Barack Obama’s Response

Here is Barack Obama’s Medium post (found here) talking about the recent nationwide protest.  I agree with President Obama and have always believed in the need to start wielding political power in order to affect change.  Without political power, the status quo will always remain for those in power.

https://medium.com/@BarackObama/how-to-make-this-moment-the-turning-point-for-real-change-9fa209806067

View at Medium.com

As millions of people across the country take to the streets and raise their voices in response to the killing of George Floyd and the ongoing problem of unequal justice, many people have reached out asking how we can sustain momentum to bring about real change.

Ultimately, it’s going to be up to a new generation of activists to shape strategies that best fit the times. But I believe there are some basic lessons to draw from past efforts that are worth remembering.

First, the waves of protests across the country represent a genuine and legitimate frustration over a decades-long failure to reform police practices and the broader criminal justice system in the United States. The overwhelming majority of participants have been peaceful, courageous, responsible, and inspiring. They deserve our respect and support, not condemnation — something that police in cities like Camden and Flint have commendably understood.

On the other hand, the small minority of folks who’ve resorted to violence in various forms, whether out of genuine anger or mere opportunism, are putting innocent people at risk, compounding the destruction of neighborhoods that are often already short on services and investment and detracting from the larger cause. I saw an elderly black woman being interviewed today in tears because the only grocery store in her neighborhood had been trashed. If history is any guide, that store may take years to come back. So let’s not excuse violence, or rationalize it, or participate in it. If we want our criminal justice system, and American society at large, to operate on a higher ethical code, then we have to model that code ourselves.

Second, I’ve heard some suggest that the recurrent problem of racial bias in our criminal justice system proves that only protests and direct action can bring about change, and that voting and participation in electoral politics is a waste of time. I couldn’t disagree more. The point of protest is to raise public awareness, to put a spotlight on injustice, and to make the powers that be uncomfortable; in fact, throughout American history, it’s often only been in response to protests and civil disobedience that the political system has even paid attention to marginalized communities. But eventually, aspirations have to be translated into specific laws and institutional practices — and in a democracy, that only happens when we elect government officials who are responsive to our demands.

Moreover, it’s important for us to understand which levels of government have the biggest impact on our criminal justice system and police practices. When we think about politics, a lot of us focus only on the presidency and the federal government. And yes, we should be fighting to make sure that we have a president, a Congress, a U.S. Justice Department, and a federal judiciary that actually recognize the ongoing, corrosive role that racism plays in our society and want to do something about it. But the elected officials who matter most in reforming police departments and the criminal justice system work at the state and local levels.

It’s mayors and county executives that appoint most police chiefs and negotiate collective bargaining agreements with police unions. It’s district attorneys and state’s attorneys that decide whether or not to investigate and ultimately charge those involved in police misconduct. Those are all elected positions. In some places, police review boards with the power to monitor police conduct are elected as well. Unfortunately, voter turnout in these local races is usually pitifully low, especially among young people — which makes no sense given the direct impact these offices have on social justice issues, not to mention the fact that who wins and who loses those seats is often determined by just a few thousand, or even a few hundred, votes.

So the bottom line is this: if we want to bring about real change, then the choice isn’t between protest and politics. We have to do both. We have to mobilize to raise awareness, and we have to organize and cast our ballots to make sure that we elect candidates who will act on reform.

Finally, the more specific we can make demands for criminal justice and police reform, the harder it will be for elected officials to just offer lip service to the cause and then fall back into business as usual once protests have gone away. The content of that reform agenda will be different for various communities. A big city may need one set of reforms; a rural community may need another. Some agencies will require wholesale rehabilitation; others should make minor improvements. Every law enforcement agency should have clear policies, including an independent body that conducts investigations of alleged misconduct. Tailoring reforms for each community will require local activists and organizations to do their research and educate fellow citizens in their community on what strategies work best.

But as a starting point, here’s a report and toolkit developed by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and based on the work of the Task Force on 21st Century Policing that I formed when I was in the White House. And if you’re interested in taking concrete action, we’ve also created a dedicated site at the Obama Foundation to aggregate and direct you to useful resources and organizations who’ve been fighting the good fight at the local and national levels for years.

