(…between two kids squabbling over which one is offering us the better brownbag menu)

The first debate of the 2016 Presidential campaign flooded out over the broadcast channels last night. As usual, it didn’t offer much in the way of substance, but at least it gave us all a peek at the underlying character traits of these two candidates for the Oval Office.

Frankly, this first debate seemed equivalent to a nasty food-fight…between two kids squabbling over which one is offering us the better brownbag menu…than anything else.

While it began with a more or less civil exchange and tone it soon degenerated into a mutual tit-for-tat personal slugfest. In that respect, Sir Thumpsalot, quickly displayed his well-known boorish and ill-mannered style by interrupting and over-talking Lady Clinton every time she was speaking or responding to questions from the Moderator (sort of in charge), revealing that his primary character trait is to use the blunderbuss/sledgehammer approach to solve…anything.

For her part, Lady Clinton, maintained a mostly calm and cool demeanor while displaying her silent contempt for his ego-centric bluster, and countering it at every opportunity with deft stiletto-like jabs, revealing that her primary character trait is to use that stiletto approach to solve…anything.

So that’s what we have to choose from in November, and which approach we select, will depend entirely on and be tied directly to, what our own preferences are for solving… anything.

Over time our own experience has taught us that, most of the time, even if we’re not too keen about it, the stiletto approach for solving problems is more effective and precise for achieving desired outcomes. The blunderbuss/sledgehammer approach on the other hand, while sometimes achieving desired outcomes, is usually too excessive a force for the needs of the moment. So as we continue to ponder who will be the best choice as our Chief Executive and CINC for the next four years, these two character aspects are the most critical ones to consider before making a choice.

For our part, we’ve always been partial to the “don’t get mad…just get even” approach when trying to solve anything, mostly because it generally produces a much greater, almost orgasmic, sense of satisfaction with whatever outcomes result from it.

Character traits aside, however, here’s what we’ve parsed on their respective responses to some of the key questions of substance posed by the Moderator:

  • How to goose the economy to a better level of RPM: Ms. Clinton, while coherent and specific with her response, chose to use the old “soak the rich” formula (higher taxes on them) as the best way to do it, thereby appealing to the populist mood. Mr. Trump, was generally incoherent on the matter, but offered the opposing trickle down formula of “ cutting taxes for the rich”, because these would then have more money to invest, etc., which sounds great, but doesn’t necessarily follow. However, neither of these addressed the real reason why the economy’s RPM is so anemic, which is…the existing tax code…which has become so unbalanced…it benefits no one. The real answer what would help goose the economy is to junk it entirely, and replace it with an entirely new one which spreads the tax load more equitably between individual and business taxpayers, and across all income levels in both. And the only effective way to do that is to have a FLAT TAX ON GROSS INCOME FROM ALL SOURCES, with few if any exemptions, and paid in on a quarterly basis for everyone. In effect a pay as we go tax system for everyone. The other erroneous positions of both of these candidates on this subject was that both failed to point out that, per our Constitution, it’s the House of Representatives which determines tax policy, not the President, not the Senate. So, if anyone is to blame for why we’re in the economic condition we’re in, point fingers at the House. Presidents may only propose, the Senate will usually oppose, but ultimately it’s the House that disposes on tax issues…and how those taxes will be used.
  • Trade Agreements: NAFTA. Ms. Clinton was not directly party to its negotiations, so Mr. Trump’s attempt to blame its failings on her…is false. It should also be noted here that NAFTA includes Canada, not just Mexico…but we didn’t hear any complaints about that. As for the TPPT, Mr. Trump does raise some valid issues about it, but again, mentioned no specific adjustments needed to make it acceptable. Since neither mentioned any specifics, none of us, can reasonably be expected to know what is or what is not good for us with those deals.
  • Nuclear Proliferation and Iran: The Iran deal is essentially a stop-gap measure, theoretically delaying its achieving a nuclear capability for perhaps another decade. The premise for such a delay being that, in that time, the Ayatollah regime’s perspectives about things would have changed. A dubious proposition, but better than having Iran free to continue with its nuclear efforts without constraint. At best, a watch and wait deal. Again, Mr. Trump is off base here because Ms. Clinton was not directly involved with those negotiations. As for North Korea, neither candidate made any coherent remarks about that issue. While China could, indeed, put a permanent muzzle on its nuclear activities, the main reason it doesn’t and won’t, is because North Korea is a buffer between itself and South Korea. As long as Kim Jung Il behaves as a proper lap dog, China will leave him on a relatively long leash. We have little leverage with China on this issue, because any weakening or demise of that regime, leading to a possible unification of that country, is viewed as an existential threat. China’s regime cannot afford to have a unified, stable, prosperous, and relatively free and open society, right up against its back door at the Yalu River. Until that perspective changes, North Korea will be free to continue with its activities. Ultimately however it may come down to China’s having to decide…which is more important to it…a workable relationship with the US…or North Korea. So, if we want to have more leverage with China on this issue, one way or the other we’ll need to make ourselves more valuable to China, rather than it having North Korea as a buffer against South Korea.
  • ISIS – Mr. Trump was correct on some aspects of this issue. It did arise because of the vacuum created, not in Iraq, but mainly because of the civil war brought on by the Assad regime’s actions in Syria, compounded by the failure of the international community to effectively intervene early on. And one of the key elements no one seems to mention about it is that the real power elites behind that rogue enterprise, are mostly Ba’athist Party criminal elements run out of Iraq by the US invasion. With their caches of loot, weapons, etc, they thus grabbed onto the border area between Iraq and Syria, to carve out their own bit of turf there, then from that base moved back in both directions, using a rabid form of Islam as cover for their criminal enterprise, and to dupe and draw in adherents to it from all over the world. The sophistication of its military organization and cyber propaganda did not derive from the minds of erstwhile Islamists, like the so-called Caliph al-Bagdaddi. Ms. Clinton seems to feel that search-and-destroy is the best approach. Mr.Trump seems more inclined to the bomb-them-back-to-the-Stone Age.

What is odd is why the US, with all of its cyber capabilities, has somehow been unable to effectively disrupt and counter the ISIS social media operations. Yet, someone from the Anonymous collective named – The Wauchula Ghost – has done so with great effect. But since neither candidate mentioned it, we can only presume neither of them is aware of it.

That’s the best we can make of things from this debate event.