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Gender: Do not display
Hometown: New England, The South, Midwest
Home country: USA
Current location: Chicago
Member since: Sat Mar 5, 2011, 11:32 AM
Number of posts: 21,104

About Me

Human. Being.

Journal Archives

Just a heads up: Nearly Half of Twitter Accounts Pushing To Reopen America May Be Bots

According to a new study from Carnegie Mellon University, researchers have found that bots may account for between 45 and 60% of Twitter accounts discussing covid-19. The normal level of bot involvement for U.S. and foreign elections, natural disasters, and other politicized events is usually between 10 and 20%. MIT Technology Review reports:

Many of those accounts were created in February and have since been spreading and amplifying misinformation, including false medical advice, conspiracy theories about the origin of the virus, and pushes to end stay-at-home orders and reopen America. They follow well-worn patterns of coordinated influence campaigns, and their strategy is already working: since the beginning of the crisis, the researchers have observed a greater polarization in Twitter discourse around the topic.

A number of factors could account for this surge. The global nature of the pandemic means a larger swath of actors are motivated to capitalize on the crisis as a way to meet their political agendas. Disinformation is also now more coordinated in general, with more firms available for hire to create such influence campaigns. But it's not just the volume of accounts that worries [Kathleen M. Carley, the director of the University's Center for Informed Democracy & Social Cybersecurity]. Their patterns of behavior have grown more sophisticated, too. Bots are now often more deeply networked with other accounts, making it easier for them to disseminate their messages widely. They also engage in more strategies to target at-risk groups like immigrants and minorities and help real accounts engaged in hate speech to form online groups.

"Unfortunately, there are no easy solutions to this problem," the report concludes. "Banning or removing accounts won't work, as more can be spun up for every one that is deleted. Banning accounts that spread inaccurate facts also won't solve anything"

"Carley says researchers, corporations, and the government need to coordinate better to come up with effective policies and practices for tamping this down."


Governor Cuomo Pandemic Update -- May 23 2020

Start 5:40

Governor Cuomo Pandemic Update May 22 2020

Start 4:20

Governor Cuomo Pandemic Update May 21 2020

Midday Music for Millennials -- usaThursday

ďEvery man who has shown the world the way to beauty, to true culture, has been a rebel, a ďuniversalĒ without patriotism, without home, who has found his people everywhere." Chaim Potok

"Better is good." Barack Obama

one love

Linkin Park. ďIridescentĒ (Transformers)

Gorillaz, Peter Hook, Georgia. ďAriesĒ

Israel "IZĒ Kamakawiwoʻole. ďSomewhere Over The RainbowĒ (50 First Dates)

Two Steps From Hell. ďHeart of CourageĒ

Today is MMMís 90th day, and time to go on hiatus. I've enjoyed and learned new music along the way. Thank you for your views and recs along the way, too.

"Better Is Good." The best speech President Obama has ever made.

More relevant than ever. More important than ever. More needed than ever.

The speech:

It is good to be home. Itís good to see corn, beans. I was trying to explain to somebody as we were flying in, that's corn. That's beans, they were very impressed at my agricultural knowledge. Please give it up to Amari, once again, for that outstanding introduction.

I have ó I have a bunch of good friends here today, including somebody who I served with, who is one of the finest senators in the country and we're lucky to have him, your senator, Dick Durbin is here.

I also noticed, by the way, former Governor Edgar here, who I haven't seen in a long time, and somehow he has not aged and I have. It is great to see him.

I want to thank President Killeen and everybody at the U of I system for making it possible for me to be here today. I am deeply honored at the Paul Douglas Award that is being given to me. He is somebody who set the path for so much outstanding public service here in Illinois.

Now, I want to start by addressing the elephant in the room. I know people are still wondering why I didn't speak at the 2017 commencement. The student body president sent a very thoughtful invitation, the students made a spiffy video, and when I declined I hear there was speculation that I was boycotting campus until Antonioís Pizza reopened. So I want to be clear: I did not take sides in that late night food debate.

The truth is, after eight years in the White House, I needed to spend time one on one with Michelle if I wanted to stay married. And she says hello, by the way. I also wanted to spend quality time with my daughters, who were suddenly young women on their way out the door. And I should add, by the way, now that I have a daughter in college, I can tell all the students here, your parents suffer. They cry privately.

It is brutal. So please call. Send a text. We need to hear from you, just a little something.

