Saturday, May 28, 2016

Donald Trump: just kill a 3-inch fish and thousands of family businesses so I can win California in November

On Friday Donald Trump declared war on thousands of small and medium sized family businesses depending upon the Pacific fisheries. He called these folks "a certain kind of 3-inch fish" and would do away with them to support large corporate agricultural farms.

Unless these fishermen are 3-inch fish, Donald Trump is wrong again: "They are taking the water and shoving it out to protect a certain kind of three inch fish."

Basically, as President Donald Trump would put ordinary people out of work in order to protect the profits of large agricultural corporations.

About the three inch fish....

Nobody cares about the canary in a coal mine, unless it dies. And then it means that the environment in the coalmine is death to the miners and the canary is irrelevant.

And similarly, nobody but a few unusually weird environmentalists care about the Delta Smelt. Referred to by Donald Trump on Friday in Fresno, California, as “a certain kind of 3-inch fish”, Delta Smelt are an indicator species with no current direct economic utility:

But this fish is the "canary" in the main California river systems, probably the best indicator of San Francisco Bay-Delta environmental conditions impacting upon economically important fish such as salmon and sturgeon. From an economic standpoint they are the canary for California commercial salmon fisheries. If the Smelt disappear, within less than a decade a sizable chunk of what's left of the California fishing industry will also die.

For those who care about facts, which we learned again this week is a group that doesn't include Donald Trump, it is important to know that California's fisheries are complex and dynamic systems, where people and nature are inextricably linked. In fact, even more than the agricultural economy, the seafood industry economy and related jobs depend upon protecting the environment. And there are money and jobs at issue as shown in these two tables from a 2011 study:

Click on image to see a larger version!

Click on image to see a larger version!

None of this is a simple subject that can be easily understood by the general public and most certainly not explained by Donald Trump. It is about competing interests within our economy, interests competing for water. Until serious farming came to California well after the Mexican-American War (California was part of Mexico, never part of the English colonies), the water was carried by the rivers into San Francisco Bay and out to the Pacific Ocean. Fishermen didn't worry.

But farmers came and diverted the water themselves. Then they had the U.S. Government and the State of California build large dams and canal systems. And because of these actions done by the American people, those in the fisheries industry related jobs were without hope...until 1976. From the Pacific Fisheries Management Council's website:
The Pacific Fishery Management Council is one of eight regional fishery management councils established by the Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976.

With jurisdiction over the 317,690 square mile exclusive economic zone off Washington, Oregon and California, the Council manages fisheries for about 119 species of salmon, groundfish, coastal pelagic species (sardines, anchovies, and mackerel), and highly migratory species (tunas, sharks, and swordfish). The Council is also active in international fishery management organizations that manage fish stocks that migrate through the Council’s area of jurisdiction, including the International Pacific Halibut Commission (for Pacific halibut), the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (for albacore tuna and other highly migratory species), and the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (for yellowfin tuna and other high migratory species).

The Pacific Fisheries Management Council's Pacific Coast Salmon Plan Fishery Management Plan includes this map:

Click on image to see a larger version!

The map specifically includes the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers:

Click on image to see a larger version!

The area in tan is essential fish habitat for salmon and other species along 800+ miles of rivers. California already has lost the spring-run salmon in the San Joaquin River because of a dam.

Protecting all these fish during low river flow periods suppresses California's corporate farm agricultural production.

Because the Delta Smelt is the endangered indicator species, the effects on the Smelt affect the operations of federal and state dams, plus the operations of the canal systems that move water south to the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California.

There is nothing simple about this issue. California's fishing industry finances are dwarfed by the wealth generated by corporate agriculture, agricultural money has been successful in having the newspapers and TV news frame the "water war" in terms of farmers versus environmentalists.

This is because environmentalists with money have had some success and just happen to be on the same side of the issue as the fishing industry which is made up mostly of small businessmen known as fisherman who make relatively modest incomes.

This framing of the interests involved is true even for the normally progressive Sacramento-based McClatchy newspapers which originated with The Sacramento Bee and include Central Valley newspapers The Fresno Bee, The Modesto Bee, the Merced Sun Star, and The San Luis Obispo Tribune all serving agriculturally-centered communities.

The dispute between economic interests should be framed as corporate farming executives versus a fisherman. You can learn more about the fishermen at the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations website which explains:
We are the small and medium sized family businesses, conducted from vessels fishing distant grounds to small, trailerable boats working nearshore waters. We are professionals who derive our incomes largely from harvesting the sea. Large or small vessel operator, full-time or part-time, we all share a common passion for this way of life, a dedication to its future, and a commitment to a sustainable resource.

What PCFFA provides the individual fisherman is a vehicle to protect themselves and their industry, to assure the sustainable protection of the fragile resources we all depend upon, and a vehicle for empowerment. PCFFA provides fishermen a means to challenge and counter the dictates of big business or big government. PCFFA provides fishermen with a voice in their affairs, a say about their future.
Fundamentally, the California Water Wars are between corporate-owned large agricultural interests versus the interests of the small and medium sized family businesses represented by the PCFFA.

Enter Donald Trump, the absolutely perfect "marketing pro" targeting the gullible American leading with: “If I win, believe me, we’re going to start opening up the water so that you can have your farmers survive, so that your job market will get better."

According to the LA Times:
After a private half-hour meeting with farmers, Trump said the group told him there was no drought in California, but rather a failure to preserve and wisely use the water the state has on tap.
His words were straightforward pandering to the wealthy agricultural interests, families with small farms, and the unemployed and underemployed farm workers most of whom are Mexican migrants or their descendants. As The Fresno Bee explained, even though Trump has won the Republican nomination...
But Trump came anyway, he said, because he wants to build momentum ahead of California’s June 7 primary, the national Republican convention this summer – and his coming November showdown with likely Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. The reason: He plans to compete for the Golden State, which hasn’t voted for a Republican presidential nominee since George H.W. Bush won here in 1988.

“We are going to make a strong play for California,” Trump said.

Trump then acknowledged that “maybe I can’t do it,” but said any other Republican candidate would ignore the Golden State because that’s conventional wisdom. Trump said his own wisdom is that even if competes here and loses, he’ll force the rival Democrats to spend money here to defend the state.
The article dismisses Trump as a viable Presidential candidate in California, citing the same kind of experts that dismissed Trump a year ago as a viable candidate for the Republican nomination. The problem with dismissing Trump's plans is this job growth map:

Click on image to see a larger version!
As the Economic Innovation Group's Recovery Map and Study indicates, in California only 9 counties out of 58 were among those experiencing half of the nation's job growth between 2010-2014. And don't be fooled by the two geographically large counties, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. Only the westernmost third of those counties that are in the urbanized portion of Southern California should be colored. The remaining portions contain substantial agricultural interests.

Despite the thinking of the progressive press and liberal elites in California, Donald Trump can make California a contested state. Any idiot in the press or in the Democratic Party who thinks otherwise is among the many who have the memories of a gnat.

They have forgotten 2003 when then Democratic Governor Gray Davis was recalled because of the California electricity crisis, a crisis really not of his making though he did not respond well in the situation. California Democrats replaced Davis with showman Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger with the recall vote tallied as follows:

Click on image to see a larger version!
In April 2006, right before the election, Davis had a disapproval rating of 65%. Hillary Clinton had a 49% disapproval rating in California in April 2016, 8 months before the election.

Trump's camp is looking at the maps and the numbers and they quite accurately see a chance to disrupt the Clinton campaign's focus on swing states, if not a chance to win California. They will focus on increasing Clinton's disapproval ratings, not on reducing Trump's disapproval ratings.

In the meantime, while Trump is advocating shifting the nation back to fossil fuels and proposing to kill the effort to save fish like salmon, the Sanders camp is helping him win in California by attacking Hillary Clinton.

If successful, Trump with the help of Sanders will get a chance to set back eight years of environmental progress made by the Obama Administration despite strong opposition from a Republican Congress.

