Thursday, July 30, 2020

Hell No, trump

So trump dropped a tweet or three this morning, in the middle of a thousand other things happening, where he expressed his interest in suspending the 2020 General (and Presidential) Elections. The excuse was concern over the possibility of "ballot-by-mail fraud" (which still hasn't been proven in court) and the pandemic (which was trump's own damn fault letting it get out of control).

It prompted a day-long Twitter Trend of HELL NO, and brought a lot of angry people to bear worried that trump was now at full dictator mode.

To quote Ian Millhiser at Vox: trump can't do it if he tried.

A trio of federal laws set Election Day for presidential electors, senators, and US representatives as “the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November.” If Republicans want to change this law, they would need to go through the Democratic House.
The 20th Amendment, moreover, provides that “the terms of the President and the Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January.” Thus, even if the election were somehow canceled, Trump and Vice President Mike Pence’s terms would still expire as scheduled — although, as explained below, the question of who would succeed them is devilishly complicated...

trump could try to argue that his emergency powers would override the existing laws, but there's no way he can argue past something written in stone the way the 20th Amendment is. Supreme Court justices, even trumpian Far Right ones, do not take kindly to that kind of scam. And Chief Roberts has already expressed his disdain with trump's legal shenanigans. Back to Millhiser:

Under the 20th Amendment, “the terms of the President and the Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d [sic] day of January.” So, if no one is elected to replace these officials, Trump and Pence cease to be elected officials the minute their terms expire on January 20. Members of the House serve two-year terms, so all members of the House will cease to be representatives on January 3; one-third of senators’ terms also expire on that date.
Ordinarily, if the Presidency and Vice Presidency are both vacant at the same time, the office falls to the Speaker of the House. But if there is no election, there will be no Speaker when Trump and Pence’s terms expire because all House seats will become vacant on January 3...

I've seen other arguments online that there's a possibility that Nancy Pelosi, the current serving Speaker, might still qualify under the 25th Amendment because the Speakership still belongs to her. The rules of the House are that she remains so unless voted out from office (which technically did not happen, there just wasn't a vote period), if majority control flipped to another party (which hadn't happened, due to no vote), if she was voted out by a No-Confidence motion (which is rare, and does not apply to this), or if she resigned. Technically, anybody could be voted as Speaker even if they were not elected to the House at all (which did come up during the struggle to find a replacement for Boehner when he retired), so Pelosi as sitting Speaker could remain so if the election was suspended.

But to continue Millhiser's reasoning:

If there is no President, Vice president, or Speaker, the next official in line is the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, a largely ceremonial position that is traditionally held by the most senior member of the majority party. Right now that is Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA).
But wait! Recall that the terms of many senators also expire on January 3. As it turns out, 23 seats held by Republicans and only 12 seats held by Democrats are up for election this year, so if no election is held, Democrats will have a majority in the Senate once these seats become vacant. Which would mean that Senate Democrats would be able to choose a new President pro tempore. If they follow the tradition of choosing the most senior member of their caucus, that would place Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) next in line for the presidency.
Things actually get even more complicated from here. The 17th Amendment permits state governors to name temporary senators to vacant seats, but not all states allow their governors to do so. It’s also not immediately clear who would be the governor of many states if no election takes place in 2020, because much of the line of succession in those states could be rendered vacant as well...

Personally, if it works out that Pat Leahy ends up as President through all this, I'd be happy because it'd mean we'd get a President who personally stared down the Joker.

It's a pretty thought experiment to try, but the reality is trump can't stop this election cycle: It is hardwired into our system. Not just in the law but by tradition: We held a Presidential election in the middle of a Civil War, for God's sake. he'd have to order a straight-up military coup into the states to shut down the local election setups, especially in the Blue states that won't obey any suspension order he gives.

But that's not trump's true intention here. trump know how to play a long con, and he's setting the groundwork to invalidate the election after it happens. Per David A. Graham at The Atlantic:

Trump has repeatedly and falsely alleged that the election will be tainted by widespread fraud due to increased use of mail-in voting stemming from the coronavirus pandemic. (He has also repeatedly and falsely claimed major fraud in the 2016 election, which he won.) While voting by mail, like all methods, is susceptible to fraud, no evidence suggests widespread fraud that could affect the result of the election...
However, there are legitimate worries about the ability of many Americans to properly and safely vote, and many reasons to fear that the November election will be a train wreck. COVID-19-related complications, including a huge increase in demand for voting by mail and a shortage of polling places and poll workers, threaten to swamp already struggling local election systems. Election experts worry that final election results will not be available for weeks after Election Day, as votes are slowly counted. Any delay in the day of the election would only exacerbate this problem by making it even harder to meet other deadlines. Also under statute, the Electoral College must meet on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December. According to the Constitution, the new presidential term starts at noon on January 20 of the following year...

trump is setting up now his ability to throw a wrench into that process, delaying things through court challenges at every mail-in ballot against him that nothing can get counted in time and force the Electoral College to not even vote. That would send the whole mess into the US House where by a quirk of the election rules each state (50) gets ONE vote (not proportioned out to each Representative), with the majority of each state dominating their single vote (there are 26 controlled by Republicans, one split, 23 controlled by Democrats). It wouldn't matter if Democrats have 230-plus Representatives: It would only matter that Republicans control 26 state delegations. The only way this doesn't work to the Republicans' advantage is if Democrats flip delegation control of three states, but there's no guarantee of that despite the signs of a Blue Wave in congressional elections.

This could happen even if Joe Biden secures both the popular vote (which is likely) and the Electoral vote (which would involve flipping back three to five - even six if Texas goes Blue (!) - states that went barely for trump). Just imagine it: Biden wins 374 EV by securing all the 2012 Blue states plus Arizona and North Carolina and maybe one more, and does so with 70 million voters to trump's 61 million with a nice 53 percent popular count. Yet trump and his Republican cronies still in control of Florida, Ohio, Arizona and Wisconsin contest the votes forcing a delay similar to what happened in 1876, compelling the system to toss it all to a US House where Republicans hold 26 delegations.

It'd be a huge risk to piss off 70 million Americans, but like any political party relying on Minority Rule, the Republicans right now do not give a fuck about the Majority.

