Introducing Dale and her discussing network

Introducing Dale and her discussing network

«I am a retired Pharmacist. I am a woman and was born in the USA in 1951, in Southern California, where I have always lived. My family has been in the same general area since the beginning of the 20th Century. I am married for the third time. My husband of 8 years, Jerry, is also from this area. We have 5 adult children and 6 grandchildren. You ask about my thoughts and feelings about the upcoming Presidential election in the USA. There is no way to discuss this election without talking about the other things that are going on here, including the COVID-19 Pandemic, its health and financial consequences as well as the large amount of social unrest related racial disparities, prejudices and our historic systemic racism. There are, of course, other extremely disturbing issues right now related to global warming, medical care, elder care and schooling in the face of the Pandemic.

I am not affiliated with any politic party and have not been for about 25 years. I joined a religion back then that I have since left, which did not support partisan politics. Prior to that I was mostly a Democrat, but leaned towards more progressive candidates in general, such as those supporting environmental justice and health equity. I definitely have Libertarian sympathies but tend to vote more on social justice issues.

Back in 2015 and 2016, I pretty much stopped following the news. The election rhetoric was so caustic, I just did not want to listen to it. And then I comfortably sank into not paying attention to the debates or pretty much anything that was going on in the US related to ‹politics›. Since I am a woman, I thought that having one for a President, at last, would be good. I have no love for Hillary Clinton, but I do admire her much. I voted, by mail, for her.

On the other hand, I have never liked Donald Trump. He was a celebrity and a New York socialite I thought that he was not very smart and could not fathom that we would actually even consider him for President. Then he was! But I was not watching. Sure, there were some things that he did or ‹we did› that came to my attention. I just shook my head and could not believe that ‹he› had done that (like bombing Syria, the drone assassination of the Iranian general, the border wall, immigration policies in general.) I appreciated some benefits that I received by reductions and simplifications of my income tax.

Then came the COVID-19 Pandemic. My husband and I are ‹at risk› because of our age and some other conditions. We were on vacation in Arizona to watch baseball (Spring Training) when the shut-down orders came through. Our vacation was not a complete bust, but we were mostly annoyed rather than afraid. We were stuck in our condominium watching TV and the news. It was there that I started watching the news again. I was so appalled at the daily press conferences that President Trump was giving. I really could not believe what an idiot he seemed like to me. Unprofessional and not well prepared or well spoken.

Back at home and being a healthcare professional, I knew that a month or two of ‹stay-at-home› orders was unrealistic. Also, we were not going to be out of this for probably more like 2 years. We reluctantly followed the instructions to stay at home, avoid crowds, or even small family gatherings, use ‹senior› time at stores for shopping. I am a volunteer Ombudsman (advocate) for residential care facilities. I cannot go there, even now, but must ‹advocate› on the phone. I hope they know who to call!

So, since I am already dialed into many networks that give healthcare information, I was gathering information about the virus and sending some of it out to my small circle of friends and family. I have actually (re)forged some relationships that I did not have before. The ones who gave me the most feedback are:

1) Nelson, my nephew who is 50ish, lives in South Korea for about 20 years, married a Korean and teaches in a small private university (English and Economics). Nelson watches much of the US media, primarily CNN he says, but also alternate sites such as Slate.

2) Bernie, an early childhood friend. She lives in Northern California. She will not watch any of the usual news sources, but has passed me many alternate sites.

3) Bret, another nephew, from my sister, who is 45ish. He is a computer engineer. Says that he ‹changed› two years ago. He does not trust anything out of traditional media. Much like Bernie.

4) Allen (Al), my older brother, who is 77, a retired nuclear engineer who worked at Los Alamos National Lab in New Mexico for 30 years or so. He only watches MSNTV and loves Rachel Maddow.

5) Barb, a middle childhood friend, and always a friend. She lives in Hawaii. Barb is always a Republican, no matter what. She has a lot of legitimate concerns about the shutdown of Hawaii that relies so much on tourism. She blames the Democrats.

6) Nancy, another middle childhood friend along with Barb. She lives in Southern California. She watches a lot of TV, but mostly CNN. She thinks that Trump is an idiot.

So in this group I have 3 who love Trump and 3 who do not. None of us are Joe Biden supporters. It is not that we think that he is so bad, but he just does not inspire a lot of faith (in the system or in his age/health.) He is a quintessential career politician, after all. That is not a good thing to most of us.

I will try to give you a taste of some of the communications.

I have resorted to my pre-Obama habit of watching the comedy news. I find the sarcasm a nice break from the serious stuff. I have been watching Trevor Noah, John Oliver and Seth Meyers with a little Jimmy Fallon and John Steward. My feeds often give me links to my favorite, George Carlin. He really liked to call BS what it was/is. RIP George.»

