Category Archives: 2020 Election

Sign of the times. Or, how to not kill people on accident

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You are in motion. You may not realize this, but you are, even while you think you are standing still. Long ago physicists realized that everything is in motion, but they probably were not thinking of you. But I am thinking of you, and you are in motion.

Let me sharpen the point of this polemic so you get it right away. You are on a subway platform (a subway is like a train but it runs underground, in case you are in the Midwest or something) and you are in motion. When you move around on the platform, you may randomly bump into someone, and then maybe they bump into someone else. And so on. Every now and then, somebody is bumped off the platform and onto the tracks, and right away the subway (underground train) comes by (the engineer is a guy named Murphy) and runs that person over.

Did you see that part where you are in motion, and that actually caused someone to get run over by Murphy’s subway?

If you don’t vote, that is not not doing something. You are in motion, remember? Just “sanding there” not voting has consequences. You didn’t vote, you knocked someone off the subway platform. Get it?

I live in a suburban townhouse complex. Those of you who have always known me will know that I wasn’t born in one, never lived in them for most of my life, and it may be a bit of a surprise, but I almost never chose where I live (or what car I drove, for that matter) partly because there are other things I chose to choose instead. Anyway, here I am in this suburban townhouse complex in an outer ring white flight bedroom community of the Twin Cities. It is campaign season, and it is time for me to put out my campaign signs. Maybe a BLM sign and maybe a Vote Climate sign. I’ll probably mix them up, move them around, keep them visible and busy. Keep them in motion. Because I am in motion, and I confer some of that motion to my lawn signs. (I quickly add: In this political district, lawn signs do vote. You should see them on election day, springing along on their spindly little legs over to the polling place at the community center. But I digress.)

Naturally, the lawn signs cause a controversy. Sort of. Two things are in motion at the same time. Someone complained about lawn signs. The representative from our HOA’s management company swings into motion. A lawyer is consulted. The presumption is that the signs are bad. The presumption is that they are illegal. Oh no, wait, look it up, they are not illegal. But there are limits. Limits I say! Limits on time and limits on space, and damn well better move them when the vast green lawns are getting their grooming. Those who go beyond the limits must be told “No, no, that is a no-no!” We don’t want controversy. We don’t want the “liberal media” (yes, that term was actually used by the lawyer) to write a story about us! No no. Heavens no.

I’m on the board of the HOA, so I see this stuff in motion.

Meanwhile, I sit on my porch, with my lawn signs out there. My actual neighbors come by. “Hey, can I get one of those signs?” “Hey, can I get one of those other signs?” The signs cleverly stashed in my garage are in motion. They are marching on their spindly legs across the neighborhood and planting in the lawns everywhere. This is a sign of something, I figure.

So I delve into the email flurry about the law and the signs and the perception and the liberal media. I say, look, change your attitude. We need more, not fewer, signs. Do you not realize that sitting there in your Daly City inspired little townhouse in the white flight bedroom community suburb and grumpily scanning your neighbors’ lawns for signs of signs is exactly how you knock people, innocent people who did you no harm, and often, innocent people who actually require your protection and not your attack on them, off the subway platform into the unforgiving path of Murphy’s subway car? Do you not get this? “More signs!” I say. Put them in motion!

Move over, people who think they are standing still, and are satisfied with that, who even think it is the way to be. Everything is at risk right now. Every thing. Move purposefully, because you are, right now, moving randomly. There is no still. There is only do.


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The War On Science Is Over, Though The Fight Continues

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The Battle of New Orleans, one of the major battles of the War of 1812, was fought on January 8th, 1815. The War of 1812 had ended the previous December. Awkward. In South Africa, the “Second Boer War” broke out for a number of reasons, but the common thread was about how the various territories of the region should be organized and governed. War was declared in October 1899, and formally ended on May 31st, 1902. The political and ideological struggle continued, and it was not until 1910 that the first official agreement to address the initial reasons for the war emerged. But even after that the struggle continued. The American Civil War ended on April 9th, 1865. A half dozen major battles and 16 months later, the fighting in that ended war petered out. The ideological struggle related to that war continues today, and thousands have died over it, after it was over.

