Saturday, October 10, 2020

Science post: Mars and overfishing

Are you watching the sky?  Jonathan Amos (BBC NEWS) reports

Mars is at its biggest and brightest right now as the Red Planet lines up with Earth on the same side of the Sun.

Every 26 months, the pair take up this arrangement, moving close together, before then diverging again on their separate orbits around our star.

Tuesday night sees the actual moment of what astronomers call "opposition".

All three bodies will be in a straight line at 23:20 GMT (00:20 BST).

"But you don't have to wait until the middle of the night; even now, at nine or 10 o'clock in the evening, you'll easily see it over in the southeast," says astrophotographer, Damian Peach. "You can't miss it, it's the brightest star-like object in that part of the sky," he told BBC News.


 Amanda Kooser (CNET) adds:

Forget Halloween. October 2020 is all about the glory of Mars, as the glimmering red planet puts on a show in the night sky. We passed Mars' close approach to Earth on Oct. 6 and now we're pumped for Oct. 13, when it will be in opposition. 

Spotting Mars

Mars has a reputation as the "red" planet, but its color in the night sky is a little more on the Halloween side of the spectrum. It appears as a bright orange-red dot to the naked eye, like a little spot of glittering rust.

Mars' distinctive color is one clue you've found it in the dark. Look to the eastern sky to catch it rising at night. This is a great time for viewing the planet, partly because spotting it is so simple. It should be visible for most of the night. As NASA says, "Simply go outside and look up and, depending on your local weather and lighting conditions, you should be able to see Mars."


So look for that in the sky while we can enjoy it.  Also in science news, Emma Bryce (LIVE SCIENCE) reports on the dodo bird:


Sometime in the late 1600s, in the lush forests of Mauritius, the very last dodo took its last breath. After centuries of untroubled ferreting in the tropical undergrowth, this species met its untimely end at the hands of humans, who had arrived on the island less than 100 years before. With their penchant for hunting, habitat destruction and the release of invasive species, humans undid millions of years of evolution, and swiftly removed this bird from the face of the Earth.

Since then, the dodo has nestled itself in our conscience as the first prominent example of human-driven extinction. We've also used the dodo to assuage our own guilt: the creature was fat, lazy and unintelligent — and as popular story goes, those traits sealed its inevitable fate.

But in fact, we couldn't be more wrong, said Julian Hume, a paleontologist and research associate with the National History Museum in the United Kingdom. He studies the fossils of extinct species, and has devoted a portion of his career to correcting the dodo's dismal reputation. By digitally modelling the remains of a dodo’s skeleton, he's produced a 3D digital reconstruction that draws an altogether different picture of a bird that was faster, more athletic and far brainier than popular culture has led us to believe. "It was nothing like this big, fat, bulgy thing that was just waddling around. This bird was super adapted to the environment of Mauritius," Hume told Live Science. Instead, humans' unrelenting exploitation was the real culprit behind the dodo's untimely death.


This reminds me of the way we are overfishing, for example.  As far back as 2010, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC was calling attention to this problem

Ocean overfishing is simply the taking of wildlife from the sea at rates too high for fished species to replace themselves. The earliest overfishing occurred in the early 1800s when humans, seeking blubber for lamp oil, decimated the whale population. Some fish that we eat, including Atlantic cod and herring and California's sardines, were also harvested to the brink of extinction by the mid-1900s.

Highly disruptive to the food chain, these isolated, regional depletions became global and catastrophic by the late 20th century.

Marine scientists know when widespread overfishing of the seas began. And they have a pretty good idea when, if left unaddressed, it will end.

In the mid-20th century, international efforts to increase the availability and affordability of protein-rich foods led to concerted government efforts to increase fishing capacity. Favorable policies, loans, and subsidies spawned a rapid rise of big industrial fishing operations, which quickly supplanted local boatmen as the world's source of seafood.

These large, profit-seeking commercial fleets were extremely aggressive, scouring the world's oceans and developing ever more sophisticated methods and technologies for finding, extracting, and processing their target species. Consumers soon grew accustomed to having access to a wide selection of fish species at affordable prices.

