Blog

To my Representatives in Congress

According to CNN, FEMA and HHS have been found to not be coordinating the delivery of available equipment and supplies from the Pentagon to medical facilities and places that need them. (https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/31/politics/pentagon-ventilators/index.html )

Trump is concerned more about being number 1 on Facebook, than managing this rampant global pandemic that is killing mass amounts of people a day. (https://youtu.be/oMm9cjF1o0Q ) These are not the words of someone who is grasping the gravity of this global health crisis. This is not someone who is even demonstrating a full awareness of what is happening.

According to the CNN article above, the coronavirus task force in the White House is an absolute and complete sham. That is already something that was public knowledge the minute it was announced. Pence is on the record as not believing in science.

We simply cannot afford to allow the people managing this crisis, being people who have no knowledge or experience in science, medicine, or caring for the health of other people.

I ask that you urge your fellow Congressional representatives to immediately determine a way to hold remote hearings and votes, using widely available video technology, and ensuring it can be aired on C-SPAN so that the voters can be witness to their representatives working for them, and so the record can be preserved. We must have a Congressional COVID19 commission now, to ensue the administration doesn’t endanger the lives of Americans, through corruption, negligence, and incompetence.

We must have all the information about what the administration is doing, where the coordination is, where urgently needed supplies are, where the tests are, how effective they are, tracing, and all of it.

We must have transparency and accountability from our government or we will lose countless lives. Please get this done. This is why you are our representatives. We need hearings, documents, testimony, and results. We need our government to be for all of the people.

Thank you,

Courtney Fay

Virtual Spring Digital Cleaning (not really a) Ted Talk

A lot of people are quarantined or at least home a lot more, as many things have been cancelled.  This is a great time to go through your digital life and clean things up.  This post is to help people who may know they should clean up their facebook, but don’t know how or where to start.

I will go through some basic clean up steps here, to help those who don’t know where to look. This involves who can see your posts and activity, but also what companies you are giving access to your information and your friends list. To do this work, I highly recommend you do this on a computer (PC or Mac). I will be going through these steps, and including pics, based on doing this from an HP laptop, with Windows 10, and a Firefox browser.

One obvious step is going through your friends list. Personally, I keep my facebook to only people I know in real life (IRL). This is something I imposed on myself years ago. I post pictures of my family and friends’ kids, and I don’t want strangers having access to those pics.

I also figure that people I don’t know IRL can follow me on Twitter and Instagram, if they like. I consider those platforms as intentionally public ones, while facebook is set up in a way that allows us to connect with friends and family in group settings, which can be exclusively controlled by you.

Review your Friends

To check your friends list, do the following steps. On your facebook home page (your feed), click your name on the top, to the right of the search bar.

On your profile page, scroll down and on the left side under the Photos section, you will see a Friends section. Click on the Friends title/link.

You will see a series of your friends, in 2 columns.  Scroll through and review how they are set. There are a few options. Hover over the box on the right side, of any friend, for whom you want to adjust their connection with you.

  1. The default will look like a ✓, and this indicates they are a friend.  This is the mid-range connection to have with someone.
  2. A contact card means they are set as an “acquaintance”. This would be the lowest level of connection.
  3. A star means they are “close” friends. This is the highest level of connection.
  4. You can also create lists and add people to those. This allows you to share posts with just a list of people, instead of all of facebook. This is the equivalent of the permissions on your posts, where you set the post as visible to friends or public. You can create a work list, or others that are target a specific group of people.
  5. Finally, this is where you can unfriend someone.

Hover down to the choice you want, and single-click that option.  Here is more info on those different friends categories and how they can be useful in keeping your digital landscape tidy. https://www.facebook.com/help/200538509990389

My recommendation is, do a first sweep and any you are not really in contact with, who do not bring joy to your life, or you don’t know, maybe clean those up first.  Others you are not sure about, jot their names down in a note (on on your computer or on paper). Think about those, check their feed over later, and take some time to consider if you want to unfriend, or just unfollow.  If you cannot unfriend someone, you might just unfollow them, so that you don’t see their posts, but also don’t hurt any feelings, by unfriending them.

To un-follow, just click their name or search to find them and on their profile page, just click the drop down to un-follow them.  You can do this on your phone too, so no picture.  Comment below if you need more assistance with this.

Now comes the main attraction in this clean up.  Settings.  On the top of the facebook page, on the right side of the navigation bar, is an upside down triangle. Single-click this, and you will see a drop down menu.  Hover down to Settings, and single-click that option.

I am not going to go through every section here, but it is a good idea to go through this a couple of times a year, or on a schedule that is appropriate for how much you use this platform.

Settings – Privacy

 

You can allow people to find you by your email here, or not allow that. Same with your phone number. By limiting it to your friends, it means only they can see this information tied to your account.

The next section includes something a lot of people care about, which is what people see on your timeline and who can see posts or items you are tagged on, including photos.

Timeline and Tagging

Edit any you wish you adjust, by single-clicking the Edit on the right. Click View As to view your profile as the public sees your information. When you click Vew As you will be taken to a new page, that will look like your profile, but have a message for you to see first.

When you are done looking around, single-click on the back arrow in your internet browser to get back to the Settings – Privacy – Timeline and Tagging page. I will say, I am disappointed that they don’t have a drop down where the Public marker is, on the View As page. You should be able to see what close friends see, acquaintances, and each list. What if you posted something to the wrong list, but didn’t really notice, because that setting marker is small on the post, and we don’t think about it? Why not show the differences here?  Just a thought.

Now I want to jump down to one that I think many people will find is a mess with devious stuff. This is what I want people to really check out. It’s like cleaning up junk mail, but do it now, and be more careful going forward.

Apps and Websites

Every time you take a quiz, or play a game, or sign into an account using your facebook account,  you are giving a company access to your information. It varies what they have access to, and whether or not they can check for any changes/updates you have made to your info.

