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Member since: Mon Jul 11, 2005, 11:05 AM
Number of posts: 858

About Me

White, male, expatriate living in the mountains of central Taiwan, Oregon permanent address, 34 years of age. Born in St. Louis. Army brat lived all over. Veteran of the Korean War (sieved in Libya and Austin, Texas). Ph.D. in anthropology and linguistics, Indiana University. Career in linguistics and ESL at numerous US and foreign institutions. Spent most of my career as a director of English as a Second Language programs. Taught at National Chi Nan Unversity, Puli, Taiwan over the years 1995-2016. Retired as an orchard keeper with my life partner Judy Wu of the Bunun Austronesian tribe in our mountain hideaway cabin, High Mountain Orchards.

Journal Archives

Trump's a Disaster. Here's Why Americans Are Rallying Around His Coronavirus Response.


Subtitle: Biden’s main job is to show that he is and that we can be a lot better than this; to convince people that the coronavirus has been a disaster that Trump has made far, far worse.

Michael Tomasky, Special Correspondent, Published Mar. 30, 2020 4:46AM ET

Tomasky is asking the question that many of us have in our minds.

How in the world does Donald Trump have an approval rating for his handling of the coronavirus above 10 percent? It’s unfathomable. OK, maybe 10 is a little extreme. But 25, 28. That is, his normal approval rating has been in the 43 range, and he’s screwed this up so obviously and completely that he should surely have lost 15 points or so.

But here he is, up near 50. And now, at least according to Sunday’s Washington Post-ABC poll, almost caught up to Joe Biden?

You might say that we all have bigger things to worry about, but on the scale of potential disasters that loom before us, Trump’s re-election rates pretty high.

This Is a Man-Made Disaster, and That Man Is Donald Trump

I don't have a subscription to the Daily Beast, but if someone else has one, I would be interested in his answer. Sorry I can't continue. Please help. Lol!

NYT Opinion: Trump Is Hurting His Own Re-election Chances Don't be fooled by snapshot polls.

David Leonhardt, Opinion Columnist, March 29, 2020

IMO His short-term high will result in a long-term drop.

snip// (actually most of the article)

The strangest part of President Trump’s coronavirus response is that it’s almost certainly damaging his chances of re-election.

I realize that may sound surprising, given that his approval rating has been rising. But when you look beyond day-to-day events — which Trump often struggles to do — you see that he is creating the conditions for a miserable summer and fall, with extended virus outbreaks and a deeper recession. The summer and fall, of course, are the crux of the presidential campaign.

Trump’s virus strategy revolves around trying to make the present seem as good as possible, without much concern for the future. He spent almost two months denying that the virus was a serious problem and falsely claiming that the number of cases was falling. He has spent the last two weeks alternately taking aggressive measures and refusing to do so, often against the advice of public-health experts. Some Republican governors, following Trump’s lead, are also rejecting those experts’ pleas: There are beaches open in Florida, restaurants open in Georgia and Missouri and many people out and about in Oklahoma and Texas.

Altogether, the United States seems to have engaged in the least aggressive response of any affected country. Sure enough, it also now has the world’s largest number of confirmed cases. The American caseload was initially following a similar path as the Chinese and Italian caseloads. But the number of American infections is now rising uniquely fast, with 96,000 new cases in the last week — more than twice as many as in any seven-day period in any other country.

This surge doesn’t cause only more short-term deaths and overwhelmed hospitals. It also leads to more cases in later months, by creating a larger group of infected people who can spread the virus to others. As Tom Frieden, a former head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told me, “The higher the peak, the longer it lasts.”

And the longer that the country is gripped by the virus, the deeper that the economic downturn will be. Austan Goolsbee, a University of Chicago professor, refers to this as the first rule of “virus economics”: The only way to resuscitate the economy is to stop the virus. Premature attempts to restart business activity will lead to further outbreaks, which will cause more fear and new shutdowns.