Back to Graham:

Trump’s unpopularity is one of the peculiarities of his proposal to delay the election. There aren’t many historical precedents for such a move, but when they exist, they have been undertaken by politicians who are extremely well liked... 
Such leaders could argue that their constituents needed and wanted continuity. Trump, by contrast, is a widely reviled politician. Most of the country feels that things are on the wrong track, and he knows it. This is, in fact, the likely motivation behind this proposal. It’s more a means of preemptively contesting the outcome of an election he fears he will lose than trying to actually move it...
If Trump loses the election in November and wants to argue that he was cheated and the voting was not legitimate, he can’t start on November 4. He needs to lay the groundwork ahead of time—for example, by repeatedly warning that the vote will be fraudulent and rigged, and by telling his supporters that he tried to postpone it but was denied by “Them.”
Some observers have focused on the question of whether a defeated Trump would actually leave office, as required by law, or stage some sort of coup. That still seems tough to envision, though the president’s complete disregard for the rule of law makes it hard to rule anything out. But a concerted effort to undermine the election, and to convince 35 to 45 percent of the electorate that the balloting was never fair, would do its own damage...

Either trump wins by cheating, or he wins by burning everything in his wake as he scurries out the White House door. It's both bluff - to cower us to behave - and threat - making sure his violent obsessive MAGA fans riot over his loss even if Biden tops him with 55 percent of the popular vote and a solid Electoral win.

We are too far into a disastrous trump regime to cower in fear. We've had 232 years of this nation to build our resolve and our faith in the United States to let this tiny, whining Shitgibbon get the better of us.

Vote however you can. Vote by mail even as trump destroys our Postal Service. Vote in person using every safety and health precaution you've got. Overwhelm trump's diminishing support. Overwhelm every Republican attempt to suppress our votes.

Make it so the turnout is so lopsided in favor to the Democratic Party that the state-level Republicans won't risk playing trump's con game to delay the counts.

Make it so the Majority - the TRUE Majority of Americans who want normalcy again, who want a working federal government again - finally gets their say after decades of abuse by a Republican Party that no longer represents us.

Don't play trump's game. Beat him at ours.

Hell No, trump.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Living a Different Life In the Pandemic

Things I've missed during this COVID-19 pandemic:

I've missed going to the movie theater to watch first-run summer blockbuster movies, superhero movies, comedies that won't make me cringe (those are rare anymore), anything that looks good by Pixar, those sort of things. I have streaming at home like Disney Plus, thanks to a Christmas present last year, but the experience of the large theater, the decent-sized crowds oohing and aahing and cheering and laughing... I miss that.

I've missed browsing the bookstore. Yes, I work in a library, but it doesn't hurt me to go checking out all the other books and magazines the library can't carry (we ARE running on a city/county budget, people).

I've missed the occasional road trip to where my friends are, the ones I grew up with in high school and some I've made in my time living around the Tampa Bay area. I miss driving out to the Pinellas beaches. I miss revisiting Tarpon Springs, finding a gyro place to eat (sorry but Plaka's closed). I miss visiting any beach overall, it's been years since I went and just sat and enjoyed the view, the overwhelmed senses of watching and feeling and smelling sand and water and sky (no tasting though).

I've missed the chance to travel this summer, nothing major like I hope to someday - I desire a visit to Vegas and the Grand Canyon, I desire a trip to Ireland, I desire a trip to Prague, I desire a trip to Japan - but still a chance to go somewhere scenic and spiritual and fun (no, not Disney. Well, okay, MAYBE Galaxy's Edge). I did have plans to visit the Ta-Nehisi crowd this September, but that's on hold as well. Sigh.

I'm missing the weekend jaunts I take to places where I can sit and write, away from the distractions of home.

There are other regrets, but right now these are the things I know are missing in my life.

I have to accept this, because the risks of COVID are too great to ignore at my peril and everyone else's.

Perhaps another time, when a vaccine is confirmed, when life can return to a semblance of normalcy.


Thursday, July 23, 2020

Quick Update on Jacksonville, trump, and the Reality of an Out-Of-Control Pandemic

(Update 7/26/20: Thank you again Batocchio for linking me to Crooks & Liars' Mike's Blog Round-Up this weekend! I want to mention here that this blog just received a Finalist recognition from the Florida Writers Association for the article "Seven Reasons NOT To Invade Iran" and hopefully we'll see where things go from there... )

trump, unhappy that North Carolina and Charlotte was telling him he couldn't have a big shindig for a convention this year due to trump's own mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic, tried to move the big part of the show - his speech - to Jacksonville Florida where he thought the rules would be more relaxed and the locals more accommodating.

Today, he finally accepted the warnings of Jacksonville officials and likely his own medical experts that hosting a large gathering even outdoors was a bad idea, and canceled the big ego-boosting show. To quote Steve Contorno and Kirby Wilson via the Tampa Bay Times:

The news came as a surprise to several Florida Republicans close to the event and the president. U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, one of Trump’s closet allies in Congress, said he didn’t know Trump had made this call. Nor did state Sen. Joe Gruters, the chairman of the Republican Party of Florida who helped bring the event to the Sunshine State.

It may have been a surprise to the Florida Republicans, but it wasn't exactly so for the number of party leaders who were begging off from attending because even they didn't want to risk their health. Back to the article:

It was only six weeks ago that Trump stripped the convention from Charlotte, the previous host city, after clashing with Democratic North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper over what the president then deemed to be overly demanding restrictions related to the coronavirus. Trump and the Republican Party then settled on Jacksonville, in part because Florida was swiftly reopening the economy amid falling coronavirus cases.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry enthusiastically welcomed the event. Curry celebrated the announcement with a flashy video and promises of a post-coronavirus economic boom for his city. However, the reality on the ground dramatically shifted. Florida subsequently emerged as the new national hot spot...

Partly because the risks of exposure actually goes back up when you re-open too quick, and mostly because trump and the Republicans didn't effing care even back then. Back:

More recently, organizers said they would shift to a more scaled-down convention with smaller crowds. RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel announced last week that just delegates, a single guest per delegate and alternate delegates would be permitted to attend the president’s nomination speech on the final evening of the convention. Speeches set for earlier in the convention were restricted to the party’s roughly 2,500 delegates only...
The final nail arrived this week when Duval County Sheriff Mike Williams suggested he didn’t have enough details to provide adequate security to keep attendees and Jacksonville residents safe. Still, even with COVID-19 deaths registering in the triple digits and his local sheriff no longer on board, Curry still remained that the show would go on...

What will happen now is pretty much what everyone else in the nation is doing: Hosting it all on Zoom chats. Given how disorganized this entire circus turned out to be, I'm willing to bet even trump will screw that up.

On the bright side, Jacksonville doesn't have to face the prospect of a super-spreader event hitting them the way trump's Tulsa rally did. On the downside, we're still coping with an ever-upward spike of positive cases and deaths here in Florida.