A purely ideological war (though not without material casualties) is the war against the teaching of evolution in American public schools. There was a lot of action in that war throughout much of the 20th century. On December 20th, 2005, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania decided Tammy Kitzmiller vs. Dover Area School District in favor of the science of evolution being taught unfettered, and identified the last breath of a pseudo-scientific creationist doctrine as an expression of religion. Sure, people still continued to fight over the issue, but after the Dover decision, there were very few significant fights in public schools over evolution, the battles being brought to state legislatures, where they never took root because of Dover. Fighting continued, ideological battles continued, just like in all those other wars, but the war on evolution in the US public school system ended in December 2005.

I declare the war on science over this month, July, 2020. Nice round patriotic number. We can pick a date later after history has sorted out some details. But the war ended when this happened: American anti science forces having spent months telling people that Covid-19 was a hoax, not really deadly, not really as bad as it seemed, and that masks did not really matter … well, they started wearing masks. Pence and Trump surrendered the war when they said wear masks. The people in my local grocery store, that had been not wearing masks, masked up. The end. War over.

Most of my friends are pedantic skeptics, just like you dear reader, and you won’t let me say that the war on science is over because bla bla bla bla. That is why I wrote the little introduction at the beginning of this blog post. If we treat every thing like we were Wikipedia editors, than every thing would be slightly to very warped and things like wars would never be over. Get over it. This war is over, even if sporadic fighting continues until the Sun expands.

By the way, did you notice that there are some wars that actually unambiguously end, like World War II? Do you know why they get to end but other wars, from a pedantic perspective, never do? I’m not sure but I think those are wars started by individuals, or small groups of different kings or leaders, then when the opposition (usually, the good guys) catch up to them and put them down, the war ends, more or less instantly. But I digress.

There is still a fight, there are still more fights over science and justice and all that. But the systematic Republican controlled war on science in America got won. By us.

Mask up!


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Donald Trump Says: “Do not buy this book.”

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This is the description of Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man by Mary Trump.

In this revelatory, authoritative portrait of Donald J. Trump and the toxic family that made him, Mary L. Trump, a trained clinical psychologist and Donald’s only niece, shines a bright light on the dark history of their family in order to explain how her uncle became the man who now threatens the world’s health, economic security, and social fabric.

Mary Trump spent much of her childhood in her grandparents’ large, imposing house in the heart of Queens, where Donald and his four siblings grew up. She describes a nightmare of traumas, destructive relationships, and a tragic combination of neglect and abuse. She explains how specific events and general family patterns created the damaged man who currently occupies the Oval Office, including the strange and harmful relationship between Fred Trump and his two oldest sons, Fred Jr. and Donald.

A firsthand witness to countless holiday meals and family interactions, Mary brings an incisive wit and unexpected humor to sometimes grim, often confounding family events. She recounts in unsparing detail everything from her uncle Donald’s place in the family spotlight and Ivana’s penchant for regifting to her grandmother’s frequent injuries and illnesses and the appalling way Donald, Fred Trump’s favorite son, dismissed and derided him when he began to succumb to Alzheimer’s.

Numerous pundits, armchair psychologists, and journalists have sought to parse Donald J. Trump’s lethal flaws. Mary L. Trump has the education, insight, and intimate familiarity needed to reveal what makes Donald, and the rest of her clan, tick. She alone can recount this fascinating, unnerving saga, not just because of her insider’s perspective but also because she is the only Trump willing to tell the truth about one of the world’s most powerful and dysfunctional families.


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How Trump Ends: A Fantasy

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During the rally in Tulsa, Trump jokes. (Read the following with your best internal Trump voice)

“I know some of you, maybe many of you. Many many. Maybe, I know, many of you will get COVID. The Chinese Flu, I call it. I call it the Chi-Neez flu. I know many many of you will get it because you are here with me today. All crowded in. And boy, do I love to see the crowd. All crowded in together.

Please, though, don’t die before November 3rd, alright? I need you to vote. Not that I need you, really, I’ll win anyway. But it would be nice if you lived long enough to vote.”

Over the next 30 minutes the penny drops. Thousands of pennies drop. The crown starts to leave, then streams out, like Minnesotans to their cars halfway through a Twins game during a bad season.

And from there on it, Trump, all of it, dwindles away.

The penny drops idiom

British, informal

—used to say that someone finally understands something after not understanding it for a time.

Example:

I had to explain it to him three times, but finally the penny dropped.


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Evidence that Trump might be a dictator emerges. Everyone is really surprised.

