Why Bother?

People have, over the years, said to me “Why bother wasting your time on social media arguing about politics? It isn’t like you can make a difference anyway,”

I suggest they look into the many ways, both good and bad, that social media has had an ever increasing influence on the outcome of each election cycle since its invention.

People have, over the years, said to me “Why bother engaging with the trolls just trying to bait you? You know you’re not going to change their minds?”

I point out that It isn’t about changing that one person’s mind. Every person that hears or reads what we have to say in response to those trolls is influenced by that interaction.

They have the benefit of recognizing the absurdity of the logical fallacy arguments and willfully ignorant stances being put forth by those trolls and a reasoned and thorough rebuttal of them along with correct information.

That influence is more easily attained because they haven’t been subjected to any of the emotional triggers of having any of it directed specifically at them.

If even one is swayed toward a more grounded reality from which to build their own opinions, it has been a worthwhile engagement.

Even on a site that only reaches thousands of people a day, tens of thousands per week, hundreds of thousands per month, just a one percent success rate is a greater circle of influence than most of us can attain offline.

People have, over the years, said to me “Why bother voting, it isn’t like it matters anyway?”

I suggest they look at all the gerrymandering and voter suppression efforts being put into place over the years, especially these last few years, to prevent their vote from being cast or properly counted. If your vote doesn’t matter, why is so much money and effort being spent to block it?

There are many ways to make a difference. There are many ways to protest. There are many ways to stump for a candidate. There are many ways to widen the reach of your influence.

By casting your ballot you’ve done more than anyone doing nothing. By influencing just one other person, you’ve done more than anyone doing nothing.

You are shifting the #Culturalinertia.

If the people you influence are also doing their part, you’ve begun to increase your influence exponentially.

Anyone trying to tell you that you cannot, or that it isn’t worth trying, is actually attempting to silence your voice and limit your reach. Call them on it, make them explain why.

“Never give up. Never Surrender.”
~Galaxy Quest

What It Will Take To Flip Texas Blue.

Beto O’Rourke failed in his bid to unseat Texas Senator Ted Cruz, but the attempt made him the most widely recognized Texas Democrat without any direct ties to the Obama Administration. That last point is more important than most might think. This is simply because nothing will make Texas conservatives overlook a direct link to what man they are determined to make America’s last Black President.

Beto is trying to use that recognition now as he accelerates his campaign for the Governorship of the state. He is running the same platform with one notable exception, which we’ll get to in a minute.

The incumbent Governor, Greg Abbott, has chosen to fully embrace every aspect of White Nationalist Trumpism in the hopes that the state’s aggressive gerrymandering will overcome the staggering COVID death toll among Republican voters, as well as the backlash from the power grid failure last winter, and carry him to another term.

O’Rourke already knows that he’s got the vote of every Democrat who will show up, because whatever Democrat ends up on the ballot running against Abbott does.

That same Democrat candidate will also receive many secret, silent votes from Libertarian and Republican women who will never publicly admit they voted against the Republican incumbent, but who will do so specifically because of the recent anti-abortion bill Abbott pushed through a special session of the state Congress. These votes will noticeably skew the predictions and exit polling.

They won’t; however, be enough to overcome the gerrymandering.

Which brings us back to O’Rourke’s new platform focus.

He has chosen to put legalization of marijuana front and center in this election race.

Every single item needed to cultivate and process the plant from seed to sale is manufactured here in Texas. There is no shortage of land, or financially troubled farms, that could easily and quickly become marijuana farms. That would immediately create jobs working crops for a product that will actually move in today’s economic market. It would also create jobs in all regions for resale shops, at a time when small business store fronts are failing. It would create a massive tax revenue stream for the state that would immediately start paying down the deficit, as it has for other states.

Finally, the legalized marijuana industry has some heavy hitter former Republicans and Republican darling celebrities behind it as owners and investors.

This could be the issue that eventually drives some of the male Libertarian and Republican voters to cast their own secret, silent ballots for a Democrat party candidate, especially the younger ones that want to have easy access without the risk of a criminal record.

Will it be enough to drive Democrat voter participation and Republican/Libertarian defection to levels that will overcome the state’s aggressive voter suppression and gerrymandering of districts?

Unless Congress quickly passes the John Lewis Voter’s Rights Act and makes it enforceable for the 2022 elections, we better all hope so.

It’s All So Simple; Really, But Simple Ain’t Always Easy.

Over the past few weeks a lot of different news has been breaking, and the press and the people responsible for it want us all to view each instance as a separate, isolated, and unrelated occurrence, they are not. We have to put some pieces together to put them all in context with each other. If we do that, Things get pretty clear, and the solutions present themselves.

First, lets review a bit of well documented history, that is undisputed by anyone reputable enough to put forth any dispute of merit.

Several years back, multiple foreign interests saw a celebrity conman as a useful idiot they could put in power to serve their interests. They pursued several methods of doing so, ego stoking, funneling money through the NRA, employing a social media troll farm for influence, using hackers to attack our political party offices and election systems, and more. The son of a Supreme Court Justice Antony Kennedy funneled roughly a billion dollars of their money through Deutsche Bank loans that no legitimate bank officer would approve. And, they were successful beyond their wildest dreams.

