Biden / Harris – Why should I vote for these people?

August12

I posted in 2019 about my struggle to vote for Biden.

So, why should I vote for him now?

He is a bland centrist, he is too old, and * most importantly * I think he lacks the knowledge and will to use the Republican’s own methods against them. My biggest complaint about the Democratic party is their resistance to using Republican tactics against Republicans. They like to stick to informal rules that haven’t existed for 25 years and they need to recognize that the Republican party is no longer the Republican party of old. It is a cult run on fear and Fox news. If the Democrats do not start playing by the new rules they will lose the war to determine the soul of this country.

By not playing the new rules they have already allowed the Republicans to play the game without offering real solutions to the American people. The Republicans only have fear mantras that their supports recite, have you ever seen a Republican plan to improve anything we face? Health care? Climate change? Growing inequality? Clean water?

I should note, I am not a Democrat, I switched from being an Independent to a Democrat after Trump. I felt I had no choice and wanted to register how utterly disgusted I am by the modern Republican party. The Democratic party and I have many differences, but the Republican party’s war on data, good governance, science, education, clean water, clean energy, good capitalism, and minorities is insanity.

But back to Biden/Harris…

I will suck it up and vote for them.

Why?

Because at the very least they are competent. Joe Biden is too old to be President but Kamala Harris is uber competent. We need competent people at the helm during this crisis. I am also hopeful that out of this crisis we can reboot significant parts of our society and economy to make them more resilient. It might be too early, but my hope is this is the right time for FDR level change. And, I have hope that Kamala recognizes the new rules.

I won’t lie, a big part of me thinks this country needs 4 more years of Republicans and Trump. Why?

Because only then will enough people be in REAL PAIN to drive REAL change. We are too rich and too stupid. Too many poor white people are voting Republican and too many rich white people are stuck in their bubble, unable to see past the Republican fear mantras.

P.S. Republicans of old used to have many good ideas. We need to move to a personal and corporate territorial tax system like the rest of the world. We need to safeguard the USD as a tool internationally. We don’t need to balance the federal budget, but we need to get it under control and build some better planning around how and when we flex it (see the prior point about safeguarding global USD dominance), we need to increase taxes or lower military spending, we need to bring in economist and data and experiments into government programs to make sure they are effective, we need to reduce and streamline rules, we need to de-license some of the license economies that have grown up, we need to look at the pros/cons of the monopolies we have created in a globalized world, etc, etc.

There are lots of great people who vote Republican. It is easy to see why. Simplistic solutions are easy to sell and easy to fit into your world narrative. We live in an uber complex world and it isn’t easy to sell the complexity. For example, keeping our water safe for consumption is HARD, we are failing at that in many parts of the USA yet the EPA gets railed on for overreach and hurting business by the Republican party. I want to live to see a future where the Republican party cares about giving people clean water to drink instead of pretending the EPA is some anti-business boogeyman.

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End of our 2020 European road trip :)

August8

We had a great trip :).

We got back on August 6th to Valencia Spain so a good 36 days out in nature. We did two long days of driving to get back a little early as France was about to get hit by a heatwave and we were struggling to find places to stay. August in Europe is a big vacation month and we didn’t plan that far ahead :).

Notes for next time:

  • Book a minimum of 7 days in each place. We found it much more chill and easy if we stayed at least 7 days in a place. It gave us the space to get settled, do some day trips, and relax. We did a few 5-day stays and it was too short. We really enjoy longer stays too we’ve found.
  • Plan ahead if in the midst of summer :). We had good reason not too because we wanted to stay flexible in the face of Covid and uncertainty there.
  • We did pretty well, but making sure we plan activities for Calico is key. Whether that is the playground, swimming, hiking, but something for him is important.
  • We spent ~$125 USD a night on average. That is pretty good for summer and some of the last-minute bookings we made. It does remind us why we like the offseason though as it is quite a bit cheaper than peak summer.

Some of my fav family pics :)

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Salzburg Austria and Freiburg Germany

August8

We spent a little less than a week in both Salzburg and Freiburg. I went on some amazing bike rides and I was blown away by the biking infrastructure in Austria. I am pretty sure I could bike to Vienna on purely bike path.

Salzburg
We had a short visit with Salzburg on our trip with Lindsey’s mom in 2015. It was great to see more of it, especially in summer and when we were able to bike. Very fun time at a gorgeous lake too.