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Trump’s fake justice department is going after John Bolton, to stop the publication of his book “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir.” It is said the book contains significant damning evidence of Trump wrongdoing.

Important subplot: Trump says he officially classifies all conversations he ever had with Bolton about anything. Therefore, if Bolton reveals any conversation at all, that he is a criminal, and will hopefully be prosecuted.

This is what dictators do. They play with the law. Trump, as dictator, could just declare Bolton to be a traitor and have him arrested and sent to Gitmo (maybe Trump doesn’t know he has that power?) but he plays around with it like this, makes the point more clear: Anyone who interferes with Trump’s power is in trouble.

And that, dear fellow voter, includes you.

Details here.


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Trump, Tulsa, COVID-19’s Wet Dream, Just Desserts

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The 19th of June is Juneteenth.

It celebrates one date in a series of dates at the end of the Civil War when African Americans who were slaves gained their freedom in either legal or pragmatic terms.

That freedom did not, of course, end racial violence. One example of racial violence was the Tulsa Massacre, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. You can go read about it. Nobody really knows how bad it was. Thousands of African American people were burned out of their homes, interned, wounded or killed. Whites died as well. That happened at the end of May, 1921.

We are having a pandemic and there are concerns that large indoor gatherings would spread the infection.

We are having a revolution in which Americans are being forced to come to terms with deeply ingraned, systemic, and systematic racism that involves the widespread incarceration and murder of African Americans, many men. The number of African Americans incarcerated and killed each year in America exceeds that which occurred at the Tulsa Massacre, or approximately so, by my estimation.

So, naturally, Donald Trump is planning a huge indoor rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Juneteenth.

The White House has issued a statement that Trump’s choice of Juneteenth for this rally is entirely a coincidence. They also issued a statement that Trump chose Juneteenth because African Americans are very “near and dear” to his heart.

Three thoughts come to mind.

1) People who reject science, and are willing to embrace Trump’s anti-science yammering, are walking into a death trap. Have a nice death trap. Shame on you for the people you will secondarily infect. Do not come near me or my family after this rally.

2) With enough people in a large venue inside, breathing, Trump will have maximal chance of being infected with the virus and getting COVID-19. This rally could kill him. It would be the end of a long national nightmare. We can only hope this is a suicide rally for Trump, because he is killing us and that has to top.

3) It would be funny if very few people showed up at the rally. It is possible. Such things have happened before.


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Republcian Rep Matthew Grossell: Be prepared to defend the Republic!

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Representative Matthew Grossell, of the Minnesota Legislature, tells us to “be prepared to defend this republic” from protesters calling for racial equity and criminal justice reform.

Ex cop Grossell calls for citizens to take up arms against anti-racism protests.
Grossell is a rep from District 2A, which is one of the most famous districts in Minnesota because it is where we find International Falls, often cited in national weather reports as having the lowest temperature in the connected 48 states.

Grossell has deemed the George Floyd Protests Are “Evil” & “Not About Race,” “a coordinated attack on our God given freedoms”, “a springboard for an alter agenda to destroy this republic and any other free nation around the world”, “not about race”, “an attempt to divide us as Americans”, and “the lies and deceit of evil.”

Grossell’s gross sell is being criticized by the Minnesota DFL (Democratic) party, who call this an “unhinged social media tirade … in which Grossell attacks the protests calling for justice and reform that erupted in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and appears to call for violence to be used against protesters.

We know Grossell is a typical Republican, and he proves it with his remarks. My question is, does his expressed point of view reflect the thinking of the good people of his district? I know several people who live in 2B, and no, it does not as far as I can tell. Grossell is out of step and needs to be replaced.

Just so you know I’m not cherry picking, here is the full text of Grossell’s Facebook post:

What’s on my mind is this folks, as I look at what is going on across the state, across the nation and across the world. One thing stays in my heart and mind, this is a coordinated attack on our God given freedoms as written in the Constitution of these United States. The tragic death of one man has been used as a springboard for an alter agenda to destroy this republic and any other free nation around the world. This is not about race though it is being used in an attempt to divide us as Americans. We must not let the lies and deceit of evil divide us and we must stand ready to defend this nation, this republic, the land of the free the home of the brave. I took an oath as a soldier, a law enforcement officer and now as a state representative to uphold the Constitution and I have never been relieved of that oath nor will I ever give it up. I call upon my brothers and sisters across this state, this nation and around the world to stand ready to face this evil, which will never be appeased by compromise nor will it ever stop taking until it has taken every freedom we hold dear, and stop it dead in its tracks. It was said somewhere by a wise individual ‘all evil needs to get a foothold is for good men to do nothing’. So I call upon my brothers and sisters to first and foremost pray and secondly to be prepared to defend this republic, the land of the free the home of the brave! We are one nation under God and it’s time for us to stand ready to defend this nation this republic which God has so graciously given us. Please share this as far and wide as you possibly can. Thank you, God’s blessings and protection cover us all.

