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Politics

What Democrats Don’t Care About, But Should

As a less-than-casual observer of politics in America, I find it fascinating the things politicians don’t do.

What people don’t do is often a better indicator of their motives and objectives than looking at what they do.

Electoral College

The electoral college issue is particularly intriguing. The Republican party has won the popular vote for president once since 1988. That one win was in 2004, obviously predicated on the shenanigans from 2000 with the Supreme Court.

That the electoral college is clearly not to the advantage of Democrats, doesn’t seem to bother party leadership. That the GOP has certainly figured out how to game the electoral college system with targeted misinformation and manipulation (e.g. see 2016 and current 2020 tactics), the electoral college is not an issue Democratic leaders think is worth mentioning.

Donald Trump

It’s August, more than 160,000 people have died from covid-19. By the time Joe Biden is inaugurated in January, at least another 160,000 Americans who woke up this morning will be dead from covid-19.

Trump was impeached by the House for pressuring an ally to dig up dirt, or pretend to have dirt on Joe Biden. Trump is still pushing misinformation about Joe Biden with help from Russia.

Trump does not care that Russia is paying to have US soldiers killed in Afghanistan.

Trump is unfit to be commander in chief. Democratic leaders know that. We all know that. Yet when has Pelosi called for Trump to resign? Or Hoyer? Or Schumer? Or Nadler? Or even AOC? No Democrats are passionately and consistently making the case that Trump should resign immediately.

I find that bizarre.

The only course of action is voting, they tell us daily.

That’s it.

We’re putting everything in voting, and if it doesn’t work – it didn’t in 2016 – we’re legit screwed. It won’t matter what Pelosi says after Trump is inaugurated in 2021. It won’t matter what anyone says. Trump is going to steamroll everyone and anything that gets in his way.

But the sad and cynical part of the Democratic leadership plan to simply vote is that 160,000 people will die while they implement that plan. I sure hope it works out, because for the last four years, nothing has worked out.

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Politics

GOP, Bankruptcy and the Death of Democracy in America

The Republican party is evil. The Republican party has been evil my entire life, so that’s at least 47 years. However, this new GOP has taken evil to the next level and the next level after that.

Former George W. Bush Speechwriter David Frum wrote in The Atlantic about why Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) supports states declaring bankruptcy rather than getting help from the federal government.

It’s a quick read, and I recommend you do read Frum’s entire piece, but I’ll nutshell it for you.

Republicans want states to file bankruptcy because the federal government via federal judges oversees bankruptcies. The GOP, since at least the George W. Bush administration, has been stacking the federal court benches with conservatives wing nuts. So if California files bankruptcy, for instance, it would be one of McConncell’s rightwing, goofball judges essentially running the state of California. That’s obviously not something Republicans could pull off via elections in California. McConnell is trying to use bankruptcy courts to do an end run around voters. They did something similar to this in Michigan with the “emergency manager” law.

But let’s step back a bit. Pull the lens out from this story Frum is telling about bankruptcies. If we widen our gaze and listen closely, there’s a common tune you can hear in much of what the GOP does. The Republican party views democracy as its enemy, and so GOP leaders are actively, aggressively working to dismantle our democracy right in front of us.

It is for this reason that people need to STOP thinking that we’re going to vote our way out of this nightmare. We need to do much more than vote. Think about it, Russia holds elections too. Hillary Clinton beat Trump by nearly 3 million votes. The GOP has won the popular vote for president ONCE since 1988, and that was 2004 and following the Supreme Court sponsored theft of 2000.

We need to organize way more quickly with much greater velocity than we are now. The Republicans are literally killing us right now. When is enough enough to get Democrats fired up?

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Politics

The GOP Covid-19 Plan Will Kill 4.6 Million Americans at a Minimum

The Republican party wants millions of Americans to die because republicans think that will help the economy.

Let’s set aside the point that allowing millions of people to needlessly die doesn’t obviously do anything good for the economy.

The theory, I assume, is that the GOP wants us to pursue a “herd immunity” strategy.

You might see people on Twitter say that herd immunity is fake. It’s not, but it’s also not a good plan.

First off, relying on herd immunity, in the US it will result in at least 4.6 million Americans dead.

That’s a conservative estimate.

For herd immunity to work, 70 percent of the population needs to get covid-19. That’s about 230 million people. Assuming the death rate is 2 percent, that leaves 4.6 million dead Americans.

The other reason the herd immunity plan is awful is that it probably won’t work.

While we’re trying to hit the 70 percent infection rate, the virus is going to mutate and the process will need to start all over again and again. So as the we’re trying to grotesquely build herd immunity, tens of millions of Americans are going to be killed.

The plan that works is isolation while we wait for a vaccine. That’s the only plan that makes sense.

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Politics

#BadAtMath: Covid-19 Exponentially Not Good News

https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html

I went to school for journalism, not math. However, I was perusing the covid-19 data for the homeland (United States) and it’s not good news.

On March 26, the US had about 101,000 confirmed coronavirus cases. Eight days later, the US has 208,000 more cases. That means that as of April 3rd, 309,000 Americans had confirmed coronavirus cases.