Dale on environment

«You asked about environmental, global warming issues affecting how Americans feel about the presidential candidates/race.

I threw out the question to my contacts who I thought might respond ‹your take on the current administration’s record on the environment.›

I got almost nothing back. Only from trusty Nelson who did not think that it was a primary issue for the presidential race.

However, I do. And I think that the current administration’s track record shows that it is business before the environment. A presidential order that Trump signed about a month ago for our National Parks was really just belated needs for maintenance on the infrastructure in those parks. Besides, National Parks are a big tourist draw, therefore important for business.

Otherwise his administration has tried to gut several previous protections including the Migratory Birds Act, allowing for destruction of habitat by mostly fossil fuel companies, without need to actually protect the birds (such as destruction of in use nesting sites.) This is particularly important in the Arctic (i.e. Alaska) where the useful months for fossil fuel work coincides with nesting season for many species.

And fossil fuels are not needed like they were before. The Administration seems more likely to reopen coal mines than invest in ‹green› energy, even nuclear energy with updated technology and safety. Again, I believe that he is more interested in protecting big business than protecting people. And, of course, there is fracking, which cannot be a good thing, pretty much any way you look at it. NIMBY, please.

Then there is the administration’s withdrawal of the US from the Paris agreements on global warming.

So, from my point of view, these are as important as any other actions by ‹Trump›. He just does not care. The democrats are more consistent in their actions to protect the environment for the future.

And I am not so jaded that I believe that this was a Trump thing first. We have a lot of bad history here, but he has (personally) reversed many trends for improvement.»

Bernie on Paris agreement

«I think that the administration’s withdrawal from the Paris Accords was justified. The mainstream media (as with so much of the news generated by it) failed to report on why Trump withdrew.

Documents supplied by every country before the Paris conference, known as INDCs, or ‘Intended Nationally Determined Contributions’, SET OUT THEIR INTENDED FUTURE ENERGY POLICIES.

Buried in technical details, these made clear that, however much the countries of the West might be planning to reduce their ‘carbon’ emissions, the rest of the world, led by China and India, was planning by 2030 to build enough fossil-fuel power stations to increase global emissions by almost 50 percent. China was intending to double its emissions, India to triple theirs.


This was Trump’s cited reason for withdrawal. But did you hear about it?

You may want to send the attached report to Kira. It addresses the issue of ‹GroupThink› and how this phenomenon has eliminated the possibility for intelligent debate concerning the issue of Climate Change and the Environment. And, while it speaks of the problem as it exists in the UK, I don’t think it can be denied that we have the same problem here in the States.» (Gemeint ist hier die klimakritische Publikation von Christopher Booker: Global Warming. A case study in groupthink. How science can shed new light on the most important ‘non-debate’ of our time, London 2018)

Nelson (Ex-pat in Korea) when asked about how he actually gets a ballot and vote

«This year, I don’t. There is no mail service between the US and Korea now except for maybe government stuff (I got my stimulus check in June). We’ve tried to send some cards, a bill, and, about a month ago, my request for an absentee ballot to the US. Within a week or two, they’re returned to us with a message like, «There is no mail service to this country now.» Also, Australia. We tried to send a card to a friend there, and within a week, it was returned.

Every year when I’m visiting my dad in Las Cruces, where I’m registered to vote, I go to the country clerk and fill in all the info needed to get a ballot sent to me. They’re usually pretty good about it though last year (late in the year when the mail service was already starting to slow down for some reason), I got a ballot for a local election about a week before the election. I generally don’t vote on local issues anyway without asking my dad about them (Who am I to raise the property taxes of everyone in Las Cruces, for example?), but this wouldn’t have made it back to NM in time anyway. I never got my ballot for the NM Democratic primary this year (didn’t even apply). 

This time around, I kindly asked my dad if he would vote Biden for me, but he doesn’t want to vote for a pedophile Satan-worshipping socialist. He guffawed. NM’s a pretty safe blue state as far as presidential elections go, so I’m not too worried. My friend here, Gordon, is bummed he won’t be able to vote in his home district in Wisconsin, though.»