Their useful idiot became the President of the United States, despite losing the general election by a considerable margin. He spent the next four years stoking racial hatred and political violence. He filled three seats on the Supreme Court with religious zealot personal loyalists with a combination of multiple ethics complaints and inexperience on the bench. One of those seats belonged to Justice Kennedy, who retired early just so this man could appoint his replacement while the Republican party controlled the approval process. He then went on to become personal responsible for more the deaths of more than half a million Americans by seizing on an opportunity to weaponize a global pandemic he thought would be limited to more urban, liberal areas, and controlled before it could spread. His inner circle of kleptrocrats used that opportunity to make a ton of money in illegal and/or unethical investments as they mishandled the national response and created an economic crises. Eventually, though, their misinformation efforts and anti-science, anti-knowledge campaigns backfired, and the virus started taking an even heavier toll on their own support base as vaccines became available. Then when it became clear he wasn’t going to be re-elected, he attempted to lead a violent overthrow of our Congressional system, and seize power for himself. He failed, but he succeeded in further dividing the country with violence, racism, and bigotry. In the process, the Republican senate made a mockery of not just one, but two impeachment trials to protect him.

Now we have a Supreme Court, one third of which was appointed by a violent insurrectionist, rewriting long established and settled law, starting with abortion rights.

During his tenure, the Republicans in state governments around the country have been passing hundreds of voter suppression laws and laws rolling back civil rights, social services, and more.

Republicans are hoping the compromised Supreme Court will uphold their efforts.

Then, after winning back the Presidency, as well as the House and Senate majorities, Democrats wasted nearly a year before pursing real investigations of those that planned and instigated the insurrection attempt, especially those still serving as Congressional peers. They held off on the trials of insurrectionists and cut deals that allowed them to plead out to non-felony charges to avoid more serious punishment, including the, at least temporary, loss of their own voting rights.

Worse yet, the allowed two of their own Democratic senators, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Krysten Sinema of Arizona, to hold the ability to achieve justice and make good on promises of progress hostage for their own personal gain.

The real solutions are simple, and should be bipartisan, if one party wasn’t actively trying to weaponize willful ignorance and hateful bigotry in order to entrench us all in corporate feudalism.

But, simple isn’t always easy.

Here are the things that need to be done now:

Close Ranks and Unify

The Democrat Party leadership needs to steamroll Manchin and Sinema, by taking some lessons of the Republicans to heart.

Schumer and Durbin need to tell them to get in line and do away with the filibuster in order to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the For The People Act.

If the two refuse, then Schumer should strip them of all their Committee seats, severely hindering their power to influence legislation in development. They should eliminate all party support for their re-elections and divert it to candidates who will primary them and vote with the party on these vital issues.

Many people think that the threat of doing so will force them to switch parties, but this won’t happen. Neither of them will switch because doing so puts McConnell back in the Majority Leadership seat and eliminates both or their personal gain leverage as they become the 51st or 52nd member of the Republican majority and of no use at all to McConnell in passing or obstructing anything. They are two self centered and self serving to willingly render themselves irrelevant.

Get them in line and pass the bills required to make sure everything else being accomplished right now remains a lasting accomplishment, and not just a brief respite in the eye of the storm.

Fix The Court

Biden assembled nearly 3 dozen experts to form a commission in response to demands from Democrats to restore what they called ideological “balance” on the currently tainted court. They offered him a 300 page research paper that offers no specific recommendations.

So, here are my recommendations for what must be done:

Change the number of Supreme Court Justices is so there is a one to one ratio of Justices to US Appellate Court Districts.

That number is currently 13. Set term limits to be two times the number of judges, so 26 years.

Appoint one new judge every two years to replace the longest serving judge. If a judge dies or retires early, the President would then nominate, with Congressional approval, a temporary replacement to fill the seat until it would have come up in rotation, at which time the temporary nominee could be reconfirmed for their own term or replaced as scheduled.

This would prevent any one administration from being able to hold an imbalanced sway over the court for generations to follow.

Achieve Accountability

Censure and eject all those who participated in the planning and execution of the January 6th insurrection from both the House and Senate, and any governmental/state agency that they are currently working within.

Hold trials for all those who participated in the planning and execution of that insurrection, on the proper felony charges. Expedite the trials.

Disqualify all of them that are currently running for state and federal offices across the nation from ever holding political office again.

There is established legal precedent for all of the above.

Move On

For years now, we have been fighting against a small group of kleptocrats put in power by an adversarial foreign government to undermine democracy, dismantle the US government, and erode our international influence. And they have weaponized uninformed outrage, racism, religious bigotry, and misogyny to accomplish it.

If you take the time to look at all they have done, with that in mind, every single decision they have made over the last several years makes perfect sense.

Only by accomplishing the things outlined above can we begin to address our collective moral injury as a nation and society and begin to heal from the damage they have caused.

This is how we address the ongoing #StochasticTerrorism of the Republican party and begin to course correct our #Culturalinertia.

It’s Been A Busy Week

Four days ago, for a variety of reasons, I posted a farewell message to my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/timsnews) after nine years of dedicating my blood, sweat, and tears to keeping it going well, and doing so with no real compensation.

There were several private personal issues that played into the decision of how I need to allocate my time and effort going forward, but those were all secondary to the fact that at the beginning of 2016, this page was reaching nearly half a million individual users a day.   Now, with nearly twice as many followers as then, it barely reaches 5,000 a week.  This is a direct result of Facebook’s (now Meta’s) algorithms intentionally quashing the voice of progressive and/or humanist advocates.

