By Doug Porter
The latest act taking the center ring in the Republican presidential campaign circus involves a candidate revolt against debate formats, followed by a revolt against the revolt. You could say these are the most revolting developments yet in the revolt against the incumbency of the Black Guy in the White House.
Following a failed attempt by CNBC to spice up a debate format burdened by the reality of a dozen large egos competing for prominence, Republican candidates responded by agreeing to cut their own party out of the negotiating loop.
The campaigns held a summit over the weekend at the Hilton Alexandria Old Town to formulate demands for future debate ground rules, starting off by exempting the Fox Business debate scheduled for November 10th.
From the Washington Post:
The campaigns reached an early consensus on one issue, according to several operatives in the room: the secure standing of Fox News Channel. Any changes would be applied to debates after next week’s Fox Business Network debate. Among the reasons, according to one operative in the room, was that “people are afraid to make Roger [Ailes] mad,” a reference to the network’s chief.
Bush campaign manager Danny Diaz recommended that Telemundo be reinstated after being dropped along with NBC. But the campaign of businessman Donald Trump, represented by manager Corey Lewandowski, threatened to boycott a debate if the Spanish-language network that Trump has clashed with was granted one.
Too Many Rules for The Donald
They came up with a list of conditions reminding me of rock band’s contract rider I once read, sans picking out all the brown M&M’s for the green room.
Then Donald Trump said he wasn’t going to play by those rules. The campaigns for Carly Fiorina, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie all said “Me, too.”
Headline at Wonkette: Donald Trump Leads Republican Scabs Across Their Own Debate Picket Line
Meanwhile, the Black Guy in the White House is taking full advantage of his ‘lame duck’ status as the 2016 election campaigns get underway. A big part of that involves the freedom for him to say in public what many people were thinking (and maybe tweeting).
At a Democratic fundraiser in New York on Monday, saying GOP critiques of his foreign policy are unfounded because they “can’t handle a bunch of CNBC moderators. Let me tell you, if you can’t handle those guys, then I don’t think the Chinese and the Russians are going to be too worried,”
Even Megan Kelly at Fox News made fun of the candidate demands.
From Talking Points Memo:
After listing some of the demands, including that networks not allow lightning rounds or candidate-to-candidate questioning, Kelly jokingly suggested, “And then maybe the foot massage?”
She then criticized the campaigns’ request that they approve any graphics about the candidates ahead of the debate.
“Can you imagine having to submit our graphics for approval to the candidates? Good luck with that,” she said.
Mediaite.com has highlights from the demands coming out of first round of negotiations. Given that the deal has already fallen apart, I won’t bother posting them. (They’re at the link in the first sentence in this paragraph.) The Washington Post has obtained a draft letter coming out of the second round of negotiations.
The Democrats have kindly offered to fill the void left by the cancellation of the NBC/Telemundo GOP debate via negotiations for a second forum on a Spanish-language TV network in addition to the one already scheduled or March.
On to other news…
Dumanis Decides Facebook Posts and Rap Lyrics Are Legal
Our own county district attorney Bonnie Dumanis attracted national attention earlier this year as stories about her prosecuting black people who might be gang members via an obscure criminal statute were published.
Now she’s saying maybe it wasn’t a good idea.
Earlier this year, 15 alleged gang members were charged with violating Penal Code 182.5 alleging conspiracy over crimes committed by their fellow gang members. The evidence? Comments on Facebook and the lyrics of an up-and-coming rapper.
What I learned from a talk by Aaron Harvey, who was snatched out of his Las Vegas apartment via a SWAT assault team and returned to San Diego to face charges, was that labeling somebody a “gang member” is what can happen just about any time a young person of color is observed by police in certain parts of town.
There are no actual objective criteria; if even one police officer says you’re a gang member, you’re branded for life. San Diego’s prosecutors didn’t even have to argue some of the ‘gangsters’ being threatened with life imprisonment had done anything more than be members in the gang. Guilty by association. And skin color.
Two judges ended up tossing out these conspiracy charges, but not after some of those charged sat in jail for months with impossibly high bail.
