Checks & no Balances

    If you recall the times during the 2000 campaign when Bush claimed to responsibly hand back tax cut savings, with moderators never noting the discrepancies, these modern times should give you pause. What you might not have realized is that Bush's $1.9 trillion spend-fest is dwarfed by the current candidates' $6 to $11 trillion cost. [If only a Socialist wanted to break the budget by that amount, they'd be howling.] You'd be excused for not realizing this, how wacky their plans are, as this basic detail isn't much revealed by either the press or the media brainiacs moderating the "debates". You would think that part of a debate, as you learned somewhere around 8th grade debate class, was a "rebuttal", a point drilled home by references we'd crammed on, pre-internet, to fill 3x5" index cards in cardboard files to prepare for the fierce drilling of our opponents.

    You'd be surprised now that a "debate" means you get to simply spout nonsense when your turn comes around, and none of the judges would so much as question your nonsense, but instead would thank you and hurry on to the next irrational answer.

    This would seem kind of bizarre, but it's more bizarre when you think of it as a hollowed-out mockery of what was once an important component of rigorously testing and choosing our leaders, as enshrined in the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates but as also evidenced in the Scopes Monkey Trial, in which William Jennings Bryan, the attorney for the creationists, was apparently so exhausted by the contest that he died 5 days after the trial concluded.

    [as an aside, for those wishing that the only bad Democrats were Dixiecrat Southerners, Bryan was a wingnut Democrat from Nebraska, staunch supporter of Prohibition and the Gold Standard and other political dead-end positions.]

    So now we have "questioning" where a candidate might be asked about profiteering on life-saving drugs, and instead comes back with an absurd price of government regulation per employee - $34K - and so blames it all on regulation (even with 1000 employees, that'd be only $34m, far less than the extortionary pricing brings them). The moderator's answer? "Thank you". Of course someone may correct the record later, but by then, the debate's over, the audience of say 20 million has gone away, and perhaps 10,000 fans of a particular website will feel justifiably irate and outraged. In short, bullshit wins again.

    The candidates are even complaining about this level of questioning - considering their answers to their "weaknesses" - "I'm a fighter", "I'm an optimist about America", "too many people love me", and other nauseating responses - you can imagine the circle-jerk when they control the whole process - in short, a charade to check the box of "did debate" while the deciding factor is how many billionaires they have backing them.

    It's an alarming development - the 2000 election that was decided over Al Gore's sighs and tan suits vs. Bush's endearing "fart blossom" monikers rather than actual sense of their policy proposals stands to dwarf the actual need of sensible evaluation of political positions and their consequences. If the "expert" "fact checkers" are neither expert nor versed in facts for real-time response, the system is just broken. We see it on the Democratic side where a Hillary policy announcement is greeted by another article about email servers or Benghazi, or a Bernie speech is summarized by number of people in attendance and that he's a "socialist", not the actual content of what he says. The Rebuplicans feed the masses on outrageous quips insulting this or that minority or interest group, while laundering unrealistic unthought-out policy "proposals" that would supposedly have reality filled in later. We're left with a "vote for me now, I'll tell you what I'll do later" situation, and that of course favors the pampered boisterous children in the room, not the ones who are preparing and expect to be judged by those. It's how Bush painted a panglossian picture of his coming "compassionate conservative" presidency and how it turned into such a clusterfuck. But if we consider McCain-Palin lost by only 7%, and that that bird-brained ditz came so close to being 1 heartbeat away from a 72-year-old President with heart history, we should realize that our democracy is perilously balanced on a a completely obnoxious, distorted-from-reality vetting process that needs some kind of informational sanity restored to it.

    Unfortunately, as Somerby again points out, the later internet or media responses are often erroneous as well. Carson didn't lie about his connections with the medicine company, and yet that was the gotcha people jumped on - not his incoherence, lack of a real plan, complete self-delusion with his weakness of not realizing he was loved by hundreds of thousands, and investment in pseudo-science for actual issues like global warming, health care and the economy. As long as we're satisfied by puerile responses equivalent to Like-Not Like and glee over the felling of a tree while the forest passes us by, we're part of the collective problem. We need checks and balances, true accountability, and deep, accurate information with which to formulate rational fact-based decisions. Considering the time-limited society we've created, we need that in an efficient manner - something the internet and modern media say should have helped, but instead seems to have diverged into a dangerous cul-de-sac.

    Who or what will check the checkers and balance the imbalance?


    You have me thinking for sure.

    The liberals read mostly liberal blogs and sites and newspapers.

    Conservatives mostly listen to right wing radio. because they cannot read. hahahahahah

    I think about these things. But you put this all rather succinctly. 

    Most sites seem to be sayin:

    Don't come around here no more (if you do not agree vwith us)


    Do you think there was ever a golden era of presidential debates? Not many people got to see those legendary Lincoln-Douglass debates (which weren't even presidential). It seems to me that presidential debates have ranged from pathetic to not-very-good ever since they reached the masses via television. I could be wrong, but in the 1980s, I recall that the candidates insisted on vetting the questions and that Reagan basically ignored any question that he didn't want to answer.

    And for the record, William Jennings Bryan was famously opposed to the gold standard; his "Cross of Gold" speech is one of the most famous addresses in American history. He was the country's first progressive presidential candidate from a major party, and though he lost three times, he succeeded in permanently sidelining the corrupt, Wall-Street-beholden bosses who dominated the party. Without Bryan, there would have been no Woodrow Wilson and no FDR, at least not in the Democratic Party.

    PS Yeah, he was a Bible-banger, but so were many progressive reformers of the era. Scopes was an embarrassment that sadly tarnished his memory.

    You know, I think I saw that film:BIBLE BANGER.

    Devon Lee starred if I recall correctly.

    Anyway I attempted to do this before



    Thank fricken you, Mr. Day

    That's what I get for talking out my ass on stuff I know nothing about - I cede the turn of the 20th century to you. As for debates, I think Nixon-JFK was real. Maybe it was all rigged and Watered down by Ronnie's 1980s emergence, but certainly not as freak show as today. Or maybe I should say "Fricken Show" in your honor. Fricken A, a proud moment.

    Small price to pay for such a good blog. Thanks for taking the time to write it.

    I just don't think we've seen a string of debates this bad in our history. Hopefully the CNBC whining will turn out to be the low point.

    OK, I'll grant you Nixon-JFK...

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