Showing posts with label Michigan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Michigan. Show all posts

Thursday, December 30, 2021

December 30: Afghanistan, China, TikTok, Omicron, India, Michigan

Ultra-leftist voices are making themselves heard in China, but at what cost? Bloggers and commentators are riding a wave of nationalism by attacking intellectuals and corporate targets in China as well as emblems of the West ...... Observer predicts the radicals are convenient while Xi Jinping seeks a successful 20th party congress but their usefulness will expire once he consolidates power .......... First, China’s ultra-left opinion leaders battled outspoken media, liberal intellectuals and NGOs, then foreign governments, corporations and moderate liberals. But lately they have found new ideological opponents to take on. Leftist bloggers are targeting private tech firms, entrepreneurs and capital markets, as well as misbehaving celebrities, in combative essays pushing a socialist agenda in the name of patriotism. Ultra-leftist sentiment riding on the rising tide of nationalism is gaining popularity on the Chinese internet. However, analysts warn that

leftist tendencies that build on irrational and misguided policy interpretation could threaten China’s progress of reform and opening up if left unchecked

ASTRONAUT BARBER MEANS WELL, GIVES TERRIBLE HAIRCUT IN SPACE HE WAS DOING HIS BEST. ...... the thought of being surrounded by a floating cloud of hair clippings is horrid.

China warns of grave terror risks from Afghan chaos Isis, al-Qaeda and Xinjiang-related militant outfits are regrouping and also targeting cyberspace, Chinese minister tells counterterrorism seminar ...... Solidarity and cooperation are the most powerful anti-terror weapons, Wu Jianghao says as he seeks international support against ETIM ..... The resurgence of international militant groups emboldened by the chaos in post-war Afghanistan is posing serious threats to anti-terror work, China has warned. ........ Terrorist groups including Islamic State (Isis), al-Qaeda and the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) are taking advantage of the drastically changed situation in Afghanistan this year to expand their presence and stir up trouble ..........

Emerging new technologies are being abused by terrorist forces. The use of cyberspace has made terrorist activities more covert and unchecked, and pushed terrorism closer to organised crime

.......... heightened alert against potential terror attacks amid risks of the instability in Afghanistan spilling over into Xinjiang in western China .......... Beijing has previously blamed the ETIM for separatist attacks in its Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. ......... Western troop withdrawals from Afghanistan have been followed by a fast-escalating wave of terrorist attacks by the regional chapter of Isis, including in neighbouring Pakistan. ....... a bus blast in July, which killed 13 people including nine Chinese workers in northern Pakistan, was carried out by the Pakistani Taliban or Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, an umbrella movement of militant groups linked to al-Qaeda and Isis .......... Representatives from both Afghanistan and Pakistan attended the seminar via video link, as did those from Russia and the United Arab Emirates. China and Russia, along with several neighbouring Central Asian nations, have stepped up cooperation in view of the Afghan crisis and the risk of terror spillovers. .......... “Counterterrorism should not become a tool of major-country rivalry or a leverage in geopolitics, still less an excuse to interfere in other countries’ internal affairs.” ........ “We need to support the counterterrorism and deradicalisation efforts of all countries and build a global united front against terrorism” ........... Nabeel Munir, additional secretary at the Pakistani foreign ministry, said “immediate attention” is required in the face of new and emerging forms of terrorism, as

“no country has made more sacrifices in this fight than Pakistan”

. ........... a different kind of risk for Afghanistan’s neighbours – a new wave of Afghan refugees fleeing humanitarian and economic crisis in the middle of a pandemic and resurgent terror activities.

Beijing defends ‘democracy with Hong Kong characteristics’ model as white paper released a day after Legco election cites end goal of universal suffrage Within hours of Legco election closing, central government publishes strategy on developing Hong Kong-style democracy ....... White paper is only the second covering Hong Kong political reforms to be released by Beijing in seven years ......... Beijing has renewed its pledge to pursue the

ultimate goal of electing Hong Kong’s leader and legislature by universal suffrage

, releasing a white paper on Monday to mount a robust defence of its strategy of developing democracy for the city “in line with its realities” and putting “patriots” in charge.

