Clinton’s Fact Checker: Idea▲, Execution▼

During the debate Monday night Hillary Clinton told the viewing audience that she had set up her web site to fact check Donald Trump’s assertions in real time. Good idea, although it does not seem like anyone expects Donald Trump’s pronouncements to actually be factual. The bar he is being held to is that his ‘facts’ need to make a great sound bite, not actually be true.

In any event, if you bothered to check out her website during the debate you would have been greeted by a splash screen asking you to provide your email address and join her campaign. It was only after you studied the page for a minute or two that you would figure out that you could enter the site by clicking on the stylized ‘H’ in the upper left corner. One more click and you finally got to the fact checking page.

What kind of overpriced nincompoop consultant designed that navigation?

Why not have the fact check page be the splash screen during the debate?

Why make it hard on people?

The answer is that her campaign is probably run by a committee, and no one had the authority to use a little common sense.

Where’s Bernie?

Maybe Hillary Clinton will get a small bump in the polls after yesterday’s debate and maybe she won’t. Either way the candidates are likely to remain neck and neck until election day. If Clinton is to win, she will need the help of a big segment of voters that are not all that enthusiastic about her: Bernie Sanders’ supporters.

Bernie said he would campaign for Hillary but he is not making any headlines doing so. One reporter had to chase him into an elevator where Bernie finally said that he would be campaigning “as hard as I can” for her.

But there really is not a lot of evidence for this. Bernie is talking to the political press and saying the right things, but none of his supporters pay any attention to that. Is he organizing rallies? Is he spending a lot of time on the road? During the debates he posted a “sad Bernie” selfie that made him the center of attention and his wife tweeted an message that could be interpreted as Bernie suggesting that his supporters vote their conscience.

There is one school of thought that says that Sanders should work really hard to help push Clinton over the top because if she wins, she will owe him and he and his movement will gain influence in her administration and the Democratic party.

If he does not work hard and she still wins, he won’t be owed a thing and that will not be good for his movement.

On the other hand, Bernie may feel that the only thing that will really propel his movement into power is the popular backlash that would come if Donald Trump were elected president. This might be true, but he would be setting the country up for four years of what he considers to be awful government to get that. And in four years, Bernie will be 79 years old.

If he does push as hard as he can and she wins, maybe he can negotiate for Secretary of Commerce or Treasury. That would be interesting!



Where is Clinton’s Bannon?

Adding Breitbart News chief Stephen Bannon to his campaign team has proven to be a very wise move by Donald Trump. Expected to reinforce Trump’s tendency to bombastic and incendiary remarks due to his heavily right wing, Tea Party political orientation, Bannon has instead presided over a, well, more presidential candidate. Under his management, Trump has reigned himself in and actually appeared more centrist. It is almost like the idea of giving a hyper active child a stimulant to get her to calm down (hello Ritalin).

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton needs the opposite. She is sinking in the polls and cannot seem to mount a catchy and effective attack against her opponent. Does she have an anti-Bannon on her campaign team? Maybe she needs one.

Trump’s Nicknames

Ever notice that whenever Donald Trump comes up with new nicknames for his rivals it is when he is feeling some heat himself? Trump gets some criticism for being too ready to bomb the shit out of ISIS, so he comes up “trigger-happy Hillary” for Hillary Clinton.

Ted Cruz accuses Trump of lying about his plans to build a wall along the Mexican border and the next thing you know Trump has come up with “Lyin’ Ted Cruz”.

Marco Rubio belittles Trump’s claims of strong leadership as a bunch of puffery and Trump comes back with “Little Marco”.

And so on. I think the shrinks call this ‘projection’.



The Uber Ankle Bracelet

The other day I grabbed an Uber to meet my wife at an Italian restaurant. On the way there I had the car stop at a flower stand and picked up a rose for her. On the Uber back home we were wishfully chatting about how much fun it would be if we were actually eating Italian food at a restaurant in Italy.

When I got on the internet the next day I got ads for flower delivery and tour packages to Italy for my wife’s upcoming birthday.

The above is fantasy (especially the part about the rose!) but not by much. Uber has already said it may track you even when you are not using its service. Is it really that much of a stretch to think that it will listen to your conversations whenever you are riding in one of its vehicles as well? It would be like Alexa, but listening all the time. Wait a minute, isn’t Alexa already listening all the time . . .  ?

Once self driving cars become the norm, and they are all wired into Big Highway Brother, you really won’t be able to go anywhere at all without being tracked. The assumption will be that anyone manually driving a car is trying to avoid tracking and up to no good. Not only that, since self driving cars can be safely compacted much closer together on the road, manual  drivers will be considered selfish for taking up more space on the roads. So the rap on manual drivers will be that they are selfish and shifty (pun intended). Or rich.

The rich, of course, will find a way around this, as they usually do. So they’ll still have some privacy. But the companies they own and run will know everything about you. Doesn’t the future sound fab?