Observations On The Democratic Candidates Debate In Flint, MI.

Dems debate

Here’s the transcript.

1. The smug comments from Democratic pundits and operatives about how “substantive” the Democratic debates have been and how “ugly” and “childish” the GOP debates have been is really nauseating, and the news media should flag it as such. When one candidate is ugly and childish, as well as shameless about being so, the other candidates have little choice but to get down in the mud. That’s the situation in the Republican debates, and that is entirely due to Donald Trump. When, meanwhile, one candidate is notable for lack of trustworthiness and dishonesty, and her only opposition refuses to reference the major reason the public (accurately) believes her to be so,  the resulting debate will be muted. Sanders, in short, isn’t doing his job. That’s nothing for Democrats to be smug about.

2. Last week it was learned that at least 2,079 emails Clinton sent or received on her unsecured, private server contained classified material, though she initially said that she handled no classified material whatsoever. That’s at least 2,079 lies. We learned that she received those emails on two devices , a BlackBerry and an iPad that she received in June 2010, despite the fact that she said, after news broke about her personal email account,  she’d done this as a matter of convenience so she would not have to carry two devices, saying, “I thought it would be easier to carry just one device for my work and for my personal emails instead of two.” This was also a lie.

We learned that many, many  people, including lobbyists, lawmakers, White House officials, State Department employees, John Kerry and President Obama communicated directly with Clinton using her personal email address. This is just another part of the Obama Administration Ethics Train Wreck, Outrageous Arrogance and Incompetence Division. That so many should have reported it and didn’t, as well as stopped it, is no excuse for the corrupted Clinton enablers to latch onto, and it doesn’t make what she did any less outrageous and reckless. It doesn’t excuse her irresponsible conduct at all. It just shows how lazy and amateurish others were as well.

We earlier learned that hackers with ties to Russia tried at least five times to access Clinton’s account over a four hour period  on the morning of Aug. 3, 2011, by sending her emails. The Clinton campaign says there is no evidence to suggest she opened them, giving the hackers access to her computer. That is just moral luck.

Finally, we learned this week that Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State WROTE 104 emails, using her private server, that the State Department has since designated as classified.

Was Clinton asked about anything related to her e-mail lies and incompetence regarding national security last night, or about her incompetent oversight of her own agency, which is supposedly one of the credits that makes her so qualified to be President?

No. That’s a breach of competence by CNN and Anderson Cooper, with pure complicity by Bernie Sanders.

3. Why is the news media’s description of the Flint crisis, especially when the debate is in Flint, so misleading and sloppy? Here’s  how Cooper introduced the topic: “The state of Michigan, in an effort to save money, switched Flint’s water source to a cheaper, but riskier alternative, the Flint River.”

Wrong, misleading, wrong. First,  It has to be made clear that Flint is broke, and before it was broke, it was horribly managed. The State took the city over, as states will do in such circumstances, and any decisions made by the Flint city council—mostly Democrat—had to be approved by a state manager. Flint, which would like to stop being a basket case, decided, not the state, to save money by getting water from Lake Huron, instead of  the expensive Detroit water system. The emergency manager signed off on Flint’s plan; it was not a state plan. The transition would take a year or so, and the Flint River was a temporary source, not a “cheaper alternative.”

What Cooper’s description suggests—I read a similar one in the Boston Globe today—is that the State of Michigan said, “Let’s save some money and make the people of Flint drink out of the Flint River. It’s good enough for them.” That’s the false narrative Democrats are pushing, because on both sides of this mess are Democratic politicians and appointees screwing up: in the city itself, and in the Federal government. The State, and its Republican governor, are certainly accountable for poor decisions, but not the decision being attributed to them.

4. Bernie Sanders is being attacked by Hillary supporters because he hushed Clinton as she tried to interrupt him, saying. “Excuse me, I’m talking.” The Horror. Later in the debate, he did it again, snapping, “Let me finish, please!” And again: “Can I finish, please? All right?”