Bernie on motifs of Trump supporters

Trump supporters (the ones I know) are not backing him because they «hate liberals». They are backing him because they see Trump taking actions that no prior President (in the past 50 years) has dared to take. They are backing him because, irrespective of his lack of polished eloquence, he speaks his mind directly-often brutally-and this lack of artifice is a trait that average Americans can identify with. In example, whether or not it makes any sense to the «Coasters», middle America believes that this country should remain sovereign and, for that to happen, illegal immigration must first be curtailed. They believe that, in order to be economically viable, industry must exist and thrive WITHIN our borders, and for that to happen, jobs cannot be shipped to China and tariffs have an important role to play in maintaining American Industry. Most (middle class) Americans believe that they have a right to protect their land and their families and, in order to do that, the Second Amendment must be preserved. And, for most of them, «Make America Great Again» is more than just a political slogan. It is a call to arms to defend against a takeover of this country, one which they see as coming from Socialist forces devoted to the centralized planning of the entire World, where Top Down Management emanates from Brussels, Basle and the centralized financial management platforms created by the Banking elite.

Nelson in response

«Yeah, I don’t want to spend too much time on stuff like this. At least Bernie doesn’t seem to think the world is run by pedophile Satan worshippers like some of the QAnon folks do. At any rate, contrary to popular belief, liberals are against illegal immigration (Obama deported far more than Bush did though it was kind of due to a change in how ‹deported› was defined). It’s false to say otherwise (Libertarians are generally the ones for open borders, not liberals). DACA folks are another story – one should not be punished for the sins of one’s fathers and mothers. The easiest way to stop illegal immigration is to punish those who hire illegal immigrants, not build a wall. Punishing business is not popular with Republicans, though. 

If America wants a place in the world, it’ll have to follow some of the world’s rules, and the only way to do that is by being part of it. The more you can engage with the world, the more you can influence its rules in the way you want. In fact, that’s part of my job here, in a way. I teach language and economics, but also culture. America has been losing influence in the Trump years. People are looking for other models, and the Russian and Chinese ones, as hard as they try, are not palatable to modern democracies (not that some of them – Modi, Abe, etc., aren’t trying). S. Korea has been looking at making alliances with other ‹middle powers› like Mexico and Australia, who, as a group, can have more influence than when solo and won’t have to be so tied to capricious superpowers. It’s selfish to say, ‹We would like the world shaped in our image, but we don’t want to follow international rules.› 

Economically, tariffs are a losing game so often. There’s an old joke – ‹Who wins the trade war? No one›. The cost of the tariffs are paid by Americans, not China. Free trade tends to help countries as a whole when it’s done right. Bernie’s right, though, in that it’s often not done right – I can understand that. One of the problems in the US, though, is that so many are so out of it with regard to what it takes to make a good living in a modern democracy. I’m not blaming those people. The system – government, society, religion – has failed them. They don’t have the education or training to make a good living, and it’s sad. It reminds me of all those people who lost their farms in the early Reagan years. When I look at how many people think the virus is a hoax or global warming doesn’t exist or the Earth is 10,000 years old or QAnon is real, I think, ‹How could a modern democracy have so many people like that and still exist?› The answer: It can’t – not for long. People are just as important as natural resources and capital in production. They have to be ‹grown› and ‹developed›. They can’t be allowed to wallow in ignorance if you want a productive society.

I understand why Bernie likes Trump for the way he speaks because some think it’s refreshing to have a politician who speaks his/her mind (or seems to) instead of dressing things up (Not mentioning that he dresses a lot up in lies and half truths.). There are other ways to do it, though, and tact is part of being an adult. In addition, I think he’s a lot coarser and stupider than most Americans in the middle class (I assume she means white middle class). Very few middle classers I know would present bleach as a solution to COVID or mock disabled people or imply mob violence against journalists or people who don’t like them is OK or lie about their past statements or positions that are part of the recorded public record. 

Donald Trump has been a public figure for more than 40 years. We know who he has been, so it’s easy to see what he is now. Direct line. 

Anyway, that’s all the time I’m going to spend on that. So many issues.»

Dale on the first debate

«Well, I trolled the liberal and conservative news on the internet today trying to find the pulse of the nation after the debate debacle on Tuesday.

Definitely the thing that most consistently was the biggest problem was Trump not denouncing White Supremacists. Republicans and Democrats alike. And on his follow up, he still would not do it specifically, but tried to make people think that he did. Even his press secretary thinks that he did. But others interviewed who have a lot of interest in this, even his lone Black Republican Senator, Tim Scott, are not liking his response. He just could not say ‹I denounce white supremacists groups.› I guess that his tongue would burn off if he actually said those words!!!!»

Dale on the Vice debate

I have not seen any of the official responses to the debate yet, so this is from my impressions from last night. I think that both candidates made some good points.

I really disliked the interruptions, but they were more irritation than disgust as with the presidential debate. I will be interested in the rebuttal points that will be in the news and the others that I follow.

