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andym's Journal
andym's Journal
September 19, 2020

Best guess nominee: Barbara Lagoa-- Cuban-America woman from Florida

She fulfills all of Trump's most important qualifications: she could help him win Florida (Cuban American pride) and will satisfy the fundamentalists as a conservative. Moreover, she sailed through her appointment to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals 80-15 and is only 53.

September 1, 2020

Call to action: Find, challenge publicly, report fake news, videos and photos on social media

Besides getting out the vote, sending money to Democrats and phone banking, a key action is to be vigilant with regards to fake news, videos and photos. Even a short exposure to manipulative media can cause a politically naive swing voter to waver.
The tech companies apparently need our help because they are not up to the task:


Republicans are flooding the internet with deceptive videos and Big Tech isn't keeping up
By Donie O'Sullivan and Daniel Dale, CNN Business
September 1, 2020

"A series of deceptively edited and misleading videos shared by prominent Republicans have run up millions of views across Facebook and Twitter in just the past few days. And while both companies have pledged to combat misinformation, their responses to these videos followed a familiar pattern: often they act too late, do too little, or don't anything at all.

Between Sunday and Monday, high-profile Republicans, including President Donald Trump, shared at least four misleading videos online. One that circulated widely was a false video about Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden posted to the Twitter account of House Minority Whip Steve Scalise. After an outcry, including from a person in the video who had words put in his mouth in order to distort what Biden was saying, Twitter took the action it takes in such instances, labeling the video as "manipulated media."

The manipulated media label is just that, however -- a label appearing below the video when people look at the specific tweet to which it has been applied. It's small and potentially missed by users, and though it may potentially make some users pause before sharing a given video, it does not actually stop them if they decide to go ahead anyway....

Neither company appears willing to apply their policies regarding medical misinformation to misinformation from US politicians that could mislead voters or undermine November's election, though (expect perhaps in exceptional circumstances, like someone posting the wrong date of the election). And if the past few days are any indication, that could mean they will continue to serve as conduits and amplifiers for a flood of misinformation."
Challenging the fake reports/videos/photos is as much on the public, if the enablers of propaganda take limited or no action.
Might be useful to report successful actions against fakes here on DU to help everyone be vigilant and to encourage others.

August 29, 2020

The D (dark) factor and Trump: framing the election between light (Joe) and dark (Trump)

Psychologists have postulated there is a dark factor, correlating with dark elements of personality: narcissism, ego, selfishness, sadism etc.
Trump seems to embody the D factor, as revealed by his behavior and Mary Trump's book. Joe Biden was right to cast the election as one between light (himself) and darkness (Trump), and I think in conversations with others that should be emphasized as much as anything why you support Joe and not Trump.
The frame: The election is between light and dark.

Here is an article:
A website: http://www.darkfactor.org/

A quiz you can take to determine your D score: https://qst.darkfactor.org/

These are the nine traits that comprised their D-factor:

Egoism. The excessive concern with one's own pleasure or advantage at the expense of community well-being.
Machiavellianism. Manipulativeness, callous affect and strategic-calculating orientation.
Moral Disengagement. A generalized cognitive orientation to the world that differentiates individuals' thinking in a way that powerfully affects unethical behavior.
Narcissism. An all-consuming motive for ego reinforcement.
Psychological Entitlement. A stable and pervasive sense that one deserves more and is entitled to more than others.
Psychopathy. Deficits in affect, callousness, self-control and impulsivity.
Sadism. Intentionally inflicting physical, sexual or psychological pain or suffering on others in order to assert power and dominance or for pleasure and enjoyment.
Self-Interest. The pursuit of gains in socially valued domains, including material goods, social status, recognition, academic or occupational achievement and happiness.
Spitefulness. A preference that would harm another but that would also entail harm to oneself. This harm could be social, financial, physical or an inconvenience.

I've added a poll, in case you want to self-report your own D-factor if you take their quiz. We can all guess that Trump is close to 9.

August 25, 2020

Trump's convention offers misleading portrait of his presidency

Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN
Updated 5:02 AM ET, Tue August 25, 2020

Had Donald Trump conducted the kind of presidency portrayed on a truth-bending but stylistically sound first night of the Republican National Convention, he might not be in such a desperate fight for a second term.

The President was presented as a statesman and an inspiration, an almost benevolent force, a friend to Black Americans, an unparalleled hostage negotiator and a shield against an assault on American values who is riding high after a coherent first term in a package designed to appeal strongly to conservative voters. It was an impression of Trump that was often at odds with the reality of the most turbulent divisive presidency in generations -- one that critics see as a threat to American democracy itself.
Trump's most high profile defenders had to project onto Democrats the faults that his accusers see embodied in his approach to politics.
It was a night marked by constant tension between the more aspirational approach of Haley and the full bore anger of the President's son. In many ways, the well-produced opening night exhibited far more discipline than Trump typically shows himself -- most recently in a divisive monologue in North Carolina on Monday morning that contained corrosive claims not backed up by evidence that Democrats were trying to steal November's election. The convention version of the President also bore little resemblance to the daily drama of assaults on the rule of law, divisive racial rhetoric and erratic leadership that fueled Democratic warnings he's a threat to US democracy.

And a slick convention video presented a misleading picture of a pandemic in which nearly 180,000 Americans have already died, exacerbated by Trump's negligence and prioritizing of his political ambitions over science.
Such contradictions pointed to a truism about Trump that may explain his current deficit to Biden (he is down nine points in the CNN Poll of Polls.) The scripted, presented version of the President offered on Monday and in set piece events like the State of the Union address is not authentic and is very likely unsustainable.
More at the link.
It's a propaganda fest straight out of Orwell's "1984" or "Animal Farm" designed to rewrite history and trick wavering conservatives into believing Trump is some kind of conservative hero. I almost expected Trump to say it's "Morning in America" as he speaks directly from the "shining city on the hill"-- from Reagan's two most famous optimistic speeches.

