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Are Republicans and Democrats really all the same? Is Joe Biden no better than Donald Trump?

A couple days ago my daughter, 22, a Filipina singer who’s starting to get more seriously involved in politics here, asked me “What do I say to someone when I’m having to explain why Trump and his supporters are a piece of sh*t and they just say “Joe Biden isn’t any better”?” I said “That’s gonna take some links.” I wrote this for her. It’s still a draft.

The problem with Republicans is they’re basically lacking empathy for others. They’re heartless. I can list off a lot of examples – now, many of these things won’t affect a healthy 22-year old naturalized US citizen directly, but they will affect them.

1. This is pride month. Republicans encourage hatred of LGBTQ. They look the other way when gay people are harassed, abused, discriminated against or even murdered. They definitely don’t wanna allow gay marriage. So, if you’re not LGBTQ, maybe that doesn’t affect you but how many people have zero friends or relatives who are LGBTQ?

2. Republicans are anti-women. They’re definitely trying to turn back the legal case that made a woman’s right to choose (abortion) the law of the land. Now, you may not want to ever have to choose an abortion but is that a choice you want a group of old grey men in robes to decide or is that something each individual woman should have a right to decide for herself?

2a. Republicans don’t value women in the workplace, and don’t want to see laws that make equal pay, they wanna stop that. They think it’s ok for a corporation to pay women 50,60,70,80% of what a man would get to do the same job.

3. Republicans won’t admit it but they’re racist. Just yesterday Trump said “MAGA Loves the Blacks” which really means “MAGA is not the blacks, MAGA is the whites” Republicans are overwhelmingly a white party, and they’re slowly losing power as the percentages of whites in this country gets smaller. They’re more scared of losing that power so they cheat more, and use extreme measures to protect their power, but the fact is that people of color tend to be more liberal.

3a. When I say “cheat more” I mean they use dirty procedural rules to prohibit people from voting, to purge voter lists, especially democrats and people of color, to discourage people or make it hard for people to vote (that’s why republicans vote by mail but don’t want democrats to be able to do that) and Gerrymandering congressional districts to give Republicans a majority in Congress even though, nationwide, they get less votes than democrats. Gerrymandering is tricky, I’ll send a link about it. Democrats are trying to end gerrymandering, or at least take the process away from politicians and give it to a neutral commission. Republicans can’t exist without partisan Gerrymandering.

4. Democrats are trying to get everyone in the country covered for healthcare, like it’s a human right. Republicans want corporations to keep ripping us off – Republicans don’t want any corporations to be regulated and healthcare is a great example of why that’s heartless. Many Hospitals and all drug companies are corporations. Even though the taxpayer’s money is used to support development of a new drug, when the drug is approved the price is sky-high, competition to make and sell the drug is legally limited, and the profits don’t go to pay back the taxpayers who invested in supporting the development of the drug. The profits are PRIVATIZED – the executives of the drug company use OUR money to make a drug and then KEEP THE PROFITS for themselves. We’re being ripped off. Republicans love it. Now, maybe you don’t need any special medications today, but you probably know someone who’s struggling to pay their bills because their medicine is so expensive.

5. Capitalism is the idea of a free marketplace where people with products or services can sell them and make money – lots of it, potentially, UNLIMITED amounts of it. Republicans believe in absolutely NO regulation of this marketplace – if your product is bad or injures people, Republicans don’t want you to be able to sue the manufacturer. Republicans believe the marketplace is a free-for-all and if you use immoral or unethical behavior to gain an advantage, even a MONOPOLY in the marketplace, that’s ok with them. They LIKE Monopolies, the big corporations who have virtual monopolies contribute to Republicans, (and some Democrats, too) who then owe those corporations favors, favors in the form of passing laws which help keep the big corporations in control of their monopoly.

5a. Therefore, “unbridled unregulated capitalism is as evil as the Taliban”. Democrats believe in a well-regulated marketplace where monopolies are broken up and there’s more competition. Imagine someone with a great invention, a battery that can be recharged a million times without ever losing its original capacity. They need to bring that product to the marketplace, but a big oil company is threatened by that, so they’re going to buy the rights to the patent and then bury the product where it will never see the light of day, and that way the oil company can sell more oil for longer. Republicans think that’s fine.

6. Speaking of oil, Republicans love it, and that’s why they deny climate science. Democrats, not so much. A Green New Deal, where millions of new jobs are created by switching away from oil and natural gas and using renewable sources of energy, democrats want it, Republicans don’t. If humanity is threatened by global climate changes brought on by the use of fossil fuels, Republicans don’t care, because it threatens their lazy old ways of making their money and keeping them in power. They’re heartless and have no vision for the future of mankind.

7. Immigration. Republicans are Xenophobes. They’re afraid of outsiders. It used to be Democrats were, too, it’s perhaps a natural tendency but Democrats tend to make progress and believe in evolution more than conservative Republicans who don’t believe in science, including evolution. The current Republican administration is very anti-immigrant. Loli won’t be able to come here because Trump’s senior adviser Stephen Miller is a racist who hates brown people. He’s the one who’s creating the policies of extreme deportation, ripping families apart, keeping kids in cages, etc. Trump loves this guy. They hate “the other”. Fact is, America is made up of all immigrants. Even the native American tribes didn’t just sprout up here, they came from somewhere else, thousands of years ago.

7a. Immigration is a huge part of what makes America great. We need more of it, not less of it. Open borders? Maybe not, but definitely we need to increase immigration, not restrict it like Trump is doing. The innocent kids of parents who came here illegally many years ago? Why should we deport them? They know no other country than ours. Republicans don’t care, they want them outta here.