This is a state representative calling for his fellow citizens to take up arms against those who want change. I think he should be censured.


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American Racism, Confederate Trappings, And this, too, shall melt away

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A pottery cone is a cone-shaped object made of a pyro-sensitive material (in the early days, some kind of clay) so when a pottery kiln reaches a certain temperature, the cone droops. Pottery kilns are made with a tiny window one can look through and if your eye doesn’t melt (don’t worry, there are provisions for this) you can see which of a series of different cones have melted, and thus estimate the temperature of the kiln. You then add fuel if necessary, and keep a record and an eye on the clock, and over time your pottery fires just right.

The pottery cone, reaching a certain level of heat and then falling over, is a metaphor for Confederate monuments in America. The perennial racism-fueled conflict between white supremacists and everyone else flows and moves, waxes and wanes, and always generates heat. Every now and then enough heat is generated, and some sort of civil meltdown occurs in relation to one of these statues. This has happened since the very first months after the Civil War. It has happened more frequently, it has been more widespread, and it has been accompanied by much greater heat, in recent years. So, the statues are drooping, in their own way, like the pottery cones.

The falling statues are the direct result of activism, but they are also metaphors in their own right. They are metaphors of a changing demographic. The racist and classist cancer that infects society in the United States is perpetuated mainly by less educated white men, and although it appears in other societal tissues to some degree, that is currently the main source of the disease. Progressive minded people have been engaged in an open conspiracy for decades now, consisting of two parts: 1) Educate more, and 2) make sure “education” remains education and does not become indoctrination (or it wont’ work). This conspiracy has been only modestly successful, so the number of metastasizing cells, as it were, has not diminished much via liberal education.

But racism is becoming unfashionable, and that is probably the best thing that could happen to it. What was once de riguer, or at least, not something one complains about, in all areas of white or white-ish society, is now widely recognized as bad. Active racists know this, and they revel in its badness, with the new war cry of “make the liberals cry.” The key difference between now and 50 years ago is this: Out of fashion, racism is not recruiting from the young as much as it could, and is withdrawing rapidly from many areas it once held sway. This means the source, less educated white men, are aging as a demographic.

Racism in America will ultimately be addressed by the death of most of the racists.

Most people will react to this idea with the following, or something like it: “But racism will always be there, because of the basic nature of human beings.” This is one of the great lies of racism, that racism is natural, inevitable, and therefore, possibly, normal and even good. This is the Naturalistic Fallacy being used to excuse or underwrite nefarious behavior. Don’t be fooled by that fallacy. Also, despite the fact that we find racism of one sort or another in many societies, you need to know that American racism is it’s own thing. Racism in modern America grows out of American history. American slavery, American immigration, American isolationism, the American frontier, and many other things American are either unique, or at least, very different in America than any other place or time, and the combination is utterly unique. It is not some sort of demented American exceptionalism to claim that running a physically large country (or set of closely interactive colonies) for centuries on the back of widespread slavery, so that most of the people in the slave regions were the slaves themselves, is unique. (The Caribbean of course is part of this story, but lets not give this discussion over to the professional historians until we hit the comment section below.)

To understand this better, consider just one aspect of racism against East Asian people in America. In the 19th century, Chinese people, usually imported workers, were viewed, literally and unabashedly, by most white Americans, as subhuman. There wasn’t even a little apology there. They were a form of monkey that could talk in a lot of white people’s minds. The legislation to keep them out, the norms and regulations that gave Chinese workers less protection than the mules that died along with them building railroads across the mountains, clearly document this, as do the depictions and writings of the time.

