The Republican primary presidential undercard debate–an idea that had some merit at the beginning of the debate cycle has more than run its course and needs to be eliminated before it becomes a parody of itself.

The folly of this debate became more evident this week, when Sen Rand Paul (R-KY) called for the RNC to drop the junior varsity version of the main debate.

“I’m not sure where the purpose is anymore, if there ever was one,” Paul told POLITICO in a telephone interview on Friday. “I think if you have a national campaign, you’ve raised a significant amount of money, you’re on the ballot, you’ve employed staff and you’re actively campaigning, you’ve got to be in the debate.”

Those comments though need to be taken with a grain of salt as Paul feared–rightfully so that he would not make the cut for the main debate stage for the next GOP debate on January 14.

But putting Paul’s own motivation aside, he is right.  At least as to what the current purpose is.  In the beginning it was a way to give all the candidates a chance for some national TV exposure as the race for the presidency began.  After holding two or three of these though the purpose became much murkier as minimum thresholds were imposed  to qualify, much like the main debate.  Those thresholds–usually 1 percent polling left former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore off the air as he has been stuck at 0 percent.

Now the undercard debate has evolved into just another opportunity for the networks to make a few extra bucks from advertisers and appease reporters and anchors who want to participate in the debate process but aren’t good enough to be selected for the primetime show.

The undercard debate particpants campaigns are barely breathing and all the undercard debate does is provide life support when the plug should have been pulled long ago.

Case in point.  Carly Fiorina used the undercard to shine and rose enough in the polls to qualify for the main stage.  Now that her polls numbers have dropped and her campaign is flagging she will return to the undercard debate this week in what has to be a humiliating experience.  Paul for his part, is boycotting the undercard debate–which he could easily dominate as he ponders when to withdraw from the race after watching his poll numbers plummet.

At this point the RNC should trim the entire debate field and limit the debates to the top five candidates or those polling at least 5 percent nationally–whichever is less and move on to choosing its nominee.

That won’t happen though because RNC Chairman Reince Priebus has his head stuck in the sand and would prefer to see the candidates eliminate themselves rather than take the lead and get the party focused on the best candidates.




Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, whose presidential campaign began with promise came to a surprising and crashing thud yesterday when the former GOP frontrunner announced that he was ending his quest for the presidency due to a lack of cash and dwindling poll numbers.

Walker, who has been elected governor three times–he won a bitterly contested recall election failed to transform his Wisconsin pit bull image to the national scene.  Instead of the combative politician who successfully defeated labor union efforts to defeat him, Walker appeared soft-spoken and unprepared to do battle with fellow Republicans and the media.  He struggled to get up to snuff on foreign policy issues and was far from the most polished speaker in the race.

One of the most costly mistakes though was his lack of aggressiveness in the Republican debates.  He spoke only when spoken to and was just too passive–especially during the free-for-all that broke out during the last debate at the Reagan library.

Walker did make one right move.  Firing Republican consultant Liz Mair. Mair is no conservative and had no business working for Walker.  She showed her true colors after the announcement by unleashing a twitter storm as to why Walker failed.  Mair has also become a favorite of Chris Matthews which is all one need to know about what kind of Republican she really is.

In leaving the race Walker encouraged others to follow his lead and “clear the field” to more effectively fight current frontrunner Donald Trump.  That is advice many of the candidates should heed–particularly those that are polling below 5 percent.  Most of the candidates in the bottom rung have raised little money and have small to non-existent staffs and no real hope of winning the nomination and are wasting everyone’s time by continuing to chase a dream that they will never achieve. all this does is help the Democrats and make the GOP look silly and disorganized.

The race right now is between Trump, Fiorina, Bush,Cruz and Rubio.  That’s it.  Everyone else is a non-factor and is just sucking up oxygen.  But I doubt they will quit as their egos are bigger than their concern for what is best for the party.

Chris Matthews called the GOP field a “clown car” and as it looks right now he isn’t far off.

The first GOP debate of the primary season took place in Cleveland on Thursday night and was moderated by Fox News anchors, Megyn Kelly, Brett Baier and Chris Wallace and it was clear from the start that this would be no softball question debate when right off the bat the candidates were asked if there was anyone on the stage that wouldn’t promise to support the eventual GOP nominee and not launch a third-party candidacy.  All the candidates were in agreement sans billionaire Donald Trump who raised his hand.  This question was clearly aimed at Trump who has been reportedly thinking about running as an independent should he fail to win the Republican nomination, and it set the tone for the rest of the debate.

Throughout the two hour debate Trump was repeatedly challenged on his history- from having said that a single-payer health system can work to his contribution to Clinton Foundation to the multiple bankruptcies that some of his companies have had over the years.

Trump, in his brash politically incorrect style fought back against the charges and largely entertained the audience at Quicken Loans Arena, but the tough questioning of him and the other candidates enraged many conservatives who thought that Fox had an agenda to discredit Trump as well as potentially bring down a few other candidates.

