Tuesday, March 24, 2020

President Trump will watch over seniors, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick says seniors will die willingly; the issue is lack of hospital beds for Millennials & kids

Repeat the mantra "the issue is lack of hospital beds for Millennials and kids."

It is truly frustrating to watch the Republicans strategically mislead Americans and not see any sign of a timely Democratic effort to counter the propaganda.

Today we have the headline about a Trump tweet Trump again breaks with experts by calling for people to go back to work, claims seniors 'will be watched over protectively & lovingly' and yesterday we had the headline Texas Lt. Gov.: Grandparents would be willing to die to save the economy.

Both these Republicans know that keeping senior citizens alive is not the issue driving the "shelter-in-place" policies closing down businesses. (Note: this writer is a 75 year old senior.) The problem is simple and one most Americans will deny knowing anything about - we have a shortage of hospital beds.

 It is a situation deliberately created by we members of the still-living generations who preceded the Millennials into adulthood, a situation which looks like this statistically:

Let's be very clear about this. In the United States there are 74% fewer hospital beds available to Americans per capita than there were in the year Jack Kennedy was elected President.

It was a deliberate choice made by Republicans, Democrats, and independents, by Bernie socialists and Koch capitalists. Any attempt to support through taxation the 1960 level of hospital beds per American would have meant most American families would not have had the money to buy more than one cell phone in the past five years. And there is nobody reading this who would have agreed to that.

When confronted with a situation where we don't have enough beds to meet the threat of a pandemic, we must attempt to reduce the number of people who are sick at any one time. That's why we are now sacrificing the economic gains  made in the 21st Century, which was wealth not equitably distributed. Republicans don't like this as they know Americans of all parties are going to be unhappy come November. They won't be able to buy the new iPhone for Christmas. They might vote Trump out.

The National Democratic Party leadership must strategically counter the Republican "blame it on dying seniors" strategy. I suggest repeating the mantra "the issue is lack of hospital beds for Millennials and kids."

Monday, March 23, 2020

The peculiar politics of this pandemic election year: can Democrats make the changes needed for safety?

Having a pandemic in the Spring of a Presidential election year is unprecedented. The test for the Democratic Party is how to make the required changes in their plans in order to keep people safe.

And that doesn't mean having Joe Biden live stream in response to Trump. It means proving the Party is an organization capable of making decisions in a time of emergency.

You see, there's the problem of the 2020 Democratic National Convention now scheduled for July 13-16 in Milwaukee. Convention leaders issued a statement Monday in which they said they are "exploring a range of contingency options" amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday there were phone calls last week among organizers and groups involved in planning the event and that the options mentioned in the calls "included shortening the four-day convention by a day or holding a mostly remote event."

The problem facing Convention planners is the same facing the 2020 Olympics which is likely to be postponed to 2021. The federal government's plan (yes, they have one, and it is a well-designed plan) includes in its lists of assumptions: "A pandemic will last 18 months or longer and could include multiple waves of illness."

While that 18-month period for planning is a worst case scenario, July 13 is less than four months away. The outbreak was first identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. As of March 23, 2020, about three months later, China believes they have mostly blocked the spread of coronavirus within the country. This is the result of extreme "shelter-in-place" rules. But reportedly they are now looking at reinfections.

In less than four months, expected in Milwaukee for the convention from across the United States were up to 50,000 people and planners are looking for 15,000 volunteers to help with the operation. So the idea is to shorten the convention by a day? Really? That's a "plan" being discussed?

In the meantime, Donald Trump is able to dominate news cycles with the frequent updates on the pandemic. Joe Biden has announced he will be streaming from his home what has been called "shadow briefings."

However, the situation is more complicated than that. In addition to the pandemic - how badly did the Trump Administration handle it - there is the economic crisis resulting from the pandemic. How is that situation going to affect the voters a nation that is clearly as divided as the United States? What is it all going to look like at the beginning of October?

Sadly, Democrats in Congress are giving the appearance of bickering with Republicans over plans to address the economic impact of the pandemic. What should have happened last week is that Joe Biden should have stood on a stage with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi presenting an economic stimulus package to be introduced in the House. Instead, any delays which worsen the outcome will be blamed on the Democrats.

And, of course, Bernie Sanders just cannot step back giving the Democratic Party a chance with suburban housewives and blue collar workers in November. He and a bunch of liberals think an economic crash will be blamed on Trump. Trump's strategists are working hard to make sure that doesn't happen. So we Democrats are going to help them.

The big question is can the Democratic Party make the changes needed (a) to keep people safe and (b) to win?

Friday, March 20, 2020

COVID-19 represents a serious health threat. But casinos shutting down represent a coming disaster within the world's reorganizing national economies

When you know that casinos in Las Vegas and elsewhere are shutting down because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you know we do have a public health crisis. And it is clear that this crisis must be handled by state and local governments as stated yesterday by President Donald Trump with regard to hospitals lacking enough ventilators and other equipment to handle the coronavirus:

    “Governors are supposed to be doing a lot of this work … the federal government is not supposed to be out there buying vast amounts of items and then shipping. We’re not a shipping clerk. As with testing — the governors are supposed to be doing it … but this is really for the local governments, governors, and people within the state, depending on the way they divided it up.
    “Governors are supposed to get it. States are supposed to get it. For years, they bought ’em — and now, all of a sudden, they’re coming to the federal government.”

The fact is there will be a crisis in medical care because of the pandemic. It is embarrassing that as a nation, we didn't tax ourselves at the state and local level to prepare for it instead of buying smart phones. It isn't as if we didn't know it was coming as Bill Gates explained in a 2015 TED Talk:

We also know that when the Las Vegas strip and thousands of businesses across the nation are shutting down, an economic crisis will ensue. Our hope is that the federal government will effectively limit the impact on the national economy to the recession we are effectively already in.