But by 1989, when about 90 million tons (metric tons) of catch were taken from the ocean, the industry had hit its high-water mark, and yields have declined or stagnated ever since. Fisheries for the most sought-after species, like orange roughy, Chilean sea bass, and bluefin tuna have collapsed. In 2003, a scientific report estimated that industrial fishing had reduced the number of large ocean fish to just 10 percent of their pre-industrial population.


 World Wildlife notes:

Fishing is one of the most significant drivers of declines in ocean wildlife populations. Catching fish is not inherently bad for the ocean, except for when vessels catch fish faster than stocks can replenish, something called overfishing.

The number of overfished stocks globally has tripled in half a century and today fully one-third of the world's assessed fisheries are currently pushed beyond their biological limits, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Overfishing is closely tied to bycatch—the capture of unwanted sea life while fishing for a different species. This, too, is a serious marine threat that causes the needless loss of billions of fish, along with hundreds of thousands of sea turtles and cetaceans.

The damage done by overfishing goes beyond the marine environment. Billions of people rely on fish for protein, and fishing is the principal livelihood for millions of people around the world.

Many people who make a living catching, selling, and buying fish are working to improve how the world manages and conserves ocean resources. WWF works with a cross-section of stakeholders to reform fisheries management globally, focusing on sustainable practices that not only conserve ecosystems, but also sustain livelihoods and ensure food security.


The whole point of history is to learn from it.  We need to learn from what we did to the dodo bird.  And we need to learn that lesson before it is too late.

So many great posts in the community in the last 24 hours including:

Here's part of a debate that I missed. 

 I am supporting Howie.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

 Friday, October 9, 2020.  Our personal Evita wants to tell us how to vote.

Michelle Obama -- great activist and voice for the people -- wants you to know that you can only vote for Joe Biden.  Jimmy Dore explains what a worthless voice Michelle's is.

"Ignorance and hatred keep me from doing my duty as a citizen"?

What duty?  What have you ever done?

You've never led a march . . .except a march to the bank.

It's really time we said no to Presidential Welfare.  Once upon a time, people didn't dishonor the presidency, turn it into a lotto sweepstakes win.  Now that they do?  No more healthcare coverage.  No more Secret Service detail.  Let these whores pay for it themselves.

Jimmy Carter didn't use his former president status to rake in millions or billions.  A president like that?  Sure, pay for their Secret Service protection.

But I'm damn tired of paying for security at Simon & Schuster book events for Hillary, Bill, Barack or Michelle.  They get millions in advances for books that frequently do not sell all that well -- certainly not enough to justify the advances -- and we're then supposed to pick up the bill for security so that they can make millions?


End Presidential Welfare, end it now.

Read Ann's "Ugly Michelle Obama" which is on the mark.  Ann is a Green Party member.  Her parents are, she was raised to be a Green.

Screw Michelle, that hag should keep her mouth shut.  Every time she opens it lately, she lies.  Pretending Barack didn't put children into cages at the DNC, for example.  She's a hag.  She shows no respect for others -- Green Party members are Americans so stop treating them like your lackeys that you can boss around or shame.  She's a hag.  Barack's hag.

Was she trying to distract from last night's debate?  Probably so.  Last night The Free and Equal Elections Foundation held their own presidential debate where all candidates were invited.  It streamed on FACEBOOK.  I don't see it on YOUTUBE but you can stream at the FACEBOOK link.  Five candidates participated.


Gloria La Riva (Party for Socialism and Liberation) attended.  To the first question, her response included:

My party and my campaign believe that all US troops must be withdrawn from every base around the world.  Shut down the more than 800 military bases without any hesitation.  Take the troops out of South Korea so that the people of Korea can be reunited again.  When a country is occupied by the United States, it cannot be truly free.  And that goes for Afghanistan, that goes for Iraq, that goes for part of what used to be Yugoslavia.  I have seen the effects of US war and sanctions.  I traveled three times to Iraq between 1997 and 2001 to see more than one million people who had died from a total US blockade on Iraq.  Why?  For the US to take control of the oil.  That is strategic geo-political domination of the Middle East. Now they've overthrown Libya and created a hellhole for the people.  I believe that the people of the world must be able to decide their own destiny.  And part of that foreign policy [I propose] is also stopping all US military aid to Israel.  Stop oppressing the Palestinian people.  The people in Palestine must have the right to self-determination.  And I made a video about Iraq, by the way, it's called GENOCIDE BY SANCTIONS: THE CASE OF IRAQ.  It won an award for the exposition 

You can find that documentary at the INTERNET ARCHIVE.