That part of trump's shitshow hasn't ended yet. /headdesk

Monday, July 20, 2020

There's Something Happening In Portland

It's time we stop, hey, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down 
- "For What It's Worth," Buffalo Springfield

What trump is doing in Portland Oregon should terrify you. Via Trevor Timm at The Guardian:

A remarkable and nightmarish scene playing out in Portland should terrify anyone who cares about the US Constitution: unmarked vans full of camouflaged and unidentified federal agents are pulling up next to protesters on street corners, then snatching and arresting them with no explanation.
If this were happening in Venezuela or Iran, the US government would be threatening international sanctions. Since it’s happening in the US, Trump’s acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) secretary is defending the decision and even promising more.
The stories from witnesses and those who have been picked up by the unmarked vans – apparently being operated by Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which is under DHS’s control – are downright terrifying. One victim told the New York Times: “One of the officers said, ‘It’s OK, it’s OK,’ and just grabbed me and threw me into the van. Another officer pulled my beanie down, so I couldn’t see...”

Most of the earlier stories from the abducted had them shoved into vans, dragged through one or federal buildings, and then let go as though they were training runs. Later stories are more frightening with people grabbed off streets, bound as though arrested, warned they were being charged usually for things they weren't even doing, forced to sit in cramped conditions with many of them coping with beatings and bleedings, and then let go. The obvious next stage is actually keeping the abducted held on "charged" without even a chance of speaking to lawyers or loved ones.

I may be an amateur with the law, but I have a basic enough understanding to know that a lot of this violates core principles like Habeas Corpus, the Sixth Amendment guarantee to legal counsel, the Fourteenth Amendment guarantee to due process, and the general idea that police brutality is a goddamned no-no (it's why the protesters are out there in the first place).

And the acting DHS, Chad Wolf (seriously? I guess Roy Stalin was already taken) under the claim of "increasing mob violence" in other major cities is threatening to spread these unbadged - and turning out via reports they are untrained at crowd control - thugs to enforce trump's vision of a cowed and quiet population.

Comparisons to Nazi Germany Gestapo have been rampant.

It is doing nothing to clamp down on the protests in Portland, by the by. Mothers are now placing themselves in harm's way to keep the DHS thugs away from everyone else (although the thugs are now firing on the women as well).

But this is trump, struggling to invoke fear in the voters so he can cheat his way to a November re-election, needing violence in the streets to make the middle class Whites terrified of the chaos. The kind of fear that stirred reactions in 1968 leading to Nixon's win.

But this is also trump, losing the suburbs over his screwups handling the pandemic, and there's no evidence that the middle class Whites are going to buy what trump is selling: The suburbs are supporting the protests against police brutality.

And this is us, the United States facing a new threat from trump's regime, one that had been focused on hurting Latino and Asian immigrants and hurting Muslims and hurting Blacks now looking to hurt more Americans.

It won't just be Portland or Chicago. It's going to be Atlanta, and Los Angeles, and Manhattan, and Boston, and Miami, and Orlando, and New Orleans, and Houston, and anywhere else trump is desperate to impose fear and suppress opposition.

He dare not win. trump's cronies dare not win.

Stand up, America.

Navy veteran Chris David stood up. The thugs hurt him. But he stood. They withered. We can stand too.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Not All Heroes Wear Capes. This Hero Wore a Tan Trenchcoat While Carrying Whole Nations Across Bridges

Last night, a superhero of American history passed away. Via Calvin Woodward and Desiree Seals from AP News:

John Lewis, a lion of the civil rights movement whose bloody beating by Alabama state troopers in 1965 helped galvanize opposition to racial segregation, and who went on to a long and celebrated career in Congress, has died. He was 80.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi confirmed Lewis’ passing late Friday night, calling him “one of the greatest heroes of American history.”
“All of us were humbled to call Congressman Lewis a colleague, and are heartbroken by his passing,” Pelosi said. “May his memory be an inspiration that moves us all to, in the face of injustice, make ‘good trouble, necessary trouble.’”

Lewis is from that pantheon of civil rights activists who lead - always from the front - marches and rallies, often into the path of brutality and attacks by the white authorities who wanted to keep the United States segregated and keep Blacks poor and broken. His best-known moment came in 1965, when he was part of a freedom walk to Alabama's capital Montgomery calling for the right of Blacks to vote, when the police came down violently as the march crossed the infamous Edmund Pettus Bridge:

At age 25 — walking at the head of the march with his hands tucked in the pockets of his tan overcoat — Lewis was knocked to the ground and beaten by police. His skull was fractured, and nationally televised images of the brutality forced the country’s attention on racial oppression in the South.
Within days, King led more marches in the state, and President Lyndon Johnson soon was pressing Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act. The bill became law later that year, removing barriers that had barred Blacks from voting...

As the Sixties gave way to the Seventies, Lewis had relocated to Atlanta and got into politics, going from city council to U.S. Congressman by 1986. He remained in office until his death, a strong and fierce reminder of the fight for the right to vote and the ongoing fights to uphold the American ideals of Liberty and Justice For All.

In that role, Lewis moved into the ranks of legend and hero. His biography and civil rights struggles were translated into a series of graphic novels, starting with March, a three-volume set with a sequel series titled Run. The books' popularity exists beyond the comics shops: it's becoming required reading at schools and colleges.

With that, Lewis got invites to comic-cons, not a place for history and usually a place for gaudy outfits, oversized costumes showing off the likes of buckets of Batmans, waves of Wonder Women, bevvies of Black Widows, and Plethora of Deadpools. It's called cosplay.

To promote the second volume of March, Lewis decided to cosplay... and showed up in the tan trenchcoat he wore as he crossed the Pettus Bridge. Via Michael Cavna at the Washington Post:

And so, on Saturday, the civil-rights hero made his return to Comic-Con, this time to support “March: Book Two” alongside Aydin and the trilogy’s artist, the Eisner Award-winning Nate Powell. And this time, Lewis indeed chose to cosplay.
Trench coat? Check.
Backpack? Check.
And inside that backpack were even a couple of books: the first two volumes of the RFK Award-winning “March.”
Upon landing in San Diego, Lewis had decided to dress up as his 25-year-old self — the young man who, on the road to Selma, Ala., led 600 civil-rights marchers peacefully across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, at the foot of which the nonviolent protestors were beaten and tear-gassed by state troopers, many on horseback. Attacked by nightstick, his skull fractured, Lewis bled that day for the cause. He told me: “I saw death. I thought I was going to die...”
And there, as the three “March” collaborators arrived at their Saturday panel, was not just a large, eager audience, but a grouping of schoolchildren down in front. Lewis told Comic Riffs two years ago that a motivating factor in writing “March” as a graphic novel was to reach the next generation — to have them, through art, intimately witness the emotional and physical toll that the path to freedom took, from sit-ins to freedom rides.