These apps and websites are listed in 3 categories of having authorization by you, to access your information. These are active, expired, and removed.  Active are apps or websites that have an active connection to your information. They can store it, and they can check facebook for any updates you make to the information you are allowing them to access.  This can be name, email, friends list, birthday or other info.

Expired means if they had rights previously, but now they cannot check for updates. If your recently changed your info, they may not have that change.  They are allowed to store your information still.  Removed means they must destroy your digital information, or any replication (likeness) of it.

See how many you have. Clean up ones who no longer need access to your friends lists.  You’re doing your friends a favor too.  This is how tech targets us.

On Twitter and IG, I simply suggest going through the list of people and accounts you follow. Are you following a lot of accounts that aren’t really active? Do any of the accounts not interest you any more? These accounts dictate what you see in your feed, so periodically clearing them out will clean up your feed.  If you like these tips and want more, let me know in the comments and I will work on others.

Thank you for coming to my Virtual Spring Digital Cleaning (not really a) Ted Talk.

Where to go When the Bar is So Low

Anyone who is undecided in the Democratic primary, you are not alone.  I am struggling to see either choice as one I can enthusiastically support. Both Biden and Sanders puff their chests, exaggerate their effectiveness and record, and even tend to lie.  Biden is wildy known for taking credit for things he didn’t do, or saying he supported or opposed something he didn’t. They both do that.

Remember Sanders abjectly saying he didn’t say a quote a debate moderator read to him? Biden saying he voted for the Iraq war, for one reason when he voted, but for the opposite reason now. Both of their campaigns love to shove the virtue of their candidate down our throats. Their candidate is more experienced and will build a stronger coalition, while they insult voters and tell them to vote for someone else. Their candidate will advance progressive policies, even though they have yet to do so.

We lost our shot for a someone who can truly unify us, lift up every voice, and someone will real plans, who doesn’t exaggerate their record, but stands firmly ready to fight for real change. The problem now is that if either side doesn’t get their nominee, we stand to have that faction stomp their feet and not support the nominee.

Trump is a white supremacist, who places being fawned over by the media as more important than being a responsible leader. With Trump, comes and compromised GOP, who knows they are losing the space they have been man-spreading in for so many years. That’s why they want to purge voter rolls, gerrymander duck districts, and disenfranchise voters.  Their best scenario is that the moderates and progressives of the Democratic party split up and a 3rd party candidate fractures the vote, or people just stay home and don’t vote blue.

That is what we need to stop, but we need everyone on board to do it. We must flip the Senate, and we won’t do that unless we have a coalition, not just of voters, but of volunteers. Volunteers to canvass, swing left, phone bank, text, register voters, talk to friends and family, and get out that vote. We must have a candidate, and a ticket, that we can all get behind.

I’m so sick of being an undecided voter and it’s only be about a week.  Even still, I’m glad I don’t vote until the end of April.  I have a feeling there will be a few October surprises between now and then.  I would love for them to name their VP picks.  Both of their teams are going after their declining health. Again the bar is pretty low, when the current occupant of the White House lives on fast food and has to be tricked into eating vegetables. That aside, it is a legitimate concern for either of them, that the voters really should get to know who their VP pick will be, before the nomination.  Yes, that will be dragged as showing they see the concern, but it would also show they take the concerns of voters seriously.

Either choice, Bernie or Biden, will give us someone who will talk up their own accomplishments and exaggerate what they have done and will do for people.  It’s incredibly unhelpful.  They are also both failing to show any legitimate humility.  If they really meant to be a unifying candidate, they would be seriously reaching out to the opposite flank on our side of the aisle.  Will Biden really listen to progressives and embrace what so many Americans want, or will he just shut out progressive voices?  Will Sanders work with moderates and Dem “establishment” or will he just shout and yell and say my way or the highway, never getting one inch of traction on anything he shouts about?

To suggest that either of them will be more or less flexible than the other seems questionable. I’m not convinced either of them will be truly inclusive, as they and their campaigns are actively attacking each other, instead of sticking to policy and saving the attacks for the real problem, Trump and the compromised GOP in Congress.  I don’t know about the rest of the undecideds. I obviously speak for myself only.

I could do with less attacks aimed at me for potentially supporting either candidate. Me supporting either candidate does not mean I want people to die, I want to screw over poor people, I’m not a true progressive, or I’m putting my ideological preferences over beating Trump. Supporting a candidate can mean many things, and that is something each person defines for themselves. I am really done with the in the weed debates that end up with the attack that if I don’t pick their candidate, they have the right to stay home and let Trump win.

We’ll see if either candidate and their campaign can tighten up the ship and effectively prove a unifying strategy and message. We’ll see if they can reach out to the other end of this big tent that is the Democratic party and the coalitions that are moderate AND progressive. We need both.  I’m a gen xer and I have both in my heart.  I was raised by boomers, but I want to make a better world for millennials. I want a leader who will listen to both, and work with both. I want a leader who is more concerned with what everyone else brings to the table, than bragging about what they bring to the table.

I don’t want them to just be better than Trump. When the bar is that low, we have to still aim higher.  I know these men are capable of it, but I am still waiting for one of them to really convince me they are listening.

Jefferson or Burr

I can’t take credit for the title. I got that from #TeamWarren.  I am a #WarrenDemocrat.  Ironically, I have no desire for a cult of personality, as I’ve seen enough about how that goes. For those who spent time with the Warren campaign, you know that the spirit of the campaign was uplifting. It was top to bottom supportive and all about hearing people’s needs and voices.  It was nothing if not inclusive.

The plans she and her team crafted could be accomplished by anyone, and that’s something I believe Elizabeth Warren would even say. She wants the plans to go on.  When Inslee, Booker, Gillibrand, and Harris dropped out, she approached them. She wanted to include some of their plans with the ones she developed. She wanted those plans to get done, and I want those plans to get done.

The virtue of her plans are that they don’t suggest you can flip a switch and just turn on a massive structural change.  She talks about it in phases, stages, and in a variety of ways. She talks about offsets, and ways to pay for it, or how to fund it. I can’t stress this enough. She doesn’t care about the credit, she just wants the change.

