It’s time to vote, Michigan! Let me know if I can help.

I read something yesterday that struck me. The Atlantic’s David Frum, commenting about how difficult it is for some people in the United States to vote, said, “It’s not easy to design a voting system that creates 11 hour lines.” “Generating delays like this,” he went on, “(requires) careful planning and sustained commitment.” And he’s absolutely right. It’s not just a coincidence that, in Georgia today, it’s taking people in the affluent, majority-white community of Buckhead 15 minutes to vote, whereas it’s taking voters of color in South Cobb up to five hours. It’s very much by design.

People in other so-called advanced societies don’t have to wait 11 hours in line, like they’re doing right now in Austin, Texas to cast their ballots. That’s not just something that happens in functioning democracies. No, it takes work to see something like that accomplished. From the incredibly long lines in predominantly African American communities in Georgia, to the absolute cluster fuck we’re seeing in Texas right now, where the Republican Governor Greg Abbott has instituted a rule that there could be only one ballot drop box per county, it’s painfully obvious that significant efforts are being made to deter people — especially people without the means to invest a full day in voting — from voting early.

We, of course, knew that this was going to happen. When the Supreme Court moved to gut the Voting Rights Act in 2013, we knew what the Republican game plan was going to be. We knew that polling places in minority communities were going to close, leading to longer lines, making it increasingly difficult for working people to cast their ballots… Finding new ways to stop people from voting is, after all, the most expedient way for a minority party can remain in power. Sure, they can lie and fear-monger for a while, and they can gerrymander their way through a few elections, but eventually they have to stop those who are against them for voting.

Here, if you want to see what this looks like in practice in Donald Trump’s America, is a scene from Texas yesterday.

The good new is, it doesn’t seem to be deterring the American people, who appear to be voting in record numbers. It’s being reported that approximately three million new voters have registered in Texas since 2016, and over 120,000 voters in Georgia cast their ballots on the first day of early voting alone. People, it would seem, are willing to invest the time and effort to ensure that Donald Trump is defeated come Election Day.

Thankfully, absentee voting here in Michigan is relatively easy. [We no longer have a Republican Governor or Secretary of State, after all.] I believe there are three ballot drop boxes here in Ypsilanti alone, like the one shown at the top of this post, which is just behind City Hall. I cast my ballot here today… I didn’t want to. I love voting in-person, on Election Day. I thought, however, that I’d better request my absentee ballot, and get it in early, so that I knew it would be counted. I wasn’t really afraid of standing in line on November 3, and being exposed to COVID at my local polling place. I was more concerned that something might happen between now and Election Day to keep me from the polls, and I wanted to be sure that didn’t happen. I wanted to be absolutely sure that I’d be able to cast my ballot for Joe Biden, and against Donald Trump.

If, like me, you’re here in Michigan, and you’d like to vote early, before the desperate lies of the Trump campaign begin to intensify, there’s still time to request a ballot from the Michigan Department of State. Just follow this link to start the process. And send me an email if you get stuck, need help, etc. [You can also find help through the Washtenaw Dems and the Biden-Harris 2020 campaign.]

I don’t ask very much of you, but please, if you haven’t already, request your ballot today and vote. And be sure that you encourage everyone you know to do the same. It’s critically import that we vote, especially here in the very progressive city of Ypsilanti, as we need to offset the pro-Trump votes elsewhere in the state. [The state is suggesting that, if you’re requesting a ballot through their online portal, you do so by October 19. After that, they’re suggesting that you request one in person at your local city or township clerk’s office.] And, again, if you need any help at all navigating this, just let me know. I’m happy to help.

Posted in Michigan, Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 308 Comments

A few days after calling America’s senior citizens his “favorite people,” Donald Trump mocks the elderly

With Joe Biden leading Donald Trump among seniors by more than 20 points in the polls, the President of the United States did something both bold and desperate last week, releasing a bizarre green screen video of himself promising those over 65 that, if he were to be reelected, he would give them all access to the COVID-19 “cure” free-of-charge… something which, he said, Joe Biden would never do. [note: There is no COVID-19 cure.] At the time, Donald Trump told America’s senior citizens that he was going to do this because they were his “favorite people in the world.” Well, today he was back to mocking them, reminding us all once again why it is that Biden is beating him by more than 20 points with America’s senior citizens.

There are other more important things to talk about today, like the fact that Attorney General William Barr’s so-called “unmasking” probe into whether federal officials during the Obama administration had illegally requested the identities of individuals whose names had been redacted in intelligence reports concerning Russian election interference just concluded without finding any wrongdoing, much to the chagrin of conspiracy theorists everywhere. I thought it best to focus on this new tweet of Trump’s, though, as I suspect it might help shift a few more votes than a protracted discussion with our resident conspiracy theorists about how, despite what we learned today, they still think several Obama administration officials are headed to jail for violating the constitutional rights on Trump’s criminal associates like Michael Flynn. So, with that in mind, please be sure to share this with your elderly relatives who have yet to vote.

Posted in Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 95 Comments

Does anyone believe Donald Trump when he says that “Republicans will be providing far better Healthcare than the Democrats, at a far lower cost”?

Donald Trump, as you can see above, just tweeted out a promise that, “Republicans will be providing far better Healthcare than the Democrats, at a far lower cost.” If it sounds familiar, it’s because it’s something that he’s promised a near infinite number of times in the past. It started before the election in 2016, when Donald Trump promised the American people that, if he were elected, he’d give us “something terrific” to replace the Affordable Care Act. “You’re going to have such great health care, at a tiny fraction of the cost — and it’s going to be so easy,” he said, telling us that he’d sign it into law on his first day in office. That, of course, never happened.