The truth was I was also intent on following a wise American tradition of ex-presidents gracefully exiting the political stage and making room for new voices and new ideas. We have our first president, George Washington, to thank for setting that example.

After he led the colonies to victory as General Washington, there were no constraints on him, really. He was practically a god to those who had followed him into battle. There was no Constitution. There were no democratic norms that guided what he should or could do, and he could have made himself all-powerful. He could have made himself potentially president for life. Instead, he resigned as commander in chief and moved back to his country estate. Six years later, he was elected president, but after two terms, he resigned again and rode off into the sunset.

The point Washington made, the point that is essential to American democracy is that in a government of and by and for the people there should be no permanent ruling class. There are only citizens, who through their elected and temporary representatives determine our course and determine our character.

Iím here today because this is one of those pivotal moments when every one of us, as citizens of the United States, need to determine just who it is that we are. Just what it is that we stand for. And as a fellow citizen ó not as an ex-president ó but as a fellow citizen, Iím here to deliver a simple message, and that is that you need to vote because our democracy depends on it.

Now, some of you may think Iím exaggerating when I say this Novemberís elections are more important than any I can remember in my lifetime, and I know politicians say that all the time. I have been guilty of saying it a few times, particularly when I was on the ballot. But just a glance at recent headlines should tell you that this moment really is different. The stakes really are higher. The consequences of any of us sitting on the sidelines are more dire.

And itís not as if we havenít had big elections before or big choices to make in our history. The fact is democracy has never been easy, and our Founding Fathers argued about everything. We waged a civil war. We overcame depression. Weíve lurched from eras of great progressive change to periods of retrenchment.

Still, most Americans alive today, certainly the students who are here, have operated under some common assumptions about who we are and what we stand for.

Out of the turmoil of the Industrial Rvolution and the Great Depression, America adapted a new economy, a 20th-century economy, guiding our free market, with regulations to protect health and safety and fair competition. Empowering workers with union movements. Investing in science and infrastructure and educational institutions like U of I. Strengthening our system of primary and secondary education, and stitching together a social safety net. All of this led to unrivaled prosperity. And the rise of a broad and deep middle class, and the sense that if you worked hard, you could climb the ladder of success.

And not everyone was included in this prosperity. There is a lot more work to do. So in response to the stain of slavery and segregation and the reality of racial discrimination, the civil rights movement not only opened new doors for African-Americans, but also opened up the floodgates of opportunity for women and Americans with disabilities, and LGBT Americans, others to make their own claims to full and equal citizenship.

And although discrimination remained a pernicious force in our society and continues to this day, and although there are controversies about how to best ensure genuine equality of opportunity, there is been at least rough agreement among the overwhelming majority of Americans that our country is strongest when everybody is treated fairly. When people are judged on the merits and the content of their character, and not the color of their skin, or the way in which they worship god, or their last names.

That consensus then extended beyond our borders, and from the wreckage of World War II, we built a postwar web, architecture, system of alliances, institutions to underwrite freedom and oppose Soviet totalitarianism, and help poor countries develop.

And American leadership across the globe wasnít perfect. We made mistakes, at times we lost sight of our ideals, we had fierce arguments about Vietnam and we had fierce arguments about Iraq. But thanks to our leadership, a bipartisan leadership and the efforts of diplomats and Peace Corps volunteers, and most of all thanks to the constant sacrifices of our men and women in uniform, we not only reduced the prospects of war between the worldís great powers, we not only won the Cold War, we helped spread a commitment to certain values and principles like the rule of law and human rights, and democracy, and the notion of the inherent dignity and worth of every individual.

Even those countries that didnít abide by those principles were still subject to shame and still had to at least give lip service to the idea, and that provided a lever to continually improve the prospects for people around the world.

Thatís the story of America. A story of progress ó fitful progress, incomplete progress, but progress. And that progress wasnít achieved by just a handful of famous leaders making speeches.

It was won because of countless quiet acts of heroism, and dedication, by citizens, by ordinary people ó many of them not much older than you. It was won because rather than be bystanders to history, ordinary people fought and marched, and mobilized and built, and yes, voted to make history.

Of course thereís always been another darker aspect to Americaís story.

Progress doesnít just move in a straight line. Thereís a reason why progress hasnít been easy and why throughout our history every two steps forward seems to sometimes produce one step back.

