Sunday, November 1, 2020

Signs and Portents

 My favorite ; A hand-made sign a few blocks away from my house:


Amen to that!


Sandwichman said...

I hope it is soon.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

(The GOP is afraid of urban voters who overwhelmingly vote Dem and
are relatively easily suppressed, when concentrated in urban areas.
Go figure.)

Why Are Republicans So Afraid of Voters?

NY Times - editorial - November 1

As of Sunday afternoon, more than 93 million Americans had cast a ballot in the November elections. That’s about two-thirds of the total number of people who voted in 2016, and there are still two days until Election Day.

This is excellent news. In the middle of a global pandemic that has taken the lives of nearly a quarter of a million Americans, upended the national economy and thrown state election procedures into turmoil, there were reasonable concerns that many people would not vote at all. The numbers to date suggest that 2020 could see record turnout.

While celebrating this renewed citizen involvement in America’s political process, don’t lose sight of the bigger, and darker, picture. For decades, Americans have voted at depressingly low rates for a modern democracy. Even in a “good” year, more than one-third of all eligible voters don’t cast a ballot. In a bad year, that number can approach two-thirds.

Why are so many Americans consistently missing in action on Election Day?

... across the country, the group most responsible for making voting harder, if not impossible, for millions of Americans is the Republican Party. Republicans have been saying it themselves for ages. “I don’t want everybody to vote,” Paul Weyrich, a leader of the modern conservative movement, told a gathering of religious leaders in 1980. “As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”

This strategy has become a central pillar of the G.O.P. platform. It is behind the party’s relentless push for certain state laws and practices — like strict voter-identification requirements and targeted voter purges — that claim to be about preserving electoral integrity but are in fact about suppressing turnout and voting among groups that lean Democratic. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Campaign draws to a close as Trump threatens legal action

via @BostonGlobe - November 2

PHILADEPHIA (AP) — President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden have one last chance to make their case to voters in critical battleground states on Monday, the final full day of a campaign that has laid bare their dramatically different visions for tackling the nation’s pressing problems and for the office of the presidency itself.

The candidates are seeking to lead a nation at a crossroads, gripped by a historic pandemic that is raging anew in nearly every corner of the country and a reckoning over race. More than 93 million people have already voted and it could take longer than usual for elections officials to process the historic surge in early and mail-in ballots.

Both campaigns insist they have a pathway to victory, though Biden’s options for picking up the required 270 Electoral College votes are more plentiful. Trump is banking on a surge of enthusiasm from his most loyal supporters while also threatening legal action to stop vote counting in some crucial states, including Pennsylvania.

The Republican president’s final day has him sprinting through five rallies, from North Carolina to Wisconsin. Biden, meanwhile, was devoting most of his time to Pennsylvania, where a win would leave Trump with an exceedingly narrow path. Biden was also dipping into Ohio, a show of confidence in a state where Trump won by 8 percentage points four years ago.

Heading into the closing 24 hours, Trump and Biden each painted the other as unfit for office and described the next four years in near apocalyptic terms if the other were to win.

“The Biden plan will turn America into a prison state locking you down while letting the far-left rioters roam free to loot and burn,” Trump thundered Sunday at a rally in Iowa, one of the five he held in battleground states.

Biden said America was on the verge of putting “an end to a presidency that’s fanned the flames of hate.”

“When America is heard, I believe the message is going to be clear: It’s time for Donald Trump to pack his bags and go home,” Biden said in Philadelphia, the biggest city in a state that could decide the presidency.

As the candidates close out the campaign, the pandemic, which has killed more than 231,000 people nationwide and caused nearly 20 million to lose jobs, reached a new peak in infection rates, threatening yet another blow to lives and livelihoods of voters.

The election caps an extraordinary year that began with Trump’s impeachment, the near collapse of Biden’s candidacy during the crowded Democratic primary and then was fully reshaped by the coronavirus outbreak. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

A record number of votes have already been cast, through early voting or mail-in ballots, which could lead to delays in their tabulation. Trump has spent months claiming without evidence that the votes would be ripe for fraud while refusing to guarantee that he would honor the election result.

In the starkest terms yet, Trump on Sunday threatened litigation to stop the tabulation of ballots arriving after Election Day. As soon as polls closed in battlegrounds such as Pennsylvania, Trump said, “we’re going in with our lawyers.”

It was unclear precisely what Trump meant. There is already an appeal pending at the Supreme Court over the counting of absentee ballots in Pennsylvania that are received in the mail in the three days after the election.

The state’s top court ordered the extension and the Supreme Court refused to block it, though conservative justices expressed interest in taking up the propriety of the three added days after the election. Those ballots are being kept separate in case the litigation goes forward. The issue could assume enormous importance if the late-arriving ballots could tip the outcome.

