Remember the Ebola Scare

In the weeks before the 2014 midterm elections, Republicans did everything they could to keep Ebola in the news, and the media complied. The CDC, fully funded and staffed, responded to the outbreak with largest mobilization in their history. Still, Republicans viciously attacked Obama and Democrats for not doing enough while the media sounded the alarms night and day, and Trump criticized Obama for flying home American medical workers in a plane designated and fitted just for them.

After the midterm elections, we hardly heard a word about Ebola.

There were a total of eleven cases of Ebola in the U.S, and no spread beyond those who had traveled to infected areas.

Today, there are over 60 cases of coronavirus, and it’s starting to spread to people who haven’t traveled. The CDC is underfunded and understaffed because of budget cuts and because Trump’s fired the pandemic response team. People with symptoms that might indicate coronavirus are not being tested, and infected people were flown into the country against the advice of the CDC. Infected patients who arrived in America were greeted by untrained medical workers without proper safety gear, and the scientist who reported the incident was punished. Now Trump and Republicans who exaggerated Ebola concerns to make Obama look bad are accusing the media of trying to make Trump look bad just for reporting the truth.

Every year is an election year in Virginia

If you live in Virginia, your friends and neighbors may not be aware that every year is an election year in our great commonwealth. They may think that all of the political ads, the editorials, and all of the candidate’s signs and literature don’t apply to them, and don’t apply to an election that is less than a month away, on November 5th, 2019.

Please tell them!

Don’t let the outrageous and deadly antics of our president distract us from the many state and local elections that are occurring throughout the United States of America. Perhaps that’s exactly what those antics are designed to do!

Because every year Virginia has an opportunity to rid itself of politicians who think their primary job is to protect the wealthy from taxes, to protect corporations from regulations, and to protect their own friends from prosecution.

The Democratic candidates who your friends, your neighbors, and you can help elect this year – in less than a month – have been and will continue to protect hard working Virginians like you, so you can get medical care when you need it, find quality education for you and your children, get fair pay for your hard work, and get proper representation at the polls.

Virginia needs your vote, but your vote won’t be enough. You have to help spread the word. Every year is an election year in Virginia. Make this year count!

Chris Jones’s Website Missing Article about Blocking Medicaid Expansion

I did a Google search for “site:schrisjones.com medicaid“. That search brings up results about Medicaid from Chris Jones’s website.

I clicked on a few links, and I found that, as expected, almost all took me to articles on Chris’s website.

But there was one exception. When I clicked on the headline, “Senate and House won’t support Medicaid expansion“,

I got “Oops!”

When I tried Google’s Cached result …

Google still had a copy! According to Google, the article was on Chris Jones’s website at least until August.

Maybe it’s gone because it’s so old. It’s from 2016, after all.

So paged through the search results and found an article from 2015. I gave that a try.

No “Oops” there!

This isn’t proof that Chris Jones went around sanitizing his website from the truth about how he blocked Medicaid expansion for years, but it looks pretty dishonest to me.

Whether he did sanitize his website or not you shouldn’t vote for someone who blocked Medicaid expansion and then bragged about supporting it. Vote for someone who has and always will support it.

Clinton Jenkins is running for House of Delegates District 76, against the guy who was against Medicaid expansion before he was for it. If you live in the 76th, vote for Clinton Jenkins.

Why the wall is a bad idea

When I first posted this it was just a list, but after reading and responding to a tweet from a friend, I felt a need to elaborate. There are a lot of people going without a paycheck now and the pain is getting real. Imagine being forced to choose between vital medicine and the electric bill. I’ve read some Trump supporters ( or perhaps Russian trolls ) belittling the struggle by pointing out that back pay will be coming, but there are some people in situations that can’t be put on hold. And not everyone can save three or four months in advance just in case the government doesn’t keep its promises.

But as terrible as the current situation is, it’s important to keep in mind what a terrible idea the wall is. The amount of long-term hardship that will be caused by funding the wall has to be balanced against the hardship of standing against it. It’s not just about Democrats showing backbone and it’s not just about appeasing the Democratic base.