Says the Washington Post: “Sanders may speak with everyone this way (he often cuts off reporters of both genders mid-sentence), but in this case he risked offending female voters who have been wavering on whether to back Clinton.”

In a word, ARRRRRRRGHHHHHHHH!” Women are still trying to have it both ways, it appears, even while they want to elect a “strong female leader.” This is an early warning that President Clinton’s staff, hacks and media flacks will be using her gender the way Obama’s minions have used his race—as a cheap, unfair, cynical and divisive way to muzzle critics and opponents and to stop them from treating her the way feminists claim they want to be treated: exactly the same as men. They do—unless they don’t.

Clinton’s in the arena, and has no right to expect to be treated like a lady.

5. Bernie Sanders really is ridiculous, to an insulting degree. He started talking about Wall Street when asked how he’d solve the lead crisis in Flint. Single issue, single focus candidates aren’t serious candidates, or shouldn’t be. That Sanders is Clinton’s sole opposition is proof of how rigged her nomination is, and the fact that she isn’t clobbering him shows her weakness as a candidate. (Note: it is rich hearing liberal pundits accuse the Republican Party of plotting to rob Trump of the nomination if he has the most delegates, when the Democratic Party “super delegate system” allows it to do the same thing, just in a different way.)

6. Does Hillary have less self-awareness than any Presidential candidate ever? She has said, laughably, that she has never lied. She has said that women who accuse men of sexual assault—you know, like the women who accused her husband while she worked to silence them—have a right to be believed. In the debate, she called on Rick Snyder to resign, seemingly applying the same principle which hold her responsible for Benghazi: he was in charge, there was a disaster on his watch, and whether he was directly at fault or not, he should take the fall. I agree with that principle, but like so many others, Hillary likes it as long as she isn’t subject to it.

7. My vote for the most irresponsible statement of the night: Sanders promising that he would reduce the prison population by nearly 600,000 people in four years. That’s either wild pandering to the black community, or creeping insanity. Does Bernie really think that more than 25% of the prison population are just harmless people who  like a joint now and then?

8. I have to give Bernie props, however, for providing one of the most vivid examples of how the knee-jerk guilty-white left sees African-Americans as clichés, stereotypes and abstractions. Asked about his “racial blind spots”—a certifiably terrible question (though not as bad as the earlier “Do you believe that God is relevant, why or why not?“) and essentially a demand for self-flagellating white privilege cant, Sanders answered,

“When you are white, you don’t know what it’s like to be living in a ghetto, you don’t know what it’s like to be poor, you don’t know what it’s like to be hassled when you are walking down a street or dragged out of a car.”

Because all blacks are poor, and no whites are. Because there are no white ghettos.

I’ve been hassled walking down the street, by the way. When I lived on Capitol Hill, in D.C. By blacks. Nah, I must have imagined it.

9. Finally, I have to point out that Don Lemon’s statement, “As a black man in America, if I were born today I’d have a one in three chance of ending up in prison in my life” is not just nonsense, but poisonous nonsense. He makes it sound like there’s a Star Chamber lottery where black men’s names are pulled out of a hat, and they are arrested. Nobody ends up in jail by chance, black or white. If you don’t violate laws, the “chance” of your ending up in jail is pretty close to zero. This is the mass incarceration myth: all these law-abiding black men are somehow in jail. There are too many black men in jail in large part because too many black men break laws, and have been raised watching their role models breaking laws.

47 thoughts on “Observations On The Democratic Candidates Debate In Flint, MI.

  1. ““When you are white, you don’t know what it’s like to be living in a ghetto, you don’t know what it’s like to be poor, you don’t know what it’s like to be hassled when you are walking down a street or dragged out of a car.”