Today, a different belief about East Asians pervades American culture. While many of the White Supremacists may view East Asian people as subhuman (I don’t put much past them), today East Asians are more often viewed as superior (like how well the kids do in school), of a more effective or demanding culture (how the parents of those school kids keep things under control) of greater physical prowess (East Asian marshal arts have redefined American fighting) and more gentile and artistic (see all the Asian influence in all the arts) all at the same time. Now also consider the plight of the Irish, considered sub human (again, monkeys that can sort of talk), or the Italians (monkeys that can talk very loudly) or the Polish or other Eastern European groups, and so on and so forth. All of these groups went through a period of intense denigration, were the subject of attack and murder, and economic disenfranchisement. Until the weren’t. That all went away. We see almost no remnant in day to day life of any of that.

American Racism is centered on, and consists mainly of, disdain for African Americans, the descendants of kidnapped Africans bred as a slave population on which our economy was based, and from which our country grew strong. This core of American racism is different from the other, just mentioned, racist historical trends, let alone racism among humans in general.

Yes, American Racism is big, bad, ugly, utterly unique, and most importantly, American racism exists because of its own specific history. Anything that arises from context and history can be put down with new context and future, if that future is unfriendly to it. White supremacy reproduced itself generation after generation in America not because it is innate, but because it is very large and very strong, very convenient, money-making, and desired even by those not directly engaged in the most obvious forms of it.

But now, the cones are melting. The reasons racism is good are melting away. Racism against African Americans is no longer economically neutral or convenient for an increasingly large part of the white dominated business world. In fact it can be downright damaging. It is hard to find a city or state where a wink and a nod in favor of racism increases your vote count. Individuals with histories tied to the American racist model are politically doomed these days, but not in the old days, where the “old days” were five years ago or so. Prosecutors who rode the law-and-order wave of recent decades are increasingly inviable as candidates for executive office, because that “law and order” movement is what made Americans the most incarcerated population in the world, with a strong racial bias. An up and coming mover and shaker who wore blackface to his frat party is no longer seen as a mere doofus. The societal and cultural feedback loops have been breaking for some time, but in recent years, they are being systematically identified and ripped asunder. This is one of the key roles of the phrase “Black Lives Matter.” It is an ironic statement designed to pop the racist mole so it can be solidly, and with finality, whacked.

I am not suggesting that racism in America is suddenly over, or that it is going to become unimportant any time soon. Rather, I’m saying these three things. 1) Racism of the kind we see in America is not a mere reflection of human nature, and to see it as such is not only factually wrong, but defeatist; 2) while American racism is big and complex and should not be underestimated, if it was a disease, it would be best cured by cutting out that one element of society that keeps it going, less educated white men; and 3) we need to keep up the pressure, to stop them from recruiting or spreading their culture, over the next 30 years while most of them die off. Under current conditions, with Covid-19, the tendency of these very men to also disdain science may speed the process. We can talk about that after a 30 day period following the upcoming in-person Republican National Convention sans mask.

Of course, we speak here in statistical generalities. Lots of less educated white men are not contributing to this problem. But the demographic of less educated white men has a lot of ‘splainin to do.


“It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words, “And this too, shall pass away.” How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction!”

  • Abraham Lincoln

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The Amy Klobuchar Lie and George Floyd’s killer

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Derek Chauvin has four known incidents of note in his history as a cop or cop-like person. In the first one, he was one of several officers involved in an incident involving both citizen and police officer violence, but when this was looked into, no action was taken because the actions of the cops were seen as justified. Chauvin was only marginally involved in that one. The next three may have involved much less justified police behavior, and Chauvin was directly involved.

One of the latest, persistent, and pernicious Internet memes is that Amy Klobuchar can no longer be considered a vice presidential candidate because she was the prosecutor who failed to investigate or charge Chauvin for those first three. The fourth incident is, of course, Chauvin’s cold blooded and very public murder of George Floyd just a few days ago.

The theory that Kloubchar should have prosecuted Chauvin is deeply and, even, absurdly flawed, however. As noted, the first incident was not of interest in this regard. The second incident happened in a different county than the one in which then prosecutor Amy Klobuchar worked. For her to have prosecuted someone in a different county would have been extraordinary. (And no, Chauvin was not working at the time as a cop in Klobuchar’s county, Hennepin.) The third incident occurred when Klobuchar was a United States Senator, not the Hennpin County prosecutor.

