LikeTheDew.com https://likethedew.com A journal of progressive Southern culture and politics Fri, 23 Oct 2020 21:26:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.1 https://likethedew.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/cropped-DewLogoSquare825-32x32.png LikeTheDew.com https://likethedew.com 32 32 LikeTheDew.com http://likethedew.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/dew3_mh4feed.png https://likethedew.com 88 31 A journal of progressive Southern culture and politics 110899633 Will ‘Nones’ Bring a Progressive Future? https://likethedew.com/2020/10/23/will-nones-bring-a-progressive-future/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=will-nones-bring-a-progressive-future https://likethedew.com/2020/10/23/will-nones-bring-a-progressive-future/#respond Fri, 23 Oct 2020 21:26:16 +0000 https://likethedew.com/?p=74837 Someday, the coronavirus tragedy will be gone, wiped out by scientific vaccines.  And Donald Trump will be just an unpleasant memory, an absurd reminder of what can happen when bigotry contaminates democracy.

This part of the 21st century will be remembered chiefly, I predict, as the era when supernatural religion died among intelligent western people.  I think it will survive mostly as an emotional fringe for lower-brow folks such as those who “speak in tongues.”

In other words, the Secular Age is blossoming right now, amid many daily distractions.  Evidence is everywhere:

American adults who say their religion is “none” began to explode in the 1990s and climbed to one-fourth of the population. Among those under 30, the churchless ratio now is 40 percent.  Church membership has dropped 20 percent in two decades.  A stunning 13 percent of American adults are ex-Catholics.  Southern Baptists have lost two million members since 2005.  Mainline Protestantism has collapsed so much it’s called “flatline Protestantism.” Rejecting religion has become socially acceptable.

The retreat from supernatural faith has been swift and profound.  The Atlantic observed:

History does not often give the satisfaction of a sudden and lasting turning point.  History tends to unfold in messy cycles – actions and reactions, revolutions and counter-revolutions – and even semi-permanent changes are subtle and glacial.  But the rise of religious non-affiliation in America looks like one of those rare historical moments that is neither slow, nor subtle, nor cyclical.  You might call it exceptional.

Research has established that nonreligious people have higher intelligence than believers do.  And the Flynn Effect shows that western I.Q. rises about three points per decade.  People are getting smarter, and smart people are less likely to accept gods, devils, heavens, hells, miracles, prophecies and other magic claims of religion.  Rising intelligence means sinking religion.

The future of American politics may hinge greatly upon the decline of faith.  The Republican Party depends enormously upon the white evangelical “religious right” – but it’s fading.  Fewer than 15 percent of adults now fit that category.  In contrast, “nones” generally hold humane, tolerant, progressive values and have become the largest faith segment in the Democratic Party base.

A Sept. 28 Pew Research report said this right-left split holds firm around the world. It said:

Religiously unaffiliated adults – a group also known as religious ‘nones’ – are more likely to express accepting views of homosexuality, less likely to prefer traditional gender roles in marriages, and more likely to identify with the political left than are adults who identify with a religion.

If America is lucky, the erosion of churchgoing will bring a steady increase in support for humane, liberal, public policies.

Do you want universal health care as a human right for everyone? And college that is easily affordable for all, without crushing debt? And continuation of women’s right to choose to end pregnancies? And security for gays against cruelty? And police reforms so white officers stop killing unarmed black people? And greater American involvement in the global battle against the menace of climate change? And sensible protections against gun massacres?  And matter-of-fact sex education to reduce unwanted pregnancies? And solid support for the public “safety net” that aids less-privileged families? And all the rest of the progressive wish-list?

Nobody can predict the future – but I think a significant hope for the liberal political agenda lies with the Secular Age that is blooming all around us.

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Democracy’s Last Stand: The Rule of the Non-Voting Majority and Where It Has Led Us https://likethedew.com/2020/10/23/democracys-last-stand-the-rule-of-the-non-voting-majority-and-where-it-has-led-us/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=democracys-last-stand-the-rule-of-the-non-voting-majority-and-where-it-has-led-us https://likethedew.com/2020/10/23/democracys-last-stand-the-rule-of-the-non-voting-majority-and-where-it-has-led-us/#respond Fri, 23 Oct 2020 21:06:28 +0000 https://likethedew.com/?p=74839

Not voting because the system is corrupt? I'm afraid you have it backward. The system is corrupt because of people not voting. Non-voters are the majority. They decide every election. Not voting is a vote for the way things are. The rich, white and powerful are targeting your right to vote because they know your vote counts, whether you believe it or not. 

Not voting because you don't like the candidates? Politics is a game of strategy, not a morality contest. Vote for the candidate who can be most useful to your strategic goals, which means one who can realistically win. Churchgoing fundamentalists gleefully vote for the most immoral candidate in U.S. history to advance their agenda. 

Not voting because the issues in campaign ads don't affect you? Those are not the real issues. The Republicans carefully hide their true agenda – to roll back every law and regulation that limits their wealth and power. Your vote is all that stands in the way of their dream of a democracy-free America.

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Not voting because the system is corrupt? I’m afraid you have it backward. The system is corrupt because of people not voting. Non-voters are the majority. They decide every election. Not voting is a vote for the way things are. The rich, white and powerful are targeting your right to vote because they know your vote counts, whether you believe it or not. 

Not voting because you don’t like the candidates? Politics is a game of strategy, not a morality contest. Vote for the candidate who can be most useful to your strategic goals, which means one who can realistically win. Churchgoing fundamentalists gleefully vote for the most immoral candidate in U.S. history to advance their agenda. 

Not voting because the issues in campaign ads don’t affect you? Those are not the real issues. The Republicans carefully hide their true agenda – to roll back every law and regulation that limits their wealth and power. Your vote is all that stands in the way of their dream of a democracy-free America.

Not voting because Netflix and iTunes and ESPN take up all your time? Life is not a spectator sport. We’ve all grown up taking for granted Social Security, unemployment, food stamps, worker safety, consumer protection, public schools, minimum wage, environmental regulations, and so much more. But these were all victories won by voting, and every one of them can be taken away. 

Not voting because one vote won’t make much difference either way? Democracy starts long before Election Day. Join a campaign – any campaign – and amplify your voice by persuading others to vote your way. If you can’t support any of the candidates, join one of the progressive organizations campaigning just to get out the vote. (See links below.)

Not voting because the candidates you vote for disappoint you when they win? Democracy doesn’t end after Election Day. The right-wing extremists never let up the pressure on the people they elect. Vote to elect strategically useful candidates – then keep up the pressure through letters and phone calls, marches and demonstrations.

Not voting because you refuse to take sides in a power struggle between Tweedledum and Tweedledee? In 2020, not voting is a vote for a one-party authoritarian state. Obviously we can’t rely on corporate Democrats to push through a Green New Deal or Medicare for All, cut the military budget, end police impunity or dark money PACs. But if the Republicans win, all of these possibilities are off the table, probably for good, and we’ll be fighting to save what little freedom we have left. 

Not voting? Donald Trump appreciates your support!

Despite their moral shortcomings, for the most part the Democrats have played the game called “democracy.” But the Republicans are playing a completely different game, with no rules at all except to win at any cost. Their entire strategy consists of lies, gerrymandering, voter suppression, intimidation, and more lies. False allegations of cheating by Democrats are the key to the Republican plan to win by cheating. 

These allegations will rise to a crescendo on Election Night because of uncounted absentee ballots. I am a Bernie supporter, but have no problem settling for Joe Biden when the alternative is Donald Trump. Only a landslide Biden victory on Nov. 3 can head off post-election mayhem in the streets and in the courts. This is why voting early, whether in person (prudently masked) or absentee, is the most strategic choice. 

Even more important than defeating Trump is to flip the six seats the Democrats need to take back the Senate. If Biden wins, we’ll need a progressive majority in Congress to keep up the pressure. And if Trump wins, taking away his majority in the Senate is a must. The next time he’s impeached, he could face an actual trial. President Pence would not be much of an improvement, but he would enter the Oval Office knowing that he too will be held accountable to the rule of law.  

Georgia has not one but two incumbent Republican Senators on the ballot. Sen. David Perdue faces Jon Ossoff, who won the Democratic primary. Sen. Kelly Loeffler faces 21 candidates of various parties in a special election for Johnny Isakson’s old seat. The strategic choice is Rev. Raphael Warnock, the pastor of M.L.K.’s old church, Ebenezer Baptist, and a staunch progressive. 

Other Senate candidates that need your support are Mark Kelly in Arizona, John Hickenlooper in Colorado, Theresa Greenfield in Iowa, Barbara Bollier in Kansas, Amy McGrath in Kentucky (facing Mitch McConnell), Sara Gideon in Maine (facing Susan Collins), Steve Bullock in Montana, Cal Cunningham in N.C., and Jaime Harrison in S.C. (facing Lindsay Graham). You don’t have to live in their state to volunteer with their campaigns or make a donation.

Two of the five seats on Georgia‘s Public Service Commission are also up for grabs. Charged with regulating our utilities, the Republican-dominated P.S.C. has instead rubber-stamped the unneeded nuclear reactors under construction at Plant Vogtle, along with the extra 10% Georgia Power has added to your bill to pay for them. The project is five years behind schedule and 100% over budget, but Georgia Power’s profits are hitting record highs. Your vote for Democrats Bobby Bryant and Daniel Blackman could help to upset this corrupt extortion scheme.

Though I call politics a game, it is a deadly serious one. Its casualties include 215,000 lives lost to COVID-19 and countless victims of racist police violence. The moral stakes are high: not just our country’s future, but the future of the entire planet. Ask the families who have lost their homes to wildfires in California and hurricanes in Louisiana, or the refugees fleeing drought in Central America. 

The Republicans have known for decades that they would eventually become a minority. Their long-term game plan for minority rule depends on winning this election, and they will do whatever it takes. If they succeed, they will do whatever it takes to permanently lock in their victory. If you think racist violence, economic inequality and planetary ecocide are bad now, trust me, you do not want to see a country under permanent Republican “law and order.” Trump’s threats to lock up his political opponents could become a grim reality.

True, under Democrats and Republicans alike, we have long been ruled by a white, male minority – the “One Percent.” Conservative billionaires, neoliberal neocons, and multinational corporations have invested heavily in both parties for years. We owe moral allegiance to neither party. But from a strategic standpoint they are not identical. 

Today’s Republicans are a coalition of extremists. The fundamentalist fanatics who lust for their own version of Sharia Law. The fossil-fuel profiteers who are addicted to burning carbon. The gun-toting whites who cling to our racist past. The ultrawealthy who resent paying any taxes at all to support public infrastructure, schools, the disabled, the elderly. Their right-wing extremist goals are unpopular, so their campaign ads focus on misrepresenting their opponents as left-wing extremists.

This gives the Democrats no choice but to appeal to the rest of us, with a little push from Bernie. That means embracing diversity, protecting the middle class, expanding affordable health care, welcoming immigrants, keeping abortion legal, purging racist cops, defending the right to vote, and most importantly, cutting the feedback loops that feed climate change. These goals are not extreme, as Trump wants his devotees to believe. They represent the vital needs of the vast majority – the 99 Percent.

The One Percent has more dollars to promote its agenda than we do. But we have more votes. The one thing the 99 Percent has never tried is 100 percent voter turnout. In 2020, the alternatives are so stark and the stakes so high that even the non-voting majority might turn out to vote. And if they keep turning out in every election to come, things might start to change. We won’t know if we don’t try.

Voting Democrats into power isn’t the solution, only a strategy. Democrats gave us the New Deal, the Voting Rights Act, legalized abortion and gay marriage, but it was Richard Nixon who gave us the E.P.A. In every case it was not the politicians who made it happen but people voting, boycotting, marching, filing lawsuits. 

