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Covid-19 – Update 1

An update as I work from home:

So far in the United States:
– no journalists jailed
– various levels of government taking effective action
– some civil liberties curtailed
– companies forgoing profit without being forced to in all cases
– people cooperating
– no civil unrest, riots, looting
– true and false news allowed (free speech lives!)
– people helping one another
– some finance companies allowing two months without payment
– we are still America, a family

Here’s a site for the latest data on coronavirus (COVID-19).
On this date: 54,808 known infected.

Epidemic numbers become more accurate as it progresses. Like other things. The infected number is underreported at the start and some recover without ever seeing a doctor. Early on, the fatality percent is very high since those are nearly always recorded as such.

In project management, a part of my profession and something I’ve taught, we make estimates based on earlier experience when we can. The last novel (new) virus pandemic was the one in 2009. It was H1N1 virus (Swine Flu), not corona, but novel because much of the population didn’t have resistance to it, in that case, it hit young people hardest. For the current coronavirus, it hits older people hardest because no age group is exempt and older bodies are hit especially hard by the effect on the respiratory system.

For the 2009 pandemic, H1N1, the U.S. suffered the loss of 12,469 dead. By way of comparison, 61,000 died from regular flu in the 2017-2018 season, 43,000 in 2012-2013, although 12,000/year is more usual, according to U.S. News & World Report. H1N1 is still with us but much of the population is resistant now.

In 2009, it took about seven months to develop a vaccine. Experts predict it will take longer this time, but we will see.

Here is a site that compares 2009 H1N1 to COVID-19.

If we do what we should, we can control this far better than in the past. We learn more each time. We have to: this will happen again and again.

In this highly partisan present, the government seems poorly equipped to deal with this: the problems are mainly at the top of the executive and legislative branches. Local, county, and state governments are responding, not always quickly, and the necessary steps to slow the spread have been taken. It’s hard for Americans to halt business, travel, and recreation. The streets are not completely empty but there seems to be a serious effort to protect each other.

Because a poor economy and high unemployment work against an incumbent President, it is a time of opportunity for those who want a change. It is a sad reality that when organizations can profit from disaster, they are less motivated to seek solutions, so politicians and media ramp up the competition at a time when we most need cooperation. That’s why Congress hasn’t provided relief yet. We need to break the grip of political parties on Congress.

Left to me, I’d build a relief plan around:

  1. Immediate financial help to everyone
  2. Support small businesses, they employ half of us
  3. Negotiate with big business to avoid layoffs
  4. Ensure hospitals get funding
  5. Help states with increased unemployment claims

In 2009, 60 million people caught H1N1, and we didn’t do much of a shutdown. Few schools closed and not for long, partly because the CDC recommended against it. The current virus takes longer to show symptoms, so it isn’t as simple: a person is contagious for a longer period before they experience symptoms. That’s why we are shutting down. In this case, the economic damage is much more than in 2009, and opening back up too early risks a second, more severe outbreak.

The media seems too reactive and tries to hard to scare people. They tell horror stories about medications considered, which may cause patients to not take livesaving medicine later. Generating fear is an exciting activity for journalists, but they often seem to have little understanding of either science or people. I’ve learned the biggest talkers about science are often pretty ignorant. That’s been true for decades. Try to find reliable sources, not the networks, whether Left or Right. I read The Economist each week, which is often accurate even if I disagree with their interpretations and recommendations. And I have a few doctors, nurses, lawyers, scientists that I follow and can ask. Their answers are less sensational, but calm and reasoned.

The stock market has fallen to where it was a few years ago, but it has been rising so much quicker than is probably healthy and this reset may be a good thing, letting off some pressure. Big investors seem to make money no matter what. Things are going up and down pretty hard, but they seem to have quit dropping. If we relax our efforts and have a fresh outbreak, the market might drop hard again. So let’s be careful out there.

Recommendation of the day: Tangle – fair and straightforward

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California AB5 and the PROact

Briefly, AB5 outlaws independent contractors. Computer consultants, translators, audio technicians, independent truckers, graphic artists, writers, and some performers. It mandates that they must be employees and from my own experience, that’s usually a cut in pay because companies don’t always need these services full time, or on a frequent basis. Independent contractors sometimes work for many companies at once, doing a little here, a little there. Some of us enjoy that.

Unions backed AB5, and while unions often protect workers, in this case they are hurting workers who are no threat to them. Unions donate to politicians, of course, and in the end, money talks. 