A local school teacher who had tickets to the San Diego Comic Con - THE con, the one every comic fantasy scifi geek hopes to attend once in their lives - brought his kids to see Lewis, to pass along the experience of the Civil Rights era, to learn the history and be touched by it.

When it got time to end the panel and get Lewis back to his celebrity booth, an agreement got hashed out to let Lewis lead the kids in a walk of their own.

He walked an army of kids around the convention hall. not into the face of racial violence but a teachable moment how a movement can move people, across conventions as much as bridges and cities.

From the Washington Post article, credited to Top Shelf Productions

There's a saying in pop culture: Representation matters. It's why little girls look up to giant posters of Wonder Woman and cry when running into Gal Gadot (it's why getting a Wonder Woman movie made period since the superhero movie boom of the late 1980s was a big f-cking deal). It's why not just African-Americans but Africans looked to Black Panther as a role model since the 1960s when Lee and Kirby created his character. It's why the push for Asian heroes to get introduced into the next phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is front-page news.

John Lewis lived as a hero in a trenchcoat. He walked the walk, and showed younger generations the path to walk as well.

Lewis walks into legend now, sadly at a moment when this generation and the ones younger than us need to march against the police violence and political tyranny that's growing worse.

Time to march like Lewis.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

It's Official: Republican Party Approves Of the Donner Party

Just a brief moment to provide this clip of WHAT THE FUCK via John Amato at Crooks & Liars:

Limbaugh then went off on a tangent about California settlers called the Donner Party who turned to cannibalism to survive a brutal winter trying to get to California.
LIMBAUGH: You’ve heard of the Donner Party? Maybe some of you haven’t. The Donner Party, the Donner family and a bunch of travelers trying to get to California over the Sierra Nevada mountain range. They made the mistake of trying to make the trip in the middle of winter. We’re talking the Lake Tahoe region. They get to the peak. It was so bad that they had to turn to cannibalism to survive. That’s what’s noteworthy about the Donner Party. If you read the diaries written by the leaders of the Donner Party, the only reference to how cold it was, was one sentence: “It was a particularly tough winter.”
American pioneers sacrificed for America, right?
LIMBAUGH: It’s just what was. They didn’t complain about it, because there was nothing they could do. They had to adapt. This is what’s missing. There seems to be no concept of adaptation. There seems to be no understanding in the Millennial generation that we can adapt to this, and that we’re going to have to...
The Donner Party didn't bitch and complain about the winter when they set out in the freezing cold and the unimaginable hunger they felt. Oh no, they cooked up some juicy neighbor along the way to survive and had a little American barbecue because that's the American way.

In short: Rush Limbaugh views cannibalism as part of the American character, our "toughness" to see things through as God and the GOP intends to. So we gotta sacrifice ourselves on that COVID altar so that the economy gets roaring long enough for trump to cheat his way to re-election.


In all my studies of American history, in all my life on this Earth for 50 years, it's taken this long for me - and the rest of us - to witness someone - and it HAD to be Asshole Rush Limbaugh, Spokesman of the Goddamned Republican Party - give a positive spin on the Donner Party.

Just one more aspect of how Republicans want to kill the rest of us so they stay rich and powerful. Thanks a bunch, guys.

Poor Millennials. It's what's for dinner.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Highest Risk

It's behind a firewall, but the New York Times has an article from yesterday pretty much saying "JESUS, THE SCHOOLS ARE THE HIGHEST RISK FACTOR IN GETTING COVID, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DON'T REOPEN THEM."

If we can quote from the CNN article that quotes the Times (written for CNN by Veronica Stracqualursi):

Internal documents from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that fully reopening K-12 schools and universities would be the "highest risk" for the spread of coronavirus, according to a New York Times report, as President Donald Trump and his administration push for students and teachers to return in-person to classrooms.
The 69-page document obtained by the Times marked "For Internal Use Only" was among materials for federal public health response teams deployed to coronavirus hotspots to help local public health officials handle the outbreak, the newspaper reported.
The document was circulated this week, the Times reported, as Trump slammed the CDC guidelines around reopening schools and he, Vice President Mike Pence and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos increased their pressure on schools to fully reopen by the fall.
It is unclear whether the President viewed the CDC document, according to the Times.

This is, again, why we shouldn't elect to the White House a bankrupt moronic con artist who refuses to read. Back to the article:

The document, mostly comprised of CDC documents already publicly available, mentions reopening plans from states, districts, and individual schools and universities, identifying some proposals as consistent with CDC guidance and criticizing the "noticeable gaps" in other plans, the Times reported.

Not every state is ready to re-open anything (cough, Florida, cough, and for 2,000 of us a day THIS IS NOT A JOKE). As I've blogged earlier and as others are blogging (and screaming), our schools are a gathering place of far too many humans into far too many indoor locations incapable of social distancing nor keeping everything sanitized.

You think bars and restaurants and Disney theme parks are super spreaders? Your local middle school will be just as effective in spreading COVID, and in a more horrifying way.

Jesus, America.

Reopening the schools right now is a bad idea.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

trump's True Appeal to a Rabid Base

It still bothers me a little that I can never fully comprehend how ANY INSANE person let alone a SANE person would ever support donald "bankrupt failure racist pussy-grabbing vulgarity shitgibbon" trump. I kind of understand it ever since I read Rude Pundit's reveal of voter polarization back in 2014, but it still galls that there's a faction of fellow Americans who swallow the shit and call it caviar.

And as the madness gets worse during this pandemic, the real reason is all the more clear.

As Tom Sullivan notes at Hullabaloo:

No. It is not to save the country except for themselves. It is because they think they are losing their country and Trump is the only Republican who can save it for them, Limbaugh explained.
But it is also because Trump’s wanton bigotry, dishonesty and viciousness liberate them to wallow in their own. Like a medieval pope, he is selling a plenary indulgence. Go, and sin some more, says Trump in red letters held upside down and backwards. All it cost them is the surrender of whatever withered moral authority the movement had remaining...

As shared by this photo making the rounds on Twitter:

Would love to find out who originated this.

For all the worship of Saint Ronnie, for all the early passion for Dubya in a post-911 global war, the Republican voting base still expresses disappointment that neither "savior" figure went far enough into douchebaggery to become the "hero" the Far Right wanted.

trump is different. Not only is he an openly vile and vulgar life form, he constantly tweets to his fanbase to indulge in his not-so-private vices as well.