Whether the corporate Democrats keep their promises after Election Day is up to us. Instead of settling back on the couch expecting Presiden Biden to magically turn into Bernie, we need to turn up the pressure. This is a strategic opportunity to take over the Democratic Party for the working and middle classes, just as right-wing extremists have taken over the G.O.P. for the One Percent. 

If the Republicans have their way, we are now in the final round of the game. The trophy they are salivating over is a chance to roll back all the gains democracy has made since the New Deal of the 1930s – maybe all the way back to 1868 and the 14th Amendment, which guarantees due process and equal protection under the law. This is the legal basis for all civil rights legislation. If we don’t vote massively and decisively for democracy in 2020, we may not get another chance. 

The only way we can protect the freedom we still have is to step into the game. All of us. Now. There is no neutral place to stand on the sidelines and watch. Nor is there any guarantee that we can win – but the only alternative is to concede defeat. By not voting, for example. Or by casting a nobly symbolic vote for the Greens. It’s democracy’s last stand in the U.S.A. If we choose not to participate, fascism American-style wins without a fight. Checkmate! 

Thanks for doing whatever you can do. 

Further Reading

  1. How Trump plans to use Election Night uncertainty to claim victory, Barton Gellman in The Atlantic
  2. How Trump can lose both the popular and electoral votes and still Constitutionally win re-election, Thom Hartmann at Buzzflash
  3. How a right-wing coup could legally establish minority rule in the United States, Matthew Yglesias at Vox

How Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination signals the intent to overrule democracy in 2020 and beyond, an interview with Lisa Graves by Bill Moyers

Progressive organizations campaigning for maximum voter turnout: 

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Big left-wing mistake: Trump and Biden are not the same https://likethedew.com/2020/10/22/big-left-wing-mistake-trump-and-biden-are-not-the-same/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=big-left-wing-mistake-trump-and-biden-are-not-the-same https://likethedew.com/2020/10/22/big-left-wing-mistake-trump-and-biden-are-not-the-same/#respond Thu, 22 Oct 2020 17:34:10 +0000 https://likethedew.com/?p=74842

There’s a frequently stated philosophical position on left-wing social media sites where I’m active. It goes like this: “Trump and Biden are both tools of the corporate elite controlling this nation. Therefore, I’m writing in Bernie or not voting at all.” These views are especially strong among Gen Z, with 25% saying that they will not vote because they don’t like either candidate. Another 17% are not sure they will vote at all. 

These social media activists almost never back up their emotional views with facts, although they often call both men racists, polluters, war mongers and misogynists without supplying details. People like this do a great disservice to political discourse and to our nation. There’s a clear difference in the positions of these two men on numerous issues and progressives must understand them.  As  people that I respect have said, “Bernie has my heart, but Biden gets my vote.” 

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There’s a frequently stated philosophical position on left-wing social media sites where I’m active. It goes like this: “Trump and Biden are both tools of the corporate elite controlling this nation. Therefore, I’m writing in Bernie or not voting at all.” These views are especially strong among Gen Z, with 25% saying that they will not vote because they don’t like either candidate. Another 17% are not sure they will vote at all. 

These social media activists almost never back up their emotional views with facts, although they often call both men racists, polluters, war mongers and misogynists without supplying details. People like this do a great disservice to political discourse and to our nation. There’s a clear difference in the positions of these two men on numerous issues and progressives must understand them.  As  people that I respect have said, “Bernie has my heart, but Biden gets my vote.” 

For example, on healthcare Biden fully supports the ACA (Obamacare). He also advocates lowering the age for Medicare to 60 rather than 65. As you read this column, Trump is in court attempting to do away with the ACA, which would permit insurance companies to return to the bad old days of excluding you from insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions. If Trump succeeds, it would also force 23 million people off medical insurance.  

As one of the most frequently published Medicare for All columnists in America, I don’t agree with Biden’s position on coverage. But it is much better for Americans than Trump’s non-existent, imaginary reform plan.  

For another contrast, look at climate change and pollution. Biden philosophically believes in many aspects of the Green New Deal proposals rolled out by progressives, although he does not agree to implement them due to expense. And, he knows that climate change is manmade and is causing an existential environmental crisis. He wants reasonable actions that won’t cause economic harm, while still lessening the health threat to our children and grandchildren.  

Trump, on the other hand, thinks that there’s no climate change problem at all. He wants to bring back coal, open public lands to drilling and do away with all those pesky environmental regulations keeping pollutants out of the air and water. Do I wish Biden had more specifics in his platform? Of course, I do. But are his views and Trump’s the same? Only a fool would believe that fallacy.  

Biden has a long history of public service. And, sometimes he has made mistakes. Did he treat Anita Hill poorly and let Clarence Thomas off the hook? Yes, and I disagreed with him at the time. But that was a long time ago and he has had a long record of supporting civil rights and women’s equality, leading him to choose a black woman as his running mate. With luck, she will be our first Black/Asian female President someday. 

Trump has done the opposite for the last 50 years, embracing both white supremacy and misogyny. His views and actions have been racist going back to the 1970s when the Trump organization was sued for discrimination in housing practices, settled and then sued again for not following the terms of the settlement. Trump also took out a full-page newspaper ad pushing for the maximum punishment for five black young men accused of raping a woman in Central Park. Even after DNA evidence conclusively proved that they had not done it, Trump never admitted he was at fault. 

And then, there are the numerous racist things he has said and done since- stating Obama was Kenyan and not a citizen, calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals, accepting the endorsement of racists like David Duke and conspiracy nuts like QAnon, and failing to understand the difference between the white supremacists in Charlottesville and the good people  protesting against them. 

Further, Trump views women as property and playthings. He has been married three times and has had affairs during each of his marriages. He is also been accused of sexual misconduct by over 20 women. His position on abortion is extreme, saying “there has to be some form of punishment.” To emphasize his commitment, he has nominated jurists with strong anti-choice views who may well overturn Roe v Wade, supported by 69% of Americans. 

These two men are the exact opposites of one another. If you believe in throwing people off health insurance, rolling back environmental regulations, regressing on civil rights and so on, Trump is your man. If not, then Biden the moderate is the only feasible choice and must be supported by progressives. If you want more rapid change than Biden advocates, and I definitely do, electing Biden is the necessary first step on a long road to a better America. 

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By the Numbers: How Terrible is Trump’s Covid-19 Pandemic Performance? https://likethedew.com/2020/10/20/by-the-numbers-how-terrible-is-trumps-covid-19-pandemic-performance/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=by-the-numbers-how-terrible-is-trumps-covid-19-pandemic-performance https://likethedew.com/2020/10/20/by-the-numbers-how-terrible-is-trumps-covid-19-pandemic-performance/#respond Tue, 20 Oct 2020 20:32:05 +0000 https://likethedew.com/?p=74804 A majority of Americans recognize that the Trump administration’s handling of the Covid-19 Pandemic has been bad, a perception that may cost Trump re-election. Their assessment is undoubtedly correct, but just how bad has the administration performed? Although it is tempting to listen to Trump downplay the severity of the disease and claim that his handling of it has been ‘the best,’ and conclude that the opposite must be true because the 45th POTUS is a pathological liar, there is better approach. Here is how to know for certain.

Almost ten months after the World Health Organization announced a Public Health Emergency it is obvious that the responses of some national governments have been much more successful than others in limiting the death toll. Mortality rates per 100,000 population very enormously not only across all countries but also across similar countries. Comparing the performance of national leaders almost inevitably encounters the ‘apples and oranges’ incommensurability defense, so before attributing all of the cross-national differences in mortality rates to leadership, it helps to establish a contextual baseline with which to judge what is superior and inferior performance.

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A majority of Americans recognize that the Trump administration’s handling of the Covid-19 Pandemic has been bad, a perception that may cost Trump re-election. Their assessment is undoubtedly correct, but just how bad has the administration performed? Although it is tempting to listen to Trump downplay the severity of the disease and claim that his handling of it has been ‘the best,’ and conclude that the opposite must be true because the 45th POTUS is a pathological liar, there is better approach. Here is how to know for certain.

Almost ten months after the World Health Organization announced a Public Health Emergency it is obvious that the responses of some national governments have been much more successful than others in limiting the death toll. Mortality rates per 100,000 population very enormously not only across all countries but also across similar countries. Comparing the performance of national leaders almost inevitably encounters the ‘apples and oranges’ incommensurability defense, so before attributing all of the cross-national differences in mortality rates to leadership, it helps to establish a contextual baseline with which to judge what is superior and inferior performance.

Where COVID-19 cases have been reported across the globe

Geography is important. Countries with large populations sharing continents with other countries with large populations ought to struggle more to control infection than countries with small populations occupying all of an island because they must limit both air travel and surface travel. International land borders are more porous than international water and air borders. Infection itself is more difficult to contain in the United States and Germany than in New Zealand and Cyprus.

Demography is also important. Countries with younger population profiles ought to present lower mortality rates. The median age in Africa is 18 compared with 42 in Europe and 30 or more on the other inhabited continents. Mortality rates ought to be lower in lower in Africa and higher elsewhere, especially Europe, as indeed they are. Ghana and Nigeria present mortality rates of, respectively, 1.04 and 0.57 while those for Denmark and Norway are, respectively, 11.68 and 5.23.

Whether national leadership can make any difference also depends on ‘state-ness,’ on the size and effectiveness of a country’s bureaucratic apparatus. That’s why a German or Austrian national leader ought to be more effective than their Peruvian and Ecuadoran counterparts, as indeed they have been. Germany and Austria present mortality rates of, respectively, 11.74 and 9.91, while those for Peru and Ecuador are 90.41 and 72.78.

To judge the performance of the Trump administration the proper comparison is between the USA and countries with large, older populations sharing continents and comparable levels of state-ness. Consider the following data:

The best thing that can be said about the performance of the Trump administration is that it is not as miserable as that of the governments of Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmés or Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conti, but is execrable by comparison with that of the governments of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. That Trump is almost as envious of Trudeau and Merkel as of his predecessor in the Oval Office makes that more than a wee bit funny.

What of the performance of Trump’s rightwing populist counterpart in Airstrip One, Prime Minister Boris Johnson? Here the appropriate peers are island countries with older populations and comparable levels of state-ness. Consider the following data:

So once the important contextual differences in geography, demography and state-ness are taken in consideration, the Johnson government appears to have underperformed even the Trump administration. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen have proven themselves much more competent than Merry Old Boris. Johnson it is worth noting is reportedly given to old fashioned, albeit English style, sexism. That national leadership in the Covid-19 Pandemic Crisis has mattered is undeniable. Some of the specifics of Trump and Johnson’s dereliction have differed. Trump’s decision to establish both a Coronavirus Task Force under Vice President Mike Pence and a Shadow Coronavirus Task Force under son-in-law Jared Kushner – literally a Team B created to meet a nepotistic demand – is textbook ‘not how to do it’ crisis decision-making. Johnson’s inability to recall details of official lockdown orders eroded public confidence at a time when that was what was sorely needed. Most damning of all, Trump and Johnson engaged in patterns of delay and denial that signaled their contempt for public health. On both sides of the Atlantic that has meant many more Americans and Britons dead than needed to die because they were in charge.

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Why women should not vote for Trump https://likethedew.com/2020/10/14/why-women-should-not-vote-for-trump/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=why-women-should-not-vote-for-trump https://likethedew.com/2020/10/14/why-women-should-not-vote-for-trump/#respond Wed, 14 Oct 2020 20:12:34 +0000 https://likethedew.com/?p=74794

Given his track record with women – dozens of allegations of sexual misconduct, horrible rhetoric about “grabbing them by the ^ussy” and more – it should not be a surprise that Donald Trump is no friend to female voters. 