Some workers are forced to incorporate in some form to continue working, but this means extra taxes for doing that plus increased costs for accounting fees. I’ve experienced this first hand. We pay our taxes on income, but now there is an extra tax just because we are independent.

And be aware that our Representative in the U.S. House voted for this at the national level (PROact), a vote against independent contractors who did him no harm, but also didn’t donate enough.

Note that lawyers and real estate agents are exempt from the law. Many politicians are lawyers. And check out who donated to our Representative.

For more, see AB5 Stories.

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O 82 my 82!

I’m back to work the week after the election, and I’m glad we know the situation. 82% of registered voters didn’t vote. 99.5% of those who voted did no research on the candidates for Congress, they just voted on party.

This is a Republic. A government by the people, but we aren’t governing. How do we fix that?

Over the next few weeks, I’ll shift from the campaign to how we the people can do a better job, and how I can support you with facts, ideas, and solutions. Only 3% voted for the people in 2018, but we can work for better turnout in 2020 and support candidates we can vote for in good conscience.

I’m not giving up on you, or on our nation. Doing better will take all of US.

Let’s get to work.

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Politics is Business – Part 1

I don’t believe politics should be a business. Government regulates business, it shouldn’t be a business. It’s a conflict of interest, don’t you agree? Businesses generally provide a product, which might be a service. The government’s “product” should be a stable environment for us to live our lives, but let’s look at the services that it has changed to provide instead:

Elections are Big Business

The 2016 election cost more than $6 billion, bigger than some Fortune 500 companies. That cost was paid to:

  • Campaign managers
  • Advertising – media companies
  • Marketing firms
  • Consultants, lots of consultants
  • Some shadowy characters, relatives, miscellaneous

All these profit off elections, and the more divisive, the more angry and contested, the more money is made. Every one of these works to make sure things stay as they are. They have to, it’s their income.

Influence is a Product

We are told that voters are unhappy with Congress, with politicians, and with money in politics, but many people benefit from the system as it is, or think they do. Work for a defense contractor? They buy at least $27 million in influence in a presidential election year.Belong to a union? The union buys influence through backing candidates and keeping incumbents in office (most of the time). The biggest contributors may be unfamiliar companies, and some are simply special-interest organizations. You may work for some, or you may agree with their aims, and they buy influence. The number one in 2016 was Fahr LLC, which is privately owned by Thomas Fahr Steyer, a billionaire hedge fund manager. It (he) donated $90 million to Democratic Party candidates. It’s reasonable to believe there are expectations that go along with it.

Even local groups like police and fire departments have to endorse one of the two parties, or there will be payback later. Federal money can reward local agencies that go along with the system. A charitable organization can lose grants if they lose key contacts. This is all the same as big business, where a simple comment behind closed doors can kill an entire program. I’ve seen it firsthand.

Distribution

Have you heard of a distributor? Large companies that sell to small businesses do it through distributors, usually regional, so a brewery doesn’t sell beer to each convenience store, it has an arrangement with a much smaller number of distributors, and each of those sells beer to the stores. I’ve worked with other kinds of distributors, and it’s a great way to simplify business and give better service to individual stores.

The Democratic and Republican parties work the same way as distributors. They take money from donors and deliver the policies the donors want, or try to. Some donors, like the National Association of Realtors, donate about evenly to both parties so they have influence no matter which party wins. Those in Congress who belong to a Party must engage in fundraising, and this can take a lot of time. Lobbying organizations can coordinate with political parties to manipulate the government, and there appears to be no way to stop them.

Party leadership isn’t elected by the people, it’s selected by the ability to acquire money and control their “employees,” the politicians. It’s controlled by those with wealth and power. It’s a big business, and that’s not right. And it’s the root of our problems today.

Reform

Reform efforts are ineffective because the politicians aren’t going to work against their own sources of power and wealth. True reform has to come from the people via the ballots. But as we’ve seen lately, social media giants want to shape America, too, and they will quash reform efforts that threaten their influence. It’s not a conspiracy, they just all want the same thing: wealth and power.

The Independent Problem

Independents are rare because they don’t play in this system. Their influence is not valuable to business or special interests, especially because they require individual attention. Donating to a Party means that Party’s own management, and whip, will deal with the candidate or Representative on behalf of the donors and can punish any that don’t deliver product by cutting off funding or endorsing someone else. Lobbyists like Planned Parenthood and the NRA are exceptionally powerful and both can destroy a political career if the politician doesn’t obey.

