Wednesday, October 26, 2016


‘Course she isn’t much of a politician, this being her first run for office, but the Rev. Nancy Jo Kemper at last has dared to touch “the 3rd rail of Kentucky politics”: coal.
On her tv ads and in her recent KET debate with incumbent Republican Andy Barr, she has said that Coal, as we have known it, is over. And it is. It will never again employ hundreds of thousands (or even tens of thousands) of miners in Kentucky...and the sooner this state faces up to that and starts finding new jobs for unemployed miners the better.
(There is enuff guilt here to go around..natural gas competition, Wyoming, “clean coal” projects never supported by operators or the unions, etcetcetc)---but the industry, unions, et al keep denying the current state, and especially the future of King Coal instead of working on solutions that will re-employ miners.
And politicians, at every level and party, keep denying this and delaying solutions.
Ms. Kemper does not...she is not anti-coal, she is not a soldier in the  “war on coal,” she instead feels much more deeply for the miners and their families, and offers solutions.
Now, lest you think the debate was one-sided and she won, it wasn’t, and she didn’t. Barr, a lawyer, was the more skilled debater and made his points more clearly and more often.  But he also often accepted some of the foolish “facts” put out by the RNC. Ms. Kemper also made the debate a re-run of  the national Presidential debate, but also stated some independent positions at odds with her party. Nor did she hesitate to compliment Barr on some of his presentations, where he is knowledgeable after 2 terms in Congress.
He would overturn the Iran nuclear agreement, she would not.  He opposes raising the minimum wage, she is for raising it.  He would repeal Obamacare, she would amend it.  You get the differences.
So take your choice in this race, a microcosm of the national one.
I'm just sayin'...

Thursday, October 20, 2016


The third debate between HRC and The Donald is now history. Moderator Chris Wallace (Mike’s son) of Fox News did the best job yet, but even struggling mightily, it occasionally got out of hand. Wallace had specific areas he wanted them to discuss.
For about 30 minutes Trump behaved, then started interrupting and talking over Wallace, which made it difficult, if not impossible for the audience to understand
Viewers heard largely restatements of views well known, including Trump favors repeal of Roe v Wade, HRC does not.
A supposed discussion of immigration soon descended into views on Putin. during which Trump said he was NOT in favor of more nuclear nations, which may be a change in position.
On the economy both had tax plans which different groups of economists say are better.  And Clinton said her tax plan would not add one penny to the national debt which I very seriously doubt.
Trump laid into HRC for how the Clinton Foundation operated, a “pay for play” when she was Sec. of State, and she fired back about its many global good works, and that several probes had found no proof of his charges.
The BIG event of this brawl, according to most analysts was The Donald saying he would not promise to accept the results until election night...while VP Pence has said the opposite. Frankly, I'm
with Trump on this. He should wait. In 1886 we DID HAVE a rigged election, in 1960 there is evidence that skullduggery in Illinois, if caught, would have elected Nixon, but he chose not to challenge.  (AS for Bush v Gore, we wuz robbed!)
On foreign hot spots, the moderator's next topic, Trump claimed ISIS fighters have left Mosul, because the Obama government told them ahead of time we would attack that city, and that “Aleppo has fallen." HRC disagreed.
On entitlements, Trump would change much in the present plan (as Sen. Paul would have through privatization) while Clinton promised not to change benefits.  Take your choice,
Wallace said no closing statements had been agreed on, and asked each to say why they should be elected. HRC said her election would make us “stronger together”, and Trump said his would “Make America great again. Uh huh.
So the debates end for another season...and I hope the Committee on Presidential Debates has taken note of a lot of changes that need to be made. Frankly, one moderator seems best, maybe 2, and I would let them control the mike switches on both—that should end the incessant interruptions!
To paraphrase Gilbert & Sullivan, "These debates have been long; ditto ditto this song; but thank goodness they're both of them over!”
I'm just sayin'

Tuesday, October 11, 2016


HRC didn’t so much as win the 2nd debate as The Donald lost it.

After threatening to make Bill Clinton’s affairs a major deal, even bringing a few of his female accusers there for a last minute media event, he only lightly touched on that issue...and also only once went after Hillary on her e-mail issue, where she is vulnerable.

But that trigger one of the 2 Donald highlights...a threat that if elected he would name a special prosecutor in an attempt to “put you in jail.’  (This may not be legal, and as one critic remarked, would make us a "banana republic.”)

Later, out of the clear blue air he charged “you have hate in your heart.”

These two instances maybe are what led the Washington Post to call this debate “dark and  nasty” and led CBS’s veteran Bob Schieffer to say it was the “most disgusting” debate he had seen in 40 years of campaign coverage.

Trump also hit the coal issue, where HRC is weak, saying there was such a thing as “clean coal” (though the industry has done little to advance it), that he had a plan to put miners back to work (not spelled out) and we had “coal for a thousand years” (though the best estimate is only one-quarter of that.)

He continued to deny his support for the Iraq war, in the face of mounting evidence that he did.

Someday  critics will begin calling this approach what it is...not  “doubling down,” but The Big Lie of Josef Goebbels.

Perhaps the most important critique of the debate came when his disagreements with running mate Mike Pence surfaced, when GOP Speaker Paul Ryan said he would not vote for Trump…and when that wily old Kentucky politician, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, refused in Danville and Lexington talks Monday even to comment on the debate.

The election of HRC is by no means assured, but it took a big step ahead Sunday night, courtesy of Donald J. Trump.

I'm just sayin'...

Wednesday, October 5, 2016


The veep debate was not what a lot of us expected.

Dem. Tim Kaine, largely praised as a gentle politician who easily worked both sides of the aisle with respect, came out early—swinging and often interrupting—to his detriment. I had not expected a student of the Joe Biden school of debate. Kaine calmed down later, but the damage was done.

The GOP’s Pence didn’t let this get under his skin—and faced with a horrible task: defending many of Trump’s indefensible positions—appeared largely calm. Dare I say he appeared (vice) presidential? As one of my fave analyst, PBS’ Mark Shields said; "don’t tell the top of the ticket.”

Pence also made one strategic point..he mentioned the “war on coal” five times. This may resonate in some key states that have coal mines, including Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Indiana. While he also attacked HRC, justifiably, for possible conflicts of interest between her roles as Sec. of State and as an official of the Clinton Foundation, he didn’t hit her but once on her e-mail server issues.

Kaine consistently asked Pence to justify Trump’s many lies and distortions, which Pence tried to do, but in many cases could not—the facts are against them. When Kaine calmed down, he made a few good points and consistently raked The Donald over the coals for his tax return problems, of which there are many.  Pence wiggled, but the truth is out there.

The moderator, Elaine Quijano of CBS, was simply not up to the task of keeping order, though she did have some good questions.

I would vote a split decisions, with a nod towards Kaine on substance and debate points, and a nod towards Pence for being calm, cool and vice-presidential.

But why do I sweat any decision….the Republican National Committee inadvertently sent out a news release 90 minutes before the debate started declaring Pence the winner.

I'm just sayin'...