And significantly for California, he will set back 40 years of trying to save thousands of small and medium sized family businesses depending upon the Pacific fisheries - you know, saying "your fired" to the people he calls "a three inch fish."

Monday, May 23, 2016

So Bernie-the-Stalinist has been vetted and would do well against Donald in swing states like Ohio?

Bernie Sanders insists as a Presidential candidate he has been sufficiently vetted to be the Democratic nominee against Trump.

Let's look at what would be his greatest weakness against Trump - as a young man Bernie was trained in "socialism" at a Stalinist Communist kibbutz in Israel.

Now I don't care about this. But it's a sure fire truth that would kill Bernie in middle-of-the-road America. You don't have to take my word for it.

Let me first tell you about The Forward, so you can be assured of the accuracy of the source that broke the story which was only briefly and vaguely explained in American newspapers such as the New York Times with the headline Bernie Sanders’s Kibbutz Found. Surprise: It’s Socialist and on CNN How did a socialist kibbutz influence Bernie Sanders? but has never been reported on ABC, CBS, or NBC nor in any AP, Reuters, or UPI wire story.

About The Forward which the New York Times article calls "a New York-based Jewish newspaper", from its website:
The Forward delivers incisive coverage of the issues, ideas and institutions that matter to American Jews. Its rigorous reporting and balanced commentary on politics, arts and culture have won numerous awards year after year, including repeated recognition by the Society of Professional Journalists.

Founded in 1897 as a Yiddish-language daily, the Forward soon became a national paper, the most widely read Jewish newspaper anywhere. By the 1920s its circulation outstripped the New York Times. It chronicled the events that affected a population of immigrants eager to earn their place in American life, and published regional editions around the country before any other newspaper.

The English Forward was launched as a weekly in 1990. Its perspective on world and national news, and its unparalleled coverage of Jewish arts culture and opinion have made it the most influential nationwide Jewish media outlet today. More than a million unique visitors turn to each month for award-winning news, thoughtful commentary, and captivating videos. More than 50,000 subscribers receive e-newsletters that highlight the latest stories and areas of special interest like Arts & Entertainment and Food & Drink.

The Forward has always been a nonprofit association and is supported by the contributions of its readers.
On September 3, 2015, the story My Quixotic Hunt for Bernie Sanders' Kibbutz appeared in The Forward, written by Naomi Zeveloff who's bio on the site explains:
Naomi Zeveloff is the Middle East correspondent of the Forward, primarily covering Israel and the Palestinian Territories.

Formerly the deputy culture editor of the Forward, she was awarded a 2012 Newswomen’s Club of New York prize for her coverage of the Sandy Hook shooting. Previous to the Forward, she worked as a reporter at alternative newsweeklies and political news sites in Utah, Colorado and Texas. Her writing has also appeared in Salon, The Daily Beast and Guernica.

She holds a Master of Arts degree in political journalism from Columbia University. The only Forward staffer from Utah, she is responsible for bringing Western Wear Wednesday to the office.
In her September 2015 article Zeveloff begins:
It’s a constant of virtually every profile written about Bernie Sanders: Shortly after college, the Vermont senator now running for president volunteered at an Israeli kibbutz.

Depending on the writer, this detail might speak to Sanders’s Jewish identity, his stance on Israel, or his socialist values. Were any or all of these honed in the communal agrarian idyll of 1960s Israel? No reporter or analyst has been able to fully address this question because no one has been able to pin down which kibbutz Sanders volunteered at for several months in 1964, after his graduation from the University of Chicago. Including me.

On my part, it’s not for lack of trying. Not even his brother, Larry Sanders, knows, despite the fact that he himself volunteered at two kibbutzim in Israel — Matsuva in the North and Yotvata in the South — and even met his first wife in Israel. Larry Sanders never visited Bernie Sanders on the kibbutz, but he said that it was a formative experience for his brother.

The name of Sanders’s kibbutz might seem like a minor detail, but it’s important. Among other things, it could build on our understanding of his formative years before he became a populist firebrand filling stadiums across America as Hillary Rodham Clinton’s main challenger in the Democratic primary race. Was it one of the hard-left kibbutzim of that era affiliated with the Marxist political party Mapam? Or was it one of the more moderate socialist communities affiliated with the ruling Mapai party?
Let's keep in mind that after failing to find the kibbutz, Zeveloff states: "And in case you’re wondering, I did ask the Sanders campaign. No one ever responded."

Then on February 4, 2016, another article by Zeveloff appeared Revealed at Last! Inside the Kibbutz Where Bernie Sanders Lived and Learned Socialism in which she tells us:
The Democratic Party’s socialist presidential candidate, it turns out, volunteered at Kibbutz Sha’ar HaAmakim, near Haifa in northern Israel, in 1963.

Sanders’ time on the kibbutz, where he lived for a few months with his ex-wife, Deborah Messing (born Deborah Shiling) is referenced in virtually every profile of the candidate.

Founded in 1935 by Romanian and Yugoslavian Jewish immigrants, Shaar HaAmakim was part of Hashomer Hatzair, a socialist youth movement. The kibbutz was affiliated with Mapam, a political party to the left of Labor.

“The kibbutz was a full commune,” said Irit Drori, a 72-year-old former secretary of the kibbutz. Typical of the time, children were raised in a dormitory apart from their parents, who lived in small apartments.

The kibbutz founders had a strong admiration for the Communist system in the Soviet Union.

“Today we know how many were killed there in the gulags, but when the kibbutz was founded, they believed that from Russia will come the truth,” she said. “They called Stalin the ‘Sun of the Nations.’”
Beginning the next day, the right picked up this news as explained in this article attempting to defend Sanders' Israel experience in The Forward Bernie Sanders Stint at 'Stalinist' Kibbutz Draws Red-Baiting From Right which tells us:
It didn’t take long after news broke that Bernie Sanders had volunteered decades ago on a hard-left kibbutz in Israel for right-wing critics to start lobbing ever-scarier adjectives at him.

“Bernie Sanders’s 1963 stay at a Stalinist kibbutz,” was the title of Thomas Lifson’s piece on the site American Thinker, posted soon after the kibbutz was identified after months of mystery. Over at Frontpage Magazine, Daniel Greenfield’s article ran under the headline: “Bernie Sanders Spent Months at Marxist-Stalinist Kibbutz.”

The descriptions seem damning, especially from the perspective of more than 50 years since Stalin’s death and the world’s absorption of the reality of his murderous, dictatorial and anti-Semitic regime. Yet at the time, as the two right-wing websites point out, Hashomer Hatzair, the kibbutz movement that Sha’ar Ha’Amakim belonged to, had quite a different perspective.

On the day of Stalin’s death, March 5, 1953, the front page of Al Hamishmar, the movement’s newspaper, carried a photo of the late Soviet leader under a full-width headline: “The Progressive World Mourns the Death of Stalin.” Greenfield at Frontpage concludes: “Bernie Sanders wasn’t there because he liked Israel. Hashomer Hatzair did not like Israel. It ultimately wanted to destroy it.”
So, Bernie Sanders campaign argues that he has been sufficiently vetted, yet Bernie wasn't asked by the hosts or moderators about what Larry Sanders called "a formative experience for his brother" at any of the following debates which occurred after the news report on the kibbutz:
  • February 4, 2016 – Durham, New Hampshire - hosted by Chuck Todd and Rachel Maddow, broadcast by NBC News.
  • February 11, 2016 – Milwaukee, Wisconsin - hosted by PBS NewsHour anchors Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff, it aired on PBS and was simulcast by CNN
  • March 6, 2016 – Flint, Michigan - hosted by Anderson Cooper and aired on CNN
  • March 9, 2016 – Miami, Florida - Sponsored by Univision and the Washington Post, moderated by Jorge Ramos and broadcast on Univision
  • April 14, 2016 – Brooklyn, New York - Moderated by Wolf Blitzer and broadcast on CNN
In addition to the main debates, there were eight live forums during which no one asked Bernie about his kibbutz experience. Some vetting process!

