Is there an Echo in here?

Vote by mail, as currently implemented, is disenfranchisement on a grand scale

A joke that constantly gets recycled on social media these days is “wow, I didn’t know how many of my friends were experts in *insert subject field*”, and with good reason. It is shocking how often people post definitive, end-of-discussion statements on social media, with little to no understanding or expertise of the matter at hand. The latest “I know this to be true” in the zeitgeist is that vote by mail absolutely works and HAS to be implemented for the fall presidential election. Mostly, I am sure, because Donald Trump has called it a bad thing, and anything he says must be opposed with swiftness, surety of mind, and minimal critical thinking of what he actually said.

Now it’s my turn to make a statement that I will actually defend: vote by mail is an unmitigated disaster, and implementing it on a national scale in the fall is a fool’s errand. As reported by NPR, over 550,000 ballots in the 2020 primary season have been invalidated, representing a massive disenfranchisement of voters around the country. It took over a month for several races in New York City to be determined, and in several cases the number of votes disqualified was greater than the final margin of “victory.”

Keep in mind: all of these problems predate #SavethePostOffice and the fight for funding of the USPS. Is there any question lack of funding and nefarious machine removal will contribute to a disaster implementation of mail-in voting? Of course not. But there are ways around voting by mail that do not require your 37th tweet about how mail-in voting works so well and must be done. In fact, in 2012, the NYTimes reported flaws and fraud with mail-in ballots, and concern about how these could alter the outcome of the election (huh, they sure are humming a brand new tune now, I wonder what changed?).

Shockingly, maybe we should look at Kentucky. Their model for voting in their primary led to record turnout, an undisputed vote count and victor, and zero instances of coronavirus being spread because of in-person voting. It did include mail-in voting, but because of their excellent mechanisms and protocols set up for in-person voting, the number processed did not become overwhelming to local post offices, and they didn’t need $25 billion to do it.

So, please: stop blindly posting and echoing your friends posts about topics on social media without doing your homework. As it currently works, or doesn’t work, mail-in voting has been a massive disenfranchisement of voters all over the country. Half a million so far in 2020! Just imagine the hell we would go through of months and months of litigation, Trump tweets, outrage and yelling, if the election was mail-in exclusively. I want it to be done, and done right.

Vote. Fail. Repeat.

President Trump repeatedly lambasts vote-by-mail as “ripe for fraud,” or, in yell-speak:

RIGGED 2020 ELECTION: MILLIONS OF MAIL-IN BALLOTS WILL BE PRINTED BY FOREIGN COUNTRIES, AND OTHERS. IT WILL BE THE SCANDAL OF OUR TIMES!

An actual Tweet! I can feel the spittle hitting my face as a I read it. As usual, and certainly not intentionally, Trump speaks to something that is actually concerning but does it in a way that only a bridge troll can appreciate.

Do I think foreign powers will flood our ballot boxes? I hope not. But what is concerning is that our current infrastructure in place to handle vote-by-mail is frighteningly INADEQUATE AND INCOMPETENT (yell-speak for emphasis).

Of the primary races in 2020 so far, 65,000 mail-in ballots have been rejected for simply arriving past he deadline, often at no fault of the voter. Which leaves the usual culprits for terrible mail delivery practices: the USPS, the perpetually under-funded-but-spends-billions entity responsible for mail.

According to this NPR piece (and where I got the great image for this), over 1,000 votes were rejected in a mayoral race that was decided by just 195 votes. So, while it isn’t fraud like Trump is talking about, that IS a sort of fraud on the American voter.

Look, we already have a serious delinquency problem with voting. Barely 1 in 2 voters showed up for the 2016 Presidential election, and that was the one where a reality TV star was running to lead our country. If THAT can’t stir up the voters, what can? And if you throw in the additional disincentive of “my vote won’t count because it will be late anyway,” the numbers will get even more grim.

As a New Yorker, voting incompetence is the art form of the NY election board, and I feel like I have read the same piece about vote reform and cleaning up incompetence every single year; at this point, copy and paste the last article, save yourself the time.