Today, the most effective response would probably be a two-month national shutdown, accompanied by a modestly larger stimulus bill than Congress just passed, both to pay many Americans’ salaries and to bolster the health care system. When the two months were over, healthy people could go back to work, and any new cases could be quickly isolated. That second phase would be similar to the strategy in Singapore and Taiwan.

Had Trump taken this approach in late February, a full month after the first American fell ill, he could have vastly reduced the human and economic toll. Even if he took it now, he could probably get the country functioning close to normally by early summer. Instead, he is talking about normalcy by April — and making it likely that things will still be abnormal in July.

What explains his response? Trump lives in the moment. He is impetuous. He is like a day trader, not a long-term investor. A shutdown sounds miserable to him. He doesn’t have much respect for scientists and their data, but he does pay close attention to his poll numbers. And they’re rising (along with, it’s worth noting, the approval rating of other world leaders). Trump’s approach seems to be working, for now.

I can’t tell you exactly what the future will bring, especially during a crisis unlike any the world has confronted in a century. It’s possible that Trump could somehow luck out and the virus will end up being less gruesome for all of us. But that’s not the likely outcome. And nobody should forget that he is choosing a path that endangers lives and jobs mostly because it feels better to him in the moment.

We don't want terrible things to happen, ut if Trump screws us, we need to get someone in there who can repair the damage and get us back on track. Joe has been here before and knows how to do it.

I hate the "I love Joe, but we need an inspiring savior" meme. It's a hit job.

Joe is exactly what we need.

He will beat tRump like a drum.

Biden leads Trump in new polls despite coronavirus approval bounce

Biden leads Trump in new polls despite coronavirus approval bounce
By STEVEN SHEPARD 03/29/2020 07:58 AM EDT

ABC News/Washington Post poll 49:47 [Biden +2]
FOX Newsy: 49:47 [Biden +7]
Monmouth: 48:45 [Biden +3]


Three polls released over the last week show Joe Biden leading President Donald Trump among voters nationwide, despite the uptick in Trump’s approval rating as his administration confronts the coronavirus outbreak engulfing the U.S.

Biden’s lead is far from secure, given the tumultuous situation gripping the country and Trump’s 2016 advantage in the Electoral College. The latest result, in an ABC News/Washington Post poll released Sunday, shows Biden with just a 2-point lead over Trump, 49 percent to 47 percent — well within the survey’s margin of error.

Biden also led Trump among registered voters in national polls released last week by Fox News and Monmouth University. The Fox News survey, conducted over roughly the same time period last week, shows Biden 9 points ahead of Trump, 49 percent to 40 percent. The Monmouth poll, which was conducted a little earlier, over last weekend, had Biden at 48 percent, with Trump at 45 percent.

Even if the Fox News poll is an outlier, all three surveys show a consistent pattern: In each, Trump has equaled or surpassed his previous high-water mark in job approval. But his vote share against Biden in each survey trails his approval rating.

Taken together, the polls suggest a slightly larger-than-usual slice of Democratic-leaning and independent voters are telling pollsters they now approve of the job Trump is doing as president — but support for giving him a second term lags behind among these same voters.

A report on the ABC poll was a bit snide, focussing on the enthusiasm meme. However it had some figures:
Biden consolidates support, but trails badly in enthusiasm: Poll
[Good Morning America] SOFI SINOZICH
Good Morning AmericaMarch 29, 2020


In the nomination contest, 51% of leaned Democrats now prefer Biden vs. 42% for Sanders. That’s a vast 34-point gain for Biden since mid-February, with other candidates having left the race and endorsed him. Sanders gained 10%age points.

Yet even as he’s advanced in his party, Biden’s slipped against Trump in a November matchup. The two are locked into essentially a dead heat among registered voters, 49-47%, Biden-Trump, after a slight Biden lead, 52-45%, in February.

Biden does better vs. Trump among all adults (Democrats are less apt to be registered), 50-44%. That’s a slight lead, but it was more solidly significant in February, 52-44%.

I will skop the enthusiasm stuff. A lot of enthusiastic young people just don't vote, and a lot of so-called unenthusiastic folks faithfully trudge to the voting booth. Enthusiasm is not a good measure of electability.