If Bernie became the nominee, at this point he could do all the 'splaining he wants, Lucy," but this information when finally reported accurately and factually by the mainstream news media after the Trump campaign attacks him would end Bernie's chances in Ohio, Florida, and most other swing states, and might cost him some normally Democratic states.

And in case there is some doubt that the attack by Trump would occur, we have this from the Washington Post about historian, poet, and journalist Robert Conquest The man who helped kill the Soviet Union with information that ends with:
Conquest lived to see a current U.S. presidential candidate, a senator, who had chosen, surely as an ideological gesture, to spend his honeymoon in the Soviet Union in 1988. Gulags still functioned, probably including some of the “cold Auschwitzes” in Siberia, described in Conquest’s “Kolyma.” The honeymooner did not mind that in 1988 political prisoners were — as may still be the case — being tortured in psychiatric “hospitals.” Thanks to the unblinking honesty of people like Conquest, the Soviet Union now is such a receding memory that Bernie Sanders’s moral obtuseness — the obverse of Conquest’s character — is considered an amusing eccentricity.

Finally we have this list from Investor's Business Daily to further advise Trump's attack:
Sanders has a long resume of radicalism. Here’s the rest of Sanders’ subversive past the media are keeping under wraps:

1963-64: He joined the Young People’s Socialist League, the youth wing of the Socialist Party USA. Sanders also organized for a communist front, the United Packinghouse Workers Union, which at the time was infiltrated by hardened Communist agents and under investigation by the House Committee on Un-American Activities.

1971-76: Sanders helped found the socialist Liberty Union Party in Vermont, where he ran for governor and senator while calling for the government takeover of the medical industry and “all privately owned electric utilities,” as well as the “nationalization of the oil industry” — “without compensation to the banks and wealthy individuals who own them.”

Sounding like Lenin, he also demanded the government actually seize corporate assets and the wealth of billionaires, namely the Rockefellers, and redistribute it “for all people.”

1977: As founder of the socialist American People’s Historical Society, Sanders produced a 30-minute color documentary exalting his hero, socialist revolutionary Eugene Debs, who was jailed under the Espionage Act. (Today he keeps a portrait of Debs on his Senate office wall.)

1979: Sanders penned a piece for a local leftist rag arguing for the public takeover of the television industry, banishing commercial advertising and putting content under control of the government, a la Pravda.

1981: As Burlington’s new mayor, Sanders announced he didn’t believe in private charities and favored disbanding them, explaining government should be responsible for all social welfare and charity.

1981: Sanders adopted a Soviet sister city outside Moscow, as well as a city in Nicaragua to support the communist Sandinista revolution there.

1985: Sanders invited officials from the Soviet Union and communist China to stop by his office, while proposing that Washington divert military defense funds to “pay for thousands of U.S. children to go to the Soviet Union.”

July 1985: After passing a resolution pledging Burlington would defy President Reagan’s embargo on communist-controlled Nicaragua, Sanders traveled to Managua to attend, along with Soviet officials, an anti-U.S. rally sponsored by the Sandinistas.

He reportedly stood with a crowd that chanted, “Here, there, everywhere, the Yankee will die.” His trip was said to have been paid for by the Sandinista government. Sanders, in turn, invited Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega to visit the U.S.

1985: In a letter to the Sandinistas, according to the New York Post, Sanders pledged his support for their “struggle,” calling it a “heroic revolution” while accusing the Reagan administration of engaging in “terrorist activities.”

1985: In an interview with Vermont government-access TV, Sanders claimed: “The Sandinista government has more support among the Nicaraguan people — substantially more support — than Ronald Reagan has among the American people,” even though Reagan had just been reelected in a historic landslide.

1985: In the same interview, he praised Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, claiming “he educated their kids, gave their kids health care, totally transformed society.” He later showed his affection by traveling to Havana and meeting with its mayor.

1985: In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Sanders proclaimed: “The whole quality of life in America is based on greed. I believe in the redistribution of wealth in this nation.”

1988:  One day after wedding his second and current wife, Jane Sanders, the two traveled to the USSR for their honeymoon. Upon returning, Sanders praised communist health care and housing, noting “the cost of both services is much, much higher in the United States.”

1989: With the West on the verge of winning the Cold War, Sanders addressed the national conference of the U.S. Peace Council — another known front for the Communist Party USA, whose members swore an oath to “the triumph of Soviet power in the U.S.”

The Clinton Campaign, much vilified by Sanders and his supporters, has taken the high road and ignored this. That was probably a mistake.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

A house full of listening "devices" and Google's Mission Statement

It was inevitable. Google has plans for the Google Home to compete with the Amazon Echo...
...which leads me to wonder if it is such a good idea to let Google listen in on us at home or elsewhere. Just how much information do I want to let this one international corporation gather on us? Somehow, except for selling me stuff, I never thought of Amazon in relationship to privacy in the same way I do Google. Maybe I'm paranoid but do I really want to be able to search for what I said on a given Tuesday eight years ago?

I feel, perhaps foolishly, that I have a clear picture of what motivates Amazon - their goal is to sell me stuff through direct sales. Amazon's Mission Statement is: "We seek to be Earth’s most customer-centric company for four primary customer sets: consumers, sellers, enterprises, and content creators."

Google, on the other hand, is deep into AI and self-driving cars and just about anything that could be related and more, which is made clearer when you click on Google Research giving you this screen:

I know that in one sense Google is doing "pure research" which according to is "research carried out for the purpose of better understanding fundamental concepts within a scientific field, rather than in search of a particular commercial goal. Pure research generally does not produce marketable results, but may be used for later research into more specific and profitable applications." (Wikipedia's entry is Basic research.)

But I also know that Google's Mission Statement is: "Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful." I don't see that as a mission statement similar to Amazon's. Let's examine this.

Taken literally - with an awareness of what the internet is and an idea of what it will be - Google's abstract mission statement should be disconcerting, even to those of you who aren't paranoid when you are thinking about a home, car, and pockets full of "devices" that listen for you to talk. Particularly if the devices are made by Google or use technology licensed by Google.

There was a time "listening device" was a pejorative term with synonyms like "bug", thought of as a device used by a "gumshoe" or a Soviet spy. Now, of course, it is the refrigerator you proudly just bought for your kitchen.

Anyway, regarding Google's Mission Statement...

What isn't stated in that mission statement but is implicitly understood is that Google first has to collect that information any way it can. Within the context of "the world's information", what I said to my dog a few minutes ago is part of the ever expanding bits of the "world's information" easily collected through my myriad of devices.

But in my case the "microphoned" information is not usually shared with Google by Amazon, which gives me some comfort that we use Echos and our phones and tablets are of the Amazon Fire line which use a very purposed version of Android. Nor is it usually shared by Microsoft from my Surface Pro computers which use Windows. Unless of course I use the wrong App, which on any of these devices I might.

Google's mission is to "organize the world's information." It could be organized into categories like "what people say to animals, subcategory pets, sub-subcategory dogs." Of course people could be divided in nationality like American, white, over-65, pet owner. Or whatever works in a computerized rapid search environment.

Google's mission is to "make it universally accessible." To make it universally accessible it not only would have to be searchable, it needs a decision regarding "in what format" which would be a process of determining whether it should be an audio file or simply transcribed as simple text, or both which seems very "Googley." Then it would need to be associated with my name which is already available online and associated with my home location. And then my dog Spot would have to be given a searchable internet identity.

I'm using an alias for my dog to protect its identity.

And finally Google's mission is to "make it useful."  One has to ask: "Useful to whom and how will it be useful?"  This is problematic since once it is universally accessible, every human and company can then decide how that tidbit of information might be useful. Remember that the tidbit of information is something I said to my dog as heard by a device in my home.

From a commercial standpoint, the pet supply industry most certainly could find it useful if I said to my dog something like "you need a different collar." I could then start seeing ads for collars on news and forum web pages, ads supplied by Google. Of course, that could also be true of Amazon given its mission statement. And since if I look at dog collars on I'll see those ads, perhaps I'm being paranoid.

