Debate And Debacles

It is Sunday morning as I commence the journey of writing this article. My goal is to cover basically the preceding 100 hours of American political history. I fear I will be incomplete but please come along with me.

For this narrative my starting point is Wednesday night’s Democratic debate in Las Vegas. The winner was the Trump led Republican Party. It was basically a food fight. The event was put on by NBC/MSNBC in cooperation with The Nevada Independent. Lester Holt and Chuck Todd largely redeemed themselves from previous sub-par moderator performances. Sadly there was very little of a Nevada flavor to the evening and The Nevada Independent’s Jon Ralston was mostly a spectator. Telemundo’s Vanessa Haug was the first female moderator of the 2020 cycle to have a bad night.

The participants were the familiar five of Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Mike Bloomberg made his debut debate appearance to round out the field. Bloomberg looked terrible in what for many Americans was their first look at him. Everybody attacked him over the course of the two hours and he did not fare well. That left me wondering if in the long run he (or more importantly his money) will end up hating Trump more than the eventual nominee.

The other battle of interest was between Buttigieg and Klobuchar. Pete stated it and Amy did a good job of defending herself. Was Pete’s motivation that he felt that he is only viable in the long run by adding the majority of Amy’s support to his total? Was this in part a feeling that he would have won New Hampshire if Amy hadn’t had a great debate and “stole” some votes that would have otherwise gone to him?

Most analysts had Warren as the winner. The problem is that over 75,000 Nevadans had already voted before the debate. Of course without complete results we do not know what percentage of the total turnout that was although it is safe to speculate that it was significant.

As of this writing I am dealing with only about 50% of the returns. This is more than 12 hours after the caucus sites closed. The number that interests me the most is total turnout and who knows when we will have that. Couple that with the debacle in Iowa and the fact that it was revealed the Russians are interfering in the 2020 Democratic primary to help Sanders. Lots of dots there and I’m not sure how or if they connect.

Reportedly a representative of the American intelligence community (IC) testified to the House Intelligence Committee that the Russians are interfering in the 2020 election to benefit President Trump and in the process trying to aid Sanders in the Democratic Primary. Sanders (the current frontrunner, if you accept the notion that a frontrunner exists at this early point in the process) is generally thought to be the least electable of the viable candidates and therefore it would follow that if your ultimate goal was Trump’s reelection you would want his Democratic opponent to be Sanders; lots of implication there and none of them good for the American democracy.

The previously referenced House Intelligence Committee meeting took place earlier last week. At its conclusion Republican Ranking Member Devin Nunes informed Trump of the closed door testimony. The next day Trump called acting DNI (Director of National Intelligence) Joseph Maguire to the Oval Office and subsequently fired him. Maguire had committed the ultimate sin in the Donald Dome – someone in his chain of command told the truth. In this administration there is a zero tolerance policy when it comes to the truth!

The Trump debacle didn’t stop there. Trump then named Richard Granell as the new acting DNI. Granell’s experience is in being a press secretary and has absolutely no IC experience. To add insult to injury Granell is going to retain his current position as American Ambassador to Germany while doing the DNI job remotely from Berlin. So we have an unqualified Trump loyalist doing the job of DNI remotely as a part-time gig. What could go wrong?

It didn’t stop there. The number two at ODNI had been Andrew Hallman who suddenly resigned and Trump has replaced him with former Nunes aide (both of whom are implicated in Ukrainegate) Kash Patel. If you don’t want to hear any evil I guess filling the two top slots with people who will willfully ignore evil you are implicated in isn’t a bad tactic.

Oh, by the way, the purge continues. Victoria Coates who was serving as Deputy National Security Advisor was dismissed. Her offense is that she was rumored by some to be Anonymous. Few believe that to be true but apparently it was close enough for Trump.

I don’t know about you but I’m feeling less secure! I know I have at least one person who shares my concern – retired Admiral William McRaven. In a Washington Post op-ed he wrote, “When good men and women can’t speak the truth, when facts are inconvenient, when integrity and character no longer matter, when presidential ego and self-preservation are more important than national security – then there is nothing left to stop the triumph of evil.”

Here is the really scary part – I missed a lot.

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