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The Artifice of Debate
Author: BobR    Date: 08/05/2015 13:10:23

Tomorrow night is the first Republican debate of the 2016 presidential campaign season. In years past, primary debates were typically held in the states where primaries were about to be held, sponsored by the local newspaper, and - ostensibly - focused on the issues important to those residing in that state. The big national primaries between the two selected candidates were conducted by the League of Women Voters.

Things have changed quite a bit. On the national level, the League of Women Voters bailed on the process when the two major parties escalated demands to the point where they simply threw up their hands and walked away. On the primary level, things have changed too.

While primaries may have been sponsored by newspapers, the papers at least had a reputation for reporting news on a generally sober level. Their editorial pages may have a slant one way or the other, but fact-based reporting was the norm. That was even the case with network news (pre-cable), back when it was considered a loss-leader rather than a profit center.

Which brings us to the present day.

The debate tomorrow is being sponsored by FOX "News". I always put that second part of their name in quotes because it is well-documented how they make up "facts", misrepresent and misreport, etc. Their editorial bias is clear, which is why it's a favorite of right-wingers. They are impossible to distinguish from a propaganda operation.

There are several reasons why having them sponsor the debate is problematic:

  1. Challenging the Participants: I hope I am proved wrong, but how many of the candidates are going to be seriously challenged for their more extremist positions? This looks to be more of a soft fluffing of them all, and pushing them to go even more extreme in an effort to boost their conservative bona fides. I predict the number of serious probing questions will be able to be counted on one hand.

  2. Participant Selection: The top ten candidates based on polls will be participating; the others will be relegated to a warm-up act. This puts actual serious candidates (comparatively speaking) at a disadvantage as WWE-style posturing seems to be attracting those who actually respond to polls. It can also lead to "stacking the deck" by respondents looking for entertainment rather than serious political discussion (for example: Ted Cruz's video of cooking bacon with a semi-automatic rifle. What an embarrassment for America).

  3. Ceding Control by the Party: The aforementioned League of Women voters bailed on the debates because the parties demanded too much control over the debate format. They are a non-partisan, non-ideologue body. For these debates, the Republican party is willing to cede ALL control over the debate to a news/propaganda organization which can make or break candidates based on FOX's version of "reporting". It's a bit shocking they are so beholden to FOX, and one wonders if this wanders into a gray legal area.

  4. Media Access: Considering this is sponsored by FOX, how many other networks are going to cover it, and - by doing so - give FOX some semblance of credibility (not to mention free advertising)? Hopefully C-SPAN will cover it so folks can watch it without giving FOX "News" the Nielsen ratings.

Those who cover the campaigns are none too happy with this, and it's understandable. When a nationwide news network takes control of the narrative, we are entering into dangerous territory for our democratic republic.

27 comments (Latest Comment: 08/05/2015 19:43:17 by Mondobubba)
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Comment by Raine on 08/05/2015 13:38:30
good morning—

Comment by wickedpam on 08/05/2015 14:18:50
Morning

Just woke up - back to my Gish items apparently marshmallows don't stack as easily as one would think, had to switch to sugar cubes

Comment by TriSec on 08/05/2015 14:27:10
Morning comrades. trisec is saddened by his minister acquaintance today. He swallowed the planned parenthood story whole and posted a rant instead of his usual 'Daily Encouragement' today.

How unfortunate that 'christians' seem to be the most closed-minded and intolerant people I know.

Comment by Raine on 08/05/2015 14:39:53
Comment by Scoopster on 08/05/2015 14:45:40
Quote by TriSec:
Morning comrades. trisec is saddened by his minister acquaintance today. He swallowed the planned parenthood story whole and posted a rant instead of his usual 'Daily Encouragement' today.

How unfortunate that 'christians' seem to be the most closed-minded and intolerant people I know.

Sounds like he's taking the cue from that fuddy-duddy cardinal up there.

Comment by Scoopster on 08/05/2015 14:49:27
And g'mornin' all..

Long commute this morning, bus got stuck in traffic on 95 because people were rubbernecking. Nothing blocking the highway at all, just rubbernecking to watch the state workers clean up storm-fallen trees. You'd think they'd never seen a dead tree before the way they stop & stare..