When I pointed out these difficulties with the theory on a friend’s very long Facebook comment thread on this topic, my comments were deleted. In another instance on Facebook, a person, faced with the truth, stated that there are many, many police incidents that are not known to anyone because they are kept secret, and that is where we see the evidence against Kloubchar. (Added: More recently, I’m now getting threats of violence because I’m perceived as supporting Klobuchar for VP. Which as I’ve made clear, I’m not. But seriously? Threatening my family because you are illiterate? But I digress…)

Let us pause for a moment of silence, during which time you can click on this link to the Conspiracy Handbook.

Are we back? Ok.

ADDED: Because there is already some conspiratorial pushback on this post, I want to be very clear. The people complaining about Klobuchar vis-a-vis Chauvin cite three incidents.

1) 2006, as one of six Minneapolis third precinct cops who responded to a stabbing. The suspect fled, then got out of his vechile wielding a shotgun. He was shot by several of the cops in pursuit. The cops were cleared in that shooting.

2) Soon after, there was a complaint against him in Lino Lakes That case involved a law suit, which is not the purview of the district attorney, and it was dismissed. Lino Lakes is in Anoka County, Klobuchar was CA in Hennepin County.

… Klobuchar was elected to the Senate in 2006 and started to serve in January 2007 …

3) In 2008 … well, who really cares what happened vis-a-vis Chauvin and Klobuchar in 2008, she was in the Senate.

Sources: CNN, NBC, Wikipedia.

ALSO ADDED: It turns out that Chauvin and George Floyd knew each other They both worked as bouncers or security over a 17 year period at the same club. This is not the point of this post, but it seems important to note, though I’m not sure yet why it is important. I’ll quickly add that the neighborhood where this all happened, where I lived for several years, is pretty tight. Lots of people know lots of other people, and it is part of the culture of that part of town to be friendly and to know your neighbors, attend common events, etc. So this may mean nothing. Or it could mean a lot, we’ll see.

This attack on Klobuchar appears to be systematic, wide spread, and very successful. I am not sure if I can say yet if it is her political rivals within the Democratic Party, the Republicans, or some outside influence like the Putin/Trump gang. It feels like rivals from within the party, though, because their method is usually to make up things that may be totally unbelievable, then repeat them a few times, then duck and cover. I don’t know why that is their method, but it is.

Some people have gotten really mad at me for “defending” Klobuchar. It does not matter to them that I am not actually defending Klobuchar, and that I’m not even supporting her to be Biden’s Vice Presidential running mate (see below). What I am defending is the truth, and I’m questioning what looks to me like an inappropriate political hit job.

But let us talk about Klobuchar as a VP or Presidential candidate for just a second. Well, not really “let us talk,” more like “I’m going to talk for a second, you can listen if you want.”

Klobuchar was a successful prosecutor during a period in our recent history when we (the people, in majority, not necessarily you or me) demanded tough prosecutors. This was the latter part of the era in which we, Americans the ultimate Asshats, incarcerated more people, and generally people of color, than anyone had been incarcerating across the world. Prosecutors were doing the jobs we hired them to do. Now, some of those prosecutors are in other lines of work. It may well be possible that people like Amy Klobuchar and Kamala Harris can never really run for President or be a Vice President for this reason. So be it.

That does not happen to be why I’m not a supporter of Klobuchar for president, though. My consideration of this issue doesn’t even get that far. We actually have significant policy differences, but I regard that as less important than some might because policy is set by Congress in those particular areas. I mostly don’t want Klobuchar in the presidential race because I want her as Senator. “As senator?!!?” you might think. “But, but, but…” you might think. But hear me out.

I am something of a student of Minnesota politics these days. If you are as well, I’m sure you’ll agree with me on this, because I’m mainly referring to basic facts. Minnesotans tend to send more Republicans than you might think to Congress. Minnesota is one of only two places that went against the Blue Wave two years ago in our Congressional delegation, net. In the past, we sent the man regarded as the Worst Senator in Washington DC, Norm Coleman to the Senate. Twice. And the first time it was because we got mad at the Wellstone family for articulating progressive Democratic values at a funeral. That is the reason Norm Coleman was Senator for two terms.

I’ve spent a lot more time than ,many of my Twin Cities associates and friends communicating with Rural Minnesotans. I’ve had this conversation:

“You can’t possibly tell you would vote for Trump.”

“I voted for him last time, I’ll vote for him again.”

“But he’s bad for farmers, and the environment, and everything you have here in this county is farming and environmental tourism.”

