Monday, November 29, 2021

AOC 2028: Green New Deal Nation

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

November 24

He Convinced Voters He Would Be Like Merkel. But Who Is Olaf Scholz? Germany’s next chancellor is something of an enigma. He comes to power with a dizzying array of challenges, raising questions about whether he can fill the very big shoes of his predecessor......... Terse, well-briefed and abstaining from any gesture of triumph ........ he perfected the art of embodying her aura of stability and calm to the point of holding his hands together in her signature diamond shape. .........

“He’s like a soccer player who studied videos of another player and changed his game”

............ Rarely has a German leader come into office with so many burning crises. As soon as he is sworn in as chancellor in early December, Mr. Scholz will have to deal with a surging pandemic, tensions at the Polish-Belarussian border, a Russian president mobilizing troops on Ukraine’s eastern border, a more confrontational China and a less dependable United States. ........ and served in two governments led by Ms. Merkel’s Christian Democratic Party, most recently as her finance minister. ....... Mr. Scholz grew up in Hamburg, the city he would later run as mayor. His grandfather was a railway man, his parents worked in textiles. He and his brothers were the first in his family to go to university. ........ the youthful idealist who mellowed into a post-ideological centrist might be turning more radical again in his 60s. ........ Three years ago, when his party’s approval ratings were hovering near record lows, he told The New York Times that the Social Democrats would win the next election. ...........

Like Ms. Merkel, he has a reputation for being a safe pair of hands and a decent person with a bipartisan aura.

.......... keeping the peace in an unusual and untested three-way coalition with two ideologically divergent parties: the progressive Greens, who want to spend 50 billion euros, or about $56 billion, on a green transition, and the pro-market Free Democrats, who will control the finance ministry and with it the purse strings. .......... if things go smoothly, Mr. Scholz’ Germany could turn out to be a pivotal power for European cohesion, for more trans-Atlantic unity on fighting climate change and for confronting strategic competitors like China and Russia, and, some hope, for a revival of social democracy in different parts of the world. .......... Not since the second term of former President Bill Clinton have both the White House and the German chancellery been in the hands of center-left leaders. ......... Belarus, a Russian ally that has been funneling migrants to the Polish border in an apparent attempt to destabilize the bloc.

What the Arbery and Rittenhouse Verdicts Couldn’t Tell Us Many of us wish that the public could witness the degradation and absurdity of everyday legal proceedings. ............ An officer testified that after the shooting, Mr. Rittenhouse approached his car with his weapon strapped to his chest and his hands up in surrender, but officers ordered him to get out of the way and rushed past him to search for the shooter. Apparently, it did not enter their minds that the baby-faced white teen could be the culprit. So Mr. Rittenhouse went home, and ultimately turned himself in. ............ Anyone who has practiced criminal law or even attended a trial knows that plenty of judges are not the objective and omniscient arbiters of popular imagination: They are idiosyncratic and sometimes biased....... Convicting Kyle Rittenhouse would have sent Kyle Rittenhouse to prison — that’s all. Laws and legal procedures are not ethical codes and cannot sustain the weight of moral reckonings on a national scale. Looking to these trials to repair social damage, answer a larger question or fulfill some notion of justice is a mistake.

Beyond the futility of hope, looking to the criminal system — which was heavily influenced by slave codes and still serves to reinforce racial hierarchies — further centers it in our moral discourse.

............ The injustice extends beyond police abuse. Conspiracy theories exacerbate public health crises. The attack on voting rights by the right leads us ever closer to minority authoritarianism. And urgent warnings of climate disaster have gone unheeded for decades. A win for the prosecution in the Rittenhouse case may have felt vindicating for those on the left side of the culture wars, but it would not have addressed any of these problems. .........

Neither would it have loosened the hold of racism on our legal system.