That he won in 2016 is a testament to the deep hatred of a very capable woman. It seems implausible that Trump will win any sizeable percent of female voters in 2020, but then it seemed implausible in 2016, too. While he and others, even liberals, have touted that Trump won 52 percent of white female voters, in reality the percentage is likely much lower as that statistic is based on exit polls, not actual votes. 

Even still, he likely won a similar percentage as did Clinton, with nonwhite females backing her more. The point is, despite what should seem obvious, we cannot discount the possibility that Trump will still appeal to some female voters. And, since polls are showing him behind Joe Biden, Trump’s campaign is targeting women. 

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Given his track record with women – dozens of allegations of sexual misconduct, horrible rhetoric about “grabbing them by the ^ussy” and more – it should not be a surprise that Donald Trump is no friend to female voters. 

That he won in 2016 is a testament to the deep hatred of a very capable woman. It seems implausible that Trump will win any sizeable percent of female voters in 2020, but then it seemed implausible in 2016, too. While he and others, even liberals, have touted that Trump won 52 percent of white female voters, in reality the percentage is likely much lower as that statistic is based on exit polls, not actual votes. 

Even still, he likely won a similar percentage as did Clinton, with nonwhite females backing her more. The point is, despite what should seem obvious, we cannot discount the possibility that Trump will still appeal to some female voters. And, since polls are showing him behind Joe Biden, Trump’s campaign is targeting women. 

A review of his record as President, perhaps, could give some people pause. Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list but rather a snapshot of the Trump administration’s policies and positions relevant to gender.

Trump has repeatedly appealed to his conservative base by nominating Supreme Court judges that have gone on the record opposing abortion. If Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed, the likelihood that Roe v. Wade could be overturned is even greater. 

The Trump administration has tried, and vows to continue, to roll back Obamacare, including provisions providing for women’s access to birth control even if an employer claims moral or religious opposition. 

Trump’s administration has attacked Planned Parenthood, despite the many important services outside of abortions that it provides women. 

Within the first 100 days of his administration, Trump gutted the United Nations Population Fund, refusing to give funding support since it provides family planning and reproductive services. This reached 150 nations around the globe.

Equal pay for men and women remains elusive and not something the Trump administration has emphasized. In 2017, Trump blocked an Obama era ruling requiring companies with 100 or more employees to provide data on wages to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in order to help track and therefore address wage inequality. 

Trump has very few women in his cabinet, and he disbanded the White House Council on Women and Girls in 2017. Further, he has compelled several agencies to remove language that would provide protections for women as well as for transgender and gender neutral individuals, for example, requiring the CDC to remove words like fetus, evidence-based, transgender, and diversity from its budget. 

Likewise, the Department of State is prohibited from mentioning reproductive or sexual rights in its human rights report. The Department of Health and Human Service deleted lesbian and bisexual women’s resources from its women’s health website. His Secretary of Education, Betsy Devos, has made many changes to interpretations of Title IX that weaken protections for victims of sexual assault and for LGBTQ individuals.

Again, far from an exhaustive list, what should be clear is that if gender equality matters to you, a vote from Trump is in no way helpful. And, while surely there are flaws with the Biden-Harris campaign, Joe Biden has a record of working on issues like domestic violence through championing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Trump’s DOJ weakened the VAWA. 

Biden and Harris have a platform about women that addresses economic security, healthcare, childcare, ending violence and more. I can’t even find a Trump-Pence platform about women. That should be telling enough. 

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Trust Science https://likethedew.com/2020/10/13/trust-science/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=trust-science https://likethedew.com/2020/10/13/trust-science/#respond Tue, 13 Oct 2020 13:48:24 +0000 https://likethedew.com/?p=74784 Long ago, I concluded that no reliable evidence supports gods, devils, heavens, hells, miracles, prophecies and other supernatural stuff of religion.  Those magic claims simply arise from the human imagination, I assume.  Instead, I chose to trust the honest search of science to explain ultimate mysteries of existence.

Aye, there’s the rub.  Answers by science sometimes are almost as baffling and logic-defying as the mumbo-jumbo of churches.

Multiple universes, for example – or Einstein’s assertion that time slows and dimensions shorten as speed increases – or the mysteries of “quantum weirdness,” with particles popping in and out of existence in pure vacuum. ...

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Long ago, I concluded that no reliable evidence supports gods, devils, heavens, hells, miracles, prophecies and other supernatural stuff of religion.  Those magic claims simply arise from the human imagination, I assume.  Instead, I chose to trust the honest search of science to explain ultimate mysteries of existence.

Aye, there’s the rub.  Answers by science sometimes are almost as baffling and logic-defying as the mumbo-jumbo of churches.

Multiple universes, for example – or Einstein’s assertion that time slows and dimensions shorten as speed increases – or the mysteries of “quantum weirdness,” with particles popping in and out of existence in pure vacuum.  

Or the seeming impossibility of pulsars, which gravity compresses into a solid mass of neutrons weighing 100 million tons per cubic centimeter.  How can a bouillon cube weigh 100 million tons?

Or the astounding claim at the heart of the Big Bang theory: that all matter in a trillion galaxies originated from a proton-size dot that exploded stupendously 13.8 billion years ago, and subatomic particles congealed from pure energy.  Holy moly.

In his posthumous book, Stephen Hawking – sometimes called the greatest scientist since Einstein – says the entire vast universe essentially burst from nothing, following laws of nature.

The book, Brief Answers to the Big Questions, was compiled by colleagues and relatives from the physicist’s notes, materials and interviews just after his 2018 death.  It reiterates his well-known atheism:

“It’s my view that the simplest explanation is that there is no God. No one created the universe and no one directs our fate. This leads me to a profound realization: there is probably no heaven and afterlife either. I think belief in an afterlife is just wishful thinking. There is no reliable evidence for it, and it flies in the face of everything we know in science. I think that when we die we return to dust.”

In a 2011 interview with The Guardian newspaper, Hawking said each human brain is like a computer, and it’s inevitable that some computers malfunction and die.  “There is no heaven or afterlife for broken-down computers,” he said.  “That is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.”

If no divine creator made the universe, what did?  Blind laws of nature, he says:

“Since we know that the universe was once very small – perhaps smaller than a proton – this means something quite remarkable.  It means the universe itself, in all its mind-boggling vastness and complexity, could simply have popped into existence without violating the known laws of nature.  From that moment on, vast amounts of energy were released as space itself expanded….

“But of course the critical question is raised again: did God create the quantum laws that allowed the Big Bang to occur?  In a nutshell, do we need a god to set it up so the Big Bang could bang?  I have no desire to offend anyone of faith, but I think science has a more compelling explanation than a divine creator.”

(The great physician-science writer Lewis Thomas, author of Lives of a Cell, quipped that no Big Bang occurred, because bang is a sound, and no air existed to carry sound waves.  Instead, he wrote, there was a Big Light, as in the Genesis dictum: Let there be light.)

Another of my science heroes is atheist-genius J.B.S. Haldane, who hatched the theory that life began in a “primordial soup” of chemicals.  He saw that some science discoveries are almost impossible to believe.  In 1928, he told a London newspaper:

“The universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.”

When theologians hounded him about God’s creation, Haldane joked that the creator “must have had an inordinate fondness for beetles,” to make 400,000 different species.  And Haldane spoofingly saluted Noah for finding pairs of all creatures to take on the ark, when there are 310 different species of birds just in India alone.

As I said, findings by science can seem nearly as absurd as the miracle claims of religion – but there’s a crucial difference:  Science is honest.  Nothing is accepted by blind faith.  Every claim is challenged, tested, double-tested and triple-tested until it fails or survives as true.  Often, new evidence alters former conclusions.

Even though science findings show that reality is queerer than we can suppose, honest thinkers have little choice but to trust science as the only reliable search for believable answers.

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75 Scriptures to Guide Your Vote https://likethedew.com/2020/10/13/75-scriptures-to-guide-your-vote/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=75-scriptures-to-guide-your-vote https://likethedew.com/2020/10/13/75-scriptures-to-guide-your-vote/#respond Tue, 13 Oct 2020 13:41:02 +0000 https://likethedew.com/?p=74747

At a time when God has seemingly thrown America the trifecta (pandemic, racial unrest, faltering economy) in an effort for it focus on what really matters, there arises a commanding need for compassion, tolerance, equality, fairness, humbleness, peace, love, obedience, righteousness and hope in all areas of human existence and interaction. We see none of that from the president. It seems as if he is incapable.

Instead we see arrogance, greed, selfishness, wickedness, deceit, evil, pride, boastfulness, treachery, false witness, and an infatuation with the pleasures of flesh and wealth.

It is hard to fathom how a president can demonstrate so much disregard for Christian values and teachings while attempting to rally the support of exactly that group. While he baits Christians with platitudes, his own words and actions are nothing like those taught within the scriptures.

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At a time when God has seemingly thrown America the trifecta (pandemic, racial unrest, faltering economy) in an effort for it focus on what really matters, there arises a commanding need for compassion, tolerance, equality, fairness, humbleness, peace, love, obedience, righteousness and hope in all areas of human existence and interaction. We see none of that from the president. It seems as if he is incapable.

Instead we see arrogance, greed, selfishness, wickedness, deceit, evil, pride, boastfulness, treachery, false witness, and an infatuation with the pleasures of flesh and wealth.

It is hard to fathom how a president can demonstrate so much disregard for Christian values and teachings while attempting to rally the support of exactly that group. While he baits Christians with platitudes, his own words and actions are nothing like those taught within the scriptures.

To reveal how President Trump has been the most unChristian president of the modern era and perhaps in the history of this country, the following 75 Bible verses clearly expose his total lack of regard for loving God with all his heart, all his soul and all his mind … and his neighbor as himself.

  1. 1 Samuel 16:7 – For God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

  2. Psalm 5: 5 The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes; You hate all who do iniquity.

  3. Psalm 7: 8-10 – The LORD judges the peoples; vindicate me, O LORD, according to my righteousness and my integrity that is in me. O let the evil of the wicked come to an end ….

  4. Psalm 34: 13-14 – Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil and do good. Seek peach and pursue it.

  5. Psalm 37: 1-3 – Do not fret because of evil doers. Be not envious toward wrong doers for they will wither quickly like the grass …

  6. Psalm 37: 7-17 Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him. Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way because of the man who carries out wicked schemes … For the arms of the wicked will be broken, but the Lord sustains the righteous.

  7. Psalm 119: 21, 36 – You rebuke the arrogant, the cursed who wander from your commandments … Incline my heart to your testimonies and not to dishonest gain.

  8. Psalm 145: 20 – The LORD keeps all who love Him, but all the wicked He will destroy.

  9. Proverbs 4:24 – Put away from you a deceitful mouth and put devious speech far from you.

  10. Proverbs 11: 2-19 – When pride comes, then comes dishonor. But with the humble is wisdom. The integrity of the upright will guide them, but the crookedness of the treacherous will destroy them … He who is steadfast in righteousness, will attain to life, and he who pursues evil will bring about his own death.

  11. Proverbs 16: 5 – Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord. Assuredly, he will not be unpunished.

  12. Proverbs 16:19 – It is better to be humble in spirit with the lonely than to divide the spoil with the proud.

  13. Proverbs 19: 22 – What is desirable in a man is his kindness. It is better to be a poor man than a liar.

  14. Proverbs 31: 8-9 – Open your mouth for the mute for the rights of all the unfortunate. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and defend the rights of the afflicted and needy.

