Tuesday, December 15, 2015

#Timetodrink: The 5th Republican Debate, even more thoughts, again

I dislike Glenn Greenwald for a number of reasons.  But he is very intelligent when it comes to intelligence issues.  I bring this up because John Kasich rambles on about encrypted data.  "In addition to that, Wolf, there is a big problem. It's called encryption. And the people in San Bernardino were communicating with people who the FBI had been watching. But because their phone was encrypted, because the intelligence officials could not see who they were talking to, it was lost."  Well, this is a fairly good counter to that.

Ted Cruz fundamentally misunderstands ISIS, "that will change when militants across the globe see that when you join ISIS that you are giving up your life, you are signing your death warrant, and we need a president who is focused on defeating every single ISIS terrorist and protecting the homeland, which should be the first priority."  In Osama bin Laden's infamous and oftparaphrased words they "love death more than we love life."  Beyond that, carpetbombing ISIS territory and killing civilians is likely to result in MORE American deaths.  There's an oft-cited belief in ISIS circles that since American bombs are so accurate civilian deaths are intentional and therefore are justified in exacting vengeance.

At least Marco Rubio almost gets it "Well, let me begin by saying that we have to understand who ISIS is. ISIS is a radical Sunni group. They cannot just be defeated through air strikes. Air strikes are a key component of defeating them, but they must be defeated on the ground by a ground force. And that ground force must be primarily made up of Sunni Arabs themselves, Sunni Arabs that reject them ideologically and confront them militarily."

But then he says this:

"The air strikes are important, but we need to have an air force capable of it. And because of the budget cuts we are facing in this country, we are going to be left with the oldest and the smallest Air Force we have ever had." HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAHAHA Airplanes were not invented until 1903.

But then he goes back to saying things that make sense

"They are recruiting people, including Americans, to join them, with the promise that they are joining this great apocalyptic movement that is going to defeat the West. We have to show what life is really like in ISIS territory, and we have to show them why ISIS is not invincible, by going out and conducting these attacks and publicizing them to those who they recruit."  Ultimately, this is correct.

#Timetodrink: The 5th Republican Debate, even more thoughts

Made another drink. We have some more time, let's jump to Chris Christie.  "What we need to do, Wolf, is restore those tools that have been taken away by the president and others, restore those tools to the NSA and to our entire surveillance and law enforcement community."  I guess this is trying to restore the NSA and provisions of the PATRIOT Act.  Might want to talk to Rand Paul about that.

John Kasich wants boots on the ground and wanted the Paris conference to be about terrorism.  Kasich missed this memo.

Ted Cruz mentioned radical Islamic terrorists and how the Obama administration won't invoke their name because we live in a Harry Potter novel.  To be fair, it is a step up from reading Green Eggs and Ham on the Senate floor.

Rand Paul wants more security, more rules, and more scrutiny to those entering the country.  I'm sure he supports the Syrian refugee plan currently in place.

Chris Christie shows that policy is unimportant.  "Listen, I want to talk to the audience at home for a second. If your eyes are glazing over like mine, this is what it's like to be on the floor of the United States Senate. I mean, endless debates about how many angels on the head of a pin from people who've never had to make a consequential decision in an executive position."  The exchange between Rubio, Cruz, and Rand were by fart he best part of the debate so far.  So of course Christie hates it.

Ben Carson is a baby: "First of all, let me just complain a little bit. This is the first time I've spoken and several people have had multiple questions so please try to pay attention to that."  Just so we're clear: the back and forth that previously occurred was between three Senators who had various opinions on certain bills that they voted for or supported.  Carson has not held an elected position in his life so he was not included.  This is Carson's choice.  He decided to run for President after not holding an elected position.

He continues: "We have to get rid of all this PC stuff. And people are worried about if somebody's going to say that I'm Islamophobic or what have you. This is craziness because we are at war. That's why I asked congress, go ahead and declare the war " Again, so did Barack Obama.

From the transcript:

BLITZER: Dr. Carson, who was right in that little debate that we just heard between Senator Rubio and Senator Paul?

CARSON: I think you have to ask them about that. I don't want to get in between them. Let them fight.