On Monday the UCLA Anderson Forecast done by economists at the UCLA Anderson School of Management declared we are already in a recession (click on image above to read the news release):

    Revising a forecast published March 12, UCLA Anderson Forecast economists say the U.S. economy has entered a recession, ending the expansion that began in July 2009.
    The revised forecast, which incorporates data reflecting a rapidly changing U.S. economy, together with a review of the 1957–58 H2N2 influenza pandemic, is for the recession to continue through the end of September.
    This marks the first time in its 68-year history that the UCLA Anderson Forecast has published an updated forecast between its regularly scheduled quarterly releases.
    After the economy had experienced a solid start to 2020, the escalating effects of the coronavirus pandemic in March have reduced the first-quarter 2020 forecast of GDP growth to 0.4%. GDP for the second quarter of the year is now forecast to slow by 6.5%, and by 1.9% for the third quarter. With the assumption of an end to the pandemic and repaired supply chains by this summer, the Forecast predicts the resumption of normal activity in the fourth quarter of 2020 and a GDP growth rate of 4.0%.
    For the full 2020 year, it is expected that GDP will have declined by 0.4%. In 2021, with the abatement of governmental pandemic expenditures and the continued contraction of residential and commercial construction, the economy is forecast to grow at 1.5%. The full recovery and return to trend is now expected in 2022.
    For California, a state with a larger proportion of economic activity in tourism and trans-Pacific transportation, the economic downturn will be slightly more severe. Employment is expected to contract by 0.7% in 2020 with employment contracting during the second and third quarters at an annual rate of 2.6%. The state's unemployment rate will rise to 6.3% by the end of this year and is expected to continue to increase into 2021 with an average for 2021 of 6.6%. By the first quarter of 2021, California is expected to lose more than 280,000 payroll jobs with more than one-third of those in the leisure and hospitality and transportation and warehousing sectors.
    The revised forecast comes with an important caveat. If the pandemic is much worse than assumed, this forecast will be too optimistic. If the pandemic abates quickly because of the extraordinary measures being put into place to address it, an outcome that the medical community thinks unlikely but possible, then the forecast will be too pessimistic and economic growth in the third and fourth quarters of the year will be higher.

As observed today Bank of America agrees:

    Bank of America warned investors on Thursday that a coronavirus-induced recession is no longer avoidable — it’s already here.
    “We are officially declaring that the economy has fallen into a recession ... joining the rest of the world, and it is a deep plunge,” Bank of America U.S. economist Michelle Meyer wrote in a note. “Jobs will be lost, wealth will be destroyed and confidence depressed.”

Goldman Sachs projects initial jobless claims could spike to a record 2.25 million this week as coronavirus-driven layoffs hit the labor market.

Such a recession, depending upon how it evolves, could become a depression. Most certainly it will become a "great" recession whatever that means. The problem in this writer's opinion is that this disruption was not created by economic mismanagement by bankers as in 2008 or the 2001 dot-com bubble burst.

Instead this "economic downturn" is the result of a failure to heed the warning as expressed by Bill Gates in the video above, a warning about something other than money and stuff to buy. Unfortunately, it comes in the middle of an amateurish attempt by the right wing of the Republican Party to crush the international economic expansion of the late 20th Century because it did not adequately favor "traditional American values" reflected in nationalism.

Since 2016 the United States has withdrawn from its world leadership role and from international economic cooperation. Most countries today do not trust Americans. Yet the American economy, a consumer economy, depends upon imports manufactured by cheap foreign labor. It is not a coincidence that the picture above from the heading of the UCLA Anderson Forecast is of an empty port.

China is beginning its recovery from the pandemic. But manufacturing stuff for the American consumer will continue to be on hold because the U.S. is three months away from its recovery. There are serious questions about whether leadership in China and other Asian countries will continue to emphasize exports to the U.S.

Just as Brexit is to be implemented, the pandemic is sweeping through Europe shutting down those economies even including the unprecedented closing of the Casino de Monte-Carlo in Monaco. In the middle of all this we read:

    In an unprecedented step for the British government, the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, said the state would pay grants covering up to 80% of the salary of workers if companies kept them on their payroll, rather than lay them off as the economy crashes. The extraordinary payments will be worth up to a maximum of £2,500 per month, just above the median income.
    Economists at Deutsche Bank forecast the British economy could suffer the worst recession for a century – outstripping the 2008 financial crisis – with millions of workers losing their jobs and the unemployment rate doubling.

The U.S. Congress, divided because the nation is politically divided,  has entered into a dispute within this election year based upon (a) the view that a one-time payment to individuals and bailing out businesses is best (Republicans) or the view that expanding unemployment benefits and personal tax credits is best (Democrats).

The casinos shutting down represent a coming disaster within the world's reorganizing national economies in this writer's opinion.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Four of 7 infected family members are dead. If you socialize unnecessarily you could kill people you don't even know and never had contact with.

In the period of a COVID-19 pandemic if looking out for the welfare of others includes you stopping by to visit with family or close friends you don't live with, you must understand that you may kill them. It's that simple.

If you don't believe that then you either aren't aware of, or choose to ignore, the sad story Coronavirus Ravages 7 Members of a Single Family, Killing 4 about a New Jersey family. In this particular case the 19 spouses and children of the hospitalized victims who were in contact since March 10 have been tested for COVID-19 with results pending. Beyond family members, members of the community came in contact with all of them.

How this happened is relatively simple. One family member days earlier came in contact with someone who was infected but didn't know he was infected. Though tentative warnings have been out there, today we know that initial studies out of China such as Substantial undocumented infection facilitates the rapid dissemination of novel coronavirus indicate that prior to the institution of tight restrictions on the general population 86% of all infections were undocumented which ultimately led to a high number of cases.

In other words, most people who have the infection have no symptoms or have mild cold-like symptoms.

“If we have 3,500 confirmed cases in the U.S., you might be looking at 35,000 in reality,” explained Jeffrey Shaman, a Columbia University epidemiologist and senior author of that study published March 13. 2020.

“Just because you get the disease from someone with mild symptoms does not mean yours are going to be mild,” Dr. Shaman said. “You could still end up in the I.C.U.”

Of course this morning the U.S. had 10,822 confirmed cases across all 50 states. And this writer's hunch is that we probably have more like 1,0822,000 cases most of which will never be confirmed. One of those cases could be you.

The Governor of New Jersey expressed his frustration:

    Gov. Phil Murphy promised more aggressive steps — including closing all schools statewide and a possible curfew — to slow the spread of coronavirus Sunday, as the number of cases in New Jersey shot up to almost 100. What had seemed unthinkable 10 days ago, when the first case was identified, is coming closer.
    "Not enough is being done," Murphy said Sunday. "It's too much business as usual." He rued the videos he said he had seen of weekend crowds packed into Asbury Park's bars and restaurants, stressing that everyone is responsible to protect not only themselves but others.

The news stories are overwhelming which may be why many people have had trouble understanding that "stay home" is a mantra for all of us. Some think because they are under 65 years of age, it really isn't a problem for them.

As explained in a New York Times story Younger Adults Make Up Big Portion of Coronavirus Hospitalizations in U.S.:

    American adults of all ages — not just those in their 70s, 80s and 90s — are being seriously sickened by the coronavirus, according to a report on nearly 2,500 of the first recorded cases in the United States.
    The report, issued Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that — as in other countries — the oldest patients had the greatest likelihood of dying and of being hospitalized. But of the 508 patients known to have been hospitalized, 38 percent were notably younger — between 20 and 54. And nearly half of the 121 patients who were admitted to intensive care units were adults under 65, the C.D.C. reported.
    “I think everyone should be paying attention to this,” said Stephen S. Morse, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. “It’s not just going to be the elderly. There will be people age 20 and up. They do have to be careful, even if they think that they’re young and healthy.”