TikTok surpassed Google as the most popular site in 2021 Video-sharing platform TikTok rose to massive popularity in 2021. Surpassing mammoths like Google, Facebook, YouTube, and Netflix in web traffic shows the speed and power of the ascent. TikTok rose from No. 7 to spot No. 1 on Cloudflare's ranking of top domains in 2021, and also beat out Facebook this year in social media domains, taking its No. 1 spot.

A new coronavirus vaccine heading to India was developed by a small team in Texas. It expects nothing in return. For some vaccine developers, the coronavirus pandemic has had a silver lining in billions of dollars in profits. But a new vaccine rolling out soon in India is taking the opposite approach: Its developers are getting zilch. ......... Unlike big-name vaccine manufacturers like Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, the Texas Children’s Hospital vaccine, which is called Corbevax, is being shared patent-free. ....... The ambition is to create a low-cost, open-source alternative to expensive and limited supply mRNA vaccines for developing and under-vaccinated countries. And it wouldn’t stop at India: Hotez and Bottazzi are talking to other manufacturers around the world and have consulted with the World Health Organization to see how they can share the vaccine globally. ........... “Texas Children’s Hospital’s commitment to sharing technology is a challenge to the pharma giants and the false narrative that vaccine production and medical innovation thrive through secrecy and exclusivity,” said Peter Maybarduk, director of the advocacy group Public Citizen.

“If Texas Children’s Hospital can do it, why can’t Pfizer and Moderna?”

.............. Operation Warp Speed invested $4.1 billion in Moderna alone. Instead, the Texas Children’s Hospital vaccine was developed with $7 million from mostly private investors. ............

“If we had even a fraction of the support that Moderna had, who knows, maybe the world would be vaccinated by now. We wouldn’t be having a discussion about omicron”

........... The aim is to quickly scale up to manufacturing over 100 million doses a month — a potentially significant amount even in India, a giant country where only 40 percent of its 1.38 billion population is reported to be fully vaccinated. ......... Corbevax doses may be as low as $2.50 — which would make it not only the cheapest coronavirus vaccine in India but one of the cheapest in the world. Doses from Pfizer and Moderna sometimes cost almost 10 times that ......... In terms of unvaccinated people, he continued, “you’ve got a billion people in sub-Saharan Africa, almost 2 billion in Latin America and the Caribbean, another billion in the smaller, low-income countries of Southeast Asia. That’s 3 billion people.” ........ “You’re going to need 6 to 9 billion doses of vaccine. So you know, when the president stands up a couple of weeks ago and says the U.S. government is the largest donor of vaccines, 275 million doses,” Hotez said. “I’m looking at that and saying: That’s not something to boast about.”

India reckons with the possibility of a third wave of the virus. At least 61 percent of Indians have received at least one shot of a coronavirus vaccine, and 43 percent have received two ......... Voting is scheduled to begin next month in five states including Uttar Pradesh, the most populous in the country, and massive crowds attended rallies held by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and opposition parties on Thursday. .......... The police in Mumbai, the country’s financial nerve center, banned gatherings of four or more people until Jan. 7 after new infections there nearly tripled in recent days. ......... Satyendar Jain, Delhi’s health minister, said on Thursday that genome sequencing suggests that

nearly half of the city’s new infections were of Omicron

, adding that the variant was spreading fast and infecting people regardless of their travel history.