  15. Ecclesiastes 2: 1-11 – Come now. I will test you with pleasure. So, enjoy yourself. And behold it too was futility. I said to laughter, “It is madness” and of pleasure “What does it accomplish?” … behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun.

  16. Isaiah 13: 9-11 – Behold, the day of the LORD is coming, cruel, with fury and burning anger, to make the land a desolation; and He will exterminate its sinners from it. … I will also put an end to the arrogance of the proud and abase the haughtiness of the ruthless.

  17. Isaiah 31: 1-2 – But they do not look to the Holy One of Israel nor seek the Lord. Yet He is also wise and will bring disaster and does not retract his words, but will arise against the house of evildoers and against the help of the doers of iniquity.

  18. Isaiah 55: 7-9 – Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts …. so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

  19. Jeremiah 9: 21-24 – Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might. Let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts, boast of this – that he knows and understands me that I am the Lord who exercises loving kindness, justice and righteousness on earth.

  20. Jeremiah 22: 15-17 – Do you become a king because you are competing in cedar? … But your eyes and your heart are intent only upon your own dishonest gain, and on shedding innocent blood and on practicing oppression and extortion.

  21. Ezekiel 34: 16 – I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken and strengthen the sick, but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with judgment.

  22. Matthew 5: 3-11 – Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the gentle for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy …

  23. Matthew 5: 25 – Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge and the judge to the officer and you be throw into prison.

  24. Matthew 5: 47 – If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing to others?

  25. Matthew 6: 19, 21, 24 – Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth … for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also … no one can serve two masters…. You cannot serve God and wealth.

  26. Matthew 7: 12 – Treat people the same way you want people to treat you.

  27. Matthew 19: 21-24 – Jesus said to him: If you wish to be complete, go and sell all your possessions and give them to the poor, and you will have treasures in heaven, and come follow me …. it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of the needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.

  28. Matthew 23: 13, 15 – But woe to you Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people, nor do you allow those who are entering to come in … Woe to you because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.

  29. Matthew 25: 35-40 – For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in …. to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.

  30. Mark 8: 36 – For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?

  31. Mark 10: 17-23 – As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” … “How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God.”

  32. Mark 12: 30-31 – And you shall love the Lord you God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength …. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.

  33. Mark 12: 38-40 – In His teaching He was saying: “Beware of the scribes who like to walk around in long robes, and like respectful greetings …. and for appearance’s sake offer long prayers; these will receive greater condemnation.”

  34. Luke 4: 18 – He anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed.

  35. Luke 12: 15, 21 – Beware and be on your guard against every form of greed for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions …. the man who stores up treasures for himself, is not rich toward God.

  36. Luke 12: 48 – From everyone who has been given much, much will be required.

  37. Luke 18: 14 – For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled. But he who humbles himself will be exalted.

  38. Luke 19: 22 – He said to him, “By your own words I will judge you, you worthless slave. Did you know that I was an exacting man, taking up what I did not lay down and reaping what I did not sow?”

  39. John 8: 44 – You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. … there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

  40. John 16:2 – They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God.

  41. Acts 5: 29 – But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.”

  42. Acts 20: 29-30 – I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.

  43. Romans 1: 18, 21-25 – For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness …. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator ….

  44. Romans 3: 13-18 – Their throat is an open grave. With their tongues they keep deceiving. The poison of asps is under their lips. Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; their feet are swift to shed blood, destruction and misery are in their paths and the path of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.

  45. Roman 8: 5-9 – For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. …. If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.

  46. Romans 12: 2-3 – Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind so that you may prove what the will of God is … I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgement ….

  47. Romans 12: 16-19 – Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone …. “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord.

  48. Romans 16: 17-18 – Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting.

  49. 1 Corinthians 1: 27, 29 – God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things that are strong.

  50. 1 Corinthians 2: 14 – But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.

  51. 1 Corinthians 6: 9 – Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived.

  52. Galatians 6: 8 – For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption but the man who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

  53. Ephesians 2: 14 – For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall.

  54. Ephesians 3: 17 – So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love.

  55. Ephesians 4: 22-24 – Lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

  56. Ephesians 4: 29 – Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment so that it will give grace to those who hear.

  57. Ephesians 6: 12 – for our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers against the powers against the world forces of the darkness against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

  58. Philippians 2: 3-4 – Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

  59. Philippians 3: 18-19 – For many walk, of whom I have told you, and now tell you even weeping that they are enemies of the cross of Christ whose end is destruction and whose God is their appetite and whose glory is in their shame who set their minds on earthly things.

  60. Philippians 4: 5 – Let your gentle spirit be known to all men.

  61. Colossians 2: 8 – See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception.

  62. Colossians 3: 12 – Those who have been chosen by God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

  63. 1 Timothy 6: 9-11 – But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all evil and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. Flee from these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.

  64. 1 Timothy 6: 17-19 – Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share ….

  65. Hebrews 3: 13 – But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

  66. Hebrews 13:5 – Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have, for he himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.”

  67. James 1: 9-11 – The brother of humble circumstances is to glory in his high position; and the rich man is to glory in his humiliation, because like flowing grass …. so too the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away.

  68. James 2: 14, 17-19 – What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself … You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.

  69. James 4: 1-12 – What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war against your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel …. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor?

  70. James 5: 1-6 – Come now you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you. … You have lived luxuriously on the earth and led a life of wanton pleasure. You have fatted your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned and put to death the righteous man; he does not resist you.

  71. 1 Peter 2: 1 – Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and all hypocrisy and envy and slander.

  72. 1 Peter 5:6 – Therefore, humble yourself under the mighty hand of God that He might exalt you at the proper time.

  73. 1 John 1: 6-7 – If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth, but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.

  74. 1 John 2: 15-16 – Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.

  75. 1 John 3: 10 – By this, the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious. Anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.

At no time in modern American history has leadership shown such little regard for following how the scriptures tell us Christ wants us to live our lives and for whom he wants us to show love, care and compassion.

President Trump has not only shown disregard for Christ’s teachings, but he has mocked them in a photo op while doing and saying the antithesis of how the Bible details how Christians should live their lives.

Yet a significant group of Evangelicals continue to look the other way. To those, an extra concentration on Matthew 23: 13, 15; Mark 12: 38-40; Luke 4: 18; Acts 20: 29-30; 1 Corinthians 6: 9; Colossians 2: 8; James 4: 1-12; 1 John 1: 6-7 and 1 John 3: 10 are suggested.

Additional links:

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Seniors, Florida and the 2020 Presidential election https://likethedew.com/2020/10/12/seniors-florida-and-the-2020-presidential-election/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=seniors-florida-and-the-2020-presidential-election https://likethedew.com/2020/10/12/seniors-florida-and-the-2020-presidential-election/#respond Mon, 12 Oct 2020 16:31:40 +0000 https://likethedew.com/?p=74764

The 2020 Presidential election will soon be upon us. Various Presidential polls have emphasized race or gender differences, with Trump strongest among white men. However, President Trump’s popularity also varies by age cohort, a key factor in Florida.

Nationally, Trump currently has the following levels of support by age grouping:

  1. Pre-boomers (born 1945 or earlier) – 54%;
  2. Boomers (1946-1964) – 45%;
  3. Gen X (1964-1979) – 46%;
  4. Millennials (1980-1996) – 40%; and
  5. Gen Z (born 1997 or later) – 27%.

The oldest Americans are the only group still reliably Trump voters.

Trump winning Florida is clearly possible, especially with the enthusiasm factor discussed below, although it may be somewhat less likely given his falling popularity with seniors since the COVID-19 pandemic. Per other polling, Trump’s mishandling of the epidemic, inordinately affecting the elderly, has been obvious to many Americans and is the cause of much of this loss of support.

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The 2020 Presidential election will soon be upon us. Various Presidential polls have emphasized race or gender differences, with Trump strongest among white men. However, President Trump’s popularity also varies by age cohort, a key factor in Florida.

Nationally, Trump currently has the following levels of support by age grouping:

  1. Pre-boomers (born 1945 or earlier) – 54%;
  2. Boomers (1946-1964) – 45%;
  3. Gen X (1964-1979) – 46%;
  4. Millennials (1980-1996) – 40%; and
  5. Gen Z (born 1997 or later) – 27%.

The oldest Americans are the only age group still reliably Trump voters.

Trump winning Florida is clearly possible, especially with the enthusiasm factor discussed below, although it may be somewhat less likely given his falling popularity with seniors since the COVID-19 pandemic. Per other polling, Trump’s mishandling of the epidemic, inordinately affecting the elderly, has been obvious to many Americans and is the cause of much of this loss of support.

Seniors are also very concerned with earned benefits: Social Security and Medicare. Democrats have had a traditional advantage here, especially in Florida. Seniors are scared when Republican leaders speak about the reserves running out. The GOP has sought to privatize and cut benefits for decades. Seniors don’t trust the GOP to raise funding levels versus cutting their benefits. And, Trump’s questionable move to defer the payroll tax, funding Social Security and Medicare, is being used against him by Democrats. They should continue to drive these points home if they expect to drain Trump support from the boomers and older seniors.

However, for Democrats to have the best chance at defeating Trump, they must also have a good turn-out of younger voters and minorities. Democratic candidates seem to be doing only a fair job of solidifying their support among the young, who must be more motivated to vote than in previous elections. Items like forgiving college loans, which Biden adopted from Sanders, play well with financially strapped younger voters. Other progressive social issues might increase Gen Z turnout, including marijuana legalization which surprisingly, has not been pushed by Biden.

Further, Democrats have not structured a clear campaign message for Gen Xers and Millennials. They’re in their peak earning years, but also paying more taxes than those older and younger. What specific benefits will they get as a group if a Democrat is elected? So far, Biden doesn’t have a compelling answer other than “I’m better than Trump”.

Using healthcare as an example, premiums are rising rapidly for middle aged employees with private sector medical insurance. But Biden’s promise to extend Medicare to those over 60 is not groundbreaking. In fact, in 2008 former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wanted to extend it to those over 55 but never got enough votes. Just supporting the ACA is not enough to motivate a person, unless the voter is actually on it. And, Biden opposes Medicare for all, causing it to be dead short term.

Trump has many failings – mishandling Covid-19, the Russia/Ukraine mess, racism, misogyny, denying science, etc. But the GOP base, anchored by older white men, has steadfastly stood behind Trump. The Republican leadership will never go against that base. Impeachment and removal efforts made that fact painfully obvious.

In fact, according to a July CBS poll in battleground states, Mr. Trump supporters in Florida are more likely to be very enthusiastic about their candidate by a margin of 5% (68% versus 63%). And, Trump voters in other swing states are also more enthusiastic about supporting Trump than the Biden voters are about Biden (by 2 to 9 percentage points difference, depending on the state).

Can Biden and the Democrats come up with a more exciting, persuasive and targeted strategy before November? Can the Democrats motivate younger voters, often Sanders supporters, to vote in higher proportions for Biden, a candidate they don’t really like? Can the continuing COVID-19 mess be used to motivate voters over 65, many of whom voted for Trump in 2016, to vote Democrat in 2020? Will Biden attacking Trump’s many flaws, but not stating clear policy plans, be enough to sway undecided middle-aged moderate and independent voters?

Virtually all recent polls show Trump to be far behind overall, although in red states he’s doing well. Based on the enthusiasm factor, my view is somewhat different. I believe it’s a closer horse race nationally, due to key swing states like Florida, and the enthusiasm of Trump versus many Biden voters.