But from a government standpoint, it's good to know where all the dogs are for enforcing licensing laws - "they" could instantly know I have a new dog and where I live and who I am. It's also good for the agent with an automatic weapon to be prepared to issue commands to my dog when an armed FBI team erroneously invades my home because I talked about ISIS.

But just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get me! There is a Cnet forum thread Coincidence or is my phone listening to me? which offers the answer Yes, It is All Possible which explains:
I used to work for a local government and, as part of my job, I had to send data to the cell network providers for analysis and return of information. For one of the providers, I had to submit the subpoena through a law enforcement website. While there, I got to look at all of the items on their menu as to what law enforcement can do (with a subpoena, back then). They can turn on your phone without alerting you and listen into conversations near your phone and can track you in any way (even if not a smart phone) and, of course, listen in on the phone and record. So, if you were a fan of the T.V. show, The Wire, all you saw there can be done.

From your description of the issue, it sounds like you have Google/Android. Correct? Google doesn't charge anything for Android. Google makes most of their money performing high-tech advertising and one of their claims-to-fame is directed advertising. It is not a secret that they keep tabs on you, the user, for these purposes. There is a Google web page where you can see some of the information they collect about you. A good place to start is to go to their home page and find the (tiny) link for their Terms of Service (TOS; "terms") and their privacy policy. Unknown to many, these documents are not very long and are not written in "legal-ese"; just plain English.

In the Terms, you will find what Google says that they can do with all of your information. This has changed and has been refined over time. The other document, the "Privacy Policy" tells you more about what Google says they actually do with information from you and about you. For example, several years ago, you could find on the Google website that the scan (electronically) or read (by real humans) every document that passes through them. Several years ago, it came out that Google admitted to scanning/reading every piece of GMAIL that passes through them. Yes, it caused quite a stir. The result was that their reading/scanning was moved right into the site's Privacy Policy. Of course, since then, there have been many changes. All this is supposed to be so that Google can direct meaningful advertising at you. Websites have to make money somehow to pay for all of the employees and hardware that they use to bring you the site. It is common sense that the "free" World Wide Web runs on advertising.

As far as using your microphone goes, I assume that it is mentioned in the privacy policy somewhere. However, I would more suspect APPs to be using the microphone more than the base Android. (You do need the microphone to make calls?). In the Apple world (iPhone) they warn you if an APP tries to use the microphone (or location, etc.) and you have an opportunity to think about why and make a decision to allow that or not. Unfortunately, I don't use Android so I can't help you there.
I'm old and started working with computers in 1970. So Google's Google Home - an apt name, since it no longer will be "my" home exclusively - likely will be a hit with Millennials who seem to value privacy not at all. But if I were them, I'd be a little careful.

Oh, and there is Apple's Mission Statement. Apple's current very concrete mission statement is:
  "Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad."

And then there's Microsoft's Mission Statement which also is not abstract at all:
At Microsoft, our mission is to enable people and businesses throughout the world to realize their full potential. We consider our mission statement a commitment to our customers. We deliver on that commitment by striving to create technology that is accessible to everyone—of all ages and abilities. Microsoft is one of the industry leaders in accessibility innovation and in building products that are safer and easier to use.
But when you consider all of these mission statements, perhaps you can understand why Google devices make me edgy.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Democratic Party process balances out all the weirdness

UPDATE:  As I noted here March 23 in the post The undemocratic Democratic Party caucus system - outdated and unfair the various state Democratic Party Caucus systems, and particularly that of Washington State, are inherently undemocratic, a fact that encourages demagogues. A peculiarity in Washington State, however, is that the state holds a primary election. As noted by The Atlantic today in An Awkward Reality in the Democratic Primary:
Washington voters delivered a bit of bad news for Bernie Sanders’s political revolution on Tuesday. Hillary Clinton won the state’s Democratic primary, symbolically reversing the outcome of the state’s Democratic caucus in March where Sanders prevailed as the victor. The primary result won’t count for much since delegates have already been awarded based on the caucus. (Sanders won 74 delegates, while Clinton won only 27.) But Clinton’s victory nevertheless puts Sanders in an awkward position.

Sanders has styled himself as a populist candidate intent on giving a voice to voters in a political system in which, as he describes it, party elites and wealthy special-interest groups exert too much control. As the primary election nears its end, Sanders has railed against Democratic leaders for unfairly intervening in the process, a claim he made in the aftermath of the contentious Nevada Democratic convention earlier this month. He has also criticized superdelegates—elected officials and party leaders who can support whichever candidate they chose—for effectively coronating Clinton.

As Sanders makes those arguments, he runs up against a few inconvenient realities. He trails Clinton in the popular-vote count and has performed well in caucuses, which consistently witness depressed voter turnout relative to primary elections. What happened in Washington is a painful reminder of this for the campaign: Far more voters took part in Washington’s Democratic primary than its state caucus, preliminary counts indicate.
In fact, here is what the comparison looks like:

The reality is that the majority of Democratic voters of Washington State would, if given the chance, nominate Hillary Clinton. But a bunch of  "independent" voters who had the right Saturday free gave 73% of the delegates to the appealing demagogue Bernie Sanders.

In a democratic system, Hillary should be getting about 36 more delegates from Washington State.

It's clear that the caucuses are a "weirdness" in the system that should be eliminated. And until the various "weirdnesses" are eliminated, the so-called Superdelegates should be continued to balance things out.

*****   *****   *****   *****

Bernie Sanders did not win Oregon nor did Hillary Clinton win Kentucky. Bernie won more elected delegates than Hillary in Oregon, Hillary won more elected delegates in Kentucky than Bernie. In thinking about the Democratic Party nomination process, you have to understand that nobody wins or loses a state, they win or don't win some delegates.

Caucuses, primaries, - open, closed, modified - PLEO's (Superdelegates), unpledged, pledged, statewide, Congressional District - it's all very complicated, like life. Here's how the California Democratic Party explains it:

Click on the image to see a larger version!

And yet, the constantly complaining Bernie Sanders campaign notwithstanding, this system seems to turn out to be pretty "small-d" democratic despite its systemic weirdness. Here's an analysis of the voters ballots cast and Convention delegate status from the states that have held their contests as of today:

Click on the image to see a larger version!

For whatever reason "Superdelegate" is a wrongly pejorative term that arose in the 1970's to describe the Party Leaders and Elected Official (PLEO) delegates who attend and vote in that national party convention. The Democratic Party established the PLEO delegate system partly in response to the 1972 nomination of George McGovern. Handicapped by limited support from his own party "down ticket" candidates and the fact that many voters viewed him as a left-wing extremist, in the General Election McGovern won only one state and had only 37.5% of the popular vote against Richard Nixon.

Most current PLEO delegates hold "down ticket" elected positions. Their reelection is somewhat dependent upon having an effective Presidential candidate or President. Most of them collectively in Congress and state offices determine what government policies get adopted which makes the success of the Presidency dependent upon them. As delegates they are free to cast their Convention vote for the candidate they feel will provide strong "down ticket" support and will support policies the voters elected them to put in place.

Understand that unlike the press, in the chart I don't include in the number of total delegates for a candidate the PLEO delegates from states that haven't held their primaries or caucuses. The fact is that if the results of the June primary in New Mexico showed 95% of the voters were for Sanders, in the Convention those 6 PLEO delegates who so far have indicated support for Hillary Clinton would not vote for her. The system encourages the press to engage in too much speculation.

The chart does include in the "All Delegates" numbers the PLEO delegates from states that have held their primaries or caucuses (though they still could change their minds).

Here's what the chart tells us as of today.

Hillary Clinton has won 55.6% of the votes of those voters participating in the caucuses and primaries, Bernie Sanders 42.7%.

Because of the distortion of the caucuses, Hillary only has 54.1% of the elected delegates or 1.5% too few. But when the PLEO delegates from all the states that have held contests to date are factored in, Clinton has 56.8% of all the delegates or 1.2% too many.