I like Kamala Harris because she is a woman and of color and experienced in public service. Though, like Barak Obama, not ‹African-American› as in the slave heritage sense. I think that there is a difference in perspective. I like that she was able to make some ‹law and order› cred points.

I think that she is a more sympathetic candidate for her stated concerns for the working folks. I think that she tried hard during the debate to be civil in her tone and demeanor.

Mike Pence is too much of a fundamentalist Christian for my tastes and I am very concerned about that agenda being forced onto everyone. (I think that the president is a fraud there) I would like to think that the presidential order from awhile back allowing prayer in school will be equally applied. Are the Muslims allowed to roll out their prayer rugs during recess?! Without harassment? I doubt it, but that is what it says. Freedom to pray if you want to.

I thought that he was intentionally being civil to Harris and the moderator, but I think that it was a ruse. But, nonetheless, refreshing compared to the president.

I think that abortion should have some restrictions, but allowed. Anything after the 2nd trimester, for sure, unless there are severe medical issues to save the mother. But even late 2nd trimester is too far along, I think. I believe that it will not change much in California, whatever the ruling. I understand that there are, and always have been, abortion tourists who have to go to other states. With the pharmaceutical abortions available, it seems to be less of an issue, but I guess they are not allowed in some states. And then there are issues about who will pay for it.

Bernie on Democracy

«People often mistake my analysis of Trump as validation of him, It is not. I didn’t vote for the man in 2016 and, if anything, I consider him to be only the lesser of two evils in that Biden (in my opinion) is part and parcel of a group of puppets controlled by Global Elite interests who are (and always have been) the dominant powers on this planet.

I do not believe that we (the 99%) achieve anything by voting. In that regard, I believe that Buckminster Fuller got it right. The Republican/Democtatic divide is a distraction meant to create the illusion of choice. We think we live in a democracy and that our decision of one leader over another, is making some sort of difference. My belief is that the agenda is set; that we are in the dark as to what that agenda implies and that the divisiveness created as a result of our false belief that one (hand picked by the Elite) politician over another will/ can make a difference is the real problem. We haven’t understood that the REAL issue is NOT a question of right versus left, liberal politics versus conservative politics, or Biden v. Trump. The real problem is the 1% versus the 99%.

We are a threat to them due to our numbers. That is the reason why we must be surveilled. It is the reason for the data analytics that track our every move, our every thought (s registered by keystrokes on a computer), as we navigate a digital, virtual world. Historically, we have always been needed to perform the grunt labor, the hard work that provides the benefits to that slim minority of controllers. We are no longer needed, at least, not all 8 billion of us. The future, in my opinion will be a world where the only individuals who will continue to represent ‹Value› for the Elite (the ‹Belite› as I refer to them) will be those with the intellect and conformist behavioral mentality conducive to performing the technical work needed to build a robotic world–a cyborg world–where virtual reality will be the norm and humans will be supplanted by AI.

Dark, yes. But I believe that this is the real threat. »

Nelsons Reply

«I actually agree with a lot of what Bernie says here. We’re often given false choices – only two. Neither party represents the working people very well (though it’s gotten worse under Trump). I also agree that AI and the loss of jobs for those not able to be trained in it (or otherwise conform) are issues to be dealt with. We’ve already seen the effects of a lot of that over the decades. Jobs are lost, not just to other countries, but to robots. That’s where a lot of jobs lost in the Great Recession went. ‹Homo Deus› by Yavel Noah Hariri has a rather large section on humans becoming obsolete. I don’t agree with all of it, but it’s very interesting.

I guess we disagree in believing that Trump is the solution. I don’t see a massive ‹Deep State› conspiracy against him. It’s many people working together and apart to bring down a criminal just like is done with thousands of criminals every day. We’ve known what kind of person Trump was for decades. He’s been in the public eye longer than Hillary has been, in fact. 

Anyway, I’m glad Bernie and I can (sort of) see eye to eye about part of it. We don’t have to agree on everything.»

Nelson on Coal and Covid-19

«I haven’t paid a lot of attention to the specifics, but I remember early on when Trump, still a candidate, was trying to cater to the coal industry. Bad idea. There’s no such thing as ‹clean coal› and it’s been a dying industry for years and years. Natural gas is rapidly overtaking it (has for a long time, ever since fracking started growing), and this is a reasonable alternative until we ease into more renewable resources, as is Biden’s plan. There are, of course, other problems with natural gas as fracking is pretty messy.

Lots of business people tend to forget that a dirty, sick country harms the economy. People are resources, too, and people who are dying from poisoned water and air are burdens. Looking at how COVID has been handled by this administration, I’m wondering about how much the R’s really value human life.»

To be continued…