Trump will fade late spring and summer. I think dramatically.

Joe will b eat Trump like a drum.

Historian who correctly predicted last 9 presidential elections: Trump is more likely to lose

because of coronavirus

By Matthew Rozsa, Salon

Allan Lichtman, a political historian at American University whose book “The Keys to the White House” has helped him correctly predict the last nine presidential elections, told Salon last week the coronavirus pandemic may spell defeat for President Trump in the 2020 election.

Lichtman’s system is based on 13 “keys,” a series of true-or-false statements that anticipate whether the incumbent party’s presidential candidate will be elected in a given year. If six or more of the statements are false, the incumbent candidate will lose; if fewer than six are false, he or she will win. While Lichtman’s system is somewhat complicated by elections where there is a split between the popular vote and the Electoral College results, it has otherwise successfully anticipated every presidential election since 1984. (You can see the full list of keys here.)
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“There were four keys solidly locked in against the president” prior to the outbreak, Lichtman explained. “It takes six to predict defeat. But this was before [the pandemic]. Key 1: Party mandate. Key 9: Scandal. Key 11: Foreign/military success. Key 12: incumbent charisma. That’s four false keys locked in.”
Defend democracy. Click to invest in courageous progressive journalism today.

Lichtman’s analysis is based on the fact that Republicans lost control of the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterms; that Trump has faced a number of scandals during his presidency, including one that led to his impeachment; has had no major military or foreign policy successes; and is neither a military hero nor “charismatic,” a term Lichtman defines to mean a candidate who appeals to large groups of voters outside of his or her party’s usual coalition. Trump’s approval rating has been stuck in the 40s throughout his term and, according to Lichtman, “You can’t call a candidate stuck in that range, appealing only to a minority, a charismatic candidate.”

The coronavirus pandemic, however, may have significantly worsened Trump’s re-election chances, at least according to Lichtman’s analytics.

“The current crisis, which is biological, governmental and societal, puts into jeopardy two additional keys,” Lichtman explained. Those would be “Key 5, the short-term economy — many economists are predicting that we’re going to slide into a recession, or may already be in a recession — and Key 8, the social unrest key. And it makes Key 10, foreign policy or military failure, even more shaky than before.” Lichtman earlier suggested that relations with North Korea and the unstable situation in the Middle East could endanger Key 10 for Trump.

If any two of those three keys turn against Trump, he is a predicted failure,” Lichtman said. “If zero or one turn against him, he is a predicted winner. I obviously haven’t made a final call yet, since we don’t know how this crisis will ultimately be resolved or not resolved in the upcoming months.”

Polls released on Tuesday found that Trump’s approval rating has risen to 49 percent and he is statistically within the margin of error against his likely opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden. According to Lichtman, this does not mean much.

“Early polls have no predictive value for the November results,” Lichtman told Salon by email on Wednesday. “Every president has seen a rise in polling numbers in response to the rally-around-the-flag effect at the early stages of a national crisis. Trump’s small rise in the approval polls is low based on precedent. He also has had the enormous advantage of appearing constantly on television to give his self-serving spin on events. Biden has had minimal visibility.”

He added, “The polls have no influence on the Keys, which are based on big-picture events such as the long- and short-term economy, scandal, social unrest and foreign successes and failures. I still have no final call on the keys as I am waiting to see how events play out over the next few months.”

Kyle Kondik, managing editor of the nonpartisan political newsletter Sabato’s Crystal Ball, largely echoed Lichtman’s analysis.

“This is a story that is still being written. I do think the precarious state of the economy does pose a potential threat to the president, because his re-election pitch was so reliant on a good economy,” Kondik explained by email. “I’m sure this is part of the reason Trump and so many other Republicans are supporting such an expansive stimulus package: As the party with more power in Washington, they stand to take more of the blame if the response to the public health and economic crisis is seen by the public as lacking.”

