Post-Quarantine: Day 160

So, what’s new? For starters, the official Democratic ticket for the 2020 election will be Joe Biden, with Kamala Harris as his Vice president. Yikes.

Joe Biden can hardly form a full coherent sentence, and Kamala Harris is the police. Sounds like the premise of a really bad buddy cop flick. The Democratic establishment is well aware Biden isn’t cut out to be president, which is why they’ve taken their sweet time choosing his VP. Nobody cared about Biden while he was Obama’s vice president. Like most VP picks, they probably just pulled a name out of a hat. Literally all he did was sniff little kid’s hair. Eight years of hair sniffing. What a solid resume. Even he makes it sound like his VP will end up doing all the work:

Is Kamala Harris going to be leading the nation in January, or are they both going to be leading? The way he’s worded it, makes it sound like it’s going to be a bit of a surprise. One of his handlers more than likely runs his twitter account though, so can’t blame him for that. Biden is so incoherent he makes George W Bush sound eloquent by comparison. Try listening through his full “Corn Pop” speech on youtube. It’s like listening to someone have a stroke for 10 minutes. None of his thoughts are connected, and I’m not even sure what the point of the speech was supposed to be, if there even was one.

Trump isn’t exactly eloquent either, so this should be an entertaining match-up come November. This is assuming the DNC doesn’t try everything in their power to prevent Biden from debating, which is quite likely.

Then we have Kamala Harris. We’re still in the midst of people protesting police overreach, and the Democrats decided to run a vice president who practically wrote the book on police overreach. Interesting tactic to say the least. The bigger media platforms aren’t going to call her on any of this, but luckily random people on the internet are doing their work for them:

This guy’s full thread on twitter outlines about 2 dozen other examples

It’s almost as if the Democrats are so sure they’ll win that they’re just going to pretend these two are progressives and assume people will vote merely on the basis of them not being Trump. Polls already seem to bear this out:

It’s amazing to me that even with candidates that were popular outside of the Democratic establishment (Sanders, Yang, Gabbard) the Blue Mafia decided to push two individuals who are so unpopular that most of their votes in November will come from people who actively dislike them. This tone-deafness is partially why they lost in 2016, and potentially why they will lose again in 2020.

2 months ago I probably would have put money on Trump losing the upcoming election. Since then, I’ve reverted back to being the the fence (I had the 2016 elections at 50/50 for reference). I think the Democrats are largely banking on people voting against Trump due to his less-than-stellar handling of Covid19. They seem to be either downplaying or completely oblivious to the concerns with the lawlessness taking place in cities like Minneapolis, Seattle, and Portland, among others.

Half a billion dollars in damage, and 1,500 damaged or destroyed properties in Minneapolis alone. I wasn’t able to find current information on total damages in Seattle and Portland at this time. The weak argument of “it’s just property” isn’t going to cut it for the people whose livelihoods were ruined via their businesses or homes being destroyed. People pay taxes so that this kind of thing doesn’t happen to them. And let’s be clear: police (government) violence and/or corruption is never an excuse for destroying innocent people’s lives and livelihood. Misdirected hostility is still hostility.

I don’t necessarily believe this mayhem is flipping many into Trump voters, but not everyone affected by this widespread violence and destruction is simply going to hand over a vote for a party that has failed this extravagantly. Many of these people currently have worse concerns than a Coronavirus. The areas worst hit won’t be recovering from this damage any time soon. The repair costs will merely be passed on to the residents who stick around via increased taxes. This burden will be felt way after Covid19 is long gone. This is terrible P.R. for the Democratic party, and these images and videos are being amplified all over social media.

If anything I think the two major parties will have worse voter turnout in total than they did in 2016. People who only read partisan propaganda outlets tend to be grossly uninformed on just how much wiggle room there is in U.S. voting. These two memes do a good job of representing how little of a stranglehold the two main parties actually have:

All of this leads us into the next topic:

USPS conspiracy theories

I love a good conspiracy theory. They’re all over the place on social media. Masks are being used by the government to control us. Every Hollywood actor who voices a political opinion is suddenly a suspected pedophile. Every political candidate someone dislikes is somehow a “Russian asset”, and “Russian meddling” is why candidates they don’t like win elections.

Now we have a host of USPS related conspiracy theories. Evidently Trump is attempting to steal the election by dismantling the post office. Leading up the the 2016 elections, you couldn’t get on social media without stumbling across countless articles about how the election was going to be rigged and how one of the two candidates was going to steal it. It’s almost ingrained in our election culture that the “other side” is going to attempt to steal the vote.

