The BloombergTV version of #DemDebate highlights is exactly as you'd expect; meanwhile, Bernie continues to dodge the bashing.

Bloomberg? Hindenberg more like.

Having bought his way on to the stage, the former New York mayor was somehow unable to pay his own brain to come up with the right answers to the absolute thrashing he was given by the other candidates, particularly Elizabeth Warren, in Nevada on Wednesday night.

Yet his money has also bought him a TV station, so I had to laugh at the way his employees cobbled together a series of clips that came under the title “highlights”.

First and foremost, it has to be the only place you’ll find Bloomberg using a line which I have to assume he thought would win him the debate hands down. Check it out for yourself, it comes first in the above clip. In fairness, the package does include some attacks on him, but definitely not the most hard-hitting ones. Nothing about stop and frisk, nothing about refusing to release his employees from their Non Disclosure Agreements, nothing about his reported misogyny.

Personally, I reckon Bernie Sanders was the winner on the night. Warren definitely had a good night attacking those around her but I reckon she’s so far behind in the polls that her performance may have helped Sanders more than herself.

I think Bernie did really well to dodge the blows thrown at him – the usual ones on Medicare for All were harmless enough, but since he has pulled away as the front runner there are some new modes of attack, both of which are ambiguous yet well supported by the corporate media.

One such line of questioning is over the release of his medical records. A spokesperson for his campaign said this narrative was similar to Birtherism and she’s right. He has released letters from three different doctors with plenty of information following his heart attack last year. If he releases more, will that be enough to stop the media from pursuing the whole “what’s he hiding?” narrative?

Then there’s the so-called “Bernie Bro’s”. Apparently not only does Sanders have to take ownership of all the negative comments posted online by his “supporters”, he is also the only one with this problem. Both points are complete nonsense, yet the MSNBCs and CNNs of this world persist in highlighting them. Aren’t these the same people who went on about Russians creating fake account to stoke division in US politics?

It will be very interesting to see how the Nevada caucuses turn out this weekend. Assuming they do work out, that is, given what happened in Iowa. JLP

The smearing of Bernie Sanders by US corporate media reaches an all-time low. #Democrats2020

If this wasn’t so serious it would almost be funny.

Morning Joe is great when it comes to going after Trump but then they go and spoil it with ridiculous hit pieces like this one. You have to watch the clip to believe it. And by ‘believe it’ I mean the lengths to which they will go to cast any kind of doubt they can about Bernie.

To paraphrase : “Bernie Sanders has said several times that he voted against the Iraq War – well, we did some digging and it turns out that what REALLY happened was…blah, blah, blah, blah….and he voted against the Iraq War.”

Of course the key is in the ‘blah blah blah’ and I’ll let you watch the clip yourself to make up your own mind. To my ear it’s just a series of words put together so they could throw in the phrase “just like Joe Biden” several times.

Say they both went on a cooking show and Sanders used all the right ingredients for a chocolate cake while Biden used everything but the actual chocolate, which he substituted with dog shit. Then Bernie says “I made a chocolate cake while Biden didn’t”, only for MSNBC to come along and say “Well, Bernie says he’s the opposite of Biden, when our reporting shows that he used flour, so did Biden. He used eggs, so did Biden. He used frosting, so did Biden….”

You get the idea. JLP

What's "left" in Dublin South Central?

Personally, I don’t see Sinn Féin as ‘left’ at all, but they are considered as such, apparently. So given that, then all four candidates in my constituency are now left, which is an amazing feat. Congrats in particular to Bríd Smith of SOL-PBP, Patrick Costello of the Greens and especially Joan Collins of I4C, who benefitted greatly from transfers to leap from both of the FG and FF candidates after the first count.

A powerful statement for change in priorities has been made by the Irish electorate. I hope the government we end up with reflects that.

RTÉ inadvertently explains how PR:STV should be, not how it is #GE2020

FOREWORD : In this post I give my reservations of the PR:STV method of holding elections. Please don’t take them as my discouraging you from voting!!!! It’s the most important thing you can do!!!!! However flawed the method any vote is better than no vote!!!!

Ahead of today’s General Election vote, RTÉ did one of their “Montrose-splain” videos, using schoolchildren to illustrate how the PR:STV system works. Production-wise, it is excellent. Information-wise, I feel it is misleading.

First, just in case there is any doubt, I am entirely in favour of proportional representation voting. The “first past the post” system the UK insists on using isn’t just archaic, nor is it just mathematically flawed; it is downright unethical.

But PR is far from a single entity in itself. And the one used in Ireland, the “single transferable vote”, is so complicated that I reckon as many adults would need the above refresher course as much as children would. Unfortunately, to create their simplified example in the video, RTÉ have both left out and glossed over some of the method’s most undemocratic aspects.

First and foremost, in the example above, there are only two seats on offer, and the “parties” are each running just the one candidate. This means that you cannot have the practices we see today, where the bigger parties run two or more candidates in a constituency and “manage” their voters in an effort to get more than one over the line.

I remember watching some RTÉ election day punditry in years gone by when Willie O’Dea was being interviewed from his Limerick constituency. He topped the poll by a whopping majority, yet rather than be congratulated by his fellow party member Dermot Ahern who was in the studio, the former Foreign Minister gave out to him for not manipulating his loyal voters to make sure a second FF candidate also got a seat.

People should be able to vote for the candidate they want – it’s not rocket science, although as far as election methods go, PR:STV does a decent enough impression and it is totally unnecessary.

For me, the practise of parties running multiple candidates in the same constituency is almost as undemocratic as first past the post. The principal benefit of PR is meant to derive from the fact that voters choose an alternative ideology to their first one, yet with our brand of STV, most of those who vote FF or FG with their first pick will tend to also use it for their second. And to those who say “What if a they don’t like any of the other candidates?” I give this simple answer : “You are free not to offer a second preference”.

All of which means that RTÉ’s truncated scenario is actually more ideal. Two, possibly three, seats should be the maximum in any area. So rather than having 39 constituencies many with 4 or 5 to produce 155 TDs, why not have all 2- and 3- seat ones in around 50 (with a stipulation that no party may run more than one member in each) to produce around 150 TDs or less?

Well it’s not as though my post is going to change the process, but I do believe it should be up for debate. I sense a degree of smugness from general opinion that our system is democratic while the British one is not and if that’s the consensus, and I reckon it should be challenged for two reasons : 1) Do we have to judge everything we do by comparing it to what they do?, and 2) while no method of voting is 100% ideal, I think we can do better than our current brand of PR:STV.

One final point – I really, really want someone to explain to me why I’m wrong, and no doubt someone can. I thought someone was going to make a cogent defense in a twitter thread yesterday but they stopped replying. JLP

Whenever the DNC screws up, Bernie gets burned…

SO glad I was able to get this vid online – I strayed over the 10 minute mark so Instagram wouldn’t take it!!! Might switch to YouTube completely in future…

UPDATE THURSDAY – below you’ll find a couple of sources which show I’m not alone in my opinion…(phew!)

As of 5 pm EST on Wednesday, Buttigieg and Sanders are tied with 11 delegates apiece. And declaring that the great centrist hope has won something is something that corporate media are clearly eager to do—even in an exceedingly close race in which, rather famously, not all the votes have been counted yet.

How Corporate Media Make Pete Look Like He’s Winning
Jim Naurekas – FAIR.org