Each time we painstakingly pull ourselves closer to our founding ideals: that all of us are created equal, endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights, the ideals that say every child should have opportunity, and every man and woman in this country whoís willing to work hard should be able to find a job and support their family and pursue their small piece of the American dream. Ideals that say we have a collective responsibility to care for the sick and the infirm. And we have a responsibility to conserve the amazing bounty, the resources of this country and of this planet for future generations.

Each time weíve gotten closer to those ideals, somebody somewhere has pushed back. The status quo pushes back. Sometimes the backlash comes from people who are genuinely, if wrongly, fearful of change.

More often itís manufactured by the powerful and the privileged, who want to keep us divided, and keep us angry and keep us cynical, because it helps them maintain the status quo and keep their power and keep their privilege. And you happen to be coming of age during one of those moments.

It did not start with Donald Trump. He is a symptom, not the cause. Heís just capitalizing on resentments that politicians have been fanning for years. Rooted in our past, but also born out of the enormous upheavals that have taken place in your brief lifetimes. By the way, it is brief. When I heard Amari was 11 when I got elected and now heís, like, started a company, that was yesterday.

But think about it. You've come of age in a smaller, more connected world, where demographic shifts and the winds of change have scrambled not our our traditional economic arrangements, but our social arrangements, and our religious commitments and our civic institutions. Most of you donít remember a time before 9/11, when you didnít have to take off your shoes at an airport. Most of you donít remember a time when America wasnít at war, or when money and images and information couldnít travel instantly around the globe. Or when the climate wasnít changing faster than our efforts to address it.

This change has happened fast, faster than any time in human history. And it created a new economy that has unleashed incredible prosperity, but itís also upended peopleís lives in profound ways.

For those with unique skills or access to technology and capital, a global market has meant unprecedented wealth. For those not so lucky, for the factory workers, for the office workers, even middle managers, those same forces may have wiped out your job, or at least put you in no position to ask for a raise. As wages slowed and inequality accelerated, those at the top of the economic pyramid have been able to influence government to skew things even more in their direction: Cutting taxes on the wealthiest Americans, unwinding regulations and weakening worker protections, shrinking the safety net.

So you have come of age during a time of growing inequality, of fracturing of economic opportunity. That growing economic divide compounded other divisions in our country. Regional, racial, religious, cultural, it made it harder to build consensus on issues. It made politicians less willing to compromise, which increased gridlock, which made people even more cynical about politics.

And then the reckless behavior of financial elites triggered a massive financial crisis, 10 years ago this week, that resulted in the worst recession in our lifetimes and caused years of hardships for the American people. For many of your parents, for many of your families.

Most of you werenít old enough to fully focus on what was going on at the time, but when I came into office in 2009, we were losing 800,000 jobs a month. 800,000. Millions of people were losing their homes. Many were worried we were entering into a second Great Depression.

So we worked hard to end that crisis, but also to break some of these longer-term trends. And the actions we took returned the economy to healthy growth and initiated the longest streak of job creation on record. We covered another 20 million Americans with health insurance. We cut or deficits by more than half, partly by making sure that people like me, who have been given such amazing opportunities by this country, pay our fair share of taxes to help folks coming up behind us.

And by the time I left office, household income was near its all-time high, and the uninsured rate had hit an all-time low, wages were rising, and poverty rates were falling. I mention all this just so when you hear how great the economy is doing right now, letís just remember when this recovery started.

I mean, Iím glad itís continued, but when you hear about this economic miracle that's been going on when the job numbers come out, monthly job numbers and suddenly Republicans are saying, ďItís a miracle!Ē ó I actually have to remind them those job numbers are the same as in 2015 and 2016 and ... Anyway, I digress.

So we made progress but ó and this is the truth ó my administration couldnít reduce 40-year trends in only eight years, especially once the Republicans took over the House of Representatives in 2010 and decided to block everything we did. Even things they used to support. So we pulled the economy out of the crisis, but to this day too many people who once felt solidly middle class still feel very real and very personal economic insecurity.

Even though we took out [Osama] bin Laden and wound down the wars in Iraq and our combat role in Afghanistan, and got Iran to halt its nuclear program, the world is still full of threats and disorder.

It comes streaming through peopleís televisions every single day. And these challenges get people worried, and it frays our civic trust, and it makes a lot of people feel like the fix is in and the game is rigged, and nobodyís looking out for them. Especially those communities outside our big urban centers.