Since I don’t get the best candidate, perhaps since Hillary Clinton, I have to make a choice. Don’t even speak to me about Secretary Hillary Clinton, until you watch the entire documentary, without being on another device. The fact that the media consistently put Trump on the same level as a once in a generation legal and political mind, was an insult. #SorryNotSorryChrisMatthews

So my choices are Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden.  I haven’t voted yet. My primary isn’t until the end of April, which means I have some time to see how they match up. I get to see how they behave, and how their campaigns behave toward me, my friends, and family. The following are their strengths and weaknesses, as I see them, and which way I’m leaning.

Joe Biden has been a statesman most of his career.  Long before I was paying close attention to individual Congressman’s or Senator’s names.  He has fought the NRA and is the reason we have VAWA. I’d love it if we would renew that already.

One of my many issues with Joe is that he is so boastful.  It’s not even accomplishments, it’s just that he was there when it happened.  He likes to throw President Obama’s administration over himself like an Afgan blanket. He takes credit for the good, but distances himself from the criticism. We just don’t need another boastful old white man in the White House. Sorry, elephant in the room.

I am leaning toward Biden, though.  Look, say what you will, we have to choose one of these 2 remaining candidates for the nomination. When I look at the differences between them, I see that Biden might be willing to compromise, listen to people, learn other points of view. If I’m right about that, then it is no contest.  We will see, though.

For a bit now, I thought there were signs he might nominate Buttigieg as VP.  He does that, and I will swing towards Sanders pretty quick.  That will mean he absolutely is not paying attention to the voters and the public. If he nominates Warren, Kamala, or Abrams, well that would solidify it for me.

Sanders has been in Congress 29 years.  In that time, what has he gotten done?  If you talk to his supporters, or engage with them online, you would think the had cured cancer.  But he hasn’t. https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/bernard_sanders/400357

He’s mostly been talk. He’s said he wants to cure cancer, and that we should, and that people who don’t want to are bad. I want to cure cancer too.  That doesn’t mean I can realistically get it done. I do know that if you are going to get anything big done, you need to form coalitions. As it is, no one wants to work with him, and no one wants to be tagged as a socialist, which makes that even more unlikely he will get support for any of his agenda.

He accepts endorsements from misogynistic people like Cenk Uygur and Joe Rogan.  He looks the other way when his surrogates and supporters go online and harass people. He equivocates when he talks about them, never owning up to his own abusive campaign without trying to tag every campaign as abusive.

There is a difference and he damn well knows it. That kind of behavior was absolutely condemned in Team Warren. You are not a supporter, if you act like that.  We are not here to attack people. Sander’s narcissism will result in a toxic, abusive, and unhealthy dialogue in this country.  I cannot and will not support that. For all his supporters, I voted for Bernie in 2016.  I was 100% feeling the Bern.

The day after the nomination, I saw him in an interview.  The journalist asked what he would say to Bernie Bro’s or Bernie or Bust.  He said, with a straight face, that he couldn’t snap his fingers and just tell people what to do.  Apparently he liked to say that.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFNH2NYb6Qk&t=48s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUJ1731p1W4&t=193s

I was dumbstruck. Had I not just seen months of rallies, massive rallies, where he would stand on stage for an hour screaming at people what we had to do? Was he not mobilizing his revolution?  He took no responsibility.  That’s the day I was done with him.

His toxic campaign, harassing anyone who attempts to raise criticism or concern, spreading conspiracy theories about a rigged election are sealing this door for me again.  You will be the reason he fails again. Don’t worry though, so will he.  A campaign is a reflection on the candidacy.  You are a representative for him, when you engage with voters, if you are going to say you are a supporter or surrogate. If he does not set the standard, who will?  I have not seen his willingness to be transparent or accountable to the people. I have just seen him use my party as a chew toy.

Since 18, I have been a member of the Democratic party. I made a commitment to be a member of a party, with the goal of advancing our ideals and our approach to how our government should run. It’s not just a party I run to, when I want something. I volunteer with them, I support their candidates, I work to get out the vote.

Sanders switches his party affiliation back and forth, never wanting to help us be stronger, but rather attacking the party as “establishment”.  Meanwhile I have yet to see him at an INC convention. I googled Independent National Committee and I couldn’t find one.

https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-1-d&q=Independent+National+Committee

His supporters are so convinced he can make all his noise translate into action, and I’m not convinced he can get his campaign in order.

So yeah, I’m not thrilled about these choices, but the bar is so low, it’s in the Mariana Trench. What’s worse, Trump doesn’t know what that is.  Yeah, that’s how bad this is. We must win in a blow out, and we must flip the Senate. McConnell has got to go. I’m leaning towards Biden, but I’ve also got 2 months til I vote. That is a lot of time for October surprises, considering those happen every damn day Trump is in office.

We need the nominee to listen, to learn, and to work with a massive coalition to flip down ballot races and energize every bit of the vote. It’s got to be the most positive, healthy, inclusive campaign imaginable. Both of these candidates appear to have a fundamental issue, as far as I’m concerned. Sander’s appears to have this problem worse, but who knows.

They seem to believe the means are justified by the end.  It’s a misnomer. Of course reaching a goal is defined by how you get there. If it is accountable and transparent, that will be what our country needs. If it is anything else, it will just be better than Trump, but will forever fall short of the American promise. I want to believe they can do it, but for right now I want to see how they shape this campaign, now that it’s just between the two of them. May the better than Trump win.

I’m Keeping My Pinky Promise

No, I never got a pinky promise. I never got a selfie. I’m definitely heartbroken Elizabeth Warren didn’t make it to my state, but I know that the pinky promise is still there.  The promise to dream big and fight hard will persist.  The Saturday, before Super Tuesday, I set up to host a phone and text bank at my house. I got mini muffins, fruit, a veggie tray. I set up a pot of coffee and prepared for a day of training people and getting out the vote with Team Warren. 3 people came and I set them up to do texting. We talked about our mutual admiration for our candidate. I was online doing volunteer leader shifts, with the campaign in their slack community.