So, he has no opinion on the subject.  Alright, so he was complaining just to complain then. 

And then Carly Fiorina is just wrong.  "And yet, we also know that ISIS is recruiting who are not in those databases. So of course, we're going to miss them. And then we now learn that DHS says, "No, we can't check their social media."

For heaven's sakes, every parent in America is checking social media and every employer is as well, but our government can't do it. The bureaucratic procedures are so far behind. Our government has become incompetent, unresponsive, corrupt. And that incompetence, ineptitude, lack of accountability is now dangerous."

Employers don't check social media for a variety of reasons, thank god.  But they also have various blocks set up to determine who can or cannot see your social media activity.  Of course, Carly Fiorina who so arrogantly put it, "comes from the technology world", would already know this but we digress.  Also nearly every parent can be blocked from viewing their child's social media.

To continue her wrongness, "that's why it cost billions of dollars to build an Obama website that failed because the private sector wasn't asked."  First, it was $840 million.  And also the problems were almost all contract work related.  You know the private sector.  

At least, she wasn't proposing something impossible like Donald Trump.  "ISIS is recruiting through the Internet. ISIS is using the Internet better than we are using the Internet, and it was our idea. What I wanted to do is I wanted to get our brilliant people from Silicon Valley and other places and figure out a way that ISIS cannot do what they're doing.

You talk freedom of speech. You talk freedom of anything you want. I don't want them using our Internet to take our young, impressionable youth and watching the media talking about how they're masterminds -- these are masterminds. They shouldn't be using the word "mastermind." These are thugs. These are terrible people in ISIS, not masterminds. And we have to change it from every standpoint. But we should be using our brilliant people, our most brilliant minds to figure a way that ISIS cannot use the Internet. And then on second, we should be able to penetrate the Internet and find out exactly where ISIS is and everything about ISIS. And we can do that if we use our good people."

#Timetodrink: The 5th Republican Debate, more thoughts

Donald Trump talks about how his crazy idea of banning Muslims and Mexicans is about security, "our country is out of control. People are pouring across the southern border. I will build a wall. It will be a great wall. People will not come in unless they come in legally. Drugs will not pour through that wall."  Except, they're not pouring across the southern border.  Pew Research Center found that there was a net of 140,000 people leaving the United States to Mexico since the end of the Great Recession.

This is the rambling of a crazy person: "As far as other people like in the migration, where they're going, tens of thousands of people having cell phones with ISIS flags on them? I don't think so, Wolf. They're not coming to this country. And if I'm president and if Obama has brought some to this country, they are leaving. They're going. They're gone."  I don't even know where he is headed with this outside of trying to say that Obama has somehow let in thousands of migrants with ISIS flags on them.

Jeb Bush is the first person that I've seen, admittedly not a big group of people, outside of ISIS or related organizations who concedes that ISIS has a caliphate: "well, first of all, we need to destroy ISIS in the caliphate."

"The refugee issue will be solved if we destroy ISIS there, which means we need to have a no-fly zone, safe zones there for refugees and to build a military force."  The refugee crisis is in large part due to Bashar al Assad and the oppressive Syrian regime and the Syrian civil war.  A no-fly zone is one that Hillary Clinton has proposed.  Safe zones for refugees? I don't even know what that means.

But beyond that he brings up some good points so I will give him that: "We need to arm directly the Kurds. And all of that has to be done in concert with the Arab nations. And if we're going to ban all Muslims, how are we going to get them to be part of a coalition to destroy ISIS?

The Kurds are the greatest fighting force and our strongest allies. They're Muslim. Look, this is not a serious proposal. In fact, it will push the Muslim world, the Arab world away from us at a time when we need to reengage with them to be able to create a strategy to destroy ISIS."

Donald Trump responds to the insult - "Jeb doesn't really believe I'm unhinged. He said that very simply because he has failed in this campaign. It's been a total disaster. Nobody cares. And frankly, I'm the most solid person up here."  Oh for Christ's sakes.  Drink.

"We want to make America great again. And Jeb, in all fairness, he doesn't believe that."  Another drink.  Does Trump actually think that Jeb doesn't want to make America great?