........ To get a sense of the way racism pervades our criminal justice system, I would recommend paying less attention to blockbuster cases and instead visiting a local criminal court on a random day and witnessing the parade of low-income people of color shuffled before the court, most of them accused of minor, victimless offenses. Pay attention as a judge decides, within minutes, how much money will be required for each person to get out of a cage. Listen to the defense lawyer describe the life circumstances of each client. And then ask what can be done. What structures, literal or figurative, must be dismantled, built or changed in order to create the change we seek? ...... That work is harder, and it’s slower, but maybe one day my clients will not be called “bodies.”

Maybe they will be afforded the same dignity and deference given to Mr. Rittenhouse.

Trump Wanted to Punish China. We’re Still Paying for It.
Family Arguments
Can Liberals Survive Progressivism?
The Novel That Riveted France During Lockdown Arrives in the U.S. “The Anomaly,” by Hervé Le Tellier, sold more than a million copies during an anomalous time. Now the genre-bending novel is translated into English.

How the $4 Trillion Flood of Covid Relief Is Funding the Future From broadband to transportation to high-tech medical manufacturing, benefits from America’s pandemic money infusion will linger. ......... Nurses wore trash bags as medical equipment. Nobody could buy toilet paper. ....... To date, the federal government has allocated $4.52 trillion in response to Covid-19 — a staggering figure, one that exceeds the entire federal budget in 2019. Most of that funding comes from just two bills: the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, or CARES, Act, passed in March 2020 ($2.2 trillion), and the American Rescue Plan Act, or A.R.P., from March 2021 ($1.9 trillion). ....... $10 billion to Moderna and $11 billion to Pfizer. .......

one of the biggest, fastest biomedical-research efforts that we’ve ever launched

........ The record turnaround from the Covid-19 vaccine will set a new standard for how fast other treatments can be developed with the appropriate funding. “Anything that involves getting an F.D.A.-​approved drug or medical device — whether it’s heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, lupus — all of these have the potential to benefit from these new approaches to clinical trial,” Fenton says. ........

U.S. government investment in nondefense R.& D. has fallen, slowly but significantly, over time, from 5.8 percent of the federal budget in 1966 to 1.5 percent in 2020.

....... “It felt like going back into a deployment again, where we knew a little bit of information but not the whole developed picture.” ....... Infrastructure, conjuring as it does images of potholes and rusted water pipes, often goes overlooked; politicians would rather be associated with cutting ribbons than maintaining systems. Paradoxically, that has meant the great leaps in American infrastructure often come from moments of great lack: the greater the crisis, the larger the possible investment. The Great Depression led to the New Deal, which established the Federal Housing Administration and brought electricity to the rural United States; the Great Recession led to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which directly funded improvements to 2,700 bridges and 42,000 miles of road. ......

In the 1930s, modernizing the country meant electricity. In the 2020s, it means broadband.

......... “and it’s really necessary now to think about broadband in an infrastructure space.” The digital divide is sharp in the United States: Census Bureau data shows that broadband access is concentrated in cities and in the Northeast, Florida and the West Coast. In rural areas and the South, West and Midwest, far fewer Americans have access. .........

In the South, 111 counties have broadband subscription rates at or below 55 percent.

........ a majority of counties in Alaska have zero access to broadband ......

nearly one in five tribal reservation residents had no home internet access

........ nearly $1 billion for tribes, which face some of the worst internet access in the country ........ The American Rescue Plan included $20.4 billion exclusively for broadband access, and gave states and localities about $388 billion in flexible funding that can be used for broadband. ...... broadband access in areas of upstate New York with fewer than 10 subscribers per mile, where offering service often isn’t cost-effective.

Buy My Democratic Capitalism Book

Friday, November 19, 2021

Ending White Minority Rule Across America

The Donald Trump-inspired political phenomenon across America that seems to refuse to die down is not an attempt to take America to an era of white minority rule. America has always had white minority rule. It is an attempt to retain white minority rule when the demographics of the country, the economic growth happening across the world, and all-around political consciousness ask America to take yet another stride towards becoming a more perfect union. Democracy is one person one vote, no ifs, no buts about it. All human beings are created equal, white or not, American citizen or not.