Sunday, I set up for another phone/text bank.  4 People had signed up, but no one showed.  I was online all day, doing volunteer leader shifts.  Nevertheless I persisted. 10 AM til about 8 PM.  I took off Monday and Tuesday, so I could again host GOTV events at my house,and spend the entire day supporting the campaign.  Tuesday was lit.  I was volunteered from 10 AM til 8 PM and I teamed up with another volunteer leader.  Together we help assign and re-assign texts to volunteers, all psyched to reach out to voters about this important election and why we believed Elizabeth Warren was the best candidate for the job.

One thing we were sure of, once people get to know Elizabeth, they like her.  If only we had more time.  I somehow got myself to tune out the news on Tuesday.  1 person showed up for my phone/text bank that day.  He got set up and we talked about the race. I put Elizabeth Warren’s YouTube channel on in the background, so we could be inspired through the day.

While this campaign didn’t get a fair shake in the media, and we didn’t get the outcome we wanted, I do not regret $1 spent or 1 minute of the time I gave volunteering with Team Warren. I was fulfilling my civic duty, and fighting hard for a vision I believed in. I still believe Elizabeth Warren’s records, and her plans, were the best shot we had right now of fulfilling the promise of our nation. It’s a promise that has yet to be fulfilled.

Wednesday I saw that we did not hit the mark in terms of delegate wins, and I knew what was coming.  I wished we could have had a hail mary delegate rush, but it didn’t happen.  Instead, I had volunteers reaching out to me on social media, texting me, and calling me wanting to know what was happening.  I conveyed that Senator Warren would make her choice, and we would know when she was ready to tell us. I respected that this was her choice, and I would support her choice whatever it was, and when she was ready to give it. The last thing she needed was to be rushed.

Thursday morning, I woke up to an overflowing toilet, water in the basement, and Elizabeth Warren suspending her campaign.  Great day.  I joined the volunteer call at 6, to hear from Senator Warren, and I read her statement. I sent some love to the staff and volunteers I got to work with on the campaign, and watched Rudy, like any sane person would.

I also took a call from someone working on a State Senate campaign. They are meeting to carry petitions this weekend.  I signed up. I know we aren’t getting the best candidate for President, but we must carry on.  Warren hasn’t endorsed anyone yet, and I respect her right to endorse or not endorse as she wishes.  I know we need to keep fighting and I will keep my virtual pinky promise. I’m going to keep dreaming big. I’m going to keep advocating for plans like the ones Elizabeth and her team crafted. They make sense.

One thing I loved about her campaign, is that she approached Booker, Harris, Castro, and Inslee, to ask if she could include some of their plans in her platform. I have no doubt she will be working like hell to get the next person to adopt as many of her plans in their platform as possible.  She doesn’t care about the credit. She wants the change. (I should totally write slogans).

Because I’m in a lot of Warren friendly groups, and knew Warren supporters, I read a lot of the chatter that Biden or Sanders should make her their VP, or have her be the next Treasury Secretary.  The option I liked the most, was flipping the Senate and making her Majority Leader.  Can you imagine how much we could get done for working families and the under represented, if we had Nancy Pelosi leading the House and Senator Warren as Majority Leader?  It would be phenomenal.

So there it is. We can still have big dreams.  We just need to be willing to fight hard for them.  We must create a coalition out of this primary, and we must energize the vote, so that we can win not just the Presidential election, but flip the Senate and win down ballot races. I will still campaign for the nominee. I will still volunteer for local and state legislative races. I am working out an outline for a course I want to offer in my community, to make voting more accessible to people.  My thought is to explain the process, how to look up your registration, how to register, checking for deadlines, knowing who your reps are, how to state in contact with them, and the state level voting rules.

I believe that patriotism is an act. It’s fulfilling your civic duty, and it’s something that is on each of us to do. In 2016 about 120 M voted, but 90M didn’t.  Until we get this government being truly run by the people, it will never be for the people.  I want to see if I can do my part to try to change that locally.  They say think globally, act locally, so that’s what I will do. I’ll volunteer to swing left red districts. I’ll work to register people and get out the vote, because every citizen should be paying attention and I want to make that more accessible to everyone.

I’ll keep on fighting, and I’ll leave teeth and blood on the floor if I have to. Pinky swear.

What a Super Tuesday

Being a volunteer on a a political campaign is an interesting experience. We spend our time reaching out to people who are registered to vote. Voter registration is public, and can be requested from any state board of elections or Secretary of State. I have been doing this for 20 years. I’ve helped to “GOTV” or get out the vote, on local campaigns, county level, district or state, and I have volunteered on national campaigns.

When volunteers like myself reach out to voters, we get a lot of common responses. Sometimes they support the candidate I support, sometimes they support someone else, sometimes they’re undecided, and then there are those who have no desire to be involved in politics, and everything is just so messed up there’s no point. Their vote doesn’t matter, and every excuse in the book is thrown out to not be involved. Sometimes people even tell me I’m wasting my time. They tell me to get a life.

It baffles me. What could be more important, than upholding our civic duty? This is how I show my patriotism. I participate in my government, I do my best to be an informed member of the electorate, and I uphold my part of ensuring that this democracy is by the people and for the people.

I am fascinated that people do not seem to draw the line between our government’s dysfunction and our lack of participation in it. If you owned a business, and I’m sure many of you have, would you hire someone and never check on the work they did?

Would you not tell them what you wanted them to do, while working for you?
Would you not require that they be accountable and transparent to you?
Would you not expect them to accomplish your agenda and not their own?

If they didn’t do those things, would you keep paying them or would you find someone else?  I imagine in some businesses, you might even do the job yourself. You might recruit someone and vet candidates until you found the right person. Someone moral and ethical. Someone hardworking and intelligent. Someone who speaks clearly about the challenges and offers good solutions. Above all, someone trustworthy.