At this point in time, from the states that have held contests to date Hillary Clinton has 49 fewer elected delegates than her share of the votes cast should have given her. This is offset by the PLEO delegates from the states that have held contests, delegates who have indicated they will vote for Clinton which raises the total to 47 too many for Clinton.

The numbers "49 too few "and "47 too many" are not statistically significant to be calling the process "small-d" undemocratic, but it is important to know why these numbers exist.

The too few elected delegates for Clinton is because of the distorting results of 13 caucus states of which 10 were won by Sanders.  An average of 11.2% of the voters who voted for Obama in 2012 participated in those caucuses as compared to 53.3% in the primaries. In looking for "small-d" democratic values, the caucuses are generally undemocratic. But political parties are private organizations and some states refuse to sanction or pay for their operating processes such as holding primary elections. Caucuses were a traditional way to nominate candidates to run for multiple offices in a state General Election and are still used.

The too many total delegates for Clinton is because the Clinton is viewed by "down ticket" elected officials as likely to help them get elected while Sanders is too "left" for many constituencies and has not provided significant election financial help to others. In looking for "small-d" democratic values, the PLEO delegates are generally undemocratic. But political parties are private organizations that have much broader concerns than just electing a member to be President.

This year the two "undemocratic" elements of the Presidential nomination process which are the results of complex decisions made within the Democratic Party tend to balance each other out.

If you are a losing candidate, a time-honored tradition is to whine about the system. But most certainly this year it is working.

It is also a time-honored tradition that the losing candidates have their delegates cast their ballots for the winning candidate in the final Convention vote as a show of unity and support.

Right now Bernie Sanders would have to get 99.6% of the delegates from the states and territories that will hold their primaries or caucuses in June. Absent some unexpected event, Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee as the result of a process that is "small-d" democratic, more or less.

Hopefully, Sanders delegates, as members of the "big-D" Democratic Party, will cast their ballots for Clinton in the final Convention vote as a show of unity and support.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Why it matters that Hillary is a woman: American's failed to pass the Equal Rights Amendment

Has it been so long ago that we don't remember, or more particularly white women over 40 don't remember, that women were formally denied a guarantee of equal rights by legislators in 15 states, that in 1972 Congress (yes there was a time Congress could accomplish meaningful things) submitted to the states a proposed Equal Rights Amendment that said...
Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.
...and that American's failed to secure approval of this simple protection of women's rights in their state legislatures. By 1980 the Republican Party had removed support for equal rights for women from its Platform while nominating Ronald Reagan.

It would be easy to say men were responsible for the failure, but click on the picture below to find out how women failed their daughters and granddaughters who now find themselves making headlines like this U.S. women take a stand over pay equity, sending ripples through soccer's world:
Hillary Clinton represents America's chance to symbolically ratify the ERA.

She is not a strong male politician, as she admitted in the video above, and just because she has had both some remarkable successes and failures in government as a United States Senator doesn't make her part of "The Establishment." After all United States Senators Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders ran against "The Establishment."

Yet her candidacy for President is considered vulnerable. Against Donald Trump?!?!?

What's disturbing is that not only is Phyllis Schlafly alive, apparently her spirit is still alive and well among white American women:

Click on image to see a larger version!

A remarkable 42.7% of white women polled said they would vote for Donald Trump! Only 36% said they would vote for Hillary Clinton. Heck 32% of white men said they would vote for Hillary Clinton.

Yes, I know that a majority of white women voters have backed all Republican nominees since 1996. But none of the Democratic candidates were women and none of the Republican candidates were as blatantly misogynistic as Donald Trump.

And the kicker is that breaking it down by age the results are for white women over 40 are: ages 40 to 49 - 45%; ages 50 to 59 - 46%; and ages 60 and older - 46%. All these women were alive when the Equal Rights Amendment was rejected!

And the results can't be chalked up to right-wing Republican beliefs. Trump, once a registered Democrat, doesn't resemble an Evangelical Christian, a traditional fiscal conservative, a Libertarian, or Family Values advocate. He's a billionaire son of a New York City real estate developer which certainly makes him part of some kind of economic "Establishment." He has been married numerous times. He's expressed weird feelings about his daughter.

What about him would make two out of five white women say they would vote for him rather than a white woman who has a daughter and a granddaughter???

In the 1970's I didn't get Phyllis Schlafly. It never occurred to me that in 2016 about 43% of white women would choose to reinforce her radical anti-feminist views. A Donald Trump, yes, but....

Saturday, May 14, 2016

When I despair for the Democratic Party Part 2

There was violence between Clinton and Sanders supporters at the  Democratic Caucuses in Nevada Saturday.

To put the situation in context, of the states that have completed their entire delegate selection processes, including Superdelegates from only those states, Clinton has 2,103 delegates (or 56.9%). Of the votes cast in those states either in primaries or caucuses, Clinton received 56.1% of the votes. Of the states yet to complete their contests, Clinton needs 26.2% of their delegates including their Superdelegates.

From a number of sources at the Nevada State Democratic Convention held today we find out what the Demos are doing such as Nevada Dem convention devolves into chaos, Violence erupts at NV Democratic convention amid tensions between Clinton and Sanders supporters, and Judge tosses part of Sanders backers’ lawsuit against Nevada Democrats.

It seems there was big non-issue here according to the Las Vegas Sun:
Twenty-three of those 35 delegates have already been apportioned based on the presidential preference of Nevada caucusgoers in February, 13 for Clinton and 10 for Sanders. The other 12 will be apportioned today based on the preference of conventiongoers.

There are, of course, 8 Nevada Superdelegates who could all vote for Mickey Mouse at Democratic National Convention in August.

But in the end, the Sun reported:
Who would win the majority of those delegates remained uncertain going into Saturday because Sanders was allotted more delegates to the state convention. In April, Sanders had turned out more of his supporters to the county conventions — even though Clinton had won the popular vote in the February caucuses — thus allowing him to send more delegates to the state convention.

Based on the presidential preference of conventiongoers, Clinton won seven delegates Saturday, while Sanders won five between two categories of delegates. Each category — at-large delegates and Pledged Leader and Party Official delegates — had an odd number of delegates, which means a narrow Clinton win gave her the delegate advantage in each category.

What that means is out of the 35 pledged delegates Nevada will send to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this summer, 20 will support Clinton and 15 will support Sanders. (Based on the results of the Nevada caucuses, Clinton had been apportioned 13 district-level delegates, while Sanders had won 10.)

Nevada also has eight superdelegates, of whom four have pledged support to Clinton and one has pledged her support to Sanders. Three have not said whom they will support.
This was a dispute over a couple of votes. One has to ask, what are they thinking in the Sanders campaign and particularly what is Bernie thinking? There is absolutely no way Clinton will not win the nomination, and with a delegate count in approximate proportion to the votes cast by the voters. Why are they still creating situations like this? Are they working for Donald Trump?

(Part 1 was the post made earlier today What are the Democrats doing while Trump becomes 'Presidential'???)

How to appear Presidential enough - "It's just a suggestion, I'm totally flexible on very, very many issues."

As we all know, during the primaries there were many interviews of supporters of Donald Trump who said they didn't care what he said, they just wanted a candidate who would shake things up in Washington. And as we know that has a very broad appeal.

Now that he has won the primaries, he has moved on to the goal of winning the Presidency. And his first major campaign strategy move is right on.

On Friday as usual Trump dominated the news cycle with his new "I'm Presidential" campaign strategy.

Beginning with a Fox News Radio interview Trump told Brian Kilmeade about his Muslim ban proposal:
It's a temporary ban. It hasn't been called for yet. Nobody's done it. This is just a suggestion until we find out what's going on.
Later, in his final news call of the morning to "Fox & Friends," Brian Kilmeade who co-host's that show asked him about his comment that his Muslim ban was "just a suggestion."
Yeah. It was a suggestion. Look, anything I say right now, I'm not the president. Everything is a suggestion, no matter what you say, it's a suggestion.

I feel strongly we have to do something about when you look at radical Islamic terrorism, we have a president that as you folks know very well, we have a president who won't use the term for the World Trade Center, he won't use the term. And we have to do something. And you're not going to do something about it until you know what the problem is.

