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Friday, December 18, 2015

War Face

 

Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: Private Joker, why did you join my beloved Corps?
Private Joker: Sir, to kill, sir!
Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: So you're a killer!
Private Joker: Sir, yes sir!
Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: Let me see your war face!
Private Joker: Sir?
Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: You got a war face? Aaaaaaaagh! That's a war face. Now let me see your war face!
Private Joker: Aaaaaaaagh!
Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: Bullshit! You didn't convince me! Let me see your real war face!
Private Joker: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagh!
Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: You don't scare me! Work on it!
Private Joker: Sir, yes, sir!
--Full Metal Jacket, 1987

Let me see your war face!

Wolf Blitzer sure ain’t no R. Lee Ermey but twenty minutes into the latest Republican “debate” and I was starting to have Full Metal Jacket flashbacks.

War war war! Kill kill kill! Bomb bomb bomb! Terrorism! Security! Make America great! Lemme see your president face! Let me see it!  Aaaaaaaagh! Sir, yes, Sir!

No really, think about it. Bunch of uncomfortable looking dorks with funny haircuts all standing in a row, scared shitless, shouting nonsense, and pretending to be warriors…

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Every one on the stage was trying to convince us of their war face. Aaaaagh! Everyone of them was talking about killing the bad guys, taking the fight to enemy, invasion, boots on the ground. Bleeraaaaaagh! War Face! I’m a lean green terrorist-killin’ machine, Sir!

And really, wouldn’t it be great to just once have a debate moderated by Gunny Hartman?

I digress.

I digress, but at least it would be entertaining, right? That would be worth a couple hours of your time. R. Lee Ermey doing Gunny Hartman, dressing down the candidates, goddamn, wouldn’t that be great? You can learn a lot about a person, watching them sweat under the pressure of a screaming drill sergeant.

Which is more than you can say about the latest shitshow.

I mean, honestly, what have you actually learned from these so-called debates? Anything? Anything at all?

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One of these people might be your next president. No, really, and ain’t that a thought to keep you wide awake and sweating in the night?

Supposedly, Tuesday’s debate hosted by CNN and moderated by Wolf Blitzer was about national security.

Oh, sure, right, national security. Of course, when you put it like that. National security. We’re all concerned about national security, aren’t we? We gotta keep our country safe for God, motherhood, and warm apple pies.

And let’s start right there.

What exactly is this national security we’re talking about?

When I say national security, what do you think of? Terrorists, right? Sure, terrorists, but what kind of terrorists? Are they all the same? Do they all come from the same place? Are they all motivated by the same ideology? Do they all hate us for our freedoms? Do they? When we talk terrorism on American soil, we always bring up the Big One, the Great White Whale of Terrorism, Moby Dick – September 11th, 2001, but those were mostly Saudis, weren’t they? So are the things that drove those terrorists the same things which motivated the terrorists who attacked a Planned Parenthood Clinic Conference Center in California last month? The terrorists who attacked Paris? Same as the ones who used to blow up British soldiers in Belfast? Or bombed the Khobar Towers? Or the Tokyo Subway? Or the Moscow subway? Or a train in Spain? Or do you just wave your hands and mumble “Globalwawrnterrorism” and start handing out the medals?  And whatever happened to Ebola? And all those Illegal immigrants? Russians? Chinese? European style socialism? Iranian nukes? Drugs? Global Warming? Easy birth control and the sexual revolution? The Equal Rights Amendment? The National Debt? False flags? Super Hurricanes? Creeping Sharia Law? Banks too big to fail? Gay marriage? End times and Mayan prophecies? Killer robots? Secret FEMA tunnels under Wal-Mart? Fluoride in the water and chemtrails in the sky?

I mean, national security? What exactly are we talking about here?

National security, the term means something different to every candidate and to every voter – or non voter if we’re talking about the majority of Americans, which may be a national security matter in and of itself. But, again, I digress.

When CNN declared this debate about national security, none of us even started out on the same page. We didn’t define the terms. Wolf just sort of waved his grizzly white man-beard of freedom about and made some vague reference to “national security” and next thing you know we’re all running around whooping like lunatics, shooting our pistols in the air, and smashing bottles over each other’s heads like something out of a John Wayne movie. War face! War face! Aaaaaaaaaagh!

I waited a week.

I waited to see if the candidates themselves would provide some clarity.

None did. Surprise surprise.

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Serious times.

Oh, well, serious times. That sure clears things up. Is that you, John Wayne? Is this me?

Say, just for argument’s sake, Captain Obvious, when isn’t it serious?

No, really, when in the last 240 years of American history hasn’t it been a “serious time?” In the last hundred? Okay, last fifty years? Last decade? When was it time to elect some frivolous leadership? You know, when the most important skill a president might have was making balloon animals and telling fart jokes? When was that? Well?

You know, it’s pretty hard for me to take these people seriously.

They talk about national security as if they’re experts, as if they have a defined outline, as if we’re all agreed to the terms and definitions. As if they really are serious men with serious answers to serious problems.

If you actually listened to these people last Tuesday night, it’s just gibberish.

I went through the debate transcripts, line by line, sound bite by sound bite and … it’s just gibberish. It’s sound and fury signifying nothing. Less than nothing. Nameless, shapeless dread, it’s armpit noises and fart jokes.

You could pick any exchange at random from the transcript and upon detailed analysis it means nothing.

Take this piece right here:

Moderator (Conservative radio pundit Hugh Hewitt): Mr. Trump ... [APPLAUSE] ... Dr. Carson just referenced the single most important job of the president, the command, the control and the care of our nuclear forces. And he mentioned the triad. The B-52s are older than I am. The missiles are old. The submarines are aging out. It's an executive order. It's a commander-in-chief decision. What's your priority among our nuclear triad?

Okay, stop right there.

Let’s just hang on a minute. Back the war wagon up.

It’s an executive order? What is an executive order?

Hewitt was talking about aging bombers as if the old B-52 workhorse was the only nuclear bomber we have in inventory (it’s not), or as if it hasn’t been continuously updated (it has), or as if our Minuteman III and other various nuclear capable missile systems such as the sub launched Trident D-5’s weren’t updated and modernized on a regular basis (they are). What Hewitt was getting at, of course, is that he apparently believes we need a fleet of new manned bombers, new missiles, new submarines.

And he apparently thinks you get those things through an executive order.

Hewitt apparently believes the president just sort of waves his gold scepter and the defense contractors start crapping out ships and tanks and fancy new jet fighters.

He called it a “Commander In Chief decision” – which could not possibly further from reality in any fashion whatsoever.

Hewitt’s statement, his question, is mind boggling in its wrongness.