The conspiracy started in part because of Trump tweeting out stupid stuff like this:

That was the tweet that set the ensuing conspiracy theories into motion. The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon took root, and now there was suddenly “proof” of this conspiracy theory everywhere. Have you ever purchased something new and suddenly you’re seeing that item everywhere you go? That’s the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon:

Once people are absolutely convinced that Trump is trying to steal the election by getting rid of the post office, they start seeing “evidence” everywhere, and begin tweeting out stuff like this:

The problem is that neither of these photos have anything whatsoever to do with Trump. That’s 175k cumulative likes on two factually incorrect tweets. Welcome to partisan political twitter, where this kind of thing happens constantly. Now here’s what is actually happening in the above photos:

This is the deal with the locked mailboxes:

Here’s an article from 2016 explaining the same concept:

Here’s one more article from 2016 explaining how the USPS permanently removes mailboxes from time to time:

There’s plenty of evidence disputing the authenticity of all these USPS conspiracies. As of writing this, a new one has cropped up that I haven’t had time to look into yet, involving sorting machines. We’ll see how that one pans out.

Ultimately, the theory that Trump is going to steal the election by crippling the USPS is a bit stupid, mainly because he’d be harming himself most of all. A large portion of his voter base is white and 65 years of age or older. That also happens to be the demographic that votes by mail the most. Whether or not he’s aware of these stats is another story:

Regardless, as for now, I’m gonna have to label this myth: Busted.

In keeping with the Trump news:

The Banning of TikTok

On August 6th, an executive order was passed that would ban the Chinese-owned app TikTok unless it is sold to an American company. TikTok has, in return, filed a lawsuit challenging the order.

Of course, this news immediately led to countless conspiracy theories:

Boomers and 15 year-olds all over the internet started to throw out uninformed hot takes blaming the ban on “Trump being mad”.

The posts from the Independent and “OK BOOMER” refers to Sarah Cooper, who posts funny skits that poke fun at Trump. The post from Mr Farkas refers to an incident wherein TikTok users were alleged to have been the reason for the terrible turn-out at Trump’s June 20th rally in Tulsa Oklahoma. The arena the event was held at ended up only filling up to 1/3 capacity. This was more than likely due to Covid19 fears and bad PR leading up the the event. The overflow area outside of the arena was also sparse, which implies that people just weren’t as interested in the event as was being advertised by Trump himself.

Despite the uproar from teenagers everywhere, this ban didn’t just fall out of the sky. India banned TikTok back in June. In July, Wells Fargo and Amazon banned the app on phones used in their buildings for security reasons. Also in July, Biden’s political campaign instructed staff to delete TikTok. In February of last year the FTC fined TikTok’s parent company ByteDance for “collecting information from minors under the age of 13”. Apparently TikTok continued to violate these regulations:

TikTok has also been accused of curating content in numerous countries, including banning LBGT-positive posts, and posts that are critical of particular governments. Numerous accounts have been banned for calling attention to the human rights of the Uyghurs in China. They also just can’t seem to stop snooping:

TikTok has consistently been a security concern for most of its existence. It isn’t being banned because meany Trump is a poopoo head and mad.

A lot of people in the U.S. have this phenomenal delusion that the president just sits around decreeing things like a king. That’s not the way the government works. There are a massive amount of people who are a part of the government machine. We have a Department of State, Department of Homeland Security, and Department of Defense, among 6 billion other government departments. The entirety of our government (state and federal) outnumbers the populations of like half the countries on Earth. This isn’t a one-man operation.

It’s quite possible Trump didn’t even know what TikTok was until one of these defense departments brought these security concerns to his attention. People tend to forget that he’s 74 years old, and his background is in real estate, not the tech industry.

I also see this phenomenally bad take a lot:

The argument is essentially that corporations snoop on us and take our information all the time, TikTok is no different, therefore this can’t possibly be a security concern. Not all corporations are the same here.

There is a separation between US companies and the US government. This is not the case in China. 76 of China’s Fortune500 companies are government owned. For comparison, the USPS is the only government owned US company on that same list:

When you give your information to Apple, Microsoft, Google, or any other US company, that company has your information, but the government does not. When you give your information to a Chinese-based company, the Chinese government absolutely has access to any of that information. Their government has access to any information it likes via law:

Private companies in China can’t withhold data from their government the way US companies can and do. Does anybody remember the terrorist attack in San Bernardino in 2015? During the investigation that ensued, the FBI wanted Apple to give them backdoor access to secured data on the shooter’s phone:

Apple said no. Apple, being a U.S. company, didn’t have to comply with the government and give up secured data. The government wanted backdoor access to the iOS, and Apple declined on the principal that doing so would potentially compromise all of their users data. Apple was allowed to put business interests ahead of government demands. No company in China has this luxury.

The Chinese government absolutely has access to information collected by TikTok. The grey area is whether or not the Chinese government has access to this information if it’s stored on US servers. Is the data only stored on U.S. servers, or are copies sent to China? Does China have direct access to the servers to begin with? Only TikTok would know all this information for sure.

Another point people throw out is: “Who cares if the Chinese government has access to my data?”. The U.S. government cares. If someone on a military base is using TikTok, China might obtain access to sensitive data. TikTok can read your phone’s clipboard, meaning anything you copied while using your phone can be collected by the app. What if someone copied an address, or a code of some sort? What if they took a picture of something sensitive? This is why TikTok was banned from military issued phones back in January.

Basically, if you’re using TikTok, you should probably make sure you aren’t hitting control+c on any nudes. Unless you want Xi Jinping to check out your cheeks, then by all means, go for it.

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