I have spoken to Rudy Giuliani. We're going to put together a group. We're going to look at the problem. We're going to study the problem. It's a temporary ban. I feel very strongly that we have to find out what the problem is. When you look at San Bernardino, when you look at Paris, when you look at all of these horrible, horrible acts of hatred, this is pure hatred. We have to find out and get to the bottom of the problem before we can solve it.
And on "Today" he said,
No, I am not softening my stance at all, but I am always flexible on issues. I am totally flexible on very, very many issues, and I think you have to be that way. But I'm not softening my stance.
That morning during an interview with "Good Morning America" Trump expanded the subject matter as he revved up his new Donald Trump version of an "I'm being Presidential" image.
I think there are certain things that we could talk about. I'm not totally inflexible on anything, but I feel when it comes to the borders, we have to have strong borders.
Confirming the new image, later Friday Trump campaign’s national spokesperson Katrina Pierson told Yahoo News Guest Anchor Paul Beban:
It is true: Everything a candidate says is just a suggestion. [Candidates] put forth what they want to see happen in the country, they put forth their policies, and their vision essentially of what they want to see happen in America. At the end of the day, Congress is going to have to go along with the program.

What [the voters] do know is that Donald Trump will fight for his policies, which is something we haven’t seen a Republican do in a very long time. We have seen Republicans campaign on issues, they get elected and they capitulate to the opposite.
And so the Republican nominee used the 21st Century 24-hour internet and cable TV news cycle to re-position himself as the potentially "CEO-type" United States President making suggestions, appointing committees of like-minded friends to study issues, and acknowledging that it is up to Congress not to screw things up like they have been doing.

Meanwhile, what are those Democrats doing???

What are the Democrats doing while Trump becomes 'Presidential'???

Click on images to see a larger version!

In contrast to the Republican situation, the "progressive" Democrat is being forced to run against the "socialist" Democrat in states that are not in contention in November. Both are using campaigns in a style reminiscent of the 19th Century.  I try to remember this:
“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it--always.”― Mahatma Gandhi
Understand that this Gandhi quote begins with "When I despair." My candidate is Hillary Clinton. Bernie Sanders is setting her up for Donald Trump attacks, which makes one wonder if they aren't working together. But the worry that causes me the most "despair" is the official Clinton Campaign website "issue paper web page" which looks like this:

Everything you ever wanted to know about Hillary's positions are there, only if you would scroll down and click "read more" about an issue of concern to you. If it's immigration that is of concern, instead of "build a huge wall" you can read a paper that, for you Twitter fans, contains 8,086 characters.

In contrast, Donald Trump told the Washington Post last summer: "Building a wall is easy, and it can be done inexpensively. It’s not even a difficult project if you know what you’re doing." Again, for you Twitter fans that contains 101 characters.

Clinton's position paper includes a quote from speech earlier this month in which Clinton said:
We have to finally and once and for all fix our immigration system—this is a family issue. It’s an economic issue too, but it is at heart a family issue. If we claim we are for family, then we have to pull together and resolve the outstanding issues around our broken immigration system. The American people support comprehensive immigration reform not just because it’s the right thing to do—and it is—but because it will strengthen families, strengthen our economy, and strengthen our country. That’s why we can’t wait any longer, we can’t wait any longer for a path to full and equal citizenship.
That's 497 characters, not at all 21st Century.

Clinton needs to pivot now. She needs to quit competing for liberals who listen to NPR and who always were going to vote for the Democrat in November. As I said in my post "The effect of the white white-collar Democrats' class war against white blue-collar American women":
The voter who may determine who will be President in 2016 will be a 46-year-old Pennsylvania white woman who does not have a college degree and who, along with her husband, 20 years ago worked for a company that paid her $20 an hour ($31.06 in 2016 dollars) actually producing a tangible commodity.

Today she is working in some service work producing nothing tangible making $15 an hour which Bernie Sanders types say should be the minimum wage, saying it without thinking about her. The fact that it's less than half the value of her pay 20 years ago which she thinks is the major problem in her life escapes the Democrats who vocally worry about minimum wage workers.

Addressing that woman's issues, the Clinton Campaign has prepared issue papers containing a total of 20,370 characters on Economy, Labor, Manufacturing (which links to a factsheet containing 10,042 characters and several other links further sending you down the policy study rabbit hole), Rural Communities, Wall Street Reform (which links to a factsheet containing 27,182 characters), and Workforce and skills.

The Economy paper does offer three graphics that could be tweeted...

...except I'm not sure what they say. Well, I kind of understand them, but they don't ...what is it I'm looking for, oh... really tell me more than this tweet from the Donald...

...which seems somehow specific as does this one:
It's not the Clinton doesn't try...
But she needs to quiet the policy wonks on her team and promote someone who understands the 24-hour news cycle, social media, and email, someone who also understands how to target people who won't click

I despair because this the first real 21st Century Presidential political campaign and I know the Donald is ready. He is embracing the "KISS" rule - Keep It Simple Stupid - and making it the 21st Century political campaign rule.

I think our side longs for the days of the 1860's when orators like Stephen Douglas and Edward Everett made their mark historically overshadowing that short speech giver Abraham Lincoln. And we seem to yearn for the 1960 campaign where televised Presidential Debates were introduced, when we "remember" issues being debated, not like the debates that gave Trump the Republican nomination.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The American political revolution of 2016 is not what you think it is

Click on images to see a larger version!

Whether you see it as led by Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders, in this Presidential Election year of 2016 a revolution in American politics is moving forward.

According to the press and others the revolution is about taking down "the establishment." But there is really no agreement on what "the establishment" is. Apparently holding a seat in the United States Senate does not make you a part of "the establishment" as Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz are anti-establishment candidates.

But don't stress. We Californian's figured out what "the establishment" is - POLITICAL PARTIES.  And as usual we are as far out in front of the movement as we can be. There are no party primaries in California except for U.S. President, which we can't control, and for traditional county-level party central committees, which are quaint useless groups anyway.

Now, it is true that California for over a century had many local and a few state "non-partisan" office elections in which no political party is indicated for any candidate. But on June 8, 2010, California voters approved Proposition 14, the Top Two Candidates Open Primary Act, which allows all voters to choose any candidate for a statewide or state and federal legislative office regardless of the candidate’s or voter’s political party preference.

The goal was to get the parties out of the election system.

It took a few years for things to begin to "adjust" to this change. But apparently by 2016 the voters have gotten what they want. These are typical formats for county Primary Ballots for U.S. Senator in California that every voter in the 2016 Primary will ponder:

Keep in mind that this is the primary ballot for  U.S. Senate seat currently held by Senator Barbara Boxer who is retiring. Note that candidates can choose to designate their party affiliation, or lack thereof.

Political parties are organizations of wrong-headed people. But don't get me wrong.

Under our Constitution they are people freely associating who have a right and a tradition to express and advance their views. So to avoid the legal issues that resulted in similar prior voter-approved initiative measures being overturned by the courts, we Californians still let the parties participate.

In California Assembly District 2, for instance, the parties are accorded the opportunity to list their endorsements in the Primary Ballot Pamphlet like this:

But as you may note, there are no Republican Party endorsements. Some nefarious scheme, right? Wrong. The Republican Party has taken a position consistent with the intent of Bernie Sanders liberal independent voters nationwide and liberal California independent voters who pushed for Proposition 14. Here is the explanation as reported in the Sacramento Bee:
[California Republican Party Chairman Jim] Brulte, a former state senator, said he has seen too many party leaders get endorsements wrong “again, again and again.” He said they often do more harm than good by fracturing party unity.