Freiburg
I spent the month of August in Freiburg in 2013 and it was really cool to spend 5 days here again. We also managed a short visit from Strasbourg via train when Calico was 6 months old. It is a beautiful city in the black forest.

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Slovenia!

July24

We’ve been in Ljubljana Slovenia for a week and it is an amazing country. It is so beautiful and we’ve had a great time! I didn’t find many bike rides that were not on roads, but still got a few rides in (more altitude than i am used too!). I hope they build more cycle paths out into the country as the city is amazing for bicyclists.

The people we’ve met are super nice and it feels semi-normal here. Very low COVID rates. That said we take all the same precautions here and everyone here is wearing masks inside and following the rules (that we saw).

And, a wet fun bike ride this Saturday morning :)

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39 Years Old :)

July20

Birthday!

We got to Slovenia yesterday and we are just taking it easy today after a few days of driving. Slovenia is the 47th country I’ve visited and pretty cool to add that to the list :). I wonder when and if my age will bypass the number of countries I’ve visited. Lindsey had candles and some wonderful cake and balloons. Good birthday week :)

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Lombardy Italy…

July20

Driving in Italy is crazy. Sometimes stereotypes seem accurate. My new nickname for Italian drivers is “blindspot”. They also don’t believe in turn signals, staying in the lines, consistent speeds, etc. Riveting few days of driving :).

We drove from the French Riviera to a small town outside of Milan to stay one night before driving onward to Slovenia. We were really careful in this area despite the low COVID numbers. The hotel scheduled dinner and breakfast for us in the room and the entire stay felt weird. The hotel was deserted and the town felt dead. They had strict protocols for check-in, nobody in lobbies, no use of the elevator, masks at all times in common areas, etc. It was great to see compliance and the ways they are changing to keep this in check. Everyone was super friendly.

I had a beautiful 40km ride the morning before we headed out. They had a beautiful path along the river in Parco Regionale del Serio.

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Ligure & Bike Ride Along Coast (Parco Costiero del Ponente Ligure)

July17

We are staying in this area for 3 days to cool off and enjoy a stay in the woods near the coast. Calico is overjoyed as they have a trampoline!

Today we drove down to the coast and I did a 45km bike ride while Lindsey and Calico had some breakfast and played in the sea. The bike ride was amazing. It was a converted rail track and really well done (in Italy?!? WHAT!?). It went right along the ocean and through some tunnels and was super relaxing. Otherwise, we are enjoying some Italian wine, food, and gelato :). Masks are in high use here, which is good to see. Tourism seems like it is low.

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Avignon and Provence

July17

We were set to stay longer in Avignon but it was hot and our place was a bust. So we left early to get a jump on our long drive over to Slovenia. So, we are in Italy on the Riveria staying on a beautiful little farm area in the mountains and about 10 min from the beach. It is much cooler here and we have more space for Calico. We felt like he didn’t have anywhere to play in Avignon, we couldn’t find a park and our place was really hot. And, it was so full of old weird furniture you could barely breathe. Oh well, live and learn on picking a place :).

Calico has done so well in the car. Our longest day was one 8 hour day on our first day. And, since then I think only 4 hour days that we try to time with his nap. He is a happy little kid :). And, Lindsey packed him a ton of things to play with.

I did about 1.5 hours on the Rhone EuroVelo 17 route by Avignon. It wasn’t too bad, and I’d love to do it one day. The ride I did was next to a highway though but still pretty parts. I was pretty worn out with the heat and the place we were staying. On a little baby ride around Avignon, I got another flat, 3rd one of the trip and I am guessing it was glass or a thorn.

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300 Year Old Village, Gers, and Roman Villa

July11

Lindsey found a cool 300-year-old village nearby, and we stopped at it the day before we left Landes. You take a 10 min train ride into the village and then just walk around. It was pretty chill and had some amazing bread.

And, we stopped at some Roman ruins on the way which had amazing mosaics. And, we got Calico something fun :)

And, we went through 3 towns in Gers which were beautiful. We want to plan a trip back :). We had an amazing lunch in there with some of the best lamb I’ve had in a while.

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Stop 2: Carcassonne and Mazamet

July11

We are staying in a weird little town called Mazamet. It is pretty lifeless, but we are glad we checked it out though. Great bike ride nearby and pretty countryside.