August 9, 2020

Trump as Incompetent manager: re: executive orders

Even though Trump has been President for 3.5 years he still doesn't understand how the federal government works or interfaces with the state governments as evidenced by his executive orders (EOs).

There is no way that Trump will be able to get the unemployment money to the states without many months of work-- in the meantime the unemployed will suffer. That's because they can't route the money through the usual unemployment insurance channels. Furthermore, states just don't have the extra funds to chip in $100/week. And what about the businesses that were promised the money to keep their doors open that he is now rerouting to the unemployed-- will they close and add to the unemployment ranks?

This is what Pelosi and Schumer mean when they way that Trump's EOs are "weak and unworkable"-- never mind the serious consequences of taking funding away from SS temporarily or the EO's constitutionality.

The states will probably challenge Trump in court over their Trump mandated contributions--no need for the Democrats in Congress to do it, btw. Just wait until the unemployed don't get their money, etc.


April 15, 2020

Pelosi's strong meme "Trump's coronavirus missteps 'caused unnecessary death and economic disaster'


Just keep repeating:"Trump's coronavirus missteps 'caused unnecessary death and economic disaster'

Why? To help educate ignorant voters.
Latest Reuters/Ipsos poll:

Trump has recovered in the polls somewhat this week-- possibly because of the stock market recovery. Fortunately Joe Biden still leads him by 5%--45 to 40%. However, the most problematic part of the poll is that a majority feels that Trump is better for the economy than Biden by 53-47%.

"Fifty-two percent of Americans said they felt that Biden was better suited to deal with the coronavirus, while 48% said they thought Trump would be better. Fifty-seven percent also thought Biden would be a better steward of the country’s healthcare system, while 43% said Trump would be better.

Trump, however, had the edge when the public was asked who would be better for the U.S. economy (53% to 47%). "

It is very important to explain near and far that the economic problems we are now facing are directly related to Trump's inaction on the virus.

April 6, 2020

Promoting hydroxychloroquine is Trump's risk-free gambit to be a hero

At the moment, we do not know if it has clinical efficacy against Covid-19. But that doesn't matter to Trump, if it does work he is going to position himself as the hero of Covid-19, knowing more than the experts. You will hear about his leadership on this drug every day during the fall campaign. If it doesn't work it will never be mentioned again. So what is the risk for him? Nil. If a few people suffer from side effects it will be caveat emptor. The drugs safety profile is well understood, with its effects on cardiac arrhythmia probably being the most worrisome for older patients.

But could it work? Yes, that is still to be determined.

Dr. Fauci is right to call the evidence in its favor anecdotal at the moment. Perhaps the strongest evidence in its favor is that it blocks viral replication in cultured cells and the uncontrolled trials from France and China. The evidence was strong enough for Andrew Cuomo to independently of Trump procure enough doses for 4000 Covid-19 patients and make them available for the most serious cases last month. Also, NYU Medical school is conducting a trial with funding from the Gates Foundation to determine if it can be used prophylactically to prevent infections. It will take a few months at least for the latter trial to draw any valid conclusions.

He may even use any real study that shows any efficacy as an excuse to end the emergency declaration on April 30 or earlier.

Bottom line is that Trump risks nothing and has everything to gain with his promotion of hydroxychloroquine.

March 22, 2020

Trump and the off-label drugs as a treatment for covid-19 is an easy "win" for him

If science shows the drugs work subsequently he will tout his heroic leadership in "curing" the pandemic. If they fail, then he will say he never touted the drugs at all. This is his M.O. and this kind of politicking seems to work for him. So, the correct response is to state that the French/Chinese/Italian clinical trials will hopefully prove the drugs are useful and to state they are doing the heavy lifting, thereby removing potential credit from him.

March 18, 2020

We know Joe's VP will be a women, but how to balance the ticket? On what principle?

The ticket is typically balanced on geography. However, in reality the ticket should always be balanced on helping to gain voter blocks that the candidate doesn't attract as well.

So which voting blocks did Biden have a weakness with during the primary?
African Americans? NO. Women? NO Latinos (Somewhat), Younger voters (less than 45) (Yes).

Basically those younger than 45 according to the well documented "age gap" in the primary. Joe's running mate should be someone who can increase turnout and enthusiasm among younger voters--maybe not the teens to 20'a crowd, but those 30-45 who vote more reliably than the 18-29 demographic.

In these troubled times, there is another key qualification, Joe has to pick someone who is viewed as experienced and competent enough to take charge in an emergency.

March 16, 2020

Biden is far more like FDR in political temperament than Sanders

Consider FDR in 1932. He ran providing few details of what he would do to help the Depression economy. That's because he really didn't know what he would do once in office, although he did foreshadow some of his programs while Governor of NY. The key was that he was incredibly open-minded to finding solutions that would work which included experimenting with various untried ideas. After he assumed office he assembled an innovative team, the "brain trust", and they went to work to create the New Deal.

Biden has always been practical: trying to find a workable solution within the framework of what's possible politically. Note how Biden has now taken on Warren's bankruptcy and free public college plans-- flexibility to find a solution that goes beyond his previously held positions.

Sanders is an ideologue, a point he kept making in the debate-- he has been more consistent than Biden in his positions. He has very specific prescriptions for implementing his vision and is somewhat dismissive of variants like Warren's plans. But consistency implies inflexibility, not much like FDR at all.

We may need an FDR-like leader in the aftermath of the damage the virus does to the USA and its economy.

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