And a lot of them take him up on that offer.

Look at every Angry White Guy. Look at every Angry White Woman. Look at the Karens having meltdowns. Look at the maskless wingnuts throwing tantrums along with everything else when they're asked to wear a mask to protect other people.

All of them have a License to Asshole, signed by trump and passed around by a gleeful Republican Party wanting to "own the libs" forever.

This is where blind rage has led us.

It's up to the rest of us to call this bad behavior for what it is and vote these bastards out. For the LOVE OF DECENCY as well as GOD, we need to vote them out.

trumpian Abuse Of Power, Expected And Still Shameful

This was, to some extent, expected.

Through all the buildup, through all the arrests...

Through all the trial hijinks...

Through all the facts, and the presence of justice with GUILTY verdicts for Roger Stone's misdeeds...

trump is still trying to wipe away all evidence of his sins with his abuse of pardon powers, by commuting Stone's sentence late Friday night. Via Maanvi Singh at the Guardian:

The commutation does not erase Stone’s felony convictions the way a pardon would, but it allows Stone to avoid setting foot in prison for his crimes.
Echoing the language that Trump has used in tweets and speeches, the official White House statement attacked the “witch-hunts” led by the special counsel, Robert Mueller, who was investigating Russian interference in the 2016 elections...
While not unexpected, Trump’s move to spare Stone from prison will only increase alarm among critics concerned that the Trump administration has interfered with the justice system in order to shield the president and his friends...

A lot of this has to do with Stone, being one of trump's longest-standing partners and supporters, dropping enough hints to trump that he didn't want to spend one day in a jail cell. A lot of this has to do with trump sending more signals to others - Mike Flynn, still awaiting judgment despite all of Bill Barr's meddling; and Ghislaine Maxwell, a person who can link trump to suspiciously-dead Jeff Epstein involving sex trafficking of young women - than he will commute and pardon them as long as they play ball and keep their mouths shut.

trump and Barr and their Far Right allies can yell and scream "witch hunts" all they want, the thing is when it came time to present trump's cronies and buddies in a courtroom to face accusations, almost all of them were found guilty of at least one criminal offense. We are talking about a group of power elites who used and abused the legal system to use and abuse the worlds of finance and business, wrecking human lives in the process and not giving a damn because someone was always covering their asses. Quaint little quid pro quos to let them keep their hold on power going.

It would be pretty to think that the Democratic House can reopen impeachment hearings, this time involving Barr with his intentional sabotaging of the legal process, to confront trump on his cover-ups and his sins. They still should do something about the findings of the Mueller Report, if they've gotten the unredacted parts of it there is still a chance that could go public.

But it will go nowhere because a Republican Senate will NEVER hold trump accountable. The likes of Mitch McConnell profit from having that crook in the White House. The Republican Party cannot admit to their own crooked passions as they hypocritically and falsely accuse the Democrats of being the "real villains" in all of this.

This is why it matters more than ever to get the damn vote out, America. This is why it matters to vote FOR the Democrats to stop the Republicans from their continued criminal misdeeds. Even in the face of obvious electoral suppression and interference by trump and every other Republican official, voter turnout is the one thing they can't control, they can't cheat if it's too big for them to lie about.

Everything's at stake now, America. trumpian abuse of power HAS to end, and you're the only ones who can stop him.

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

trump, Leave Those Kids And Teachers And Families Alone

This is not gonna end well. Just as half our states are spiking upward on positive COVID-19 cases, trump wants to force all the K-12 schools to fully reopen - meaning ALL the kids, ALL the teachers - by this August. Per Barbara Sprunt at NPR:

President Trump vowed to exert pressure on states to reopen their school districts this fall even as large parts of the country are experiencing a spike in COVID-19 cases.
"We're very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools," Trump said during a roundtable discussion Tuesday afternoon at the White House.
"Get open in the fall. We want your schools open," Trump said...
On Monday, Trump tweeted, "SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!" However, during Tuesday's event, the president said he doesn't want to see the issue politicized.
"We hope that most schools are going to be open. We don't want people to make political statements or do it for political reasons. They think it's gonna be good for them politically so they keep the schools closed," Trump elaborated. "No way."

But trump is the one who's politicizing this. trump refuses to take responsibility as President to handle the pandemic crisis, and yet he blames everyone else for attacking him on it as though his critics are trying to score political points instead of, you know, actually trying to get our country back on track to reduce the infection and death numbers. Back to Sprunt:

Administration officials acknowledged the risk of students spreading the contagion to more vulnerable populations but emphasized that school closures disrupt "critical services to children and their families."
They promised the administration would share "best practices" with states on reopening in accordance with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention but offered no concrete proposals on how states might mitigate risks to students and their families should schools reopen...

In other words, trump's administration is going to wing it. They're going to force the states to come up with the plans and ALL of the funding, because God forbid trump sends any more federal aid to people who AREN'T his deep-pocket buddies.

For all the arguing that trump puts out there, that it's harmful to child development to keep them away from a school environment, it is currently far more riskier sending those children into a school environment that has ALWAYS BEEN a vector of infection. It's personal experience, myself and others for God's sake, every year going back to school late summer - often post-Christmas when we come back from winter trips in flu season - we get a round of flu bugs passing around school because it happens that way. It's just in normal circumstances we're talking a "normal" flu virus that infects quickly, is gone in a week, and kills very rarely. TODAY we're talking a COVID-19 virus that takes weeks to show signs, is easier to spread, causes far greater damage, lasts for months, and can kill one in twenty of us if not more without treatment.

We can risk keeping our kids and our teachers and our communities safe for a year without in-person schooling while waiting for a vaccine by 2021.

But trump dare not wait that long. It's the economic impact of losing school - forcing parents to stay at home to work - that trump fears. Without an uptick in the nation's economy - which affects overall mood - trump is doomed to drop to Dubya-level approvals (low 30s) that cannot win him enough states this November.

So this is trump, trying to bluff the nation, trying to bluff the coronavirus, with a tough-looking move that is guaranteed to backfire the minute one infected kid shows up in a school with a thousand others. And we do not have the testing and screening in place - not now, not by August - to filter out those risks. We've wasted the whole year that could have set up something like that, and now is too late.

If this happens, if trump succeeds in forcing all our schools to open, we're going to have maybe two weeks of borderline calm while trump then forces all the parents back to work to get HIS economic engine chugging again. Two weeks. And then, mid-September probably, we're going to get a spike of positive COVID cases that will make the chart look like a rocket shot. We've seen this already in how the spikes of positive cases shot up after Memorial Day.