And in just that portion of her first response, you find more weight and depth than anything you saw in the Democrat and Republican presidential debates or in this weeks Democrat and Republican vice presidential debate 

Let's not be hags for the Democratic Party.  We'll start with the Green Party.  Howie Hawkins is the presidential candidate. Howie has long called for Medicare For All (Joe Biden and Donald Trump are against it) and a Green New Deal (ditto).  Yesterday, Howie called for other items.

 On YOUTUBE, you can find about six minutes of the debate currently.

If you read the comments, you will see that the YOUTUBE stream had issues.  If they post it to YOUTUBE, we will include it in a snapshot.

Green Party presidential candidate Howie Hawkins also participated.  He's long called for a Green New Deal and for Medicare For All.  At his TWITTER feed last night, he called for an end to the electoral college and much more including:

Demilitarize the police. Invest in social services. Legalize marijuana. End the war on drugs. We need community control of the police!

We must give back stolen lands and honor indigenous treaty rights. We need to guarantee representation of native people in Washington, and bring about proportional representation to our entire electoral system.

We have violated treaties where our government recognizes defined indigenous lands. The least we can do is honor the treaties and respect sovereignty.

No Space Force. No militarization of space.

We need to dismantle the privatization of space. We need to invest in NASA and work towards global cooperation.

End the surveillance state!

Protect Whistleblowers!

The Commission on Presidential Debates is a private entity controlled by the Dems and GOP. It is NOT a public government agency.

We need Full Public Campaign Financing

Jo Jorgensen is the Libertarian Party's presidential candidate.

Despite residents in all fifty states being able to vote for Jo, she is not allowed into the mainstream debates.  How scared are Donald Trump and Joe Biden of Jo Jorgensen?  Little, cowardly boys is all they are.

Jo's been campaigning around the country.  Below is her speaking at a campaign rally in Philadelphia.

Michelle Obama wants to limit your choice.  She wants to make it a two-man race.  Of course, she does.  She was a sexist pig at the DNC in 2008 -- and we called that crap out (and her decision to wear granny panties that were visible through her dress -- see Ava and my "TV: The endless non-news").  She's now yet again working overtime to erase women.  Gloria La Riva is a solid choice and she's a woman.  Jo Jorgensen is a solid choice and she's a woman.  Angela Walker -- Howie's running mate -- is a solid choice and she's a woman.

Michelle doesn't support women.  And she never has.  "Our girls" is about the height of activism from Michelle.  She works overtime to betray women and to keep the patriarchy going.  She doesn't instill pride, she just offers scolding and nagging and bullying.  

You have choices.  You need to listen to yourself and decide who represents you.  If it's Joe Biden, great.  If it's Gloria La Riva, great.  Whomever it is -- even Donald Trump -- if that's the person who best represents your views and opinions, that's who you need to vote for.  And if no one represents you, you have every right to not vote (either just on the presidential or on the whole ballot).  That's what a democracy is supposed to be about.


At THE GUARDIAN, Ghaith Abdul-Ahad reports on the militia:


According to Abu Hashem and other commanders, Iranian flights soon started delivering weapons to the newly opened airport in Najaf.

“One of the ministers in the government at that time used to be head of logistics in the [Shia political party and military group] Badr Corps. He sat on the floor in a white dishdasha, picked up phones and arranged for shipments of pickup trucks, munitions and weapons, then distributed them among the different factions.”

With weapons, cars and men came Iranian advisers. They dispersed across the country in a wide geographic arch from Diyala in the east to the western border with Syria. Their voices could be heard on the military radio directing mortar fire in Falluja, installing thermal cameras in a small besieged village in the west of Mosul and accompanying the advance of an Iraqi special forces brigade in Tikrit.

“The reality is, without the Iranians we wouldn’t be able to do anything,” Abu Hashem said. “If the Iranian advisers weren’t there, the battalions wouldn’t attack. Their presence gave the men confidence in the early days.