And even though your generation is the most diverse in history, with a greater acceptance and celebration of our differences than ever before, those are the kinds of conditions that are ripe for exploitation by politicians who have no compunction and no shame about tapping into America's dark history of racial and ethnic and religious division. Appealing to tribe, appealing to fear, pitting one group against another, telling people that order and security will be restored if it werenít for those who donít look like us, or donít sound like us, or donít pray like we do. Thatís an old playbook. Itís as old as time.

And in a healthy democracy, it doesnít work. Our antibodies kick in, and people of goodwill from across the political spectrum call out the bigots and the fearmongers, and work to compromise and get things done and promote the better angels of our nature.

But when thereís a vacuum in our democracy, when we donít vote, we take our basic rights and freedom for granted, when we turn away and stop paying attention, and stop engaging, and stop believing, and look for the newest diversion, the electronic versions of bread and circuses, then other voices fill the void.

A politics of fear and resentment and retrenchment takes hold. And demagogues promise simple fixes to complex promises. No promise to fight for the little guy as they cater to the wealthiest and most powerful. Theyíll promise to clean up corruption, and then plunder away. They start undermining norms that ensure accountability. And try to change the rules to entrench their power further. And they appeal to racial nationalism thatís barely veiled, if veiled at all. Sound familiar?

I understand this is not just a matter of Democrats versus Republican or liberals versus conservatives. At various times in our history, this kind of politics has infected both parties. Southern Democrats were the bigger defenders of slavery. It took a Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, to end it. Dixiecrats filibustered antilynching legislation, opposed the idea of expanding civil rights. And although it was a Democratic president and a majority Democratic Congress, spurred on by young marchers and protesters that got the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act over the finish line, those historic laws also got passed because of the leadership of Republicans like Illinoisí own Everett Dirksen.

So neither party has had a monopoly on wisdom. Neither party has been exclusively responsible for us going backwards instead of forwards, but I have to say this, because sometimes we hear ĎOh, a plague on both your houses.í

Over the past few decades ó it wasnít true when Jim Edgar was a governor here in Illinois, or Jim Thompson was governor. Got a lot of good Republican friends here in Illinois, but over the past few decades, the politics of division, resentment and paranoia has unfortunately found a home in the Republican Party.

This Congress has championed the unwinding of campaign finance laws to give billionaires outside influence over our politics, systematically attacked voting rights to make it harder for young people, and minorities and the poor to vote. Handed out tax cuts without regard to deficits. Slashed the safety net wherever it could, cast dozens of votes to take away health insurance from ordinary Americans, embraced wild conspiracy theories like those surrounding Benghazi. Or my birth certificate. Rejected science. Rejected facts on things like climate change. Embraced a rising absolutism from a willingness to default on Americaís debt by not paying our bills, to a refusal to even meet, much less consider, a qualified nominee for the Supreme Court because he happened to be nominated by a Democratic president.

None of this is conservative. I donít mean to pretend Iím channeling Abraham Lincoln now, but thatís not what he had in mind, I think, when he helped form the Republican Party. Itís not conservative. It sure isnít normal. Itís radical.

Itís a vision that says the protection of our power and those who back us is all that matters even when it hurts the country. Itís a vision that says the few who can afford high-priced lobbyists and unlimited campaign contributions, set the agenda. And over the past two years this vision is nearing its logical conclusion -- so that with Republicans in control of Congress and the White House, without any checks or balances whatsoever, they have provided another $1.5 trillion in tax cuts to people like me who I promise don't need it. And donít even pretend to pay for them. Itís supposed to be the party ó supposedly ó of fiscal conservatism. Suddenly deficits do not matter.

Even though just two years ago, when the deficit was lower, they said I couldn't afford to help working families or seniors on Medicare, because the deficit was an existential crisis.

What changed? What changed?

Theyíre subsidizing corporate polluters with taxpayer dollars, allowing dishonest lenders to take advantage of veterans and students and consumers again. They have made it so that the only nation on Earth to pull out of the global climate agreement. Itís not North Korea, itís not Syria, itís not Russia or Saudi Arabia. Itís us, the only country. There are a lot of countries in the world. Weíre the only ones.

Theyíre undermining our alliances, cozying up to Russia. What happened to the Republican Party? Its central organizing principle in foreign policy was the fight against communism, and now theyíre cozying up to the former head of the KGB. Actively blocking legislation that would defend our elections from Russian attack. What happened? Theyíre sabotaging the Affordable Care Act, itís already cost more than 3 million Americans their health insurance. And if theyíre still in power next fall, you better believe theyíre coming at it again. They've said so.

