Once again, the "debate" was on the TeeVee while I was doing other things. So I didn't see a whole lot of it and I heard somewhat less than I did of previous installments.
Once again, Trump's facial tics and contortions made him look more and more like a Creepy Clown without makeup (though he was strangely pink this time rather than his more typical orange) and Herself appeared botoxed and made up to look 20 years younger.... oh dear. The Hag she is not! Whatever.
Chris Wallace actually did very well, I thought, asking substantive questions and cutting through some, not all, of the bullshit. I didn't much care for his Pete Peterson "Grand Bargain" hooey near the end, but even that was well crafted and provided each candidate with an opportunity to present their notions of how to deal with the Entitlement Problem (on the assumption that there is one, of course.)
Hillary had an approach -- raising the cap and increasing benefits at the lower end of SS -- that should appeal to a segment of Bernie supporters (assuming they believe her, HA!) while Trump literally had nothing. The problem would solve itself because of his glory and magnificence. OK. Sounds good.
I thought Hillary had an interesting modification of her previous call for a No Fly Zone over Syria. Wallace noted -- to his credit -- that generals and others say that establishing a No Fly Zone would in effect be a declaration of war against Russia and Syria -- and for my money that might not be the wisest course of action. What say the candidates?
Hillary said it would have to be (or would be) negotiated with Russia, it would take time, and it would take place once an agreement was reached. In other words, it would not be a unilateral Imperial imposition -- ergo, one would assume, no declaration of war.... How interesting.
For a moment, at any rate, the sabers stopped rattling. Trump for his part had previously mentioned that it would be a Good Thing to get along with Russia. He's been pretty consistent about that.
Hillary's campaign has been pretty consistent about accusing Russia and Putin of all manner of perfidy, and yet we can be pretty confident that Washington and the Kremlin are in fairly constant communications, that they engage in negotiations all the time, and that they can and do cooperate on any number of mutual objectives, despite the often ridiculous propaganda campaign against Russia/Putin that has been all but universal in the West.
This is very similar to the situation during the Cold War, when sabers were rattling all. the. time. Wild accusations against the Soviet Union and relentless anti-Soviet propaganda were daily injected into the US and NATO public bloodstream, and yet backchannel communications, negotiation, and accommodation between Washington and the Kremlin were nearly constant. The propaganda was not particularly related to the reality.
So when Hillary mentioned "negotiating" a Syrian No Fly Zone with Russia, I had a real "Ah ha!" moment. It's probably already in the pipeline. And that will be a steady as she goes resolution -- at least temporarily.
In other words, the idea is to have a safe-haven within Syria for civilians trying to flee the conflict which for a while will be under the joint protection of Russia and the United States.
Gee, could have done something like that long ago....
Trump again had nothing. He was challenged on his claim that "Aleppo has fallen," but his response was completely chaotic and nonsensical.
As for the rest of it, truly it's a blur. When they go off on one another's failings, or they repeat talking points and campaign boilerplate, I tune out. There's no there there.
Every sign is that Trump will lose the election badly, perhaps a historic loss on the level of Goldwater's loss to Johnson back in the day, or Carter's loss to Reagan. However, even historic losses on that scale provide opportunities for the losing side to eventually become dominant. Our political system has been set up that way. It's not clear what will happen to the congress, though many are predicting an R House and a (barely) D Senate. That seems to be what TPTB want. We'll see.
This will mean an almost certain Hillary impeachment the minute she assumes office, and that will provide endless entertainment for the masses and a huge ratings boost for the media. Trump TeeVee included. The bonanza will be incalculable.
Just like the last time...
My predict-o-meter is typically on the fritz, but my sense is that the SCOTUS will be allowed to wither away, as three more justices retire or die and are not replaced. It will maintain a "conservative" majority without really trying. Win-win (for TPTB) right?
Every Important measure will get through Congress and be signed by Hillary, including some kind of Grand Bargain, several trade agreements, various matters to do with War and Empire and such, budget reforms, and so forth. In other words, the idea that there will be "gridlock" is a crock. No gridlock on the Important Things, far from it.
The Impeachment Follies will probably go on in the House for a year or more, and then the Articles will be sent to the Senate for disposition. The "trial" will last, oh, I don't know, a few months, but whether the Senate chooses to convict Herself will depend a great deal on how well she performs for the Owners under pressure and how much the Senators would prefer her to sit in the Big Chair rather than Kaine. I predict they'll stick with her. But you never know.
Meanwhile, she might wind up one term or less for any number of reasons, including her health. While medical science can no doubt keep her animated indefinitely, there are other issues that might make her wish to "retire" before even the end of her first term.
As for Trump, he'll make a bundle marketing his patented brand of nonsense, but it won't matter because he'll be fringified as will nearly all of his "issues." This is the advantage (to TPTB) of someone like him claiming to be the King of What's Wrong. A good deal of his criticism of Hillary and the Government is valid, but because he is the critic, it will be dismissed. It's like Alex Jones with a (much) bigger audience. Jones is right about some things, but it doesn't matter because he's fringe. And what he's right about is therefore ignored.
The advantage of having a Trumpian fringe is that those inclined to share his views are fringified just like him. Win-Win again for TPTB.
In the meantime, I've suggested that this will be the last "genuine" presidential election. I know, I know, there's all this stuff about how it's being rigged in favor of Hillary. Well, every recent and many (most?) past elections were similarly rigged, But the votes were genuine, and for the most part they were genuinely counted -- where they were fudged, the numbers were mostly very small, just enough to change certain results without raising more than a few suspicions.
Following this election, however, I suspect that we will never have a genuine presidential election again, that the votes and the counts will be predetermined and they may vary greatly from what the electorate chooses, and there will be no way to check. Our Rulers will be chosen for us, and we will have nothing whatever to say about it.
Cf: Roman elections following Augustus. They took place for hundreds of years after the establishment of the Empire, even after the Fall of the Empire, but they were essentially fraudulent and meaningless, and no one voted for or against the Emperor, he was chosen by the palace faction with the greatest power.
And so it will go in our own revised government.
We have reached the final end of the Republic.
So let it be written, so let it be done.