In other words, while it is true the elderly if hospitalized are more likely to die, far more people between the ages of 20-65 are hospitalized than most members of the public understand.

And so far we have been unable to test more than a small portion of possible infected persons. This is frustrating for those who have worked to protect community health and safety.

This is a headline over a January 26, 2020, story CDC confirms 5th case of new coronavirus in U.S. Clearly we have been aware of the probable pandemic in the U.S. for nearly three months. We knew that the outbreak was first identified in Wuhan, Hubei, China, in December 2019.

Even though we had plenty of time to prepare, our President had eliminated that portion of "the swamp", the bureaucracy, that was to prevent the spread of a pandemic. Of course with his focus on making deals related to money by isolating China, Trump essentially prevented the kind of international cooperation that limited the spread of Ebola (so far) and the 2002-03 SARS Coronavirus outbreak.

The story ‘If I get corona, I get corona’: Miami spring breakers say covid-19 hasn’t stopped them from partying makes it clear that the message is not getting across. With its extra-long spring break from college, this pandemic does not create different kinds of social opportunities. It is an anti-social environment meaning don't associate with more people than absolutely necessary. If you socialize unnecessarily you could kill someone you don't even know and never had contact with. Or it could be your family....

Saturday, March 14, 2020

States with the most COVID-19 cases per capita?

(Updated March 27,2020) 

A story in The New York Times Tracking Every Coronavirus Case in the U.S.: Full Map offers the following map:

The CDC's website offers this map:

These maps correctly represent the data they intended to represent. As a Californian, however, this writer felt a need to create the map at the top of this post to represent the following data to just present for consideration the fact that Louisiana has more than five times as many COVID-19 cases per capita as California using the numeric system that the press uses explaining your odds of winning the lottery:

Thursday, March 12, 2020

After Super Tuesday II: update on the status of the Democratic race for the Presidential nomination

In July Democratic Convention delegates will select the Democratic nominee for President. In the case of the 2020 Democratic primaries to date, centrism has 989 delegates (or 49.7%) of the 1,990 needed, socialism has 796 delegates (or 41.0%) of the 1990 delegates needed.

On Super Tuesday II, March 10, 2020, Joe Biden expanded his lead over Bernie Sanders including winning Michigan and Washington. Democratic centrism has now won 17 states (70.8%) of 24 states and 11 million (57.7%) votes compared to 8 states and 8 million votes for the democratic socialism.

The following is the list of remaining primaries:

Looking at the list above, absent the death of Joe Biden or other equally monumental event there is little chance that Sanders can gain enough delegates to win the nomination or even prevent Biden from getting enough delegates.

Nonetheless, it appears that Bernie Sanders intends to continue to run. What Sanders and his followers can do from this point on is aid in the reelection of Donald Trump just as they aided in the election of Trump in 2016.

Instead of waiting to focus on policy issues in the July Democratic Convention party platform, Sanders and his followers will use the remaining primaries as an opportunity to attack Biden and the Democratic Party.

This isn't just this writer's opinion. The Bernie Sanders spoiler campaign begins explains the political problem. But focusing on the truth is No surprise: Bernie Sanders is still all about himself, never the party which reminds us that Sanders and his most ardent supporters already proved in 2016 they would rather see Trump become dictator than admit that the democratic socialists lost their bid to take over the Democratic Party (unlike Trump who successfully facilitated a fascist takeover of the Republican Party).

If Sanders continues to run, likely Biden will not be able to garner enough total delegates to gain the nomination until early May. By then Sanders and the press will have pointed out Biden's weaknesses over and over again. And make to mistake about it, both Biden and Sanders have lived nearly 80 years, much of it as active governmental officials who made errors.

Because of dogmatic political attitudes, at this point in time the greatest threat to Trump's reelection is a virus not the Democrats.

(Updated from March 11, 2020 original post.)

Friday, March 6, 2020

A post Super Tuesday update on the status of the Democratic race for the Presidential nomination

Just as the total number of votes cast nationwide for each candidate is irrelevant in selecting a President, the actual number of votes cast in all the primaries and caucuses is irrelevant to selecting a nominee.

Members of the Electoral College select the President. Convention Delegates select the nominee.

As of Super Tuesday March 3, 2020, the fact that the Democratic Party is divided between the democratic socialist candidate Bernie Sanders and former Vice-President Democrat Joe Biden became obvious. All other significant centrist Democratic contenders, along with "lefty" Elizabeth Warren, are no longer competing with Biden in the primaries.

As of the (updated) Super Tuesday results, the total likely delegates for the centrist side exceed those for the leftist side 55%± to 45%±. The number of states in which centrist candidates won is double that of the leftist side. The number of votes for the centrist side exceed those for the leftist side 58%± to 42%±.

On Super Tuesday Biden won in Minnesota and Oklahoma, two states Sanders won in 2016.

Contrary to the impression given in many headlines, in this writer's opinion California was not the win the Sanders team should have gotten given the amount of money and effort spent here. Saturday the LA Times article Bernie Sanders holds 2-1 lead in California, poll shows told us "Sen. Bernie Sanders has taken a commanding lead in California’s Democratic presidential race, ahead of his nearest rival by 2 to 1 and on track to win a majority of the huge trove of delegates at stake in the state’s March 3 primary, according to the final UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll of the contest."

Indications are that the leftist side actually only won 46%± among California voters compared to 52%± for Biden, Bloomberg, et al.  However, because of the way delegates are allocated, the leftists will get 55%± compared to 45%± for the centrists.

Part of the problem for Sanders, of course, is indicated in the USA Today story Many young voters sat out Super Tuesday, contributing to Bernie Sanders' losses. Of course, Sanders is Sanders.

"The corporate establishment is coming together, the political establishment is coming together, and they will do everything," Bernie Sanders told reporters in Salt Lake City on March 2, 2020. "They are really getting nervous that working people are standing up."

That sounded familiar, like something we heard before.

“I want the entire corrupt Washington establishment to hear and to hear and to heed the words I am about to say,” Donald Trump said at a North Carolina rally on October 26, 2016. “If we win on Nov. 8, we are going to Washington, D.C., and we are going to drain the swamp.”

But even if one thinks comparing Sanders to Trump is all wrong, it's not the corporate and political establishment that gave Biden the Super Tuesday win. The Biden campaign was broke going into Super Tuesday, outspent by Sanders by a ratio of seven-to-one (and outspent by Mike Bloomberg by 100-to-1). The Biden campaign's skeletal presence on the ground was dwarfed by Sanders’ vast grassroots operation. It was not the establishment that turned out for Biden. It was African-American voters who backed him over Sanders by huge margins, along with suburban women. Meanwhile Sanders young voters turned out in lower numbers than in 2016.