Lichtman also told Salon last week that if Trump loses as a result of the coronavirus, his opponent is almost irrelevant; it simply won’t matter whether the Democrats have nominated Biden or Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Trump’s potential defeat has “nothing to do with Joe Biden whatsoever,” Lichtman said, although in his formula Biden is not “charismatic,” meaning that Key 13 would turn in Trump’s favor. “Remember, the basic theory behind the keys is that elections are essentially votes up or down on whether or not the party holding the White House should get four more years.”

I hope he is right! Sounds plausible. He calls the unelectability (Sanders) and electibility (Biden_ arguments nonsense. I have a feeling this is downplaying a major factor. Appeal to major voting blocs, such as AA voters, is a major factor in my view.

Biden Addresses a Visibility Question: 'How Do We Get More of You?'

Thomas Kaplan ,The New York Times•March 23, 2020

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the likely Democratic nominee against President Donald Trump in this year’s general election, was asked a question during a virtual fundraiser Sunday that reflected a challenge looming over his campaign as the coronavirus outbreak intensifies.

“What I’m concerned about is that we see Donald Trump every day with this crisis giving his press report,” said one donor, according to a pool report from the fundraiser, which was conducted by telephone. “And I would just love to see you more. Like, how do we get more of you and less of him on our airwaves?”

Biden has been taunted by online critics over his relatively low profile since the coronavirus forced him off the campaign trail, with Trump campaign officials and others needling him with the hashtag #WhereIsJoe. The former vice president has not made an appearance on camera in front of the public since he gave a brief livestreamed address from his home Tuesday, when primaries were held in Florida, Illinois and Arizona.

At Sunday’s fundraiser, Biden said that a recreation room in his home in Delaware had been turned into a television studio, and that he planned to give remarks Monday. On a conference call with reporters Friday, Biden said his campaign was working to increase his ability to speak to the public.

“I want to be in daily or at least, you know, significant contact with the American people and communicate what I would be doing, what I think we should be doing and how we should be doing it,” Biden said.

Biden’s campaign got off to a rocky start with its efforts at virtual campaigning, as a “virtual town hall” with Illinois voters this month was marred by technical problems.

At Sunday’s virtual fundraiser, Biden addressed speculation about whether Trump would try to postpone the general election because of the coronavirus. (The president does not have that authority.)

“The idea of postponing the electoral process is just, seems to me, out of the question,” Biden said. “I know there’s a lot of rumors and speculation as to, ‘Is the other guy going to try to postpone the election in November?’ and all that. There’s no need to do that.”


Joe Biden vowed to pick a woman for vice president. Why not a Latina?


IMO if Biden is to do this it would require close coordination with AA leaders as the overwhelming support from them justifiably wgives them the right for a Black VP. Yest a Latino would hopefully galvanize another part of the electorate to dump Trump if the Blacks maintain their support in large numbers.


Now that Joe Biden has pledged he'll select a woman as his running mate, one of the questions being asked is why not a Latina for vice president?

Latinas are about half of the 60 million Latinos in the country and 18 percent of all women in the U.S. They have held a number of local, state and federal offices even though they are underrepresented at all levels, including in Cabinet-level appointments.

"Latina American public servants across the country have an unparalleled track record of getting things done for their communities, states and the country. It's about time we see that leadership in the White House," said Rep. Tony Cárdenas, D-Calif., chair of Bold PAC, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus' political action committee. The committee has backed Latinas to help get them elected to Congress or other public office.
Image: Catherine Cortez-Masto, Michelle Lujan Grisham, Veronica Escobar (Getty Images file)
Image: Catherine Cortez-Masto, Michelle Lujan Grisham, Veronica Escobar (Getty Images file)

By 2060, Latinas will be more than a quarter of the population, according to Catalyst.

After the former vice president's pledge during the last debate, the names that quickly emerged in media and political circles were those of Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., former Georgia legislator Stacey Abrams, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. It took a few days for some Latinas to become part of the discussion.

Asked whether a Latina is being considered, the Biden campaign told NBC News in an emailed statement that Biden would run a vigorous vetting process, having been through it himself in 2008.