A healthy democracy requires that all citizens pay attention to it, ensuring that their voices are heard, and that everyone’s voices are heard.  We are all meant to vote. We are meant to communicate with our representatives on matters that concern us. We are meant serve in the government if we choose. We can serve in public service, civil, government, or military. These can be callings for people, just like becoming a teacher, a doctor, a scientist, or an athlete.

Patriotism is not wrapping up in a flag, or wearing the flag as a piece of clothing in violation of the US federal flag code.

Patriotism is participating in your government.
Patriotism is fulfilling your civic duty.
Patriotism is taking pride in your government, and the work of the people who proudly served in it.

People who work in public service are not all corrupt, and they are not all bad. It is an excuse to people use, so they can absolve themselves of the responsibility to pay attention. I have worked with many representatives, public servants, or people who serve the public. I have campaigned with and for them, I have worked on issues with them, I have helped to find people resources to information or assistance that they needed, I have helped register people to vote, I have helped people find their polling places, get rides to the polls, and I have helped explain the system, so that participating in our democracy and voting can be accessible to everyone.

We can all do our part. At the very least we must pay attention and not roll our eyes at campaigns and elections. We can make them better but first we have to at least take them seriously. We have to stop listening to the pundits, and the polls, and the backspin, and the speculation. We need to look at each campaign as they are. We need to read their vision, their plans, and look for who really has the most comprehensive platform.

Please spend 10 minutes looking directly at each candidate’s plans for this country. Decide who has the best plan. Show your patriotism, by showing up and doing the work. We can’t control what anyone else does, but can choose to do our part to ensure our democracy is by the people, and that it includes our voice.

Elizabeth Warren: https://elizabethwarren.com/plans

Joe Biden: https://joebiden.com/joes-vision/

Bernie Sanders: https://berniesanders.com/issues/

If you want a quick way to compare the plans, I made this Google Sheet, comparing a handful of plans:

2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate Front-runners – Comparison of Plans (Google Sheets)

If you are wondering why there are some holes, I explain that here:
Let Me Make This Simple Democratic Voters

Choose wisely. This is your one chance to vote for the best candidate, nominee, President. The rest is just sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing. 
~ William Shakespeare, Macbeth

How Hard Will You Fight?

I often participate in get out the vote efforts.  To me, it’s our civic duty. I was posting about it earlier this week. If we want our government to be for the people, it must be by the people.

While I mean this for all citizens of our country, right now I’m writing this for my fellow Elizabeth Warren supporters.  We know how amazing she is.  She is intelligent, thoughtful, accountable, transparent, and effective as hell.  The problem is, it’s not just enough to support her. It’s not enough to just vote for her. We must be off the sidelines.

Tonight is an FEC deadline. Tomorrow is the South Carolina primary. Tuesday is “Super Tuesday” when 14 states, 1 US territory, and Democrats Abroad will be voting (What is Super Tuesday and why is it important?). About 1/3 of the delegates will be awarded.

Bloomberg has spent $500,000,000 already on ads, and he’s not stopping.  Warren tried to get everyone in the field to swear off Super PACs, but no one would, and so now she wants them all to disclose their donors, including the one backing her. She didn’t ask for this, and she will make it a priority to get money out of politics, but first we have to get her elected.

Right now pundits are consumed in their punditry, and when we listen to them we get caught trying to play that game. Who is electable? Who is “safe”? Who will beat Trump?  This distracts everyone from our true civic duty, which is choosing who will be the best President, not the best politician.

No amount of money can outweigh our votes.  The challenge we have, is to reach enough voters and convince them that we must Dream Big and Fight Hard, to get the democracy we want. A primary is the exact right time to vote for the candidate you want, not the one who you think will win now or later.

So what will you do tonight? What will you do this weekend? What will you do between now and Tuesday? What will you do between now and the convention, in July? If you aren’t sure where to start, that’s why I’m writing this. I meet people all the time, who want to help, but don’t know where to start.

Fortunately Elizabeth Warren has a plan for everything, and her campaign is full of amazing people. This is a link that has all the information you need to get going.

Elizabeth Warren Volunteer Toolkit

Choose the activity that you can help with, and read everything in the corresponding tool kit. There is so much useful information in there, and they don’t put anything in there that is not needed. It’s all great stuff. Any questions, feel free to ask and I will do my best to help answer them, or find you someone who can help.

There is also a handy donate button at the top.

😉

#LFG
#PresidentElizabethWarren

 

Warren is the President Americans Don’t Know They Want

It’s certainly interesting to watch the media continually erase her from the narrative. They go out of their way to not mention her. Is it because billionaires own the media and she is coming for them to pay their fair share? (These 15 Billionaires Own America’s News Media Companies) Is it because she’s a woman? (The Erasure of Elizabeth Warren Continues)  Who knows.  Meanwhile, Democratic voters are figuring out who to support, and they get most of their information from pundits and polls, which are leaving out this amazing candidate.

What metrics should voters use, to decide who to support?  Should it be who won the first primaries? What about the top 3?  Is it who has the most money to spend? Is it who gets more media attention or runs the most ads? I’d like to suggest some metrics that I believe can be applied to all candidates, and I am confident Elizabeth Warren will come out on top.

For starters, let’s put aside the need to decide who is the best “candidate”. It’s not our job as voters to choose a savvy politician who speaks in platitudes. It’s not our job to pick someone who will be a verbal bully. Our civic duty is to be an informed member of the electorate. It is our job to pick the person who will serve the public as the best and most effective President.

I believe that person is by far Elizabeth Warren. Let’s lay out some characteristics I look for in a President and how I believe Warren meets or exceeds those traits.