Under the shadow of possible legal battles, Pennsylvania loomed as most important battleground.

For Biden, who lives in neighboring Delaware, Pennsylvania has long been the focus of his campaign, a bulwark to block Trump from securing the electoral votes needed for reelection. Both he and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, and their spouses will crisscross the state Monday — hoping to deliver a knockout blow to Trump without potential Pennsylvania legal challenges.

Trump once led comfortably in Ohio. Biden’s trip there comes after his ticket’s pushes into other formerly reliable Trump strongholds including Georgia, where the Democrats' most popular surrogate, former President Barack Obama, was campaigning Monday.

But even as Biden enjoyed strong poll numbers, the move to expand the map revived anxiety among Democrats scarred by Trump’s 2016 upset over Hillary Clinton, whose forays into red states may have contributed to losing longtime party strongholds. Biden planned a Pittsburgh drive-in event with Lady Gaga on Monday night, reminiscent of Clinton’s rallying with Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi in Philadelphia on the eve of an election she was favored to win but didn’t.

Short on campaign cash, Trump has been unable to compete with Biden over the airwaves and has relied on rallies to fire up his base. Those events, arguably the most dominant political force of the last five years, could draw to a close Monday with stops in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and two in Michigan. The last will be in Grand Rapids, the same city where Trump held his finale four years ago.

Trump is focusing his last rounds of stops on states he won four years ago, playing defense in a campaign that has become a referendum on his handling of the pandemic. Both parties say the election holds outsize importance. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

The War on Truth Reaches Its Climax

Trump is telling two big lies, and a third will come soon.

NY Times - Paul Krugman - November 2

I began writing a column for The Times way back in 2000. My beat was supposed to be economics and business. But I couldn’t help noticing that one of that year’s contenders for the presidency was systematically making false claims about his policy proposals. George W. Bush kept insisting that his one-percent-friendly tax cuts were targeted on the middle class, and his plan to privatize Social Security just wished away the system’s obligations to older Americans.

At the time, however, my editors told me that it wasn’t acceptable to use the word “lie” when writing about presidential candidates.

By now, though, most informed observers have, I think, finally decided that it’s OK to report the fact that Donald Trump lies constantly.

Many of the lies are trivial, often bizarrely so, like Trump’s repeated claims to have received an award that doesn’t even exist. But the president has closed out this year’s campaign with two huge, dangerous lies — and there’s every reason to fear that this week he will roll out a third big lie, perhaps even more dangerous than the first two.

The first big lie is the claim that America is being menaced by hordes of “rioters, looters, arsonists, gun-grabbers, flag-burners, Marxists.”

Anyone who walks around the “anarchist jurisdictions” of New York or Seattle can see with their own eyes that nothing like this is happening. And the data bear out the obvious. One systematic study found that the summer’s Black Lives Matter protests were overwhelmingly peaceful, and that “most of the violence that did take place was, in fact, directed against the B.L.M. protesters.”

Oh, and Trump keeps claiming that Joe Biden won’t condemn the small amount of violence that has actually happened — when Biden has, in fact, done exactly that.

So Trump wants Americans to be terrified of a menace that exists only in his imagination. At the same time, he wants us to ignore the very real menace of Covid-19.

Over the past few months Trump has effectively abandoned any effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus. In fact, he has been actively promoting that spread. One credible Stanford study estimated that Trump rallies, which involve large numbers of shouting people packed closely together, most unmasked, have caused around 30,000 infections and 700 deaths.

But Trump wants Americans to believe that the pandemic — which killed more Americans last month than are murdered in a typical year — is fake news. We’re “rounding the corner,” he insists, even as infections and hospitalizations are rising at a terrifying rate. The news media is going on about “Covid, Covid, Covid” only because it’s out to get him. Doctors are inflating the reported death toll because they want to make more money.

These big lies are immensely destructive, and not just because they lead to bad policies. Like it or not, presidential rhetoric affects how millions of Americans behave.

Trump’s lies about an anarchist threat have given encouragement to white supremacists, including domestic terrorists. His dismissal of the pandemic threat, his mocking of precautionary measures like mask-wearing, have done a lot to help the coronavirus spread.

But the worst may be yet to come. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

It’s possible — barely — that Trump will legitimately win re-election, although this would require that the polls be much further off than they were in 2016. If that doesn’t happen, however, it’s a near-certainty that he will refuse to accept defeat quietly.

Unless he loses in an overwhelming landslide, he has indicated he will try to steal the election by blocking the counting of Biden votes, with the aid of partisan judges. I don’t think he’ll succeed, but I wish I was sure of that.