And nobody, not one person on the stage called him on it.  Not one.

None of the candidates on the stage, all of whom want to be the next president of the United States of America, not one of them, apparently knows how ships, planes, missiles, and weapon systems are procured.

Hint, it’s not via Executive Order. No way. No how. It is a decades long process that involves tens of thousands of people, dozens of legislative actions, research, development, review, revision, redesign, reallocation, cancellations, and it begins and ends in Congress. The president has very little to do with it, because typically acquiring a new weapon of any complexity spans multiple administrations. For example, the F-35 Lightning II was first proposed as the Joint Strike Fighter in the early 90’s. Eventually the government settled on a basic design and began actual procurement in 1996. The first production aircraft came off the assembly line in 2006. The existing aircraft are full of bugs and in testing and redesign at the moment and full production doesn’t begin, if it doesn’t get cancelled first, until 2018.  That’s George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and whichever one of these clowns we pick to sit in the White House next. Five administrations. That’s a single seat airplane. Wanna guess what it takes to design and procure a new nuclear powered ballistic missile submarine?

And how did Trump answer the question?

Donald Trump: Well, first of all, I think we need somebody absolutely that we can trust, who is totally responsible; who really knows what he or she is doing. That is so powerful and so important. And one of the things that I'm frankly most proud of is that in 2003, 2004, I was totally against going into Iraq because you're going to destabilize the Middle East. I called it. I called it very strongly. And it was very important.

What?

And it was very important? What was very important? How was it very important? How does that have anything do to with the question asked?

We need somebody who knows they’re doing? 

Are you sure? Because that would seem to rule out any of these dolts.

Trump: But we have to be extremely vigilant and extremely careful when it comes to nuclear. Nuclear changes the whole ball game. Frankly, I would have said get out of Syria; get out -- if we didn't have the power of weaponry today. The power is so massive that we can't just leave areas that 50 years ago or 75 years ago we wouldn't care. It was hand-to-hand combat.

What does any of that mean? Particularly in relation to the question asked? It’s just gibberish. What does Syria have to do with supposed replacement of aging strategic systems? What does Iraq have to do with it? What are you saying, that you intend to fire nuclear missiles at the world’s oil supply? REALLY? “If we didn’t have the power of weaponry today?” What? What the hell does that even mean? If we didn’t have the power of weaponry today why we wouldn’t have the power of weaponry today!

Trump: The biggest problem this world has today is not President Obama with global warming, which is inconceivable, this is what he's saying. The biggest problem we have is nuclear -- nuclear proliferation and having some maniac, having some madman go out and get a nuclear weapon. That's in my opinion, that is the single biggest problem that our country faces right now.

Climate change is real. It’s entirely conceivable. Millions of people are conceiving of it right now. It’s conceivable to all but the most obtuse. It is adversely affecting our national security right now, right this very minute, and it’s only going to get worse. 

What’s also apparently inconceivable to Trump and the rest of the buffoons on that stage is the idea that the President of the United States of America can focus on more than one thing at time. They all seem to have this idea that the President has some kind of To-Do list and he works on the first thing until it’s done. Then he crosses it off and starts on the next one.  Okay, nobody bother me, I’m working on the Iranian Atom Bomb thing and it’s like really hard and this is probably going to take me like a couple of hours so you guys keep it down out there.

Trump says the single biggest problem the country faces right now is … “some maniac.” Some vague undefined madman trying to get a bomb so he can something something war face aaaaaaaagh!  Not something concrete, not any of the myriad problems that actually exist right now, from energy to infrastructure to rising seas or even the Islamic State, no, it’s the bogeyman. Can’t be any more specific, just … some maniac. Yeah, that’s the single biggest problem our country faces. That. Vague. Thing. There.

Hewitt (still gamely trying to get a concrete answer to his bullshit question): Of the three legs of the triad, though, do you have a priority? I want to go to Senator Rubio after that and ask him.

And here it comes, the definitive answer from the guy who says the most important thing is somebody who knows what they’re doing. Here it is:

Trump: I think, uh, I think, for me, nuclear is just the power, the devastation is very important to me.

Shit’s getting old. We need new stuff. What’s  your priority when it comes to planes, missiles, and submarines? Oh, well, uh that would, um, be, I guess, er, the power, man, the devastation, that’s very important. To me. See? Oh, the powerful devastation of the devastating power you say? Well. Okay. Let’s go ask Congress for some money to, um, upgrade the powerful devastation, because it’s like powerful and devastating and we wouldn’t want to have a devastation gap. I guess. And, really, if the biggest threat we face is this vague thing that we can’t define, what better weapon than an upgraded vaguely defined powerful devastation … thing. Nuclear. Something. Booga booga.

If Trump had dismounted by claiming he could see Russia from his house, he couldn’t have been more full of shit.

And if you think Rubio corrected Trump’s idiotic nonsense, or Hewitt’s, you haven’t been paying attention.

None of the people on the stage, not the candidates, not the moderators, knew what the hell they were talking about. Not at all. Not even in the most general of terms. And after a week of reading through various reactions, it’s fairly apparent most of America has no goddamned idea either.

It’s gibberish.

They’re all babbling idiots.

None of these people have any clue as what constitutes national security. Worse, it’s not even that there’s no agreed upon consensus, they don’t even have a personal concept or clear vision in their own heads and none of them hired anybody who does either.

Honestly, national security? Really? How do you know there’s a problem, when you can’t even define what the problem is?

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Like clucking chickens running about in the barnyard. They’re all terrified, but they really have no idea why.

And it’s infectious, these frightened Chicken Littles, the feathers are flying and they’re squawking out vague alarms and scaring the crap out of everybody else, the sky is falling! The sky is falling! and nobody really knows what they’re afraid of, they just know something terrible must be happening. Something, nuclear triad, terrorism, madman, maniacs, it’s the powerful devastation, yeah, that’s the inconceivable part of maniacs with global warming war face war face aaaaaaaagh!

Hewitt: Dr. Carson... [APPLAUSE] ... you mentioned in your opening remarks that you're a pediatric … neurologist … surgeon...?

Sweet Wookie Jesus, fuck me.

Ben Carson: Neurosurgeon.

Hewitt: Neurosurgeon. And people admire and respect and are inspired by your life story, your kindness, your evangelical core support. We're talking about ruthless things tonight -- carpet bombing, toughness, war. And people wonder, could you do that? Could you order air strikes that would kill innocent children by not the scores, but the hundreds and the thousands? Could you wage war as a commander-in-chief?

Again, let’s just stop right there.