In a healthy democracy thereís some checks and balances on this kind of behavior, this kind of inconsistency, but right now there's nothing. Republicans who know better in Congress ó and they're there ó they're quoted saying, ĎYeah, we know this is kind of crazy,í are still bending over backwards to shield this behavior from scrutiny, or accountability or consequence. They seem utterly unwilling to find the backbone to safeguard the institutions that make our democracy work.

And by the way, the claim that everything will turn out OK, because there are people inside who secretly arenít following the presidentís orders, that is not a check. Iím being serious here. Thatís now how our democracy is supposed to work. These people arenít elected. Theyíre not accountable. Theyíre not doing us a service by actively promoting 90 percent of the crazy stuff thatís coming out of this White House and saying donít worry, weíre preventing the other 10 percent. Thatís not how things are supposed to work. This is not normal. These are extraordinary times.

And theyíre dangerous times.

But hereís the good news. In two months, we have the chance ó not the certainty, but the chance ó to restore some semblance of some sanity to our politics. Because there is actually only one real check on bad policy and abuses of power. And thatís you. You and your vote.

Look, Americans will always have disagreements on policy. This is a big country, it is a raucous country. People have different points of view. I happen to be a Democrat. I support Democratic candidates. I believe our policies are better and that we have a bigger, bolder vision of opportunity and equality and justice and inclusive democracy.

We know there are a lot of jobs young people arenít getting a chance to occupy or arenít getting paid enough or arenít get benefits like insurance. Itís harder for young people to save for a rainy day, let alone retirement.

So, Democrats arenít running on good old ideas like a higher minimum wage, theyíre running on good new ideas like Medicare for all. Giving workers seats on corporate boards. Reversing the most egregious corporate tax cuts to make sure that college students graduate debt-free.

We know that people are tired of toxic corruption and that democracy depends on transparency, and accountability, so Democrats arenít just running on good old ideas like requiring presidential candidates to release their tax returns and barring lobbyists from making campaign contributions, but on good new ideas, like barring lobbyists from getting paid by foreign governments.

We know that climate change isnít just coming, it is here. So Democrats arenít just running on good old ideas like increasing gas mileage in our cars, which I did and which Republicans are trying to reverse, but on good new ideas like putting a price on carbon pollution.

We know that in a smaller, more connected world we canít just put technology back in a box. We canít just put walls up all around America. Walls donít keep out threats like terrorism or disease. And thatís why we propose leading our alliances, helping other countries develop, and pushing back again tyrants. And Democrats talk about reforming our immigration system so, yes, it is orderly and it is fair and it is legal, but it continues to welcome strivers and dreamers from all around the world. Thatís why Iím a Democrat. Thatís a set of ideas that I believe in.

But Iím here to tell you that even if you donít agree with me or Democrats on policy, even if you believe in more libertarian economic theories, even if you are an evangelical and our position on certain social issues is a bridge too far. Even if you think my assessment of immigration is mistaken and that Democrats arenít serious enough about immigration enforcement, Iím here to tell you, that you should still be concerned with our current course, and should still want to see a restoration of honesty and decency and lawfulness in our government.

It should not be Democratic or Republican, it should not be a partisan issue to say that we do not pressure the attorney general or the FBI to use the criminal justice system as a cudgel to punish our political opponents. Or to explicitly call on the attorney general to protect members of our own party from prosecution because an election happens to be coming up. Iím not making that up. Thatís not hypothetical.

It shouldn't be Democratic or Republican to say we donít threaten the freedom of the press because they say things or publish stories that we donít like. I complained plenty about Fox News, but you never heard me threaten to shut them down or call them enemies of the people.

It shouldnít be Democratic or Republican to say we donít target certain groups of people based on what they look like or how they pray. We are Americans. Weíre supposed to stand up to bullies ó not follow them. Weíre supposed to stand up to discrimination, and weíre sure as heck supposed to stand up clearly and unequivocally to Nazi sympathizers.

How hard can that be? Saying that Nazis are bad?

Iíll be honest, sometimes I get into arguments with progressive friends about what the current political movement requires. There are well-meaning folks, passionate about social justice, who think things have gotten so bad, the lines have been so starkly drawn that we have to fight fire with fire. We have to do the same things to the Republicans that they do to us, adopt their tactics. Say whatever works, make up stuff about the other side.