    This made my head explode. I spent several years of my life in a trailer park, but since I’m not black, I don’t know what it’s like to be poor? I went to school at a place called “Gun Run” but since I’m not black, I didn’t live in a ghetto? As I clean my cerebrospinal fluid out of the carpet, I think this may be an incredible illustration of the fallacious and racist logic that is “white privilege”. Funny how that privilege doesn’t trickle down to us little people here in the South or the Midwest. I would have loved to be able to go to one of the fancy colleges that BLM is protesting at, but I had to go to community college because I grew up lower-middle class. I remember my parents scrimping and saving and going without just so we could move to a better school district, so that I could have even a CHANCE of college. But because we are white, our struggles don’t matter to the leftist protesters. I want some of that privilege they’re talking about. That would be nice.

  2. Having the sense not to open strange emails from Russian hackers is not moral luck any more than a child not climbing into the back of a van to get some free candy from a stranger is moral luck. People have been warned off of stuff like that for years, don’t open attachments from people you don’t know or don’t trust, and don’t trust includes people you think are stupid enough to open attachments, don’t open strange emails, don’t allow your email to run scripts. This is what we’ve taught people for years

    • Apparently the “don’t store your classified emails on a private server and engage in official correspondence on insecure channels” rule got missed?

    • You’re not paying attention. It;s moral luck that Hillary wasn’t hacked. The server was insecure.

      Hillary wasn’t savvy enough to know that today a private server is inexcusably risky. Anything she did right was a presumptive accident. You’re arguing that she took proper precautions on a non-conforming account. She’s untrustworthy, technically inept and incompetent where e-mail is concerned (“With a cloth?”) Why on earth do you think that makes sense?

      • Hacked how?

        And all I’m arguing is she took the precautions that a 12 year old would know to take. I didn’t say she knew how to secure a server, I said any idiot who knows nothing of security knows about opening strange emails. You’re the one suggesting that someone who might have used a cheap bike lock that could be cut by wire cutters is the same as someone who who’d tell a stranger, sure you can borrow my bike just bring it back tomorrow.

        In your eagerness to condemn Clinton you go to far. Jack I lave you alone in your complains about her that appear to be arrived at honestly. Argue all of the above if it please you, except that it’s moral luck not to have done something that any idiot, not just any technically savvy person, knows not to do.

        • It’s moral luck that an insecure server wasn’t hacked. Since it is dumb luck that it wasn’t, I see no reason to assume even 12-year-old precautions could be expected of Clinton. Lawyers get phished more than any other professionals, lawyers with more tech savvy than Clinton.You are attributing to her wisdom that there was, and is, no reason to believe she had.

          • Yet I probably have less tech savvy than Clinton and know better. Then again I wouldn’t be quick to boast about the tech savvy of lawyers either so here we are.

    • But what if the emails were from “PresidentObama@whitehouse.gov.ru”?

      What if the Russians were clever and spoofed a real government address, and her server’s spam filters were too primitive to catch it? How would she know that was it wasn’t an official email?

      Homegrown server from a woman who thinks that “wiping” the server means “with a cloth” versus even remotely competent hackers in Russia; it is ultimately moral luck they were not opened.

      If her lawyers were clever, they might have even left those to “proove” that no hackers got in, while deleting actual evidence of compromised security.

      • If her lawyers were clever, they might have even left those to “proove” that no hackers got in, while deleting actual evidence of compromised security.

        We have very different ideas about what makes a smart lawyer. I don’t think smart layers do things that would land them in prison.

  3. NPR reported that the most ridiculous statement of the night was Hillary’s promise regarding removing all lead within a few years. Apparently, it would take decades.

  4. “When, meanwhile, one candidate is notable for trustworthiness and dishonesty…” I think you are missing an “un-” theree…

  5. Single issue, single focus candidates aren’t serious candidates

    They may be VERY serious candidates when you have a country full of single issue, single focus voters.

  6. Thanks for point 9 above. I was getting the mass incarceration rap yesterday from a guy and wanted to ask him, “Do you know how hard it is in America to get arrested for doing or not doing something, convicted, and thrown in jail?”

  7. “Does Bernie really think that more than 25% of the prison population are just harmless people who like a joint now and then?”

