Category Archives: Campaigns

Strange days in national politics

How weird is it when NY Times columnist Tom Friedman, not known for any progressive tendencies, writes another scathing column highlighting the no-nothing nature of the Republican Party candidate, and the conservative Arizona Republic newspaper endorsed the Democratic Party presidential candidate for the first time since it began publishing in 1890.

Both write simply that Donald Trump is unqualified.

In his Times column, Friedman wrote:

My reaction to the Donald Trump-Hillary Clinton debate can be summarized with one word: “How?”

How in the world do we put a man in the Oval Office who thinks NATO is a shopping mall where the tenants aren’t paying enough rent to the U.S. landlord?

NATO is not a shopping mall; it is a strategic alliance that won the Cold War, keeps Europe a stable trading partner for U.S. companies and prevents every European country — particularly Germany — from getting their own nukes to counterbalance Russia, by sheltering them all under America’s nuclear umbrella.

How do we put in the Oval Office a man who does not know enough “beef” about key policies to finish a two-minute answer on any issue without the hamburger helper of bluster, insults and repetition?

And he proceeded on, point by point, from there.

And here’s just part of the Arizona Republic’s take on the presidential race.

Make no mistake: Hillary Clinton has flaws. She has made serious missteps.

Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of State was a mistake, as she has acknowledged. Donations to the Clinton Foundation while she was secretary of State raise concerns that donors were hoping to buy access. Though there is no evidence of wrongdoing, she should have put up a firewall.

Yet despite her flaws, Clinton is the superior choice.

She does not casually say things that embolden our adversaries and frighten our allies. Her approach to governance is mature, confident and rational.

That cannot be said of her opponent.

Clinton retains her composure under pressure. She’s tough. She doesn’t back down.

Trump responds to criticism with the petulance of verbal spit wads.

That’s beneath our national dignity.

Read the newspaper’s full endorsement here.

But, of course, the danger appears to be that enough voters, including some progressives and former Bernie supporters, could feel alienated enough to see Trump’s lack of qualifications as a virtue.

For those Bernie supporters who are still deciding whether to vote for Clinton in the end, I recommend this recent column by Shaun King in the New York Daily News (“KING: If you don’t vote against Donald Trump, we may all soon regret it“). Thanks to Bart Dame for the link, and for his comment (“What Shaun says. Ditto. To every detail.”).

Polls show that this campaign is more about voting against a candidate than it is voting for one.

I am that dude and I hate it. I’m voting against Donald Trump far more than I am voting for Hillary Clinton. I even hate writing this column because I am just not a fan of Hillary. To this day, I still believe that Bernie Sanders would have absolutely mopped the floor with Trump.

But that’s not where we are.

We are 45 days away from electing either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump as the next President of the United States.

I have 99 problems with Hillary Clinton, but I am 100% sure that she is a significantly better option than Donald Trump.

If you don’t see that, you are either lying to yourself, delusional or woefully misinformed.

Setting up for this afternoon’s presidential debate

Whatever your tastes, you’ll almost certainly be able to tune in to this afternoon’s presidential debate through a medium of your choice.

Wired.com has a fine rundown of the many ways to watch the debate, whether on one of many participating broadcast channels, online streaming, or via social media (“How to Watch the First Presidential Debate“).

One online effort worth a special mention? PBS NewsHour and Microsoft have created an interactive site where you can check out presidential debates since 1960, filtered by specific topics or by year. Mon dieu, Mondale!

And, of course, over here on WIRED’s live blog we’ll have our entire fact-checking team working to judge the veracity of the candidates’ claims about WIRED issues like science, automation, and cybersecurity.

And Wired won’t be the only place for fact checking.

PolitiFact will have 18 fact-checkers working Monday’s first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. The best way to follow along is by watching the live Twitter stream below, which will provide you fact-checks in near real-time starting at 9 p.m. E.T. by relying on our database of nearly 13,000 fact-checked claims.

Anyway, the debate is scheduled to run from 3-4:30 p.m. Hawaii time.

And The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (CBS) will be going live right after the debate wraps up. That’s probably one worth watching, too.

