Random Thoughts While Watching The Debates

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Miller_weekly_103015.LeagueofWomen1. “The League of Women Voters is withdrawing its sponsorship of the presidential debate scheduled for mid-October because the demands of the two campaign organizations would perpetrate a fraud on the American voter.” So said the LWV on Oct. 3, 1988. The Bush and Dukakis campaigns had secretly negotiated debate rules and procedures and presented them to the league as a “done deal.” The parties took over control of presidential debates.

2. “It has become clear to us that the candidates’ organizations aim to add debates to their list of campaign-trail charades devoid of substance, spontaneity and honest answers to tough questions. The league has no intention of becoming an accessory to the hoodwinking of the American public.”

3. This year, in order to get their primary season debates broadcast for free, the parties signed agreements ceding control of important aspects to the cable networks and corporate sponsors. The parties sign off on moderators, but Fox and CNN picked who you got to see on stage.

Sheryl Crow
Sheryl Crow

4. Relax, it’s just a TV show. Twenty candidates for president are still left on the island.

5. “Now, everybody, please rise for our national anthem, performed by nine-time Grammy winning singer-songwriter Sheryl Crowe!” CNN-Facebook Democratic Debate, Oct. 13.

6. Actually interviewed after that same debate on MSNBC: Wayne Newton and Rich Little.

7. For better or worse, we’ve created a system of electing a President of the United States in which the single most important criteria is this: You must be good on television.

8. Logical corollary: Which candidate do you want to look at and hear from every day for four years?

Wayne Newton
Wayne Newton

9. Donald Trump hosts Saturday Night Live on Nov. 7.

10. Facebook is also involved in the presidential campaign in another way. Campaigns can pay to have Facebook show individually-targeted ads based on the massive amount of data it has collected from users, including posts, photos, messages, networks and friends. FB’s data mining can match candidate appeals to individual targets so well, professionals see it as a potential game-changer.

11. And they’re helping pick which candidates are allowed to debate on television.

12. “It’s the Trump interview everyone’s been waiting for: Ivanka Trump on CNN!”

13. The three Fox and CNN debates weren’t debates. The candidates are mostly asked about “concerns voters have about you,” as Anderson Cooper put it. Why aren’t you more popular? The message sent to the candidates and to the viewers is: “Now you know who’s boss.”

Rich Little
Rich Little

14. They certainly don’t help Americans weigh evidence or facts.

15. The line of the night in the first Dem debate was from Senator Sanders’ “Enough with the damn emails.” Datto is the innovative tech company that made the private server equipment used by Secretary Clinton to hold her infamous emails. They advertise their equipment by burning it with thermite. No government server would have been more secure.

16. The NSA has copies of every email she ever sent or received, but that never comes up. It would remind people.

17. The real issue: Billions and billions of documents are classified that never should have been secret. “Classified” too often means, “hidden from criticism or review.”

18. When asked about current threats, only one candidate, Senator Webb, mentioned Cybersecurity.

19. JPMorgan Chase, AT&T, Google, Yahoo, eBay, Apple, Adobe, Anthem, the CIA and the Defense Department have all been hacked.

20. How about all those electronic voting machines with so many different standards sitting around in 3,000 county boards of election?

21. Speaking of technology, free nationwide Wi-Fi service will be rolled out next year (by the Philippines).

23. A bill has passed banning political contributions from corporations, unions and anyone who isn’t a permanent resident (of Alberta Province, Canada). It’s designed to make voters matter again to candidates.

24. When people learn what’s possible, reform and change can happen.

Michael Miller (mmillercolumn@gmail.com) has worked in state and local government. He lives in New Hyde Park. The views expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the publisher or Anton Media Group.

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