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Monday, April 6, 2020

We are paying the cost for our federalist system in fighting the COVID-19 virus

     Our Country in its formation was strongly influenced by the tyranny of the British monarchy.  We developed a system under the Articles of Confederation that gave most of the power to the states and created a weak federal system.  As we progressed in our early years, the weakness of the Articles became apparent and a Continental Congress was established to correct these weaknesses.  It became apparent that the weaknesses of Articles couldn't be corrected and a new Constitution would have to be developed.  The Constitution gave the federal government stronger authority but still gave the states authorities not specifically granted to the federal government.  Our federalist system had its greatest test during the Civil War.
     With our present pandemic, we see the weakness of a federalist system in comparison to a centralized system.  Our fragmented response that varies from state to state and the lack of an adequate response from the federal government will mean that the United States will have the worst response to the pandemic of any country in the World.  This is a perverse case of the US being "America First."  It is truly shocking to hear Trump say that the states are on their own in finding the necessary supplies to fight the virus.  He is abstaining from playing a role in this time of crisis.  His reluctance to use his powers in fighting a virus that will kill tens of thousands of citizens is in contrast to his willingness to take those powers when it comes to the use of the military for far less serious threats to American lives.  Republican philosophy of small government can be dangerous in times of crisis that is not external and that can be responded to with military forces.  Republicans, with its small-government mentality, will always be unwilling to have an effective response to internal domestic crises like this virus.  The fear of the British Monarchy of the 18th Century is still influencing Republican political philosophy in the 21st Century and the cost will be in more American lives than any other country in the World.

     The flating of the curve in countries with a national lockdown has taken about a month after the lockdown started.  Italy is now starting to see this flating a month after its national lockdown.  The United States still doesn't have a national lockdown.  With Maryland only issuing a statewide lockdown on March 30th we may shorten that timeframe according to the latest data.

     The effectiveness of doing a shutdown order earlier than later may be seen in the comparison of the projected deaths from the virus between California and Florida.  Using the data it appears that Florida, with half the population of California, will have almost 4 times the number of deaths or 8 times per capita as California.  Spring break and a Republican governor will make Florida residents pay a heavy toll.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

21st Century Voting


Legislature doesn't act on Gov. Evers' special session to stop in ...

   The COVID-19 virus has made states examine how they can hold elections that don't require in-person voting.   Our present voting processes were designed for a time when voting was restricted in ways we wouldn't accept today.   I have mentioned before that hopefully states will begin to move to more mail-in voting.
     If states move to mail-in voting there is a way that voting can be expanded in another way that would increase participation in elections.  States could mail ballots to every person in the state using state records that would greatly expand voting participation.  Income tax returns and driver licenses would capture most people in the states.  When you are asked if you would like to register to vote when renewing a Maryland driver's license you are not registered at that time but will only be sent a registration form in the mail.  Why not register people at that time?  Persons who didn't file a tax return or have a driver's license could request a voter form to be filled out under penalties for submitting false information.   Opponents of voter registration in this manner (i.e. Republicans) would come up with concerns about fraud and other reasons to oppose this change.  Election fraud is probably the most overhyped problem with voting today.  Putting obstacles in place to limit the number of voters should no longer be tolerated if we truly see ourselves as wanting more people to participate in our democratic elections.

   Sometimes even Republicans don't hide their motivations

21st Century communication

Image may contain: 8 people, possible text that says '"Alice, turn your video on. No, it's the button on the bottom. Not that one, over to your left FFS. Jan, you're on mute. UNMUTE YOURSELF!"'

Saturday, April 4, 2020