This is nothing but sour grapes.  Trump deserves to be questioned. He has made rude and crude remarks about women and anyone else he disagrees with for years and hasn’t suffered at all from it due to his vast wealth and influence.  But for him to complain about the tough questioning shows an awfully thin skin and doesn’t bode well for someone who will be subjected to much tougher questions as the campaign heats up.  Think about it this way.  If the candidates-Trump in particular had just answered the questions, they would have have been able to put them behind them and move on.  Instead the response only created more controversy and more headaches for the RNC.

Trump didnt’t help the situation when he told CNN’s Don Lemon Friday night that Kelly had “blood coming out of her eyes,” adding “blood coming out of her wherever.” alluding to maybe Kelly was having a period.

That resulted in Trump being disinvited to the Red State Gathering in Atlanta where he was to be the concluding speaker Saturday night which only set Trump on fire when he called Red State organizer Erick Erickson, “weak” and “pathetic” and said he was a victim of political correctness.

Trump’s opponents, who may not have been overly happy with the debate on Thursday are lining up behind Kelly and provided an opening for them to take shots at Trump for being anti-women.

While Trump is leading in the polls among all GOP candidates, this doesn’t give him the right to get so personal in his attacks because he didn’t like the questions he was being asked.

Conservatives who rose to Trump’s defense need to really assess why they support Trump.  Yes he has talked tough on immigration and is generally saying things many of the other candidates won’t say but should, but he also thinks that his business success and wealth make him immune from criticism.  Well Mt. Trump I have news for you- that’s now how it is is in politics especially if you’re a Republican.

The liberal media is eating all this controversy up and that’s bad news for the RNC.

Fox News had a job to do and they did it.  Sorry to the conservatives who expected or wanted a boring friendly debate.  Now the candidates have an an idea of what to expect when they participate in the CNN moderated debate in September and they will be the better for it.


Hillary Clinton’s campaign communications director Jennifer Palmieri struggled to explain to Bloomberg TV’s Mark Halperin how 30,000 of the former Secretary of State’s emails were deleted.

Palmieri was a guest on With All Due Respect which Halperin co-hosts.

Halperin: We got down to, she said alright I’m going to turn over this 30,000… Then what happened physically what happened?

Palmieri: That I don’t know. I mean the server, I think, I don’t know. I don’t really understand.

Halperin: You don’t know who did the deletion or how they did it?

Palmieri: No, but I know that they went through like the 64,000 emails and divided up those that were personal…

And she’s Clinton’s 2016 campaign communications director?

The email scandal continues to be a problem for Clinton as she has refused to come clean on what really happened and is treating it as a distraction concocted by the vast right-wing conspiracy in an effort to derail her presidential campaign.

But the truth is that it’s her dishonesty and obfuscation that have kept the story alive and has made voters distrustful of her.

Click the link to view the entire segment.


Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. announced on Monday that their new investigative journalism program Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson will makes its debut on Sunday October 4.

More about the program from Sinclair’s press release;

The 30-minute program, which will be based in Washington, D.C., will focus on investigative journalism and target accountability in the public and private sectors. “We will pierce secrecy and seek accountability from government, corporations and special interests,” said Ms. Attkisson, host of the broadcast. “We will report on untouchable topics in a fearless way with a team of award winning journalists. We will follow the trail no matter where it leads.”

The announcement was made by Scott Livingston, Vice President of News for Sinclair Television Group.

“This is serious journalism dedicated to serious topics that impact us all,” said Mr. Livingston. “Sinclair Broadcast Group is excited to launch this show. Our team on “Full Measure” is a sign of our dedication to the reporting. We’ve recruited experienced, dedicated and passionate news professionals with proven records in investigative reporting and network broadcasting.”

Ms. Attkisson is a recipient of five Emmy Awards, seven Emmy nominations and an Edward R. Murrow Award for investigative journalism. She recently authored the New York Times bestseller, Stonewalled, which addresses the unseen influences of corporations and special interests on the information and images that the public receives every day.

Batt Humphreys will be the broadcast’s Executive Producer. He served in several executive roles with CBS News in New York, including EP of The Early Show and Director of Standards and Practices.

“In today’s world of media and journalism where reporting is often superficial we pledge to dig deeper, to bring the context and perspective to the stories that matter, to bring to our audience the ‘Full Measure’,” says Mr. Humphreys.

Kim Skeen will be lead producer. She has been recognized with multiple national awards including two Emmy Awards and many others as a producer for investigative work for CBS News, ABC News and CNN. Bryan Barr will be lead photographer. His work has won multiple local Emmys, AP and Edward R. Murrow awards in coverage of news events across the nation.

Since leaving CBS Attkisson has been highly sought after by conservative groups and the right-wing media.  She signed on as a contributor to The Daily Signal- an online news site run by the Heritage Foundation and appeared many times on Fox News’ MediaBuzz program so the launch of her own program is part of the natural progression of her new career as a journalist unfettered by the usual liberal media dictums.

Sinclair owns and operates, programs or provides sales services to 162 television stations in 79 markets, including Washington, D.C, and will be closely watched by the liberal media elite.

The Philadelphia Socialists have turned to crowdfunding site Indiegogo to raise money for their operations.