I thought we were talking about national security. Instead, suddenly we’re talking about carpet bombing? The indiscriminant area bombardment of military targets and civilians – to include children and old people and pregnant women and non-combatants and innocent bystanders and schools and homes and daycare centers and shopping malls and playgrounds and so on? That carpet bombing. Is that the carpet bombing we’re talking about? How exactly did we get here? And people in the audience were clapping, cheering, carpet bombing, fuck yeah! America! And who are we talking about carpet bombing? Toughness. Ruthless? Could you kill innocent children? Like hundreds of thousands of them? Just carpet bomb the shit out of some kids? You know, for national security.

Since when, since when, is the willingness to carpet bomb children a trait anybody wants in an American president?

Ruthlessness? When did that become a virtue?

I dunno, this guy, what if he doesn’t have what it takes to bomb some children? I mean, fuck, we might as well just give the country over to the tree-huggin’ tofu-eatin homos, man! What would Jesus do? He woulda bombed them little cocksuckers for sure, you bet, I mean, shit, his dad done kilt like a whole darned nation of firstborns, Amiright? And then, and then, the guy who was just called out for being supposedly kind and inspiring and all Christiany Christ-like in his Christian evangelicalism, yeah that guy, says oh sure, ruthless, yeah, I can totally do that. Carpet bomb some kids? You bet. It’s not exactly brain surgery, right?

Carson: Well, interestingly enough, you should see the eyes of some of those children when I say to them we're going to have to open your head up and take out this tumor. They're not happy about it, believe me. And they don't like me very much at that point. But later on, they love me. Sometimes you -- I sound like him. [APPLAUSE] You know, later on, you know, they really realize what's going on. And by the same token, you have to be able to look at the big picture and understand that it's actually merciful if you go ahead and finish the job, rather than death by 1,000 pricks.

Hewitt: So you are OK with the deaths of thousands of innocent children and civilian? It's like...

Carson: You got it. You got it.

You got it. You got it, baby. But abortion, yeah, that’s a sin. Can’t have none of that. Nope. Nope.

Hewitt: That is what war … can you be as ruthless as Churchill was in prosecuting the war against the Nazis?

Carson: Ruthless is not necessarily the word I would use, but tough, resolute, understanding what the problems are, and understanding that the job of the president of the United States is to protect the people of this country and to do what is necessary in order to get it done. [APPLAUSE]

And the crowd cheered.

It was surreal, here we are, talking in all candor about carpet bombing children no less, but,  yeah, I wouldn’t say ruthless. No, I’d call it something more heroic sounding, terrorist pre-neutralization for freedom or something. But, yeah, Imma cut your head open and carve out a chunk of your brain and you’re gonna love me for it, Baby. You’re gonna love me, even if I have to lobotomize you.

Honestly, it couldn’t have been any more creepy if Carson had finished up with, “It rubs the lotion on its skin! It rubs the lotion on its skin!”

And the crowd cheered.

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Read the transcript for yourself. Go through it line by line, questions and answers.

It’s all gibberish.

It’s insanity.

It’s all war face aaaaaaaagh!

It’s people who have no clue whatsoever talking to people who have no idea whatsoever.

This isn’t even political theater. It’s the political equivalent of standing in line at the deli behind two dipshits arguing over who would win a fight between Boba Fett and the Gorn Captain.

It’s long past time to dispense with this nonsense – and I mean nonsense in the sense that it doesn’t make any sense. Non sense.

Here’s what I’d like to see: A job interview.

A job interview with America.

I want a series of interviews, each candidate, alone, in detail, in front of a camera. Everybody gets the same questions. Everybody gets the same amount of time.

I want them to answer questions in detail without moving the goals posts. In fact, moving the goal posts would count against them. Point value, with running totals on the screen. Candidate has avoided the question x number of times.

I want running fact checks by a double blind group of experts. Again, with a running total on the screen. True, mostly true, some true, some false, mostly false, total fucking bullshit ding ding ding, posted in real time.

Don’t tell me why the other guy sucks, tell me what you would do, specifically and in detail.

First interview: The Economy

Explain your economic policy in detail, step by step, here’s a Dry-Erase board and a marker, show your work. If it takes ten hours, well, then it takes ten hours. It’s the single most important topic America faces right now, we don’t expect it to be simple. You may consider this similar to defending a doctoral dissertation. Start by demonstrating a thorough knowledge of the current economic situation. Then give us a detailed summary of how you will create jobs, pay off the debt and reduce the deficit, grow business, revise regulations, and address the tax code. Provide supporting information and references and the relevant footnotes. Don’t give us any crap about it being too complicated either, if you can’t explain it to the general population, you can’t explain it to the idiots in Congress. We’ve got a battery of non-partisan experts back here, they’ll be stopping you periodically to examine specific points and request additional information. You may begin.

Second interview: Foreign Policy

Give us a complete rundown of your foreign policy. Address how you will approach each problem in detail (we might need multiple segments for foreign policy, each night devoted to a different area). For example: ISIS, when you say that all options “are on the table” explain precisely what that means and what the consequences are. List each option and explain them in detail. Start with the nuclear option, then conventional war with and without coalition/UN support, military action short of war, non-military intervention, diplomacy, and so on. Describe precisely how many American casualties you, as president, are willing to accept to achieve each goal, you may round to the nearest power of ten (i.e. 100. 1000. 10,000. And so on). Describe to the nearest billion exactly how much of the American treasury you, as president, would be willing to spend on this endeavor and exactly where that money will come from, including skyrocketing gasoline and energy prices and how many generations you expect it will take to pay off the tab. How many lives. How much money. How long.

Third Interview: Domestic Policy (three days)

First sub-interview: Describe how you will address the concerns, rights, and liberties of all Americans – not just the ones who voted for you.  Describe the difference between “inalienable rights” and “legal” or “civil rights.” Describe where you believe each form of rights depends from. Describe which rights you believe take precedence over others, why. Explain why or why not you believe some citizens’ rights supersede others. Explain when it is acceptable for government to deny rights, be specific. For example: if you oppose same sex marriage, describe why, describe in precise detail why it is legal and moral for you as head of government to deny rights of your fellow citizens. You must answer this and other social issue questions as The President, i.e. you may not use your religion or political party’s talking points, you must describe your support or opposition strictly in accordance with the Constitution of the United States. Period. Again, we have a panel of experts back here and we’ll be fact checking each point. Let’s start with abortion. 

Second Sub-interview: Give us the general outline of your Energy, Immigration, Education, Health, Technology (including space and exploration), Agriculture, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Veterans Affairs policies. Again, we will expect a basic knowledge of each subject to include comprehensive solutions for current and expected problems.

