Archive for March, 2020

Questions

March 29, 2020

Today the inhabitants of mother earth are asking questions which have no answers. Analysis has found this to always have been the case, only today the earth’s inhabitants are keenly aware of it. The status quo has always been questions without readily available answers. In a heightened state of consciousness, the status quo becomes news. NPR reports that the national approval rating of the US President’s handling of the Covid 19 pandemic is at 58%. WKYC reported like numbers for Ohioans. Reuters reported that the residents of Wuhan China have been allowed to venture out after being under virtual lockdown. The question remains as to what percentage of people in  the US, along with the citizens of Ohio will quit self isolation if and when the US President says it is safe to do so? The state of New York has joined a long list of other states to defer their primary election until June 2, 2020. Ohio legislators opted for a mail in primary, April 28. The census is also begging for an online/mail in response. With other things on its citizens’ minds, was the legislators’ solution a fair and equitable alternative, or a hurried voter suppression (snail mail turn around time for ballot request, receiving ballot, mailing in ballot, receiving and verifying vote in 4 weeks very short)? Various news outlets have been running autopsies on what happened with the Sanders campaign. 3-25-20 Washington Post  Sean Sullivan’s dissection (Insiders recount how Sanders lost the black vote) interviews many current and past operatives. It ignores the Bloomberg factor (which was viable at the time of the SC primary) and answers its one question with what everyone already knew, way deep in the latter half of the article: “In the eyes of some Sanders aides, there was little he could have done to reverse the loyalty that Biden spent decades building among black voters. Others felt that the campaign misjudged how impactful Biden’s institutional support would be.” The valorization of loyalty above all else is now shared as a priority by both the incumbent GOP candidate and the likely DEM challenger for US President. The institutional disdain of the Democratic Party for Mr. Sanders candidacy goes way back. Bloomberg could buy televised enthusiasm but little else. Sanders could get folks to appear at rallies but not at the polls. And Biden? He got the primary vote. Which got the conservative National Review to headline “Does anyone remember Joe Biden?” (3-24-20). Indeed, without an enthusiastic core of followers, Joe likewise hunkered down with a base that is preoccupied with its own high risk of fatally contracting Covid 19. In a perverse turn, never Democrats like Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, propagandist Glenn Beck and Fox News Brit Hume (and others) have promoted a solution to the threat to capitalism in the US (the economic fallout of the spread of Covid 19) – the country should rid itself of its useless eaters, which just happens to be Biden’s unenthusiastic base. Where is Joe Biden?

 

The Wartime President

March 22, 2020

Anyone tuning in to catch the evening news Sunday, March 22, 2020, couldn’t help but view the latest episode of The Wartime President. Analysis isn’t interested in critiquing this episode, or the show itself. However, granted that The Wartime President usually airs daily around noon, it was quite curious that the Sunday edition entirely displaced the evening news so precisely, same time, all channels. In these days of self-isolation, the evening news is one of the view real time connections left on television (everything online is always available as now but rarely real time). The Wartime President show is complete political kabuki, all the way down to its “spontaneous” press conference incorporated to look genuinely informative. Analysis finds that in addition to the immense propaganda value of fabricating creation myths and rewriting history to serve the purpose of the Committee to Re-Elect the President, the show itself gives added value in uniquely powerful ways. Not only does it “make” itself the news but it gives the incumbent candidate for President free prime time air play. Sunday’s episode of The Wartime President had not a single commercial break for over an hour! The entire thing could compete with a paid for TV product infomercial. Where was Anthony Fauci? Short of mobilizing the War Powers Act, it likewise effectively took over complete control of all the nation’s Television News outlets. It determined what the nightly news would be, and how it would be presented. Analysis fears this may become a regular nightly show placing the nation’s media outlets on notice that they either displace their regular nightly news for the Dear Leader or face the consequences of being ostracized for failing to inform their viewers about what will keep them safe, officially, in this time of war. Analysis (along with multiple other critical thinkers) has cited Arendt’s admonition of an authoritarian regime’s need for a state of war to underwrite its legitimacy. Though brought to you by the same folks who gave us The Apprentice, the production of The Wartime President is a reality show that implicates an ongoing and tacitly accepted state of war.

Reaching For The Impossible

March 17, 2020

The NY Times headlined “Bernie Sanders Wants to Fight On. He Has His Reasons.” (Sydney Ember, 3-16-20). Politico headlined “‘Who is going to advise him to drop out?’: Bernie may not be ready for quick exit” (Holly Otterbein and David Siders, 3-17-20). Both articles investigated and speculated as to what could be the reasoning resisting a quick exit. Through interviews with campaign staffers, political operatives and analysts the articles arrived at the tried and true conclusion that it must have something to do with leverage – the ability to get certain concessions within the Democratic platform and policies based on the strength of committed delegates. It was pointed out that already Joe Biden has made some concessions to Sanders originated proposals (free college education, health care). But the answer to why the man tilts at windmills was left untouched. In an essay entitled “Teaching the History of American Radicalism in the Age of Obama” (1-2-17) Eric Foner offers a studied insight. The writing is from a book entitled “Battles For Freedom: The Use and Abuse of American History” which is composed of his essays spanning 40 years published in The Nation. Mr. Foner is a historian (professor) at Columbia University. The History of Radicalism essay describes the final class of this name which Foner regularly taught at Columbia. First, a contextual review of difference, the Bernie Sanders difference in lived aspirational outlook: “A revealing moment came at a press conference at the end of November 2008, when he [Barack Obama] was asked how he reconciled his campaign slogan, “Change We Can Believe In,” with the appointment of an economic team largely composed of the same neoliberal ideologues who had helped bring about the financial crisis. “The vision for change,” Obama replied, “comes…first and foremost…from me.” As I mentioned to my class, one can compare Obama’s top-down remark to a comment attributed to the early twentieth-century socialist Eugene Debs: “I would not lead you to the promised land if I could, because if I could lead you in, someone else could lead you out.” Debs understood that movements, not just political leaders, make social change possible. Obama has never really learned that lesson. To be sure, he sought to cultivate an identification with history by embracing the civil rights movement, though this is hardly a controversial stance at a time when Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday is a national holiday and even Glenn Beck claims his legacy. But even then, Obama embraced a sanitized version in which the movement represents a fulfillment of basic American ideals, not the unfulfilled “revolution of values” that King hoped to see. Obama doesn’t invoke the radical King who spoke of “democratic socialism,” launched the Poor People’s Campaign, and supported the antiwar movement.” It is undeniably clear, from such a context, where Sanders is found. However, it is the last paragraph of Foner’s essay that illuminates as to why a quick exit is incompatible with Bernie Sanders: “On the first page of the course syllabus, I always include the words of Max Weber, a rebuke to those who believe that critics of society should set their sights only on “practical” measures: “What is possible would never have been achieved if, in this world, people had not repeatedly reached for the impossible.””