I recognize that these past few months have been hard and dispiriting — that the fear, sorrow, uncertainty, and hardship of a pandemic have been compounded by tragic reminders that prejudice and inequality still shape so much of American life. But watching the heightened activism of young people in recent weeks, of every race and every station, makes me hopeful. If, going forward, we can channel our justifiable anger into peaceful, sustained, and effective action, then this moment can be a real turning point in our nation’s long journey to live up to our highest ideals.

Let’s get to work.

View at Medium.com

A new proposal for the police?

As a kid, I remember watching the 1992 LA riots.  At that time, I didn’t know what was going on except it was somehow related to the Rodney King verdict.  Almost 30 years later and the constant needless deaths from the unnecessary police violence, the spark from George Floyd’s death literally ignited a firestorm of pent up frustrations and anger.

Can I just say… all the reforms people have talked about and implemented… clearly have not been working to the degree that it should.  Have they been working?  I’m sure they have.  But even after 30 years, shouldn’t there already be significant change in the system already across the country?  Even with the change, how much longer do people have to suffer?  Will another year, or 10 years, do any good?

Here’s what I’m thinking, what if society, over a one month period, replaced all the white police officers with minorities (i.e. non-Caucasians) and see how this social experiment goes for another 30 years? Oh is 30 years too long?  Well tough shit, maybe these reforms should have been taken more seriously.

So why 30 years?  Let’s mark the Rodney King beating as the start of all the “reforms” since if you really think about it, the taped recording (very violent) was the first “social media posting” of police brutality and violence towards a person of color.  Let’s make George Floyd’s death the final bookend to the past three decades of pain, anguish and anger.

 

Plague, Inc

There’s this really old game called Plague, Inc.  You take control of a “plague” and need to evolve to eradicate humanity.  Very simple idea but the modeling behind the game is complex enough to warrant the CDC to invite the creators in to speak.  I would love to read or listen to the whole transcript of what was presented at this meeting.

Anyways, the game has multiple “plagues” to use.  One of them is a Neurax Worm where win conditions are either to eradicate humanity or enslave humanity.  Additionally, the game allows you to “name” the plague.  So… I had a bit of fun.

 


Death to Human Scum!

Trump (1)

Hi, My name is Trump.  Pleased to infect you!

Trump (2)

Trump (3)

 

You have nothing to fear

Trump (4)

I just go around saying things and doing things.  I’m a straight shooter. I say it how it is.

 

Build a wall! Build a wall!

Trump (5)

 

Just another parasite?

Trump (6)

I’ll show you human scum. Just you wait

 

Yes…

Trump (7)

Dunning Kruger has got nothing on me.

 

That’s right~!

Trump (8)

Fake News calling me “just a parasite” was the first wrong thing. Now you get to pay for it.

 

The world revolves around me and me alone!

Trump (9)

And Only I can fix this problem.  Do not forget.

 

Mind Control

Trump (10)

I am getting what I want.  And you can’t stop me

 

#MAGA2020

Trump (11)

You can never get rid of me.

 

Hope?

Trump (12)

Ah… so you think there’s hope?  No… I am all powerful.  You will submit to me.  It is only a matter of time.

 

The Final Reckoning

Trump (13)

Worship me!  Remember, I alone can save you.

 

All the World’s a Stage

Trump (14)

The world only talks about me now.  Any publicity is good publicity.

 

Ascension

Trump (15)

I am godPeople love me.

Trump (16)

 


 

I also was defeated eradicated a few times.  Starting in USA (a 1st world nation) put me at a slight disadvantage compared to a 3rd world nation.

Trump (17)

 

Public Impeachment Inquiry

I’ve been thinking about what Dems messaging should be throughout the public impeachment inquiry.

First and foremost, regardless of the party in power, the Dem’s message is a concern that a president is seeking foreign aid for internal political gains. Followed by a simple question of… Do you want your president to be seeking foreign help to discredit political rivals?

Actually you know… This seeking help for political gains sounds very similar to what the “dictators” do. And Trump respects dictators… Like the North Korean Kim Jong Un… Coincidence? Hmm…

What’s going on in Hong Kong?

Oh man… what a week it has been.  After Morey’s tweet in support of Hong Kong creating such a backlash, Blizzard, not wanting to be left behind, bans a Hearthstone player for his support of Hong Kong.  And then… Apple, also not wanting to be outdone, acquiesces to Chinese demands and pulls apps from the iTunes store.

What’s with all the news in Hong Kong?