It is telling that in the time of the coronavirus, The House and Senate, aka the political establishment, reached a deal on Wednesday to provide $8.3 billion in emergency aid to combat the novel coronavirus,  an amount substantially larger than what the White House initially proposed in late February. The money will be used by what's left of the denizens of the health bureaucracy "swamp" to produce treatments and vaccines to keep Sanders and Trump supporters alive.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Bernie wins most votes, school bond measure loses. Being progressive or socialist apparently doesn't mean providing for anything like an education.

It must be noted that Tuesday's election was one in which the Bernie "voter turnout machine" - "progressives" or "socialists" or whatever - gave Bernie and Elizabeth together nearly half the votes but apparently did nothing for the one education measure on the ballot.

It was the first failure of a state school bond measure in a quarter of a century. It was an election with a higher than "normal" hispanic and young voter turnout. Of course, teachers and construction union voters also turned out.

Yes it was a complicated measure. The measure was described on the ballot as follows:

Authorizes Bonds for Facility Repair, Construction, and Modernization at Public Preschools, K-12 Schools, Community Colleges, and Universities. Legislative Statute.

The measure would have authorized $15 billion in state general obligation bonds for construction and modernization of public education facilities including school, community college, and university facility projects. No tax increase was involved. In addition, school districts and community college districts would have been authorized to issue more local bonds.

Also, in keeping with the goal of providing more affordable housing, beginning in 2025 school districts would have new limits on their ability to levy developer fees, specifically a prohibition of fees on multiple family housing located within a half-mile of a major transit stop and a 20 percent reduction on housing located elsewhere.

Of the 5.5+ million votes counted to date, 1.5+ million were cast in the Republican presidential primary and 3.0+ million were cast in the Democratic presidential primary. On the bond measure, 3.0+ million were "NO" votes.

Though it would be unreasonable, one could assume that all 1.5 million Republican voters voted "NO." But that would mean that half of the Democratic voters also voted "NO."

This is what is troublesome about "progressive" politics. The measure would have had far more impact on education and housing in California than 4 years of a President Bernie Sanders. But it just isn't fun to rally and post on social media for a state bond measure.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

The Democratic race for President status today

Much like how the total number of votes nationwide for each candidate is irrelevant in selecting a President, the actual number of votes cast in all the primaries and caucases is irrelevant to selecting a nominee. Members of the Electoral College select the President and Convention delegates select the nominee.

So far the Democratic contest has results from Iowa (where in 2016 Trump won with 51.15% of the vote) and South Carolina (where in 2016 Trump won with 54.94% of the vote), plus New Hampshire (where in 2016 Clinton won with 46.98% of the 2016 vote) and Nevada (where in 2016 Clinton won with 47.50% of the 2016 vote).

The results from the delegate selection process in those four states are that the left wing of the party, Sanders and Warren, have won 67 delegates or 3.4% of the number needed to win on a Convention first ballot, while the centrist wing of the party, Biden, Buttigieg, and Klobuchar, have won 86 delegates or 4.3% of the number needed to win on a Convention first ballot. (Note that these numbers are still preliminary and could change - not significantly, but they could change.)

Despite all the news coverage, now slightly overshadowed by the great 2020 plague, we really have no significant information about the Democratic race.

But this coming Tuesday is Super Tuesday when Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Virginia will all hold their presidential primaries. American Samoa will have its caucus that day and the Democrats Abroad primary, for Democrats living outside of the United States, will also begin voting on March 3, and conclude on March 10.  A total of 1,357 of the 3,979 pledged delegates to be awarded to the candidates in the Democratic primaries will be allotted as a result of Super Tuesday.

A total of 643 of those delegates will come from two states - California and Texas.  The remaining 714 will be divided between the remaining 12 states, American Somoa and Democrats Abroad. What we know is that in 2016 Clinton won in California with 61.73% of the vote while Trump only garned 31.62%, but Trump won in Texas with 52.23% of the vote while Clinton only garnered 43.24%.

Both California and Texas are likely to go strongly for Bernie in the primaries and California will vote Democratic in the November General Election while Texas likely will vote Trump absent an economic collapse. So we won't learn anything important about who will be President in 2021 from those two primaries.

But the press will make something out of the results no matter how meaningless, just like they did in the first four states.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Fear is rising over the Coronavirus. Stock markets are falling. Hey, humanity, what about the flu???

Current data show that the COVID-19 Coronavirus (aka Novel Coronavirus) outbreak world-wide includes 80,423 cases and 2,712 deaths. There are currently 49,775 infected patients being treated. 9,211 of which are deemed serious or critical.

This is a disease for which the world does not have vaccinations and is learning what treatments have positive outcomes. While it appears to have a 3.4% death rate, in fact we have no idea how many people have contracted the disease resulting in relatively minor symptoms.

As reported in the New England Journal of Medicine on February 18, 2020, a group of predominantly German nationals who had stayed in Hubei Province was evacuated to Frankfurt, Germany, on February 1, 2020. To make  a long story short, 114 passengers without symptoms agreed to voluntary testing and two were found to be infected. The two were isolated. While a faint rash and minimal pharyngitis were observed briefly in one, both patients remained well and without a fever 7 days after admission.

So far, the evidence indicates that like many, many viruses the Coronavirus can be carried in the human body without resulting in illness. We really have no idea how many people have picked up the virus and developed no or negligible symptoms and how many developed some symptoms but thought they had a cold and recovered without fanfare. So we don't know what the death rate is.

The Chinese government has taken comparatively drastic action to limit the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak which appears to have begun in China. They have received accolades for their efforts.

The result will place a significant stress on the country's economic system as many businesses have had to shutter leaving them without revenue from which they can make payments on debt. Last month, China’s banking and insurance regulator asked banks to provide extra support – such as extending loans – to entities and individuals that were helping combat the coronavirus. Within a month the banking system will threaten the stability of the financial system.

So far this week the U.S. stock markets have taken heavy losses blamed on the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak.

All this has to make one wonder. What about the flu???

At this point in the 2019-2020 flu season in the United States, influenza has made more than 26 million Americans ill. About 250,000 have already been hospitalized and at least 14,000 people have died.

World-wide each year depending upon which viruses become pandemic, 290,000 to 650,000 people die from seasonal influenza infections. This figure corresponds to 795 to 1,781 deaths per day due to the seasonal flu.

Influenza is an infection for which we have vaccinations. Influenza is an infection for which we have standard treatments.

Humans have strange behaviors. Every year 500,000± humans die of the flu. About 14,000 have died in the U.S. so far this flu season. Nobody shuts down businesses and whole communities because of the flu. The stock markets don't respond to flu statistics. But we humans appear to be having a panic over the COVID-19 Coronavirus. It seems weirdly disproportional.