But sometimes hubris takes over, like in the case of Brexit. A people refusing to let go of old attitudes, habits of mind that supported unequal structures of power will not hesitate to rob the next generation of its future. A significant proportion of the population across America right now is trying too hard to go the way of a Brexit. A country of immigrants wants to stench the flow of immigration. You might as well cut the oxygen supply.

To be fair, America has always been a messy democracy. All democracies are messy. When you let everyone speak, when you let everyone vote, you will likely end up with a cacophony. The political spectrum houses every zany idea that ever existed somewhere along its length. As someone said, the past is not even past.

Every great crisis is an opportunity. But then every great crisis is also a potential disaster. The political will has to be mustered not to keep America as the sole global superpower - that was never an ideal situation to begin with - but so as to optimize the lifestyle and living standards and spiritual well-being of current and future generations, in America as well as the world. America is still the leading nation, and its signals are still picked up around the world. Ask Bolsonaro.

China is obvious competition and a potential threat. China might have picked up the market to an extent in response to the implosion of the Soviet Union, but it still retains one party’s political monopoly. The godlessness that is at the core of the Chinese political system is the reason for its immense cruelties: organ harvesting of the Falun Gong practitioners, social engineering to turn Uighurs into Han Chinese, killing the hen that laid the golden egg, namely Hong Kong, saber-rattling in the skies of Taiwan, border disputes with pretty much every bordering nation large and small, and round-the-clock surveillance of the entire population. Always being watched robs you of your basic humanity.

But white supremacist tendencies in America are hardly godly. The black population might as well be American Uighurs. Too many Uighurs are in detention camps, too many blacks are in prison. China erased poverty, America is not even working on it. Crass wealth inequality, left on its current trajectory, will bring America down. America will go the way of the Soviet Union. It will implode.

America today is not a democracy, never has been. It is not a one-person, one-vote arrangement. America is not a free-market economy. There are too many entrenched pockets of uncompetitive terrains segment after segment, architected by bribing politicians. Money has deformed the political process. The vast majority are voiceless as evidenced by policy after sensible policy that falls on deaf ears in the corridors of power.

Perhaps what America needs is a constitutional convention, ala Philadelphia. Elected representatives from across the country should gather again for the sole purpose of writing a new constitution that would expire automatically in 50 years. That might be the only way to make sure winners of the popular vote do not routinely lose the presidential election, the Senate is not a House of Lords, under the grip of less than 20% of the population, the people elect politicians and it is not the other way round. America needs to make an attempt at one person one vote democracy. America needs to try and become a democracy.

A constitution is just the playground, the football field if you will. The game is political action. Voters asserting their rights, and that of others, realizing their responsibilities, leaders challenging as well as responding to an awakening population, robustly borrowing from imaginative academics and thinkers, idea people, and all collectively seizing the future for an unprecedented Age of Abundance that is already knocking on the door: that is the clarion call of the day. There are major reasons for optimism if only the moment will be seized.

Perhaps the president should be directly elected. Open primaries might be the antidote to shameless gerrymandering. No taxation without representation was right for Boston. It is right for DC and Puerto Rico. Maybe every state should get a minimum of one Senator, but above that it should be proportional to the population for a total of 200 Senators. A state like California might as well end up with 20 Senatorial districts, or 10 even if the Senate’s number is capped at the current 100. Non-citizen white immigrants voted. All immigrants should similarly get the right to vote, regardless of what papers they carry. If you pay a phone bill, you vote. If you pay the utility bill, you vote.

You can not have one person one vote democracy at the local level but have something else at the state level, or something else at the national level. Why stop at the national borders? It is high time for a world government that adheres to the basic principle of democracy, that of one person one vote. The global economy asks for a genuine world government. The five veto-wielding powers at the UN are a relic of World War II. Nobody alive today remembers World War II. The UN is the ultimate white minority rule. Four of the five veto faces are white. And all five are male.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Beto, Your Courage Is In Running

Beto O'Rourke presidential campaign staff, 2020
Beto O'Rourke names Texas staff for presidential campaign
Beto for America
O’Rourke bolsters senior staff with 5 hires

5 factors that could determine the strength of Beto O’Rourke’s campaign for governor The former congressman must keep elements of his 2018 campaign against Sen. Ted Cruz, while fixing mess made in 2020 presidential effort.