As a result of all of this, and other changes to how the Facebook user interface works, the page has evolved a few times over the years, going from a place of user engaged discussion and debate of meaningful issues, to me just posting brief commentary on specific news links, and the few people that still engaged doing so simply by clicking a generalized emoticon reaction button instead of processing their thoughts on the issue for a meaningful response.

Since posting that message, quite a few people who have never openly engaged before let me know publicly and privately how much the page has meant to them, that meant a lot.

Also, several extremely major news stories broke each validating much of my efforts here over the last few years.

Trump’s Chief of Staff published a new book exposing that Trump tested positive for COVID 3 days prior to his live debate with Biden in 2020.  Meaning that he was “patient zero” for the Super Spreader event celebrating his appointment of Amy Cohen Barrett to the Supreme Court and several other events that week, all of which he attended unmasked while hugging the guests.  It also shows that his crowding Biden’s personal space during the debate was an intentional and malicious effort attempting to infect Biden.  And every one of his immediate family members and staff, unmasked in the audience, were doing something similar.   After backlash from Trump, the author, said in a news interview that his own book was “Fake News.”

A former ranking member of the DOJ choose to plead the 5th in front of a Congressional committee rather than answer questions that would expose his own criminal involvement in the January 6th insurrection.   This has been handed over to the current AG for Contempt of Congress charges.

Meanwhile a Supreme Court bench sent the signal that it fully intends to strip women of what remaining personal health autonomy they already have, and in the process set the new precedent for states to completely disregard any and all federal laws and regulations they choose.

You might remember Trump in his debate with Hillary Clinton declaring that he would fill the bench with judges that would overturn Roe v. Wade.   And here we are.

Despite the fact that during his confirmation to the Supreme Court Brett Kavanaugh convinced Sen. Susan Collins that he thought a woman’s right to an abortion was “settled law” calling the court cases affirming it “precedent on precedent” that could not be casually overturned.  And during her own confirmation, Amy Coney Barrett told senators that laws could not be undone simply by personal beliefs, including her own.

In both cases Senators like Susan Collins choose to believe their lies under oath, rather than see the reality of their previous rulings and opinions and op-ed papers, and Trump’s stated intent and confirm them anyway.

As a result, we now have a Supreme Court bench, one third of which, was appointed by a man who attempted to lead a violent overthrow of our government, actively reinterpreting Constitutional law and legal precedent from a fascist White Nationalist perspective.

The legal team Trump assembled to wage his “Stop the Steal” court battles has turned on each other so deeply that they’re publicly exposing each others crimes, and all are now under investigation.  They also lost a major ruling in Michigan as a result of these frivolous lawsuits.   And outlets like Fox News and NewsMax are tearing themselves apart trying to figure out who they’re supposed to support and who they’re supposed to attack.

During this brief four day span, we also learned that the mother of the latest school shooting wrote an open later in 2016 to Trump thanking him for giving her the right to bear arms.  The weapon the boy used was only purchased by the father four days before the methodical and deliberate massacre.   This was a direct result of the incessant #StochasticTerrorism efforts from Trump and his supporters.  The young man is now being charged as an adult with murder and terrorism charges.  His parents are both being charged with involuntary manslaughter as well.

And over the years, each and every one of those things was predicted by the posts on this page, and then discussed again as they were happening in real time.   This, along with your heartfelt responses, further validated my work and effort here and helped me come to a realization.

I started the Facebook page and this blog site for me, they were a place for me to process my thoughts on important and difficult issues, which over the years evolved into an attempt to combat willful ignorance by keeping myself and others informed.   One of the key ways I found to do that was to expose the aspects of our #culturalinertia that were holding us back as a society offering suggestions on how we need to shift them in the proper direction.   At the same time writing about it and informing others became a form of personal therapy to work through my own “Moral Injury.”  If you don’t know what that is, you should.   I strongly believe that we as a collective society are all suffering from this shared PTSD.   Learn more here:  https://www.ptsd.va.gov/…/cooccurring/moral_injury.asp=

So, I realize now, I need to keep doing my writing and sharing it with anyone that I can reach, which means instead of shutting the page down, it is time for it to evolve once again.

I will keep this page open, along with my Twitter page @timelytopics.  Of late, I have been over-posting to Facebook and under-posting to Twitter.  To solve both those issues, instead of posting so many different news articles with their own separate lead in comments, I will be writing a couple cumulative blog entries on this WordPress page https://tims-news.com/ and posting the links to these social media accounts, you can follow on whichever of the three platforms you prefer.

These blog entries will be more similar in structure to the postings I have shared with you recently from Dr. Heather Cox Richardson, and I will allow more of my personal writing voice to be present in my commentary on the issues (as all of my blog posts have done) than my postings here normally have contained.  Expect to find a lot more humor and sarcasm embedded that those of you that don’t know me personally are accustomed to from me.

If you appreciate the work and effort, and are willing to make a donation to cover the expenses of the news subscriptions I use to keep the information here flowing, you can do so at either PayPal: paypal.me/timelytopics or Venmo: timelytopics@gmail.com

A Field Guide to Changing the #Culturalinertia – Part 3

I am long overdue with the release of this third part in our Field Guide to Changing the #Culturalinertia. Follow these links to find parts One and Two. It wasn’t from a lack of trying. I had an essay planned for release in January of this year following the victory of Georgia’s Democrats in securing their national Senatorial seats and also securing what should have been a true Democrat majority in the Senate.