This is not to say we should ignore this new virus. People are dying of Coronavirus infections.  If one is part of your life, the virus represents a tragedy in your life.

With that said, the a Journal of American Medicine report based on the Chinese experience of those being treated reports the fatality rate by age among those being treated as indicated in the chart below:

Even for those 80+ years of age who become ill enough from the virus to need treatment, only 15% die. The report also offers death rate numbers based upon preexisting conditions:

Being a senior citizen, this writer assumes a high correlation between those over 70 and those with preexisting conditions.

Obviously we should take extreme measures to minimize the spread of the virus. Or should we? Might not those who become infected, with or without symptoms, develop an immune system response we need? Of course, not becoming infected is preferable assuming a vaccine is developed.

But shutting down the economy has its own implications, including some deaths. It is a dilemma. Fortunately we have Donald Trump responsible for any decisions.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Yes, Barack...Donald Trump is a fascist but not a Fascist, a paleoconservative not a conservative

Donald Trump is an American paleoconservative republican (not a republican conservative) which falls under the generic ideological umbrella of fascism (small-f).

In the previous post, it is noted that Bernie Sanders is self-declared democratic socialist (not a social democrat) which falls under the generic ideological umbrella of communism (small-c).

The problem with describing Trump as a "small-f" fascist is he has never described himself as an American paleoconservative republican though based upon the actions of his Administration clearly he is, which blended with his rhetoric indicates he is a  "small-f" fascist.

During the 2016 then-President Obama privately told Virginia Senator Tim Kaine: "Tim, this is no time to be a purist. You’ve got to keep a fascist out of the White House." Publicly journalists, correspondents, and pundits argued that year and since over whether Trump is a fascist.

For instance, in a May 2019 article This is how fascism comes to America neoconservative historian and foreign-policy commentator Robert Kagen began:

    The Republican Party’s attempt to treat Donald Trump as a normal political candidate would be laughable were it not so perilous to the republic. If only he would mouth the party’s “conservative” principles, all would be well.
    But of course the entire Trump phenomenon has nothing to do with policy or ideology....
    ...We’re supposed to believe that Trump’s support stems from economic stagnation or dislocation. Maybe some of it does. But what Trump offers his followers are not economic remedies — his proposals change daily. What he offers is an attitude, an aura of crude strength and machismo, a boasting disrespect for the niceties of the democratic culture that he claims, and his followers believe, has produced national weakness and incompetence. His incoherent and contradictory utterances have one thing in common: They provoke and play on feelings of resentment and disdain, intermingled with bits of fear, hatred and anger. His public discourse consists of attacking or ridiculing a wide range of “others” — Muslims, Hispanics, women, Chinese, Mexicans, Europeans, Arabs, immigrants, refugees — whom he depicts either as threats or as objects of derision. His program, such as it is, consists chiefly of promises to get tough with foreigners and people of nonwhite complexion. He will deport them, bar them, get them to knuckle under, make them pay up or make them shut up.

Almost instantly we had a responsive story by Dylan Matthews of Vox telling us:

    Kagan is wrong. Donald Trump is not a fascist. "Fascism" has been an all-purpose insult for many years now, but it has a real definition, and according to scholars of historical fascism, Trump doesn't qualify. Rather, he's a right-wing populist, or perhaps an "apartheid liberal" in the words of Roger Griffin, author of The Nature of Fascism. He doesn't want to overthrow the existing democratic system. He doesn't want to scrap the Constitution. He doesn't romanticize violence itself as a vital cleansing agent of society. He's simply a racist who wants to keep the current system but deny its benefits to groups he's interested in oppressing.

The problem can be summarized as the difference between that first letter, a "small-f". Like "communism" there is a generic minimal commonality we look for in a government to detect the presence of "small-f" fascism. And then there are fully implemented national governments, Communist or Fascist, which when each is studied have significant and confusing differences from other Communist or Fascist  national governments.

So in one sense journalists were, and still are, arguing past each other because they didn't have a common definition.

Of course in May 2016 nobody knew what Trump was because President Trump was yet to be. Today, if you ignore the confusion in the press struggling to understand the deliberately confusing rhetoric from Trump, you can see within the actions of his administration much to confirm an ongoing implementation of American paleoconservative republican political ideology (in addition to official implementations of attacks on "others").

The confusion lies in the fact that within the United States there are republican conservatives and paleoconservative republicans. Generally little public discussion about the differences occurs.

Republican conservatives advocate
  • respect for American traditions and exceptionalism,
  • republicanism stressing liberty and unalienable individual rights as central values while rejecting direct democracy,
  • moral universalism based on Christian values,
  • capitalism facilitated by government policy, and
  • government defense against threats posed by socialism, authoritarianism, and moral relativism.
Paleoconservative republicans advocate
  • ultranationalism embracing in law the aspects that characterize and distinguish the United States as an autonomous political community including a common language and shared cultural traditions reinforced by restrictions on immigration,
  • regionalism based upon states' rights as expressed in the 10th Amendment including the decentralization of government social policy which with regional differences should favor paternalism and Christian traditionalism while limiting multicultural programs,
  • economic nationalism through federal policy and treaties limiting free trade, establishing tariffs, and implementing protectionism, while facilitating capitalism by assuring the unrestricted ease of interstate commerce and facilitating workers sharing generally in business profits through stock ownership,
  • noninterventionism in the conduct of American foreign policy, limiting the size of military commitments outside the United States,
  • cohesiveness among individuals and prioritization of the group over the self in order to defend and to sustain ultranationalism, economic nationalism, regionalism, and noninterventionism.
With these definitions in mind, let's take a look at the confusion around facism.

Within the academic community "small-c" communism has been identified separately from Stalinist and Maoist implementations of "large-c" Communist states. But within the academic community "small-f" fascism has regularly been confused with the rhetoric and actions of Italy's Mussolini, Spain's Franco, and even Germany's Hitler. Trump has even played rhetorically with Mussolini generating in 2016 this headlines Trump explains tweeting Mussolini quote.

Here is the generalized definition of "fascism" as an umbrella that includes paleoconservative republicanism:

Small-f fascism is military-style authoritarian ultranationalism (a) supporting national economic self-sufficiency and productive capitalism and opposing international free market capitalism, (b) advocating resolution of class conflict within a nation through imposed state mediation in order to secure national solidarity, and (c) favoring the proletarian class over the bourgeois, a perspective that associates all people as being proletarian who are deemed by the state as productive of material wealth, including entrepreneurs, technicians, workers and soldiers.

In this post all of the actions of the Trump Administration are not going to be analyzed in the context of paleoconservative republicanism or fascism. But one term needs to be explained relative to President Trump,  "military-style authoritarian." We will do that in the context of the position known as the Attorney General of the United States.