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A Trinity of Observations About Raised by Wolves https://likethedew.com/2020/10/11/a-trinity-of-observations-about-raised-by-wolves/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=a-trinity-of-observations-about-raised-by-wolves https://likethedew.com/2020/10/11/a-trinity-of-observations-about-raised-by-wolves/#respond Sun, 11 Oct 2020 16:09:26 +0000 https://likethedew.com/?p=74752

A lot of virtual ink has been spilled interpreting the first season of Raised by Wolves, the HBO Max science fiction series created by Aaron Guzikowski and directed by Ridley Scott in response to the fascinated confusion of its devoted fans. Although authorial intention is never certain until a writer has offered some explanation for their work, and sometimes not even then because fiction is how humans entertain one another with untruth/ I offer these three observations for what we have viewed so far… and perhaps in preparation for the second season. Yes, HBO has wisely renewed one of the smartest science fiction series to come along in years.

First, the contest between religion and philosophy is foregrounded in the drama. The Mithraic Church, an apparent revival of the Roman cult of Sol Invictus with a Western Christian hierarchy and liturgy, is locked in a bitter struggle with Atheism, seemingly identical to the New Atheism of our times. What they share is a Manichean belief in their own rightness and a willingness to destroy not only the Earth in the struggle to control it, but to extend that fight to Planet B: the real Earthlike exoplanet Kepler 22b. What they differ ...

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A lot of virtual ink has been spilled interpreting the first season of Raised by Wolves, the HBO Max science fiction series created by Aaron Guzikowski and directed by Ridley Scott in response to the fascinated confusion of its devoted fans. Although authorial intention is never certain until a writer has offered some explanation for their work, and sometimes not even then because fiction is how humans entertain one another with untruth/ I offer these three observations for what we have viewed so far… and perhaps in preparation for the second season. Yes, HBO has wisely renewed one of the smartest science fiction series to come along in years.

First, the contest between religion and philosophy is foregrounded in the drama. The Mithraic Church, an apparent revival of the Roman cult of Sol Invictus with a Western Christian hierarchy and liturgy, is locked in a bitter struggle with Atheism, seemingly identical to the New Atheism of our times. What they share is a Manichean belief in their own rightness and a willingness to destroy not only the Earth in the struggle to control it, but to extend that fight to Planet B: the real Earthlike exoplanet Kepler 22b. What they differ about is the existence of a monotheistic god and the autonomy of machine intelligence. Religious symbols abound in the series, though often in subverted forms. The series begins within a tiny Atheist colony of Mother and Father, female and male androids, supervising the births of a brood of children born in artificial wombs. These are obvious references to Eve and Adam, though subverted in that Mother is superior in authority and coercive power to Father. Mother on the warpath sails through the air in the posture of the crucifix. One of the objects she destroys is the Mithraic Arc and most of its numerous human colonists. Historically conscious viewers are likely to see a parallel to extension of the Wars of the Reformation to the Western Hemisphere in the 17th century.

Naturally, or supernaturally, the series’ Eden has a serpent though one that flies, as possible reference to the winged snakes of Arabia referenced by Herodotus. There are also five pentagonal temples, unmistakable references to the Satanic, enigmatically refusing to give up their secrets. Keppler 22b is a Swiss cheese with impossibly deep holes that lead to the hellish of the planet. Guzikowski conceded in a softball interview that Kepler 22b is a haunted house, a horror genre trope that resonates with the Medieval encounter between Christianity and European paganism. Rather a pity that the series was not timed for the last episode to be released on Halloween to nail down the association.

Second, almost everything in the series is about sexual reproduction. Wombs human and machine, the fetuses they nurture and the human children those fetuses might become, the powerful emotions elicited by conception after the rape of a child, the deaths of orphan children, and the birth of monsters, are all exploited in the ten episodes. The symbolism of the struggle to reproduce suffuses the show. Even the Atheist colonizing ship, tiny by comparison with the Mithraic Arc, resembles a spermatozoan. Comparing it with the asexual lozenge shaped spacecraft of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s 2014 Discovery science documentary series and Denis Villeneuve’s 2016 film Arrival thrusts home the symbolism.

Then there is the milk and blood, combined in the plastic-y white android fluid that Ridley Scott deployed so effectively elsewhere in his science fiction universe. In the last episodes of the first season the mixing of android and human bodily fluids challenges the assumed division between organic and machine intelligence, which appears to be the direction Guzokowski and Scott are taking the audience. The Eukaryotic life that made more complex life forms and ultimately sentience may have developed from some primeval chimeric merging of archaea and bacteria. Sexual reproduction has been responsible for much of the unfolding complexity of life since then. Raised by Wolves may be alerting tis audience that the chimeric fusing of organic and machine is in the offing.

Third, poking out from under a thin layer of religious-philosophical and sexual reproduction material is the prophetic warning that humans will be challenged by their machines in the future. Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick did much of the heavy lifting on this prophetic warning back in 1968 with the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, which confused pre-digital audiences. The intimate horror of the Alex Garland’s 2014 film Ex Machina and Max Barry’s excellent 2020 space opera novel Providence explore the same encounter. Raised by Wolves poses the question to those who profess and those who deny the existence of a supreme deity whether humans will need or must abandon religion in negotiating the terms of their relationship and possible chimeric fusion with their machines.

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Rescuing Amy Coney Barrett From the Partisan Circus https://likethedew.com/2020/10/07/rescuing-amy-coney-barrett-from-the-partisan-circus/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rescuing-amy-coney-barrett-from-the-partisan-circus https://likethedew.com/2020/10/07/rescuing-amy-coney-barrett-from-the-partisan-circus/#respond Wed, 07 Oct 2020 15:14:33 +0000 https://likethedew.com/?p=74738 Not even in my wildest dreams did I ever think that I’d be grateful for the Federalist Society, the organization of conservative lawyers to whom Donald Trump has outsourced the search for nominees to the federal courts, the U. S. Supreme Court in particular. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, his Supreme Court nominees haven’t been the intellectual midgets and suck ups he’s strewn around the executive branch. We can thank his former White House Counsel Don McGahn for that. Having seen up close and personal how poorly equipped Trump is to make these nominations, McGahn turned to the Federalist Society to do much of the nominee vetting that Trump couldn’t be relied on for. So if we didn’t get Ruddy Giuliani, William Barr or worse confirmed to the Supreme Court by a spineless Republican Senate majority, McGahn is probably the key figure who spared the country that dismal fate.

I don’t know whether Amy Coney Barrett should be confirmed. That’s way above my pay grade. I haven’t read the voluminous trove of documents, background checks and all the other stuff that the Senate Judiciary Committee’s staff is combing through right now. And by the way neither have you...

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Not even in my wildest dreams did I ever think that I’d be grateful for the Federalist Society, the organization of conservative lawyers to whom Donald Trump has outsourced the search for nominees to the federal courts, the U. S. Supreme Court in particular. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, his Supreme Court nominees haven’t been the intellectual midgets and suck ups he’s strewn around the executive branch. We can thank his former White House Counsel Don McGahn for that. Having seen up close and personal how poorly equipped Trump is to make these nominations, McGahn turned to the Federalist Society to do much of the nominee vetting that Trump couldn’t be relied on for. So if we didn’t get Ruddy Giuliani, William Barr or worse confirmed to the Supreme Court by a spineless Republican Senate majority, McGahn is probably the key figure who spared the country that dismal fate.

Amy Coney Barrett
Judge Amy Coney Barrett

I don’t know whether Amy Coney Barrett should be confirmed. That’s way above my pay grade. I haven’t read the voluminous trove of documents, background checks and all the other stuff that the Senate Judiciary Committee’s staff is combing through right now. And by the way neither have you. Nor am I going to try to predict how Barrett will vote on the hot-button issues that everybody is hyperventilating about. I’m shooting for something much more modest. I’m just going to try to rescue her from the caricature she’s being reduced to in much of the professional media and unprofessional media.

Two things that are setting off very loud alarms among Barrett’s detractors are her religious beliefs—she’s a charismatic Catholic—and her approach to constitutional interpretation–she’s an originalist. A law review article that she co-authored in 1998 concluded with the assurance that, “Judges cannot—nor should they try to—align our legal system with the Church’s moral teaching whenever the two diverge.” What many people are missing now is that the whole point of her originalism is to uphold her 1998 view that judges’ decisions on the bench won’t and shouldn’t just track their personal beliefs. Originalism tries to do that by anchoring a judge’s decisions in the public understanding of the Constitution when it was ratified. That’s going to take some explaining.

A constitutional democracy is a system under which all parties agree in advance to a set of procedures for the conduct of their collective public business. And Article VI of our Constitution, where those procedures are spelled out, provides that, “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.”

When you hear people say that ours is a government of laws, not men, this “Supremacy Clause” is what they’re talking about. But it isn’t just any laws that bind us. It’s only the ones codified in “this Constitution” and any others we make that conform to it. Which raises the obvious question who decides what the provisions of “this Constitution” mean and whether or not other laws conform to it. Chief Justice John Marshall, in Marbury v. Madison (1803), ruled that any law inconsistent with the Constitution was “void,” in other words, not really a law, and that it’s “emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is.”

The legitimacy of the Supreme Court depends on the Justices faithfully carrying out the Marshall mandate to “say what the law is,” not letting their personal beliefs and policy preferences color their judgment about that. Those considerations are reserved for the legislative branch, whose members are answerable to the voters, but are off limits to jurists appointed for life during good behavior.

Carrying out the Marshall mandate is a very tall order, a standard that’s impossible to live up to fully. Supreme Court justices after all are human beings, not algorithms, and bring the whole package of human capacities and flaws to bear on their work.

So the most that we can expect of them is a conscientious, sustained effort to meet the Marshall standard. And originalism, to which Barrett subscribes, was designed as a procedure for aiding justices in that effort. But it got off to a bad start in two ways. First, its most famous advocate was Ed Meese, Ronald Reagan’s Attorney General, who argued for it in response to what he and fellow conservatives objected to as the judicial “activism” of the Supreme Court under Chief Justices Earl Warren and Warren Burger. Originalism came to public attention wearing partisan political garb as a device for constraining the tendency of the Warren and Burger Courts to “legislate” from the bench, usurping the role of the political branches. Second, in early versions, originalism directed judges interpreting the Constitution to rely only on the original “intent” of its authors. That struck many people, rightly, as stupid, suggesting seances or something in the Supreme Court’s chambers where the justices communed with a bunch of dead guys about what they’d been thinking as they penned the Constitution’s text.

Although originalism hasn’t entirely cast off its partisan associations—judges sympathetic to it are considered “conservative” and those not are considered “liberal”—nobody any longer thinks it’s open to ridicule for prescribing seances. It’s recent and current practitioners, including Barrett, can rely on a wealth of documentary evidence revealing the public understanding of the Constitution when it was ratified. So while a reasonable person can certainly have reservations about originalism, as I do, it’s not stupid, and there’s a substantial body of scholarly commentary now that takes it seriously. If it ever was “fringy,” it isn’t anymore.

With all this on the table, what can we say about the two issues, abortion and health care, that are generating high anxiety? The Washington Post’s Ruth Marcus fears the worst.

In a recent column, she singled out passages from a couple of Barrett’s law review articles that she called “bombshells.” Here’s one of them from a 2017 article: “For an originalist, the decision whether to follow erroneous precedent can be more than a matter of weighing the costs and benefits of change…. At least in cases involving the interpretation of constitutional text, originalists arguably face a choice between following and departing from the law embodied in that text. While the debate about stare decisis [respecting precedent] is old, modern originalism introduced a new issue: the possibility that following precedent might sometimes be unlawful.”

Against this, Marcus quotes Justice Brett Kavanaugh saying, “that the Court requires something ‘over and above the belief that the precedent was wrongly decided.’” Marcus goes on to say, “…the court has looked to factors such as the quality of the reasoning in the precedent, its age, the degree to which it has been relied on by those affected, and whether it has turned out to be workable in practice.”

