hay rickhay rick's Journal
Life imitates art. An unidentified beast is on the loose and the conch shell is missing.
I watched the second debate, hosted by sworn enemies of American democracy. I truly wish I could ignore them and they would just go away. But no...
The "debate" was predictably chaotic. Candidates felt free to ignore the question being asked, turning to something they wanted to talk about instead, and then ignoring repeated buzzers and feeble requests from the hosts to just shut up. There were multiple occasions when multiple candidates talked over each other for what seemed like hours even though, like other near-death experiences, it was probably less than a minute.
The first question went to Tim Scott about Biden walking a UAW picket line. Scott took the question as his cue to talk about fentanyl (a constant topic for the candidates) and Title 42. Multiple candidates talked about electric vehicles and China (lots of China-bashing, all night). Of interest- both Christie and DeSantis jumped on the Haley train blaming Trump for adding $7 trillion plus to the national debt.
Haley decided to act tough and talked about defunding sanctuary cities like Philadelphia. DeSantis seems to have abandoned his woke messaging and now wants to be the tough on Mexico and China guy. Previewing a new campaign theme, he promised to crack down on "Confucius institutes." Vivek and Scott explained why, in their opinion, the 14th amendment doesn't protect birthright citizenship.
The next section of the debate started off with the "rising crime crisis" illustrated by the Philadelphia looting video that all Americans will be required to watch at least 100 times between now and November, 2024. This led to a lot of tough-on-crime talk including Mike Pence's promise to make sure all mass murderers are executed.
The discussion wandered into education and all the candidates were in favor of "choice." Health care was discussed and everybody is still against Obamacare. Nobody talked about Medicaid expansion. Haley spoke out against state certificates of need and Doug Burgum (the guy with the eyebrows) said a lot of the excess cost was an IT problem...that's why you see a doctor with his back to you.
DeSantis blamed Kamala Harris for the "slave skills" kerfuffle. The only black candidate was paged on the subject and blamed Lyndon Johnson's Great Society for single parent households.
"Parental rights" were discussed and that turned into a gang beating initiation for trans kids. There was a lot of punching down. Vivek called gender reassignment a mental health problem. Entrepreneurs understand this stuff like nobody else.
The next segment started off with a question about Chinese investment in American technology companies. This turned into TikTok bashing and Ramaswamy calling for a prohibition of children's access to social media before the age of 16. The War in Ukraine came up next. DeSantis wants to end American support while Scott, Haley, and Christie lined up behind Ukraine.
More highlights: Nikki Haley wants to use special operations troops in Mexico, "boots on the ground" to interdict fentanyl importation. Vivek wants to rein in a "rogue" Federal Reserve. DeSantis thinks he can win states like Arizona while continuing to double down on the need to prevent "full-term abortions."
I took cryptic notes which I hope were mostly accurate. Watching the debate felt like an exercise in self-abuse. In retrospect, I don't know why I thought it was a good idea. It's like studying poison mushrooms. It enables you to tell them apart but you're still not going to try any of them.
The "Biden border crisis" is inextricably linked to increasingly unlivable conditions in third world countries. The combination of climate change, depletion of resources, and overpopulation make previously stable societies unsustainable. One of the first casualties of the crisis appears to be the rise of authoritarian rulers who are willing to suppress dissent. The resulting repression becomes yet another driver of migration.
American democracy and our prized First Amendment rights are failing in spectacular fashion. If we are not collectively able to take the steps necessary to preserve what is salvageable of a habitable planet, we will not be deserving of that which we inherited and take for granted.
A classic limitation on free speech is the admonition not to shout "Fire!" in a crowded movie theater. Tell me that a similar prohibition should not apply to climate denialism. I'm listening.
We live in biblical times. Donald Trump is going to smash those tablets. Why not? They were given to him so they are his. Sure, the circumstances were cloudy, but he clearly had them when he got off the escalator at Mt. Sinai.
These tablets were written by the Fickle Finger. The gist of the message is "Yahweh or the Highway." It's full of all that no coveting, no groping, no fun stuff. It may be written in stone but soon it will be just a bunch of glittering pebbles.
