Live-blogging the seventh Dem debate

Sanders: Clinton's 'Friends' Destroyed Economy

Democratic Party presidential candidate Bernie Sanders won three (Kansas, Nebraska and Maine) of the four primary states that were contested this weekend, and I’d say that he won the often-contentious seventh Democratic presidential debate tonight, too, but of course the Billarybots would disagree. I support Sanders going for as long as he possibly can; as long as he still can win, he needs to stay in it to win. We shouldn’t settle for Repugnican Lite Billary Clinton if we don’t have to — and we don’t have to.

4:55 p.m. (all times Pacific): I’ve seen two start times given for tonight’s Democratic Party presidential debate: 5 p.m. Eastern and 6 p.m. Eastern. I’m not sure if the debate truly will start at 5 p.m. or whether it will be CNN’s talking heads blathering at 5 p.m., with the actual debate starting an hour later. We’ll see.

Again: This time I don’t plan to try to stenographically capture all of the debate, but plan to capture only what is new and/or especially interesting and/or noteworthy. This might be the most contentious Dem debate yet.

Thus far Billary Clinton has won/”won” 11 states — all but one of them in the South — to Bernie Sanders’ seven.

5:03 p.m.: The debate indeed has begun. Both Bernie and Billary have called upon Repugnican Tea Party Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder to resign because of Flint, Michigan’s water crisis. Billary added that if he doesn’t resign he should be recalled, and as I type this sentence she is stealing Bernie’s talking points on fixing our crumbling infrastructure.

5:11 p.m.: I can’t say that the debate thus far has shed new light on the Flint water crisis. I sympathize with the residents of Flint, who still can’t safely drink their tap water, and it’s true that if the residents of Flint predominantly were white things probably would be different, but to organize this debate around Flint’s water crisis strikes me as a little odd and politically opportunistic (on that note, Billary informed us that it was her idea…).

5:13 p.m.: Bernie says that those in Flint are paying three times for poisoned water than what he is paying for clean water in Vermont. Bernie calls for the Centers for Disease Control to examine every child in Flint for lead poisoning, and he states that he has a plan to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure (including its water pipelines) that also will create many jobs.

5:16 p.m.: Anderson Cooper just stated that Billary’s call for Snyder to resign is brand-new. Well, yeah, that’s what she has been doing: copying Bernie.

When asked, Billary stated that she supports the firing of Environmental Protection Agency officials who properly failed to protect Flint, however high up in the EPA hierarchy that failure went.

Bernie states that as president he would fire any governmental official who knew about the Flint problem but did nothing about it.

5:20 p.m.: Billary now commits to removing all lead from our environment. How possible and/or practical that is, I don’t know… My understanding is that not all lead that exists is imminently dangerous to human health. All dangerous lead should be removed, of course.

5:22 p.m.: A Flint resident now asks Billary if she’s using the Flint crisis to score political points. Billary is blathering that she’s always been an activist. Riiight…

Bernie says that he has been paying attention to Flint, but that he’s been quieter and less showy about it, and he reminds us that the media attention to Flint is temporary, but that his record demonstrates that he has taken on powerful interests and helped the weak.

5:27 p.m.: A Flint resident asks Billary what she’ll do to stem job loss in Flint and elsewhere. Billary rattles off infrastructure-improvement jobs, ensuring that more women and racial minorities can get small businesses, and punishing companies that export jobs elsewhere.

Bernie reminds us that Billary has supported NAFTA and the TPP and other bad trade deals, so that she comes awfully late to the game on the topic of trade-deal-related job loss. Billary does not look pleased and has changed the topic to the auto-industry bailout. She says Bernie voted against it.

5:31 p.m.: Fireworks. Bernie says he refused to bail out Wall Street. 

5:33 p.m.: Billary is back on the auto-industry bailout, which she says she supported but Bernie voted against. I’m assuming that he did vote against it, but it did pass nonetheless, and of course Billary is pandering on this point, given her audience in Flint, Michigan, and Michigan being the next big primary state to vote, on Tuesday.

The point of capitalism is to sink or swim — bailouts of corporations don’t meet that criteria, and while corporations get bailed out, human beings sure don’t.

But again, Billary the Panderer in Chief is speaking in Flint, Michigan, whose economy the fraudsters of the auto industry helped to destroy, which is why she is pushing this point — never mind the larger point that we, the taxpayers, should not bail out corporations.

5:42 p.m.: Billary essentially states that she doesn’t want to talk about the 1990s except when to do so is favorable to her. Wow.

Her voice sounds tired and strained, whereas Bernie sounds like his usual self. I’d say that he is winning this debate, but I am not objective, of course.

5:46 p.m.: Anderson Cooper points out that Bernie Sanders is correct that the Import-Export Bank (Export-Import?) Bank, Billary’s darling, helps out big corporations, such as Boeing and Caterpillar, much more than it helps out the Mom-and-Pop businesses.