The 2017 article that Marcus finds so alarming didn’t focus on stare decisis, but here’s Barrett in a 2013 article devoted exclusively to that topic. “In hot-button cases where differences in constitutional philosophy are in the foreground, the preference for continuity disciplines jurisprudential disagreement. Absent a presumption in favor of keeping precedent, and absent the system of written opinions on which stare decisis depends, new majorities could brush away a prior decision without explanation. If only the votes mattered, and neither deference to precedent nor a reason for departing from it was required, a reversal would represent an abrupt act of will more akin to a decision made by one of the political branches. But in a system of precedent, the new majority bears the weight of explaining why the constitutional vision of their predecessors was flawed and of making the case as to why theirs better captures the meaning of our fundamental law. Justifying an initial opinion requires reason giving, particularly if the majority is challenged by a dissent. Justifying a decision to overrule precedent, however, requires both reason giving on the merits and [her emphasis] an explanation of why its view is so compelling as to warrant reversal. The need to take account of reliance interests forces a justice to think carefully about whether she is sure enough about her rationale for overruling to pay the cost of upsetting institutional investment in the prior approach. If she is not sure enough, the preference for continuity trumps…. [Stare decisis moderates] any knee-jerk conviction of rightness by forcing a current majority to advance a special justification for rejecting the competing methodology of its predecessor.” And here she footnotes to an earlier article of hers “emphasizing that even if a court has the authority to overrule precedent, it will not do so absent ‘special justification,’ which requires more than a mere showing that the prior case is erroneous….”

These are not the words of a wild-eyed, incendiary extremist. In fact, she made Kavanaugh’s point, which Marcus quoted approvingly, before Kavanaugh did.

Of the two hot-button issues, health care is the easiest to dispose of. In the 2017 article Marcus discusses, Barrett is critical of Chief Justice John Roberts’ majority opinion in NFIB v. Sibelius challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. But her views on that case don’t tell us much about how she might see the Affordable Care Act case currently before the Court. In NFIB v. Sibelius, the issue was the constitutionality of the individual mandate that required people to buy health insurance or pay a penalty for refusing. That’s not the issue before the court now because the individual mandate was repealed in 2017.

As for abortion rights, Barrett is on record saying that she doesn’t think Roe v. Wade will be overturned. I don’t know why she thinks that, but I can think of two reasons why she might. First, overturning it looks like a very heavy lift for an originalist. And second, the number of abortions has been declining for about the last decade for reasons that make it reasonable to expect the decline to continue.

On the originalism angle, last year saw a rash of laws imposing draconian restrictions on abortion access. The laws weren’t intended to be enforced. Rather, blatantly unconstitutional under the Supreme Court’s current precedents, they were meant to be struck down and appealed all the way up to the Supreme Court where their proponents expected one of them to be upheld and Roe overturned.

The central holding in Roe was that a fetus isn’t a person under the meaning of the Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment, which provides among other things that no state shall deprive “any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Justice Harry Blackmun, who wrote the majority opinion in Roe, noted that Jane Roe’s appeal “collapses” if fetuses are persons under the Fourteenth Amendment. But when lawyers for Texas, where the case originated, were pressed to produce federal or state court decisions so holding, they couldn’t. And as recently as 2018, the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit noted, in Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky v. Commissioner of the Indiana State Department of Health, that there are still no such cases.

Anti-abortion forces seem to be swinging for the fences, hoping to persuade five members of the Supreme Court to extend Fourteenth Amendment protections to the unborn for the very first time. But that might be a bridge too far for the Court’s two avowed originalists, Justices Thomas and Gorsuch, and for Barrett if she’s confirmed. Eric Foner, who wrote what’s arguably the definitive history of Reconstruction, followed up with a book about the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, the Reconstruction Amendments as they’re called. His chapter on the Fourteenth Amendment makes clear that it had everything to do with the status of freed slaves and nothing to do with the unborn. So unless Barrett knows something that Foner doesn’t, it’s hard to see how she could make a case that the public understanding of the Fourteenth Amendment covered the unborn.

The other reason Barrett may think Roe won’t be overturned is that it doesn’t have to be for abortion to be restricted. Supreme Court decisions since Roe, notably Webster v. Reproductive Health Services (1989) and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, have opened up space for states to erect a whole array of obstacles to abortion access. While other factors are at work, such as a declining birth rate, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2016 that abortions, on all the standard measures, reached a “historic low” since 1969 when the CDC first started tracking them. It may be that the Supreme Court has already been incrementally ceding more of its authority on this vexing issue to the states, as the late Justice Antonin Scalia pleaded with his colleagues on the Casey Court to do. If things are moving in her direction anyway, Barrett may think the better part of wisdom is to let that trend play out rather than put the Court back into the center of the storm that’s certain to break over it if it overturns Roe.

It’s Barrett’s bad luck and ours that she’s been nominated for the Supreme Court by the most toxic president in American history. If she’d been nominated by, say, Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush long before Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s shabby treatment of Merrick Garland utterly poisoned the well, chances are that she’d be seen as a standard-issue mainstream conservative. But now with political commentators churning out articles with titles like “How Hatred Came to Dominate American Politics,” it’s virtually impossible for anyone to take the measure of a figure in Barrett’s position. The merchants of vitriol have the loudest megaphones while saner voices have only the equivalent of two tin cans connected by a taut string.

But here’s the thing. You can’t assume that Supreme Court decisions are improperly motivated by the justices’ personal biases, whether partisan, religious or whatever, just because you disagree with them. If that’s what you think, then you’re entitled to no more assurance that the decisions you agree with weren’t just as improperly arrived at. But if you can’t bring yourself to believe, in the absence of evidence more compelling than your personal preferences, that the justices act in good faith, then your estimate of judicial review must be that it’s been a monstrous fraud for over two hundred years. I’m not ready to go there.

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Trump Has COVID Because Science Did Not Matter to Him https://likethedew.com/2020/10/06/trump-has-covid-because-science-did-not-matter-to-him/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=trump-has-covid-because-science-did-not-matter-to-him https://likethedew.com/2020/10/06/trump-has-covid-because-science-did-not-matter-to-him/#respond Tue, 06 Oct 2020 08:30:50 +0000 https://likethedew.com/?p=74724

President Trump is in Walter Reed Medical Center with coronavirus (COVID) because he refused to wear a mask, ignored the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines, and socialized closely with wealthy Republicans and donors.

He endangered people by encouraging them to not wear a mask, mocked people who wore masks and promoted misinformation about COVID.

Trump’s inability, to tell the truth, raises questions and confusion on when he first tested positive for COVID and his current medical condition.   It is suspected that his doctors report only information that Trump approves the public to hear.

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President Trump spent three days in Walter Reed Medical Center with coronavirus (COVID 19) because he refused to wear a mask, ignored the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines, and socialized closely with wealthy Republicans and donors.

He endangered people by encouraging them to not wear a mask, mocked people who wore masks and promoted misinformation about COVID.

Trump’s inability, to tell the truth, raises questions and confusion on when he first tested positive for COVID and his current medical condition.   It is suspected that his doctors report only information that Trump approves the public to hear.

Casket with R.I.P. victims of Medicare cuts COVID lack of proper healthcare

It usually takes 5 or 6 days for an infected person to show symptoms.  This means Trump was probably contagious during the debate with Presidential candidate Joe Biden where he yelled insults and mocked Biden for always wearing a mask.

He knew on Wednesday, September 30 that Hope Hicks, his White House Communication Director, tested positive for COVID and he should have isolated.  Instead, he flew the next day to a fundraiser in New Jersey where he started to experience symptoms of COVID.

Later that night, he reported that he tested positive for COVID, as well as, First Lady Melania Trump.  His doctor gave him Regeneron, an experimental antiviral drug.

The next day, he was admitted to Walter Reed Medical Center with fever, fatigue, congestion, cough, and his blood oxygen levels dropped.  He also has several underlying medical conditions – hypertension, heart disease, obesity, and is 74-years-old

 In the hospital, he received supplemental oxygen on Friday and Saturday and received a steroid drug, Dexamethasone, after his oxygen levels fell twice.  He is also taking Remdesivir that stops the virus from spreading in the body.  It is not yet approved by the FDA but was approved for emergency use on the President.

“He is doing great and we may dismiss him tomorrow.” Dr. Sean Conley, his White House doctor, said.

His doctors are hiding something,” Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Chief Medical Correspondent on CNN, said.

Dr. Conley is a Navy doctor and Trump is his Commander-in-Chief which may explain his sunny, optimistic spin on Trump’s medical condition.

Trump will receive the very best medical care, unlike many Americans who can’t afford health insurance, and are not eligible for Medicaid or Medicare.

Trump’s irresponsible and arrogant refusal to wear a mask combined with his reckless behavior in holding huge campaign rallies which were super spreaders have contributed to untold numbers of people suffering and dying from COVID.

It is believed that the event at the Rose Garden to meet Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, is the super spreader that infected several Republicans with COVID.   Most did not wear masks as they congratulated each other by shaking hands and hugging.

The GOP sheep that blindly followed Trump by not wearing a mask are now infected with COVID.   Republicans with COVID are Senator Thom Tillis (NC); Senator Mike Lee (UT); the RNC Chair, Ronna McDaniel; Trump’s Campaign Manager, Bill Stepien; White House Communication Director, Hope Hicks; Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to the President; First Lady, Melania Trump; Governor Chris Christie; Notre Dame President, Father John Jenkins; and a White House reporter.  Senator Ron Johnson (WI) did not attend the Rose Garden event but tested positive for COVID.  Also, Trump’s personal assistant, Nick Luna, and White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany tested positive for COVID.

Expect many more in the White House to test positive for COVID because CDC protocols were not followed.

This is a moment of reckoning that science matters and Trump is a superspreader of COVID.

Over 200,000 Americans have died from COVID 19.

Recently the U.S. hit a grim milestone of 200,000 plus COVID deaths.   Georgia has over 300,000 confirmed cases of COVID with almost 7 thousand deaths. The U.S. has over 7 million confirmed cases and over 200,000 deaths. Globally over 35 million confirmed cases and over one million deaths.

To commemorate the two hundred thousand deaths, Refusefascism had a die-in in front of the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta.

 “Trump deliberately deceived the world about the danger of the virus at the cost of tens of thousands of lives. Bob Woodward got it on tape!  Now, Trump continues to lie, assail science, traffic in conspiracy theories, hold super-spreading rallies, and sabotage attempts to contain the pandemic. Many of those lost – disproportionately Latinx, Black and Native American – Trump would have gladly killed off anyway.”

Refusefascism Facebook.

If Trump had responded as fast to COVID, as he did to replacing Ruth Ginsberg, at least sixty percent of the 200,000 American lives lost could have been saved.  That is about 120,000 people that still would be alive today if we had an honest and competent leader.  

 Health officials project that almost 400,000 people in the U.S. could die from the coronavirus by January 1, 2021.   

What did Trump know about COVID 19 and when did he know it.

Trump knew about the virus in January 2020 as he talked to Chairman Xi Jinping and praised him for a great job handling the virus in China.

On February 7, 2020, Bob Woodward was interviewing Trump for a book, when the subject of COVID came up and Trump said, “It goes through the air (COVID-19) that’s always tougher than the touch.  You know Bob, you don’t have to touch things.  But the air, you just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed.  It’s even more deadly than the most strenuous flu.  This is 5 % more deadly [than the flu] vs 1% or less with the flu.  But I like to play it down because I don’t want to create a panic.”