The two political parties can spend as necessary against a candidate that won’t toe the line, or against an independent if needed. This was more visible in the 2016 election. Sometimes, a Party will spend to support the “right” candidate in the other party, or to split the vote in states with a top-two primary with the result that one party is completely blocked out of the general election. In 2016, CA District 46 voters only had Democrats to choose from in the general election (and for U.S. Senator as well).

I’m running as an independent, and while I could run with a Party and try to reform it from the inside, I don’t agree with everything in either party, especially the most extreme views enforced by wealthy special interests, and any congressional career would be short lived since I’d never follow the Party line.

Divisiveness

When two huge companies compete, they need to appear different and sometimes just split the market. This isn’t the case so much when they compete on price, but that doesn’t happen in politics. The two main parties each have their hot positions and they go more extreme over time. They don’t want to look alike, they want fanatical party members, and that means going to extremes.

Where they agree

They both want to continue getting donations and holding office. Both use the same basic mechanisms to obtain money and produce the product donors want. It’s a new way of doing the same thing as kings and emperors did for thousands of years.

In the meantime, politicians get rich. They get money for connections, working as “consultants” or retiring to lobby. Help negotiate deal that really fulfills union deal so cleaning employees lose their jobs

The United States of America is supposed to be a republic, a nation of laws and good people, not kings, but we got lost along the way. We let business take over our government, and we have to make better choices to clean house.

A choice to make

I’m running to give us a choice, to make a start at real change. Others are doing the same. Perhaps more will try. Please find these candidates and support them. The pressures to conform are enormous, and society is being shaped to reinforce the corrupt system. It’s a mess, but our Constitution was designed to provide a way out. I’m doing my small part, please vote, talk about it, and do what you can. We owe it to each other.

 

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How Santa Ana Can Make the Dream Act Happen

The old-time politicians have nothing to show for 17 years work even though 70% of the people want the Dream Act. Voters in Santa Ana, CA are the key to the Dream Act for the entire nation because you will determine whether an independent goes to Congress. We can be the first district in a century to elect a true independent to Congress, not a Democrat or Republican pretending to be an independent. If you want to resist, if you want to make a difference, why would you elect an old-school, millionaire, 16-year, career politician?

Time for fresh approaches. I’m strong and I’m ready. Here are the steps:

  1. Tell your friends and neighbors about me, that I’m a working neighbor in your district. Tweet this message, Facebook post it, e-mail it. Don’t let the dream die!
  2. Go to www.rushman.org and print the flyer in Spanish, English or both. Hand these out in Santa Ana, West Anaheim, check here for what areas are in the district.
  3. Vote for Ed Rushman in the primary, June 5. We need 50,000 votes to send a strong message to Congress.
  4. Vote in November, too. We win.
  5. I start working. The media go crazy that a real independent gets in for the first time in ages. Identify every member of Congress who will vote for the Dream Act or could be persuaded. Speeches in the capitol. Interviews with the media.
  6. I’ll never lose focus, even when events might distract. I’ll never give up. I’ll build support until we have enough to override a veto.
  7. We bring it for a vote and win. 100 days.

Here is my agreement with you, the people: you do the first five steps and I’ll do the rest. You start this and I’ll finish it. Deal?

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I’m Personally In Favor of a Number of Things – and I Vote that Way

I’ve long found inconsistency to reveal ill will or deception. I listen to young people, and they are looking for what’s real, and what’s real is consistent. Many I meet on the street or going door to door, people of all ages and backgrounds, are immediately excited that I’m not a Republican or Democrat (our district has been “safely” Democrat 20+ years). They rarely ask my positions, they are for me just because I’m not taking money, so perhaps they are simply looking to trust someone. When they dig deeper, they agree on most things, and their disagreements are not total, it’s more about degree. More importantly, I’m consistent, I don’t believe in winning “by any means necessary” if it includes lies, bribery, or killing people. Some things really are personal taste: I drink more of a certain soda than I should. Way more. One of my favorite places to eat isn’t going to serve it anymore, and I plan to do zero about that. I’m not going to pass a law to make people drink it, but I’ll admit I like it and I’ll drink it, at least until I decide to give it up for some reason. I think this is reasonable.