Yesterday, Dumanis let it slip during an appearance on the KPBS Midday Edition that she’s not going to use Penal Code 182.5 any more. “It was a novel use. Having listened to the community, we’ve decided not to use it anymore at this point.”
Gosh, thanks Bonnie. That’s mighty white of you.
See Sarah Libby’s reporting at Voice of San Diego if you want to know more about just how ridiculous these attempted prosecutions were.
Drilling for Dirty Dollars
The Los Angeles Times posted a story detailing just how intensive the dirty energy industry’s lobbying was over proposed environmental legislation earlier this year.
More than a dozen oil companies or oil industry groups spent almost a total of $11.3 million on lobbying in the period between July 1 and Sept. 30. The single largest portion was the $6.7 million spent by the Western States Petroleum Assn., the industry’s main lobbying arm in California. That’s more than twice what it spent in the first six months of 2015.
A spokesperson for the trade group declined to comment on the spending, contained in the state-mandated filings of lobbyists and their employers.
The focus of the legislative battle was a measure intended to increase energy efficiency, boost renewable energy and reduce oil consumption for transportation. However, after furious industry lobbying and resistance from some business-friendly Democrats in the Assembly, the petroleum target was dropped from the bill, which Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law in October.
Unintended Consequences Help Hillary
Former Secretary of State and current Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s appearance before the not-so-select committee on Benghazi had the effect of boosting her credibility with voters.
From the Los Angeles Times:
The 11 hours Hillary Rodham Clinton spent at the House Benghazi committee last month appears to have been time well spent: The former secretary of State has significantly improved her standing among key groups of voters, a new poll indicates.
Among Democratic primary voters, 72% said they were now satisfied with Clinton’s responses to questions about how she handled the attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012, according to the Wall Street Journal/NBC poll. That’s up from 58% before her testimony
Firebombs, Cheeseburgers and the Rapture
I’ve got three stories to share today.
Marshall W. Leonard was arrested after firebombing a WalMart in Tupelo, Mississippi over the weekend. He was angry about the chain’s decision to stop selling Confederate flag merchandise. Ironically, it was the stars and bars on the Mississippi state flag sticking up through the sun roof of his car as he ran a red light that led to his arrest.
Paul Armand Rater was arrested in Arizona after leaving his five-year-old granddaughter alone in the desert with a loaded and cocked .45-caliber handgun and the instruction to “shoot any bad guys,” From Reuters:
Rater was later located at a store where he told deputies the vehicle had broken down and that he had left the girl under a tree in the desert because she was complaining she could not walk anymore, court records showed.
He admitted leaving the girl with his gun, “while he went for a few drinks and a cheeseburger,” the sheriff’s office said.
The child was returned to her mother and state child welfare authorities were alerted, the sheriff’s office said.
Laura and Michael McIntyre of El Paso, Texas are at the center of a Texas Supreme Court hearing today, suing over charges alleging failure to teach their children educational basics in home schooling because they were waiting to be transported to heaven with the second coming of Jesus Christ.
From the Dallas News:
Then, the family’s eldest daughter, 17-year-old Tori, ran away from home saying she wanted to return to school. She was placed in ninth grade, because officials weren’t sure she could handle higher-level work.
The El Paso school district eventually asked the McIntyres to provide proof that their children were being properly educated and even filed truancy charges that were later dropped. The family sued, and an appeals court ruled against them, but now the case goes to the all-Republican state Supreme Court.
In court filings, the McIntyres say the district is biased against Christians and accuse its officials of mounting a “startling assertion of sweeping governmental power.”
It’s Texas, folks. There can be no guarantees on how the court will rule on this one.
On This Day: 1507 – Leonardo DaVinci was commissioned by the husband of Lisa Gherardini to paint her. The work is known as the Mona Lisa. 1921 – Striking milk drivers dumped thousands of gallons of milk on New York City streets. 1957 – Sputnik II was launched by the Soviet Union. It was the second man-made satellite to be put into orbit and was the first to put an animal into space, a dog named Laika.
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