And given how lethal COVID is? That will be followed by an October full of dead kids. Across all 50 states, across every school district, at least one child dead.

There are 130,000 plus schools from kindergarten to senior 12th grade.

That's 130,000 children dead from opening the schools too soon. Minimum.

We're already at 130,000 dead from COVID since February in the U.S. We'll be piling on to that tragic number.

And that's not even counting the number of teachers and administrators dying. That's not even counting the number of bus drivers and school workers. That's not counting the number of sick and dying back home when the infected kids go back to pass the virus on to everyone else.

And these should not be viewed as mere numbers. THERE ARE LIVES TO EACH NUMBER WE COUNT GONE. There are names and faces and memories of survivors who are going to be haunted by this, any of us who get out of this nightmare months from now.

Re-opening the schools is a bad idea.

trump and the Republicans - and God help me, my state's governor DeSantis whose lack of leadership on this has been a disaster all its own - are still going to force the re-opening.

We are going to die by the thousands because trump failed to lead.

For the love of God, America. For the love of our friends and our families and our children, America. Stand up and tell trump and his GOP lackeys NO. Please stand now. Please stand now before you're too sick to stand. I am not exaggerating about this.

Saturday, July 04, 2020

Four for the Fourth 2020 Part IV: Quoting Paine

Did I ever quote from Thomas Paine on this site? (via Wikisource)

I thank God, that I fear not. I see no real cause for fear. I know our situation well, and can see the way out of it. While our army was collected, Howe dared not risk a battle; and it is no credit to him that he decamped from the White Plains, and waited a mean opportunity to ravage the defenceless Jerseys; but it is great credit to us, that, with a handful of men, we sustained an orderly retreat for near an hundred miles, brought off our ammunition, all our field pieces, the greatest part of our stores, and had four rivers to pass. None can say that our retreat was precipitate, for we were near three weeks in performing it, that the country might have time to come in. Twice we marched back to meet the enemy, and remained out till dark. The sign of fear was not seen in our camp, and had not some of the cowardly and disaffected inhabitants spread false alarms through the country, the Jerseys had never been ravaged. Once more we are again collected and collecting; our new army at both ends of the continent is recruiting fast, and we shall be able to open the next campaign with sixty thousand men, well armed and clothed. This is our situation, and who will may know it. By perseverance and fortitude we have the prospect of a glorious issue; by cowardice and submission, the sad choice of a variety of evils- a ravaged country- a depopulated city- habitations without safety, and slavery without hope- our homes turned into barracks and bawdy-houses for Hessians trump's Russian allies, and a future race to provide for, whose fathers we shall doubt of. Look on this picture and weep over it! and if there yet remains one thoughtless wretch who believes it not, let him suffer it unlamented.

Okay so I updated it a little bit.

Four For the Fourth 2020 Part III: Speaking of Frederick Douglass On This Day

Mentioned in Part II how the DC statehood movement would rename District of Columbia to Douglass Commonwealth, we need to look back at what Frederick Douglass the man said about the 4th of July.

"What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July" is one of those documents that deserve teaching in schools, recited on holidays, remembered for its impact in spelling out how "freedom to all" didn't really apply to all and that a debt is still owed. The entire speech is available for reading at the Teaching American History website, but the prominent part, the one everyone quotes, is down towards the end of the speech:

What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices, more shocking and bloody, than are the people of these United States, at this very hour...

Douglass proceeded to spell out the injustices and inequities that the system of slavery continued since 1776. He denounced the then-recently passed Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 which essentially opened hunting season on freed Blacks by southern bounty hunters. He condemned the religious hypocrisy - some of which perpetuates to this very day - that allowed so-called Christians to turn away from the cruelty of the slave trade, the beatings and rapes, and other abuses.

We keep seeing these abuses in the police brutality directed towards Black communities. We keep seeing the violations of voting rights as state after state reduces polling places in Black communities. We keep seeing the demonization and criminalization of Black communities by those in power seeking to retain such power in defiance of human liberty.

Today is supposed to be a Day of Independence for all people, for Americans and freedom-seeking men and women everywhere.

We're still not at a place we can guarantee that independence to our own.

That debt is still owed.

Four for the Fourth 2020 Part II: Statehood for DC

One topic that's come up recently, and one that's relevant to our Day of Independence, is the state of statehood for the district that deserves to be a state. Via Barbara Sprunt at NPR:

House Democrats approved a bill Friday afternoon to make the District of Columbia the nation's 51st state.
The vote was 232-180 largely along party and the legislation is expected to go no further in the face of opposition by Republicans in the Senate.
For decades, Washington, D.C., license plates have bemoaned the District of Columbia's lack of statehood, reminding viewers in bold blue letters of its "taxation without representation."
Despite having a population larger than that of Vermont or Wyoming, the District's 700,000 residents don't have anyone voting for their interests on the floor of the House or the Senate...

The history of the District was that the fledgling nation needed a permanent home for its federal government under the Constitution - the preceding Articles of Confederation did not require a permanent address and it had proven confusing and cumbersome to move around half the time - but the Founders also feared a centralized capital would become a cesspool of violence unless Congress had direct control of their security. So they resolved that the capital have NO representation in Congress, not be part of any other state. When they carved out Washington DC, they carved away portions of Maryland and Virginia as the District and tried to make it a politics-free zone (Virginia took back its part - Alexandria, Fairfax, and Arlington - in 1847).

Back in those days, Washington was mostly undeveloped and barely populated with 50,000 by 1850, by comparison nearby Baltimore had 169,000 in 1850. The Federal government itself was minimally staffed with few departments, Congress didn't meet during the hot summers and most everything was handled at the state levels.

Didn't exactly stick.

The Civil War redefined the roles that the Federal government performed, requiring an expansion of the bureaucracy, which meant more local residents living and staying in the district. By the 1930s DC had the population equal to any major U.S. city. After the New Deal and World War II/Cold War expanded the Federal government to its current size, the surrounding metro - bleeding into Maryland and Northern Virginia - made DC a near-equal metropolis to New York, Chicago, or L.A.

As a result, there's currently 650,000 people living in a small almost 10-mile square area that are U.S. citizens... who also have no representation in Congress other than token attendees who can barely do things like show up in committee meetings and birthday parties.

By comparison, Wyoming the smallest populated state at 578,000 or so has a fully empowered House representative and two fully empowered Senators.