SUMMARY: Many of these issues are transparent to the average 20-something who’s healthy and not an immigrant, who’s not getting paid enough whether she’s a woman or a man, who doesn’t know what opportunities she didn’t get because of the color of her skin, or the way she loves someone. Someone who was born a white male citizen. We take a lot for granted and so, without thinking too long on it, it can look like both Democrats and Republicans are same-same. Nothing could be further from the truth.

COVID-19 – “Are We Ready To Open Again?” or “How Much Is A Life Worth?”

Until there’s a vaccine, if ever, things will not be the same as before. We need to wrap our heads around that. Every urge to re-open needs to be considered this way: ​”How much is a life worth?“. When we do re-open we will need to be strict about sanitation and face coverings, hand-washing, etc. My wife is super high-risk, having had 2 open heart surgeries, pulmonary hypertension, stroke, Traumatic Brain Injury and more. I’m a 62-year old ex-smoker trying to lose some weight. We have a 12-year old boy to take care of. My job involves science, specifically test engineering. The kind and amount of testing being done is wholly insufficient for us to know the data we need to know:

  1. How long can I be infected and infectious without having any symptoms? ​
  2. How many people have already been infected? ​
  3. ​How long can I ​be infected before I test positive? ​
  4. Of those who’ve already been infected, how many are over it and how many are still contagious? ​
  5. Can a person who’s been infected get it again? ​
  6. What’s the deal with Kawasaki-like disease in kids who’ve gotten COVID-19? ​
  7. ​How much is a life worth? ​

For me, it’s all about testing. I’m a test engineer. We’re not doing enough testing. Not even close. 

​The actual ​death toll from this disease is surely much higher than the “official” ​death toll. First, if you got it and went to the hospital, they didn’t test you because they either couldn’t or wouldn’t. They sent you home. Only people with a positive test result are counted – but “you” ​didn’t get a test, so no result, and if you got sicker, and went back into the ICU and died, or died at home, you were not part of the official death toll because you had no positive test result. 

​We have now confirmed people dying as early as December 27 from COVID19 whose deaths were previously attributed to other causes. In Santa Clara, we know for sure someone died Feb 6 from it, which means they were infected in January. There are likely cases earlier than that if we dig deep enough. Blaming China is a distraction and solves nothing. I will add that regardless of your opinion, we humans are part of one world now, and denial of that will get you nowhere. Surely with all the travel among nations, thousands of people got infected in China and left the country for destinations all over the world, in the first 1 week of the outbreak. For that matter we don’t truly know when the outbreak began. Building walls and erecting bogus imaginary or procedural barriers to people traveling is a fool’s errand. Humans are a migratory critter, denial of that is nonsense. Managing it in a humane way is possible but not without cooperation from leaders around the world. That’s idealistic, isn’t it? ​Yes, I will admit that. 

​The administration is not interested in the truth because it’s damning to Trump’s re-election efforts. You can’t get a test just because you want one. That’s only one of countless lies being spewed by our so-called leaders. There are lots of unreliable tests out there, complicating matters. There are charlatans selling fake cures. It’s like some perverse carnival out there with the President encouraging the barkers.  

​A certain level of testing is required to have any confidence in decisions to re-open. That level of testing hasn’t been done and it doesn’t look like it will be, either. So, what do we do? ​How much is a life worth? ​​

Here’s some more background on my family, and thus my perspective – your experience is surely different, I get that. 

GEV Magazine was Kaye’s baby, but since the stroke, we can’t keep it open any more, just the website and Facebook. Now, there are no more events to cover, anyway. For us, this whole thing started to go South when Trump was elected. Kaye’s an immigrant. She just became a citizen in 2016. The anti-immigrant sentiment and behavior from Trump supporters was frightening to her. Her stroke was 2 weeks after the election. It caused a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in surgery to remove the blood clot. She can drive now, but has great difficulty speaking, reading, writing, and understanding spoken language unless it’s delivered slowly. She was 41 when it happened, she’ll be recovering for the rest of her life. Now there’s a rise in anti-Asian bigotry again. She’s aware of it and sensitive to it. We’re a 1-income family and she feels responsible for that. It’s not her fault. I’m doing my best to stay positive here. In a former life, I played the Blues and traveled around the country and did sound engineering for great blues and rock musicians. I ​have what I would like to believe is a special affinity, respect and camaraderie with my African-American brothers and sisters, because of Blues music. It pains me to no end to see African-Americans being shot in the streets unarmed, unsafe even from the police, in their own homes, and routinely abused and vilified in ways both subtle and overt, by White people. It’s intolerable and unacceptable. I ​support those who resist that oppression. It makes me ask – How much is a life worth

​Right now, I’m working from home. I ​work in Mountain View. 36 Million people are out of work, yet my LinkedIn is buzzing with recruiters trying to poach me from my current gig – it’s flattering but a little incongruous. Like the stock market, which, until the last couple of days, was climbing back up as if 25, 30, 35 Million unemployed people was no big deal. 

​Economically, I’m sure we’re all ready to open again. We need to do it with a measured, methodical and cautious approach and be prepared to close back down again if things get outta hand. Personally, I expect there will be another surge because I have little faith that people will be able to maintain their distance, keep their masks on and wash their hands and faces. Rules are made to be broken and America was forged on people breaking rules – for better or worse. So here we are. How much is a life worth? ​

Welcome to Clout’s Place

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