Being accountable. If there is one thing a Trump Presidency has shown this country, it’s what it looks like when the President thinks themselves a king and not a public servant.  All elected offices are positions of public service, and they have a duty to be accountable to the people.  Elizabeth Warren shows this and it isn’t a stunt. She continually takes responsibility for her actions and has a willingness to be held accountable. (Black Womxn For Supports Elizabeth Warren for Admitting Her Mistakes)

Being inclusive. It’s not just enough to say you support all groups of people, you have to back it up with legitimate plans. When Elizabeth Warren sees that a group of people are not being heard, she doesn’t just hand them a mic for a second, she pulls up a chair and fully includes them. She doesn’t just invite them to join her team, she joins their team. She is a bridge builder. This is just one example, and its one I have yet to genuinely hear about from any other candidate: Warren: “Non-negotiable” For Campaign to Be Fully Inclusive of People with Disabilities

Being effective. She is the only candidate who has created a federal agency from scratch. Critics will bemoan the complicated issues the agency faces and the revolving door that financial lobbyists are making in the agency, but that happens anywhere.  Doing big things is no where near easy, but she gets it done. She doesn’t just move the needle. She moves the line.  (Why Haven’t We Heard More From Warren About the CFPB on the Campaign Trail?)  There is still work to be done, and Elizabeth Warren is the one who will get it done.

Being transparent. People criticized her for taking the DNA test, but it was a rebuke to Trump’s lack of transparency.  She has apologized and acknowledged the damage that her carrying family folklore into the public arena, does to Native American people.  Like I said at the onset, everyone makes mistakes, whether they are running for President or not.  The true measure is whether they will be transparent about their life, who they are, and what they hope to gain from the Presidency. (Elizabeth Warren’s DNA Test Shows How She’s Weaponizing Transparency) When she stumbles, she gets back up, wipes off her hands and gets back to work. She has a plan for honoring and empowering tribal nations and indigenous peoples. (Honoring And Empowering Tribal Nations And Indigenous Peoples)  She doesn’t just own up to her mistakes with the level of transparency we deserve, she makes substantive changes to her policies and her way of thinking.  She evolves.

Look, there are a lot of ways you can slice up this primary. You can even run a poll and leave out the person in 3rd. I hope the voters will do what they did in 2008.  People said Barack Obama didn’t have a chance, but then the Democratic voters voted for him anyway.  I hope people do that now, with Elizabeth Warren.

She will restore transparency and accountability to the White House and to our federal government. She will root out corruption, and she will close the revolving revolving doors to lobbying. She is effective because her plans make economic sense, and she knows economics. Read the linked articles in here, to get background on that. She is a lauded professor of bankruptcy law, and she knows how to get the power of the dollar back into the hands of working families. Out of anyone in the field, I believe she will use her power to do that, and she will get it done.

She truly is the candidate, people don’t know that they want, and she’s the President we need.

https://elizabethwarren.com/

A President’s Day Nomination

Today is President’s Day, which is really George Washington’s birthday, so happy birthday to him.  I decided today would be a good day to write out my endorsement for the Democratic primary. I’m going to try to keep it succinct which, if you’ve read even one of my blog posts you know, is a challenge for me.

Every registered member of a political party has the privilege and the responsibility to choose their party’s nominee.  Our vote is our individual nomination.  My vote is to nominate Senator Elizabeth Warren.

The media is working hard to erase this amazing candidate, and the polls show people are supporting candidates out of fear and an outdated sense of what is “safe”. I just don’t see how that will ever get us to a better place. It’s a misnomer, a fallacy, that voting for another billionaire will do it, or supporting someone who uses PACs and PAC money, will get us the transparency and accountability our federal government needs.

I used to think Senator Warren was too left, too radical.  Then I spent more time listening to her speak.  She knows her stuff.  This is a bonafide nerd. A Harvard professor, who did the work and really studied economic systems. She sees where the corruption is, she sees what it’s doing to the power in our government, and she knows where that power needs to go; in the hands of the people.

I had a dream the other night, that she called me, as she is known for calling people who donate to her campaign.

In my dream, she was thanking me for donating and volunteering with the campaign. I was pumped! I was flustered, wanting to tell her how fantastic her plans are, and how much hope it gives me that I don’t have to merely vote against Trump, or convince people to vote against him. I believe in her and want to vote for her, as well as convince voters to do the same.  We talked and laughed and became best friends, as happens in dreams.

Most people will say I’m naive and unrealistic, but I respectfully disagree.  At this point in the primary, in 2008, everyone said Senator Barack Obama didn’t have a chance.  People saw the polls and heard the pundits, but they voted for him anyway.  State by state his support increased, and he stunned everyone, by winning the nomination.  I want the Democratic party to do that with the candidacy of Elizabeth Warren.  If you think her candidacy isn’t legit, please take a look at just some of her plans. I compared her plans with Biden and Sanders.

You can read about that here: Let Me Make This Simple Democratic Voters

Here is a list of some of her plans:

Topics Warren
Environment https://elizabethwarren.com/plans/100-clean-energy
Public Education https://elizabethwarren.com/plans/public-education
Immigration https://elizabethwarren.com/plans/immigration
Trade https://elizabethwarren.com/plans/new-approach-trade
Agriculture https://elizabethwarren.com/plans/new-farm-economy
Student Loan Crisis https://elizabethwarren.com/plans/affordable-higher-education
Jobs and Wages https://elizabethwarren.com/plans/empowering-american-workers
Addressing Washington Corruption https://elizabethwarren.com/plans/end-washington-corruption
Social Security https://elizabethwarren.com/plans/social-security
Supporting Soldiers and Veterans https://elizabethwarren.com/plans/promises-to-veterans
Health Care https://elizabethwarren.com/plans/health-care
Gun Violence https://elizabethwarren.com/plans/gun-violence
Disability Rights https://elizabethwarren.com/plans/disability-rights
Affordable Housing https://elizabethwarren.com/plans/safe-affordable-housing
Child Care https://elizabethwarren.com/plans/universal-child-care
Paid Leave https://elizabethwarren.com/plans/paid-leave
Women’s Reproductive Rights https://elizabethwarren.com/plans/action-to-protect-choice
LGBTQ+ Equality https://elizabethwarren.com/plans/lgbtq-equality
Private Prisons https://elizabethwarren.com/plans/end-private-prisons
Native American Rights https://elizabethwarren.com/plans/tribal-nations
Marijuana Legalization https://elizabethwarren.com/plans/criminal-justice-reform

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There are too many plan to list here, but even her website is logically arranged. I have such respect for efficiently organized information.  You can view all of her plans here: https://elizabethwarren.com/plans. Scroll down about 1/2 way and you can search for the issue or topic of interest to you.