That article was going to address the historical origins of systemic and societal racism in America, how it is perpetuated, and how we could and should have been using a democratic control of both the legislative and executive branches of our federal government for whatever time that control could be maintained. It was going to begin with Abraham Lincoln’s misguided decision to embrace confederate leadership and their “Lost Cause” efforts for the sake of “compromise” instead of allowing them to languish in defeat. Thus began the trend of allowing treasonous generals and politicians into congressional leadership, naming military bases after those same treasonous people, the establishment of Jim Crow laws and sundown towns, the creation of the DoJ to protect civil rights and deal with the KKK terrorists cells and the subsequent subversion of the federal law enforcement agency to be used as tool against any progressive progress made on behalf of People of Color, culminating in today’s school to prison pipeline feeding mass incarceration for privatized prison labor profiteering.

It was a lengthy article that I have deleted and rewritten several times since then because it was scheduled to be released on January 7th, 2021. However, the day prior, a large group of White Nationalists answered the incessant Stochastic Terrorism calls of Donald Trump, leading Republicans, and nearly all conservative media outlets to attempt a murderous insurrection to interfere with the certification of a presidential election and overthrow the legislative branch of our government while planning to assassinate both the Republican vice president and several of our elected Democrat members of Congress along with a few Republican members like Mitt Romney of whom they disapproved.

Every day for weeks after that there were new pertinent additions to be made and the essay morphed into a dissertation.

One of the most telling being that despite the win in Georgia, the Democrats had not truly obtained a Senate majority. Because two right wing conservatives had been elected by their states as Democrats; Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Krysten Sinema of Arizona. Through their refusal to help end the filibuster process, which was originally created as a tool for conservatives to fight against civil rights reforms and is still being used primarily for that same purpose, they have thwarted nearly all major important efforts of the Biden administration without the need of real effort at opposition by the Republicans.

Every time I thought my revisions were done and it was time to release it, new developments would immediately arise within the obvious injustice of the lack of consequences not only for those who perpetrated the offenses but also for those who incited them to it for their own political profiteering purposes.

After months of revisions and rewrites, I have come to an important realization regarding the never ending fight for equity of opportunity and justice. There are a few common recurring points for each side of the political debate on every issue throughout every examination of this fight at every stage of history.

Throughout American history the nation’s conservatives have been working to undermine or eliminate all progressive reforms, all attempts at multicultural equity of justice, and all attempts to establish and secure social safety and security. They strive to maintain gerrymandering, systemic oppression, redlining, and inequality based on gender, ethnicity, and religion.

They feign ignorance to divert the debate to petty points instead of real solutions. They fund and cite pseudoscience to present as real science. They resort to overt lies, which they now call “alternative facts,” gaslighting, cherry picking data, and as many other logical fallacies as they an get away with to control the framing narrative of debate. They have started a civil war and an insurrection, both based on White Nationalist racism.

At the same time, throughout all of American history, the nations liberals and progressives have worked on the assumption that reaching some form of bipartisan compromise with them is vital on every single issue.

That latter, more than anything else, is the true fatal failure of our current system.

The entire political platform of modern Republicans is to maximize suffering and death. It is the reason they fight against all efforts to establish social security, SNaP, CHiP, health care assistance, housing assistance, public health safety, environmental protections, consumer protections, worker safety regulations. It is why they constantly raise taxes on average people while eliminating them for the ultra wealthy and large corporations. They have even courted the assistance of adversarial foreign governments to accomplish it.

So, the next step in our Field Guide to Changing the Cultural Inertia is to stop seeking ways to compromise with those who harbor evil intent.

Until we have made that step, we are letting the terrorists set the terms of our future.

Creating A Better Normal

As part of our ongoing exploration of recognizing where our #CulturalInertia is holding us back and determining what needs to be done to break free, today we need to take a look at some important steps to avoid returning to a broken normal and create a better normal to move forward with as we come out of the pandemic that has exposed many of the flaws with our old normal.

Let’s start by taking a look at what we know now was broken about our old normal:

The United States has the greatest availability of advanced medical treatment in the world, and the least accessibility to it for the majority of its citizens of the modernized nations.

Many more jobs than we thought can be done as effectively, possibly even more effectively, while working remotely.

Jobs we thought were essential for the survival of our citizenry and economy turned out to not be as essential as we thought, and those in jobs our society undervalues and mistreats turned out to be vital to our day to day survival as a nation and as a people.

Tying the availability of health care access to employment turned out to be disastrous in the midst of a public health crisis that led to an economic crisis as many businesses abandoned their workers and thereby eliminated their ability to afford care.

Our nation has far more abandoned and empty houses than it has homeless people, and yet we refuse to house those homeless. We could house every single homeless family and still have millions of abandoned homes left over for migrant refugees attempting to find a path to citizenship.

Our schools, whether in person or remote, are designed as a one size fits all teaching methodology that forces all kids to conform to standardized criteria rather than teaching critical thought and real life skills. This is the result of years of corporate lobbying to churn out a workforce rather than enhance the evolution of a culture.

Teachers are underpayed and undervalued by a society that demeans their work with comments like “those who can’t do, teach” and a constant assault on educated expertise as elitist. As a result the best teachers burn out quickly to the detriment of those they teach.

Workers are terrified of losing access to health care and other vital necessities due to increasing automation of their job functions, because employers don’t have to pay computers and robots overtime or health benefits or provide them with sick leave and paid vacation. Computers and robots don’t file workman’s comp claims and hostile work environment lawsuits.