So, while there isn’t necessarily a YELLING CONCERN FOR FRAUD, the mainstream media should do a much more thorough job of discussing how mail-in voting CAN be a disaster, and spend less time with “aha gotcha!” fact checks of Trump. Seriously, we have been at this for 5 years and they still haven’t learned to ignore him. Maybe I should send them some mail about it.

#vote #fraud #Trump

Today, and Every Day, Vote

I voted by mail for myself AND for 13 fake people I created from my imagination. All for Bernie. Fraud! But really: Be safe and healthy and VOTE. VOTE. VOTE. Engel is being supported by GOP money, get him out. Bernie wins delegates, hold Biden accountable to progressive ideals and prevent him from tacking to his (standard) Republican roots — if only segregationist James Eastland was still kicking, he was civil!

2016 presidential election, the one where people screamed at the sky and booked a therapy appointment, saw a 55% voter turnout. That means almost 1 out of every 2 people didn’t vote. But I bet ALL those people had something to say on their Facebooks and Twittergrams. Lots to say, and people to defriend, and hashtags to push! Viva la resistance!

You should vote in primaries. You should vote in general elections. You should vote in off year elections, whatever that means because really no year is off when all of the policies that our government enacts in the name of us, the citizenry of this country, are always on. We were taught, indoctrinated growing up in America that it is the shining beacon on the hill for the rest of the world. It’s true, we do capture the attention of much of the world, and frankly we should be ashamed of what we show to them.

Sexiest Bro of the Year Andy Cuomo is already telling protesters enough is enough, you won, you can stop already, and I say to him and his ilk and the politicians that continue to bleed our country dry for personal profit and greed: it’s not over. All power to the people. Black lives matter. Defund the police. Demilitarize the police. It was Henry Wallace before, it was Bernie now, they will never stop trying to prevent real, earnest reform from becoming the law of the land. If we VOTE, and change 1 out of 2 into 2 out of 2, then we can see the America all those trash history books actually fantasize about. Vote today in Kentucky and New York, vote November 3 everywhere.

Seems About White

amy-cooper-central-park-franklin-templeton

Ahmaud Arbery. George Floyd. Chris Cooper. Breonna Taylor. As is almost ritual in this era of social media, we have been haunted by these names, victims of the seemingly endless cog of American racism slowly churning, grinding up minorities in its cold, heartless gears. If this sort of confluence of events were written in a script, producers wouldn’t buy it. It is almost too perfect that we have been inundated with racism from all angles: the continued assault on people of color by our militarized police force, vigilante racists hunting a jogger in their neighborhood because of the color of his skin, and a white liberal woman, in New York, who has almost certainly posted about her wokeness before, using the threat of the police on a black man for asking her to obey the leash laws in a public space. I am writing this to beg, plead with, DEMAND my fellow white Americans: TAKE YOUR FUCKING HEADS OUT OF THE SAND.

America has been in a very weird, pre-pubescent Harry Potter in Order of the Phoenix grumpy mood since 2008.  We thought, with the election of Obama, that we had, once and for all, slayed the mighty beast of racism that clung to our nation’s name and likeness. And, to be fair, his election was a monumental breakthrough! Except, well, it wasn’t the cure-all many people think it was. From 2015-2019, while the majority of police shooting victims were white, black shooting victims were by far the most disproportionately represented. This isn’t some problem that Donald Trump created. He, in his trollish Tweets, is simply the messenger of a long, terrible history of American racism.

And where can we possibly turn? In his truly remarkable ability to put his shoe repeatedly in his own mouth, Joe Biden, presumptive Democratic nominee for President, demonstrated the wanton carelessness Democratic politicians regard their black constituents with when he said black people that had a hard time deciding between him or Trump “ain’t black,” making sure to turn on his faux, hip-with-it accent to make sure they clearly understood him. Anyone have any hot sauce, while we are here?