The reason my focus is on these plans, is that my goal in vetting the candidates is not to weigh their platitudes, the polling, or how the news covers them (or doesn’t, in her case).  Instead, my priority is the choose the candidate who has the best plans for running this country. My vote must be for the candidate who will make the most effective, principled, and honest leader.  Elizabeth Warren has made mistakes, but despite people hammering her, she has legitimately apologized and instead of trying to sweep anything under the rug, she has shown she has the capacity to learn and evolve.

I’ve talked to a lot of voters, and people say “she used to be Republican” or “she used to take PAC money” or “she claimed she was Native American”.  I’m not her, and I don’t represent her campaign. My perspective is two-fold. One is that all of the candidates have weaknesses, within the Democratic primary contenders, and on the Republican side.  When I weigh her weaknesses with theirs, it’s not even close.  The biggest reason I still back her, is the 2nd part of my perspective in all of this.  She is the only candidate I have ever seen genuinely apologize, not punt, not pivot, and not refuse to take responsibility.  She was Republican, and then she learned that the party didn’t represent her values.  She did accept PAC money, until she saw the insidious cost, that people wanted to buy access.  This was the opposite of why she went into politics and more importantly public service.  She proved she will do the hard work to forge a new path, when she sees the one she is on (with so many others) is untenable.

Some people dream of being a doctor, or a teacher, or an athlete.  I am not sure many realize that public service is also a calling.  It wasn’t Elizabeth Warren’s. Her dream was to be a teacher.  My dream was public service, but behind the scenes, supporting the representative I believed in. The calling for public service is one of caring about who represents us in public office. It’s believing in the ever-moving and resilient democracy. It’s knowing that it is up to us to show up and run our government. It’s a belief that alone we are one, but together we are more than individuals. We are a collective, with a common wealth, and a common vision that can lift us all up together.

It’s hard to see that vision in the current landscape, I admit. That’s why I’m supporting Elizabeth Warren. I think the hardest criticism to get passed with Elizabeth Warren is the Native American claim.  People call her Pocahontas, and we all know it was the petulant and childish person in the White House, who started that.  It is being used as an insult, but that name should not be used to insult people.  I learned a lot when this happened, because I am much like Elizabeth Warren. I grew up being told that we likely have Native American ancestry, and my Aunt even told me a story of our family and how there was a love tryst with a tribe we communed with.

I’ve never gotten a DNA test, because I’m 1/2 Jewish and I take issue with giving my DNA to some DNA company.  I never marked Native American on a job application, but that’s because I always figured it was more for people who didn’t have white see-through skin like me, who were more likely to receive prejudice when applying for a job.  I still don’t feel I need to cancel Warren for doing this.  I truly believe she didn’t realize that she was causing damage. Native American people have approached her, because of this, and she did what many don’t do in politics. She listened. She learned, she apologized and she sees how much Native American tribes and peoples are marginalized and erased.  This is just one way us white people have been known to perpetuate that.

I’d rather nominate and elected Elizabeth Warren, than any other primary candidate, because I know she truly cares about Native American people, despite this mistake. It wasn’t malicious or intentional.

At the end of the day, we all have to do what we think is right.  Ever registered member of the Democratic party has a responsibility to show up and vote in this primary.  Anyone sitting it out to see who the rest of us vote for, is abdicating their duty as a member of the party to shape who the nominee is.  Don’t want Sanders? You better get up and support a different candidate. Don’t want another “billionaire bully” like Bloomberg? You’ve got to show up and back someone else.  Don’t think Buttigieg is at all ready for this?  Let me tell you, Warren is ready.

Reject the media, and the polls.  Donate $5 to the candidate who is not funded by dark PAC money. Join her grassroots campaign to get the vote out.  Support the candidate who has a goal and vision to lift up this country, clear out the corruption, and get our government working for all Americans, not just the wealthy and well-connected.

Make your President’s Day a time when you decide that not only are you ready for a woman President, you’re ready for a President who has plans to dream big and fight hard for every American.

I know I said I would try to keep this short. I apologize for my failure. Now let’s go nominate Elizabeth Warren!

Featured photo from RollingStone (https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/political-commentary/elizabeth-warren-955377/)

In American Democracy The Ends Should be Defined by The Means

We have only completed 2 of the state primaries in the elections that will occur, for the Democratic Presidential primary.  This is a race involving 50 states, DC, 5 territories and Democrats Abroad (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2020_Democratic_Party_presidential_primaries).  This primary was already one with incredibly high stakes.  The Republican party went all in on selling it’s soul for a racist, narcissistic and unbalanced nominee, who encouraged foreign influence to win an election.  He has continuously flouted the law, demeaned our institutions, and brought disgrace to the office he sits in.

What is not discussed much is that there is a divide between ideologies in this country. It’s not left and right, as it transcends both sides. This is about whether people believe the ends justify the means or whether they believe, like I do, that they are defined by it. This is not just a Trump or GOP problem. This is an American problem. This is a problem that faces us at every level of society.

Now we have a protracted battle for the Democratic primary, to determine who will be the nominee for President. People lamenting this have one of two goals. One to suggest nominating their candidate will unify us quicker. The other is the media prerogative to stoke the frustration of viewers, and those social media, to demand immediacy for the sake of catchy headlines. 

