Countdown Until Election Day 2020: Protesting Trump’s Strategy

You may have noticed that Democrats and Republicans adopt increasingly different strategies when it comes to winning elections: Democrats try to get out the vote while Republicans try to suppress the right kind of vote. Generally speaking, Democrats and left-leaning Independents outnumber Republicans and right-leaning Independents. That means that a high voter turnout usually signifies a blue wave. Democrats are hoping for that wave to wash over Trump this year — which is what looks most likely to happen.

Republicans are fighting to allow guns at the polls, which combined with poll-watching techniques — which were illegal during the last election — should amount to a significant amount of voter intimidation. Add to this the fact that Trump is doing his best to manipulate his voting block to believe that mail-in voting amounts to fraud (even though that’s how he votes), and you have a recipe for legal battles after this Election Day.

Many of us have been personally damaged by this administration’s actions. While we cannot litigate against Trump as an individual, we can sue the government as a whole. It’s unfortunate that a personal injury or work accident attorney isn’t enough to obtain compensatory damages for the financial harm that has been done, but there are other avenues to fight back beyond litigation. One of those is good old-fashioned protest!

It’s expected that Trump will make a valiant attempt to dismiss any votes cast after Election Day. That would negate much of the blue wave because most Democrats plan to vote by mail while most Republicans plan to vote in person. Should Trump be successful, many other groups of people won’t be able to vote. This includes the armed forces — which have increasingly abandoned Trump — and certain U.S. territories.

It’s important to note that Trump only won in 2016 by a slim 70,000 vote margin. Without the armed forces, suburbs, and women, he would have lost by a landslide.

Many Los Angeles communities will see an increased police presence in the days following the election, in part because Trump’s comments practically invite violence and unrest. Should he find a way to delegitimize or delay the results, the city expects protests. Considering what’s at stake, no one would be surprised to see some of these turn violent. The same precautionary steps are being taken in several other cities, including New York.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said, “We are very prepared for the election, but at the same time I don’t want to buy into a narrative that there’s going to be chaos during our election. We prepare for the worst, but we are hoping and expecting generally the best. There may be individual instances, we’ll see some stuff around the country, but don’t let any of that change the narrative of you, your right to vote.”

“Law enforcement isn’t and oftentimes by law allowed to be right at an election site,” he added, “because…that’s not the sort of country we live in. But they are available to protect our rights when we need them should anybody through violence or other means try to take that away.”

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Protests Continue Unabated In Face Of Police Violence

Police continue to be violent with peaceful protesters and troublemakers alike, regardless of the fact that they’re on candid camera for all the world to see. And the world is most definitely watching. International headlines are glued to the brutality being witnessed in the United States. Demonstrations have spread to other countries across the globe as the outcry continues. The question everyone is asking: Will this change anything at all?

Many have expressed hope that an inflection point has been reached in America, but the truth is much more sinister. Only half of Americans — i.e. the half that did not vote for a President Trump — believe in the validity of this movement, which itself could be brought down if coronavirus numbers spike after the typical one-to-two-week incubation period has been reached.

Coupled with an upcoming election which itself is likely to bring a great deal of turmoil in the United States, and you might have a recipe for change — but not peaceful change, like protesters have been promoting.

We never condone violence. We urge protesters to remain peaceful. Refrain from looting or vandalizing or becoming violent, even when police illegally become violent with you. 

In Downtown Los Angeles, protester Corey Jiannalone said, “I think everybody out here is excited, is enthusiastic and is motivated to fight for what we believe in, what we continue to believe in, and that’s equality for every single person that’s out here.”

Meanwhile, the ACLU is arguing that the curfew in Los Angeles (and other cities) is unconstitutional and in fact precipitate police violence.

The most unimaginable part of this is that scientific studies have been done by the dozens about how to peacefully deescalate situations that grow out of control. Essentially, you can successfully disperse people through peaceful interaction. Police are instead using militaristic tactics scientifically proven to escalate — rather than deescalate — tense or chaotic situations such as these.

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The Fight For A Universal Basic Income

This is a subject that has been around for decades, but is only now reaching a fever level of excitement for the general public. Andrew Yang was a big part of that push, giving a few lucky families $1,000 a month for a year as part of his presidential campaign — which ultimately failed. But that fight for income equality is only just beginning. Oddly enough, it seems the covid-19 pandemic might factor into making this happen sooner.