Comment by BobR on 08/05/2015 15:16:26
Since we all share here, I thought I should let you all know about some sadness in my life. My 89 year old mother has not been doing well, and ended up in the hospital last week. During tests they found cancer in her liver. She is too frail for chemo or traditional radiation therapy, so they were going to treat it by embedding radioactive pellets in the cancer.

However, more tests showed she has cancer in her bile ducts. That is not treatable. The doctors said a "healthy" person would have 6 months left - in her condition, it will be less than that. She is being moved into hospice today.

We are scheduled to visit her over Labor Day weekend. I can only hope she holds out that long.


Comment by Mondobubba on 08/05/2015 15:20:29
Did I mention that a friend of mine has been diagnosed with something "indolent lymphoma." It is a fairly rare type of lymphoma that is kind of interesting. There is no cure for it, but it grows really slowly, so slowly that it isn't life threatening in the near term. It also responds well to treatment. He had a meeting with the radiologist yesterday who termed said he has a "fancy cancer." Or has he and his wife have started calling it, "fancer." This is why I like them, they have a sense of humor about this whole thing.

Comment by Mondobubba on 08/05/2015 15:22:38
Quote by BobR:
Since we all share here, I thought I should let you all know about some sadness in my life. My 89 year old mother has not been doing well, and ended up in the hospital last week. During tests they found cancer in her liver. She is too frail for chemo or traditional radiation therapy, so they were going to treat it by embedding radioactive pellets in the cancer.

However, more tests showed she has cancer in her bile ducts. That is not treatable. The doctors said a "healthy" person would have 6 months left - in her condition, it will be less than that. She is being moved into hospice today.

We are scheduled to visit her over Labor Day weekend. I can only hope she holds out that long.



Oh shit, Bobber. My timing is terrible. I hadn't refreshed da blog when I posted about my friend and his fancer. I am so sorry. <--- bro hug with the arm across the chest to keep any of "the gay" off.

Comment by BobR on 08/05/2015 15:28:42
Quote by Mondobubba:
Quote by BobR:
Since we all share here, I thought I should let you all know about some sadness in my life. My 89 year old mother has not been doing well, and ended up in the hospital last week. During tests they found cancer in her liver. She is too frail for chemo or traditional radiation therapy, so they were going to treat it by embedding radioactive pellets in the cancer.

However, more tests showed she has cancer in her bile ducts. That is not treatable. The doctors said a "healthy" person would have 6 months left - in her condition, it will be less than that. She is being moved into hospice today.

We are scheduled to visit her over Labor Day weekend. I can only hope she holds out that long.



Oh shit, Bobber. My timing is terrible. I hadn't refreshed da blog when I posted about my friend and his fancer. I am so sorry. <--- bro hug with the arm across the chest to keep any of "the gay" off.

no worries

Comment by wickedpam on 08/05/2015 15:29:13
Quote by BobR:
Since we all share here, I thought I should let you all know about some sadness in my life. My 89 year old mother has not been doing well, and ended up in the hospital last week. During tests they found cancer in her liver. She is too frail for chemo or traditional radiation therapy, so they were going to treat it by embedding radioactive pellets in the cancer.

However, more tests showed she has cancer in her bile ducts. That is not treatable. The doctors said a "healthy" person would have 6 months left - in her condition, it will be less than that. She is being moved into hospice today.

We are scheduled to visit her over Labor Day weekend. I can only hope she holds out that long.



Sending you guys love and positive vibes

Comment by TriSec on 08/05/2015 15:41:27
Damn you, big C!



Comment by Mondobubba on 08/05/2015 16:07:30
Quote by TriSec:
Damn you, big C!




Yeah! Fuck fancer and plain old cancer.

Comment by Will in Chicago on 08/05/2015 16:27:01
Quote by BobR:
Since we all share here, I thought I should let you all know about some sadness in my life. My 89 year old mother has not been doing well, and ended up in the hospital last week. During tests they found cancer in her liver. She is too frail for chemo or traditional radiation therapy, so they were going to treat it by embedding radioactive pellets in the cancer.

However, more tests showed she has cancer in her bile ducts. That is not treatable. The doctors said a "healthy" person would have 6 months left - in her condition, it will be less than that. She is being moved into hospice today.