We are close to Carcassonne castle, and we took Calico to visit the castle. It was great :). Not many tourists in the morning, and way less than normal IMO. They do well on masks, shortened the times you can go in, and I think they cut a lot of the inside tour. This is my 3rd time to visit Carcassonne, my first trip was in 05/06, with Lindsey on our road trip in 2017, and now with Lindsey and my son. Pretty cool :)

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PassaPaïs Cycle Route + 145km Ride

July11

The PassaPaïs Cycle Route is this amazing greenway that is ~75km one way and covers an old railway line. That means no cars, beautiful greenery, mountains, cows, and vineyards. It goes from Mazamet to Bédarieux. You can even go further from Bédarieux to Beziers and the canal down there if you so wanted.

I decided to do the full thing the day before we left and it was a blast. It was 1km shy of hitting my record for the longest ride that I did about 4 days ago. I did 145km in 7 hours 8 minutes, an average speed of around 21kmph, and about 1,000m of elevation gain.

They have some nasty thorns in Mazamet as in 3 days of riding I’ve had a flat 2 of the days. I changed my first tire on this bike and got some good practice. The first one took 40 min and the second 30 min. The hardest part is getting the tire off/on (and this isn’t even a road bike).

A blurb on the route:

A track cutting right through the Languedoc Mountains, it presents two distinct sides of southern France. At the border between the counties of the Tarn and Hérault, you reach a major watershed – to the west, the rivers head for the Atlantic, to the east to the Mediterranean. In fact, this route takes its name from the Occitan expression “PassaPaïs” (meaning passing from one land to another).

There is a really cool part where you go through a LONG tunnel and go from the rainy side to the dryer/sunnier side. Fun times. I def needed to pack more water and stopped for a coke and water refill at some point.

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Stop 1: South West France

July6

We grabbed a big van, loaded up my bike and Calico’s bike, a bunch of gear, and took off on July 1st! We drove from Valencia to South West France and took a really beautiful route through the Pyrenees. The number of tunnels was crazy, it went from dry and sunny on the Spanish side to 25 degrees cooler and fog on the French side.

What have we been doing?

  • Chilling, it is nice to be in the quiet woods.
  • Went to the Atlantic Ocean a few times. The water was really really rough, so I swam but Calico just played in the surf a little with me holding him and then tide ponds.
  • Went to a beautiful lake to swim and hang out.
  • Went to a wonderful market in Dax and had a fun day.
  • Eating and drinking some delicious foods.
  • I’ve been going on some morning bike rides.

We are being very careful as we travel, we are only staying in AirBNB’s 99% of the time, only eating outside, wearing a mask if we pop in somewhere, and otherwise staying away from the Covid risks. We are looking forward to enjoying some outdoor time on this trip.

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Longest bike ride, new record!

July6

146km in 6 hours 42 minutes (~91 miles). Average speed a little under 22kph and 600 to 960m elevation gain (maps differ in estimate).

It was a beautiful ride near the Atlantic coast in South West France. I was on the EV1 route and I hope to do it one day as the cycle path was fantastic. I planned it with Komoot and apart from a weird hour on a semi-busy road it was great (they make it easy to export to Garmin gear). The last hour was HARD, and the last 30 minutes even harder.

My previous record was 117km in 5 hours 28 minutes that I did on a bike tour in France in 2018 (fully loaded bags).

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Trump’s Plague

June30

How long until the USA is hitting 100k a day in new infections?

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First quarter of a game that we can’t end.

June24

We are still in the first quarter of a game that we do not know how to end.

The reaction of the stock market has been fascinating. I’ve seen good arguments on either side. The sectors hit hardest are not zooming back, and those that should be the strongest are doing the best. But, they are still making some pretty big assumptions about the impact this is going to have on the economic system as a whole. Blaming retail traders for this bounce seems insane. The FED has signaled what they plan to do to backstop the economy and now the question seems to be will it work and will poor leadership prevent the action we need to safeguard things.

If the Republicans keep the Senate I could easily see them destroying the economy and sending us into another great depression. Moscow Mitch has already signaled he is willing to drive the economy off a cliff between now and January. Maybe the pressure will get to him, but maybe he doesn’t care.

When I look at the big picture it seems like it could easily take 5 to 10 years to retool the economy. I am hoping for a magical vaccine but that isn’t guaranteed in so many ways. If we lose 50% of restaurants and the food landscape changes how do you move all those jobs to new areas quickly. The USA might be in a terrible position now, but the fastest to rebound given how brutal and inhumane our society is.