None other than Republican Senator Mitt Romney — another failed presidential candidate from a bygone era — floated the idea that all American adults should be granted $1,000 to dampen the financial impact that faces our nation because of the viral outbreak. That’s far from a universal basic income (UBI), but it could get the ball rolling if our Congressional leaders go for it. And that’s one big “if.”

How much support the idea receives both inside and outside of Congress is likely dependent on the hardships facing most Americans. We’ve heard the number 400 floated a number of times during this current campaign season. It’s the number of dollars Americans have to put toward an unforeseen emergency. A near-majority wouldn’t be able to handle even that much.

Should this outbreak continue into the future — as it is almost guaranteed to do — it’s easy to predict that many Americans are about to fall upon fall times. Not everyone can work from home. Not everyone can afford good healthcare when they need it the most (now).

The irony lies in how hard the media is trying to push the narrative that Joe Biden continues to come off as the 2020 Democratic candidate with the most pragmatic virus-related ideas when he has in fact stated that he would veto any push for medicare for all. It’s almost as if this coronavirus is shouting to the world “vote Bernie” if you want to have a chance at a good future, but the world isn’t listening.

It might shock you to know that the reproduction rate (or “R” value; i.e. how many people an infected person is likely to infect himself) of the seasonal flu is R1.3, meaning that an infected person would infect slightly more than one other person on average. The Spanish flu had a value of R1.8. Covid-19 has a value of R2.3 on average. It’s fatality rate falls only slightly below the Spanish flu, but much higher than the seasonal flu.

That means if we do nothing, millions could face death. Which is to say little of the financial realities facing us if we don’t take more drastic steps soon.

Is it time to fight for a universal basic income? Maybe so.

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Jeff Bezos Pledges $10 Billion Toward Fight Against Man-Made Climate Change

Big tech companies are making huge strides for humanity’s sake — and often their own, which is why many news outlets are reporting Jeff Bezos’s big announcement with a wee bit of snark. Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and even Amazon are trying to shower the globe with wireless internet while eradicating disease or fighting to keep humans healthy for more years. Renewable energy is now cheaper to make than new coal and oil, in part because of the work done by those money-making entities.

That’s why it should come as little surprise that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has announced a $10 billion seed in a new push against man-made climate change. That’s a huge investment, but still well under 10 percent of his entire fortune of $130 billion. He’s the richest man on the planet.

Bezos described his efforts: “We can save Earth. It’s going to take collective action from big companies, small companies, nation states, global organizations, and individuals.”

He hasn’t explained exactly what the money is going to be used for, but he wants to fund anyone and anything that might be useful in the fight to reverse the already catastrophic effects of climate change.

He took to Instagram to announce his investment: “Climate change is the biggest threat to our planet. I want to work alongside others both to amplify known ways and to explore new ways of fighting the devastating impact of climate change on this planet we all share. This global initiative will fund scientists, activists, NGOs — any effort that offers a real possibility to help preserve and protect the natural world.”

Bezos is best known for Amazon, but he also owns Blue Origin, a company that aims to spread humans throughout the solar system to increase the resource at our disposal. He once said that he wants his descendants to live in a world with a “thousand Einsteins.” People like Bezos are key to making it happen.

Part of his reasoning for funding Blue Origin is common sense. Once we’re a spacefaring species, most industry will likely move off-planet (and pollution with it). When that happens, Earth could see a greener revolution than anyone expects. No more burning coal and oil, no more smog in our skies. Just residential neighborhoods and an increased focus on connecting to Mother Nature at every chance.

This is most definitely worth fighting for. In fact, it’s what most of this site’s followers believe in most — saving our planet. We hope the new initiative works.

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Amazon Under Fire For Warning Climate Activists They Would Be Terminated

Despite recently enacting laws to allow its employees to more easily verify what can and cannot be said on public forums (while identified as an employee), Amazon is under fire for threatening climate activists who failed to abide by the policy. The employees were engaged in a struggle to urge Amazon to reassess its environmental impacts and take action to reduce the company’s carbon footprint immediately.

But Amazon threatened to fire those who spoke out. 