We are scheduled to visit her over Labor Day weekend. I can only hope she holds out that long.



BobR, my deepest sympathies. Is there anyway that you and Raine can facetime or Skype her? My friend Laura does that with her family in Colorado all the time. If you wish, I can mention her by name in the Mi Sheberiach prayer (the prayer for healing) at Temple on Friday. I will keep her in my thoughts and prayers.

Comment by livingonli on 08/05/2015 17:19:27
Good day, folks. I guess things are keeping us from being as chatty as we used to be.

Comment by Scoopster on 08/05/2015 17:20:34
Quote by livingonli:
Good day, folks. I guess things are keeping us from being as chatty as we used to be.

workworkworkworkwork

Comment by Raine on 08/05/2015 17:52:16
Quote by Will in Chicago:
Quote by BobR:
Since we all share here, I thought I should let you all know about some sadness in my life. My 89 year old mother has not been doing well, and ended up in the hospital last week. During tests they found cancer in her liver. She is too frail for chemo or traditional radiation therapy, so they were going to treat it by embedding radioactive pellets in the cancer.

However, more tests showed she has cancer in her bile ducts. That is not treatable. The doctors said a "healthy" person would have 6 months left - in her condition, it will be less than that. She is being moved into hospice today.

We are scheduled to visit her over Labor Day weekend. I can only hope she holds out that long.



BobR, my deepest sympathies. Is there anyway that you and Raine can facetime or Skype her? My friend Laura does that with her family in Colorado all the time. If you wish, I can mention her by name in the Mi Sheberiach prayer (the prayer for healing) at Temple on Friday. I will keep her in my thoughts and prayers.

Her hearing is at about 5% so that won't work, plus she is very, very weak from the reasons why she went to the hospital in the first place. We found out about the cancer during routine testing — after the she was admitted to the hospital.

I appreciate the thoughts and Ideas, Will. In this situation, they are unfortunately unpractical.


Comment by Will in Chicago on 08/05/2015 17:53:06


What has happened with Kansas and education makes me glad that I am not a teacher there. (Busy cleaning today and plan on some job hunting tonight. TriSec, Watertown is looking at my application for a teaching job.)

Comment by Will in Chicago on 08/05/2015 18:09:15
Quote by Raine:
Quote by Will in Chicago:
Quote by BobR:
Since we all share here, I thought I should let you all know about some sadness in my life. My 89 year old mother has not been doing well, and ended up in the hospital last week. During tests they found cancer in her liver. She is too frail for chemo or traditional radiation therapy, so they were going to treat it by embedding radioactive pellets in the cancer.

However, more tests showed she has cancer in her bile ducts. That is not treatable. The doctors said a "healthy" person would have 6 months left - in her condition, it will be less than that. She is being moved into hospice today.

We are scheduled to visit her over Labor Day weekend. I can only hope she holds out that long.



BobR, my deepest sympathies. Is there anyway that you and Raine can facetime or Skype her? My friend Laura does that with her family in Colorado all the time. If you wish, I can mention her by name in the Mi Sheberiach prayer (the prayer for healing) at Temple on Friday. I will keep her in my thoughts and prayers.

Her hearing is at about 5% so that won't work, plus she is very, very weak from the reasons why she went to the hospital in the first place. We found out about the cancer during routine testing — after the she was admitted to the hospital.

I appreciate the thoughts and Ideas, Will. In this situation, they are unfortunately unpractical.



Is there any chance for both of you to get up there before Labor Day? It sounds that all facetime could do is allow her to see both of you.

I wish that there was something I could do to help.

Comment by Raine on 08/05/2015 18:13:15
BTW, regarding today's blog,I gotta say it:


If the GOP was really serious about winning the white house, George Pataki should be on that main stage. — I remember back a few years ago saying that I could live with John Huntsman if he were elected.

Pataki and I do not agree on much, but he is someone that — if the DAMN GOP took seriously — would be a rational republican and would probably stop attracting the racists fly like flies to shit to the GOP. He's a moderate republican from a blue state. HE sure as shit didn't do to NY what Brownback has done to Kansas.

They built this.