“Oh, no, that’s just his game. He’s on our side, believe me. He’s great.”

“Do you usually vote for Republicans?”

“Oh, yes, all the time, they are on my side.”

“So, Klobuchar, what about…”

“Amy’s great! I love Amy!”

So, there you go. Keep Senator Klobuchar in the Senate, maybe we get to keep sending two Democrats to Washington. Same with Al Franken, by the way. The Klobucahr-Franken team was effective at keeping Minnesota blue in the Senate. These days, even with a strong Trump Backlash, we are on tenuous ground here.


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How The Pandemic Ends

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The gold standard, the ones to beat, the top dog, brain trust magnate, 800 pound gorilla, paragon, cream of the crop, and the one head and shoulders above all others, in the matter of a Covid-19 vaccine, is Oxford.

The group at Oxford already made a Coronavirus vaccine, for MERS, but it never underwent final testing and deployment. Not enough people were getting sick from MERS, and it was under control.

This group is optimistic about having a vaccine in September of this year. Give them a month leeway, a few months for emergency intensified field testing, and some extra time to ramp up production and negotiate liability issues, and we could have a world wide vaccination program well under way by the end of January.

Between now and, say, August 15th, the medicos will have developed and deployed a half dozen nursing, ER, and IC procedures that drop the death rate of the most severely ill well below its near 90% level, to maybe half, and various treatments, therapies, and all will drop the number who go from diagnosed to severe down by a double digit percent.

Although natural herd immunity would take multiple waves and years, a certain reduction of infection rate happens at any percentage. New normal practices will have adapted to slow the disease. By mid September there will be parts of the US, and various smaller sized countries, where COVID-19 will become rare or nearly non existent, even as new hotspots emerge. But even those hotspots will be dealt with better than the US addressed this disaster in the early week.

But the flareups will be severe, and in most cases, caused by politically driven Republican strategies cheered on by Trump and sullenly overseen by Pence. The carnage will continue to be so bad, and the response to it by Trump and his gang of Republicans so inept and inextricably linked to nefarious side bets and deals, that there is a non-zero chance his administration will not still be in place on election day, November 3rd. Either way, Trump will be voted out of office on November 3rd, and probably dragged from the White House and impaled with a broom stick well before inauguration day by angry tourists and DC residents after he attempts to annul the election results. There is a non-zero chance that the 46th President of the United States will be Speaker Pelozi, for the several days between Trump and Pence’s awkward and painful departure (captured on hundreds of cell phones) and the inauguration of President Joe Biden.

There will be no Biden Inaugural Ball and his Inauguration speech will be on Zoom, But his first act will be to sign the 2021 Rapid Immunization Order, speeding up the delivery of the vaccine already developed by Oxford and manufactured everywhere but the United States even as Jared Kushner tries to get his vaccine (which is fatal to 1 in 200 who are injected with it, and does not actually protect against COVID-19) to be the legally required stick.

But I digress.

Schools will not reopen in the Fall, but by Spring it will be possible to have limited activities, as vaccination spreads faster than COVID-19 itself ever did. Kids who come from anti-Vax families will be shunned, and hate their parents forever, because they won’t be allowed to go to the 2021 proms and graduation ceremonies, which will be endlessly televised and smeared across social media until we are giddily sick of them.

By the end of 2021, the virus will be history (except in the Congo, where all diseases go to retire securely), social distancing will be a fond memory (for everyone with sensory processing disorder), and our new society, led by science and reason, will begin the process of building windmills instead of tilting at them.


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The limit I place on your yammering

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You know who you are. This may or may not be for you, but if it is not, feel free to pass on to others who are, well, asking to be told off in this particular manner.

I don’t have time or energy to deal with individuals who do not get the fact that you fight for your most bestest beloved ideal candidate in the primaries, then drop that fetish and get behind the one picked by the majority of people in your party, then work just as hard for that one.

Working less hard for that one is OK as long as you don’t constantly whine about it, or otherwise hurt the candidate chosen by the majority. Anything short of that is your own little world of fascism, where your idea is the only valid idea and the majority does not rule. That is unacceptable.