What Trump said to the public about COVID 19.

“The 15 cases (in the US) within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.  It’s like the flu.  When it gets warmer it will like a miracle disappear.  We have it under control,” Trump said about COVID and many people wanted to believe him.   

On national television, he called COVID a Democratic hoax and mocked people who wore masks.  

He refused to authorize the Defense Production Act to make personal protective equipment (PPE) causing a critical shortage of supplies for health care workers and hospitals across the country.   The shortage of PPE led to price gouging and forced states to compete with each other as the pandemic intensified.

 He even threatened to withhold PPE’s and ventilators from states with Democratic governors.   

Then things got really crazy when Trump wondered if people could inject disinfectants into their bodies to kill the virus and told people to take hydroxychloroquine which has proven to be worthless on COVID. 

In July he was still saying “It is dying out, it’s going away” as the U.S. death toll passed 150,000 deaths. 

Trump claims 99% of COVID cases are harmless and that we will have a vaccine sometime in October.    

For the first time, Trump has met something he could not intimidate or bully into submission – the Coronavirus.   The facts are that the U.S. is 4% of the world’s population and we have 20% of the COVID cases in the world. 

Here is a link to the complete timeline of Trump’s lies to the public about COVID.  https://doggett.house.gov/media-center/blog-posts/timeline-trump-s-coronavirus-responses

What professionals are saying about COVID 19 and Trump.

Scientists respond to his lies with facts – that your best protection against COVID is to wear a face mask, keep at least six feet away from other people, and wash your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, said President Trump’s recent false claim that “99% of coronavirus cases in the US are totally harmless” is obviously not the case, as reported by Business Insider. 

The White House has reportedly blocked Fauci from doing TV interviews.  Fauci suggested that might be because he tells truths the administration doesn’t want the public to hear.

Trump said a vaccine will be available in late October but CDC Director, Robert Redfield, said a vaccine won’t be available for the public until mid-2021 or later. 

Former White House senior staffer, Olivia Troye, on Vice President, Mike Pence’s COVID Task Force, told national news reporters that people close to Trump pressured and bullied scientists  “to make the science fit Trump’s message.”

Troye said she was disgusted by Trump when he said, “COVID is a good thing, I don’t have to shake hands with these disgusting people.” 

Other White House Aids have reported that Trump calls his base suckers and gullible. 

“It will take more than watching TV and tweeting insults to rid the country of COVID,” Mary Trump said about her uncle in her book Too Much and Never Enough.

“Trump has made the country sicker and poorer.  If he cared about the country he would resign, but he won’t because he only cares about himself,” Anthony Scaramucci, former White House Communication Director, said on national news. 

Trump is the largest driver of misinformation on COVID in the world, according to researchers at Cornell University.

The Mayo Clinic reports long term effects of COVID 19. 

COVID symptoms can persist for months.  The virus can damage the lungs, heart, kidneys, and brain, which increases the risk of long-term health problems even for people who have mild versions of the disease. 

COVID can have lasting damage to the heart muscle and may increase the risk of heart failure or other heart complications in the future.

The type of pneumonia associated with COVID can cause long-standing damage to the air sacs in the lungs.  Resulting in scar tissue and long-term breathing problems.

 Even in young people, COVID can cause strokes, seizures, brain fog, Guillain-Barre syndrome, or temporary paralysis.   It may also increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

COVID can cause blood clots that can cause heart attacks and strokes.  It can cause blood clots in the lungs, legs, liver, and kidneys.

People who are in intensive care and on ventilators to breathe after surviving COVID may develop post-traumatic stress syndrome, depression, and anxiety.

Many long-term COVID effects are still unknown.

Who is at risk from dying from COVID 19.

Researchers conclude that patients with underlying medical conditions including respiratory disease, chronic heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, are more likely to die from COVID.  

They found that men were about 59% more likely to die than women.  Patients of racial and ethnic minorities had a higher risk of dying than white patients.  Also, people of lower socioeconomic status had a higher risk of death.  People over 65 were more likely to die from COVID, especially with underlying medical conditions.

How COVID 19 is spread.

The virus is spread in the air when people gather in large crowds indoors and don’t wear a mask or keep at least six feet away from others. 

Places like churches, schools, bars, Trump’s rallies, beaches, large indoor parties, restaurants, gyms, sporting events, weddings, public transportation, and any large indoor gathering or outdoor gathering without masks or social distancing will become a super spreader. 

The latest hotspots in the U.S. for COVID are in America’s heartland, the Mid-western and Mid-northern states.  You can help protect yourself and others by wearing a mask, distance yourself from others, and wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer.

Pray for everyone with COVID.

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The Administration’s Accomplishments https://likethedew.com/2020/10/06/the-administrations-accomplishments/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-administrations-accomplishments https://likethedew.com/2020/10/06/the-administrations-accomplishments/#respond Tue, 06 Oct 2020 08:23:50 +0000 https://likethedew.com/?p=74716 “President Donald Trump’s campaign sued The Washington Post for defamation, citing two opinion articles published in 2019 about the campaign allegedly benefiting from Russian assistance.” – CNBC, 03/03/2020

Trump is estranged from the truth, as we have seen with his reactions to the COVID-19 virus. That’s why his automatic reaction to anyone catching him in wrongdoing is so severe. His belief is that he can do no wrong, he’s “The Donald”. Even the COVID-19 virus was supposed to just magically go away by Easter, although he finally changed his mind after being told by experts that he could not bluff his way out of his statement. 

 Trump and I were raised very close to one another, with one big difference. I was in a prefab house in a hard hat, blue-collar area; he lived in a mansion. Trump was the spoiled, narcissistic, schoolyard bully that I saw so often and despised.  

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“President Donald Trump’s campaign sued The Washington Post for defamation, citing two opinion articles published in 2019 about the campaign allegedly benefiting from Russian assistance.”

CNBC, 03/03/2020
caricature of Donald Trump created by DonkeyHotey

Trump is estranged from the truth, as we have seen with his reactions to the COVID-19 virus. That’s why his automatic reaction to anyone catching him in wrongdoing is so severe. His belief is that he can do no wrong, he’s “The Donald”. Even the COVID-19 virus was supposed to just magically go away by Easter, although he finally changed his mind after being told by experts that he could not bluff his way out of his statement. 

 Trump and I were raised very close to one another, with one big difference. I was in a prefab house in a hard hat, blue-collar area; he lived in a mansion. Trump was the spoiled, narcissistic, schoolyard bully that I saw so often and despised.  

Trump is still that school yard bully, still acting as though he personally took out the terrorist Al-Baghdadi. No surprise there. He has a history of taking credit for things he hasn’t done, trying to portray himself as a military “tough guy”, although he was a cowardly draft dodger who calls real heroes “losers and suckers”.  

Pre-pandemic, I received a letter from my good friend Donald J. Trump. It listed his quote “amazing accomplishments” (he’s not shy), including: 

  1.  “Passing the historic tax reform package that immediately paid huge dividends for millions of hard-working families.” 
  2. “Driving Down unemployment below 4% and creating more than six million new jobs.” 
  3. “Nominating and confirming…judges.” 
  4. “Replace(d) NAFTA with a new, better deal…” 
  5. Beginning to rebuild our military that the Obama administration gutted and standing up for American interests around the world.” 

Trump’s faults are obvious. He has denigrated the office of President, divided the nation into warring tribes, attempted to conspire with foreign nations to win elections, blocked witnesses from testifying before Congress, taken revenge on witnesses simply reporting his actions to superiors, threatened our allies, praised racists, interfered in the Department of Justice, pardoned political supporters, attacked the free press, failed to act quickly in in a rational, fact based, scientific manner on COVID-19, and so on. 

But what about his self-proclaimed accomplishments? Are they accurate and significant? Let’s review each one: 

  1. The NYT surveyed Americans in 2019 and only 40% said they benefited from the tax cut. In fact, 65% did get a cut. However, the cuts were disproportional, with the highest income taxpayers getting much more. Per Forbes (7-23-19): “The richest 1 percent received 9.3 percent of the total tax cuts, the top 5 percent got 26.5 percent, the top quintile received 52.2 percent and the bottom quintile got 3.3 percent.” Furthermore, these cuts resulted in much greater deficits (debt) with the national debt pre-pandemic going to over $1 trillion this year (and over $3 trillion with COVID spending), about double what it was in Obama’s last year in office. Interestingly, Trump declared in 2016 that he would pay off the deficit. 
  2. Unemployment (pre-pandemic) was down to 3.6%, but this was simply a continuation of a decade long trend started under Obama. Due to the Great Recession, unemployment hit 10% in 2009. It has been going down every year since, with unemployment already down to 5% when Trump took office. As for jobs, President Obama created 8.9 million jobs. Pre-pandemic Trump had created 4.7 million, roughly comparable (the Balance, 1-3-20).  But that was before the coronavirus recession, killing the economy and the market, raising unemployment to heights not seen since the Great Depression. If Trump wants to be a leader, then he should take responsibility for his many mistakes in dealing with COVID-19, causing the high unemployment rates. 
  3. Trump and McConnell have pushed through a record number of judges, a number of them unqualified. They have disregarded Senate rules and traditions in not requiring a 60% super-majority to approve lifetime appointments, something that will come back to haunt them when the Democrats take over the Senate. 
  4. The US International Trade Commission has quantified benefits of the NAFTA replacement deal, USMCA. USITC found only minor benefits; it is very little different than the original deal.  
  5. The military was strong when Obama was in office and remains strong now, despite confusing policy signals from the Whitehouse. Military spending actually went up significantly during Obama’s first term and down in his second. In 2018, the military budget was $764 billion, more than it was every year from 2009 through 2013.  

As for “standing up for American interests,” the President has been a dismal failure. Our allies view the President as a bad joke, especially after his lack of leadership during the COVID disaster, as reflected in numerous surveys of their citizens. He has weakened NATO. His self-serving attempt to influence the Ukrainians by withholding military funding made the USA look like a schoolyard bully. His negotiations with North Korea have simply given Kim an opportunity to further develop his nuclear program. By dropping the Iranian nuclear treaty, the Administration has guaranteed a Middle Eastern nuclear arms race. And, the Philippines are moving much closer to China. 

In summary, the reader will have to choose between the two main Presidential candidates in November. Do Trump’s accomplishments outweigh his considerable baggage, much of which I did not detail here? You decide. 

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Trump Unmasked https://likethedew.com/2020/10/05/trump-unmasked/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=trump-unmasked https://likethedew.com/2020/10/05/trump-unmasked/#respond Mon, 05 Oct 2020 09:46:33 +0000 https://likethedew.com/?p=74706

"I just want to say that the end of the pandemic is in sight,” Donald Trump said Thursday night.  A day later he was airlifted to Walter Reed Hospital, down with (reportedly) mild symptoms of COVID-19—so “mild” that he’s now going to stay “several” days instead of “a few” as initially reported.  

All that baloney downplaying the virus while trying to turn the public’s attention to antifa violence in the cities, mocking Joe Biden’s intelligence and mask wearing, and proclaiming his Nobel Prize-worthy diplomacy in the Middle East—anything that would enable him to escape responsibility for more than 200,000 American deaths—has come to naught.  As Dr. Anthony Fauci said months ago, the virus determines the timetable, and the timetable shows that Trump will be sidelined just weeks away from the election.

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“I just want to say that the end of the pandemic is in sight,” Donald Trump said Thursday night.  A day later he was airlifted to Walter Reed Hospital, down with (reportedly) mild symptoms of COVID-19—so “mild” that he’s now going to stay “several” days instead of “a few” as initially reported.  