Third sub-interview: The military. Explain how you see the military’s role in America. Start by describing in precise detail when it is permissible for the military to overthrow the democratically elected government of the United States. No, this is not a trick question. Show you work, including the specific articles of the Constitution and US Law.  Next, describe in detail when it permissible for an armed citizens militia to march on Washington, overthrow the US Government, and install its own ruling body. Again, cite the precise articles of the Constitution and US law which permit this action. Describe exactly what you think “a well regulated militia” means as used in the Bill of Rights. Describe exactly what you would do should such a revolt occur during your administration, and why. Explain when military action short of war should be used in foreign conflicts. Explain when war should be declared. Explain your order of priority for military force, i.e. is military action near the first thing you would try or the last? Why? Be specific. Do you consider military action diplomacy by other means or a failure of diplomacy? What is your military experience? If you served, why? If you didn’t, why? Did your children serve? Would you be willing to send your own kids into battle? Why? Why not? Be specific.

Final Interview: Staffing and funding

You say you’re ready to lead on day one. Prove it.

Describe the top ten challenges facing America right now. Put them in order, worst to least. Why? What are you planning doing to address these issues? No hand waving, either present a coherent solution or don’t bring up the subject.

Who are your top ten picks for the Supreme Court? Why? Describe each in detail. Explain what you would expect from each choice and how you think it will shape the future of this country in a way that is fair and equitable to all. Explain your vetting process, show your work.

Who are your first, second, and third choices for each position on your cabinet? Why? What are their qualifications? What was the vetting process – and do you use the same vetting process for all even though their skill sets are vastly different? What do you expect from each position? Why should the Senate confirm them? Why should America trust them to provide you with rational, expert, and timely advice?

Give us three candidates for Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. Why? What do you consider the most important qualifications for this position?  Note, we’ll be cross-checking this against your previous answers vis a vis the military’s role in Foreign and Domestic Affairs.

Who would you select as head of the CIA? NSA? The National Science Council? NASA? The Federal Reserve? The EPA? Name the people you have in mind for ambassador to Russia, China, Israel, the UK, France, and the UN.

Who will you turn to for religious or spiritual advice? Why? What are their qualifications?

Extra Credit: List your financial donors. In detail. All of them. This is an optional question in the same manner that a Breathalyzer test is optional during a traffic stop. You don’t have to answer, but if we have to share the road with you then we have every right to know if you’re sober and it’s the same thing here. You want to be president? Then we have every right to know who you owe and decide if we want them running our country. If you don’t agree, look directly into the camera and explain why.

And we fund the whole thing with a tax on political donations. SuperPACs are going to run our country? Then they can pay for the privilege.  

You want to see my goddamned war face?

There you go.

We do not need a war-president. We need an executive. We need a diplomat. We need a wise man or woman who understands the challenges facing us. We need someone who will address our growing needs for clean energy, clean water, affordable education, affordable health care, and especially economic opportunities for the working class. Not a single republican candidate has addressed those issues. Not a single republican candidate has spoken about the future -- they have only spoken about retaliation for the past.
-- David Gerrold, Author, via Facebook

97 comments:

  1. As ever, you NAILED IT! Thanks so much for your witty sanity.
    M from MD

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  2. Good grief...I caught the Carson/carpet bombing bit as it happened, and that was scary. But reading those quotes like that, mind numbing. And as it stands, the winning R is likely a 50-55% favorite to win the job, excepting Trump.

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  3. "it’s just gibberish."

    Yeah Jim, but it's authentic frontier gibberish! Geared to the common clay of the New West...

    We must laugh, lest we weep.

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    1. "Geared to the common clay of the New West..."

      And exactly which common clay would this be, pray tell? Could it be..?

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    2. That would be the salt of the Earth, you know, rednecks

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    3. Morons. (Mongo only pawn in game of life.)

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  4. Jim, this is simply brilliant. I wish to Hell we could actually do something like this, for the candidates from both parties, but it will never happen. Your analysis of the "debate" was spot on. Kudos.

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    1. I Heartily agree! Jim is a Word Master par excellence!

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  5. Michael H. AtkinsonDecember 18, 2015 at 6:45 PM

    The first question EVERY candidate should be made to answer is "who provides your financial backing" with the understanding that the answer would be verified independently.

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  6. Jim thanks for bringing me back to reality and for a better understanding of what I have been missing during these debates. You obviously have been paying attention while I have been busy being entertained by the absurd and ridiculous statements of these republicans. It wasn't clear to me until reading your excellent essay and pointing out the absurdity of these debates that I now know what I have been guilty of. I have been showing up for these matches only to be entertained as I long ago gave up on any of the candidates being intelligent enough to earn my respect. ..much less my vote. Me watching the debates has been like showing up after high school in the alley to watch 2 bullies duke it out and hoping that one of them gets a bloody nose. I promise to do better and act more like an adult during future debates but not believing I will find my next president in this group we watched last Tuesday. Thanks again your friend and ex Navy Brown shoe from Michigan

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  7. Superb analysis and writing as usual, Jim.

    That job interview for Presidency idea is spot on and exactly what the USA needs. I'd love to see it made to happen. In fairness, I think a lot of the economic and foreign policy issues would be delegated by the President to their staff with the POTUS taking advice not necessarily deciding personally but then that should be said by the candidate too - who they'll delegate to do what and why and which models /philosophies of, say, economics they'll follow.

    One minor nit that you might want to fix; why is there a time (three days)in brackets after the "Third Interview: Domestic Policy" but not the other ones - Foreign policy, The Economy, Final Interview?

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  8. My. That was a good one. Thanks for saying so eloquently what I was thinking that night.

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  9. Once again you have introduced the hammer to the nail! Thank your for this. I hope your move to Florida doesn't melt your brain.

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  10. As usual, you've taken the thoughts right out of my mind and put them into words I could never hope to put together and make sense out of them! If only you had political ambitions! You'll be here in Hell (aka FL, but you're much further north than I am you lucky dog) soon and we SO need you for sanity's sake around here! Thankfully, you're already used to the wackos with the tinfoil hats waving their rifles around like they're holding...well, never mind.
    Anyway, thanks for the read and the debate summary. Spot on as always.

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  11. I like the idea of interviews, though I'd focus on a somewhat different list of issues. I also think Bernie Sanders is the only one who seems to me to be addressing the issues in that way. Everyone else, including Hillary Clinton, is up there posturing. (If people want a war face I think Hillary Clinton has a pretty scary one — she might have made a good general.)