Trump and most Americans share confusion about departments and officers of the United States government. There is thinking that the Constitution specifically provides for departments and officers under the control of the President, including the Attorney General.

Actually, Article I Section 8 empowers Congress to "make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof." In other words, Congress was to set the rules related to the operation of departments and department heads.

Article II Section 2 provides that the President "may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices." So the President can demand the written opinion of departments heads on any subject related to their jobs, including the Attorney General. That's the limit of the President's Constitutional authority to make demands on department heads.

That Section also provides that the President "shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States." But Article II Section 4 of the Constitution provides that the "President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors" by Congress.

Literally the Attorney General works for the United States, not the President. Literally, the President cannot fire the Attorney General, only ask for a resignation.

Those are the Constitutional provisions regarding the officers and departments.

Congress passed the Judiciary Act of 1789 which, among other things, established the Office of the Attorney General. The original duties of this officer were "to prosecute and conduct all suits in the Supreme Court in which the United States shall be concerned, and to give his advice and opinion upon questions of law when required by the President of the United States, or when requested by the heads of any of the departments".

The Department of Justice was established in 1870 to support the Attorneys General in the discharge of their responsibilities.

Not envisioned in all this was some military-style authoritarian chain-of-command structure with the President at the top. Only the military itself is specifically "under" the President.

Our founding fathers feared a military-style authoritarian Executive Branch. By military-style authoritarian we mean a form of government characterized by strong power structure in which power rests with a small number of people controlled by a dominant leader and including:
  • Limited political pluralism, realized with constraints on the legislature, political parties, and interest groups;
  • Political legitimacy based upon appeals to emotion, and identification of the regime as a necessary evil to combat "easily recognizable societal problems, such as underdevelopment, and insurgency";
  • nominally democratic institutions, such as political parties, legislatures and elections, which are managed to  minimize political mobilization and suppress of anti-regime activities with the goal to entrench authoritarian rule;
  • Ill-defined executive powers, often vague and shifting, which extends the power of the executive who is the dominant leader.
As expressed by Trump such a system depends upon the threat of violence from the military, police, and biker groups.

Every indication is Donald Trump's ideological preference for government, our government is that of a paleoconservative republican/fascist.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Yes, Donald...Bernie Sanders is a communist but not a Communist, a Marxist but not a Leninist

At a rally in Cleveland on March 12, 2016, then primary candidate Donald Trump noted that Bernie Sanders is a communist:

   " Hillary cannot seem to win, even against a communist," Trump marveled. He said it's a wonder how "in our great, great world that a communist cannot be beaten by Hillary Clinton. It’s terrible."

    Trump added, "Wouldn’t it be fun to meet Bernie in the finals."

Fast foward to February 2, 2020, now-President Trump in a pre-Super Bowl interview said:

    “I think he’s a communist. I mean, you know, look, I think of communism when I think of Bernie.”

    “Now, you could say socialist, but didn’t he get married in Moscow? I think of Bernie sort of as a socialist but far beyond a socialist. At least he’s true to what he believes.”

A week later, we were offered this:

    “Obviously I am not a communist,” Sanders told Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday,” adding that Trump “maybe doesn’t know the difference.”
    Sanders has described himself as a "democratic socialist."
    Sanders also said Trump was a “pathological liar” for suggesting that he got “married in Moscow.” Sanders said he was in Russia to participate in a sister city program.

This week Washington Post Columnist Megan McArdle offered an opinion in Bernie Sanders is not just a garden-variety social democrat:

    The world of comic books, in which characters are constantly dying and being revived or reinvented for a new legion of fans, eventually had to invent a concept known as the “retcon” — short for “retroactive continuity.”
    You’ll have noticed the phenomenon in film and television even if you never knew its name: “retconning” means altering an already-established past story line, to cover up growing plot holes or simply to free an author to craft a more enjoyable narrative in the present, one unhindered by the back catalogue.
    The term has obvious applications to modern politics. As Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) looks increasingly likely to win the Democratic nomination, left-of-center people are anxious to downgrade Sanders’s self-described socialism into something more politically palatable — like Great Society liberalism, or perhaps, at maximum, a Nordic-style welfare state.
    In this, they struggle with an inconveniently well-documented Early Bernie Sanders, with his calls to nationalize “utilities, banks and major industries,“ his kind words for left-wing dictatorships, and his “very strange honeymoon” in the U.S.S.R. — where he blasted U.S. foreign policy before returning home to say “Let’s take the strengths of both systems. … Let’s learn from each other.”
    One should be forgiven almost any number of youthful flirtations with bad ideology. But Sanders was in his early 40s when he went gaga for Nicaragua’s brutal Sandinista regime, and 46 during his sojourn on the Volga. In February 2019, when he was refusing to describe Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro as a “dictator,” Sanders was 77.

And so here we are in February 2020 about to confront the truth about Bernie, the truth explained here on Monday, May 23, 2016, in So Bernie-the-Stalinist has been vetted and would do well against Donald in swing states like Ohio?.

Of course Bernie is not a Stalinist. He and his supporters try to sell him as a "democratic socialist" sorta, kinda like a member of the British Labour Party. Fortunately for them, about 99% of Americans know nothing about the Labour Party. Notice the italics-added detail in the Wikipedia description:

    The Labour Party is a centre-left political party in the United Kingdom that has been described as an alliance of social democrats, democratic socialists and trade unionists.

You see, there are social democrats and then there are democratic socialists and they are not the same. Bernie says he is a democratic socialist. So let's look at the two terms as they are explained in the Wikipedia entries linked above:

Social democrats advocate social democracy, a political, social and economic philosophy that supports economic and social interventions to promote social justice within the framework of a liberal democratic polity and a capitalist-oriented economy. The protocols and norms used to accomplish this involve a commitment to representative and participatory democracy, measures for income redistribution, regulation of the economy in the general interest and social welfare provisions. It
  • aims to create the conditions for capitalism to lead to greater democratic, egalitarian and solidaristic outcomes;
  • is characterized by a commitment to policies aimed at curbing inequality, eliminating oppression of underprivileged groups and eradicating poverty as well as support for universally accessible public services like care for the elderly, child care, education, health care and workers' compensation.
That is not Bernie. Bernie insists he is democratic socialist.

Democratic socialists advocate democratic socialism, a political philosophy supporting political democracy within a socially owned economy, with a particular emphasis on workers' self-management and democratic control of economic institutions within a market socialist economy or some form of a decentralized planned socialist economy. Democratic socialists argue that capitalism is inherently incompatible with the values of freedom, equality and solidarity and that these ideals can only be achieved through the realization of a socialist society. Although most democratic socialists seek a gradual transition to socialism, democratic socialism can support either revolutionary or reformist politics as means to establish socialism.