This is in line with Billary’s entire political career: claiming to care endlessly about the little guy while actually rolling around in bed with the Big Guys.

5:50 p.m.: We’re on break now. Overall, I’d say that Bernie is fairly owning Billary, who, in her hoarse voice, essentially is telling us that there is almost no corporation that she hasn’t wuved.

5:54 p.m.: The topic now is crime and mass shootings. Billary, who has just claimed to care about a female minor who recently was shot in gun violence, is now about to remind us that Bernie Sanders voted against the Brady Bill.

Oh, and just now Billary is reminding us that Bernie was for giving gun manufacturers legal immunity, demonstrating that she’ll use even a girl’s shooting tragedy for her own political gain.

(On the immunity issue, should a car manufacturer be held accountable if someone uses a car that it manufactured to run someone down? Bernie has good rationales for his votes.)

6:01 p.m.: Bernie just explained his stance on gun-manufacturer immunity. His reasoning is solid: If a product is legal, its manufacturer can’t be held liable for its misuse.

6:04 p.m.: Billary thinks that yelling is equal to being rational and being correct in your argumentation. 

Sympathy for the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre (and other gun massacres) does not actually mean that you should hold gun manufacturers responsible for how their legally manufactured products are misused.

If you want to ban guns, ban guns, if you can do so constitutionally.

6:07 p.m.: Don Lemon devastatingly (?) asks Billary why black people should trust her now to get it right this time when her husband’s 1994 crime bill resulted in the mass incarceration of black Americans.

6:09 p.m.: Bernie reminds us that bills are complex, that they contain good and bad provisions. He states that he voted for the 1994 crime bill for its good provisions.

6:11 p.m.: Bernie is rattling off his civil-rights bona fides at the request of a black man who apparently essentially states that Bernie is just another old white man. (Bernie would be our first [at least ethnically] Jewish American president, so I think that he knows something of being a minority…)

As I have written, given our nation’s increasing diversity, it perhaps is unfortunate that Bernie looks like just another old white man, but the fact of the matter is that I always go for the most progressive candidate, regardless of his or her demographics (age, race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, etc.).

The Democratic Party has gotten too involved in identity politics, to its detriment. Diversity is important, but me-first identity politics is toxic and destructive.

And about one third of Americans still are white males. We can’t shit and piss on one third of Americans. That we do so is one of the reasons that Donald Trump is doing as well as he is.

6:18 p.m.: Bernie is asked how he would improve race relations in the United States — more specifically, he is asked how he would do a better job in tackling racial issues than Barack Obama has been.

Bernie says he would build on what Obama has started, and would do such things as reform the criminal justice system, such as by ending minimum sentencing, treating drug abuse as a health issue rather than a criminal issue, and ensuring that the incarcerated receive education and other support so that they can be successful upon release.

6:21 p.m.: Billary is asked about her controversial 1996 use of the term “super-predator.” She states that it was a poor use of words and that she wouldn’t use the term again. She then digressed into how much she cares about the children.

6:23 p.m.: Billary now reminds us that the economy did well in the 1990s, even though it’s only OK to link her to her husband’s presidency when it’s good for her.

6:24 p.m.: On that note, Bernie reminds us that the 1990s brought us NAFTA and the deregulation of Wall Street, which came back to harm us later.

We’re on break now. The discussion of race reminds me of this cartoon by Ted Rall:

When Obama was elected, pundits said having the first-ever African-American president would change everything, especially for blacks. As it turns out, however, by most measures the lives of American blacks remained the same or got worse during his two terms. Now women are being told that the election of Hillary Clinton as the first woman president would lead to meaningful changes for women.

6:31 p.m.: The subject now is our public schools. Bernie says he would make the rich pay their fair share of taxes with which we would improve our crumbling public schools.

Billary essentially says the same, but with better detail. She talks about a 1990s program that helped financially strapped communities improve their public schools. Again, we can talk about the 1990s when it’s good for Billary.

6:35 p.m.: Billary is asked if teachers’ unions protect poorly performing teachers. Billary says that we scapegoat our public school teachers because we don’t adequately fund our public schools. I agree. (There are bad teachers, of course, but the larger problem is that we don’t support our public-school children nearly enough.)

6:38 p.m.: Don Lemon says that Billary’s infrastructure-improvement plan is only a quarter of Bernie’s. Billary says her plan is adequate and would create millions of jobs.

Bernie is asked by Don if his plan is too expensive to get passed in D.C. Bernie reminds us that the American Society of Civil Engineers says that we must spend at least a trillion dollars to bring our infrastructure up to snuff.

6:41 p.m.: Billary, asked about fracking, won’t oppose it altogether, but says she only supports the regulation of it.