If we make the wrong choice, we stand to lose our republic as we know it. The problem is, no one can really profess to know who will make the best candidate to beat Trump and right this ship. Anyone who does is not speaking in good faith, but rather with a selfish agenda to further their own nominee. Anything can and will happen between now and then. Trump, the GOP, and Russia et al (other adversaries) will push disinformation, and they will relentlessly attack whomever is chosen to be the Democratic nominee.

They will dig up dirt. There will be as many “October surprises” as they can possibly manufacture, no matter how ridiculous they may turn out to be. They will attempt to divide the party through this nomination process and through the election.  This is going to happen no matter what. It’s futile, for registered members of the Democratic party, to choose their nominee based on some sort of attempt at predicting who will make it through the inevitable gauntlet and still be standing strong.

It seems to me, that we need an impenetrable way to choose our candidate. Maybe that is by viewing how they run their campaign, as a reflection on the merit of their candidacy. That coupled with their record getting things done for others, seems to be strong metrics.  When I say getting things done for others, that can be activism and/or their record in elected office, sponsoring bills that have passed, co-sponsoring and voting for or against legislation, and creating initiatives or agencies aimed at helping citizens of this country. 

In this past week, some of the Democratic campaigns are showing their true colors, and they should be red flags for Democratic voters in this primary that has 98% still to go. My first criticism is for Michael Bloomberg. This campaign has really hit every button of being an insidious campaign. Not only is Bloomberg completely unwilling to acknowledge the damage of his stop and frisk policy and redlining, his focus is on quieting the criticism instead of acknowledging it. He uses racist justifications and has not shown any respect for what his policies did to black and brown citizens he was meant to represent (https://www.msnbc.com/morning-joe/watch/audio-of-bloomberg-on-stop-and-frisk-emerges-78611525957).

Now it’s clear he’s not just buying his campaign, he’s buying his way toward getting people to support him (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/13/us/politics/bloomberg-campaign-cash.html). It’s disingenuous and it’s an illustration of a white man so sure that he is the one to save us all, he will use his imagined ends to justify bad faith campaign maneuvers. 

He’s not alone either. Bernie Sanders campaign also reflects a reckless narcissism, that is frustrating to see. I supported Bernie in 2016, and even voted for him in the primary. I had committed before the convention, to supporting the nominee, and I fully supported Hillary Clinton once she secured the nomination. That was when I also saw the bloom come off Sander’s proverbial rose.  He was interviewed shortly after the convention (it may have been the next day). 

The question was posed to him, what he intends to do about the Bernie or Bust/Never Hillary crowd. With a straight face he said “I can’t snap my fingers and tell my supporters what to do.” I was able to find that clip on youtube until recently. Now I can’t seem to find it (there are so many Bernie interview clips now and from 2016). He spent months telling them what to do, but now he was taking his ball and going home. His supports decry that he campaigned for Hillary, but it was clear to me the he was a sore loser who didn’t campaign for her, and for the sake of this country anywhere near as hard as he campaigns for himself.

Let me be clear. I would prefer Bernie Sanders to Bloomberg, any day.  He is progressive, and I trust him more than Bloomberg to genuinely fight inequity in this country. Bernie has been a loud voice in the Senate, for decades, bringing attention to critical issues.  I thank him for that.  The problem is, Hillary was right. I’m not sure no one likes him. He’s a pretty likeable guy, from what I’ve seen, but he is very much a “my way or the highway” guy, and that’s not how you get stuff done in a bipartisan government. In his storied Senate career, he has been the original sponsor of 7 bills (https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/bernard_sanders/400357). Two were to name Vermont post offices, and one was for “Vermont Bicentennial Day”. The others were more substantial, and regarding caring for our Veterans. 

Beyond his record, his campaign is not as genuine as his rabid supporters would like us to believe.  He found a loophole to disavowing PACs, by forming a non-profit one (https://apnews.com/345bbd1af529cfb1e41305fa3ab1e604). As a life long registered member of the Democratic party, I am insulted at Sanders refusing to join our party unless he gets to be in charge.  According to Wikipedia he has been a registered Independent from 1978 – present. He switched to the Democratic party in 2015, but switched back to Independent when he didn’t win the nomination. Now he’s back, only because he wants the nomination (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernie_Sanders).


This is opportunistic and not how political parties are meant to work. Commit to the party and work with them to make them reflect what you want the party to stand for, but don’t demand that you will only join the party if you get to be king. I just can’t respect that. I’ve never ascended to anywhere near his level, but I’ve been in the dirt working with the party at the local level. It takes work and commitment. This is a slap in the face to everyone in the Democratic party, who is doing the hard work from the inside, instead of lobbing attacks from the outside.

Finally, his campaign is a hotbed of abusive and duplicitous behavior, for which he barely acknowledges and he fails takes tangible responsibility for shutting down. If he can’t get his base to reflect his campaign accurately, how will he ensure that his Presidency will effectively be healthy for this country? It seems that his is more happy to have the fanfare, and will ignore the cost. Some examples:

Toxic “Bernie Bros”:
https://www.thedailybeast.com/bernie-bros-are-loud-proud-and-toxic-to-bernie-sanders-campaign

Harassing critics:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/rachelsandler/2020/02/12/nevada-union-says-sanders-supporters-harassed-members-over-medicare-for-all/

One offs that are hard to trace:
https://twitter.com/aravosis/status/1227997181002571776?s=20

As frustrating as it is, I will support them if they win the nomination, but we have a long road ahead. Instead of focusing on who will likely win, by reading the tea leaves of any one state’s primary results, the polls or the noise from the pundits, I suggest we focus on what matters.  Their record, the efficacy of their campaign, and how likely they can achieve their platform as President. I would also note, that I notice how the candidates respond to criticism. Some candidates acknowledge the criticism, can show they have learned and have an ability to evolve.  Others will deny the criticism, reject its worth, and dismiss it. If a candidate can’t admit their imperfections, how can we trust them to be honest when they make a bad decision?

To me, the ends are defined by the means, and how these campaigns are run speaks volumes.