    “Violent crime was not responsible for the quadrupling of the incarcerated population in the United States from 1980 to 2003. Violent crime rates had been relatively constant or declining over those decades. The prison population was increased primarily by public policy changes causing more prison sentences and lengthening time served, e.g. through mandatory minimum sentencing, “three strikes” laws, and reductions in the availability of parole or early release. 49 percent of sentenced state inmates were held for violent offenses. Perhaps the single greatest force behind the growth of the prison population has been the national “War on Drugs.” The number of incarcerated drug offenders has increased twelvefold since 1980. In 2000, 22 percent of those in federal and state prisons were convicted on drug charges.”


    Purely on the numbers, that’s actually close. Now I don’t want to make this an argument about whether or not all the drugs that are currently illegal should remain illegal, we’ve famously disagreed on that. But I think we found common ground previously that sentencing is out to lunch, I don’t trust Bernie to properly manage any reform to this problem, but America is locking people up at a crippling rate, and has been during a time where crime in general has been on a sharp decline.

    • No no, where VIOLENT crime has been on a decline. I wonder what the statutes for fraud, financial crime, and things like that are. Arguably that can do a whole lot more widespread damage than a simple assault on one person.

    • 1. And if crimes aren’t violent, they don’t deserve prison time? Like, say, theft? All those white collar crooks that Bernie wants in jail shouldn’t be in jail? Those weren’t violent crimes.

      2. The statement made no observation about whether the crimes were violent or not. If these are guys peddling drugs to school children, is that prison-worthy? The division is arbitrary. Moreover, and many have pointed out, many in prison for drug offenses were previously charged with violent crimes.

      3. I agree with James Taranto: those who argue “We have a high race of incarceration, even though crime rates are falling,” haven’t thought very hard about what they are saying.

      • Financial crimes SHOULD lead to jail time, especially major fleece jobs like Enron where people who play by the rules lose their savings.

        • Exactly. I am not so naive as to say that most drug use is a victimless crime. Excessive drug use can harm others, usually emotional and financial harm to families. But we don’t put people in prison because they are horrible children or parents — absent physical abuse. Instead, the family seeks treatment for them and/or community-based services step in. The key word is treatment.

          On the other hand, financial crimes do hurt a great many people — and fairly indiscriminately. I don’t think these criminals should be thrown in with rapists and murderers, but I do think that far longer sentences are in order — and maybe their prisons could have less amenities to make it seem even more like punishment and less like Club Med with really good locks.

          Druggies are going to continue being addicts regardless of the sentence involved, because addiction is a disease. Prison is no detriment to them. But if I were a Wall Street tycoon devoid of ethics, I might think twice before defrauding clients if it meant that I might have to spend twenty years in prison as opposed to two. Two years in prison may be a small price to pay if I were able to hide away $50 million from the Feds, but twenty years? I imagine most people (even people with no moral core) wouldn’t take the risk.

      • 1. This is an old argument. While those crimes are illegal, there should be consequences, we agree. But should those consequences be 40 year prison terms? Two years less a day? Fines?

        2. Non violent is Arbitrary? Perhaps. It still seems like an easy first step to make in a worthwhile discussion. On the second part though… What is your opinion on basing sentencing on past behaviors? Is past behavior relevant to sentencing current behavior? I think I’m leaning to agree with you, pull me in.

        3. Only to people who don’t put much thought into it. Crime rates ARE decreasing and the prison population IS increasing. Why is that? Mandatory Minimums, Three Strike laws, and Parole Restrictions. We are putting people into prison for longer terms on less serious infractions.

        • 1. This is policy. If someone sells drugs to kids, I have no sympathy if we thrwo them in jial and throw away the key. It’s policy, not ethics. What serves society better? Lots of trade-offs. I can make arguments either away, and all along the spectrum. But crime is a risk-reward business. If the risk is too small…you know the rest.