We last noted the militia's in Monday's snapshot:  We were noting how they were attacking the protesters:

This result was completely expected by any of us paying attention in real time.  That would leave out the likes of THE NEW YORK TIMES which, in 2019, offered that the "militia's independence" would be "chip[ped] away" by this move.  They were wrong.  The move to bring the militia forces under the umbrella of the Iraqi forces was first proposed by thug Nouri al-Maliki in his second term.  But it would be the laughable Hayder al-Abadi who would actually do it.  One of the few to call the militia nonsense out in real time was Ranj Alaaldin (Brookings) who observed:

But such beliefs were met with a new reality on Monday, as were (unrealistic) hopes that al-Abadi could rebuild Iraq and bring the country together: His coalition announced that he will join forces with Iran-aligned militias that spear the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), the umbrella Shiite militia organization established in 2014 to fill the vacuum that was left by the collapse of Iraq’s armed forces when ISIS seized Mosul.

Just a day later, the Iran-aligned militias—contesting the elections as the al-Fatih (Conquest) bloc—withdrew from the electoral alliance, not out of principle but because of differences over participation and electoral strategy (there were not enough seats to go around). Indeed, Hadi al-Ameri, the head of the Badr Brigade—Iraq’s most powerful militia, which Iran established in the 1980s and which controls the Interior Ministry—has even hinted they could join forces after the elections to form a government.

Folding the militias into the Iraqi government did not put any controls on the militias.  They terrorize the Iraqi people as they did before they were part of the government.  They refuse to take orders and they issue threats against the Iraqi government.

At The Atlantic Council (a pro-war body), Andrew Peek makes an argument which includes:

The issue is that Sunni extremists are no longer a determinative geopolitical priority. For the moment, the fire has gone out of the radicals. ISIS is not gone but has gone underground like its sister organizations. Though it can still bite, it is utterly discredited in the heartland of Iraq and Syria. ISIS pulled the Sunni world to the brink and it drew back. Outside of a catastrophic black swan event—a mass release from the al-Hol prison in Syria, a Houthi breakthrough in Yemen, some implosion in Pakistan or Afghanistan—it is not clear what would resurrect the mass political appeal of Sunni extremism.

Adding to this challenge is that the Shia community’s radicals are radical in a very different way than the Sunnis. They form the political bodies from which structured, directed militant groups emerge, but there are virtually no lone wolves.  Terror, such as it exists, is carefully controlled for state ends. Lebanese Hezbollah will still conduct bombings in Israel, Syria, and Europe—like the Bulgarian attack for which it was blamed in 2012—and Iran will kill dissidents, but this is structurally a far different phenomenon than the explosion of hydra-headed Sunni radicalism that the US faced at the end of the twentieth century.

The great bureaucratic success of the Trump administration has been to make Iran the US’s top priority in the Middle East, allowing for America’s great big counter-Sunni extremist machine to shift focus to Shia groups. Iranian-backed Shia militant groups have begun to be sanctioned more regularly—even those that had fought against ISIS. President Donald Trump’s targeting of Iranian and Iran-backed targets and his administration’s increased risk tolerance of operating against such actors in battlespaces where they dominate is a signature bureaucratic achievement. Neither the State Department nor the Defense Department readily changed course.

Nevertheless, the public engagement work has not caught up with the new focus on Iran. In other words, the US lacks virtually any engagement with the Shia body politic. We normally do not host Shia religious leaders at official events, Iftar dinners, and the like, particularly not members of the Marjayiya. The Bush administration was actually forward-leaning with this: for example, sending a plane in 2007 to fly a senior Iraqi cleric to Houston for medical treatment. But, other than that (and some very quiet meetings held by myself with one or two others), there has not been much engagement with them, besides the occasional over-the-top communiqué to Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in Iraq—usually when the walls in Iraq are about to come crumbling down. 

The following sites updated:

Friday, October 09, 2020



So a NASA video and it's Hispanic Heritage month.  I did not know it was Hipsanice Heritage Month.  I'll try to note that a few more times this month.  Something else I didn't know?

NASA streams throughout the day live on YOUTUBE.

I saw the live function on YOUTUBE over an hour ago and got caught up in it because it was just so interesting.  I didn't realize how much time had passed.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

 Thursday, November 8, 2020.  The Democratic and Republican Party debate . . . 

