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Ben Boyce
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Ben Boyce

Game Theory on the 2020 Election

We are rapidly approaching the event horizon of the November presidential election. This troubled election will clearly be a major stress test on our national claim to be the ‘Leader of the Free World’ and prime exemplar of first world capitalist democracy. We have been subjected by Trump and the static-filled right-wing media megaphone to a chaos theory attack on the very notion of a unitary epistemic tree shared by all, the axiomatic body of facts and meaning that make the very concept of reasoned political discourse or science possible. The fraying normative net of constitutional and institutional arrangements, norms, and social practices that have held the modern American imperial enterprise more or less together in the post-war era are at stake. We face an imminent authoritarian lawfare coup by the Republican Party. The likely prospect of a Supreme Court appeal of a deliberately marred electoral process is still the GOP’s best shot for stealing this election, just as they did in 2000. That is why the illegitimate nomination of a fringe cultural conservative court crony to fill out the 9th seat just in time to decide the 2020 election has to be the biggest item on the Democratic Party leadership’s plate. The Democratic Senate must push this poisoned nomination into the lame-duck session and then win the damn election outright, to keep this contested seat open for the just-elected Democratic president with a Democratic House majority and control of the Senate, if we have the projected wave election. Even Mitch McConnell may blanch at the legislative equivalent of a smash-and-grab robbery by ramming the 9th stolen Supreme Court seat through in a lame-duck session. It would offer political carte blanc for a Democratic administration to either expand the Court or clip its wings via legislative action by restricting the Court to deciding constitutional cases with a super-majority of 7-2, thereby protecting minority rights, and diluting the power of the illicit Republican-packed Supreme Court. We need to return Congress to center stage as the prime political actor, as Constitutionally designed, rather than the President or the Federal Courts as the locus of power. We’re still here and we’ve been handed the mother of all October surprises with the president’s Covid diagnosis. The fact that the victory celebration in the Rose Garden for the ACB nomination has decimated the ranks of the top leadership of the Republican administration is like ‘The Masque of the Orange Death’ for that close-knit cluster of reactionary power. The combination of the botched Federal response to the Corona pandemic and the irony of the denier-in-chief getting ill with that hoax Wuhan virus felt like a deus ex machina.  Trump will never get his swag back. He has the stink of a loser on him now. The party needs to take a 2020 win as a lucky break and not as an affirmation of their current trajectory. The party needs to build institutional power by empowering labor unions and craft a working-class oriented policy agenda that provides actual cash money material benefits as well as culturally based symbolic satisfactions to the coastal elites who dominate the party apparatus. My voter PSA for 2020 is “Get it Done ASAP”. Mail in early to avoid the dreaded “red mirage’ on election night. Here’s the official PMC 2020 Voter Guide. Consult the California Labor Federation and the Courage Campaign sites for detailed breakdowns of all the propositions. PMC recommends Democratic nominee Joe Biden for President; Jared Huffman, who is doing good work for California as a green liberal District 2 Congressman; Mike Thompson, who has proven to be a reliable party vote in the caucus for District 5 Congressman; Chris Rogers, a smart young progressive, for Santa Rosa City Council. The ballot measures comprise local, county, and state initiatives. Sadly, the California state initiative system has been high jacked by big money. We as citizens should not have to make these kinds of consequential decisions on complex issues that should be reviewed by experts and debated thoroughly in a legislative body. City of Sonoma: Measure V – Local Sales Tax Extension                               YES Measure W – Urban Growth Boundary Extension              NO Measure X – Cannabis Business Tax                                     YES Measure Y – Cannabis Initiative                                             YES Sonoma County: Measure O sales tax to fund behavioral health services    YES Measure P Police Accountability by Civilian Board            YES California State: Proposition 15: Increases Funding for Public Schools and Colleges by Changing Tax Assessment of Commercial and Industrial Property. Vote YES on this game-changing fix to Prop 13. Vote YES on Prop 17 to restore voting rights to Californians on parole. Vote NO on Prop 20 to protect criminal justice reforms and reduce excessive incarceration. Vote NO on Prop 22 to protect labor rights and classify app-based drivers as employees, not contractors. Vote YES on Prop 25 to eliminate the use of cash bail in pretrial incarceration.   Vote early!      
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County OK’s outdoor visits to long-term care patients

Outdoor visits to a long-term care facility are now allowed, Sonoma County Public Health (SCPH) announced today. The update eases previous rules limiting any non-essential visitation. The change, SCPH stated, recognizes that physical separation from family and other loved ones increases the risk for medical, social, and emotional... Continue

What We're Following
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Stories of interest from around the Web
While campaigning against stronger oversight board, Sonoma Sheriff agrees to its recommendations
> Patch - October 24th, 2020
What $200 million can buy: The case against Prop. 22
> Capital & Main - October 24th, 2020
What comes first, the plant-based egg or the $2 billion investment?
> Reuters - October 23rd, 2020
Election Day is November 3 — find your polling place
> Reuters - October 22nd, 2020
95476 has Sonoma County’s second highest Covid numbers
> Sonoma County Public Health website - October 21st, 2020
Self-driving Uber killed a pedestrian, but the law says, don’t blame the car. 
> Slate - October 20th, 2020
San Francisco is opening up – successfully followed public health guidelines
> San Francisco Chronicle - October 19th, 2020
Racial justice activists split on Prop. 22
> Capital & Main - October 18th, 2020
NY Times editorial advice to California: Vote no on Prop. 22
> New York Times - October 16th, 2020
NASA will broadcast ‘touch and go’ mission to a speeding asteroid
> NASA - October 15th, 2020
A strict licensing/use agreement — on a bag of grapes
> Motherboard - October 14th, 2020
A profanity filter banned the word ‘bone’…at a paleontology conference 
> Vice - October 13th, 2020
What I did over summer vacation: Traveling teen infects 13 in four states
> Chicago Tribune - October 12th, 2020
The catalog of exceptional political polling failures 
> The Conversation - October 11th, 2020
Glass Fire created  existential threat” to Napa’s wine industry
> Washington Post - October 10th, 2020
Inside the labs where Science really is (500-year-old) crap
> The Guardian - October 9th, 2020
Prefab housing is having its moment
> Architectural Digest - October 8th, 2020
The plan to send crisis response teams, not armed L.A. cops, to non-emergency 911 calls
> LAist - October 7th, 2020
Chances are, that customer service rep you’re talking to is an underpayed freelance gig worker
> Pro Publica - October 6th, 2020
Think there’s a super-speader at the big meeting? Here’s where to sit 
> The Conversation - October 5th, 2020
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