Conspiracy theory or other made up crap to justify your inappropriate position by saying it wasn’t really majority rule, the system is rigged, is also not acceptable. The process is designed openly and by people just as committed to a better world as you are. If you want the process to be different, get involved. If you think that cant work, buy me a beer after the plague is over and I’ll spend a few hours going over how I and others have in fact changed the system by getting involved, in our own ways, in a consensus building grass roots process. But probably, if this message really is for you, you won’t survive in a consensus building grass roots process anyway.

The good news: The sense that the system is rigged against you, and that your minority view is the one everyone else should adopt, eventually goes away as you mature. There is always that.

That is all.

PS, yes, the title of this post is designed to annoy you, just for fun.


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Republican COVID-19 Denier Senator Scott Jensen Caught Golfing On Zoom Meeting

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Here’s the video of recent MN Senate Health Care Policy Bill hearings.

In it we can see ample evidence that Senator Scott Jensen, a Republican COVID-19 denier, was golfing during the meeting. My favorite moment is when Senator Hayden asks him “How are you hitting, out there?”

5:39 – Jensen is seen driving at the beginning of the meeting
17:49, 19:01 – The sound of golf is clearly audible
18:13 – Jensen is visible outdoors and someone can be seen with golf clubs behind him, despite Jensen’s efforts to obscure this by holding his camera close to his face
38:14 – A conversation, presumably between Jensen’s golf buddies, is clearly audible during the committee hearing
50:44, 56:30 – Jensen is clearly sitting in a golf cart.
50:55 – Jensen’s golf cart gets so loud that it disrupts the meeting and folks are asked to mute microphones.
51:10 – Senator Hayden jumps in to “ask Senator Jensen how’s he hitting them out there?”

From the DFL: “Senator Jensen has been an extremely prominent voice casting doubt on the death toll of the COVID-19, appearing on the Ingraham angle twice and fueling conspiracy theories all across the internet. Jensen’s claims on the COVID-19 death toll have been labeled false by numerous fact-checkers.

Recently, Jensen appeared on a web show hosted by Del Bigtree, a noted anti-vaccination conspiracy theorist who has advised healthy people to avoid any eventual COVID-19 vaccine. Jensen has also shared a widely debunked video featuring two California urgent care doctors who cast doubt on the seriousness of COVID-19 and recommend ending Stay at Home Orders immediately.”


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What will happen on Super Tuesday 2020? (Updated to exclude Buttigieg and Klobuchar)

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Super Tuesday is coming up, and I have my predictions.

Last cycle, I predicted the relative performance of Sanders and Clinton in each race, and my predictions were uncannily accurate. I did better than polling and other predicting agencies or individuals. This year, things are more complicated, and I have less confidence now than I did near the end of the last primary cycle. One reason is the larger number of candidates that are not as clearly distinct. Another reason is Bloomberg. It is simply hard to tell what effect he is having.

A third point of difficulty is, of course, those odd states. Minnesota is one of these this year, since Senator Kobuchar is popular here, so a model based any information outside of Minnesota does not help. Same with Vermont (Sanders).

This model is a little complex so I’ll explain how it works. The simple version is that I predict the performance of each candidate, in absolute terms (but incidentally scaled from 0 to 100) based on a regression model using ethnic makeup of each state. The regression model is derived from actual performance of that individual (out of 100% among the investigated individuals). However, the “actual performance” data exists only for Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. This is not enough data, and it is for various reasons screwy data. So, I add in the polling data form the better polled states (such as California, Texas, etc.) So actual and polling data from 13 states are used to predict all of the states. Since some of those polling states are on Super Tuesday and some are not, the resulting table of data includes a mix of polling and prediction. This is fair because those polling data are used IN the prediction.

The original ethnic data included various flavors of Asian and Hispanic numbers. when including these numbers, statistical confidence dropped. As was the case last cycle, the best predictive data is simply percentage of white vs black in a state. This makes sense for a lot of reasons we can discuss at another time. I will simply point out at this time that when it comes do Democratic Primary and Caucus results, #BLM in a big way.

R-squared values for the regression runs was generally close to 0.85.

Bottom line: Sanders comes in first in most states, with Biden second in number of firsts. But remember, this is a delegate fight, so the number of delegates matters.

I’m not going to try to predict the number of delegates since that is so dependent on things like the 15% threshold that it would be easier to just wait until Wednesday and see how it comes out!

Here are my predictions, UPDATED to reflect recent changes in the field of candidates:

Greg’s Predictions for 2020 Super Tuesday, Democratic Primaries.

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