A.O.C. and Manchin Are in the Same Party. No Wonder Democrats Are Struggling. After the latest twist by Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia in the Build Back Better drama, Democrats are weathering a storm of accusations of being plain bad at politics. ........ the disconnect between the party’s ability to assemble a broad coalition at the ballot box and the struggles it faces in legislating ........ several structural problems at once: the counter-majoritarian institutions in American government; the fuzzy balance of power among different forces within the party; and the difficulty of energizing a diverse set of interests around common goals. ....... Roosevelt had to deal with several conservative Southern Democrats. Today, Mr. Manchin and Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona are actually in line with many recent Democratic proposals, but they can still extract concessions that don’t necessarily reflect the bulk of the party’s priorities. ........... the emergence of a strong and cohesive left wing within the Democratic Party. ............ The so-called Squad and the rest of the Progressive Caucus bring both a more economically left perspective and a different vision on issues like race and criminal-justice reform. ........ Democrats might be doomed to more cycles of lengthy negotiations and under-delivering on progressive promises ............. One route is to strengthen social movements, which could both keep progressive issues like green energy and student debt on the public agenda and possibly help to elect more progressive Democrats. Such movements could also help to mobilize different groups of voters around shared priorities like health care and economic insecurity. ...........

institutional reform

........ reforming the rules of governance to allow a party that already regularly wins national elections to wield proportionate influence in governing .......... filibuster reform and making Congress more proportional. ........ these changes would ease the veto power that less populated and more conservative areas of the country hold over the majority. .........

The persistent inability of a majority party to enact policies that reflect the opinions of its constituents means that we ought to look at the forces at work.

......... Mr. Manchin is an especially good example of this dynamic — powerful voices in West Virginia have come out in support of Build Back Better, but the senator has serious ties to the fossil-fuel industry. Ms. Sinema’s hesitance to support party priorities has also been linked to her ties to powerful industries rather than any ideology or what Arizona voters want............... These problems also require structural solutions — tightening regulations over conflicts of interest for members of Congress and enacting lobbying reform. The party’s survival may depend on its ability to represent its own voters and not the corporate interests that still have a powerful veto in the legislative process. ........ Democratic leaders will need to think differently about how power flows through their coalition if they want to see their successes in electoral politics turn into policy achievements.

New Variants Could Be ‘Fully Resistant’ Against Current Vaccines Or Previous Infection, WHO Director Says concern about the spread of omicron and delta variants causing a “tsunami” of new Covid cases. ........ His comments came as 4.99 million new virus cases were reported globally between December 20-26, up 11% from the previous week, according to the WHO. ........ As of Wednesday morning, the U.S. shattered its seven-day average of new infections, which totaled around 282,000, surpassing the previous record set in January ......... The WHO chief said nearly half of its member nations missed the target due to a “combination of limited supply going to low-income countries” and “vaccines arriving close to expiry and without key parts” such as syringes. ........

and last week Israel became the first country to greenlight a fourth dose

......... the WHO chief called on governments to make it their “new year’s resolution” to support the agency’s campaign to vaccinate 70% of the population in every country by the beginning of July 2022.

Ungerrymandered: Michigan’s Maps, Independently Drawn, Set Up Fair Fight A citizen ballot initiative took redistricting out of the hands of partisan legislators. The result:

competitive political districts — and an example of how to push back against hyperpartisanship

. .......... One of the country’s most gerrymandered political maps has suddenly been replaced by one of the fairest. ............ districts so competitive that Democrats have a fighting chance of recapturing the State Senate for the first time since 1984. ......... The work of the new commission, which includes Democrats, Republicans and independents and was established through a citizen ballot initiative, stands in sharp contrast to the type of hyperpartisan extreme gerrymandering that has swept much of the country, exacerbating political polarization — and it may highlight a potential path to undoing such gerrymandering. ........ The commission’s three new maps — for Congress, the State House and the State Senate — restore a degree of fairness ........ All of the maps still have a slight Republican advantage, in part because Democratic voters in the state are mostly concentrated in densely populated areas. ........ Detroit’s State Senate delegation will jump to nine members from five, and its State House delegation to 15 representatives from nine. ....... a lawsuit in 2018 unearthed emails in which Republicans boasted about packing “Dem garbage” into fewer districts and ensuring Republican advantages “in 2012 and beyond.” ..........

The path to an independent redistricting commission in Michigan began with a Facebook post days after the 2016 election from a woman with no political experience.