Here’s where my bad math skills come in to play. If you average the total number of new coronavirus cases during that 8 day period, it comes out to 26,000 new cases per day on average.

At this rate, the US will see just under 800,000 new cases a month.

The sad news is that my bad math doesn’t take into consideration the exponential growth of this pandemic (see chart above).

That means that I’m under-estimating – by a lot – the total number of new cases the US will see in the next few months.

My math skills are sketchy, but what is certain is that our country is going to see millions of people with coronavirus. What will the death toll be? That’s math, I just can’t do.

I pulled my data from the Johns Hopkins Covid-19 Map.

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Politics

COVID-19: Trump Isn’t Making Mistakes

Donald Trump’s response, or lack of response, to the Coronavirus is not a mistake. Trump isn’t bungling the response. Like everything Trump does, he’s pursuing what’s best for him, not the American people.

Here’s a paragraph from Foreign Policy.

Suffice it to say, the Trump administration has cumulatively failed, both in taking seriously the specific, repeated intelligence community warnings about a coronavirus outbreak and in vigorously pursuing the nationwide response initiatives commensurate with the predicted threat. The federal government alone has the resources and authorities to lead the relevant public and private stakeholders to confront the foreseeable harms posed by the virus. Unfortunately, Trump officials made a series of judgments (minimizing the hazards of COVID-19) and decisions (refusing to act with the urgency required) that have needlessly made Americans far less safe.

Foreign Policy. The Coronavirus Is the Worst Intelligence Failure in U.S. History. March 25, 2020.

There’s nothing obviously incorrect or inaccurate here. However, the writer said that the Trump administration “failed” in its response to the pandemic. It’s easy to look at what Trump has done as a failure.

People are going to needlessly suffer and die.

My issue is with the very premise that Trump can “fail” to adequately respond, since he never intended to respond in a productive and positive way. What’s happening is what Trump wants to occur.

This is what success for Trump, Putin and the GOP looks like. It’s a nightmare for us, but it’s paradise for them.

That whole Russia story was, and still is, very real. Putin’s goal is to destroy western democracies. Putin helped Trump get to the White House. He owns Trump. The best way to destabilize a nation is to create chaos.

What’s more chaotic, preventing a pandemic, or allowing hundreds of thousands of people dead?

So when framing this issue, our language matters. We need to speak about through the proper lens, because when we don’t, the truth can never be attained.

Trump isn’t failing, our democracy is.

But still, that FP story is a good one, give it a read.

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Politics

COVID-19: March 24, 2020 New York

New York state has yet to reach the corona virus outbreak apex yet.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo provided stats on infections in New York today.

They have tested 91,270 New Yorkers. Of those tested, 25,665 tested positive for the virus. That puts the infection rate at 28 percent. Experts predict that between 40 and 80 percent of the population will eventually get COVID-19.

New York has not yet hit the apex of the outbreak, but it is coming and it is coming quickly.

Cuomo said New York state need 30,000 ventilators. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said today that they are sending 400 ventilators to New York.

“You’re missing the magnitude of the problem,” Cuomo said today.

One has to wonder if Republicans and the Trump administration are “missing the magnitude of the problem.” Perhaps, they really are working for Putin as his agent’s of chaos. Certainly letting millions of people die would be chaotic, right?

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Politics

COVID-19: Flatten the Curve

The outlook is dire. It’s expected that 80 percent of Americans will get COVID-19, which kills 2 to 3 percent. With more than 300 million Americans, I can’t even bring myself to do that math.

At this point, if no one in my immediate family dies, I’ll consider that a win.

Stay home.

Here’s some chalk art my wife and kids did this weekend.

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Politics

Sanders Will Lose to Biden on Super Tuesday 2020

Tuesday is the 2020 Super Tuesday Democratic primary day.

Former Vice President Joe Biden has just crushed Senator Bernie Sanders in South Carolina.

Biden’s win makes this race a two-race between he and Sanders.

Let’s pretend we can predict the future based on past events, like the 2016 Democratic Primary – Super Tuesday.

Here’s the data for Super Tuesday 2019.

StateDelegatesClintonSanders
Alabama53449
Arkansas322210
Colorado662541
Georgia1027329
Massachusetts914645
Minnesota (Caucuses)773146
Oklahoma401822
Tennessee674423
Texas22214775
Vermont16016
Virginia953362
Total Percent56%44%
Total861483378

There were 10 primaries and one caucus in Minnesota. Sanders won 5 of the 11 contests.

In 2020, there are 14 rather than 11 races in 2016. I wrote down some estimates of how these races might turn out Tuesday. I’m assuming that with Sanders’ improved political machine and that Biden isn’t a woman will benefit Sanders.

StateDelegatesBidenSanders
Alabama615011
Arkansas362412
California494264230
Colorado803743
Maine24618
Massachusetts1146648
Minnesota924250
North Carolina1225852
Oklahoma421725
Tennessee732449
Texas26218280
Utah35629
Vermont23023
Virginia955837
Percent Total54.1%45.9%
Total1541834707

Based on these estimates of doing slightly better than he did in 2016, Sanders loses. For Sanders to walk away with an overwhelmingly victory, he needs to turn out the vote in California and Texas. Sanders did poorly in Texas last time, so there’s a lot of room to grow beyond what he got last time – 80 of the 262 delegates.