That’s just a quick overview of some the major problems with our old normal.

So, what might a new normal look like?

Let’s take a look at a few things.

Imagine the true freedom created for the people of “The Land Of The Free” if we could make this thought exercise a reality.

Embrace work automation. Allow and encourage every single job that can be automated to be.

End all corporate tax avoidance loopholes and increase the tax rate for businesses that draw over a few million net profit per year.

Create a single payer universal health care program that separates health care from employment, freeing corporations from having to provide and fund health insurance packages for their employees as well as eliminating the insurance premiums that consumers pay just to be insured, the vast majority of which funds the insurance companies business model, not the actual health care.

The health insurance industry could still thrive as a supplemental insurance covering voluntary procedures outside the scope of the government subsidized care.

Establish an income tax free minimum living wage universal income for all adults.

All people would then be free to pursue their own actual interests with their time and money. The vast majority would seek out training and work in the fields that actually interested them to supplement their income, instead of just choosing to work anywhere that would give them the paycheck and health care to survive long enough to work more.

Any income above and beyond the universal minimum living wage would be taxable.

Primary education could return to a focus on developing critical thinking and life skills, rather than churning out a economic workforce. A renewed focus on STEAM education; Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math; instead of the artless approach of STEM, thus renewing the nurturing of creativity across all fields of study. It could even proceed at an individualized pace instead of a uniform pace measured by one sized fits all testing.

Make state funded colleges tuition free for those who want to pursue a higher education. Private colleges could still charge whatever they wanted, but would need to find ways to further enhance their curriculum and experience to entice students from the state colleges to give those students a higher return on their investment.

Companies would have to compete for quality employees in those positions that could not effectively be automating, providing opportunities for those with a focused interest and ability in such fields to advance both themselves and their employers while increasing their available income for their families.

Imagine the productivity and creative advancement of such a society.

One where every one who was working actually wanted to be there and was appreciated and rewarded well for being there.

One where the arts and entertainment were advanced by nurturing the creativity of those drawn to them and they had the time and ability to seek the training to enhance their skillsets.

One where people were freed to focus on raising their kids instead of depending on schools to do so while they toil away at seemingly meaningless and thankless work just to survive.

One where the impoverished were not forced to choose which necessities of life to live without each month, or turning to crimes of necessity, just to survive.

Every individual that wanted to could become a sole proprietor of a small business for others interested in the goods or services they were interested in creating to purchase. If successful they’d supplement their income, if not, there would be no harm done to anyone and they’d still survive to pursue their other interests if they failed.

One where a representative government of the people, empowered by the people, would focus on being for the people that empowered it.

We could once again establish a socially democratic republic based on regulated capitalism with a conscience, protecting consumers, the environment, and the volunteer workforce needed to keep it all running smoothly.

Of course there would be people content to live upon the minimum universal income, but they would be doing so by choice, not necessity, and they would still be contributors to the national economy as consumers of the goods and services created by those choosing to do so.

Programs like SNaP, CHiP, and other social safety net services would become obsolete because those needs would be taken care of other ways.

All other programs subsidizing shortcomings in corporate wages could be eliminated.

At this point we truly would be the land of the free.

Nobody would owe their soul to the company store.

Imagine the wonders that such a society could create where everyone was free to pursue their interests and achieve their full potential.

Imagine how we would advance the culture of not just our nation, but the world, with the work product of people in such an unburdened society.

Don’t Fear the Reaper… Defeat Him or Avoid Him.

When it comes to climate change policy, economic stimulus and pandemic relief efforts, health care, or anything else that might actually benefit the majority of Americans instead of a few of the ultra rich, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had this to say about himself before the 2018 midterms, and he still believes it now:

“If I’m still the majority leader of the Senate after next year, none of those things are going to pass the Senate. They won’t even be voted on. So think of me as the Grim Reaper: the guy who is going to make sure that socialism doesn’t land on the president’s desk.”

Source: CBS

This means that unless we help folks like Stacy Abrams and organizations like Fair Fight and Act Blue in Georgia do everything possible to flip both of its Senate seats during the January runoff elections, for Biden to be effective he will have to do one of two things, either compromise with Grim Reaper or find a way to thwart him.

We cannot allow the new administration to compromise on matters of civil and human rights, we cannot allow him to ignore the science and reality pertaining to pandemic prevention and its necessity to protect both our people and our real economy instead of protecting stock prices to the detriment of everyone and everything else.

So, how will that work?

Presidential Appointments

To create an effective cabinet Biden is limited to two options as long as the self-labeled Grim Reaper remains Senate Majority Leader.

Option 1 is compromise and only install right leaning moderates to cabinet positions in order for McConnell to bring them to a Senate confirmation vote and push the Republicans to approve them.

Option 2 is to follow Trump’s lead and appoint a host of permanently “Acting” cabinet members and officials without ever seeking Senate approval until McConnell can be removed.

Executive Orders

First, any action or policy that Trump created or ended by Executive Order can be reversed the same way.

For some issues that can be an instantaneous fix, for most it will take time to self-correct. The various departments and agencies will have to update the policies and procedures and retrain, and if the change requires a public notice and comment period that will still have to be honored by each affected organization.

While others, such as reconnecting separated refugee families with their abducted kids, may actually prove to be impossible depending on the record keeping and evidence destruction of Trump’s criminally complicit sycophants within the agencies responsible.