I am excited about the political possibilities for 2020 and onward. I am hopeful that we get a new social contract if the Democrats can take the Senate and now be the idiots they usually are. I think the pain our country and the world is about to enter is going to be on such a massive scale that change will finally be possible. The scary thing is that change could as easily be backward toward fascism and fear as it could toward social progress.

What would I love to see?

  • Health care. The government needs to chop costs down severely and I don’t care how they do it. Our drugs should be the same cost as the EU, hospitals need standard costs for procedures, and we need to make health insurance both affordable but also COVER HEALTH EMERGENCIES. What is the point of insurance if you have a $10,000 deductible. So frustrating and backward.
  • Reimagine the police, split up their current duties to people trained to do them and every officer has to be re-evaluated in order to be hired. Traffic is now traffic safety (no fucking guns and give them hot pink cars), crime is handled by community safety, etc. Send people to help mentally ill people who know how to do that, and give them money to help those people (Reagen shut that all down). Help homeless people get back on their feet like Utah is doing.
  • College – Free or a very small cost for everyone. It would be great to look at technical schools and doing the same. If we want to make a play at high-end manufacturing we need that too.
  • Expand kindergartens to age 3 months. Colorado starting this push, just keep pushing the age down and hiring. Pay teachers more.
  • Maternity/Paternity – Paid 3 months by the gov, increase payroll taxes.
  • Paid Vacation- 3 to 4 weeks even with hourly jobs.
  • Unemployment System – We need to take a hard look at that system and how to help people get back on their feet with better skills. We don’t want people in despair and we want them adding to our tax base, can we do better? And, can we stop stupid states from punishing people for losing a job like Florida.
  • Retirement – Increase social security payouts by a good 25% and fix your stupid COL adjustments, increase payroll taxes, and close the silly loopholes for high earners.
  • Legalize weed everywhere.
  • If you are not going to increase the minimum wage you need to view the cost of food and housing as national security issues. Food is decent in the USA as you can get it cheap if you know what you are doing and learn to love hormones and antibiotics and animal and environment abuse. Housing is much harder. I’d love to see federal and state legislation to end the hold NIMBA and property taxes hold over housing cost.
  • Climate change needs a massive push on infrastructure and a revamp so much of how we operate our electricity and industry.
  • Reduce spending on the military by 30%.
  • Increase taxes on the upper class, and progressively tax dividends and interest payments. Start revamping taxes so that Americans make less but get 5x more from their gov.
  • Revamp capital gains to start at a 35% tax if it is held for under 2 years, then slowly reduce it down to 10% to 15% if held for over 10 years.
  • Stop allowing the police or whatever replaces them to run the city on fines. There are a lot of problems with city/state funding and where that money is coming from and incentivizing. I’d rather cities/states be run on weed/liquor/tobacco/lottery taxes than the cost to put a roof over someone’s head.
  • IRS – Increase funding to do audits.
  • EPA – Actually protect the environment and give them teeth to go after companies and seize stock ownership the more they violate.
  • SEC – More funding, and give them a share of the winnings in cases.
  • I’d love to see us pay government officials like the private sector. Our president should be making a few million a year minimum. Congress should be making 500k or more a year with a housing allowance. We make them whores for the private sector instead of efficient gov servants. Go look at Singapore and how they pay their people.
  • Get rid of the electoral college.
  • Let PR vote on if they want to become a state, same for DC.
  • Reparations – We need to talk about them. How can we equalize the economic damage done against the black community over the last 250 years? Not an easy answer.

A random list of ideas from over the years. We shall see what happens.

posted under covid 19, Dangers To World | Comments Off on First quarter of a game that we can’t end.
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This is bwb’s personal blog so he can share his thoughts with the world, however scary or silly they might be. Plus family and friends can track what I am up too, and where I am in the world.

I am pretty simple. I love Mangos. I love the ocean, although mostly at sunset as I’m a ginger. I love to travel, eat exotic food, read, and use my imagination. I love creating and developing ideas into businesses, understanding how all businesses work, and building cool stuff. I am a globalist and see the entire world as my responsibility and playground. And, I am married to an amazing woman who makes life even more fun :)! And, we are now the proud parents of Calico Jack :).


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