I donít agree with that. Itís not because Iím soft, itís not because Iím interested in promoting an empty bipartisanship. I donít agree with it because eroding our civic institutions and our civic trusts, and making people angrier, and yelling at each other, and making people cynical about government, that always works better for those who donít believe in the power of collective action.

You donít need an effective government or a robust press or reasoned debate to work when all youíre concerned about is in maintaining power. In fact the more cynical people are about government, the angrier and more dispirited they are about the prospects for change, the more likely the powerful are able to maintain their power.

But we believe that in order to move this country forward, to actually solve problems and make peopleís lives better, we need a well-functioning government. We need our civic institutions to work. We need cooperation among people of different political persuasions. And to make that work we have to restore our faith in democracy. Weíve got to bring people together ó not tear them apart. We need majorities in Congress and state legislatures who are serious about governing and want to bring about real change and improvements in peopleís lives.

And we wonít win people over by calling them names or dismissing the entire chunks of the country as racist or sexist or homophobic. When I say bring people together, I mean all of our people. This whole notion that has sprung up recently about Democrats needing to choose between trying to appeal to white working class voters, or voters of color and women and LGBT Americans. Thatís nonsense. I donít buy that. I got votes from every demographic. We won by reaching out to everybody. And competing everywhere, and by fighting for every vote.

And thatís what we got to do in this election and every election after that. And we canít do that if we immediately disregard what others have to say from the start because theyíre not like us ó because theyíre white or theyíre black or theyíre men or women or theyíre gay or theyíre straight. If we think that somehow, there is no way they can understand how I am feeling and therefore donít have any standing to speak on certain matters because we are only defined by certain characteristics. That does not work, if you want a healthy democracy.

We canít do that if we traffic absolutes when it comes policy.

To make democracy work, we have to be able to get inside the reality of people who are different and have different experiences and come from different backgrounds and we have to engage them even when it is frustrating. We have to listen to them even when we donít like what they have to say. We have to hope that we can change their minds and we have to remain open to them changing ours.

That doesnít mean, by the way, abandoning our principles or caving to bad policy in the interest of maintaining some phony version of civility. That seems to be, by the way, the definition of civility offered by too many congressional Republicans right now: We will be polite so as long as we get 100 percent of what we want and you don't call us out on the various ways that we are sticking it to people. And weíll click our tongues and issue vague statements of disappointment when the president does something outrageous but we wonít really, actually do anything about it. Thatís not civility. That's abdicating their responsibilities. But again, I digress.

Making democracy work means holding onto our principles and having clarity about our principles and then having the confidence to get in the arena and have a serious debate. And it also means appreciating that progress does not happen all at once but when you put your shoulder to the wheel, if you are willing to fight for it, things do get better.

And let me tell you something, particularly young people here. Better is good. I used to have to tell my young staff this all time in the White House. Better is good. Thatís the history of progress in this country ó not perfect, better.

The Civil Rights Act did not end racism, but it made things better. Social Security did not eliminate all poverty for seniors, but it made things better for millions of people. Do not let people tell you the fightís not worth it because you wonít get everything you want.

The idea that well, there is racism in America so, I am not going to bother voting ó no point. That makes no sense. You can make it better. Better is always worth fighting for. Thatís how our founders expected the system of self-government to work. And through the testing of ideas and the application of reason and evidence and proof, we can sort through our differences. And nobody would get exactly what they wanted, but it would be possible to find a basis for common ground. And that common ground exists.

Maybe itís not fashionable to say that right now. Itís hard to see it with all the nonsense in Washington, and itís hard to hear it with all the noise. But common ground exists ó I have seen it. I have lived it. I know there are white people who care deeply about black people being treated unfairly. I have talked to them and loved them. And I know there are black people who care deeply of the struggles of white rural America. I am one of them and have a track record to prove it. I know there are evangelicals who are deeply committed to doing something about climate change. Iíve seen them do the work. I know there are conservatives who think there is nothing compassionate about separating immigrant children from their mothers. I know there are Republicans who believe government should only perform a few minimal functions but that one of those functions should be making sure nearly 3,000 Americans donít die in a hurricane and its aftermath.