Bernie is to the point: He says that he does not support fracking at all.

Funny how this one topic, fracking, shows what’s probably the biggest difference between Billary and Bernie: She’ll support shit that the corporations want her to support — and he just won’t. Billary will sell us out; Bernie won’t.

Bernie received thunderous applause for his strong opposition to fracking.

6:47 p.m.: Billary once again reminds us that both she and Bernie are better than are the Repugnicans and that the Democratic presidential debates are nothing like the Repugnican presidential debates.

This is more Clintonian triangulation, and it’s the same old argument that at least the Clintonistas aren’t as evil and/or crazy as are the Repugnicans. 

There are degrees of evil, and Billary Clinton and her bots are just too damned evil for me. They’re too willing to accept too much harm to others, which is what they do when they support the status quo, which is what they do when they say that we need a President Billary Clinton like we need a third or fourth term of the Obama administration: more of the same, because it’s just naive and/or crazy to expect anything better than the pro-corporate, pro-plutocratic incrementalism that we’ve seen from the Democratic Party since Bill Clinton in the 1990s.  

6:56 p.m.: Bernie reminds us that the match-up polls show both him and Billary beating Donald Trump, but that they show him beating Trump by a larger margin. This is true — Bernie does better against all of the Repugnican Tea Party presidential contenders in the match-up polls than does Billary, who loses to most of them while Bernie beats all of them — so Billary just doesn’t respond.

6:58 p.m.: An apparent theofascist who looks way too much like Sarah Palin just asked Bernie whether or not “God” is “relevant.” It’s a bullshit religious-test question.

6:59 p.m.: Anderson Cooper just essentially asked Bernie Sanders if he’s ashamed to be Jewish (as evidenced by the fact that Bernie doesn’t blather about religion). Bernie says that he is “very proud” of being Jewish and that it’s an “essential” part of his human being. He reminds us that he had forebears killed in the Holocaust.

7:01 p.m.: The same Sarah-Palin-like crazy religious lady (I highly doubt that she’s ever cast a vote for a Democrat in her too-long life) just asked Billary to whom and for what she prays. Is this 2016? What the fucking fuck?

We truly don’t need another Inquisition.

7:03 p.m.: Closing statements now.

Bernie reminds us that “we are the wealthiest nation in the history of the world” but that you wouldn’t know that, because the wealth has gone to the top 1 percent. We need to reclaim the government that men and women fought and died for, he stated.

Billary talks about barriers to success, such as systemic racism and student-loan debt, that as president she would tackle. “America’s best days can be and are ahead of us,” she ends tritely.

This debate wasn’t as deadly (deadly repetitive or deadly boring) as I’d thought that it would be. They didn’t go too far with the Flint thing. I mean, don’t get me wrong; Flint is a city long done wrong by the 1 percent, but our nation is full of Flints, and these Flints shouldn’t be used for personal political gain.

Optically, I believe that Bernie won the debate, as well as substantively, but once again, who won the debate will depend upon whom you supported or to whom you were leaning before the debate began.

The debates, I believe, have exposed Billary as beholden to her corporate sugar daddies, but the Clintonistas have spun this as a necessary evil in today’s politics.

I call bullshit on that. Bernie Sanders just won the Maine caucuses today, bringing him to eight states won (and two states within 1.5 percent of Billary), proving that you don’t have to be a corporate whore to be successful in politics.

I suspect that what will be talked about the most tomorrow, unfortunately, is the Crazy Sarah-Palin-Like Lady who asked Bernie about “God.”

Again, I doubt that she’s ever cast a vote from a Democrat in her life — I suspect that she is a Repugnican Tea Party operative (or, come to think of it, perhaps a Billary operative) — but in the general election Bernie Sanders would face this bullshit, un-American religious test, so I suppose that he might as well begin to face it now.

As I have written, I don’t much care whether Bernie Sanders believes in a “God” or not, as long as he doesn’t try to shove any such belief down others’ throats. He doesn’t try to shove any religious beliefs down anyone else’s throat, which is why I can support him.

When Billary states that she prays, as she did tonight, I find it insincere, just more pandering (most Americans, after all, call themselves “Christians”). I mean, Billary commits evil for monetary return, but she prays? This makes her “Godly”?

Jesus himself said, “When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get.

“But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.”

Jesus himself said not to brag about your praying, but to keep it private.

If the “Christians” ever actually practiced what Jesus preached, they’d be much more tolerable.

It’s funny that the most Christian candidate for president is the Jewish Bernie Sanders.

P.S. I sure hope that the Dems don’t stupidly get spooked on the “God” issue. The Jesus freaks are going to vote for the Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidate anyway, whoever it is.

And again: This is the year 2016.

Pandering to the “Christo”fascist right is not the way forward for the Democratic Party.

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