The lack of representation at the Federal level causes a lot of local hardships for the residents. Relying on Congressional approval for a lot of things that would normally be covered by a state government, for example. But the loss of political representation always sting.

The fears the Founders had about personal security for the Congress and Executive branches - the fear of mobs and riots - still hasn't been resolved by denying these citizens their rights. We still have mass protests in DC, we've had riots in the area, and yet there's still forces and mechanisms in place to ensure our halls of power are well-protected. None of this is going to change if DC becomes a state.

Statehood for the district is a question of fairness. It is a question of political representation - voting power, civil rights, accountability - for a block of citizens large enough to be a state under any other circumstance. Statehood for DC is a question of self-determination for its residents, and a concern for all fellow Americans.

There is a political element to this fight - given the cultural differences between urban and rural areas has become so partisan that the many rural and less-populated states (that are conservative) outnumber the heavily-populated states (that are liberal) - that makes it unlikely the Republican-controlled Senate will ever play along with DC Statehood. Which is all the more reason for the battleground states with Senate elections this 2020 cycle should vote out the Republican obstructionists and let the Democrats run both House and Senate and ensure DC becomes... um, have we figured out what to rename the place? Washington as a state's already been taken, it won't be a district anymore so DC is irrelevant... Can't call it New Columbia, the mailing address abbreviation would conflict with North Carolina... Oh here we go, the proposed renaming would be Douglass Commonwealth after famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass.

The polling nationwide suggests this is not a popular move, but it should be. Americans should stand for the rights of fellow Americans when it comes to our power to vote, our access to civil liberties, our abilities to elect leadership to serve us. Make DC a state, dammit.

P.S. I am totally for statehood for Puerto Rico. Its status as a territory for almost 100 years has left it vulnerable to budget crises and natural disasters that cry out for statehood to guarantee stronger national support. We've already made Puerto Ricans full citizens back in the 1910s, we need to take the full step towards commitment and make their home a full member of the United States.

Four for the Fourth 2020 Part I: it's Hamilton Time!

As before I shall endeavor to post four times in honor of the 4th of July, so starting off early with some shared YouTube clips of HAMILTON!

Good Lord was that four years ago already when that was a smash Broadway musical that made its tickets the most coveted must-have item since the Tickle-Me Ben Franklin dolls? (ow stop hitting me)

Anyway, it's back in the limelight due to Disney releasing a recorded performance by the original cast from 2016 onto their streaming service. It may seem like a dated, why-did-they-wait-so-long type of move, but Disney had planned for a theatrical release for 2021, and with the COVID-19 pandemic happening and pushing movie releases back further and further the company had both a dilemma and a solution. Having just opened their own streaming service DisneyPlus last year - using the lure of a hit show The Mandalorian to pull in buyers - they have a need to promote "new" content on a regular basis to keep viewers attracted to the service. Releasing Hamilton - arguably one of the biggest cultural entertainment successes of the last 10 years - on the 4th of July weekend was a no-brainer move.

So anyway, can't provide a direct link to the show itself, but here's some clips:

LAFAYETTE! (Cheese-eating surrender monkey, my ass)

HERCULES MULLIGAN! (Yes that name is real)


Speaking of work, gotta think up three more things to blog, so I'm a mind at work! work!

Friday, July 03, 2020

The Numbers That Matter 2020 Edition

If anything keeps me hopeful, it's this: In the 2020 Election cycle trump honestly cannot win.

Some of the things to consider:

trump has done nothing to appeal to a broad range of American voters. Any administrative successes he's had revolve around unpopular actions - a massive tax cut for the super-rich that only benefited Wall Street, an aggressive push to build a border wall against Mexico, a harsh anti-immigration program that has punished families and children especially - or relied on a strong economy that was never that strong in the first place thanks to trump's tariff wars and failures to respond to the current pandemic.

In one of the odder things hurting trump now is the one thing trump relied on to win the Republican primaries and eke out an Electoral College win that November: Racism is now hurting trump at a time it's the only thing he's got. To quote David A. Graham at The Atlantic:

As pollsters are at pains to point out, polls are snapshots and not forecasts; Biden’s lead could dissipate, though this race has been unusually stable so far. Contrary to Trump’s protestations, Biden’s lead as it exists now is real—and given how hard it has been for anything to dent Trump’s carapace, it’s worth examining closely. Stranger still, the impetus appears to be race—something that has been both Trump’s Achilles’ heel and his secret weapon throughout his political career. For some reason, it’s affecting his political standing differently than it has before...
...Polls have consistently shown that Americans disapprove of his response to protests of police violence and believe that he has worsened race relations. In the New York Times/Siena poll, race relations (33 percent) and the protests (29 percent) are the only areas where issue approval lags behind his overall vote preference. In the Harvard/Harris poll, the same two areas earn Trump his worst marks of any issue, though they are still slightly higher than his expected vote.
Voters are right that Trump is worsening race relations and handling the protests poorly. In the past two days alone, the president has retweeted (and then deleted) a video of one of his supporters shouting “White power!” and another of two white supporters pointing guns at black protesters marching past their house...
But why? Perhaps it’s just a matter of what issues are most important to voters right now. There’s always been a sizable contingent of reluctant or conflicted Trump supporters. In 2016 exit polls, only 35 percent of voters said Trump had the temperament to be president, but he won 46 percent of the popular vote. These voters are a familiar staple of news coverage too—the ones who preface their support with “I don’t always like the way he phrases it” or “I wish he would tone it down a little, but …” Until now, these voters may have been able to overlook Trump’s other flaws because he was getting done things they liked. But the pandemic has frozen progress on nearly all of Trump’s policy priorities, insofar as they were still alive anyway. Even if voters approve of Trump’s handling of the economy, it’s no longer much of a positive benefit. And the profusion of news coverage has made issues of race impossible to ignore.
Alternatively, perhaps voters are shifting not just their priorities but their views. As the political scientist Michael Tesler writes, there’s evidence of real shifts in public opinion on race over the past six weeks or so. While views on policing are moving in response to a wide range of incidents, it’s clear that the Floyd case—brutal, senseless, and captured in excruciating clarity on video—has captured white attention in a way other deaths at the hands of police have not...

trump is losing voters among the groups who looked past his earlier racist antics or thought his being in the White House could temper his views. As trump's behavior worsened, however, it seems to have woken a growing number of those who were on the fence to jump off. Given how trump will continue to attack with racism and division, those numbers should get worse for him.

trump's national polling has always wavered in the low 40s, barely ever reaching 50 percent except in various Far Right trackers (and even then not for long). trump's appeal at a state-by-state level hasn't been on that hot either, and considering he's only in the White House due to a state-focused and broken-as-hell Electoral College system, trump does not have any good numbers at all.