“The California Republican Party believes that Republican voters, not party bosses, should determine endorsements,” Brulte said in an interview. “Party bosses, whether they are Republicans or Democrats, in most cases lack the sound judgment that Republican voters collectively have.”
And so, following "liberal" California's lead, the revolution actually has taken root in the National Republican Party. There are no Superdelegates, no nothing, to stop "the people" from nominating reality game show host billionaire Donald Trump for the most powerful political position in the world. Trump is not a Republican Party affiliated politician or any other kind of politician familiar to "the establishment." After he is formally nominated in August, the revolution in the Republican Party will be complete as far as those Republicans in "liberal" are concerned.

On the other hand, the "conservative" California and National Democratic Party organizations disagree.

California and National Democratic Party officials still think that the participating, contributing members of parties ought to play a role in determining who represents the Party in elections.

So they endorse candidates in California and have Superdelegates to temper the effect of dangerous demagogues who, as described in Federalist Paper No. 10 by James Madison, are "leaders ambitiously contending for pre-eminence and power...whose fortunes have been interesting to the human passions."

In other words, what this country didn't need then and still doesn't need is a bunch of voters who only once every four years get excited about a Presidential candidate, a candidate "whose fortunes have been interesting to the human passions."

Let's take a look at a video:

Right after the fun rallies those independents voted for Obama in 2008. But having no commitment to anything but fun and self, they didn't vote in 2010. As Ms. Bee explained, people who don't participate in elections except when it's fun because a new, shiny Presidential candidate is holding big rallies and using words like "Hope and Change" will have a government that destroys their hopes and make changes that leave their lot in life even worse.

That's because Presidents don't determine most social and governmental fiscal policy in the United States. Members of your State Legislature and members of the U.S. House of Representatives do that. They are elected every two years. And the work to get them elected is done either: (a) by ordinary people in those private community service clubs called political parties, people who work to get the best candidate elected; or (b) political front organizations funded by corporations and the wealthy.

What Bernie's (and Donald's) revolution at the national level is all about is to get rid of interference from those pesky political parties, you  know "the establishment."

California has done it more systematically and we've eased into the process. Now we get headlines like this in the LA Times For California voters, picking a U.S. Senate candidate could be 'like throwing darts at a dart board' and from the prestigious Bay Area public TV and radio group KQED In Case You Forgot … How California’s Top-Two Primary Works.

The KQED piece refers you to Alameda County’s excellent illustrated guide (you know, Alameda County where Berkeley is). That "guide" is really a PowerPoint presentation to support a 45 minute talk on how to vote in California now that we've opened elections up to everyone...well, everyone except maybe farm workers and Denny's waitresses who will never see the presentation. But ant-party liberals don't care about them.

Here's some graphics from that guide that explained what the liberals did in Prop 14. Please notice what is under the groupings of "people" in the upper portion of the image but not under the mess of people at the bottom (remember, click on the image)...

...that's right, they aren't running for their party's nomination but for a politically correct sounding "Voter Nominated" position in a two person runoff in November. 

The only thing is, there is only 15 people reflected at the bottom of the graphic while there are 34 candidates for U.S. Senate this year. Before Prop 14, in a U.S. Senate primary a voter had to select from a few candidates seeking nomination in his/her party. Now they are confronted with 34 who don't have to report to any party members after getting elected.

It's no wonder Alameda County came up with an illustrated guide, but doesn't help one sort through 34 candidates. This system will, of course, favor the Donald Trump name-recognition-media-soundbite-tweet campaign.

And it may relegate political parties to the landfill of history, which could be a serious problem.

Let's hear again from Samantha Bee:

You see, it is the off year election that usually screws things up for the working class in this country because enthusiastic young liberals and young minimum wage independents don't vote. And most certainly they just won't do the work needed by the liberal Democrats in a non-Presidential election years.

Of course in 2010 it wasn't the Republican Party that made the election interesting at the local level. It was the now-weakened Tea Party movement that helped, using exciting rallies nationally and at the local level that were fundamentally anti-Obama.

The liberal side has never been able to create such a movement as they prefer to talk on and listen to NPR.

Yes, we Californian's figured out what "the establishment" is - POLITICAL PARTIES. And there is a revolution going on against "the establishment." Not all revolutions are good, particularly when they are led by demagogues.

There are the many that won't heed the warning of Samantha Bee. Nor that of James Madison who said:
Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The effect of the white white-collar Democrats' class war against white blue-collar American women

So Donald Trump's primary victories have destroyed the Republican Party! We Democrats shouldn't revel in that - because his General Election victory will destroy our party.  And it is all because typical white-collar Democrats seem to have gone to war against white blue-collar America. (When you read this post keep in mind that I'm a life-long Democrat.)

Today's news release May 10, 2016 - Clinton-Trump Close In Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll Finds ought to worry Democrats, particularly in the case of Pennsylvania. To understand Pennsylvania results, Democrats have to understand what their tunnel-vision policies have done to white blue collar Americans as those policies are viewed by white blue collar Americans. This really should worry Democrats.

Let's begin with a map reflecting recent Presidential election history generally fed to the politically aware Democrat by the "liberal" press providing reassurance that the Republican candidate for President starts at a disadvantage when seeking the needed 270 Electoral College votes to be elected:

Many opinion pieces such as this one have reflected what in my opinion is an unwarranted confidence on the Democratic side:
Start here: Eighteen states plus the District of Columbia have voted for the Democratic presidential nominee in every election between 1992 and 2012. Add them up, and you get 242 electoral votes.

By contrast, 13 states have voted for the Republican presidential nominee in each of the past six elections. Total them up and you get 102 electoral votes.

There are two important takeaways from these facts: The generic Democratic nominee starts with an electoral vote lead of 140, and the Democratic nominee needs to find only 28 votes beyond that reliable base to win the presidency.

But this is 2016. Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee. Nothing about Donald Trump should make one think that recent election history applies.

Below is my Electoral College Contest map (as of 5/8/2016) based upon my own growing awareness of the perceived Democratic Party social class warfare against white blue collar workers. It appears this perception has created a sizeable group of spiteful voters.

 In this map with the winner needing 270 Electoral College votes, the Democratic nominee starts with 148 Electoral College votes, the Republican nominee starts with 121 Electoral College votes.

Compare the two maps. Take a hard look at what's not blue. I think not only Pennsylvania but Illinois will be tough General Election contests. Oddly, for a tunnel vision Democrat to understand why I think that, I have to begin with West Virginia.

Notice that West Virginia is red. Jack Kennedy won West Virginia in 1960. So did Bill Clinton in 1996. After that came Al Gore under whose leadership the Democrats abandoned the blue collar working people of West Virginia.

From the Washington Post:

One of the better representations of the current political moment came on Thursday night in Charleston, W.Va.

Donald Trump -- wearing, as always, a dark suit, white shirt and long tie -- welcomed representatives of the West Virginia Coal Association on the stage during his superfluous campaign event in the state. (After all, he's running unopposed at this point.) In front of a backdrop of audience members, some holding signs reading "Trump digs coal," the men came up, presenting Trump with a hard hat. Trump, after waiting for a bit, put the hat on. Mugging, he mimicked a shoveling motion, as though he was down in the mines, digging out coal.
And in 2016 the likely Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, said this:
I'm the only candidate which has a policy about how to bring economic opportunity using clean renewable energy as the key into coal country, Because we're going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.
That is what West Virginia coal country residents heard.

Should there be a smirk on the faces of those that "Feel-the-Bern", the Bernie Sanders web page on energy makes it clear what the Democratic position is:
The United States must transform its energy system away from fossil fuels such as oil and coal, and towards energy-efficient, sustainable, clean, and renewable energy solutions such as wind, solar, and geothermal.
As the Washington Post article notes:
Unlike Trump, who running as a Republican can simply embrace the coal industry without qualms, Clinton represents a party that prioritizes action on climate change. And climate change has been directly linked to all of the coal that West Virginians (and Kentuckians and Pennsylvanians and so on) have dug out of the ground for so many years.

Of course, Clinton's statement placed in context was somewhat different from what folks heard as she was assuring those folks we won't forget them:

But in truth it is the Democratic view, the soundbite stuck and the rest of it is meaningless.  What the folks in coal country know is reflected in the differences in this chart between the Bush years and the Obama years:

That is because, as the Washington Post more politically perceptively notes, the West Virginia coal decline has been made inevitable as has been the decline of other American jobs that actually produce a product:
The question at hand, though, is if that trend can be reversed -- as Trump claims -- or if those workers need to prepare for something else, as Clinton suggests.