    The debates used to be different. They were run by the League of Women Voters and were a lot tougher on the candidates, until the major parties got together (something they could agree on!) and took it away from them. This article seems to tell the story: http://people.howstuffworks.com/debate4.htm.

    I like the idea of job interviews for another reason: it makes sense of the election process. So much of the public wants to pick a President for symbolic value: "morning in America," "hope and change," "make America great again," "fight the war on corporations", and so on. In the public consciousness, the symbolic function of a head of state dominates the job. But it is not only a symbolic job, it is a real and hard executive position, and if we held job interviews instead of rhetorical cage-matches, this might remind the public that election is for selecting someone to do a hard job.

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  12. You have a far stronger stomach than mine - I haven't managed to sit through any of the GOP debates. They keep repeating the same tired platitudes that bear no relation to what's actually going on in the world, and the audience eats it up with a spoon.

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    1. You probably did yourself a great favor this time, axoloti9! I wish I hadn't have watched. The blood lust shown not only by the candidates but also CNN just turned my stomach.

      Great article Jim! As others have said: "You nailed it!"

      Delete
    2. I only got as far as the opening statement by Trump and I had to turn it off.

      I love the idea of a job interview! After all, that is what this is - a job to be filled by the most qualified candidate, something the GOP lacks and I'm not sure of the Dems candidates either.

      Delete
  13. I would give my life to have those kinds of questions asked, and answers required......Some are terribly terribly amused at the antics of the GOP, both running for office, and those in charge right now.....I am not, they open their mouths and I feel like I am living in a nightmare, a surreal nightmare that just goes on and on and on .....and never gets any better, it only gets more absurd, more crazed,.....

    .... I am embarrassed to think of what the rest of the planet has got to be thinking of us ....and is it weirder to watch from a distance?, or to live inside this horror movie version of Alice in Wonderland that living in the US has become.....?

    .....I am glad I am 65, with the greater percentage of my life behind me: many of those years living in an America that wasn't perfect by any measure, but we weren't a collection of drooling fools, running around with our eyes closed crashing into everything and each other and screaming in terror at stuff we make up ....while the real dangers loom ever closer to crashing down on us with unredeemable, permanent, and devastating results....

    ....I'm sure every generation feels they are facing the worst problems that the world has ever faced .....and perhaps that true, it's just that with every passing generation, especially since the Industrial Revolution, the problems have gotten bigger ....and all the old problems not solved added into the mix, it turns out that every generation IS facing more severe and scarier problems than the previous generation....

    .....I have come to the conclusion that unless we get Bernie into the presidency, backed up by some serious sweeping out of as many GOP puppets of every aspect of government, and replace them with some Dems with as little owed to their masters as possible, we are going to witness the crash of the industrialized world ....the more Repugs in gov't we end up with, the more dangerously we live ...

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    1. Sally, I'm 68 and it's just in recent years that I'm glad I'm older. Your comment is spot on.

      Delete
  14. Thank you Jim. If we could round up Americans, and somehow get them to read and understand these thoughts, it would change the game. Unfortunately, the average American would have stopped reading as soon as they realized this was really comprehensive (long).
    Our average American wants quick sound bites they can agree to without even understanding what was said.
    "The biggest problem we have is nuclear -- nuclear proliferation and having some maniac, having some madman go out and get a nuclear weapon."

    "Yeah! FUCK YEAH! This guy speaks his mind!"
    And off they go, telling everyone they support Trump.

    I love the interview idea. Lets find a way to let people judge candidates on what they say about themselves, their qualifications, and who they will have on their team.
    Can you imagine who Trump would have available for his team? The man has no connections with any experience in running the country.
    He does however have a fine team that has managed to run businesses into bankruptcy.
    Debates don't work for me. The news media doesn't help. So where do we get good information?
    I have some favorite sources. Sources that help me make sense of the non-sense (from both sides)
    I recently added you to the list.
    So, Thanks Mr. Wright (pun intended).

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  15. Fun fact: Vladimir Putin makes balloon animals.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And fart jokes?

      (Trump is a fart joke in Britain or so I've read.)

      Delete
  16. I liked the way they used the word "boots", but they were really talking about our sons and daughters. What will they be called when they come back damaged? Too expensive? Yes. Let us once more launch into a rage and just kill, and shock and awe, and thrash about willy nilly. Right after we elect a president who had a deferment from Nam. People can't even find Paducah on a USA map, but they know where bombs should fall. Smart bombs. That only kill "bad" guys. Dropped like carpets.....Christ. What a collection of self absorbed pansies all talking smack. Each one needs a good punch right in the chops.

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    1. "Boots on the Ground", "Collateral Damage", "Enhanced Interrogation" are but a few euphemisms for the cold, hard facts of warfare. As is the term "Carpet Bombing". Without going into much detail, I have understood that term since I was four years young and damn near suffocated in an overcrowded bunker during the bombing firestorm in Bremerhaven in September 1944. Also, "Tief Flieger" (low flyers) were a reality for civilians who tried to just get out of the burning port city on a train/bus etc. and were strafed.
      Have not liked stinging nettles ever since. Of course, it was only later that I realized that mothers pushing their kids into a ditch and then covering them with their own bodies were doing what was necessary, and the nettles were innocent in the resulting hives.
      Fast forward to the beginning of this century: Any nations' military resources are made up of software and hardware, i. e. men and materiel. When we went into Iraq, according to Rumsfeld "we went into the war with the Army we had, not the one we wish we had" to excuse that the hardware was inadequately,if at all, armored. Yes, the hardware was destroyed by roadside IEDs, but the software aka "Boots on the Ground", men and women bled and died. Same with the "Shock and Awe" bombing and the term "Collateral Damage". Yes, that describes this century's civilians.
      Don't even get me started on those "Enhanced Interrogations". They were the sociopathic excesses of an administration comprised of those who obtained draft waivers during the Viet Nam disaster.
      Before anyone flames me by telling me that the Germans started it, believe me, I know only too well, and the double speak, patriotic sabre rattling of the NAZI regime was textbook selfserving propaganda which led to the destruction of millions. Orwell's prescient writings anyone?
      Thank you once again, Mr. Wright!

      Delete
    2. Juan, I just wrote something similar and totally agree with your assessment.

      Delete
    3. The Grifters On Parade is a dumpster fire. I can only hope it burns itself completely to the point it is only a distant memory. I really do think that this nation suffered PTSD from 911 and a large chunk of the insanity is from abject cowards. Afraid to someone or something different weekly. Cowards. Pax.

      Delete
  17. All the yahoos running in the Republican primary would say if they knew there was going to be a test they would have stayed home.
    Another great post well worth the wait.
    I made s comment after watching the whole Republican debate Thursday night. I said, that CNN had turned itself into a 24 hour white noise generator as a public service to all the Americans who are having trouble sleeping in these trying times.