Common groundís out there. I see it every day. Just how people interact and how people treat each other. You see it on the ballfield, you see it at work. You see it in places of worship. But to say that common ground exists, doesnít mean it will inevitably win out. History shows the power of fear. And the closer that we get to Election Day, the more those invested in the politics of fear and division will work, will do anything, to hang onto their recent gains.

Fortunately, I am hopeful because out of this political darkness, I am seeing a great awakening of citizenship all across the country. I cannot tell you how encouraged I have been by watching so many people getting involved for the first time, or the first time in a long time. Theyíre marching and theyíre organizing and theyíre registering people to vote, and they're running for office themselves.

Look at this crop of Democratic candidates running for Congress and running for governor, running for the state legislature, running for district attorney, running for school board. It is a movement of citizens who happen to be younger and more diverse and more female than ever before, and thatís really useful. We need more women in charge. But, weíve got first-time candidates and we got veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, record numbers of women. Americans who did not have an interest in politics as career but laced up their shoes and rolled up their sleeves and grabbed a clipboard because they too believe this time is different. This momentís too important to sit out. And if you listen to what these candidates are talking about in individual races across the country, youíll find they are not just running against something, they are running for something. Theyíre running to expand opportunities and theyíre running to restore the honor and compassion. This should be the essence of public service. Speaking as a Democrat, thatís when the Democratic Party has always made a difference in the lives of the American people -- when we led with conviction and principle and bold new ideas.

The antidote to a government controlled by a powerful few, a government that divides, is a government by the organized, energized and inclusive many. Thatís what this momentís about. That has to be the answer.

You cannot sit back and wait for a savior. You canít opt out because you donít feel sufficiently inspired by this or that particular candidate. This is not a rock concert, this is not Coachella. We donít need a messiah. All we need are decent, honest, hardworking people who are accountable and who have Americaís best interest at heart. And theyíll step up, and theyíll join our government and they will make things better if they have support. One election will not fix everything that needs to be fixed. But it will be a start.

And you have to start it. Whatís going to fix our democracy is you. People ask me what are you going to do for the election? Now the question is, what are you going to do? You are the antidote, your participation and spirit and determination, not just in this election but in every subsequent election, and in the days between elections.

Because in the end, the threat to our democracy does not just come from Donald Trump or the current batch of Republicans in Congress or the Koch brothers and their lobbyists or too much compromise by Democrats or Russian hacking.

The biggest threat to our democracy is indifference. The biggest threat to our democracy is cynicism. A cynicism led too many people to turn away from politics and stay home on Election Day. To all the young people who are here today, there are now more eligible voters in your generation than in any other. Which means your generation now has more power than anybody to change things. If you want it, you can make sure America gets out of its current funk. If you actually care about it, you have the power to make sure we seize a brighter future. But to exercise that clout, to exercise that power, you have to show up.

In the last midterm election, in 2014, fewer than 1 in 5 young people voted. One in five. Not 2 in 5. Or 3 in 5. 1 in 5! Is it any wonder this Congress does not reflect your values and your priorities? Are you surprised by that?

This whole project of self-government only works if everybody is doing their part. Donít tell me your vote does not matter. Iíve won states in the presidential election because of five, 10, 20 votes per precinct.

And if you donít think elections don't matter. I hope these last two years have corrected that impression. If you donít like whatís going on right now ó and you shouldnít ó do not complain. Donít hashtag. Donít get anxious. Donít retreat, donít binge on whatever it is youíre bingeing on, donít lose yourself in ironic detachment, donít put your head in the sand. Donít boo. Vote! Vote!

If you are really concerned of how the criminal justice treats African-Americans, the best way to protest is to vote! Not just for senators and representatives but for mayors and sheriffs and state legislatures.

Do what they just did in Philadelphia and Boston. And elect states attorneys and district attorneys who are looking at issues in a new light. Who realize that the vast majority of law enforcement do the right thing in a really hard job. And we just need to make sure all of them do.

If you are tired of politicians who are for nothing but ďthoughts and prayersĒ after a mass shooting. Youíve got to do what the Parkland kids are doing. Some of them aren't even eligible to vote yet. Theyíre out there working to change minds and registering people. Theyíre not giving up until we have a Congress that sees your lives more important than a campaign check from the NRA. Youíve got to vote!

If you support the #MeToo movement, youíre outraged by stories of sexual harassment and assault, inspired by the women who shared them, youíve got to do more than retweet a hashtag. Youíve got to vote.