All that baloney downplaying the virus while trying to turn the public’s attention to antifa violence in the cities, mocking Joe Biden’s intelligence and mask wearing, and proclaiming his Nobel Prize-worthy diplomacy in the Middle East—anything that would enable him to escape responsibility for more than 200,000 American deaths—has come to naught.  As Dr. Anthony Fauci said months ago, the virus determines the timetable, and the timetable shows that Trump will be sidelined just weeks away from the election.

Caricature of Donald Trump created by DonkeyHotey

Of course being sidelined doesn’t mean Trump will cease making trouble.  His Supreme Court nomination will go forward, his unmasked crowds will remain adoring, his vice president and attorney general will display their usual unfailing loyalty, his chief of staff will pooh-pooh the infection, and the tweets will keep coming as evidence that Trump is still vigorous, alert, and in charge.  Be prepared for Trump to say, “see, it’s just like the flu.”

But (as Biden likes to say) here’s the thing: Trump’s illness is a game changer, and not just because he’ll miss considerable time on the campaign trail (and the golf course).  The illness demonstrates why people, even (and especially!) presidents, ignore science at their peril.  It shows that Biden’s carefulness—wearing a mask, advising social distancing, following the advice of doctors—is sensible and mature.  It also points up the Trump crowd’s recklessness: attending rallies and ceremonies unmasked, allowing Hope Hicks on Air Force One knowing that she was infected, holding a press conference conducted by a press secretary who had also been on that flight, and—perhaps worst of all, according to Mike Wallace—“flouting the ‘honor system’ for the two campaigns to arrive at the debate having already tested negative for the coronavirus.”  

COVID-19 has called out Trump and a lengthening list of his supporters. This is not a national security crisis, as some commentators put it; it’s a White House crisis, the result of the arrogance and irresponsibility of the president and his administration.  

Such behavior should solidify Biden’s lead in the polls.  Even more so if/when Trump refuses to admit that he’s made a terrible mistake in not listening to his betters. 

But he has made a terrible mistake, one that would (or should) cost him the presidency.  If he’s smart, he’ll drop the remaining debates, cancel rallies, and—do we dare hope?—resign and move back to one of his hotels.  I bet Melania would vote for that.  For Trump to do that, however, would be a rare departure from character: retreating.

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Spoiler Alert: Existential Extraterrestrial Threat Tamed https://likethedew.com/2020/10/04/spoiler-alert-existential-extraterrestrial-threat-tamed/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=spoiler-alert-existential-extraterrestrial-threat-tamed https://likethedew.com/2020/10/04/spoiler-alert-existential-extraterrestrial-threat-tamed/#respond Sun, 04 Oct 2020 15:46:51 +0000 https://likethedew.com/?p=74689

Constructing genuinely interesting extraterrestrials and developing entertaining twists on science fiction tropes are difficult but Lindsay Ellis manages to deliver both in her debut novel Axiom’s End.

The problem with writing extraterrestrials is that the more plausibly alien they are the less interesting they become as individual characters. They occupy locations on a spectrum from Star Trek’s innumerable hominids with minor deviations in physiognomy from modern humans to machine intelligence completely indifferent to humanity like that in Stanislaw Lem’s 1964 novel Niewwyciężony or The Invincible.

Star Trek’s aliens communicate with humans easily and can therefore be woven into plots as characters. Lem’s horrifying machine cloud does not communicate with the human explorers it drives off its planet and is therefore more akin to a tornado or hurricane. That science fiction populated by human adjacent aliens enjoys much larger audiences than that populated by weather event aliens is unsurprising.

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Axiom’s End by Lindsay Ellis

Constructing genuinely interesting extraterrestrials and developing entertaining twists on science fiction tropes are difficult but Lindsay Ellis manages to deliver both in her debut novel Axiom’s End.

The problem with writing extraterrestrials is that the more plausibly alien they are the less interesting they become as individual characters. They occupy locations on a spectrum from Star Trek’s innumerable hominids with minor deviations in physiognomy from modern humans to machine intelligence completely indifferent to humanity like that in Stanislaw Lem’s 1964 novel Niewwyciężony or The Invincible.

Star Trek’s aliens communicate with humans easily and can therefore be woven into plots as characters. Lem’s horrifying machine cloud does not communicate with the human explorers it drives off its planet and is therefore more akin to a tornado or hurricane. That science fiction populated by human adjacent aliens enjoys much larger audiences than that populated by weather event aliens is unsurprising.

Humans are primarily interested in other humans. The plausibly alien but extinct Krell in the film 1956 film Forbidden Planet are not characters but instead effectively part of the technology that makes a monster out of the human character Dr. Morbius.

The extraterrestrial species in Axiom’s End initially appear to occupy a location closer to the weather event end of the spectrum, utterly unable or unwilling to communicate with humans. Half synthetic horrors looking like silvery shelled praying mantises, the aliens resolutely ignore entreaties to share information.

As the plot develops it seems the group of aliens secretly in the custody of the U.S. military are in reality rebellious refugees who adhere to the Axiom that interspecies interaction will lead to the extermination or modification of one species for the benefit of the other. The norm captures the pessimistic school of astrobiology that any contact between humans and intelligent extraterrestrials is likely to end in either frustration or disaster.

Yet hope triumphs over despair. Cora, a plucky young woman recognizable from recent young adult fiction, not only succeeds in communicating with the powerful alien named Ampersand, but develops a close personal bond with him. Love conquers savagery, even the alien variety.

As it happens, Cora’s absent father Nils is none other than a famous transparency activist on the run from the United States government for having published memos establishing that the Pentagon has made contact with the aliens. Julian Assange is the obvious inspiration for the obnoxiously self-aggrandizing Nils. Just as Assange’s Wikileaks publishes material about the War on Terror from hackers or whistleblowers, Nils’s The Broken Seal publishes hacked or leaked material about alien contact.

That Axiom’s End is set in an alternative time line during the second Bush administration flags the authorial intention to ‘get political.’ Science fiction writers have long done that. Thus the existentially threatening extraterrestrial Bugs in Robert Heinlein’s novel Starship Troopers are metaphors for the communist East Asian hordes of the Cold War and George Lucas’s Stormtroopers in Star Wars are barely disguised WWI German Imperial Stormtroopers and WWII Nazi German Stormtroopers.

OK, so who are Ellis’ extraterrestrials? That they are metaphors for Islamist terrorists is a plausible answer. Their capacity to appear anywhere in America and wreck havoc is terrifying but secret divisions among the alien leadership mean that some can be won over to our side. Think al-Qaeda and its links to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

Axiom’s End is still a fun read even though the extraterrestrials are ultimately revealed as less than horrifyingly implacable. There is gooey emotional tenderness inside their synthetic shells. Readers wanting science fiction horror with more despair should consider Wil McCarthy’s 1998 novel Bloom, which describes a future in which humanity has been driven to the periphery of the Solar System by a malign machine intelligence that knows our weaknesses.

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House Leaders Should Support Medicare For All https://likethedew.com/2020/10/04/house-leaders-should-support-medicare-for-all/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=house-leaders-should-support-medicare-for-all https://likethedew.com/2020/10/04/house-leaders-should-support-medicare-for-all/#respond Sun, 04 Oct 2020 14:48:19 +0000 https://likethedew.com/?p=74668

“WHEREAS, expanding health care coverage for every American should be done in a thoughtful, fiscally responsible manner which may include expansion of Medicare partially or fully;”- City of Atlanta Resolution 20-R 4316 

On Monday, September 21, the Atlanta City Council passed the above resolution in order to “ensure fiscally feasible and appropriate health care coverage for all resident of the United States.” The Democrat-controlled U.S. House of Representatives should do the same.

I’m very active on progressive social media sites. A significant number of progressives are turned off by Biden (note: I will vote for him). One reason that is often given is his refusal to consider Medicare for All and his fallacious fiscally oriented arguments against it (see below for the facts).

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“WHEREAS, expanding health care coverage for every American should be done in a thoughtful, fiscally responsible manner which may include expansion of Medicare partially or fully;”

City of Atlanta Resolution 20-R 4316

On Monday, September 21, the Atlanta City Council passed the above resolution in order to “ensure fiscally feasible and appropriate health care coverage for all resident of the United States.” The Democrat-controlled U.S. House of Representatives should do the same.

I’m very active on progressive social media sites. A significant number of progressives are turned off by Biden (note: I will vote for him). One reason that is often given is his refusal to consider Medicare for All and his fallacious fiscally oriented arguments against it (see below for the facts).

However, last year Assistant House Speaker Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), number four in the House leadership, came out in favor of Medicare for All. It’s past time that Pelosi and the rest of the leadership follows his example, motivating progressives to vote blue in November. 

The future of the Democratic Party is dependent on the Party having a clearly spelled out progressive platform, which was sorely lacking in both 2016 and 2020. Simply attacking Trump as an incompetent buffoon (although true) and his misguided supporters as “deplorables” didn’t work then and may not be any more effective in November unless minorities, the young and progressives see a reason to come out to vote.

Healthcare (including Trump’s COVID-19 fiasco) is the number one issue on the mind of voters and the underlying reason why the Democrats took the House in 2018. And, with the probable new SCOTUS being stacked 6-3 with conservatives, there is a very good chance the ACA may not survive at all when the court considers it after the election. 

Even so, when 113 million of us are either still without healthcare insurance or underinsured, simply saying we should maintain the ACA (Obamacare) is clearly insufficient to motivate many voters. It’s surprising that a politically wise pro like Pelosi seemingly does not understand this fact. 

She and the Democrats need to aggressively make a two-fold argument for single payer: 

  1. the current system doesn’t work well and needs major change;
  2. Medicare for All is affordable and less costly in the long run.  

On the first point, per a Gallup 2015 study, Americans are much happier with Medicare (77 percent positive) than with private insurance (69 percent positive). Also, both premiums and deductibles are rising rapidly for employees, as well as causing a drag on company profits and making us less competitive internationally.  

In 2018, the cost for family coverage was $19,616…triple what it was 20 years ago. This also represented a 5 percent increase over the year before, significantly more than the average raise. Plus, 29 percent of the above amount came directly out of the pockets of employees. From the standpoint of these employees, the situation is not projected to get any better, only worse. The politicians saying Americans don’t want to give up their private insurance ignore these facts at their peril. 

On the second point, there is an excellent economic feasibility study (11-18) by the UMass-Amherst Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) which proves that single payer is cost-effective and financially viable. PERI indicates that there are 9 percent of the population uninsured (28 million residents) as well as another 26 percent underinsured (another 85 million people) and unable to make high deductibles and so forth to obtain needed care.

Due to the increase in Americans served under single payer, if there were no changes to the system national healthcare expenditures would go up from $3.24 to $3.63 trillion. However, that’s before accounting for cost savings obtained via single payer, estimated to be 18 percent. Most of these savings will come from drops in Rx pricing (6 percent) and obvious decreases in admin costs (9 percent). PERI states that Medicare for All: “is not only economically viable but could actually reduce health consumption expenditures by about 9.6 percent.” 

This assumption is backed up by a recent Lancet article/study and OECD studies which have shown that other developed nations with universal coverage have a much lower per capita cost. For example, in 2017 the cost per capita for the US was $10,290, while the cost for Italy was $3,541. Many studies indicate that France has the best healthcare system in the world, yet its per capita cost is only $4,902. Meanwhile, we spend 17 percent of our GNP on healthcare while Italy spends 9 percent and France 11 percent. Maybe that’s why our infrastructure is literally collapsing, and our children cannot afford to pay for public colleges and universities without incurring massive debt. 

We need to move on real health financing reform… and we need to move now before the election to motivate progressives. Madam Speaker, you have little time to get on board before November 3.

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