There's not much evidence that the industry can be revived. There will continue to be public pressure on the use of coal as the effects of climate change continue to be felt, and with natural gas prices remaining low, the use of cheaper, cleaner fuel will remain more enticing for producers. The nature of the coal marketplace has changed.

A good analogue is manufacturing jobs. Over time, manufacturing jobs in the United States have dropped precipitously, though they've recovered somewhat since the recession.

When it became economically advantageous to move manufacturing overseas, that's exactly what happened. Despite many politicians' pledges to former manufacturing strongholds, there's little leverage to get manufacturers to bring production back to the United States once again -- and lots of incentive for it not to be done here. The factors at play are different, but coal's in a similar position. Stopgaps can be introduced; long-term recovery is highly unlikely.

But politics are politics. So you get a guy donning a hard hat and resolutely shoveling imaginary coal, pledging to turn back the clock -- a guy who looks more like the owner of a coal company than a guy whose family has worked the mines for decades. For everything Trump was shoveling, though, he was also offering hope.
Yes, Clinton clearly expressed the effect of the policies of environmentally correct Democratic Party of Al Gore. In saying we won't forget those folks, she is saying to these hurting blue-collar white people: "I'm from The Government and I'm here to help you."

Yeah, right.

As those of us who attempted to implement the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) of 1973 (and its successors) know, these programs didn't do much to help restore to their prior status predominately white unionized blue collar age 40+ industrial workers who were used to making upper middle class incomes.

If those programs had worked, today the American median family income would be near $75,000 a year instead of slightly more than $50,000.

In the meantime, it is a fact that many Trump supporters have lost or are facing the loss of their good paying jobs because of environmental and trade policies that are, let's face it, policies advocated by the Democratic Party.

We tend to see social class as based upon people having the same social, economic, and/or educational status. But over a period of time in the U.S., our political system has forced in another element - "belief structure." Belief structures can divide people and I'm not just talking about religion or Ayn Rand's Objectivism.

Pundits tried to define the political landscape with Red and Blue colors. But in recent decades that divide has been muddied with belief dichotomies such as:
  • American economic behavior is destroying the Earth''s environment versus environmental protection regulations are destroying the American standard of living
  • The cost of the popular iDevices/clothing/food  must be kept down through lower production costs versus outsourcing of production to China/India/Mexico is causing American unemployment/underemployment/low wages
The problem is both sides of each dichotomy is true.

Recognizing that those "hurting American humans" vote and pay taxes (unlike polar bears) seems to be beyond the understanding of the American environmental community. But try to get a lefty environmental nut to recognize that the first political hurdle that should have been overcome was not reducing carbon emissions but proving that "green jobs" are a real thing.

Back in the late 1990's environmentalist could have positioned themselves to be politically stronger by actually creating a lot of green jobs, thousands of green jobs, that paid former coal miners in West Virginia $50,000+ a year, continuously for five years, with a bright long-term future evident. Instead, today all those Al Gore followers are on their Chinese-made iPhones tweeting to each other.

And here is a political fact righteous liberals ignore:

In Pennsylvania 81% of the voting age population is white, 57% are age 45+, 71% do not have bachelor's degrees. These numbers are not significantly different from Ohio or Michigan.

In other words, the voter who may determine who will be President in 2016 will be a 46-year-old Pennsylvania white woman who does not have a college degree and who, along with her husband, 20 years ago worked for a company that paid her $20 an hour ($31.06 in 2016 dollars) actually producing a tangible commodity.

Today she is working in some service work producing nothing tangible making $15 an hour which Bernie Sanders types say should be the minimum wage, saying it without thinking about her. The fact that it's less than half the value of her pay 20 years ago which she thinks is the major problem in her life escapes the Democrats who vocally worry about minimum wage workers.

As I noted here on April 23 in Poverty, White Women, and Death - Bernie fails at complex issues Part 2, the progressive Democrats have progressed so far into their bubble that they may not have noticed the recent Washington Post story that explains this chart (Pennsylvania has been outlined for emphasis):

These demographic facts combined with Donald Trump's win creates more tan states that in my opinion are "in play."

The fact is the 21st Century "meathead" is ignoring the likely early death of the 21st Century former-homemaker-now-WalMart-stock-clerk Edith Bunker while disdaining the 21st Century former well-paid-blue-collar-worker-now-mediocre-paid-truck-driver Archie Bunker.

Only it's Edith that's become resentful and depressed hearing meathead's diatribe about the environment, his student loans, and Bernie Sanders.

 Taking advantage of these demographics, Donald Trump turned the primary election process into a reality game show with issues addressed in his own 140 characters or less simplistic tweets.

And Edith read this tweet and thinks there may be something to it because there is:

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton's minions preparing for the General Election have generated lengthy, wise, nuanced issue statements that rattle on, and on, and on.

And so in the latest round of the five day rolling Reuters Poll, white female likely voters who have an annual income of $25,000 - $75,000 favor Donald Trump by 54% to Clinton's 27%.

It has created a curious political play - in drama parlance, a tragedy. Assuming nothing unexpected happens, in this year of the rise of political populism America will have two disliked Presidential candidates to choose from - a multibillionaire and a multimillionaire.

Absent a public meltdown or damaging court proceeding, neither candidate has a clear road to 270 Electoral College votes in this year of populist spite.

But in that Quinnipiac poll in Pennsylvania the following pieces of data ought to worry Democrats a lot:
Pennsylvania voters say 51 - 42 percent that Trump would do a better job than Clinton handling the economy.
In other words, we're back to that Presidential politics adage: "It's the economy, stupid."

But in those swing states where the electorate is 80% white, the contest variable may be white women age 35+ with no college degree for whom the economic issue is good jobs already lost, not getting a higher minimum wage at their new WalMart job.

An American politician once said:
"Send them a message," he urged in his campaigns for the presidency. "Them" meant the "pointy-headed professors who can't park a bicycle straight"; the "briefcase-totin' bureaucrats"; and "the beatnik crowd that run Washington".
It's tempting for progressives/liberals to look down at the people in Pennsylvania who think Trump would handle the economy better than Clinton. But that Quinnipiac poll tells us:
Clinton is more intelligent than Trump, Pennsylvania voters say 52 - 35 percent and she has higher moral standards, voters say 48 - 39 percent.

Clinton has the temperament to handle an international crisis, Pennsylvania voters say 55 - 42 percent, while Trump does not, voters say 62 - 33 percent.

Illegal immigrants should be allowed to stay in the U.S. and apply for citizenship, 58 percent of voters say, while 10 percent say they can stay but not apply for citizenship and 27 percent say they should be required to leave the U.S.

Pennsylvania voters oppose 51 - 45 percent building a wall along the border with Mexico. White voters are divided as 49 percent want a wall with 47 percent opposed. Non-white voters are opposed 71 - 26 percent.
In other words, this particular group of surveyed voters recognize that Clinton is more intelligent and experienced than Trump and they don't support Trump's pronouncements on immigration. But they don't think an establishment Democrat can do a better job to improve the economy for their benefit than a multibillionaire reality game show host who's many corporations have filed for bankruptcy over the years.

And that particularly applies to white women voters age 35+ with no college degree who will vote this November, in Pennsylvania and ...well... all the area on this map not "revitalized" ... you know, the areas many believe were abandoned by the Democratic Party:

There is much to be done by the Clinton campaign. Almost everything that comes out of Hillary's mouth or is written by her minions from this point on should be viewed from the perspective of that theoretical 21st Century Edith Bunker. And if it doesn't work to get her vote, it must be changed.

Unfortunately there is a real deep down need to appeal to that theoretical 21st Century meathead that must be abandoned. Oh, and that theoretical 21st Century Archie? Nobody ever competes for his vote.