This is our time, fellow white people. And no, I don’t mean this in the sense of white knights, riding down like Gandalf to save the day. I mean it in this way: SHUT UP, LISTEN TO YOUR FRIENDS OF COLOR, AND UNDERSTAND THEIR NEEDS AND HOW BEST TO SUPPORT THEM. It is high time, in light of all four of these heinous instances of structural racism wielding its ugly power and destructive presence, for white people to just get with the program. Our system is racist, and it perpetuates class and race divisions to keep us from realizing our true potential. Stop conflating these moments with destruction of property and riots; take a poll of your white friends about how they view the Boston Tea Party, and that should put all that nonsense to an end. We must hold elected officials, tax payer funded police forces, and our fellow citizens accountable in instances where they have failed their fellow man. Stop hiding behind the mask of your faux liberalism (how convenient Amy Cooper was literally wearing a mask!) and start to understand how your silence, or what about-isms, or general garbage activism that consists of hashtags and retweets, is doing nothing. Shut up, white people, and listen.

 

 

 

 

 

Cattivo Cuomo

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I am a resident (for now) of New York City and have loved my time there; nearly a decade, where’s my plaque?  During the course of this time, however, I have been less than enthused by the leadership of our city and state.  Bill de Blasio, Mayor Putz himself, deserves a post all to himself one day, so this is going to focus on legacy-governor and boyfriend-psychopath Governor Cuomo, the politician du jour.

Cuomo has received enormous amounts of praise for his “leadership” during the coronavirus crisis, but I think we do that word a disservice by using it in regard to his actions during this time. His ability to confidently form sentences, unless he is trying to explain why he wants to put concrete boots on his daughter’s boyfriend, does shine in comparison to our grumbling, McDonald’s chomping commander in chief, but that’s about as far as the praise should go.  And, yet, his approval rating sits at 81% (!!!) for the coronavirus crisis, and there have been constant rumblings about him replacing Biden atop the Democratic ticket (which they might be able to without Biden even knowing what happened, let’s quit the charade that he is lucid).

But, and I need to make this clear, so, let’s see, how do I do this: ANDREW CUOMO IS AWFUL.  Some empirical evidence to back my subtle claim up:

  • he passed a budget CUTTING Medicaid to the tune of $2.5 billion DURING said coronavirus pandemic, impacting the neediest and poorest New York residents he is elected to protect.
  • his disastrous nursing home policy (reversed only 4 DAYS AGO) resulted in a nursing home death toll of over 5,000 residents, nearly a fifth of nursing home deaths in the country. When asked about the policy, our boy Andy said (as recently as April 21): “that’s a good question, I don’t know.”
  • his refusal to adopt progressive prison release issues has resulted in 15 prisoner deaths and 4 prison workers as the coronavirus spreads throughout the New York prison system.  a man, Leonard Carter, died April 14 weeks away from his release due to the virus, and would have likely been saved had Cuomo acted earlier.  Only last week they decided to give prisoners and prison workers masks.

Why am I writing this?  #MAGA, or whatever?  No, certainly not.  Trump has been a true disaster of seismic proportions during this epidemic, and I won’t excuse that.  I guess I am writing this because, while my Facebook feed is DAILY lit up with Trump-hate, Trump-bashing, and self-righteous doses of “told you so,” I guess I am writing this because I am alarmed by how many people simultaneously want to get a tattoo of Cuomo in effigy.

Stop letting confident, mild competence pass as caring and compassion.  Stop giving your love and loyalty to politicians that look good, sound smart, present well on TV, all the while burning down your house and taking the kids with them.  Cuomo has heinously mismanaged the MTA to the tunes of billions of dollars wasted and showered on cronies, had aides imprisoned for shady business dealings and more taxpayer dollars wasted, and continues to propagate a regressive tax structure that costs the state billions a year all the while suffocating the poor and working classes.

I guess, what I really want to advocate for, is being honest and transparent when we write and post about politicians. We shower hate over Trump all day, every day, and then turn and joyously celebrate a politician that enacts policies filled with just as much disdain and damage for the poor people in our state. But, hey, he is really funny when he goes on his brother’s show on CNN, isn’t he?