Last night, a limited pretense of a debate took place.  It was called the vice presidential debate but it only included two people running for that office.  For example, voters in every state can vote for Jo Jorgensen, the Libertarian Party candidate.  She's on the ballot in all fifty states.  But her running mate Spike Cohen wasn't invited to the debates.  Howie Hawkins has ballot access in enough states that, should people vote for him, he could be president.  But his running mate on the Green Party ticket, Angela Walker, was not invited to the debate.  Sunil Freeman is Gloria La Riva's running mate on the Party for Socialism and Liberation are on the ballot in 15 states.  Residents of 15 states can vote for them?  Shouldn't they have been on the stage last night.

Count every vote.  Your vote matters.  Blah-blah-blah bulls**t.  If your vote matters then the media needs to cover all the campaigns, then all candidates needs to be on stage.  You want to set a qualification?  Fine.  Figure out how many states you think a candidate should be on the ballot.  Make that the only criteria.  Polling?  Polling reflects media coverage -- it always does.  So don't use that nonsense.  The criteria should be, my opinion, does the candidate have enough ballot access to win.  If they do, my opinion, they should be on the stage.

If someone wants to argue for an even looser criteria, I'll gladly support that.  But I think, bare minimum, if you are on the ballot in enough states to win, then you deserve a spot on stage.

Why doesn't that happen?  Because the networks allow the Democrats and the Republicans to control the debate, they let them determine who will be on stage and who will be moderating.  We need an independent commission -- not a bipartisan one -- to be over the debates.  The commission should be the one to determine who is on stage, who is the moderator, etc.  

Susan Page (USA TODAY) lied at the start of her moderation of the debate last night.  She said the commission was non-partisan.  That's a lie.

I like Susan.  She was being trashed as a moderator ahead of the debate by a few idiots on the left over some event she attended.  Susan is a social person.  But Susan is a left-leaning person.  I don't say that as an insult.  I'm all the way to the left.  But I say it because some of the so-called 'resistance' tried to trash her because of a social event.  Now they could have said, "I have concerns because she . . ."  They didn't.  They said that she wouldn't be fair because of that.

Susan leans left.  With that factored in, Susan also tries to be fair.  

I don't like calling her out for the "non-partisan" nonsense -- flat out wrong -- but I'll call her out when she's wrong (and did so in the past when she'd fill in for Diane Rehm on THE DIANE REHM SHOW).

Let's stop pretending we have free and fair elections in the United States when we won't even be fair about who gets included in the debates.  And let's stop calling an event that leaves many voters disenfranchised because they're candidates are not on stage, let's stop calling that a "vice presidential debate" or a "presidential debate."  It's a Democrat and Republican debate.  That's all it is.  It's very limited regardless of who is on stage but when you have a do-nothing, say-nothing candidate like Joe Biden who cannot answer any question -- whether it's about how much money Hunter Biden was paid by a Russian oligarch or whether it's does he agree with his running mate on the issue of court packing (expanding the number of Justices on the Supreme Court beyond nine)? -- it's especially limited.

Howie Hawkins  Tweeted the following at the end of September:

Biden says: "The Green New Deal is not my plan" That's right Joe. It's my plan. #debates

Howie Tweeted this last night:

 In 2010, I was the 1st candidate in the US to run on a Green New Deal.

Today we have made it mainstream, supported by the US majority. Our plan incorporates an Economic Bill of Rights that the Dems won't touch, & the GOP hates that we can afford it:

Imagine if, in 2012, the American people could have seen, on all the networks (as the debates are carried by PBS, CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, TELEMUNDO and many other stations -- TV and radio -- across the country)  could have had a candidate onstage at the 'presidential debate' (the Democrat and Republican debate) discussing the Green New Deal.

Or Medicare For All.  We owe the nurses of this country so much.  They have led on Medicare For All.  They have talked that issue, they have raised that issue.  Many other activists have helped popularize it and they deserve credit too but it really is the nurses of America who have led on it and popularized it.

What has the Democratic Party done on it?  Nothing.

Despite claiming to be for it -- in a form that got increasing watered down in her campaign for the nomination of the Democratic Party -- Kamala doesn't support it now because Joe is against it.  Bernie Sanders supported it.