What if he doesn’t manage to hang on to office? We all know what’s likely to come next: claims that he was robbed. He’ll claim that millions of people voted illegally — after all, he did that following the 2016 election, denying that he lost the popular vote. He’ll probably claim that millions of Trump votes were somehow discarded — after all, he has already made the false claim that ballots are being “dumped in rivers.”

And he’ll find a receptive audience. Professional forecasters have considered Biden the heavy favorite for a long time, but according to a late September Gallup survey, 90 percent of Republicans expect Trump to win. If he loses, our conspiracy-minded right will react with shock and rage.

The immediate result may very well be a wave of violence and property destruction — Trump supporters engaging in the behavior they falsely attribute to Black Lives Matter demonstrators. But that’s actually the part that worries me least.

No, the really big danger is that millions of our citizens will probably buy into an American version of the “stab in the back” myth that loomed large after Germany’s defeat in World War I, claiming the military was betrayed by the civilian government. And those voters may well end up choosing the G.O.P.’s next presidential candidate.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Donald Trump boasted on Sunday of receiving “the highly honoured Bay of Pigs award” from Cuban Americans in the battleground state of Florida.

The Guardian - Sunday, September 13

Perhaps inevitably, and to the glee of the internet, no such award exists.

The Bay of Pigs invasion, in April 1961, saw a CIA-sponsored force of Cuban exiles attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro and his communist regime. The failure of the mission continues to haunt US-Cuban relations, even after Barack Obama sought to bring the nations closer together.

Trump, whose company reportedly broke the Cuba trade embargo in 1998, has sought to reverse Obama’s policies.

In his tweet on Sunday, he may have misremembered previous visits to a house in Little Havana, in Miami, which houses a Bay of Pigs museum and library and where survivors of Brigade 2506, the unit which carried out the invasion, gather to talk and remember.

Trump visited in 1999, when he was flirting with a run for president on the Reform party ticket. He was given gifts, if not awards: a brigade pin and, the Associated Press reported, “a plaque of the shoulder patch worn during the invasion”.

Trump visited the museum again in October 2016, receiving “a hand-painted Brigade 2506 shield” which his campaign insisted on Sunday was the award in question. ...

Vaguely related:

Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed he was 'Michigan's Man of the Year.'

Newsweek - August 16, 2019

That's not a real award.

Anonymous said...

November 2, 2020

Trump Is Standing in Our Way
If the president wins again, we have so much more to lose.
By Harry Belafonte

Four years ago, when Donald Trump first ran for president, he urged Black people to support him, asking us, “What have you got to lose?”

Four years later, we know exactly what we had to lose. Our lives, as we died in disproportionate numbers from the pandemic he has let flourish among us. Our wealth, as we have suffered disproportionately from the worst economic drop America has seen in 90 years. Our safety, as this president has stood behind those police who kill us in the streets and by the armies of white supremacy who march by night and scheme in the light of day.

We have learned other things from this president, too. We have learned the names that we say now, over and over again, at each protest, so that no one will forget them. The names Breonna Taylor and George Floyd and Atatiana Jefferson and Stephon Clark and so many more. Such killings did not start with Mr. Trump, of course. But he wants us to forget them.

If we do, he has offered us a “Platinum Plan” for “Black Economic Empowerment.” The name is appropriate because Mr. Trump is a man who thinks always in terms of financial transactions and deals. A “Platinum Plan,” as if he is offering to upgrade our credit card status. The plan, which at two pages is derisively brief, offers us a hodgepodge of things that he thinks we would like. He will prosecute the Ku Klux Klan — and antifa activists — as terrorists. He will make Juneteenth a national holiday and lynching a national hate crime. He will create “peaceful” urban, Black neighborhoods, replete with school choice, increased homeownership and the “highest standards” of policing. He will begin “a national clemency project” designed to “right wrongful prosecutions” and “pardon individuals who have reformed.”

In his ignorance or his indifference, or perhaps in his contempt, Mr. Trump does not seem to understand the difference between promises made and promises kept. Another Republican president, Ulysses S. Grant, first suppressed the Klan 150 years ago (and notable by its absence is any Trump promise to suppress the right-wing “militias” of Michigan, the Proud Boys or any of the others). The United States — finally, belatedly — made lynching a federal crime in the civil rights era, almost 60 years ago. Peaceful neighborhoods with affordable homes, good schools, a police force interested in protecting its citizens instead of treating them as an occupied people; safety from domestic terrorists and mob violence, economic opportunity, the celebration of our heritage, and impartial and merciful treatment under the law — these are the rights that most white people in America have long taken for granted, not some sort of concession to be offered as if we were indeed another nation....