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TomCADem's Journal
TomCADem's Journal
March 26, 2021

2022 Senate Elections - Trump's Last Stand?

If you want to see why folks like Rubio and Johnson are suddenly sounding even more overtly racist then usual, you need only look at who is running for re-election in 2022.


To beat back the rising tide of hate, disinformation and facism, we need to turnout in 2022.

March 15, 2021

The Right Wing's Big Lie That Biden Is Defunding the Police - The Exact Opposite Is True

Police funding is the second largest category of local government spending after education. Indeed, in some States, education is funded by the State, so law enforcement is the biggest item that local governments are responsible for funding. And who just passed a huge bill to save local governments from having to cut jobs in the face of declining tax revenues due to the pandemic? Joe Biden and Democrats.

So, the next time a Republican or Right Wing Talking Heads talks claims that Democrats are trying to defund the police, tell them that the truth is that it is Republicans that are seeking to defund the police (as well as education and health care) by voting against the American Rescue Plan.


The ARP is more than twice the size of the $900 billion package passed in December and, unlike the December package, the new proposal provides substantial direct aid to state and local governments. The $350 billion in direct aid more than doubles the $150 billion in Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) aid provided in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. ARP aid can be used to cover costs or replace revenue lost due to the pandemic, giving governments wide latitude in the application of the funds, and the use of funds would not be subject to an expiration date.

As approved by the US Senate and the US House, $195.3 billion will be allocated among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, with $25.5 billion split evenly, and most of the remainder allocated based on each state’s proportion of seasonally-adjusted unemployed individuals for the three-month period ending in December 2020. California (AA/Stable), Texas (AAA/Stable), New York (AA+/Negative) and Florida (AAA/Stable) are all in line for more than $10 billion each. Fitch's lowest-rated states, Illinois (BBB-/Negative) and New Jersey (A-/Negative), are estimated to receive $7.5 billion and $6.4 billion, respectively. Territories and tribal governments will also receive allocations.

Local government funding totals $130.2 billion, with $45.6 billion going to cities based on a formula including population, growth, poverty and housing overcrowding. Large cities with ratings on Negative Outlook, including New York, NY (AA-); Philadelphia, PA (A-); Chicago, IL ; and Los Angeles, CA (AA), will also get significant funding relative to their budgets. The bill provides $19.5 billion to states to allocate among other municipalities or (non-entitlement units of government) and the remaining $65.1 billion to counties through a population-based formula.

Proposed direct aid to governments also includes $30 billion for transit compared with $14 billion in the December bill and $25 billion in the CARES Act, almost $130 billion for K-12 schools, significantly above the $54.3 billion in the December package and the $13.5 billion in the CARES Act, and $10 billion for a Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund aimed at broadband expansion with a minimum $100 million distribution to each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
March 15, 2021

How Facebook got addicted to spreading misinformation

This article provides a serious discussion of why Facebook continues to be a major conduit for spreading misinformation. This also explains why Republicans are trying to redirect the conversation from combatting misinformation to combatting "bias." Of course, a focus on bias tends to treat facts and "alternative facts" as having equal weight and thus promoting a false equivalency under which which misinformation can thrive.


By the time thousands of rioters stormed the US Capitol in January, organized in part on Facebook and fueled by the lies about a stolen election that had fanned out across the platform, it was clear from my conversations that the Responsible AI team had failed to make headway against misinformation and hate speech because it had never made those problems its main focus. More important, I realized, if it tried to, it would be set up for failure.

The reason is simple. Everything the company does and chooses not to do flows from a single motivation: Zuckerberg’s relentless desire for growth. Quiñonero’s AI expertise supercharged that growth. His team got pigeonholed into targeting AI bias, as I learned in my reporting, because preventing such bias helps the company avoid proposed regulation that might, if passed, hamper that growth. Facebook leadership has also repeatedly weakened or halted many initiatives meant to clean up misinformation on the platform because doing so would undermine that growth.

In other words, the Responsible AI team’s work—whatever its merits on the specific problem of tackling AI bias—is essentially irrelevant to fixing the bigger problems of misinformation, extremism, and political polarization. And it’s all of us who pay the price.

“When you’re in the business of maximizing engagement, you’re not interested in truth. You’re not interested in harm, divisiveness, conspiracy. In fact, those are your friends,” says Hany Farid, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley who collaborates with Facebook to understand image- and video-based misinformation on the platform.
March 9, 2021

Jacob Hacker And Paul Pierson: How The Right Rules

The authors of bestselling books that discuss how under the current Republican party you have plutocrats framing themselves as populists with pitchforks and how racism is being used to oppress the the white working class. In this discussion with EJ Dionne, they discuss their book:

Let them Eat Tweets: How the Right Rules in an Age of Extreme Inequality

March 9, 2021

Heather McGhee - "The Sum of Us" & The True Cost of Racism The Daily Social Distancing Show

Great recent segment on the Daily Show on Heather McGhee who wrote a bestselling book about racism hurts white people, as well as minorities who are the object of the racism:

Here is more academic lecture by McGhee giving a TED talk:

March 4, 2021

Fact check: Breaking down spending in the COVID-19 relief bill

Republicans are arguing that less than 10 percent of the bill is pandemic related based on the fact that this is the rough figure that goes to direct containment measures such as vaccines and testing, which is a pretty narrow definition of what is related to the pandemic. To the contrary, an analysis by a nonpartisan group found that about 85% of the bill is related to the coronavirus pandemic.


About 22% of the total bill comes from the $422 billion set aside for $1,400-per-person stimulus checks. Another 13% ($246 billion) is for extending additional unemployment funding of $400 a week.

A combined 12% is going to:

Subsidized COBRA for laid-off workers.
Affordable Care Act subsidies for the next two years.
Expanded nutrition assistance to replace school lunch programs during the pandemic.
Funding for testing and contact tracing.
Disaster Relief Fund increases and covering COVID-19-related funeral expenses.
Grants to airlines and contractors to freeze layoffs through September.
Defense Production Act funding for medical supplies.
Grants for restaurants and bars that have lost revenue in the pandemic.
Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance grants of up to $10,000 per business.

Another $519 billion – 27% of the total – is going to state and local governments and schools, much of which will make up losses related to the pandemic and help schools reopen. Republicans note much of the school funding, however, won’t be spent immediately.

If the government and school aid is included in this category, about 85% of the American Rescue Plan is pandemic-related, according to a breakdown by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

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