Why didn't Jane Fonda support Bernie?  We've raised the issue, Ava and I, in "Media: The Jane Fonda Horror Show" about her bad 'book' which is so bad that it's actually bad for the environment (regular paper is biodegradable -- glossy pages like her book has -- every page is coated -- not).  We noted this:

Or does she just really not care about the issues she claims to be vested in?  At one point in the book, she insists that you can enrich your stock portfolio by stepping away from fossil fuel investments.  We hope that's true.  We remember when Tom Hayden hijacked a good portion of her fortune during the divorce settlement and how he did so by blackmailing her with the threat that he'd go public with what 'activist' Jane Fonda actually had in her stock portfolio.  


But is the whole thing just a pretense?


We ask for good reason.  Bernie Sanders is the politician who ran on the platform she believes in.  And she supported him . . . on March 20, 2020.  Up until then, she'd supported a number of others running for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.  We see nothing wrong with her support of Elizabeth Warren and even can look the other way on Kamala Harris since Harris is 'local' (California).  But we have a hard time justifying the other candidates she supported -- including Amy Klobuchar.  Amy had no climate plan, didn't support Medicare For All and had that troubling past as a prosecutor who wrongly imprisoned people of color -- including children of color.


Despite Bernie standing for everything she claims to believe in, she didn't endorse Bernie until March 20th, when he was the only candidate left in the race who wasn't Joe Biden.


Despite her claims to want to end climate change, her book is filled with the same people who organized the attack on Michael Moore recently.  Of the two, we like Jane better (we really do like Jane and take no pleasure in writing this piece).  But our dislike for Michael Moore does not mean that we justify the climate lobby attacking him.  Between the film Moore produced and the book Jane's promoting?  Only one of them will make any real difference -- and it's not going to be Jane's book.

She supported multiple candidates -- including the hideous billionaire Tom Steyer who stood for nothing.  He's a fake ass on the issue of climate change, a 'green washer' of great pretense.  

There were real issues and, let's be honest, Jane doesn't have a lot of years left.  She wrote a fake ass book about the superficial thoughts of celebrities, superficial thoughts briefly expressed at Fire Drill Fridays (which she wanted to be used to educate but backed off when people told her that that sort of thing should be left to a separate teach-in).  I don't know when Jane plans to stand up.  But to wait until March 20th to stand up and support Bernie Sanders was craven and cowardly.

I don't like Bernie Sanders.  I've never liked Bernie.  He was a nightmare as the Chair of the Senate's Veterans Affairs Committee.  The morning the country learns that the VA has been hiding truths from the American people, covering up the mistreatment of veterans, Bernie opens a Veterans Affairs hearing explaining he doesn't want to talk about that scandal, he's going to focus on holistic healing.

That was b.s.  and I guess Bernie more than earned his initials.

Bernie clearly is not a great candidate.  A great candidate has self-respect and supports those who have backed his campaign.  Bernie just tries to whore them.

But screw Bernie.  The individual wasn't important in 2020, the support behind his proposals were.  I supported Bernie's campaign in 2020 because it was addressing the real issues -- Medicare For All and the need to seriously address climate change.

I don't care for Bernie but I did respect the enthusiasm voters had for him and I did respect their drive which would hold a President Bernie Sanders accountable.  

Jane waited until Bernie was the only candidate standing.  I guess that showed some courage.  I just know that her supposed beliefs were not reflected in her choices previous to Berne (with the exception of Elizabeth Warren -- Elizabeth would have been a strong president as well).

Bernie was never my first choice.  Honestly, Beto or Julian were my first choices.  With Beto, that was especially based on his work on and statements about Iraq going back to the many public hearings I attended when he was in the House.  (And we covered those here.)  The media didn't want Beto.  They turned on him.  During his campaign in 2019, he would make basic, factual statements about Iraq and, for example, Joe Biden's friend employed by THE WASHINGTON POST as a 'fact checker' would attack him in print as a liar.  And when Joe lied (as he does several times a day)?  Joe's friend at THE POST would find a way to minimize and excuse it and allow 'facts' to be claims presented by Joe's campaign.