Part of the reason women are more vulnerable in the workplace is because not enough women are bosses in the workplace. Which is why we need to strengthen and enforce laws that protect women in the workplace, not just from harassment, but from discrimination in hiring, and promotion, and not getting paid the same amount for doing the same work. That requires laws, laws get passed by legislators, youíve got to vote!

When you vote, youíve got the power to make it easier to afford college and harder to shoot up a school. When you vote, youíve got the power to make sure a family keeps health insurance ó you can save somebodyís life. When you vote, youíve got the power to make sure that white nationalists donít feel emboldened to march with their hoods off or their hoods on in Charlottesville in the middle of the day.

Thirty minutes. Thirty minutes of your time ó is democracy worth that?

We have been through much darker times than these. And somehow each generation of Americans carried us through to the other side. Not by sitting around and waiting for something to happen, not by leaving it to others to do something.

But by leading that movement for change themselves. If you do that, if you get involved and you get engaged and you knock on some doors and you talk with your friends and you argue with your family members and you change some minds ó and you vote, something powerful happens. Change happens. Hope happens. Not perfection and not every bit of cruelty and sadness and poverty and disease suddenly stricken from the Earth.

There will still be problems, but with each new candidate that surprises you with a victory that you supported, a spark of hope happens. With each new law that helps a kid read or helps a homeless family find shelter or helps a veteran to get the support he or she has earned. Each time that happens, hope happens.

With each new step we take in the direction of fairness and justice and equality and opportunity, hope spreads. And that can be the legacy of your generation. You can be the generation that at a critical moment stood up and reminded us just how precious this experiment in democracy really is. Just how powerful it could be when we fight for it. When we believe in it.

I believe in you. I believe you will help lead us in the right direction, and I will be right there with you every step of the way.
Thank you Illinois! God bless! God bless this country we love! Thank you.

Governor Cuomo Pandemic Update May 20 2020

Midday Music for Millennials -- WhatevWednesday

one love

Esperanza Spaulding. ďSunny Side of the StreetĒ

Macy Gray. ďI TryĒ

The Soft Pink Truth. ďWeĒ

HAIM. ďI Know AloneĒ

Thao & The Get Down Stay Down. ďPhenomĒ

Miranda Lee Richards. ďGolden GateĒ

Governor Cuomo Pandemic Update May 19 2020

Idiots Begin Attacking US 5G Cell Towers Because, Idiots

On one end, you've got wireless carriers claiming that 5G is some type of cancer-curing miracle (it's not). On the other hand, we have oodles of conspiracy theorists, celebrities, and various grifters trying to claim 5G is some kind of rampant health menace (it's not). In reality, 5G's not actually interesting enough to warrant either position, but that's clearly not stopping anybody in the post-truth era.

Baseless conspiracy theories about the health impact of 5G have gone next level during the pandemic. To the point where facts-optional nitwits are not only burning down cell towers in the UK, but putting razor blades and needles underneath protest posters on telephone poles (apparently you solve public health risks by... putting peoples' health at risk?).

Now the Department of Homeland Security has had to issue warnings here in the States after several similar attacks were launched against US telecom infrastructure over the last few months:

"Since December 2019, unidentified actors conducted at least five arson incidents targeting cell towers in Memphis, Tenn., that resulted in more than $100,000 in damages,Ē the DHS reports say. ďAdditionally, 14 cell towers in western Tennessee, between February and April, were purposely turned off by way of disabling their electrical breakers," according to separate DHS field intelligence reporting. In April, arsonists set fire to a major cell tower in Portland, Ore., damaging electrical components at the base of the structure."

The overwhelming scientific evidence currently available indicates that not only is 5G not a serious risk to human health, but some aspects of 5G (especially millimeter wave deployments) are, in many instances, less powerful that existing 4G signals. 95% of the time when you see somebody insisting 5G hurts your health, they're badly misinterpreting existing studies or this decades old chart. Assuming they're even pantomiming any respect for science in the first place.

The DHS intelligence report states that it's very likely that these attacks will be increasing throughout the year, as a growing crop of nitwits "learn" about the technology online. Sometimes from ordinary domestic crackpots and grifters, but also via foreign governments (Iran, China, Russia) hoping to accelerate the US' descent down the conspiracy idiot rabbit hole:

"Violent extremists have drawn from misinformation campaigns online that claim wireless infrastructure is deleterious to human health and helps spread COVID-19 ...

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