Comment by Will in Chicago on 08/05/2015 18:23:19
Raine, sadly the GOP has become like the Taliban and the leadership of Iran - ideological purity above all.

There was no place for John Huntsman in 2012, and I fear that there is almost no place for moderates in the GOP.

Comment by Will in Chicago on 08/05/2015 18:26:54
Thom, Scott Walker is Governor of Wisconsin, not Minnesota.

Comment by Raine on 08/05/2015 18:32:05
Quote by Will in Chicago:
Quote by Raine:
Quote by Will in Chicago:
Quote by BobR:
Since we all share here, I thought I should let you all know about some sadness in my life. My 89 year old mother has not been doing well, and ended up in the hospital last week. During tests they found cancer in her liver. She is too frail for chemo or traditional radiation therapy, so they were going to treat it by embedding radioactive pellets in the cancer.

However, more tests showed she has cancer in her bile ducts. That is not treatable. The doctors said a "healthy" person would have 6 months left - in her condition, it will be less than that. She is being moved into hospice today.

We are scheduled to visit her over Labor Day weekend. I can only hope she holds out that long.



BobR, my deepest sympathies. Is there anyway that you and Raine can facetime or Skype her? My friend Laura does that with her family in Colorado all the time. If you wish, I can mention her by name in the Mi Sheberiach prayer (the prayer for healing) at Temple on Friday. I will keep her in my thoughts and prayers.

Her hearing is at about 5% so that won't work, plus she is very, very weak from the reasons why she went to the hospital in the first place. We found out about the cancer during routine testing — after the she was admitted to the hospital.

I appreciate the thoughts and Ideas, Will. In this situation, they are unfortunately unpractical.



Is there any chance for both of you to get up there before Labor Day? It sounds that all facetime could do is allow her to see both of you.

I wish that there was something I could do to help.


Here's the thing. We have a sister that lives in Baton Rouge. We have family that lives in other parts of the country. We are all planning on being there with Mom at her bedside, together.

I know that this is going to sound cold, but she is in hospice for a reason. Bob and his family have decided that rather than hover over her, we would go together to visit Mom. We want to be all together with her.

She won't leave without seeing all of her kids, grandkids and family together.

We're all doing the best thing we can as a family and for Mom. You offering a prayer is a very nice thing to do. Mom is not a religious person at all.

This is a very proud strong adirondack mountain woman we are talking about.

Being together as a family is what is very important now. She is with Dad and she is not alone.











Comment by BobR on 08/05/2015 18:42:53
Quote by Raine:
Quote by Will in Chicago:
Quote by Raine:
Quote by Will in Chicago:
Quote by BobR:
Since we all share here, I thought I should let you all know about some sadness in my life. My 89 year old mother has not been doing well, and ended up in the hospital last week. During tests they found cancer in her liver. She is too frail for chemo or traditional radiation therapy, so they were going to treat it by embedding radioactive pellets in the cancer.

However, more tests showed she has cancer in her bile ducts. That is not treatable. The doctors said a "healthy" person would have 6 months left - in her condition, it will be less than that. She is being moved into hospice today.

We are scheduled to visit her over Labor Day weekend. I can only hope she holds out that long.

BobR, my deepest sympathies. Is there anyway that you and Raine can facetime or Skype her? My friend Laura does that with her family in Colorado all the time. If you wish, I can mention her by name in the Mi Sheberiach prayer (the prayer for healing) at Temple on Friday. I will keep her in my thoughts and prayers.

Her hearing is at about 5% so that won't work, plus she is very, very weak from the reasons why she went to the hospital in the first place. We found out about the cancer during routine testing — after the she was admitted to the hospital.

I appreciate the thoughts and Ideas, Will. In this situation, they are unfortunately unpractical.

Is there any chance for both of you to get up there before Labor Day? It sounds that all facetime could do is allow her to see both of you.

I wish that there was something I could do to help.

Here's the thing. We have a sister that lives in Baton Rouge. We have family that lives in other parts of the country. We are all planning on being there with Mom at her bedside, together.

I know that this is going to sound cold, but she is in hospice for a reason. Bob and his family have decided that rather than hover over her, we would go together to visit Mom. We want to be all together with her.