At least two employees were warned that they could be terminated for violating company policies by speaking to journalists or posting on social media. Amazon Employees for Climate Justice said that at least four employees were counseled to refrain from making certain kinds of comments in public.

One of the employees, Maren Costa, recently spoke with the Washington Post. A spokesperson for Amazon Employees for Climate Justice said, “This is not the time to shoot the messengers. This is not the time to silence those who are speaking out.”

It’s worth noting, however, that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos also owns the Washington Post

Amazon ensured those concerned about the purported threats that Amazon employees have always been asked to comply with company guidelines, and that the guidelines in question weren’t new. Amazon spokesperson Jaci Anderson said that employees were free to ask for or provide insight into “improvement to how we operate through those internal channels.”

Amazon HR representative Eric Sjoding said in an email to Costa, “I encourage you to review the policy again and in the future anytime you may consider speaking about Amazon’s business in a public forum.”

Amazon employees are barred from making disparaging remarks about the company in public while identified as an Amazon employee — but nothing bars them from doing so anonymously. Many companies and corporations have similar guidelines to prevent employees from placing the company in a bad light. 

After a September walkout, though, Amazon amended this policy to allow employees to request approval for comments they sought to make in public forums. This policy was implemented in 2019. 

The walkout was organized in response to Amazon’s alleged sidestepping of environmentally dangerous policies. A resolution was put forth to change policies, but it was swiftly rejected by shareholders. 

Still, Amazon apparently responded to the suggestions. The company announced a long-term plan to go entirely carbon neutral in 20 years, and use only renewable energy to operate within 10. The announcement was made only a day before workers walked out (alongside many other climate activists around the world).

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Will Presidential Candidate Joe Biden Do Anything About School Shootings?

Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden used Saugus High School’s recent shooting to promote activism against gun lobbyists and congressional Republicans who seem content doing nothing to stop the violence. But for all his words, it’s difficult to take Biden seriously — because at the end of the day, he’s a career politician who knows what happens to people who take the restriction of second amendment rights too far.

But he still manages to say the right things on occasion. At a recent rally in Santa Clarita, he said, “You parents and grandparents, you send off children … and the first thing they learn is how to duck and cover.”

He was describing the basic lockdown drills that most students will learn when they begin school. He went on to comment on specific safe spaces being designed in new schools and campuses across the country.”

“We’re now making sure that we provide children the ability to avoid being shot in school,” he continued. “What does that say about our soul? … I’m so tired about people talking about your prayers. Damn it, we have to protect these kids. We have to do it now.”

The shooting at Saugus resulted in three deaths, including the shooter, who carried out the attack on his birthday. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head the following day.

Biden says that he’s the only one who’s ever done anything important against the gun lobby.

Although Biden is campaigning in California, he’s skipping out on some of the bigger events that his political opponents are attending — an absence that some state Democrats are annoyed by. They believe his attendance and participation in these events is important, especially since California is holding its presidential primary on March 3, much earlier than usual. 

Usually, voting in California occurs after the outcome of the presidential primaries is already cut in stone. State officials moved it up so they could gain more political attention ahead of the election.

Both Biden and Elizabeth Warren, another top contender for the Democratic nom, were lambasted by State party Chairman Rusty Hicks for skipping a recent convention. He commented on Facebook: “I respect your work/candidacy, BUT…you should reconsider your misguided decision to publicly snub California’s Democrats & Latino Voters across the nation.”

Biden’s deputy campaign manager, Pete Kavanaugh, took offense to the post. “It’s just a question of how we’re able to spend our time. He has spent a lot of time in the first four states, and obviously he got into race later and was trying to catch up. It hasn’t been an avoidance; it’s simply a matter of trying to find hours in the schedule and trying to find days and weeks that work.”

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Google Employees Are Fighting Sexual Harassment Non-Disclosure Agreements

The tech industry has been in an uproar for the past year. Remember last year when YouTube employee Claire Stapleton publicly revealed that former Google Executive Andy Rubin had gotten away with numerous claims of sexual misconduct after their board of directors decided to funnel a whopping $90-million into his bank account? Stapleton wasn’t too happy about that — and neither were a number of other Google employees.