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  18. Those involved interviews would be very informative to the tiny minority who would actually pay attention to the detailed answers. The rest would just assume that whatever the candidates they liked said validated their own opinions.

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  19. The buffoon who can't complete a coherent sentence, the doctor who swore an oath to do no harm advocating carpet bombing some obscure enemy, the woman who wouldn't know the truth if it bit her in the ass, the legacy(!) who can't get his shit together, the child who would disregard the rulings of the unelected lawyers when their decisions do not suit him, the other buffoon who doesn't know who is alive or dead, the cretin who is ready to lap up the leavings of the first buffoon when he hopefully tanks sometime soon, and the rest. Jesus Hussein Christ, one of these could be our next President??? This might actually make me go against my nature and buy a gun. At least then the boogeyman would be something concrete instead of some vague fear.

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  20. Great post as always Jim. And I love the idea of the interviews. My favourite line: "It’s people who have no clue whatsoever talking to people who have no idea whatsoever." and that is the biggest problem. The apparent limited education of both the candidates and the voters. Yesterday I read a report where 30% of Republicans polled wanted to bomb Agrabah, the fictitious country from Walt Disney's Aladdin. They're voting to bomb places that sound Arabic, why?? Because they sound Arabic. How the hell do you deal with (sorry I'm going to say it) that level of total ignorance. I love your post, and you've hit the nail on the head again. However, I think a new President should also be looking at how to increase the level of education within America. As a Canadian, I don't like being put in a position where I'm singling out the USA, but America's decision on their next president will affect us all.

    Again, great post, but as Rebel Tub said, how many would pay attention, or understand the answers?

    I hope you have a great trip to Florida. But if you find that the Republicans have built a great big wall along the 49th, stop and take a look around on this side of it. It's a really nice place and you'd be more than welcome.

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    1. ". . .30% of Republicans polled wanted to bomb Agrabah . . ."
      And as I understand it, so did 19% of Democrats polled. Terrifying.

      Delete
  21. First grandchild in Jan and I am scared that one of these idiots will be POTUS in 2016.
    If one of these elected, we are the ones that may be bombed by other countries to minimize the damage they would do.

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  22. Thank you Jim. I respect your courage and strong stomach for being able to watch and analyze the dog and pony show.
    A friend of mine watched it, but couldn't make it through. He did see quite a bit of it. His words, a bunch of 5th graders could do a better job.
    How anyone buys into this tripe is beyond me.
    I see it on Facebook, a bit of emotional crap and oh boy, he's my man.
    Remember when the league of women voters hosted these events? Candidates had to show up with some knowledge of how this country works. Emagine that.
    Apparently, much of the electorate doesn't care for facts, an actual vision.
    "Hard times do flush out the chumps ". Everett McGill
    Anyway, have a great Christmas and a happy new year.

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  23. The sad truth is that most people don't want serious discourse. The "debates" are about pandering to the base and hitting the right talking points. It seems Palin set the tone when she said she wouldn't be answering questions during her "debate" with Biden, but instead talking directly to voters about her "ideas". She got away with it, and now it seems to be the accepted strategy.

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    Replies
    1. This is true. Unless the electorate wants and demands critical thinking from their candidates, they will get what we are seeing .. unqualified candidates.

      Delete
  24. Yes to your analysis and a resounding yes to the interview idea. However, the president is only one part of the government of this country. What happens when we elect, say, Bernie Sanders for president, but as with Obama's administration the congress has a Republican majority? Our congress has lost the ability for bi-partisan dealing on issues. The idea of any one of these posturing clowns as our Commander-in-Chief makes me cringe in horror, but the current division of our country into blue and red with no purple in sight leaves me with little hope for the future.

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  25. We need a non-partisan federation of citizens to make money less relevant to elections. The goal should be to take control of election debates from the DNC &RNC. They should be multiple single issue debates. Each local group would decide which offices to get into this format first. There should be statewide collections of such groups and a federation to eventually take on national debates. The format should be determined locally for local or regional offices, statewide for statewide offices and nationally for presidential debates. They should cross party lines long before the primaries and include independent and small party candidates. They should all be on Youtube. Data should be collected on debate subjects of interest to individuals with options for individuals to get e-mails of debates on specific topics or of all debates. Some groups may consider taking control of public stations with membership drives or just asking public stations to broadcast the debates. College campuses should be used for their student volunteers, campus radio stations and television workshops. Crowd source volunteers and kickstart fundraisers should be used along with door to door canvassers. Some debates could be classic style: intro, body, rebuttal, counter rebuttal and closing. Topics could be picked by candidates, group members or a combination. Some could have questions picked by members or just by internet polling. A classic style debate could have a few questions at the end added. I'd be fine with Jim's interview and fact checking format. All this should be determined by the members. Press should be invited, but it is up to the organizational boards on what terms: as you like or you must cover the whole debate commercial free. Extremists on each side of many positions believe that if people knew what they knew, they would agree with me. That is a good recruitment tool. If people had more access to the information this would provide, we'd be less influenced by sound bytes and advertising. The potential downsides are information overload and overcoming initial inertia. Please spread this widely.

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  26. I wish more folks could understand "gibberish"...as being the Orwellian Speak of our Dystopian Future...It never fails to impress me of how folks just don't/can't see the republican party as they really are...

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  27. You're making a mistake by moving to Florida. It'll be a much longer drive to Canada. After all this I'm researching immigration to the North...

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  28. I think the most alarming thing is the way the audience thinks these guys said something profound. I'm sure the other candidates would love to challenge some of the nonsense but they're logically challenged as well, and I think they know it (which is also alarming).

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    Replies
    1. Spot on. For democracy to work, you really do need an educated electorate. We have no such thing; we have sound bites, misinformation and division.

      Delete
    2. Nothing more than word salad served up fresh every day. There's no need to KNOW anything, just load up the old salad shooter with gibberish, catch phrases, and faux patriotism and fire away. Sprinkle on a bit of xenophobia and whatever hair on fire rhetoric is catch of the day, serve daily.

      It is possible to explain policies and positions at a level that most citizens can understand. The key is to know what you're talking about.

      The thing that amazes me is that it seems that most of the GOP candidates think that Isis is a physical place. Like a former GOP VP candidate thought Africa was a country.

      Delete
  29. Of ALL the subjects you have written on and about, this is the best. Succinct and complete. What job in America is the most important for maintaining the way of life we Americans hope for? The presidency is #1, in my opinion.
    Magnificent writing, plain and simple.