Now in office for almost four years, Donald Tump has still to offer an alternative to Obamacare, let alone one that would provide “insurance for everybody,” like he has repeatedly promised over the course of his administration. Instead, his administration has done the opposite, seeking to undermine the Affordable Care Act at every turn, and strike down the protections for preexisting conditions afforded under Obama’s signature legislation, without offering anything to fill the void. And, as a result, millions of Americans have lost their health care since Trump took office.

Now, with a new election around the corner, it looks as though Donald Trump is back at it, telling people that a great new health care system is imminent. A few moths ago, in an interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News, Donald Trump promised that, by August 2nd, he’d have signed a “full and complete” health care plan into law. And, guess what? It never happened. We’ve yet to even see a draft of the “phenomenal” new plan he promised. And, today, he’s telling everyone yet again that it’s just round the corner, the same way, a few days ago, he told America’s seniors that, if they’d just reelect him, he’d be sharing the “cure” for COVID-19 with them completely free of charge.

I find it hard to believe that anyone — even the most diehard Trump supporter — believes him when he says, as he did today, that a wonderful new Republican health care plan is on the way. I can accept that some might have believed him, back before the 2016 election, when he promised that, if we elected him, he’d give us a plan that would “take care of everybody” on his first day in office. But I refuse to accept that anyone legitimately believes that Donald Trump has any intention to make good on that promise now, after four years without any sign of progress. I get that people don’t want to believe that they voted for a liar and a conman, but I refuse to accept that anyone actually believes him when he says that something is in the works. They may think, “Yeah, he’s lying, but they’re all liars, and at least he’s better than the America-hating socialist Joe Biden.” But I can’t accept that anyone really believes he’s feverishly working on a plan to guarantee that every American has access to quality health care… If you know of anyone who believes Donald Trump when he says that he’s diligently working on a plan that will cover all Americans for less money, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear about them.

Oh, and let’s not forget, if the Republicans really wanted to move on health care, there was absolutely nothing stopping them. When they care about something — like the Amy Coney Barrett Supreme Court nomination — they give it their all. The simple truth is, they don’t want to put forward a comprehensive national health care plan. During the first two years of the Trump presidency, they had control of the House, the Senate and the White House. They could have passed anything that they wanted. They passed tax cuts for the rich. That should tell you everything you need to know.

I hate the background music they’ve added here, but this video includes some of Trump’s past promises with regard to health care, in case you need to be reminded.

Posted in Health, Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Governor Whitmer on Trump attacking her after the FBI announced that she had been the target of a kidnapping plot: “A decent human being would pick up the phone and say, ‘Are you OK? How’s your family doing?’ That’s what a decent human being does.”

Posted in Uncategorized | 19 Comments

Five men arrested by the FBI in Ypsilanti for plotting to abduct and assassinate Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer

Last night, there were FBI raids in Wexford County and Hartland, leading to several arrests. At roughly the same time, another five men were taken into custody in Ypsilanti by agents of the FBI. [While they were arrested here, it doesn’t look as though any of the men lived in Ypsilanti.] According to court documents, there seems to be credible evidence that the men, identified as anti-government extremists, were involved in a plot to kidnap and assassinate political figures, including Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. [The men had recently surveilled Whitmer’s summer home, and were apparently in the process of securing explosives, when the FBI moved in and arrested them.] The men who were arrested today in Ypsilanti were; Adam Fox, Barry Croft, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris, and Brandon Caserta. All, as I understand it, are members of a militia group (terrorist organization) that calls itself the Wolverine Watchmen. [A total of 13 people were charged in relation to the plot today.] Their objective, it would seem, was to instigate a civil war prior to the election. As of right now, I do not believe that the President of the United States has condemned the alleged actions, or, for that matter, reached out to Whitmer to offer his support.

There’s much more I’d like to say, but, it’ll have to wait for later. Here, in the meantime, is an excerpt from the New York Times that notes the fact that five men mentioned above were arrested here in Ypsilanti. [I still haven’t been able to ascertain why they were here, whether they just happened to get off the highway here, or if perhaps they had come here looking to procure the explosives they needed for their attack against Whitmer.]

And here’s Whitmer earlier today, addressing the press, and noting Donald Trump’s role in instigating these kinds of anti-government activities. It should be noted that these men used the armed protest in Lansing this past April, which was supported and promoted by Donald Trump, to — in the words of Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel — “engage membership and to recruit new members.”

Oh, and here’s an excerpt from the court filing against the men who have been charged. I thought I’d include it so as to cut short any discussion about how this might not have been a credible plot. As you can read here, after several meetings in secret, the men in question traveled to the Governor’s summer home to plot the specifics of their attack. I’d encourage you to read the entire thing.

One last thing… Let’s not forget this tweet from April, when Donald Trump, egging on his armed supporters in Lansing, urged them to “liberate” the state of Michigan from Whitmer. [Many of the men charged today, at been at the armed protest in Lansing.] And this, of course, is the same Donald Trump who just a few days ago, directed the white supremacists of America to “stand by”. This context, I think, is important.

update: Not surprisingly, the response of the Trump White House was to demonize the democratically elected governor of Michigan targeted for assassination, blaming her for “sowing division” by pointing out his clear role in encouraging the actions of home-grown domestic terrorists like these.

update: Donald Trump himself just tweeted at Governor Whitmer, essentially blaming her for the fact that these men wanted to kidnap and kill her, saying that she’s done a “terrible job” here in Michigan. He then went on to complain that she hasn’t thanked him for the work of his Justice Department in breaking up the plot. It’s really un-fucking-believable.

update: Fox News is reporting that the men were in Ypsilanti to purchase explosives.

Posted in Michigan, Politics, Uncategorized, Ypsilanti | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 356 Comments

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