Here is their pitch;

Who We Are

Philly Socialists is a locally-based political organization which was founded in 2011. In that time we have become one of the leading activist organizations in Philadelphia and one of the most dynamic socialist groups in the nation, with a number of accomplishments to our name.

What We Can Do With Your Support

With your help, in 2015 we plan on:

  • Expanding our reach by organizing a new branch in the city (taking us up to three active branches in Philly).
  • Continue offering our free GED classes for working class Philadelphia residents and free English classes for non-native speakers and new residents.
  • Take on and win a number of fights defending tenants against the predations of greedy slumlords.
  • Launch an independent tenants union based on the successes we’ve had with tenant organizing among working class residents.
  • Host a number of political education events to promote socialist, proletarian and working class ideas to Philadelphia residents.
  • Maintain a presence and offer additional support to the mass protest movements which periodically spring up in the city, with a special emphasis on feminist and anti-racist solidarity.
  • Hold a block party celebration at the site of our community garden.
  • And much more!

Why We Need Your Help

To retain a resolutely independent political perspective and an orientation toward class struggle, Philly Socialists has always strived for financial independence. From the beginning, we’ve avoided taking donations from foundations, unions, political parties, nonprofit institutions, as well as businesses (big or small). This has allowed us to navigate our own course free from meddling by bigger political players.

But this also means we rely heavily on the financial support of our members and sympathizers. Our activist members make regular monthly contributions (dues) to provide us with a budget for flyers, clipboards, posters, banners, supplies, and all the other infrastructure necessary to operate a political movement.

But we also sometimes need to ask for one-time donations from our members and supporters. We keep our solicitation to a minimum, but now is one of those times we need your support. Our goal of $10,000 through this one-time fundraiser will allow us to provide small stipends to as many as three (3) part-time organizers.

Other Ways You Can Help

We’re an activist organization composed of and fighting for poor and working class people. Not everyone in our group can make a financial contribution, but everyone can do something. If you live in Philadelphia, consider getting involved in our organizing efforts; we always have something popping. If you can’t help us meet our fundraising goals and you aren’t able to get involved in our activist work, please help us spread the word and share this Indiegogo campaign with sympathetic friends.

At least they’re out in the open.

The best part of the campaign though isn’t the Philly Socialist t-shirt or the radical art that you can get in return for a contribution but for the true believers willing to contribute $5,000, the chance to have a tractor or other heavy equipment factory will be named after you.once the Revolution has occurred.

I guess the Socialists don’t see the irony in using a Capitalist tool like crowdfunding to raise money for their very anti-Capitalist goals.

Looks like the writer of this article has been watching too much television.

From the New York Times.

Correction: January 7, 2015

An earlier version of this article misstated the name of the country whose army chased Tommy Caldwell’s kidnappers. As other references correctly noted, Caldwell was in Kyrgyzstan, not Kyrzbekistan, which does not exist.

Sensing that there is still an insatiable appetite for news aggregation from the right, former Drudge Report editor Joesph Curl unveiled his new Right Read site Monday according to The Huffington Post

The New York Times‘ David Carr lists some of the media companies (and executives) that he believes are on the hot seat this year.  The list includes MSNBC president Phil Griffin and NBC News president Deborah Turness whose respective networks are struggling to  say the least.

The Maryland Republican Party is in a celebratory mood and with good reason after having won back the governor’s mansion after an 8-year run by Democrats and gains in the state house that gave them  the highest number of state delegates in their history.  They’re still in the minority by a large margin but their election showing has buoyed their hopes for the future.

That improved mood was evident at the state party convention this past weekend at the Turf Valley hotel and conference center in Howard County which was attended by approximately 300 delegates and guests as they basked in the November victories and elected party officers for a two-year term.

While there were a few contested races, there was a glitch in the voting during one of the contests when the complex formula used to calculate votes failed.

I say complex because three years ago delegates narrowly voted to approve a formula based on how the counties voted for the gubernatorial candidate.  The net effect was to reward the more Republican areas of the state with more weighted votes at the expense of heavily Democratic counties.  In essence they the out the one-man, one-vote principle and made it impossible for anyone trying to simply count votes to see how their candidate was doing.

There are 303 central committee members that are eligible to vote in a state party election.  Thanks to the convoluted formula, there are 540 point something total possible votes.

When the formula failed state party chairman Diana Waterman was left in a lurch as the person who devised the formula had left the convention and another person who could have helped couldn’t be found.  They eventually fixed the problem and voting continued, but if one-man, one vote (what a concept!) had been in place as it should have been , this problem never would have occurred.

Many of those running for office this past weekend professed their support of the return to this simpler and more logical method, but delegates have heard this before with no action being taken.

The Republican Party is on the upswing in Maryland, but this issue divides many central committees and creates rifts that will prevent the party from moving forward in a big way.  It’s not easy being a Republican in a heavily Democratic state, but the ill will among various central committees  threatens to stall further progress and the state party hierarchy needs to  get their heads out of the sand an fix this if they want to move forward as a unified party.