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The Paradox of the Independent – part 1

We have to begin dismantling the two-party system, and one way is to get the money out. It’s not the only thing we need to do, but money buys the broadest support for the current system. Candidates are personally enriched, those who work for the party are enriched, and suppliers of services are enriched. Suppliers are many, and include marketing firms, convention centers, travel agencies and airlines. And it’s an entire ecosystem: it’s not the candidate travel that enriches travel suppliers, it’s their entourage, convention attendees, and most of all, their competitors who must keep up. Lobbyists, PACs and all the donations must be managed so that’s more money spread around. And all these leeches on the political system buy houses, cars and luxury items that bring commission to others. Everyone mentioned here has a stake in the status quo. And they will do their part to keep it like it is. It’s survival. And there is another problem, the paradox of the independent: voters like it this way. Here’s why.

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Am I real?

We often read about candidates who claim to have degrees but really don’t. Most guard their privacy, and for good reason. My Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn are fairly old, and from before I considered running for Congress. Feel free to take a look. For members of the media (including vloggers/bloggers) I’ll furnish originals of my university transcript and a background check done by an employer some years ago, the most current one, which verified employment and education.

If there’s anything else you want to know, just ask. I want your concerns to be addressed, and for you to feel confident that what I say is true. Being open is the best way.

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More district encounters

Conversations again:
A little while ago, I met a homeless woman outside a store and we talked awhile. I’m leaving out some details but she wanted to pray for me, and so we held hands and she prayed so clearly, and in a way that applied to both of us. Then she asked me to look at her, and she said, “People act like I don’t exist, but I do. I’m a drug addict, but I’m a person.” She wasn’t accusing, just staying the truth. We hugged, and I left feeling I’d encountered someone with so much capacity for love and accomplishment, not necessarily material, but able to play a positive role in the community. More and more, we are normalizing drug use, and I don’t know where it will end. We have a hunger for tax dollars and had already promoted gambling to feed our habit. When government promotes harmful things just for tax dollars, it doesn’t serve people well. Still, voters made this choice via elected politicians.

I met a young man today while we were getting lunch at the Wienerschnitzel at Chapman and Haster, and I was impressed that he knew his district. That’s rare here. I gave him a flyer, and it was really great hearing how much he cares, and that he sees what politics has become, and how electing the first real independent in decades to the House would amplify our voice. The values here are the ancient ones of hard work, family and community. We could remind the nation of the beauty of these values.

Another young man I met was too young to vote, yet in talking he was so well spoken, troubled by where we are going, and so pleased at the prospect of an independent for life and Dreamers.

I want to vote for someone without feeling guilty, without disappointment that the choices aren’t better. Since that person didn’t show up, I’ll be on the ballot in June. Please look around these pages and spread the word, write me, text me, share this page or others. Many hands make light work.

We can do this, and to beat the system without donations or special interests or the Parties that have fouled our home, that would be an achievement you can tell your children and grandchildren about. If I win, we all win, and we will show the nation it can be done.

#anaheim #santaana #46th #primaryelection #primary2018 #Rushman2018

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Three Things

Money and Corruption

It’s the standard now, and reinforced by the two-party system, lots of fundraising and representatives are just telemarketers.

I’ll listen to anyone, and I think lobbyists have a valuable place, speaking for industries which employ hundreds of thousands of people. There are lobbyists for social justice, for nature, for things that matter to a lot of people, and I can’t ignore them, that would be wrong. But no money, gifts or promises should be involved. I’ll report all meetings openly and present their concerns to the people for comment.

In my work career, I’ve put my customers, my clients and my teams before myself. I’ll do the same in office.

Better Process and Communication
I’ll be communicating bill and budget facts and analysis to the people frequently and working in committees to produce quality legislation. My work requires me to consider unintended consequences and the sustainability of solutions, which I do by working with people to review proposals and plans, asking questions and questioning answers.

Respect
On the most difficult issues, I’ll maintain the same professionalism that’s been successful in decades at work. And my respect for others, including those who are not respectful, is deeply rooted in beliefs around the sanctity of all life, nature and this Nation’s attempt to unite many different peoples into a vibrant society which values both cooperation and individuality.

You May Ask

What about taxes, healthcare, poverty, abortion, women’s rights, LBQT, student loans?

I firmly believe that by approaching everything with respect and without self interest, the American People will do the right thing. Real freedom is doing what’s right with restraint.

We can solve problems much better with the right intentions, good process, and a respectful view of all life.

Please take a look at the longer presentation on the home page, too.