Here are some reasons why the wall is such a idea.

1) The wall would require the seizure of land from thousands of property owners, many of whom will suffer significant property losses.  

2) The wall would divide communities such as the Tohono o’odham Native Americans in Arizona

3) The wall will cause disastrous environmental damage , such as habitat destruction and the disruption of animal migration patterns

 4) Trump can’t be trusted.  Repeatedly, Trump has offered deals in exchange for funding, and then changed his mind about those offers.

5) We don’t know how much it will cost, what it will look like, or how effective it will be.  Everywhere else in the world, and until now in America, big projects are planned first.  Trump wants his money first.  We don’t even have a working prototype.  

6) The people don’t want it.  Even among those who voted for Trump because they wanted the wall did so believing that Mexico will pay for it.  

7) It will encourage more hostage taking.  If we give Trump a win on this, he will only cause more damage the next time he doesn’t get what he wants.

People are chuckling about the doctored video and I’m thinking, “Holy Shit!”

I would have liked it if publications like The Hill and Huffpo didn’t use the word “accuse” in their headlines about Sarah Sanders sharing a doctored video to promote the lie about Jim Acosta “placing his hands on a young woman”. The video is definitely doctored and she definitely shared it. Since when do we say someone is “accused” of tweeting something that she tweeted?

The Washington Post has a good side-by-side so you can see how the video was altered (along with a good suggestion about how this should be handled).

And the Independent nailed it:

Many social media users accused Ms Sanders of posting footage which sped up the contact to make Mr Acosta’s movement appear more aggressive.

But according to analysis by The Independent, the video instead appears to have been doctored to freeze for three frames the moment before Mr Acosta’s hand pushes down on the aide’s arm.

Sure, they used the word “accused” but only to differentiate the assumed method by which the video was doctored with the actual method. That the video was doctored is not in question.

And The Independent’s analysis is right. If you stop the video and use your mouse to slowly slide back and fourth at around time 0:14, you will see where the frame freezes for a moment. After the frozen part there is a jump to the next frame, and there it looks like Acosta made a chopping motion when what really happened was his arm brushed against hers.

Word of this malfeasance is spreading throughout social media, but I don’t think enough people are saying “Holy Shit!”. I’m saying “Holy Shit!” for two reasons.

First, The nation’s highest office is using doctored evidence to support a lie, and using that lie to justify action against a reporter. Think about all those “lock her up” rallies and how close we are to becoming the kind of nation that locks up the political opposition. Well I think we just got a lot closer.

Second, video technology is scary. Today it’s a cheesy alteration that several entities were able to point out. Tomorrow it could be advanced computer aided editing that’s not so easily discerned.

We’re not going to be able to tell truth from fiction by ourselves. We need people who have dedicated their lives – and in many cased risked and sacrificed their lives – to bring us the truth.

We need to protect our press.

Love and Protest

So let me put it this way. Imagine a brave hero dies saving your mom in the line of duty. Maybe a police officer. Maybe a fire fighter. Whatever. A hero. Saves your mom.

Now image a few years later, your mom picks you up from the airport for Thanksgiving dinner. And she’s drunk. And she’s driving and you smell the alcohol and you’re like, “Mom! Are you drunk?” and she just gives you a dirty look and changes the subject.

And then you find out that she doesn’t even have a licence anymore. And you’re like, “Mom – Holy Shit! You gotta stop this!” But she won’t listen.

And finally, the family’s all there and dinner is served and you’re not supposed to start unpleasant conversations at the Thanksgiving table – family rules – but you just can’t help yourself. So with everyone sitting at the table you say, “Mom, I love you, but you’ve got to get help and you have stop driving until you do!”

Gasps. Silence. Your mom’s face turns red.

Suddenly, your mom pounds her fists on the table. Glasses spill. She rises from her seat. She points a shaky finger at you and yells, “Have you no respect? How dare you dishonor that hero who died so we could have this dinner!”