She won't leave without seeing all of her kids, grandkids and family together.

We're all doing the best thing we can as a family and for Mom. You offering a prayer is a very nice thing to do. Mom is not a religious person at all.

This is a very proud strong adirondack mountain woman we are talking about.

Being together as a family is what is very important now. She is with Dad and she is not alone.

My mother is a technophobe so Skype is out (we would have used it before now otherwise). My father does not have a cellphone. Other than that, my 2 brothers and father live in Atlanta and have the situation under control. She is not on death's door (although arguably driving into its neighborhood, metaphorically speaking), so we have a little time. As Raine mentioned, we are coordinating this with my sister and niece so that we will all be there together. That is something that means a lot to her, and - knowing our plans - she is likely to hold on until we all get there.

If things take a sudden turn for the worse before then, we will of course head down post-haste.

There is nothing that anyone can do to help, really. Mom is a proud atheist, and while I do appreciate you keeping her in your thoughts and prayers, she would think it a waste of time. She survived the depression living off the land in the upper Adirondack mountains as child, and went on to raise a family with class and panache in upstate NY.

They just don't make 'em like that anymore

Comment by Raine on 08/05/2015 19:15:56
Remember when this kinda shite was big huge news? Remember when this shite was all over the media?


Comment by Mondobubba on 08/05/2015 19:43:17
Quote by BobR:
Quote by Raine:
Quote by Will in Chicago:
Quote by Raine:
Quote by Will in Chicago:
Quote by BobR:
Since we all share here, I thought I should let you all know about some sadness in my life. My 89 year old mother has not been doing well, and ended up in the hospital last week. During tests they found cancer in her liver. She is too frail for chemo or traditional radiation therapy, so they were going to treat it by embedding radioactive pellets in the cancer.

However, more tests showed she has cancer in her bile ducts. That is not treatable. The doctors said a "healthy" person would have 6 months left - in her condition, it will be less than that. She is being moved into hospice today.

We are scheduled to visit her over Labor Day weekend. I can only hope she holds out that long.

BobR, my deepest sympathies. Is there anyway that you and Raine can facetime or Skype her? My friend Laura does that with her family in Colorado all the time. If you wish, I can mention her by name in the Mi Sheberiach prayer (the prayer for healing) at Temple on Friday. I will keep her in my thoughts and prayers.

Her hearing is at about 5% so that won't work, plus she is very, very weak from the reasons why she went to the hospital in the first place. We found out about the cancer during routine testing — after the she was admitted to the hospital.

I appreciate the thoughts and Ideas, Will. In this situation, they are unfortunately unpractical.

Is there any chance for both of you to get up there before Labor Day? It sounds that all facetime could do is allow her to see both of you.

I wish that there was something I could do to help.

Here's the thing. We have a sister that lives in Baton Rouge. We have family that lives in other parts of the country. We are all planning on being there with Mom at her bedside, together.

I know that this is going to sound cold, but she is in hospice for a reason. Bob and his family have decided that rather than hover over her, we would go together to visit Mom. We want to be all together with her.

She won't leave without seeing all of her kids, grandkids and family together.

We're all doing the best thing we can as a family and for Mom. You offering a prayer is a very nice thing to do. Mom is not a religious person at all.

This is a very proud strong adirondack mountain woman we are talking about.

Being together as a family is what is very important now. She is with Dad and she is not alone.

My mother is a technophobe so Skype is out (we would have used it before now otherwise). My father does not have a cellphone. Other than that, my 2 brothers and father live in Atlanta and have the situation under control. She is not on death's door (although arguably driving into its neighborhood, metaphorically speaking), so we have a little time. As Raine mentioned, we are coordinating this with my sister and niece so that we will all be there together. That is something that means a lot to her, and - knowing our plans - she is likely to hold on until we all get there.

If things take a sudden turn for the worse before then, we will of course head down post-haste.

There is nothing that anyone can do to help, really. Mom is a proud atheist, and while I do appreciate you keeping her in your thoughts and prayers, she would think it a waste of time. She survived the depression living off the land in the upper Adirondack mountains as child, and went on to raise a family with class and panache in upstate NY.

They just don't make 'em like that anymore



So, how does she feel about mojo? I can send her some.