Vox has a really good article.  But here’s my summary…

A little background if you don’t know where Hong Kong is… it’s located in the southern part of China.  It was an important entry point into the “China Market” as well as a financial center back when Hong Kong was under British rule.  Since the British handover in 1997 back to China, the “one country, two systems” was Communist China’s temporary stop-gap measure to appease the capitalistic and democratic opponents of a communistic government.  In essence, this system allowed separate economic and governmental sovereignty within Communist China.  In my opinion, this incompatible system is really at the crux of these protests.

A few years ago, the Yellow Umbrella movement was a political protest movement that protested Communist China’s “meddling” with HK government affairs.  In summary, it was opposition to the Chinese Communist Party selecting the candidates that the HK population would then vote and appoint to the HK legislation.  In short, it very subtly bypassed the HK Basic Law which was “guaranteed” for 50 years post handover.  I’m not sure this ever fully got “resolved” but looking back, this was the Communist party’s initial skirmish to “test the waters” on HK sentiment probably paving the way for future political schemes.

Fast forward to 2019, Hong Kong has new protests.  These protest were originally against an extradition bill in the HK legislature and has now morphed into more demands mainly to try to protect and define the language behind the idea of “protest vs riot.”  Admittedly, it’d devolved into a situation where protests, counter-protests, government plants to incite protester violence, and government collusion with HK Triads.  It’s not going to end well for Hong Kong.

But here’s a possible solution that a friend of mine mentioned.  Would HK people be opposed to this solution?  Chinese Communist Party grants universal suffrage to all HK people allowing them to vote for any legislative candidate. Any law passed by the legislature must be approved by the Communist Party before coming into law.

Hidden Healthcare Costs

I think that 90% or even 95% of the time,  a normal person would generally figure out the cost of the service or item that they want before actually buying that service/item.  Would you buy a car without first researching the car and how much it costs? Would you purchase a home also without researching the neighborhood?  When you go to a grocery store, would you buy something without at least acknowledging the price first before buying?

But healthcare… healthcare is a totally different beast.  A person goes to a doctor, gets a check up with blood work, and comes back in for a follow up.  How much does it cost?  Apparently depending on whether or not there’s insurance, the insurance company and the type of insurance coverage (Link1, Link2, Link3). All these factors will vary from person to person. The last link is pretty useful to understand the current state of what I think is a horribly inefficient system.  What frustrates me is that I don’t know what anything costs.  I get bills after the fact telling me I have to pay $X amount because that’s what I owe.  Does this not frustrate anyone else?  It’s like going to a McDonald’s asking for a Value Meal #2 and not knowing what it will cost you until after you’ve eaten it and 20 days later the bill comes for you to pay.

Now when the US presidential candidates talk about healthcare, medicare for all and single payer system, what will inevitably be part of the conversation would be discussions of “death panels” (#fakenews from Obamacare)” and “freedom of choice” (a google search has quite a few links on this topic).  Why don’t the candidates frame as a  “Constitutional Right” similar to the “Right to Free Speech” or “Right to Bear Arms”? Isn’t promoting the welfare of the people similar to promoting the health of the people?

In the Preamble of the Constitution… “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Something to Think About…

Knock Down the House

Before Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, there was a group of activists called Justice Democrats who were looking for promising candidates that could primary Democratic incumbents in Congress.  They are looking for change.

The film crew recorded many of the scenes prior to the 2018 elections including interviews with the candidates and their opinions.  By showcasing the candidates, Netflix’s Knock Down the House is one of the most interesting behind the scenes political documentary.  I think the best quote from the documentary was “after 2016, nothing is for certain.”

This documentary really shines a light on the Ocasio-Cortez as a “rising star” and her opinions and activities going into the primary.  It’s fascinating.

 

 

 

The Break

Michelle Wolf (wiki) has a Netflix comedy show called The Break similar to Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.  However, her show is much more experimental, edgier and I think talks about random topics that she probably cares about.  And I also don’t think she cares what other people thinks about her topics considering how she roasted Huckabee-Sanders at the White House Correspondents dinner.

So I’ve been watching her show on and off.  But her Season 1 Episode 7: How Dare You? had a segment about pro-life supporters.  She goes on to comment that if a person was truly a pro-life supporter, then it would be logical to also assume they would also support healthcare, childcare, education, gun control and the environment.  The conclusion being that these other policies promote human life through a variety of different means.

Capture4

Her bit starts below at the 35s mark.

 

It’s interesting to think about.