There is so much lying going on.  You're hearing, "If Trump wins re-election, they will strip away Obamacare's provision that allows pre-existing conditions to be covered!!!!"  If you care about that the answer is Medicare For All.  If you care about it.  Want to be sure everyone with pre-existing coverage gets covered?  Medicare For All.

The debate?

I told someone Kamala would win and I'd bet them on it.  Despite being an elected Democrat (or maybe because of it) and despite knowing Kamala Harris, he didn't take my bet.

He should have.  Because I was wrong.  

The minute the debate (18:56 in the CNBC video below), I knew she was in trouble. 

She was lost in many debates during the primary and that was because there were multiple people on stage.  When Tulsi Gabbard hit her out of left field, Kamala was clearly surprised and dazed.  She shaped a reply (not a good one) in one-on-one interviews after the debate.

But Kamala is a wonder in court.  I've seen her before.  I've found her rousing in court.  Even when I didn't agree with the argument she was making to the court, I found her rousing and inspiring.

We didn't see that last night.  We saw weakness.  And that's the format.  She was seated.  Kamala standing and making an argument is a strong presence.  A sit down debate, she came off weak.

Her speaking voice was tremulous.  And that's fine.  I use that, Jane taught me it.  Make your statement a public performance, come off nervous to be hear, state what's needed and let your conviction make you come off stronger.  It's a wonderful technique.  But Kamala never got to the summation part that she would have and frequently did when she was delivering a closing statement in court.

She's hampered in many ways.  She has to underplay so as not to show up the top of the ticket.  She's a woman and there are 800 million things that she's being told to do from what she wears to how her hair is, and that's before the advisors want to talk to her about arguments to make.  

I understand the problems she had to address and I'm sympathetic.

But she should have broken free in the debate.  Especially considering Joe's health which could mean he doesn't complete his first term if elected.

Kamala didn't humiliate herself by any means.  She delivered an acceptable performance.  But she was capable of so much more.

And I gladly would have paid if my friend in Congress had taken the bet with me because I don't believe Kamala won.

Now above, I'm talking about her performance and presentation.  I'm not fact checking her and certainly, I'm far to the left of Kamala.  But her performance and presentation was good.  It should have been great.  She has the ability and power to be great.

If you need me to fact check her or respond to her opinions, e-mail and if it's a real concern I'll do so in the next snapshot.  I've tried to be very fair to Kamala.  I really don't like her.  Willie Brown has told me for the last two years that I'm not fair to her.  I've worked to be fair to her and to acknowledge her good qualities.  

So I'm going to ignore doing any form of fact check with one exception.

This is nonsense and ignorance.  "We now know because of great investigative journalism."  She said that of Donald Trump's tax returns.  This was not investigative journalism.  This was check-book journalism and possibly after the election so-called journalistic watchdogs and media critics will call it out.  But this was not investigative journalism. Kamala's statement bothered me more than anything else she said because it appears that, despite being a smart, well educated person, she doesn't grasp what investigative journalism is.  Investigative journalism is uncovering the VA's wait lists -- the hidden ones that denied access to so many veterans.  Investigative journalism is uncovering something unknown to the people.  Donald Trump's tax returns exist.  There have been efforts in court to get them.  This was not investigative journalism -- this was check-book journalism and two friends at THE NEW YORK TIMES have not only told me that, they have repeated how outraged they are that 'the paper of record,' resorted to that.

Joe is for fracking, I've called that out.  I'm not voting for him.  So the claim that Joe believes in science or this or that by Kamala?  Don't believe it.  Again, we go through her comments if enough people want to but I'm just not interested.  We've covered the nonsense of Russia-gate from the beginning.  (And the Iran deal was always a nightmare and, in real time, we noted here that I was being asked to promote it and had refused.)

I'm also not interested in going over Mike Pence whose name I sadly learned last night.  I'd made it through the entire term not knowing his name -- "Mike whatever" or "Mike Pompeo -- wait, that's the Secretary of State, whatever his name it."  Except for noting his wife's visit to Iraq (and applauding her for that), we've been able to ignore Pence.

He was calm -- as was Kamala.  He gave a strong presentation.  I'm talking performance, not positions.  