Before long they demanded that Google’s board do something to make such cases more transparent. They asked for an end to mandatory arbitration, an involuntary clause included in many companies’ employment contracts. It guarantees that employees with a bone to pick cannot take their complaints to civil court. Arbitration occurs outside court and behind closed doors, and both parties are forced to abide by whatever the outcome.

Not long thereafter, Google showed no sign of having heard these calls for change — so 20,000 workers walked out of the company doors for a short-lived strike. But the implications have been felt all over the world.

And the demands didn’t stop there.

One of the most important side effects of the protests was the demand for Google to put a halt to facial recognition sales, the software for which had been handed over to law enforcement in what some people believe to be a major invasion of private citizens’ privacy. 

Protests like these have also occurred at other big tech companies like Amazon and Microsoft. Apple had allowed access to one of its more controversial apps to those protesting in Hong Kong, and the company CEO Tim Cook was ripped apart for it during a vain effort to defend himself.

Right now, workers at Google aren’t yet unionized — but that could change soon. Protesters within the company are asking the federal government to step into the arbitration fight, and it’s anyone’s guess where that could go. Especially with Trump’s pro-business government still in power. 

Before these back and forth interactions between employers and employees at Google became hostile, both groups believed it was a great place to work. Not only did Google provide their greatest minds space and time to develop on their own, but people were proud of the company’s fondness for taking controversial stances on contemporary issues facing the whole of society.

Today, the mood has shifted a great deal.

According to a Google spokeswoman, “We’ve heard that employees want clearer rules of the road on what’s OK to say and what’s not. Our culture of open discussion has mostly worked well for us, and it’s something we want to preserve as we grow, so we are evolving to make sure our open discussions are still serving their original purpose and bringing us together as a community.”

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Should We Provide Support To Child Activists?

It seems odd to some of us that a question like this need even be asked at all. But the answer to the question generally depends on your own “adult’s” perspective. If your child wants to become a writer, musician or actor, you will generally have one of two responses: “Well, little Jimmy, you have my full support!” OR “Come now, little Jimmy, you need to be more pragmatic in life than that — it’s a desk job for you!”

Apparently, we treat activism the same way.

Greta Thunberg is a 16-year old activist who has amassed an enormous following of like-minded people who share her growing concerns about the fragility of the world’s environments. They’re breaking down, she says, while the adults play adult games involving money and economy, but act without real foresight of the inevitable disasters to come.

Many who don’t believe in man-made climate change have attacked her relentlessly (and by the way, as Neil deGrasse Tyson says, facts are facts whether you believe in them or not). They say she should go back to school and keep her mouth closed. They say that she’s been brainwashed by the “radical” liberal left. They say she’s an idiot. They say older people are exploiting her for political gain.

All nonsense.

She’s smarter than all of them, of course, and she’s consumed more than her fair share of information related to man-made climate change. Those who contend she has lots of good things to say, but that her facts are skewed, are perhaps even more misguided than those who attack her outright — at least the latter group proves that there are few arguments to face her wrath of words. The former group of people is blissfully and willfully ignorant, at best.

How can we ask whether or not we should provide support to child activists? Child support is almost a staple of our society — we would give everything to keep them safe — so why is it a question of whether or not we lend credence to their views or listen to their ideas? They are the future — and that means they have merit whether you like it or not.

It’s difficult to argue that people should not follow their dreams. It seems equally difficult to argue that people shouldn’t follow their hearts. Those who understand the gravity of mankind’s greatest struggle also understand that young people need to be allowed to speak their minds. This is especially true if the next generation is to be at peace with what is happening — at least they tried to stop it, which is more than anyone can say of the current generation of “adults” who deny, deny, deny.

If you haven’t heard of Greta Thunberg, then you owe it to yourself to learn her name. If you haven’t heard her speak, then you owe it to yourself — and the rest of us — to listen to her words.

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Extinction Rebellion Protesters Geared Up For Big Fight With Legislators Worldwide

Much of the news resulting from the Extinction Rebellion protests is coming out of the United Kingdom, but there are chapters in motion all over the world — including here at home in Manhattan, Los Angeles, and Miami. A few days ago, protesters were spread out to impede Manchester’s Deansgate to shed light on what they believe are contradictions between policy and action. The city recently declared a climate emergency, but that hasn’t stopped it from putting into motion a big expansion of its airport.