Unfortunately for Bernie, democratic socialism falls clearly within Wikipedia's initial broad definition of  small-c communism as, "a philosophical, social, political and economic ideology and movement whose ultimate goal is a socioeconomic order structured upon the ideas of common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes, money and the state."

In other words, Trump is correct when he says about Bernie: "I think of communism when I think of Bernie.... I think of Bernie sort of as a socialist but far beyond a socialist. At least he’s true to what he believes."

When confronted with a social democrat ally, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, telling the HuffPost that a worst-case scenario with Sanders in the White House is a compromise on health care that ends up adding a public option, Bernie objected outlining his democratic socialist (communist) proposal as explained in Politico:

    “But my view is that Medicare for All, the bill that we wrote, is in a sense already a compromise,” Sanders said.
    He added that the proposal has a four-year transition period that would bring down the age required for Medicare eligibility from 65 to 55 to 45 to 35.
    “And then we cover everybody,” Sanders said. “No more premiums. No more co-payments. No more deductibles. No more out-of-pocket expenses. And we’re gonna fund it publicly, and, for the average American, it will be a significant, significant reduction in his or her health care costs.”

This writer has on more than one occasion suggested that dropping the age requirement in Medicare might be the only real solution to the health care problem. But Sanders failed to say what needed to be said - no more health insurance companies and all medical providers of all kinds will be controlled by a federal government-controlled bureaucracy. And that is clearly not the only way social democrats might provide universally accessible health care. But it is the only way a democratic socialist (small-c communist) would address the subject...and most other subjects.

The differences between all the socialism, communism, and Communism. It's complicated. With The passage of time much seems to get lost, particularly the simplest of facts that could inform us.

Most do not know that Lenin was 13 the year Marx died - they weren't buddies, they lived totally different lives in totally different times. Marx was a German philosopher, a theorist living in Britain. Lenin was a Russian revolutionary who wrote some ideas adapting Marxist theory to support a violent revolution. Marx was a small "c" communist, Lenin was a large "C" Communist, the ideology that permeated a nation-state, the Soviet Union.

Marx built on and critiqued the most well-known political economists of his day, the British classical capitalist economists Adam Smith and David Ricardo.

According to orthodox Marxist theory, the overthrow of capitalism by socialists in contemporary society is inevitable. Marxists believe that a socialist society is far better for the majority of the populace than its capitalist counterpart.

The German Ideology, a set of manuscripts written by Karl Marx (1818-1883) and Friedrich Engels (1820-1895) in 1846 but not published until 1932, explores the reality that in ruling the material force of society, the ruling class is simultaneously the ruling intellectual force of society.

The ruling class controls the production and distribution of ideas of their age. As the ruling class changes with time, so too do the ideals and the new ruling class must instill upon its society its own ideas which will become universal.

The ruling ideas are thought to be the universal interest. However, it is an illusion that the ideas of the ruling class are the communal interests. This system will forever remain in place so long as society is organized around the need for a ruling class. In other words, communal interests must be organized around the community at large.  A thoughtful, though perhaps quaint, mid-19th Century take on the world.

In the 20th century, Vladimir Lenin (1870-1924) developed Leninism. an adaptation of Marxism to the socio-economic and political conditions of Imperial Russia (1721–1917). This body of theory later became the official ideology of some Communist states.

In his 1917 publication in The State and Revolution Lenin explicitly discusses the practical implementation of "dictatorship of the proletariat" through means of violent revolution. Lenin further explained: "Dictatorship does not necessarily mean the abolition of democracy for the class that exercises the dictatorship over other classes; but it does mean the abolition of democracy (or very material restriction, which is also a form of abolition) for the class over which, or against which, the dictatorship is exercised."

Bernie is stuck on the Marxist thoughtful, though perhaps quaint, mid-19th Century take on the world. So are a fair number of college students in each generation, including today.

But most Americans are not comfortable with the democratic socialist take, though they are accepting of the need for some action consistent with social democracy. The problem is Bernie, by his own adamant insistence,  wants us all to know he is a democratic socialist which unfortunately means he is a small-c communist.

Polling indicates Bernie has a fair chance to become the Democratic Presidential nominee.

If Trump doesn't shoot someone on Fifth Avenue, or maybe even if he does, the path is pretty clear for hiim to beat Bernie. At least in the America I think I understand.

Monday, February 17, 2020

About the frustrated feelings of lefty Democratic ideologues regarding Mike Bloomberg's rise

Many California Democrats recently received the above mailer. The 2020 California Democratic primary will take place on Tuesday, March 3, 2020, one of 14 contests scheduled on what is referred to as Super Tuesday.

Bloomberg is on the ballot. Apparently he's for Quality Healthcare, Climate Action, World-Class Schools, and Gun Safety. So am I. And he says he "got it done." Hmmm

As noted here previously in It's hard not to endorse Michael Bloomberg if you believe the climate crisis - without the fog of asperational socialism - is the issue that matters. Bloomberg is a national leader in battling the climate crisis and has put his money where his beliefs are.

Regarding "Gun Safety" Bloomberg is the founder of Everytown for Gun Safety. Per Wikipedia:

    Everytown for Gun Safety is an American nonprofit organization which advocates for gun control and against gun violence. Everytown was created in 2013 when Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America joined forces. Everytown for Gun Safety is largely financed by Michael Bloomberg, who also founded the group.

As noted by CNBC Mike Bloomberg’s gun-control group just vastly outspent the NRA to help Democrats win in Virginia

Regarding the statement about his role as New York's Mayor in "Quality Healthcare" the best review is that in PolitiFact's Bloomberg on health care: Translating his mayoral record to the national stage.

We also have the statement about his role as New York's Mayor in "World Class Schools" including "raising teachers salaries 43% and graduation rates 42%." Regarding graduation rates and claims about minority students, the best review is that in PolitiFact's review which set the meter at mostly true. Regarding teachers salaries, one source explains:

    No one drew Bloomberg’s ire more than the United Federation of Teachers. At first, he worked collaboratively with the union, arriving at a contract agreement well ahead of schedule that boosted base pay by 43 percent. The longest-serving teachers could now earn more than $100,000.
    But that was the last contract they agreed to. Moving forward, virtually every piece of Bloomberg’s agenda stoked outrage from the teachers union, which he once likened to the National Rifle Association.
    He proposed a simple eight-page contract to replace the UFT’s doorstop-sized agreement, pushed for merit pay — a third rail for the union — and mused about firing half of the city’s teachers.

Further if you Google StudentsFirstNY Bloomberg you can read more about Bloomberg's education policies.

Essentially, Bloomberg has a defensible record regarding Quality Healthcare, Climate Action, World-Class Schools, and Gun Safety. No other Democrat running in the Democratic primaries has any kind of record on these and other subjects that even approaches that of Mike Bloomberg. That, of course, is a potential problem because Bloomberg held the top position in a government providing a myriad of services and policies to 8 million diverse people and therefore made some mistakes.