I call the debate a tie.  A different format, and people letting Kamala be Kamala, would have allowed her to knock it out the park.  She has that ability, I've seen her do it in court.  But the format did not allow her to shine as she can and I'm sure 800 million "remember you need to . . ." from various handlers also harmed her performance.  

At this point in the campaign, Kamala should just be Kamala.  In every future speech, just tap into who she is and let it fly.  If the Biden campaign wants to win, it's going to be Kamala carrying across the finish line.  There is no enthusiasm for Joe.  Certainly not among the young.  We're speaking via zoom to college groups across the country.  I hear repeatedly, "I'm not voting for Trump but I'm not voting."  Kamala is the only thing that will bring any enthusiasm to the campaign in these final weeks -- and she can do it.  

I do understand -- and have spoken to friends with Joe's campaign -- the concern that Kamala shining will make him look less.  Well too bad.  He's now had weeks to build up himself and he's failed to do it.  To generate enthusiasm now, that's got to come from Kamala and people need to let her be who she really is and she will shine.

Angela Walker is the VP candidate on the Green Party ticket.  Below she presents her response to last night's debate.

Wars were not a serious topic.  Iraq came up in passing.  War was not a serious issue in the debate.  I guess when Joe Biden's the candidate -- pro-war Joe, destroyer of Iraq, Joe -- you have to ignore it.  Just like you ignore issues of assault and harassment -- when the heads of both tickets are credibly accused.

Who is Anthony Brian Logan?  I'm not familiar with him before this morning, sorry.  I'm not a YOUTUBE expert by any means.  But a conservative sent an e-mail to the public account saying that we don't offer a conservative response here.  We don't.  This is a site for the left.  But I have no problem including Anthony Brian Logan's political commentary -- it's from the right.  Inclusion does not mean agreement.  

My big thing on this video that he's commenting on would be?  Sit down, Michelle.  I'd say that about Laura Bush and pretty much every First Lady of my generation except for Rosalyn Carter and Hillary Clinton.  They did things as First Lady.  Not b.s. nonsense -- grow a garden!, beautify the country (while we drop napalm on Vietnam, Lady Bird?), let's move, let's read, let's try to humanize me and pretend I'm a caring person.

Hillary worked on healthcare as First Lady.  Great job?  No.  But she tackled it.  When she ran for the nomination of the Democratic Party in 2008, there were some who derided her, "She was just a First Lady."  She wasn't but fine if that's your opinion.

Michelle has done even less.  And for her to interject herself is just nonsense.  She was not a First Lady who did anything of value.  They tried to make her a super model and that didn't work.  Then they tried to find 'feminine' topics for her.  About the only thing that didn't fall under 'girl biz'?  Her efforts to get the Olympics held in Chicago.  If you've forgotten, she failed at that (even after enlisting Oprah to help with the effort).  

I don't really understand her standing in this debate.  A former First Lady who did nothing.  Again, First Lady Carter, First Lady Clinton, they were political.  Hillary's made some remarks praising Joe (but largely just condemning Donald Trump) and whether I agree or disagree, I don't wonder: Why is she speaking?  

Why is Michelle speaking?

Because Joe's not closing the deal.  Michelle is a heavy weight in terms of admiration by some Americans.  So they're letting her take a hit -- the same way Bully Boy Bush's administration let Colin Powell take a hit by lying to the UN -- in the hopes that maybe this will help pull Joe over the line.

If our voting system today was you voted because somebody called you on the phone and asked you who you wanted to vote for?  Joe would win the election.

But polling isn't voting.  And I'm telling you right now that a number of young Americans are still not rushing to vote for Joe Biden.   They'll say he'd be better than Trump but he's not reached a number of them.  Does he have enough support as it is?  I don't know.  But, again, I'm hearing things like, "I got polled and I said Joe would be my choice.  But I probably won't vote."  

Spike Cohen is Jo Jorgensen's running mate.  I searched YOUTUBE and their campaign site and see no response to the debate so I'm not including them.  If he has a response to the debate, we'll certainly note it tomorrow.  He did offer one Tweet and we'll note that:

Things that were not mentioned in the #VPDebates2020 • Ending Qualified Immunity • Ending the War on Drugs • Bringing our troops home • The CDC’s failure to allow COVID-19 testing for months Americans are sick and tired of political posturing. We need real solutions now.

The following sites updated: