Archives for category: Biden

John Merrow warns readers not to commit the eighth deadly sin: the sin of indifference.

Merrow begins:

I imagine that almost everyone has at least a passing acquaintance with the Seven Deadly Sins, even if their names don’t roll easily off your tongue. For the record and to jog your memory, the Seven Deadly Sins are pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth.

If you’re like me, you have known most (maybe all) of them intimately, although hopefully only occasionally.

But my point is not to confess my own transgressions or to list how the current occupant of the White House seems to embody all Seven Sins. 

Instead, I hope to convince you that, in this Elections Season, an 8th Deadly Sin is the greatest and most offensive of all. Let’s call this sin ‘Indifference,’ although it is often expressed in other terms, like ‘I’m So Tired of Politics,’ ‘Pandemic Fatigue,’ ‘I’m Sitting Out The Election,’ or even the absurd ‘Trump and Biden are Two Peas in a Pod so I say “A Plague on Both Their Houses.“‘ 

Indifference is a Cardinal Sin because this November the future of America is at stake. 

In his post, he delineates the crucial differences between Biden and Trump.

They are not small. They define the future of our society.

James Hohmann of the Washington Post gathered interesting post-debate happenings.

Joe Biden left Cleveland on a chartered Amtrak train and made a six-city whistlestop trip through areas of Ohio and a Pennsylvania that Trump won in 2016.

Meanwhile, Trump continues to face negative responses and from Republican leaders, silence, due to his inability to denounce white supremacists, and his dog whistle that inspired the violent rightwing “Proud Boys,” which the Anti-Defamation League calls a hate group.

Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes make it one of the most critical battlegrounds, and Biden predicted that over the next month he will be able to win over more Trump 2016 voters in rural counties like the ones he visited on Wednesday. “Even if we just cut the margin, it makes a gigantic difference,” Biden said at the airport named for Murtha. “A lot of White working-class Democrats thought we forgot them and didn’t pay attention. I want them to know – I mean sincerely – that I’m going to be your president. I hear them. I listen to them. I get it. I get their sense of being left behind…”

Trump promised in 2016 to fight for “the forgotten man,” reviving a term that President Franklin Roosevelt had used during the New Deal. “But once he got into office, he forgot about them,” Biden said everywhere he went on Wednesday.

During his speech in Johnstown, Biden spoke directly to former Democrats who have perhaps grown disillusioned. He said that the debate showed that Trump is “a self-entitled, self-serving president who thinks everything is about him.”

“The truth is he never respected us,” Biden said. “Behind closed doors, it’s been reported he calls his own supporters disgusting. He looks down his nose at working families just trying to do the right thing. And it’s been confirmed by multiple sources that he thinks that those of you who sign up to put their lives on the line for our country — our veterans and service members — are just a bunch of ‘suckers’ and ‘losers.’ It’s despicable. It’s not how I was raised, and I bet it’s not how any of you were raised either.”
Biden recounted how his mom used to always say to him, “Joey, nobody’s better than you, but everyone is your equal.”

“Donald Trump may think there ought to be a different set of rules for him and his rich buddies: rules that let him get out of his taxes, get out of his responsibilities and get out of the consequences for every one of his mistakes,” Biden said. “I don’t. I think it’s about time we start rewarding work in this country, not wealth. I think it’s time working families get a break and the super wealthy and big corporations pay their fair share. They’re still going to be doing just fine.”

The Democratic nominee framed the race as a choice between Park Avenue and Scranton, Pa., where he grew up. “Look, I’ve dealt with guys like Trump my whole life,” Biden told the crowd. “Guys who look down on you because they’ve got a lot of money. Guys who think they’re better than you. Guys who might let you park their car at the country club – but would never let you in. Guys who inherited everything they ever got in life – then squandered it.”

Biden said he will never raise taxes on anyone who makes less than $400,000 a year. “Maybe you didn’t believe me that we could do it without raising taxes on the middle class, but I bet that was before you found out Donald Trump paid just $750 in income tax,” Biden said. “If Donald Trump and his Park Avenue pals start paying their fair share, we’ll have more than enough to finally build an economy that works for everyone…”

Biden accused Trump of caring more about the strength of the Dow Jones Industrial Average than the numbers of jobless claims. “He doesn’t have a plan to help you get back on your feet or deliver relief to the people who most need the help,” Biden said in Johnstown. “He’s too busy planning his next big tax give away to the 100 richest folks in the country.”

During the debate, Trump said everyone tries to pay as little in federal tax as possible “unless they are stupid.” He even tried to blame Biden for creating the tax credits not closing the loopholes in the tax code that allowed him to reduce how much he paid. “I don’t want to pay tax,” Trump said. “Like every other private person, unless they’re stupid, they go through the laws, and that’s what it is.”

Hohmann points out that Trump got his deductions due to claims of massive losses, which undercuts his claim to be a business genius.

Meanwhile, extremists took Trump’s advice to “stand by” as encouragement for election day trouble.

The president’s “stand by” remark has already become a galvanizing movement for the reactionary right. “By Wednesday morning, the hashtag #WhiteSupremacy was trending on Twitter in the United States,” Derek Hawkins, Cleve Wootson Jr. and Craig Timberg report. “Trump’s comments were enshrined in memes, including one depicting Trump in one of the Proud Boys’ signature Fred Perry polo shirts.

Another meme showed Trump’s ‘stand by’ quote alongside an image of bearded men carrying American flags and appearing to prepare for a fight. … One prominent Proud Boys supporter on Parler said Trump appeared to give permission for attacks on protesters, adding that ‘this makes me so happy.’ … For many members, the president’s remark was the validation they craved, quickly turning into a fundraising and recruitment drive while, experts worried, legitimizing the group’s violent tactics.”

“Trump’s debate-stage call for volunteers to stand watch at voting locations has prompted an enthusiastic response from known neo-Nazis and right-wing activists, leading many state election and law enforcement officials to prepare for voter intimidation, arrests and even violence on Election Day,” Amy Gardner, Joshua Partlow, Isaac Stanley-Becker and Josh Dawsey report.

“The Trump campaign and Republican National Committee for months have promised to recruit as many as 50,000 poll watchers to monitor voting locations on Election Day. The campaign’s ‘Army for Trump’ website has contributed to that effort. … But more-extremist supporters appeared to be joining that effort Wednesday, raising the prospect for confrontation and intimidation at polling locations. ‘I got shivers,’ Andrew Anglin, the founder of the neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer, wrote in a post Wednesday. ‘I still have shivers. He is telling the people to stand by. As in: Get ready for war.’ …The Oath Keepers, a militia group that formed more than a decade ago that comprises current and former law enforcement and military members, also has pledged to have ‘volunteer security teams’ at Trump rallies and out on Election Day. …

And Hohmann added this bit of good news:

Former RNC chairman and Montana governor Marc Racicot announced he will vote for Biden. In an interview with Yellowstone Public Radio, Racicot spoke of the need for a president to have patience, decency and openness to contrary opinion, “qualities Racicot suggested are absent in the Trump administration,” the Missoulian reports.

CNN reporter Donnie O’Sullivan reports that the Trump campaign is releasing doctored videos that purport to show that Biden is senile or is an extremist. When the campaign is asked why they traffic in manipulated and false ads, they say it’s a joke. However, Trump’s followers are not in on the joke, and they believe what they see.

Somehow, I imagined that there was a federal elections commission to hold campaigns accountable for lies, but Trump must have killed it or filled it with loyalists to him.

At a Trump rally in Bemidji, Minnesota, last Friday, grievances against social media platforms Twitter and Facebook were a common refrain.

Many of the President’s supporters told CNN that they felt the platforms’ fact-checking processes were biased against conservative viewpoints. Others discussed social media posts that contained manipulated media as if they were real.

“Like when Joe Biden fell asleep during a live interview on television,” one supporter recalled, describing a video that went viral only a few weeks prior to the rally.

The video — which appears to show Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden sleeping as a TV news anchor repeats, “Wake up!” — was shared on Twitter by White House social media director Dan Scavino.

But the video was fake.

It was achieved by splicing together real footage of a 2011 interview between journalist Leyla Santiago, now of CNN, and entertainer and activist Harry Belafonte with footage of Biden looking down, his eyes appearing at least partially closed, to make it appear as if he were snoozing. An audio track of loud snoring was placed on the video to complete the effect.

When the video was fact-checked by news outlets, including CNN, and eventually labeled as “manipulated media” by Twitter, prominent Trump supporters complained that it was an obvious joke and a meme.

Open the link to see the video and other examples of lying by the Trump campaign.

For more examples of Trump ads that were lies about Biden, see here.

Trump needs to lie to defame Biden.
Biden can show actual clips of Trump at his rally to demonstrate his lies about the coronavirus.

I just saw this on Twitter from @cindymccain:

My husband John lived by a code: country first. We are Republicans, yes, but Americans foremost. There’s only one candidate in this race who stands up for our values as a nation, and that is
@JoeBiden

It was posted 23 minutes ago.

.

Scientific American endorsed a presidential candidate for the first time in its history. These are unprecedented times. Never has the need for unbiased, evidence-based decision-making been more urgent.

The editors wrote:

Scientific American has never endorsed a presidential candidate in its 175-year history. This year we are compelled to do so. We do not do this lightly.

The evidence and the science show that Donald Trump has badly damaged the U.S. and its people—because he rejects evidence and science. The most devastating example is his dishonest and inept response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which cost more than 190,000 Americans their lives by the middle of September. He has also attacked environmental protections, medical care, and the researchers and public science agencies that help this country prepare for its greatest challenges. That is why we urge you to vote for Joe Biden, who is offering fact-based plans to protect our health, our economy and the environment. These and other proposals he has put forth can set the country back on course for a safer, more prosperous and more equitable future.

The pandemic would strain any nation and system, but Trump’s rejection of evidence and public health measures have been catastrophic in the U.S. He was warned many times in January and February about the onrushing disease, yet he did not develop a national strategy to provide protective equipment, coronavirus testing or clear health guidelines. Testing people for the virus, and tracing those they may have infected, is how countries in Europe and Asia have gained control over their outbreaks, saved lives, and successfully reopened businesses and schools. But in the U.S., Trump claimed, falsely, that “anybody that wants a test can get a test.” That was untrue in March and remained untrue through the summer. Trump opposed $25 billion for increased testing and tracing that was in a pandemic relief bill as late as July. These lapses accelerated the spread of disease through the country—particularly in highly vulnerable communities that include people of color, where deaths climbed disproportionately to those in the rest of the population.

It wasn’t just a testing problem: if almost everyone in the U.S. wore masks in public, it could save about 66,000 lives by the beginning of December, according to projections from the University of Washington School of Medicine. Such a strategy would hurt no one. It would close no business. It would cost next to nothing. But Trump and his vice president flouted local mask rules, making it a point not to wear masks themselves in public appearances. Trump has openly supported people who ignored governors in Michigan and California and elsewhere as they tried to impose social distancing and restrict public activities to control the virus. He encouraged governors in Florida, Arizona and Texas who resisted these public health measures, saying in April—again, falsely—that “the worst days of the pandemic are behind us” and ignoring infectious disease experts who warned at the time of a dangerous rebound if safety measures were loosened.
And of course, the rebound came, with cases across the nation rising by 46 percent and deaths increasing by 21 percent in June. The states that followed Trump’s misguidance posted new daily highs and higher percentages of positive tests than those that did not. By early July several hospitals in Texas were full of COVID-19 patients. States had to close up again, at tremendous economic cost. About 31 percent of workers were laid off a second time, following the giant wave of unemployment—more than 30 million people and countless shuttered businesses—that had already decimated the country. At every stage, Trump has rejected the unmistakable lesson that controlling the disease, not downplaying it, is the path to economic reopening and recovery.

Trump repeatedly lied to the public about the deadly threat of the disease, saying it was not a serious concern and “this is like a flu​” when he knew it was more lethal and highly transmissible, according to his taped statements to journalist Bob Woodward. His lies encouraged people to engage in risky behavior, spreading the virus further, and have driven wedges between Americans who take the threat seriously and those who believe Trump’s falsehoods. The White House even produced a memo attacking the expertise of the nation’s leading infectious disease physician, Anthony Fauci, in a despicable attempt to sow further distrust.

Trump’s reaction to America’s worst public health crisis in a century has been to say “I don’t take responsibility at all.” Instead he blamed other countries and his White House predecessor, who left office three years before the pandemic began.

But Trump’s refusal to look at the evidence and act accordingly extends beyond the virus. He has repeatedly tried to get rid of the Affordable Care Act while offering no alternative; comprehensive medical insurance is essential to reduce illness. Trump has proposed billion-dollar cuts to the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, agencies that increase our scientific knowledge and strengthen us for future challenges. Congress has countermanded his reductions. Yet he keeps trying, slashing programs that would ready us for future pandemics and withdrawing from the World Health Organization. These and other actions increase the risk that new diseases will surprise and devastate us again.

Trump also keeps pushing to eliminate health rules from the Environmental Protection Agency, putting people at more risk for heart and lung disease caused by pollution. He has replaced scientists on agency advisory boards with industry representatives. In his ongoing denial of reality, Trump has hobbled U.S. preparations for climate change, falsely claiming that it does not exist and pulling out of international agreements to mitigate it. The changing climate is already causing a rise in heat-related deaths and an increase in severe storms, wildfires and extreme flooding.

Joe Biden, in contrast, comes prepared with plans to control COVID-19, improve health care, reduce carbon emissions and restore the role of legitimate science in policy making. He solicits expertise and has turned that knowledge into solid policy proposals.

On COVID-19, he states correctly that “it is wrong to talk about ‘choosing’ between our public health and our economy…. If we don’t beat the virus, we will never get back to full economic strength.” Biden plans to ramp up a national testing board, a body that would have the authority to command both public and private resources to supply more tests and get them to all communities. He also wants to establish a Public Health Job Corps of 100,000 people, many of whom have been laid off during the pandemic crisis, to serve as contact tracers and in other health jobs. He will direct the Occupational Health and Safety Administration to enforce workplace safety standards to avoid the kind of deadly outbreaks that have occurred at meat-processing plants and nursing homes. While Trump threatened to withhold money from school districts that did not reopen, regardless of the danger from the virus, Biden wants to spend $34 billion to help schools conduct safe in-person instruction as well as remote learning.

Biden is getting advice on these public health issues from a group that includes David Kessler, epidemiologist, pediatrician and former U.S. Food and Drug Administration chief; Rebecca Katz, immunologist and global health security specialist at Georgetown University; and Ezekiel Emanuel, bioethicist at the University of Pennsylvania. It does not include physicians who believe in aliens and debunked virus therapies, one of whom Trump has called “very respected” and “spectacular.”

Biden has a family and caregiving initiative, recognizing this as key to a sustained public health and economic recovery. His plans include increased salaries for child care workers and construction of new facilities for children because the inability to afford quality care keeps workers out of the economy and places enormous strains on families.

On the environment and climate change, Biden wants to spend $2 trillion on an emissions-free power sector by 2035, build energy-efficient structures and vehicles, push solar and wind power, establish research agencies to develop safe nuclear power and carbon capture technologies, and more. The investment will produce two million jobs for U.S. workers, his campaign claims, and the climate plan will be partly paid by eliminating Trump’s corporate tax cuts. Historically disadvantaged communities in the U.S. will receive 40 percent of these energy and infrastructure benefits.
It is not certain how many of these and his other ambitions Biden will be able to accomplish; much depends on laws to be written and passed by Congress. But he is acutely aware that we must heed the abundant research showing ways to recover from our present crises and successfully cope with future challenges.
Although Trump and his allies have tried to create obstacles that prevent people from casting ballots safely in November, either by mail or in person, it is crucial that we surmount them and vote. It’s time to move Trump out and elect Biden, who has a record of following the data and being guided by science.

Editor’s Note (9/15/20): This article has been edited after its publication in the October 2020 issue of Scientific American to reflect recent reporting.

This article was originally published with the title “From Fear to Hope” in Scientific American 323, 4, 12-13 (October 2020)
doi:10.1038/scientificamerican1020-12

Donald Trump, stable genius, claims that Joe Biden is suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s, that is, when he’s not claiming that Biden is a tool of the “radical left.” Watch this conversation and make your own judgment. Ask yourself how Trump would fare without a script on a teleprompter. The film also serves to remind us of another Trump characteristic: He is utterly without empathy. He despises what he calls “losers.” It is impossible to forget the time he mocked a disabled journalist at one of his rallies. It’s easy to remember that he called John McCain a “loser” because he was a POW.

This is a most interesting unscripted discussion between Joe Biden and Ady Barkan.

Ady is a brilliant progressive activist who was a supporter of Sanders, Warren, and Medicare for all.

In 2016, he was stricken with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and is completely disabled. He is dying by the day.

He asks tough questions.

I recommend the conversation.

Veteran educator Nancy Bailey has some very clear ideas about the next Secretary of Education. All her proposals are premised on Trump’s defeat, since billionaire Betsy DeVos would want to hang on and finish the job of destroying public schools and enriching religious and private schools.

Let’s hope that the next Secretary of Education has the wisdom and vision to liberate children and teachers from the iron grip of No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, Every Student Succeeds Act, High-stakes testing, privatization, and a generation of failed federal policies.

Bailey begins:

During this critical time in American history, that individual should be a black or brown woman, who has been a teacher of young children, and who understands child development. She should hold an education degree and have an additional leadership degree and experience that will help her run the U.S. Department of Education.

Children deserve to see more teachers who look like they do, who will inspire them to go on and become teachers themselves. A black female education secretary will bring more diverse individuals to the field and set an example. This will benefit all students.

Many individuals, including accomplished black men, have brilliant minds, and understand what we need in the way of democratic public education. Leadership roles should await them in the U.S. Department of Education, in schools, universities, or states and local education departments.

But with the fight for Black Lives to Matter and for an end to gender inequality, a knowledgeable black woman with a large heart to embrace these times should take this spot. The majority of teachers have always been women, and while men are critical to being role models for children and teens, it is time for a black woman to lead.

We have had eleven education secretaries, and only three of them have been women, including Shirley Hufstedler, Margaret Spellings, and Betsy DeVos. None of these women were educators or had experience in the classroom. Only two African American men have been in this role, and neither of them could be considered authentic teachers and educators. Both had the goal to undermine public schools.

The time is now for a black female education secretary who will set a positive example and be the face of the future for children from all gender and cultural backgrounds.

Mike Rose blogs once every few weeks. One day I will copy his excellent model. But this season it is hard to cut back, in view of the pandemic, the uncertainty about keeping our students and staff safe, and the most consequential national election of many, many years. Those who know Mike Rose’s work usually become Mike Rose Fan Boys or Fan Girls 

I am grateful that he shared his latest post, in which he offers advice to Joe Biden and Kemala Harris. 

In this post, Mike captures the anxiety that so many of us feel about the polls. Biden is leading in all of them but we remember what happened in 2016. Trump is like a monster who lurks behind every door and in every dark alley, ready to spring at a moment’s notice to swallow our democracy.

Rose is worried about the so-called “enthusiasm gap.” Trump supporters remain fervently loyal. Biden-Harris voters express a commitment that is rational but not as intense. Will that matter on November 3?

Rose offers advice:

Be more than “not-Trump.”

Educate the public, starting with what Trump wants to do to health care. He is a consummate liar and many of his own followers have no understanding of his malign plans for the future.

Get out and meet with large crowds, safely.

When you visit towns and cities, highlight the good work happening in those places.

He adds:

You are both skilled retail politicians, a talent constrained by COVID, because, unlike Trump, you believe in the basics of public health. There is a great challenge before you, and I hope all the bright campaign people around you are focused on it: How to integrate the potency of human encounters on the campaign trail with the communication possibilities of virtual technology. Unfortunately, you have to solve this problem while the campaign is in high gear, steer the boat while building it. But if you can do it, you will make history – and reclaim what remains of our democracy.

 

Mercedes Schneider heard an interview with Jill Biden in which she pledged that a future President Bidennwoyld choose a Secretary of Education who has spent time “in the classroom.” That set Mercedes’ teeth on edge. “In the classroom” could mean a Teach for America tyro who spent two years “in the classroom.”

No, sir-ee. If you want the votes of millions of teachers, you have to do better than make a fuzzy promise.

She writes:

On the surface, that sounds fantastic. On the surface.

The problem is that the education reform movement specializes in its members having temp time “in the public schools” as a resume-padding device designed to catapult them into leadership positions in K12 education, such as district and state superintendents. So, technically, one of these classroom-exiting, sleight-of-experience resume padders could slide right on in as the next secretary of education, without spending but a moment’s time as a classroom teacher, and you, sir, might not know the difference because the person is *technically* able to declare having been “in the public schools.”

The Economist Magazine has a feature that calculates the likely outcome of the American presidential election. After a week of theTrump Convention, studded with lies and boasts, this was a quick picker-upper.