Earlier I wrote the only number that mattered was trump's Republican Base: As long as he was as popular with them (in the high 80s-mid-90s) the party leadership wasn't going to do a thing to rein him in (it did not help the Republicans that they wanted a lot of it done anyway because they personally profited from it all).

Today the dynamic is different. To win a general election across enough states to secure the Electoral College, trump has to appeal to the middle-of-the-road, Independent voters to counter the numerical advantages Democrats have. Again, trump has done NOTHING that would appeal to the moderate middle voter set. Where he beat Hillary among No-Party/Indy voters 46-42 percent in the 2016 exit polls, he's trailing Biden with that voter group by about 21 points in the 2020 polls.

This is the other thing hurting trump: Biden is a genuinely more likable figure. Not just a more likable figure than trump - duh - but also a more likable figure than Hillary back in 2016. Where all the negative press Hillary accrued over 25 years as a public figure hurt her, Biden has no such disadvantage even with having a longer public career (and even with a number of faux pas on Biden's resume).

If we can look to what Stanley Greenberg says at The Atlantic about Biden's chances:

But this moment is very different. To start, during the summer and fall of 2016, Clinton never had the kind of national poll lead that Biden now has. She led by an average of four points four months before the election and the same four points just before Election Day. This year, after Biden effectively clinched the nomination, he moved into an average six-point lead over Trump, which has grown to nearly 10 points after the death of George Floyd and the weeks of protests that have followed. The lingering apprehension among Democrats fails to recognize just how much the political landscape has changed since 2016. We are looking at different polls, a different America, and different campaigns with different leaders...
The Clinton campaign’s worst blunder came in September 2016, when the candidate described “half of Trump’s supporters” as “deplorables” and walked right into the white working-class revolt against elites. Her primary campaign against Bernie Sanders had exposed a lack of enthusiasm for her in white working-class suburbs that Barack Obama had won. Her campaign hoped to make up for the lost votes with landslide wins among women, voters of color, and voters in big cities. White working-class voters noticed the lack of respect, and Trump ran up startling margins with them: He won these men by 48 points and women by 27, according to exit polls...

While Biden has said some gaffe-quality stuff about trump's voting base, the media's attempt to float it as a campaign-breaker went nowhere. For one, it happened far too early in 2020 and for another we've had four years to see that Hillary was right. Back to Greenberg:

But much more important than all of that is the sustained, unwavering, and extremely well-documented opposition of the American people to every element of Donald Trump’s sexist, nativist, and racist vision. Indeed, the public’s deep aversion to Trumpism explains why Biden has such a poll lead...

This is where my evaluation of Biden being a Passive-Positive character is going to be a boon to the Democratic Party. Biden's congenial and likable nature on the national stage can help keep that poll lead well into November.

There's a reason why trump and his Republican allies were so desperate to stir up fake scandals against Biden like forcing Ukraine to lie about investigating Biden's son for business dealings there. They were and still are hoping to swiftboat/mudsling Biden down to trump's level of known corruption and vulgarity.

I also wrote a long time ago about first-termers running for re-election back in 2012 when Obama was doing it. As long as the incumbent is genuinely popular with the majority of voters, the incumbent should win. trump is nowhere near genuine popularity and never has been.

So as I said at the beginning of this article, trump has no honest way to win the election in 2020.

Which is why we have every reason to believe trump and his Republican buddies are gonna cheat like hell. Via David Smith at The Guardian:

(Bill) Kristol, editor at large of the Bulwark website and director of the advocacy organisation Defending Democracy Together, said in an interview: “The special circumstances with Trump are his total abandonment of any constraints and even more important, perhaps, his having people around him who’ve abandoned any constraints on the way in which they’ll use the federal government, the executive branch, to say things, do things, pretend to do things.
“Richard Nixon did a little of that in 1972, and of course presidents always tout good news in the months before the election. But this time, it’s the degree to which you could have a real sustained effort to suppress minority voting and not make it easy for young people to vote..."
Voter suppression has haunted US elections for decades but the pandemic presents Trump with new opportunities. States are seeking a massive expansion of mail-in ballots so people do not have risk their health by queuing and voting in person. The president has intensified claims that this will lead to widespread cheating, even though several studies have shown that voter fraud is extremely rare...
His wild words are often backed by organizational muscle and action. The Republican National Committee has devoted $20m to opposing Democratic lawsuits across the country seeking to expand voting. Republicans are also reportedly aiming to recruit up to 50,000 people in 15 key states to serve as poll watchers and challenge the registration of voters they believe are ineligible.
Monika McDermott, a political science professor at Fordham University in New York, said: “What we’re seeing in some primary states is the closures of polling places in African American dominated areas and mistaken purging of Democrats from the voter rolls. Some of this is anecdotal, but it is worrying all the same. And it will, no doubt, continue through the general election...”

What the Republicans are bound to do is reduce the turnout and discourage voters from showing at all, which gives the more extremist voters eager to do it - which favors the Far Right - more power at the ballot box. By shutting down polling precincts in poor and clearly minority communities - especially Blacks who vote as a 90-95 percent bloc for Democrats - they're definitely discouraging turnout.

The closer the GOP can make the numbers between trump and Biden, the likelier they can flip the mid-sized battleground states like Michigan (and big ones like Florida) same as they did against Hillary in 2016, and steal another Electoral College "victory" even if Biden gets 50 percent of the popular vote with a 6-8 million advantage over the less-loved trump.

This is where voter turnout is the one big key for Democrats and Left-leaning voters (and the sizabler anti-trump voting bloc that's grown since 2016). The only way to beat voter suppression is to show up and force your vote through. The best way to stop the Republicans from playing their rigged game of demographics and gerrymandering is to give Biden such leads in enough states that there's no way it will get "too close to call." They can't rig the machines enough to undercount or misvote every pro-Biden check that gets plugged in. They can't hide it if 500,000 people vote for Biden and pretend it was 250,000. There's only so much the GOP can do before enough people take notice and do something about it.

Get the damn vote out, America. To every anti-trump out there, this is your chance to throat-punch that Shitgibbon. To every Liberal, every Progressive, time to realize you're in the same damn boat and vote with unity. To every person horrified by trump's hatred and sexism, rise up and be counted, dammit.

Don't let the polls distract you. They should motivate us to show up and fulfill the hopes those polls are asking for. OUR NUMBERS MATTER. Let's do this.