The rebellion has experienced a bit of traction in recent days. 

Protesters gathered outside the offices of the New York Times newspaper a couple days ago because of next month’s Oil and Money conference scheduled to take place at the InterContinental Hotel in London. CEOs of big oil companies and moguls from OPEC are expected to attend the event.

In response to the noise made outside their offices, the New York Times quickly decided “to end its relationship with the Oil and Money conference,” according to a newspaper spokesperson.

She continued: “We want there to be no question of our independence or even potential appearance of a conflict of interest. Over the last several years [the New York Times] has significantly expanded its reporting on climate change and its impact, as well as broader investigative and explanatory coverage of energy and environmental policy.”

Another round of protests were quickly organized in response to the sweeping fires in the Amazon. “Act for the Amazon” protests swamped the Brazilian consulate in Miami. Extinction Rebellion Miami’s local coordinator, Nicholas Vazquez, said, “This is an international call to action. It’s the fire, but it’s also more. Brazil needs to end its deforestation project to prevent future desolation. Prayers are not enough.”

Protests are becoming more common in Los Angeles for similar reasons — wildfires across the Midwestern United States aren’t just becoming more common, they’re also becoming stronger and doing billions more dollars worth of damage.

Businesses aren’t happy about the Extinction Rebellion’s tendency to block roads and bridges to make its point or create needed change. Contractor Joe Connor said he didn’t believe in the threat of climate change: “I don’t think it’s a proven fact to be honest. Yes we have had a rainy summer but I used to live in Los Angeles, where we would have big downpours in the summer too, and that was years ago.”

Pink leaflets were handed out by protesters in Manchester as a way to apologize for the inconvenience: “For the human race to survive, we need big changes fast. There are solutions that are economically and culturally possible in a short space of time. But we need the government to make changes now, and they are not listening.”

Valiente’s criminal attorneys handle personal injury, DUI, and family law in addition to criminal law. If you were injured or arrested during civil rights protests anywhere in Miami-Dade County, they can help you mount an expert defense!

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What Can We Do To Avert A Man-Made Climate Change Disaster?

With so many people turning a blind eye to the man-made climate change emergency on our doorstep, a lot of others are asking if there’s really anything we can do — if there’s any hope to change our climate in time — short of turning off the electricity around the globe and waiting a century to see who’s left alive to turn the lights back on. Environmental activism is getting bigger and louder over time, but is it enough to turn the tide?

Probably not.

One of the biggest problems we face is our own system of democratic capitalism, a system many have come to realize is broken — and has always been broken. Under the current status quo, the ones with the most money have the biggest voice, and the government will always cater to them first. Since the fossil fuel companies are rich, who does the government listen to? Even if we install a president who wants to implement a big change without relying on big money (like an Elizabeth Warren or a Bernie Sanders), there are far too many in the opposition to ever make anything happen to substantial effect. 

So what can we do?

Those who understand the grave consequences of doing nothing will always try to do something. That’s why we all have that vegan friend, or the friend with a die-hard recycling habit, or a friend who bikes to work instead of relying on transportation that pumps more greenhouse gases in the air. But those individual contributions mean almost nothing. Most of these people pick and choose what they give up, and too many people choose to give up nothing. In order to make a difference that matters, we need to do something as a collective.

Perhaps the best thing we can do is educate those who are taken in by all the lies strewn about day by day. Climate activist Greta Thunberg decided she would give up flying to help fight climate change. While her individual contribution means as little as anyone else’s, it’s more of a publicity stunt — and she’s using the publicity to make more people aware of what will happen if we don’t do anything to avert a disaster that could result in the extinction of our own race.

New York recently passed a “Climate Emergency” declaration. While this may be a victory for activists everywhere, we have to wonder what it will really accomplish.

Right now, Joe Biden is perhaps the most likely candidate to receive the Democratic nomination for president — and that’s to say nothing of his relatively minute chance of becoming our next president because of a political landscape that many in the older generations fail to understand. He presented a plan to eliminate reliance on fossil fuels by 2050. Good job, old guy: you’ve presented a plan to do nothing at all. Organically, even if that were soon enough to make a difference (it’s not), we’ll already have turned to other more sustainable resources by 2050. 

We really need a new government to have a chance. We’re not likely to get one.

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