In The Philadelphia Inquirer this week the national opinion columnist Will Bunch expressed his frustration he and other lefty ideological Democrats are feeling regarding Mike Bloomberg.

Before discussing that, it should be made clear that in January Bunch indicated his intention "to vote for Warren when the primaries come to Pennsylvania in late April, because I think she’d be a tad better than Sanders at getting progressive things done and because I see my vote as a statement against the fear and misogyny that grip America."

Ironically, in the article linked above Bunch wrote how unfair it was for pundits to compare Sanders with Trump just because both are catering to the more ideologically committed populist wings of their respective parties.

In this week's article he compares Bloomberg to Trump in campaign style because Bloomberg is spending money in a sophisticated way which is leading to a time when "all future presidents will be decided by who has the hippest Instagram memes or the cruelest Twitter putdowns, paid for either by the obscene personal wealth of sweatshop capitalism or by selling out to the highest bidder, even if that’s a foreign adversary like Russia." In using "sweatshop capitalism" Bunch clearly lets his commitment to anti-capitalist leftist ideology take over.

And yet, Bunch offers us this:

    But Bloomberg seems to be playing chess while the other Democrats are jumping slowly around a checkerboard, one square at a time. In the large March primary states where Bloomberg is first competing, he’s already moving into the lead — with a lot of room for growth if Biden, who was the front-runner in these states, continues to fade and if those Facebook, radio and TV ads keep coming. He already leads in Florida, a big state that votes March 17, and in Arkansas, one of a number of March 3 Super Tuesday states where Bloomberg has been campaigning while the other Democrats clubbed each other in Iowa and New Hampshire.
    His campaign’s unconventional late-entry strategy has so far kept him off the debate stage, where Bloomberg would have to defend his record as mayor and businessman, while swamping the ad market where he fully controls the message. And — contrary to the conventional wisdom of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other moderate Dems that voters only want to hear about health care — Bloomberg’s message is what folks really want to hear, which is getting in the face and under the skin of their tribal enemy, Trump.
    Last week, Bloomberg probably gained five more points in the polls by giving it back to the president — who’s been tweeting a lot about his former golf partner, calling him “mini Mike” even though Bloomberg isn’t that short — and attacking him on Twitter as a “carnival barking clown." Even some who’ve been cynical about the (real) billionaire’s campaign cheered his New York chutzpah. Maybe Democrats don’t really want to talk about Pell grants; they just want to see The Apprentice crushed in the November sweeps.

I don't know about other Democrats, but for this writer Bunch is correct that we experienced Democrats "just want to see The Apprentice crushed in the November sweeps." Beating Trump is all there is when looking at the Democratic primary candidates.

It is foolishness to make choices on such things as Presidential candidates talking about Pell Grants, a federal grant program for college students named for U.S. Senator Claiborne Pell (RI),. Virtually no on knows if and when significant changes can be made to college funding because it is Congress - Representatives and Senators hence Pell's name on the program - that establishes and funds such programs, not the President.

It's not that this writer intends to vote for Bloomberg on March 3. It is a decision that need not be made until March 3.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

The promise of 5G, whether real or not, has been delayed by the diseases Coronavirus and Trump

This past week the GMSA announced the cancellation of the Mobile World Congress 2020 which was to have been held in Barcelona between February 24th and the 27th. Fear of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) prompted the cancellation. Everyone has read all the news reports about the cancellation, but we'll recap the story.

The GSM Association with its Head Office located in London (commonly referred to as the GSMA and originally Groupe Spécial Mobile) is a mobile network operators industry organization that represents the interests of 750 worldwide mobile operators members and 400 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem associate members.

The annual Mobile World Congress (MWC) is the chance for thousands to gather for partnerships, deals, and product launches. All of the Chinese major smartphone brands were to appear at the MWC 2020.  But then South Korea's LG pulled out of MWC earlier this month, and China's ZTE canceled a planned press event expressing Coronavirus fears.

Sweden's Ericsson, one of the largest exhibitors at MWC and one of two 5G equipment manufacturers outside of China, also withdrew from the show followed by Finland's Nokia, the other 5G equipment manufacturers outside of China. Nvidia, Intel, Vivo, Sony, Amazon, Cisco, BT, and NTT Docomo and many others all followed.

The implementation of 5G technology has become controversial. Last February the post here 5G Technology: it may start a world war, it won't be available to all, you don't need it, it is important to corporate interests and government. Why is that? explained the absurdity of the Trump Administration's viral attack on Europe and the rest of the world over 5G implementation.

The two viral attacks, COVID-19 and TRUMP-2020, have seriously impeded the implementation of 5G, not that it matters to most of us.

The consulting firm McKinsey & Company analyzed the investment cost versus benefit of 5G rollout and cautioned against jumping in with both feet. While Telecom companies "know that it will open opportunities to capture value from new 5G use cases and widespread adoption of the internet of Things (IoT) ... they are keenly aware that they'll have to increase their infrastructure investments in this technology. Meanwhile, operators will still have to upgrade their 4G networks to cope with growing demand. In an analysis of one European country, we predicted that network-related capital expenditures would have to increase 60 percent from 2020 through 2025, roughly doubling total cost of ownership (TCO) during that period."

Still, the delay of the implementation of 5G industrial processing control applications outside of China should be a concern.

What should be of even greater concern to Congress and the President is why no American company took on the challenge of designing and manufacturing 5G equipment. Oh, wait. from an April 24, 2008 NASA news release:

    MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. -- NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., and m2mi Corp., Moffett Field, Calif., announced Thursday they are taking a revolutionary step forward in improving telecommunications and networking....
    Under the agreement, NASA and m2mi will cooperate to develop a fifth generation telecommunications and networking system for Internet protocol-based and related services. The cooperative effort will combine NASA's expertise in nanosensors, wireless networks and nanosatellite technologies with m2mi's unique capabilities in software technology, sensors, global system awareness, adaptive control and commercialization capabilities. Fifth Generation, or 5G, incorporates Voice Over Internet Protocol, video, data, wireless, and an integrated machine-to-machine intelligence layer, or m2mi, for seamless information exchange and use.
    "This initiative shows great promise in revolutionizing mobile communications critical in meeting future needs," said Badri Younes, NASA deputy associate administrator for Space Communications and Navigation. "This project also will leverage m2mi's capabilities in software expertise to automate global system awareness and provide intelligent adaptive control."

Machine-to-Machine Intelligence (M2Mi) Corp. is currently located in Mountain View, California.

This whole subject area is, of course, intensively explored in the 2020 Presidential and Congressional campaigns along with the climate crisis because unlike health care insurance and free college they will significantly impact the lives of those in the Millennial and GenZ generations, the people known as children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews to the rest of us.