Secondly, Biden can follow Trump’s leads and create new policy through Executive Order. We know that without legislative support any policy made this way will only be as lasting as a new president changing it the same way as described above, or both the House and Senate working together to pass a law which will either solidify or override it.

These options may provide the Biden/Harris administration with their only option for working around a Senate Majority Leader intent on killing all of their proposed legislative efforts before any can ever see the possibility of a chamber vote.

Legislative Compromise

The last and least desirable option, in my opinion, is to attempt to find a legislative compromise with the Reaper. McConnell has; however, proven himself to be one who does not negotiate in good faith, and his idea of compromise is “You surrender to my blackmail terms.”

The only bargaining chips Biden has, as long as we hold him to a requirement of being uncompromising on human and civil right, factual science and truth, are these:

  • Increased tax breaks for the rich.
  • Less corporate regulation and oversight
  • Less environmental protections

How do we defeat the Grim Reaper?

If you want to avoid all that, you better damn well be doing everything you possibly can to ensure the Democrat candidates for Senate in Georgia, Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, win in the January run-offs.

If both win, the Grim Reaper will be demoted to the Senate Minority Leader and the Biden/Harris administration will have a thin majority in both the House and Senate allowing them to pass any legislation that does not require a supermajority vote in either chamber.

Come on baby, don’t fear the reaper
Baby take my hand, don’t fear the reaper
We’ll be able to fly, don’t fear the reaper
Baby I’m your man

(Don’t Fear) The Repear,” Blue Oyster Cult, 1976

A Field Guide to Changing the #Culturalinertia – Part 2

Over the years, this blog, and the accompanying Facebook discussion page, have contained an ongoing theme of identifying and discussing ways to address the aspects of our culture we cling to consciously or subconsciously to hold us back. We have been calling this our Cultural Inertia.

Over the next several months, I will be posting an ongoing, and cumulative guide on how we need to start dealing with this. Each post will give us the next step to begin working on to make dramatic overall shifts. This is Part 2.

In Part 1 we addressed the importance of aggressively confronting malevolent incompetence, lies, criminality, fascism, racism, sexism, religious bigotry, and weaponization of faux (and real) Christianity anywhere and everywhere we find it in our own day to day lives, especially when we encounter it among our family and those we believed were friends.

Now, we need to have a talk about the fact that we had an excellent opportunity to flip several down ballot seats in the Senate and also flip the Senate majority out of Republican control, and we didn’t. We even had a net loss of seats in the House, barely maintaining the majority there.

The why of that matters.

One of the key aspects of the Biden/Harris campaign was wooing disenfranchised Republicans, and to some notable extent they succeeded.

They got a significant portion of anti-Trump Republicans to vote against Trump’s behavior while still supporting the entirety of Republican policy intentions which haven’t changed much at all since the time of Nixon, Trump merely has the audacity to speak out loud about them.

They are the ones that want the return to the negative peace of plausible deniability of quiet White privilege while still maintaining it.

This is the often self-defeating cost of prioritizing compromise with the enemy over finding ways to re-engage the disenfranchised who are in overall general agreement with you on key issues.

We do need to celebrate the win, but we also need to recognize that it is just the first step on a long journey and be ready to plod ahead immediately.

That is exactly why, like John Legend, we should all have Georgia on our minds.

Thanks to a massive effort led by Stacy Abrams within the state to get People of Color to register and show up to vote and to stay in line despite wait times in excess of 8 hours, both Senate seats for the traditionally Republican state were forced into a runoff that will take place in early January. If you haven’t seen the documentary “All In” which highlights her efforts, you should.

https://abcnews.go.com/GMA/News/inside-stacey-abrams-fair-fight-2020-operation-election/story?id=65486966

The same people that led that effort are already at work to flip both of those seats to the Democrats. If successful, it will bring the Senate to a 50/50 split, forcing with Vice President-Elect taking over as President of the Senate and the tie breaking vote immediately after inauguration. And the switch from Pence to her in that position will change the Majority position to the Democrats, demoting Mitch McConnell to minority leader.

And with that, we have reached:

STEP 2

You don’t have to be in Georgia to help them.

The simplest method is obviously to pull up the candidates personal campaign websites and donate.

However, your money and time can go even further when combined with the efforts of these organizations. You can donate money to their efforts, you can volunteer your time with phone bank calls and mailing efforts. If you live in Georgia, you can door canvas.

You can also get involved with their national efforts as they are already beginning preparation to continue their success with the 2022 midterms.

https://fairfight.com/
https://secure.actblue.com/donate/peachstate?fbclid=IwAR2wz5INOs9TLgBTt98KXQVVIgD-tuPyJklLjK2hQnDgKelSr4sZFN9RaEM#social

Keep working on Step 1, every day. Do everything you can do help with Step 2 between now and January 5th.

Once next year’s Senate is truly finalized, we can move on to step 3.

A Field Guide to Changing the #Culturalinertia – Part 1

This is not about the candidates for President this election cycle, but the people voting in the election.

Over the years, this blog, and the accompanying Facebook discussion page, have contained an ongoing theme of identifying and discussing ways to address the aspects of our culture we cling to consciously or subconsciously to hold us back. We have been calling this our Cultural Inertia.

An evaluation of the current election results so far has proven to me that I need to approach discussing our #Culturalinertia a bit differently. Over the next several months, I will be posting an ongoing, and cumulative guide on how we need to start dealing with this. Each post will give us the next step to begin working on to make dramatic overall shifts.

