenile justice, lowering the rates of people returning to prison and changing sentencing guidelines for those convicted of crimes.

The coalition includes the American Civil Liberties Union, the Tennessee Association of Goodwills, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Beacon Center of Tennessee, which advocates for smaller government.

"It's not about being tough or soft on crime, it's about being effective on crime," said Justin Owen, president and CEO of the Beacon Center of Tennessee.

My comment: I do not hold my opinions because I am a conservative but I am a conservative because I hold my opinions. I don't reject a policy position because it may be considered a liberal position.

I have for a long time had what some may call a "liberal" position on several issues.  Probably the most long-held and obvious of these is that I favor marijuana reform. I think it is nuts that we criminalize people for smoking a relatively harmless substance.  I have been an advocate of marijuana reform since the mid-seventies when I joined NORMAL.

Overtime, I have also come to think that there must be something terribly wrong with the American system of criminal justice which has one of the highest imprisonment rates of any free country in the world. I have come to think that the "tough  on crime" policies of Republicans may have been a mistake.

Also, liberals have been in the forefront of fighting for open government, open meetings, open records and transparency. I support those efforts that let citizen know what their government is up to. If this is a "liberal" position, then so be it.

My other "liberal" positions are not so much specific policy position as just a mind set that embraces defiance of convention and authority. I tend to think a little disrespect for the law is a healthy thing. I also tend to think that victimless crimes should not be crimes. I also don't like laws which ban strip clubs and I would not want to live in a community that banned liquor by the drink or wine in grocery stores. There is a certain segment of the religious right that makes me uncomfortable. I basically think people should be free to be deviants if they want to. I also think that on occasion the American Civil Liberties Union actually does defend our liberties.  I wish they were more balanced in whose liberties they defend but I often see their point of view.

A couple of years ago I attended a convention of CPAC (Conservative Political Action Committee). There is nothing comparable on the left. Thousands of people from all across the country attend a three day convention to be inspired, motivated, challenged, and educated. Part of the CPAC experience is the exhibition hall where a couple hundred or more of exhibitors promote there product, publication, cause, or point of view. In 2013 I was pleasantly surprised to see probably a dozen organization promoting either drug policy reform or criminal justice reform.

I am a supporter of The Beacon Center and am pleased to see this organization has joining the cause of criminal justice reform.  This is one of those issues that regardless of ones political label, one should get behind simply because it is the right thing to do.

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Explaining US income inequality by household demographics

From AEI:

Bottom Line: Household demographics, including the average number of earners per household and the marital status, age, and education of householders are all very highly correlated with household income. Specifically, high-income households have a greater average number of income-earners than households in lower-income quintiles, and individuals in high income households are far more likely than individuals in low-income households to be well-educated, married, working full-time, and in their prime earning years. In contrast, individuals in lower-income households are far more likely than their counterparts in higher-income households to be less-educated, working part-time, either very young (under 35 years) or very old (over 65 years), and living in single-parent households.

The good news is that the key demographic factors that explain differences in household income are not fixed over our lifetimes and are largely under our control (e.g. staying in school and graduating, getting and staying married, etc.), which means that individuals and households are not destined to remain in a single income quintile forever. (Read more)

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Alexander: Obamacare Exchange Is “Very Near Collapse.” Americans need immediate relief from the cost of health insurance and a lack of options on the Obamacare exchanges.

Published on Sep 7, 2016 -Today, Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander spoke on the Senate floor about the alarming number of health insurance companies leaving Obamacare exchanges and the need to act on behalf of Americans struggling with the cost of health insurance. Alexander said he intends to introduce legislation soon to “provide relief” from “the cost of health insurance and a lack of options on the Obamacare exchanges.”

Alexander said, “Unfortunately, I don't need to look any further than my home state of Tennessee to see how bad things have become. When Tennesseans woke up on August 24 and read the front page of our state's largest newspaper, they saw this headline: ‘Very near collapse.’ …What does very near collapse mean in the real world? This November, when Tennesseans are signing up for 2017 Obamacare plans, there will be fewer plans to choose from, and they'll be much more expensive. And this picture will be the same across the country.”

He continued, “Next year, Tennesseans will be paying intolerable increases. On average between 44% and 62% more for their Obamacare plans than they paid last year … And if you, the policyholder, don't pay all of that, then you, the taxpayer, will. Because a large portion of Obamacare premiums are subsidized with tax dollars. Surely it's no valid excuse to say that just because taxpayers are paying most of the bill that justifies having a failing insurance market where costs are so out of control that we may soon have a situation where no insurance company is willing to sell insurance on an Obamacare exchange.”

“Millions of Americans need relief from Obamacare,” Alexander said. “Here's the action that's needed: First, Americans need immediate relief from the cost of health insurance and a lack of options on the Obamacare exchanges. We should do that by giving states more flexibility to give individuals and their families options to purchase lower-cost, private health insurance plans outside of Obamacare and we should do that now. I intend to offer legislation that would provide that relief. That is only to deal with the emergency of next year, 2017. Second, we need a big, structural change in order to avoid a near collapse of our nation's health insurance market. If there's a Republican in the White House next year, we need to repeal Obamacare and replace it with step-by-step reforms that transform the health care delivery system, by putting patients in charge, giving them more choices and reducing the cost of health care so that more people can afford it. But if there is a Democrat in the White House, broad systemic structural changes will still be necessary. Republicans didn't create this problem, but we're prepared to solve it. ”

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Rep Blackburn Select Investigation Panel Markup on holding Stem Express in Contempt. Democrats walk out.

House panel votes to hold fetal tissue company in contempt 

The House committee set up to investigate Planned Parenthood on Wednesday voted to recommend holding a fetal tissue procurement company in contempt after Democrats walked out of the session in protest.

The panel voted to advance a resolution holding Stem Express in contempt for failing to provide all of the documents it was required to turn over under a congressional subpoena.

“A subpoena is not a suggestion,” said Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.). “It is a lawful order and must be complied with.”

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