........... That post started a movement. Soon, a 5,000-member volunteer organization, Voters Not Politicians, was coordinating online through Facebook messages and Google documents, organizing a ballot initiative campaign and crisscrossing the state to gin up support. Members wrote folk songs and dressed up in costumes as gerrymandered districts to draw attention to the effort. ........... Republicans sued to block the ballot initiative but were denied by the state Supreme Court in August 2018. That November, the measure passed overwhelmingly, with more than 61 percent of Michigan voters approving the creation of an independent redistricting commission. ........... In Virginia, a commission deadlocked and failed to produce maps, punting the process to the state Supreme Court, which approved new maps this week. In Ohio, the Republican-led legislature ignored the state’s redistricting commission and drew an aggressively gerrymandered map all but certain to cement G.O.P. control for a decade.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Reshma 2010 Get Together In Little India

Yesterday I emailed my information man Jon Gardiner. What's the plan for Saturday? He emailed me back.

*Saturday, May 29th from 1:00-3:00pm at
Mad Hatter Saloon (360 3rd Ave., btwn. E. 26th St. and E. 27th St.)*

Jon is from Nashville. He went to school in Michigan. I have been to Nashville. He is on the Reshma 2010 staff.

Reshma is a great political brand name to have. It even rhymes with Obama.

Last Saturday he had talked of a barbecue in some park. Instead it was a get together in a bar.

I showed up dressed in black. It was nice and warm out. I had a steamed dumplings lunch right before I took off. The first thing I asked for was water. Other than stealing a few nachos and a few jalapenos from Reshma's plate, I stuck to the water. I stayed away from the beer. When all was said and done, four of the leading staffers stayed back inside the bar to play a game on the screen - Megan beat them all, it was a shooting game - and they got yet another pitcher. I said no, thanks.

I watched them play. Then I left. They kept playing, pointing the plastic gun at the screen. I walked over to Curry In A Hurry on Lexington and 28th. I ordered two samosas and went upstairs and sat down to a great view of the street below.

I walked over to Union Square where I hopped onto the train. Kevin Lawler, the Campaign Manager is on the L line, I am on the L line. Kevin is from Portland, Oregon. At the Farmer's Market in Union Square I bought a big bag of apples for a dollar, and some banana bread for another dollar. (Farmville Farmer's Market: My Idea)

I got to meet and talk at length to Kevin for the first time. He was on the Obama 08 staff for a year. He is impressive.

The gathering was fun. It did have a lull before the storm feeling. The entire team is getting ready to soon collect signatures to get Reshma on the ballot.

Jon's "football lawyer" elder brother showed up. So you guys are from Nashville? I asked.

"Actually I was there only yesterday," he said.

My talk with Kevin was in depth. I hope to follow up on that. I guess I am still exploring the idea of going to work for Reshma 2010 full time for three and a half months. I smell victory, and I want to make sure it does happen.

@a_buchanan showed up. Last/first I saw her was at the Al Wenger tech event.

In all 15-20 people showed up. A few were come and go. I had a great time. I was relaxed before I got there. I was relaxed while there. I was relaxed when I left. There were some great conversations. I noticed Megan and Reshma have a telepathy thing going on. Megan Simpson is the Field Director. She has more people reporting to her than anyone else on the campaign staff, I think. She is a sharp shooter too.

Megan is from Iowa. I have been all over Iowa, I said to her last Saturday which is when she revealed her Iowa roots. Now that is one political state.

The final scene of the day stayed in my mind. There were these four staffers, five, taking turns at a video game. Really getting along, having a fun time together, cracking jokes. That was small proof the campaign is in a great shape. The internal dynamics are in top shape.

Reshma Saujani is a Gujarati like Mahatma Gandhi. Never underestimate a Gujarati, especially when it comes to politics. Churchill underestimated Gandhi, and look what happened to the British Empire. Empire Maloney, watch out.

She is usually on a tight schedule. So around 2:30 she left. She came back for her sunglasses.

"We were going to put it out on eBay," I said.
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