This is Sanders’ race to lose and Biden has to wipe Sanders off the map on Tuesday.

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Politics

Twitter Shuttered

I spent a good part of my adult life building a following on Twitter. I created my account when I was living in Boston. I had this cool apartment, at least I thought it was a cool apartment on Chelsea Street in East Boston. From it, I could, and did, walk to the best pizza place in Boston – Santarpio’s. That was about 10 years ago. And now it’s all gone, not Santarpio’s, my Twitter account.

I don’t know if it was 2TwelveHundreds when I initially created my Twitter account in early 2011. It could have been though. At the time I was working as a freelance journalist and I still setup all my DJ equipment that I bought when I lived in Seattle. I still played, and even made music at the time. Now, I haven’t powered up either Technics 1200 in years. They just sit, collecting dust.

I didn’t have a huge following on Twitter at the end. I think I had like 5,300 followers. But they were good followers, some were great followers. Over the decade I’ve had some of the best, most enlightening political debates with my Twitter followers. Every now and then the random celeb like Talib Kweli would even join in.

That Twitter account was with me when I moved from Boston to Montpelier, Vermont. I got a job as the town reporter for the Times Argus. That job paid jack shit, but I did love it. Then I got married and started producing children and bought a house and went back to my old job as a software engineer and now …

Now that’s all gone. Twitter took it away. The account is gone, I still have the wife, kids and software engineering job, so it’s not that sad of a story. But I would like to know why Twitter took away my account. They didn’t say. They just told me that my Twitter account is suspended. I filed an appeal, but I’m quite certain it will get denied. I’m not famous. I’m not just a guy. It’s also true that I’ve violated Twitter’s terms of service many times over the years. I was suspended for an entire week last Christmas because I said to Trump that he’s a “punk ass bitch.” That’s probably targeted harassment. That wasn’t the first time I was suspended.

Some of my humor can be a bit aggressive. Sometimes I use violent imagery as a means, perhaps a cheap one, to make my point, or make something funny. Twitter doesn’t like jokes, at least not those sorts of jokes. Twitter is fine with Trump using its platform to target and destroy the lives of people who work for Our Government. Twitter’s fine with Trump and the GOP openly attacking our democratic institutions, and in many cases, openly committing felonies on Twitter.

But I was too much for Twitter. My opinions, jokes, style, whatever, were inappropriate for Twitter. I challenged Dear Leader and those in power the wrong way. So I had to be shut up. I have been shut up and shut out and shut down.

Before you spend years building a powerful following on Twitter, just know that if you’re not the right type, or famous, or powerful, Jack can take it all away with no explanation. It’s just poof – gone.

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Politics

Why We Kill

White people are afraid. White people are terrified of an enemy that exists only in our collective white consciousness – black people.

There are no “niggers.” Black people don’t exist. Not really. Yes, in this society that white people have created, there are persons we call “black.” We do more than just call them black. We call them all sorts of horrible names. We lock them up in chains. We beat them. We spit on them. We kick them. We punch them. We rape them. We murder them. We have created this imaginary monster that we are absolutely terrified, and which we constantly violently attack.

Our white society was built around the brutalization of black men, women, and children. White people hired the white police officer who executed 12-year-old Tamir Rice playing at a playground. White people rallied their support behind the murderer of Trayvon Martin. White people empathized with the white police officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown. White people accept that Eric Garner was choked to death by a white police officer on video over a misdemeanor. These things just happen … to black people by white people.

This is a sickness. It’s a disease. It’s a cancer eating away at this nation’s intestines. Unless, and until, we find the cure, this nation will succumb. Our death is in view now as we watch Donald Trump in our Oval office, supported by white nationalists and Nazis. We can’t hold on much longer.

But the cure is a simple one.

White people need to accept reality.

We need to look at the world for what it is, not the fantasy that we tell ourselves that it is. White people have this insane idea that their safety and security and prosperity are integrally linked to the oppression and brutalization of black people. We fear that if we accept black people equally and completely into our lives that we will somehow lose something; our lives will be less.

This mentality, or belief, or whatever it is, it has to be tossed into the dustbin of history. We have to reimagine who we are based on reality, rather than the lies we tell ourselves.

It’s not simply a rejection of racism and bigotry in our own personal lives that we must overcome. We must actively resist the oppression of black people in society as a whole. That oppression can come in many forms: television shows or books or movies or cops killing black kids for no reason. When we see these things, these forms of oppression of black men, women and children, it is our gift to our fellow Americans that we shout it down every time and with great vigor.

This racism, this disease, it exists because white people continue to support it. If we remove that support, perhaps, one day this nation could be great.

“What white people have to do,” James Baldwin said, “is try and find out in their own hearts why it was necessary to have a nigger in the first place, because I’m not a nigger, I’m a man, but if you think I’m a nigger, it means you need it.”