As of the time of this writing, 68.6 million people, and counting, have voted for at least four more years of malevolent incompetence, lies, criminality, fascism, racism, sexism, religious bigotry, and weaponization of faux (and real) Christianity through legislation. That’s over 5.5 million more than voted for Trump in 2016.

We can’t not have a serious talk about this.

We cannot truly have freedom in a multicultural society while any of these people remain in positions of power and influence over the lives of others and adhere to these belief systems. Whether that power and influence comes from the office of the presidency, elected or appointed members of government, judges, doctors, nurses, police, first responders, loan approval officers, Neighborhood Watch groups, Home Owners’ Associations, or anywhere else is irrelevant. What matters is that the power to oppress must be removed from the people that would take advantage of it.

Which brings us to:

Step 1

Stop watching what’s happening and passively saying and thinking that “This isn’t America” or “This isn’t my America.”

Because this is America.

This is the America we have always had.

Trump didn’t change the hearts and minds of half of American voters. He simply gave them permission to be open about it to others.

Some still cannot bring themselves to openly admit their believes, so they lied to the poll takers, and their friends, and their family and said they would vote against him. Then they went in the voting centers and pulled the levers, punched the tickets, placed their mark, and pressed the buttons to select his name on the ballot anyway.

As Jim Wright of Stonekettle Station recently stated:

This is the America people of color have been telling us we were part of since its founding.

What Trump has done for the rest of us is remove the blinders so we can no longer pretend we don’t see it happening all around us.

We now know we have neighbors and family members who are among those who adhere to these abhorrent ideologies.

So, what can you do about it?

Start telling yourself, “This isn’t the America I want in the future,” and start actively working to change it by aggressively standing up and calling it out every single time you see it.

No matter who is doing it.

Be Bold. Be relentless. Be uncompromising.

Do not back down.

Do it online and offline, in public and in private.

Don’t fall into the trap of maintaining negative peace. Don’t avoid the necessary conflict to resolve a problem at the expense of allowing the problem to fester, spread, and worsen.

Do not agree to disagree on matters of human and civil rights.

Do not accept that we are all entitled to our opinions when challenging an opinion that is harmful or detrimental to others.

“Get in good trouble.” ~U.S. Rep. John Lewis

Focus on that step for a while, and then I’ll give you Step 2.

A Deep Dive Into the Numbers

My nephew, who turns 16 this year, is a math wiz, and loves statistical analysis, he has also taken a strong interest in modern politics.

Last week he took on the task to analyze polls and historical data to predict how the electoral college plays out. This is his work…

DC, Vermont, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Maryland, California, New York, Rhode Island, Delaware, Washington, Connecticut, Maine’s 1st District, New Jersey, Oregon, and Illinois are very safe for Biden, with current polling averages by FiveThirtyEight showing him up 15 points or more. These states combined are 183 electoral votes.

On the other hand, Nebraska’s 3rd District, Wyoming, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Idaho, North Dakota, Arkansas, Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Dakota are very safe for Trump, with current polling averages by FiveThirtyEight showing him up 15 points or more. These states combined are 63 electoral votes.

Likely Biden States:

New Mexico and Colorado haven’t always been blue, but these last 3 presidential elections they certainly have. With some positive polling for Biden in these states this election, it seems very unlikely that these states go to Trump.

Virginia is a red state, right? Wrong. Much like New Mexico and Colorado, Virginia has gone blue the last 3 presidential elections. While in 2016 Clinton’s vice president pick Kaine was from Virginia, it is hard to truly know how much of an effect that had. Whatever the case was, Virginia is polling strong for Biden this year.

Maine has voted Democrat for the last 7 presidential elections, and doesn’t seem to be stopping this year, with Biden having an apprixmately 14 point lead over Trump in the polling averages.

New Hampshire seems relatively solidly in Biden’s favor, even with it having been considered a swing state in the past, and being relatively close last year.

Minnesota went to Clinton last election, and this election it doesn’t seem likely that that story will be different. Biden leads Trump by over 9 points in this state, and with Clinton having won this state in 2016, it seems very likely Biden will keep this state.

Michigan and Wisconsin are part of a group of 3 key states that will likely help decide the election, along with Pennsylvania. In this prediction, they will be called the rust belt. Michigan and Wisconsin certainly are the most blue of the rust belt, and were extremely close states (especially Michigan) in the 2016 election, even though they had gone to Trump in the end. This year, Biden has an 8 point lead in these states, which makes it seem likely Biden will win these states.

Likely Trump States:

Nebraska has voted red for many years, and is unlikely to change this year. This state would likely be safe if it weren’t for FiveThirtyEight showing Trump up by only a bit under 10 points.

Tennessee is likely to go to Trump, as Trump has a solid lead of just under 13 points.

In Utah, Trump is ahead by under 11 points. As with many of the other red states in the likely column, this state has been solidly Republican for many elections.

Nebraska’s 1st district does not have a lot of info around it. However, there is one poll listed on FiveThiryEight showing Trump up 2 points. However, last election Republicans won Nebraska’s 1st district by over 20 points. Therefore, this district will be considered likely in this prediction.

Kansas is also a reliable vote for Republicans, having voted for them in the last 13 presidential elections. While it doesn’t seem likely it will flip, it is up only just over 10 points for the Republicans.

Indiana mostly votes red, although they did vote blue in 2008. Granted, Republicans did win Indiana by a bit under 20 points in 2016. Either way, Trump is up nearly 10 points over Biden in Indiana.