Next up: The U. S. Constitution. Only he can fix it and he's got a sharpie!
My wife and I watched the "debate" at home. The evening descended below the floor of my sub-basement expectations. My observations.
First, anyone who is grateful for having been born and raised in this country should be very sad and very angry. One of our two major parties is on a course to offer a choice between Trump and one of these clowns to lead the nation. Any one of them will lead us into multiple deadly avoidable disasters.
Fox News defaulted to an evangelical capitalism orthodoxy when screening audience members and selecting questions for the moderators. They set a new low bar for journalistic cowardice when they asked all the candidates to raise their hands if they thought climate change was related to human activity, then let Ron DeSantis veto the question.
My take on the candidates:
Asa Hutchinson. Amiable and one of the least crazy. Only one who clearly said he would not support Trump. Late in the evening he tried to jump on the paranoia express by expressing his concern for smash and grab robberies. He has no chance.
Chris Christie. I liked that he called Vivek the first Chat gpt candidate and called out Trump for his BEHAVIOR. Of course he had to be a tough guy on crime and immigration. Probably has no chance but most of the others on the stage would be worse.
Mike Pence. He does better with a fly on his head. He is incredibly bland. I don't think anyone takes him seriously.
Ron DeSantis. He needed a big night and I don't think he got it. Maybe he was going for forceful but he came across as angry. He speaks in memes and slogans.
Vivek is truly obnoxious and thinks he is smarter than everybody else. Screaming "drill, frack, and burn coal" is an odd pitch for a millennial trying to appeal to gen z. His day 1 pardon and no money for Ukraine promises are more orange peels for the garbage he's selling. I don't see the base buying.
Tim Scott. Token black guy who is bad with numbers (fighting 16% inflation and the U. S. cut its carbon footprint in half...). No chance.
Nikki Haley. She probably had the best night. Pushed for 15 week ban when DeSantis and others were throwing out the full term abortion red herring. She rebutted the U. S. is doing too much in Ukraine nonsense with facts (11 European countries do more on a GDP basis). I'm curious to see if she gets a bump in the polls. Being less obnoxious than most of the rest of this crew is probably not even a selling point with their primary electorate.
Doug Burgum. He was really nervous. He needed to stand out and didn't.
The most recent edition of NYT's Climate Forward newsletter included excerpts from an interview with Al Gore. The newsletter is available for subscription here: https://www.nytimes.com/newsletters/climate-change
From the article:
Every night on the TV news is like taking a nature hike through the Book of Revelation, Gore said.
Fossil fuel companies are desperately trying to use their political and economic networks and their successful capture of policy in too many countries to slow down this transition, he said. They dont disclose their emissions. They dont have any phase-out plan. Theyre not committed to a real net zero pathway. Theyre greenwashing. Theyre performing anti-climate plotting.
Gore is particularly livid about the fact that fossil fuel companies continue to play a major role at the annual United Nations climate change conference known as COP (full name: Conference of the Parties to the United Nations climate convention).
The climate crisis is in the main a fossil fuel crisis, Gore told me. If the world is not permitted to discuss the phasing down of fossil fuels because the fossil fuel companies dont want the world to discuss it, thats the sign of a very flawed process.
Meanwhile the media on @RealPlanetEarth devotes half of its current "news coverage" to whether TFG should eat a jaywalking ticket for acts of treason, fraud, rape, etc.
Start planning your vacation as soon as the smoke clears.
It's a "no boots" campaign reboot. And lookit them claws! Nobody is going to make fun of this candidate for small hands either! RoboRon is an honest-to-white-Jesus woke warrior.
Questioned about his remark later, Jordan claimed it was "just locker room talk."
The Republican presidential primary is heating up for everyone not named Donald Trump. Under a thin veneer of faux outrage, candidates are positively giddy about their burgeoning prospects. They are unburdened by the near certainty that Trump engaged in seditious behavior.
Pardons for crimes as yet unknown? Of course. Retroactive carte blanche is on offer.
Charges of weaponized prosecutions by the DOJ? Of course. Holy Benghazi, Batman!
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