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    • China’s Economic Plans Amount To Preparation For Cold War
      From the Wall Street Journal: China's economic plan these days reads like a massive security plan. Food security. Energy security. Raw materials security. Supply chain security. Data and tech security. Behind the security obsession is a fundamentally changed relationship w/US https://t.co/1gvtF2DwLG via @WSJ — Lingling Wei 魏玲灵 (@Lingling_Wei) January 13 […]
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Some mostly good news stories

Democrats handily won a special election in New Mexico to fill the open seat left by Deb Haaland when she was appointed Secretary of the Interior. It was a safe district which Haaland had won by 16% last time, and Biden had won by 23%. Even so, Melanie Stansbury winning by 24%, is impressive, since she won by slightly more than Biden had in a presidential election year.

A good deal has been already written about the propensity for the party in the White House to lose substantial seats in the next midterms. Most notably, Democrats lost a landslide of seats in 1994 and 2010. And of course we won 40 seats in 2018, before losing back 15 or so seats in 2020 despite the Biden win by 8 million votes. Obviously, anything even close to those historical trends would mean that Republicans would take over the House.

But I don’t think that it would be nearly as likely as per those extrapolations. Democrats won some very close races in 2018, and then in sort of a “regression to the mean” outcome, lost some of them back in very close races. Also, “defund the police” was a major Republican campaign theme to run against in the last election. Biden himself said that it “killed us” in Congressional races.. The people who went around yelling or holding up signs with that phrase, probably included some right-wing plants and Russian propagandists. But there were certainly some on the Left who foolishly pushed this, which of course is a sure loser in national elections, as most people do not want to defund police departments. Of course, they never consider such things, in their righteous anger, but we have to.

The Republican who ran against Stansbury tried this, but it did not work at all. Still, it is thought to be a potential problem in “swing districts,” so Democrats must get out in front of this, because the way that Republicans win is by coming up with a term or a fear to run against, and then using their amplified media to relentlessly keep tying the Democrats to it. The other prong of their efforts is of course suppressing the vote, which is our biggest danger.

Biden has very favorable polling numbers, far better than Obama ever had, and certainly Trump. Those will likely decline, but hopefully will stay well over 50%. Biden is going to be much more active in helping downticket campaigning than Obama was in either midterm, which will help.

Most importantly, the situation is different this time. Democrats lost more seats than they should have in 2020, and should get a few of them back. I would not expect any kind of big win, but enough to hold the majority, is a definite possibility. The concerns are vote suppression and reapportionment; i.e. Republican gerrymandering. But I do expect a smart and targeted effort by Democrats to win key districts. And the voters will realize what is at stake, which has not been the case in too many past midterms, where Democrats seemed disinterested in voting, as if once every four years is enough effort. Not this time.

It looks as if Benjamin Netanyahu is finally going to be out as Israeli Prime Minister, as a new coalition government has essentially been worked out. This is a plus, and should remind everyone that Israel is a democracy, the only one in the Middle East.

The recent conflict with Hamas in Gaza has caused a major rise in anti-semitism, which is undoubtedly one of the goals of Hamas. There are rises in all kinds of bigotry and racism in the last few years, often under the guise of something else, such as “Did China cause the virus to escape from a lab?,” or attacks on Israel. Apparently the “head of diversity” at Google, is a rabid anti-semite, who in an unearthed piece from 2007, wrote that “Jews have an insatiable appetite for violence.” This is so far beyond the pale, literally and figuratively, that he should immediately be fired, in my opinion, but I doubt that he will be. Hatred of Israel should not somehow be a convenient cover for hatred of Jewish people, who by and large have been just about the least violent culture of people in the world, in the last 1,500 years, far more often the victims of unspeakable violence, than the perpetrators of it.

New York City recorded zero deaths from Covid yesterday, and has the lowest positivity rate since they first started tracking tests. It is enough to bring tears to one’s eyes, well recalling the horror of last Spring, and the need for the daily Andrew Cuomo press conferences. It shows what can be done with expert science, and a strong commitment to following it. And yet there are still people who somehow are proud of not wanting to be vaccinated, and think that they are smarter than the rest of us.