Marco Rubio then talks about confronting ISIS, "this group needs to be confronted with serious proposals. And this is a very significant threat we face. And the president has left us unsafe. He spoke the other night to the American people to reassure us. I wish he hadn't spoken at all. He made things worse. Because what he basically said was we are going to keep doing what we're doing now, and what we are doing now is not working."  He did not offer a serious proposal or how he would differ from the Obama administration but maybe later.  It's a long debate, after all.

Ted Cruz then talks about Syrian refugees.  "And even worse, President Obama and Hillary Clinton are proposing bringing tens of thousands of Syrian refugees to this country when the head of the FBI has told Congress they cannot vet those refugees."  The Obama administration have proposed bringing in at least ten thousand refugees.  Is it really this hard to get the number right?    And then Cruz talks about how the FBI can't vet the refugees.  Again, this is incorrect and misleading.  The FBI Director is saying that he can't 100% guarantee that there is not a no-risk process.

This is directly pandering to the base that Cruz is trying to attract.

#Timetodrink: The 5th Republican debate - opening statements

I have my holiday cocktail ready, that's right I'm a part of the war on Christmas.  Let's read through the transcript of the Republican debate.

Rand Paul, in his opening remarks talked about Donald Trump wanting to close the internet to help stop terrorism.  While Trump's remarks were off base and clearly unfeasible and a sign of a totalitarian regime as Paul correctly notes, Trump's comments about how to combat terrorism is almost partially right.  As we learned in ISIS: The State of Terror, the whack-a-mole approach to shutting down terrorist accounts on Twitter or other social media sites as they pop up do actually detract from their reach and help to stop reaching new followers but it would be unfeasible, illegal, and immoral to shut down the internet for certain regions.

"I think if we want to defeat terrorism, I think if we truly are sincere about defeating terrorism, we need to quit arming the allies of ISIS. If we want to defeat terrorism, the boots on the ground -- the boots on the ground need to be Arab boots on the ground," Paul continued.  As much as it pains me to admit, Paul has a point.  King Abdullah of Jordan argues that the only solution to ISIS would be a Muslim solution in which Muslim countries fight off ISIS themselves.  This is actually something that is currently happening.  This is strange, I thought that Republicans would offer something that is new and not at all a part of the current Obama administration plan.

Oh well, at least he's in the debate and won't decide this week whether or not he should continue running for President.

"Just last weekend, just last week, a friend asked one of my daughters, "Do you like politics?" And my daughter said, "No, I don't. And the reason I don't like it is because there's too much fighting, too much yelling. It's so loud, I don't like it." You know, I turned to my friend and I said, "You know, she's really on to something."

And when we think about our country and the big issues that we face in this country; creating jobs, making sure people can keep their jobs, the need for rising wages, whether our children when they graduate from college can find a job, protecting the homeland, destroying ISIS, rebuilding defense. These are all the things that we need to focus on but we'll never get there if we're divided. We'll never get there if republicans and democrats just fight with one another.

Frankly, we are republicans and they're democrats but before all of that, we're Americans. And I believe we need to unify in so many ways to rebuild our country, to strengthen our country, to rebuild our defense, and for America to secure it's place it world; for us, for our children, and for the next generation." I posted the entirety of John Kasich's remarks here, just in case he argues or yells at anyone throughout the debate.

His level-headedness and his commitment to bipartisanship is not necessarily real but the fact that he exists is literally the only reason that journalists continue to believe that there are bipartisan Republicans running for President and office.

Chris Christie garbled about something about safety in Los Angeles which literally has nothing to do with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton but whatevs.  Then he ended on this note, "What is (sic) Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton done to this country? That the most basic responsibility of an administration is to protect the safety and security of the American people. I will tell you this, I'm a former federal prosecutor, I've fought terrorists and won and when we get back in the White House we will fight terrorists and win again and America will be safe."  Chris Christie was appointed as a federal prosecutor on December 7, 2001.  His lone prosecution against terrorists was the Fort Dix attack (that I'm aware of).

Next we have failed HP CEO Carly Fiorina, "Like all of you I'm angry. I'm angry at what's happening to our nation. Citizens, it's time to take our country back.