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  30. I'm waiting for 'death by a thousand pricks' to become the new GOP slogan...
    GOP... 2016... Death by a thousand pricks...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Congratulations, you've won the internet. Lol

      Delete
  31. BTW. Jim Wright curious to see what you make of the Democratic party's debate(s) too - what are your thoughts there?

    This Aussie outsider and observer from afar is fully expecting - and hoping - that Hillary Clinton will romp in in a landslide against whoever the Repubs choose for their runner-up. (&/Or a Trump independent run plus a non-Trump Repub which would likely split the R's and make them lose even worse yeah?)

    Unlike a lot of Americans (so it seems? But then loud versus majority are v. different things) I actually really quite like Hillary Clinton and think she'll make a very good pro-science and reality POTUS.

    I do also like Bernie Sanders and think he's a very principalled idealist but do not think he'll be anywhere near as electable and a lot more vulnerable and likely to lose.

    Your thoughts on this please if I may ask?

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  32. I think the primaries should be handled like Jeopardy. I'll take national security for a hundred Alex.

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  33. The transcripts remind me of the days when I taught middle school social studies. Same mental energy expended to come up with nonsensical answers in order to get a rise out of their classmates. Thank goodness the voting age isn't 12. Well done, as usual Jim. Thank you!

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  34. Hell Jim, if ruthless and violent is the new norm for POTUS why don't we just elect ED-209 from Robocop: "You have five seconds to comply...four... three... two... one... I am now authorized to use physical force!"

    In the absence of adequate or uniform education (demonstrated endlessly by these GOPer idiots) our common national frame of reference has become fictional depictions of "leadership" and action in film or TV. Trump apparently approves of how the President personally dispatched the terrorists in "Air Force One" and Cheney adored "24". So of course the GOP Kandidate Klown Klub adhere to the tough talk, choreographed fighting and low knowledge required to defeat the bad guys (every time) in the timeframe of a movie show. These "debates" are just more of the same. Cramming in chest thumping, tweet length sound bites so that voters recall Rambo hosing down brown people (with Trump or Cruz's head on Stalone's body......think about that).

    RE the boot camp angle, my preferred way to weed out less aggressive candidates wud be to actually send them to basic training. Twelve weeks of O-dark thirty PT for endurance, endless days of drill for discipline, rifle range to develop accuracy and mess week to instill humility. Of course the whole purpose of USMC recruit training is to start converting civilians into Marines by instilling the importance of mutual trust and support, good order and unit cohesion implicit in the Corps. Sort of the antithesis to any of these arrogant, self-absorbed morons.

    No, none of these GOP knuckleheads would have made it through the recruiters hatch to start the process. Would have required good character and minimum test scores to attempt to become a Marine.

    BTW - I took your six-part POTUS interview exam. Where do I send my boxtops?

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  35. once again, you hit in the gold, this would be a very good thing for any position of power in the world, exactly how qualified for the post are you is a question we are entitled to ask,and we should listen to the answers, but that requires time effort, education and critical thinking

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  36. I saw your FB post about people who were complaining that this is too long. It's not. They just don't want to read. 1,000 pages is not too long if it is compelling. Keep on keepin' on.

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  37. Nancy Wood (bonefish)December 19, 2015 at 9:24 AM

    Mt. Wright, thank you for your analysis. Frightening as hell, stomach-turning, but vital. dammitalltohell
    (The "debate" was turned off because my brain was starting to sizzle. For the same reason, I had to stop reading halfway through, go use my inhaler, walk around the house for a while, get a cup of coffee, then gird my mental loins and read on.)

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  38. I am continually impressed with your ability to dissect insanity with amazing clarity.

    The idea of a comprehensive job interview makes me swoon like an American! :-D

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    Replies
    1. That's probably the best analysis of this blog I've read.

      Delete
  39. Thank you for saying what I couldn't. They should all, each and every one, be throat-punched. Hard.

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  40. Unfortunately, not one Democrat has intelligently addressed these issues either.

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    Replies
    1. Actually Bernie Sanders has addressed most of this, whether you like him or not he has offered actual solutions & answers to these questions in a no bullshit zone.

      Delete
  41. This post like the interview itself takes mental muscle and those of us that can still exercise that should. Excellent work.

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  42. My dogs are frightened, the cat has fled in abject terror and I've fallen from my chair hooting and cheering. Ahem. It was an over-reaction, undignified and ridiculous.
    Thank you so much!
    How did we get to the point where we choose our President with less care than we do with a washing machine?

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  43. A sociologist PhD candidate in Waterloo, Pennycook, proved that gobbledegook was perceived as more profound in an inverse relationship to intelligence. The GOP candidates are apparently speaking directly to the less intelligent.

    With regard to not answering questions, presenting one's own agenda, or presenting completely non-factual information: This is apparently a standard practice in college debate teams. Whoever redefined the debate rules has screwed the rest of us badly.

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  44. Personally, I had no problem reading your "long" blog about this last clown show called GOP debate. I watched it and knew that their responses were nothing but mind boggling BS but now I know, after reading this, how truly idiotic they were. Thank you for this since it makes me even more afraid now should any one of these clowns become President. Job interview, you say? Hell yes, why wouldn't we want to know how qualified our next leader of the free world is, after all we are paying his salary and entrusting him/her with our lives, the lives of our children for the next 4 years !

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  45. Right you are, only Hillary Clinton is no better. It’s all war face with her, too, aaaaaaaagh! She's just not a buffoon.

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  46. Spot on Jim !!
    The only thing missing from the "threats to national security" was transvestite lesbians from the moon.

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  47. This was so freaking good it made me cry. That "debate" and the others before it were nothing more then smoke & mirrors for the limited intelligence crowd. Not one bit of substance has been uttered, not once. Ugh.
    Thank you Jim, you are my go to voice of reason sprinkled with humor & sarcasm. I adore you. Keep on bringing it.
    For anyone complaining this is too long, seriously get a grip. Read a fucking book, get educated. The reason we have that line up of incompetent assholes is because a big group of the public thinks facts are too hard to find and it takes too long to research anything. Just turn on Fox News & you'll know everything you need to know. Except you won't, not even close.
    Good luck on your upcoming journey, Jim. Safe travels.

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  48. Thank you so much for sitting through that whole debate and writing such an informative and entertaining reaction. I love the interview idea.

    And this essay is not at all too long! The debate was, though...
    Rock on!

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  49. "death by 1,000 pricks."

    Wait, I thought there were only 15 pricks still running. You mean there are a lot more?