Trump Lite

March 12, 2020

Joe Biden’s on a roll. Seemingly, out of nowhere, his campaign was “revived” and assumed front runner status. Analysis stresses “seemingly” because the negative logic found in the “nowhere” was one of sustained, “Anyone but Bernie” corporate press coverage in the past year. Like the workings of dark matter (or money for that matter), the shaping of public opinion was there in the “nowhere” while the large enthusiastic crowds were not to be found at Biden’s rallies or fund raisers. Now the negative logic (“Anyone but Bernie”) has shifted to the positive logic of the Democrats’ great need to coalesce around a single candidate. Even South Carolina’s super delegate “king maker,” James Clyburn, is keen on suspending the primary electoral process and anointing the king. Shades of 2016! The real fun begins with imagining one or more Biden/Trump televised debates. Some of the gold which could be mined by late night hosts would include the rambling irrelevances both men are prone to, the non-existent events each hearkens back to shamelessly (and, unlike for Hillary Clinton, unaccountably), the verbal gaffes, mispronunciations and brain farts, and the lack of actual policy projections through relying on going way back in the way back machine for answers to present day problems – The Donald’s Make America Great Again and Joe’s Bring Back The Status Quo. Political journalists won’t point out the similarities between Obama’s tapping Goldman Sach’s Tim Geithner for Treasury Secretary after the 2008 meltdown, Trump’s Steve Mnuchin, and Biden’s corresponding probability of a Michael Bloomberg or Jamie Dimon (in keeping with the previous status quo, of course). “Good for some but not everyone” echoes throughout not only Trump’s current response to the Corona Virus pandemic, but also with Biden’s projected expansion of the ACA, which has been gutted by the courts and legislatures (Who is going to pay for it, and how?). Analysis surmises the debates will end up as a macho lucha libre slug fest between two masked-to-cover-only-the-grey wheezers. Their appeal will be for a WWE Smackdown decision as to who is the hero and who is the heel. The choice for the viewer will be totally commercial — a mythic America Great time versus an equally mythic Status Quo pre-Trump time. Few will consider the day after inauguration in the upcoming marketing of Trump and Trump Lite.

 

How Bernie Sanders Has Already Won

March 4, 2020

The recent headlines after the Super Tuesday primaries may indicate otherwise, but the headlines behind the headlines, and not about the election, tell another story. The Washington Post headlined “Pence says every American can get a coronavirus test”, the AP “Pence tells governors money for coronavirus costs is coming”, and the NY Times interjected “Waive Fees for Coronavirus Tests and Treatment, Health Experts Urge”, while its editorial board headlined “We Are Ignoring One Obvious Way to Fight the Coronavirus: Paid sick leave could slow the spread of the disease and its impact on the economy.” And finally, The Week’s obvious “Coronavirus is making some Republicans reconsider the merits of free health care.” To be reminded of just what a huge impact Bernie Sanders’ Medicare For All has already had on our self-governance, consider the soo yesterday “Republicans blocking coronavirus bill that limits how much drug makers can charge for vaccine: report; A vaccine for coronavirus is in the works, but experts suggest it is at least a year away from becoming available” from Raw Story. Citing a Politico article they report “”Democrats are insisting the spending package include significant funding to purchase large amounts of coronavirus diagnostics, treatments and vaccine, when it becomes available, which would then be made available to the public free of cost, according to a senior Democratic aide,” reported Politico. However, “Republicans are trying to eliminate the ‘fair and reasonable price’ federal procurement standard for the vaccines and treatments that will be developed and purchased with the emergency funds. ‘Fair and reasonable price’ is a basic standard to prevent price gouging in federal contracts. Without the language, drug makers could charge the government above-market rates, meaning fewer Americans will have access, according to the Democratic aide.”” But this only follows when one listens to NPR’s Morning Edition (the morning after Super Tuesday) report headlined “Delays In Coronavirus Testing Creates Confusion, Questions”. Turns out that Dear Leader’s CDC guidelines rigidly specify who requires testing, who can be tested and who must be refused (who cannot be tested). Doctors are finding their hands tied when faced with testing follow ups to symptoms diagnosed. But no surprise there when one also reads “Coronavirus: Republican senator tells Trump to ‘let the professionals do the talking’ after he repeatedly contradicts expert health advice” headlined by The Independent, same day! Analysis concludes that Sanders, who vociferously and continuously presses for universal health care coverage, has already won. His advocacy for Medicare For All has already entered the lexicon of American self-governance. Analysis finds that Americans want universal health care sans the private corporate vampires. They are just restrained from admitting it out loud.