Bombastic insults wont take it back. Political rhetoric that promises a lot and delivers little, won't take it back. All of our problems can be solved. All of our wounds can be healed by a tested leader who is willing to fight for the character of our nation."

For the record, she says that bombastic insults and political rhetoric that promises a lot and delivers little will not take our country back while saying that we need to take the country back, implying a bombastic insult on Barack Obama.  This is immediately followed by "all of our wounds can be healed by a tested leader who is willing to fight for the character of our nation."  This is not political rhetoric that promises a lot and delivers little.

Oh Christ. Drink.

"I have been tested. I have beaten breast cancer. I have buried a child. I started as a secretary. I fought my way to the top of corporate America while being called every B word in the book. I fought my way into this election and on to this debate stage while all the political insiders and the pundits told, "it couldn't be done."

I don't want to do this. BUT Fiorina was born to a family of a law professor who later became a judge.  Not exactly humble beginnings.  After fighting to the top of corporate America, she failed miserably.  Also, let's not move on from the fact that she talked about the death of her daughter as a political point.

And then to top it off, she "fought [her] way into this election and on to this debate stage."  Well, not exactly.  By her fighting, she stopped polls from being conducted after August 6.  She also fought to make sure CNN would amend the rules.  The new rules allowed anyone in the top 10 from August 7 to September 10.  Oh wait.  CNN did all of this.  Fiorina actually didn't fight for it.  But that ruins the narrative.

Jeb Bush who should be doing better continued with his opening remarks which included "the leading democrat is under investigation. And America is under the gun to lead the free world to protect our civilized way of life."  Meh.  Scott Walker once led the polls and he was under investigation.  Chris Christie is currently under investigation.  Marco Rubio is not under investigation but has a scandal about his credit card.  Jeb, himself, did not release any e-mails about the 2000 election or voter purge.  But you know, it's always about Hillary.

Marco Rubio was next.  "It's really amazing to be back in Las Vegas. I spent six years as a child growing not far from where we stand tonight. I use to sit on the porch of our home and listen to my grandfather tell stories as he smoked one of three daily cigars."  Rubio was Mormon during that time.  This is a fact he doesn't want to share, apparently.  Also, what the hell? Three cigars!? That's insane.

"One of the things my grandfather instilled in me, was that I was really blessed because I was a citizen of the greatest country in the history of our mankind."  No words for this one.

Next is the junior Senator from Texas who has been in the Senate since January of 2013.

"America is at war. Our enemy is not violent extremism. It is not some unnamed malevolent force. It is radical Islamic terrorist. We have a president who is unwilling to utter its name. The men and women on this stage, every one of us, is better prepared to keep this nation safe than is Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton."

The magical words of radical Islamic terrorism.  Do we really think that uttering the phrase will somehow make it better or make the Obama administration better at foreign policy? Or more able to defeat ISIS?  Also, it's kind of weird to blatantly announce we are at war.  You know.  Especially with this in mind.  Also, there is not a possible world where I trust Ben Carson over Hillary Clinton on foreign policy.

"We need a president who understands the first obligation of the commander-in-chief is to keep America safe. If I am elected president, we will hunt down and kill the terrorists. We will utterly destroy ISIS."

You mean like Osama bin Laden?  It's not like Obama has had countless drone strikes killing terrorists all the time, as well.

"We will stop the terrorist attacks before they occur because we will not be prisoners to political correctness. Rather, we will speak the truth. Border security is national security and we will not be admitting jihadists as refugees."  So there is a way to screen refugees?  Or we will just simply not admit them.

Then there's Ben Carson, "please join me for a moment of silence and remembrance of the San Bernardino victims. Thank you."  I'm going to be charitable and assume there was a break in the transcript and the moment was not accurately captured.

Carson also brought up that ISIS is an existential threat to the United States which is probably not true.  Then he just brings up the same thing President Barack Obama already did.  "And I am asking the Congress, which represents the people, to declare a war on ISIS so that we can begin the process of excising that cancer and begin the healing process, and bring peace, prosperity, and safety back to America."

But guys Barack Obama already did this twice, now.

I am skipping Trump's opening statement.