Not a great end for my week

It hasn’t been a real good end of the week. I got a message last night that my sister has more health issues that need addressing, although this morning it looks like perhaps not as serious as I had thought. But still worrisome and involving things I’ll have to follow-up on.

Then my quest to deal with cataracts hit a snag. I had an exam and consultation with one of Straub’s surgeons yesterday, and came away less than satisfied. I was given the impression they do not offer the full range of options in their cataract surgeries, aiming instead for the plain vanilla solutions that are mostly covered by insurance and avoiding the more specialized or premium options. That’s fine, except I really wanted to get a sense of the range of options available, so that I can then choose the one that offers the best in my particular case. Straub didn’t deliver that. So I’ve made an appointment with one of the other doctors recommended by several people in comments here, but that means another six week delay. I’m unhappy about that, but have to be patient.

I’m short of cat photos this week, so Feline Friday will be a bit delayed today.

And to top it off, the Interior Department’s announcement of the final version of its proposed rule on Native Hawaiian governance means I’ll have to wade through the fine print of the final rule to see what’s there.

In the meantime, you might want to listen to all or part of the Town Square program which aired last night on Hawaii Public Radio (“Media Coverage During Elections“). We didn’t get many calls, but our discussion raised quite a few interesting issues.

This week on Town Square, looking at how the media and reporters in particular cover political campaigns. Does local and National media coverage generally enlighten or confuse voters? Do reporters focus on things that help us make informed choices or do they just look for scandal and controversy? We’ll take up these questions with award-winning investigative reporter and columnist Ian Lind, long time Hawaii journalist Denby Fawcett, and Honolulu Civil Beat reporter Nick Grube.

Still mulling data showing declining corporate contributions

I was interested that yesterday’s post about the apparent decline in the contributions to candidates by local corporations and Pacs drew no comments. I know, lots of people were out enjoying their weekends, and others aren’t in the habit of checking in here on a daily basis.

Yes, I found the information very intriguing. I confirmed my recollection that several decades ago, there were more special interest groups that flexed their muscles through direct contributions to candidates.

There were several types of institutional contributors. Some gave small amounts across the board to all legislators and most county council members. Their donations generally ranged from $100 to $250, perhaps with a few key individuals getting a bit more. Then there were others that concentrated their contributions on the key political players, governor, House speaker, Senate president, and key legislative committee chairs. Of course, developers concentrated on the candidates at the county level, where most of their approvals are given.

The falling direct contributions are intriguing to me. My next step is to look at overall corporate and Pac spending. Maybe there are just more independent expenditures. Maybe lobbying spending is replacing some campaign contributions. At this point, though, I’m just speculating.

And it also may be that the differences are accounted for by changes in the statutory definition of the election period, and subsequent change in reporting. Perhaps the big players are maxing out their contributions earlier in the election cycle than previously. Perhaps, perhaps….Time for more research.

Development interests blatantly dominate city campaigns

I was a bit short of ideas when I sat down yesterday to write my weekly Civil Beat column. I like to have a complicated issue or situation backed up by lots of documents that few others will spend time wading through. Then I try to digest the story and tell it in relatively concise form, adding a narrative line, and trying to link it to a broader political or social context and history. When I works, I’m happy. Sometimes the complexity gets the better of me, though, and a column will bog down or go off course.

But yesterday I didn’t have an issue lined up in advance, and I was down to less than enough time to track down something interesting.

So, left to my own devices, I decided to put several pieces together. Campaign contribution data available through the state’s data portal has been updated through August 13. And a special meeting of the Honolulu City Council’s Zoning and Planning Committee on three matters involving Haseko’s resort in Ewa, formerly known as the Ewa Marina development, had created some interest in money flowing from developers to the council.

For people who haven’t looked at these data before, it can be shocking. One friend, hardly a neophyte in how things work, had trouble believing his eyes.

“It’s so blatant,” he said, referring to how development interests dominate the money going into city council campaigns.

So with that as my starting point, I started writing.

The result can be found here (“Ian Lind: The Sound Of Money Talking“).

Check it out.