For Bernard

young bernie

I hoped I would never have to write something like this.  It looked, for a time, like this would finally be your time.  After the romp in Nevada, assembling a true coalition of young and old, and the establishment favorite looking dead, literally and figuratively, it seemed like your time in the spotlight finally had met the moment it was meant for.  Writing about that time now seems like a different world entirely, and I have to put something down to release the valve of the sadness and anguish I feel at losing our chance for you, Bernard, to lead our country.

It took me a while to sit down and write this piece because I always had a hard time preventing it from letting it degenerate into a rant about policy differences, a rage at feeling like we, as a people, have been cheated out of you, not once but twice, or from wanting to break down in rage tears and just shout at my screen.  I have never done the last one, but only because I have a little son now, and I don’t want to see him emulate shouty Twitter behavior.  At the end of the day, all I can do is write about how much you have meant to me as an elected leader, and what I think we are missing out on by having you be our President.

For my entire life, our political discourse has been dominated by war (the Soviets, 9/11 and the war on Terror, Saddam Hussein, an impressive two times against mighty America, Libya, Afghanistan, Bosnia, BOSNIA?!, ISIS (not from the show Archer), North Korea in perpetuity, and more than I can even recall) or devastating economic events, often connected to those very same war events.  Very little attention, if any, has ever been paid to the general plight of millions of Americans, but all the while we were told that we lived in the inarguably greatest country the world has ever known, with the most wealth imaginable (seemingly endless amounts of wealth when the financial order is under duress, almost like magic), and that to challenge this notion was to be a conspiracy theorist, a radical, or just a hippie lazy loser.  And I am guilty, Javert!  I am 24601!  I was born and raised in conservative Virginia, a country club attendee, golf playing, popped collar, White Bread America (WBA).  And, indoctrinated on this Kool-Aid, I thought Democrats represented something evil and other, something that flew in the face of the America we should all be proud of and adore.

Like many young scholars at COMMIE UNIVERSITIES, I went through a profound reimagining of the world really was, what our country really stood for, and how our government really served (or didn’t) millions of our citizens every single day.  Barack Obama, hope and change, holy smokes!  What a time to be shocked into a realization of this magnitude, to realign your allegiance to the opposite side of the spectrum, to believe that NOW you were on the right side of history.  And then, almost as shocking, to watch as corporations got fatter, to watch the American war machine expand its footprint around the globe even further under a Democrat, to watch as the financial markets reaped the rewards of their own heinous behavior, and to gradually realize, with extreme bitterness, that both parties sure had a lot in common.

Then I met you, Bernard, and my political world would never be the same.  A politician that not only never talked about terror and American imperialism and the evil of the rest of the world, unless it was to denigrate it and lambast its impact around the world, but in fact targeted his cranky man laser beams on the evil inside our very own borders!  And no, MAGAbots, I don’t mean immigrants, I mean the systems of industry, business, war, profit, capitalism, greed, gluttony, and soulless mercantilism that keeps our country in perpetual crisis, conflict, and division.  You were such a sweet soul you even gave your great rival, HRC, a pass on her “damn emails” because it didn’t let you talk about the ills facing millions of Americans every day and played right into the corporate media game of politics.  You saw right through their game and wanted to run a truck right through it!  I couldn’t believe you were real, and when I did research and found out you had been real for 50 MFin’ YEARS, I knew this was the sort of person we had to have in our great White House.

And, now, here we are.  Twice, so close.  Twice, the character from 27 dresses, I think that’s a movie about never being the bride always the bridesmaid.  I don’t think this piece is, yet, what I want it to be, it turned into a bit of a screed I think, but I hope one thing is clear: I am heartbroken that we weren’t ready for you, despite you devoting your entire life listening to a clarion call that was never louder than this current moment, this current world.  My political fire, my political heart, is, from now on, for you, Bernard.