Biden has said he's considering at least seven women.

More at link.

Just kicked in another $15 to help kickoff Joes emerging kicka*** digital strategies

He is embarking on uncharted waters, but it is looking good.

Just got the following from the Biden Campaign.

Noel, first off, thanks for staying in contact with our campaign during this time.

We hope we can all stay connected and help empower one another to find ways to stay politically engaged and focused on defeating Donald Trump in November.

Which is why we wanted to once again reach out and ask for some of your opinions on what kind of communications you want to receive and how you would like to stay involved from home.

We’re putting together our plans for digital outreach that will allow us to build a strong organization and infrastructure that can beat Donald Trump, while allowing our staff and supporters to be remote and safe.

Click here or the button below to fill out our Digital Strategy Survey »

It’s important that we hear from you, Noel, so that this strategy can include the input of all our best supporters. It only takes a minute or two to fill out, and we want to start using the results as soon as possible.

We’ll be back in touch with some of the results here and our plan to use them!

Team Joe

How Joe Biden Will Counteract Trump's Virus Media Circus


"We need action, not words. We need science, not more fiction. Mr. President, start to tell the truth,” Joe Biden told reporters in a tele-conference on Friday.
Hanna Trudo Updated Mar. 21, 2020 3:44AM ET / Published Mar. 20, 2020 8:22PM ET


After days of relative quiet, former Vice President Joe Biden announced that he plans to hold daily press briefings, starting as early as Monday from a remote location, as part of a broader digital and communications push as he closes in on the Democratic nomination.

“We’ve hired a professional team to do that now,” Biden said in a teleconference with the press on Friday afternoon, in reference to a question about establishing a foil for Trump’s daily press briefings. “We’re in the process of setting up the mechanisms by which to do that.”

The announcement answers growing questions about whether Biden’s campaign would set up some type of shadow effort to counter President Donald Trump in the age of COVID-19. Those questions, and more specifically, whether they had a plan at all to match Trump’s increasingly erratic press conferences where he routinely contradicts experts, misstates facts, and paints a far rosier picture of a crisis that has upended American life, had gone largely unanswered until Friday.

“The bottom line is everything from providing access to where I physically live and being able to broadcast from there, as well as our headquarters, is underway," Biden said.

The stakes are now higher than ever for the former VP seeking to make both a values-based and tactical contrast to Trump. But as the country grapples with containing the spread of coronavirus, Biden is confronting challenges of a leading campaign trying to soldier on in the face of a national crisis.

Trying to counteract the narrative that Biden has "disappeared"--while publicly quiet until last Friday for a bit, Joe was working behind the scenes to muster up a response to the virus crisis to counter the Trump circus. Now he his ready to kick *** [expletive deleted].

Biden trashes Trump over coronavirus response: 'Step up and do your job, Mr. President'

Adam Edelman ,NBC News•March 21, 2020


Joe Biden, the 2020 Democratic front-runner, slammed President Donald Trump over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic Friday, accusing him of being “behind the curve through his whole response.”

Biden, speaking on a conference call with reporters, offered a series of blunt missives for Trump, and criticized him for repeatedly providing the American people with misinformation about the virus.

“Step up and do your job, Mr. President,” Biden said.

“In times of crisis, the American people deserve a president who tells them the truth,” Biden said. “Unfortunately, President Trump has not been that president.”

“People are scared. They’re worried. They don’t know quite what to do," he added. “He has been behind the curve throughout this whole response."
The former vice president also criticized Trump for having directed governors to acquire critical medical supplies on their own, before relying on the federal government.

“Don’t tell the governors to fend for themselves,” Biden said. “Step up and do your job.”

“He said the federal government is not a shipping clerk. Where the hell did that come from,” Biden said.

Read more at the link. Cannot let Trump off the hook just b ecause he is president during a crisis. Where has Joe been? He has been on the phone working behind the scenes. Now, probably Monday, he will be giving a presidential press conference.

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