Even with the Republicans winning Missouri by almost 20 points in 2016, the polls show it surprisingly close in comparison at an approximately 7 point lead for Trump.

Montana is a surprising case, having the Republicans win by over 20 points in 2016, to leading in the polls by just under 5 points, and it’s been narrowing up recently.

South Carolina, unlike their neighbor to the north (more on that later), is still likely to go red this election, with Trump up around 7.5 points.

Alaska is an interesting case, as this is one of Trump’s best times in the polls over the last few months, with a bit under an 8 point lead. Yes, a nearly 8 point lead is good compared to the rest of Trump’s polls this year in Alaska, the state that went to Trump by over 25 points in 2016.

It is amazing to see many of these likely Republican states not safe. It really goes to show Biden’s power this election. States like Alaska or Nebraska shouldn’t be this close, but they are.

Lean Biden States:

Pennsylvania is the other state in the rust belt. This state is considered by many to be the key state, and is shown to be the most likely tipping point state by FiveThirtyEight. This is good news for Biden, as he is ahead nearly 5 points in Pennsylvania polling.

Nevada was a swing state that went to Clinton last election, and this election seems fairly favorable for Biden, with nearly a 5 point lead over Trump.

Arizona has actually become more blue over the years, with only an approximately 3.5 point victory for Trump in 2016, whereas it was much larger for Republicans in 2012 and 2008. This year, Biden is actually polling ahead of Trump in Arizona, with a lead of nearly 3 points. This state seems like it will go to the Democrats, but it could go either way.

Ah yes, Florida, home of close elections. Trump won it by just over a point in 2016, Obama won it by just under a point in 2012, Obama won it by just under 3 points in 2008, Bush won it by 5 points in 2004, and let’s not discuss the 2000 election. In general, Florida tends to be a close state, and it seems like it will continue that tradition this year. Currently, Biden is leading by around 2 points in the polls in Florida. With Florida’s history, it wouldn’t be surprising to see it go either way, but for the moment it seems to be going to Biden.

North Carolina is another one of those states that have classically tended to be Republican, but now seem to be Democrat. Admittedly, North Carolina did go to Obama in 2008, although barely. This year, Biden has almost a 2 point advantage over Trump according to polling. This still isn’t enough to overcome the polling error from 2016, but this year isn’t 2016.

Georgia has swung back and forth in the polls this election, but currently Biden, surprisingly enough, is ahead over a point in polling data. In the last few elections, Democrats have lost by about 5 or more points in Georgia, so it is impressive to see Biden ahead this year.

Biden seems ahead in Maine’s 2nd district (he has a 3.2 point lead), but due to less polls it’s harder to say for certain. What can be said for certain is that in 2016 Trump won by nearly 10 points, while in 2012 Obama won by over 8 points.

In Nebraska’s 2nd District, it also seems like Biden will win, with a 4.5 point lead.

Lean Trump States:

While Texas has been going more and more blue over the last few years, it seems unlikely that this election is the year that it fully goes blue. Trump has an admittedly low 1 point lead over Biden, but it still seems likely it will go Republican. Given current trends, maybe next presidential election will be the one where we see Texas go blue.

Tilt Trump States:

Ohio’s prediction is honestly tragic. For the last 14 presidential elections, Ohio has voted for the winner of the election. However, this year, it seems to have shifted too far to the right. Currently Trump is ahead 0.8 points in the polls in Ohio, although in general it seems like Biden will win the election, which would break Ohio’s streak. We will see though, as it is a close race in Ohio.

Iowa has been the weirdest state to watch during the making of this prediction. It has been fluctuating back and forth between the 2 candidates for the last month. It has settled to be Biden territory for most of October, but now it has jumped up into being a Trump state. This state is really hard to call either direction, but as Election Day is just around the corner, and Trump has a lead of 1.6 points, it seems it will go to Trump. That being said, early voting was occurring while Biden was in the lead in the polls, so it could swing to Biden. It seems likely this will be the closest state of them all.

And that has been every state! Based on this prediction, here are the predicted results: Biden 351, Trump 187. However, as this prediction does list states based on their likelihood to go to each candidate, included below is what would happen if certain levels of change from the prediction would happen.

To clarify, the wave scenarios outlined below are based on what would happen if various levels of change in the prediction happened, with a blue wave meaning Democrats win tilt Republican states, a blue tsunami meaning Democrats win lean Republican states, and a blue blow-out meaning Democrats win likely Republican states. This also goes for the red waves, but in the favor of the Republicans. This is why the red wave has no change, as there are no tilt Democrat states in this prediction.

Blue Blow-Out: Biden 475, Trump 63


Blue Tsunami: Biden 413, Trump 125


Blue Wave: Biden 375, Trump 163


Standard Prediction: Biden 351, Trump 187


Red Wave: Biden 351, Trump 187


Red Tsunami: Biden 252, Trump 286


Red Blow-Out: Biden 183, Trump 355

Some of the sources:


FiveThirtyEight Forecast: https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2020-election-forecast/


FiveThirtyEight Polls: https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/polls/president-general/


FiveThirtyEight 2016 Data: https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2016-election-forecast/


Historical Results:

https://www.270towin.com/historical-presidential-elections/

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/2016_United_States_presidential_election#

(and various other Wikipedia articles)

If you wish to see a map form of this prediction, go to this link:

https://www.yapms.com/app/?m=4frs