          2. Of course it’s arbitrary. Bernie Madoff did more damage than any single killer you can name, except maybe Oswald. Crime ruinds lives and harms society. Violent crimes are just one kind—they are not necessarily worse. How about treason? Is statutory rape violent? It’s a facile distinction. “Is past behavior relevant to sentencing current behavior?” if it isn’t, you’re going to have more people in jail, not fewer. First time offenders are usually given non-prison punishments. Those who get prison terms are mostly habitual or repeat offenders, and the sentence reflects society’s interests: OK, you’ve proven we can’t trust you, and you’re a menace

          3. You missed my point? Crime rates are decreasing be because more of the people who commit crimes, can’t.

          Again, it’s just policy. I’ve seen this debate many times, and it’s just a swinging pendulum. Killing anyone who commits a crime is too harsh; not punishing any crimes causes chaos. Where is the ideal balance? I don’t know. But I do know that the problem is caused by people who won’t respect the law, and of all of the stakeholders, they are lowest among my priorities.

          • Of course it’s arbitrary. Bernie Madoff did more damage than any single killer you can name, except maybe Oswald. Crime ruinds lives and harms society. Violent crimes are just one kind—they are not necessarily worse. How about treason? Is statutory rape violent? It’s a facile distinction. “Is past behavior relevant to sentencing current behavior?” if it isn’t, you’re going to have more people in jail, not fewer. First time offenders are usually given non-prison punishments. Those who get prison terms are mostly habitual or repeat offenders, and the sentence reflects society’s interests: OK, you’ve proven we can’t trust you, and you’re a menace

            Comparing damage is a tad subjective.

            Bernie Madoff was not accused of killing anyone.

          • I need to look up the statistics on the increase in prison population after Reagan closed the State Mental Hospitals. What percentage of inmates have debilitating mental illness? How many of those who are now on the streets ballooning the homeless population, self-medicate with drugs and alcohol? Sure the program had problems, but Reagan through out the baby with the bathwater. Many of these people just went from one institution into another.

            • Any public defender will tell you that prison populations are increasing, in part, because they are taking over housing people who used to go to mental hospitals.

              • Absolutely. That’s not Reagan’s fault, though: that’s on the courts, and an unanticipated result of civil libertarians opposing the warehousing of non-dangerous mentally ill.

                  • From a more complete essay on the issue in the Times in 1984:

                    “The discharge of mental patients was accelerated in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s in some states as a result of a series of court decisions that limited the commitment powers of state and local officials.”

                    I shouldn’t have said the courts were the main culprits, but this is not something that Reagan can be blamed for, especially since it was mostly state-propelled. It also was largely completed during his term, having started much earlier.

                    • It is true it wasn’t all Reagan, In fact the ACLU had a big part in it as well. Films and books like “One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest” and such shined a light on the often deplorable conditions, abuse and hopeless institutionalizing. The idea was to close the mental hospitals and move the residents into community based programs ….but those programs never materialized, they were either not funded or underfunded as the great rush to trim the social programs budgets took their tolls. We pay now.

                      It was an un-holy marriage of conservatives hoping to cut budgets and liberals trying to free the “oppressed and abused”. Reagan should have put more money and real effort into fixing the problem instead of passing the buck, de-funding them and expecting it to be handled by the communities and families. A terrible disservice was done to these most vulnerable citizens….but hey, not many of them vote or pay taxes…:(

                    • It was barely Reagan at all. Did you read the link? The Times article was written in 1984, and the policy was well underway before Reagan was elected. Have you seen “Nuts”? It’s a legitimate ethical issue. Who’s crazy, and who decides? Is “crazy” just a minority view of reality? I had a grand uncle committed when he was 35—40 years later they decided he wasn’t crazy at all, just odd. And maybe we’re the crazy ones.

                      It’s not money; its principle. If they can’t be cured, and can sort of function, and aren’t dangerous, and want to be free, should we lock them up permanently? The Soviets sending dissidents to asylums was also a factor.

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