Beto O’Rourke hires 4 for national communications team

Monday, November 15, 2021

Bernie: The Elon Musk Of Politics

That designation is not to be taken at face value. He might have been if he had gotten himself elected president. But the execution part of him has been mush. Maybe AOC? She could be the Elon Musk of politics. But spare me the exactitude. I am only reacting to Elon Musk's disrespect of Bernie. Do not respect old people. That does not sound right.

I just finished reading Eizabeth Warren's book Persist a few weeks ago. I am all for the wealth tax. Without the wealth tax America as a country will kill itself. The inequality in America is civilization ending.

I would propose a 10% wealth tax on all billionaires.

That will not take away from innovation. That will not mean Elon Musk will have less money to invest in Tesla, or SpaceX. When was the last time Elon sold his shares in Tesla to put money back in Tesla? Instead I have seen him and Jeff Bezos do the my thing is bigger than yours thing. Give them marbles. Take the money to the homeless, and the hungry.

Knowing God Named by Christianity Today as one of the top fifty books that have shaped evangelicals, Knowing God is now among the iconic books featured in the IVP Signature Collection. ....... "A hundred years from now only a handful of books written today will still be widely read and accepted as Christian classics. Dr. James I. Packer's Knowing God may well prove to be one of them. A gifted theologian and writer, Dr. Packer has the rare ability to deal with profound and basic spiritual truths in a practical and highly readable way. This book will help every reader grasp in a fuller way one of the Bible's greatest truths: that we can know God personally because God wants us to know him." ..... Billy Graham .......... As it would be cruel to an Amazonian tribesman to fly him to London, put him down without explanation in Trafalgar Square and leave him, as one who knew nothing of English or England, to fend for himself, so we are cruel to ourselves if we try to live in this world without knowing about the God whose world it is and who runs it. The world becomes a strange, mad, painful place, and life in it a disappointing and unpleasant business, for those who do not know about God. ............. “God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.” .........

Why You Need to Read ‘Knowing God’ by JI Packer Christians have become confused as a result of their dealings with modern skepticism. Lacking a strong Biblical understanding of God, believers have become less certain about both God and His Word. The truth of Scripture is routinely questioned, and even the very concept of truth is itself been put up for debate. ........ there is an important distinction between knowing about God and knowing God. Whereas we can know a lot about God by reading Scripture and studying what theologians have to say on the topic, we can only know God by entering into a right relationship with Him ........ “Once you become aware that the main business that you are here for is to know God, most of life’s problems fall into place of their own accord.” ........ God is “immutable,” which is a fancy seminary word for “doesn’t change” or “unchangeable.” This is a very helpful reminder for the Christian. There is not a discontinuity between God as He is revealed in the Old Testament and how He is revealed in the New. He is unchanging in His truth, in His ways, and His purposes ......... being more diligent in our spiritual duties of prayer and reading His Word, of course, but we also must be more aware of the blessings which come from His hand. .......... how inward trials can be used by God to chastise us for sin, to guide us, and to draw us to fuller reliance on Him .........

Saturday, November 06, 2021

Reorganize The US Senate

DC and Puerto Rico ought to become states.

All 52 states should get a minimum one Senator each. After that, it should be based on population for a total of 200 Senators. So it would be roughly one Senator for about two million or less Americans. That would give California something like 20 Senatorial districts.

It would help to have open primaries. So the two top vote getters might both belong to the same party. And then they go compete in the general election. That should also be true for the House races. Open primaries would kill gerrymandering.

As for president, might as well directly vote. Get rid of the electoral college.