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  50. I think it's funny that we are talking about whether people have the patience and sense and maturity to read through this thing; you remind me of my naive, idealistic childhood when I assumed that to qualify to run for President you had to do this very sort of thing, if not all in a "dissertation" then at least by having gotten the current leadership to believe you were qualified by dint of your work and counsel. you make tears come in my eyes. Can I vote for YOU for President?

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  51. “And we fund the whole thing with a tax on political donations. SuperPACs are going to run our country? Then they can pay for the privilege.”

    That has been my solution to the American Buyocracy for a long time. For any candidate, the first $50 contribution is free. There is a 10% tax on anything over that, up to $99. There is a 20% tax, up to $149, 40% up to $199, and the tax keeps doubling at every $50 increment. People can contribute as much as they want, but they help to pay off the national debt, while they do it.

    -Paul Cooper (former QM3/SS)

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  52. You just rocked my world.

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  53. Apparently terrorists are all hold up in the City of Agraba which Americans think should be bombed. ;)

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  54. Jim - we Floridians lovingly refer to the part of the Sunshine State you're moving to as "Floribama" for reasons you'll soon, sadly discover (if you haven't already). Welcome to la-la-land, where north is south and south is north and just this month a burglar fleeing from police jumped into a pond only to be killed by an alligator. I hope you're settled here in time to get registered to vote in the 2016 election as we truly are a purple swing state so our votes in the presidential contest actually matter - unlike the votes of our fellow citizens in solid red or solid blue states. Great commentary on the debates. They're a sad spectacle and a total waste of time.

    JZinFL

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  55. The Planned Parenthood shooting was in Colorado. Not California. Excellent post. To quote Bugs Bunny, we are a land led by oxymoron's and nim cow poops.

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  56. Excellent analysis Jim. I wish I could convey my thoughts with ten percent of your clarity.

    I have had to stop reading and responding to the posts on various media blogs. It didn’t take long for me to realize that only a few comments were serious and thought provoking. The remaining were extremists and trolls from both political sides. I discovered Stonekettle Station some months ago and have convinced many of my friends to read your essays.

    You speak for those of us that are neither red nor blue. We are those who are not extremists. Hopefully, we are the silent majority who can be motivated to get off our butts and actually go and vote. Whether our only option will be to choose from the least objectionable is still to be determined.

    Surprised to see you’re coming to Florida. Hopefully it is not in the Orlando area. Our main morning entertainment is to watch the overnight ‘shootings du jour’ on the local news.

    Chuck S.

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  57. Actually, I'm entirely in agreement with Mister Trump that the notion of some lunatic getting their hands on a nuclear weapon is a nightmare scenario.

    ... Which is why I really don't want to see *any* of the current GOP clown car elected.

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  58. This latest post should be copied to every candidate running for the office, both parties. With the interview questions highlighted.

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  59. Wish someone in charge would do this-it would be the most logical and coherent way to elect someone to be President. Much better than allowing shit-slinging monkeys make fools of themselves, and by extension us, on national TV in front of a world-wide audience...

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  60. "It’s the political equivalent of standing in line at the deli behind two dipshits arguing over who would win a fight between Boba Fett and the Gorn Captain."

    Great line.

    For the record, the Gorn Captain would have pwned Boba Fett.

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  61. It wouldn't be Christmas for me without this quick video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hE7nvnw_d9w The sound track from "Full Metal Jacket" you captured above with the annoying stop action elves from "Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer" (TV version)...I especially did not like Hermey the elf (Pvt Joker).

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  62. I have been reading your words for years, now... My friend JJ (World's Most Famous Beauty Salon) posted one many moons ago... "I bow to Greatness". This one is, if not your best.... definitely one of your best. My parents, used to say these three words to me, (when I asked a question), "look it up." I've been looking it up for about 70+ years now... and will continue to do so. Fair winds and safe travels.

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  63. Fear. These people reek of fear.

    Peace
    Chris in S. Jersey

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  64. "The biggest problem was the politicians knew nothing about fighting a war." ~R. Lee Ermey

    Thanks, Jim. Shared on FB.

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  65. Brilliant scheme to address the problem of choosing a president.

    Pure fantasy, but brilliant.

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  66. Perfect. There's so much talk about running government like a business, but who would hire someone who doesn't know what the company does or how it works, doesn't care, and basically wants to dismantle it and sell it for scrap?

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  67. This certainly ranks as one of your best, Jim. The fact that you were still sane enough to write it after an in-depth analysis of the debate demonstrates a strength of mind I doubt many possess.

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  68. I'll bet a lot of us looked over those interview questions, and thought about how we would answer them. And probably came up with lots of cohesive and reasonable responses.

    But I was distracted by the Alaska photo in the background, and started thinking about how I'm going to miss your photography from up north. I trust, however, that you will find excellent photographic opportunities in your new location. Thanks in advance.

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  69. Great essay, as usual. I am disappointed the you didn't include a day or global warming in you interview. As in:

    What specifically are your plans to combat global warming? What degree if global warming do you think is acceptable; 1.5C, 2C, 3.5C? How exactly do you plan to reduce carbon emissions to zero in the next decade? Give detailed plans for carbon reduction in transportation, shipping, power generation, industry, and include small emission sources as home heating. How do you plan to begin removing carbon and other greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere? Do you think nuclear power should be part of the solution. What will you do to help populations who are more severely affected by global warming or sea-level rises?

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  70. Seems like the best qualified candidate is...Barack Obama.

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  71. Thank you sir. long time lurker here.

    I'm Australian, and watching these debates from the outside has convinced me that all the Republican candidates are stupid and dangerous lunatics.

    I'm glad at least one person in the US has the same perspective.

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  72. Merry Christmas, Jim. May Santa's reindeer leave you with a clean roof.

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  73. Florida! That will be a welcome change to the joints. There are two ways to go when it comes to houses in Florida: 1. high ground, roof constructed to insurance specs, serious storm shutters, trees clear-cut so no big ones in falling distance of your perimeter walls, or 2. buy any place you like no matter how low, how close to the water, how big and near the trees, or how much exposed glass, just don't spend much on it or own more stuff that you care about than you can pick up and drive away with on ten hours notice.

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  74. Finally.
    Someone with a common sense approach to choosing the next POTUS. Certainly more informative than the current media whoring tent show that currently serves as public discourse.
    Well done, Sir!

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  75. Late to the party, but this is the single best post on the internet, for the entire year.

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  76. Great post once again, except for one thing.

    The Marine Corps doesn't have Drill Sergeants....They have Drill Instructors. (Who yes of course are Sergeants, but that's one of the ways the Marine Corps stays the Marine Corps) :-D

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