Archive for April, 2020

Why Mail In Voting Does Not Benefit Democrats

April 28, 2020

Just minutes ago the pretend primary was closed in Ohio. Already the major news networks project Joe Biden as the winner. Not hard to project the GOP winner as Dear Leader ran unopposed. Why bother with a projection? Governor Mike Dewine cancelled the originally scheduled March 17 primary via his Health Director, Amy Acton. This occurred the very night before the scheduled election. By March 16, 2020 the primary contest for the Presidential candidate on the Democrat side was down to 2 viable contenders. Anyone planning to vote already had made up their mind by the night before the primary. There was no New Hampshire experience of deciding in the polling booth. The news behind the spectacle news of projected winner is that voter turnout was historically low for a presidential primary (especially compared with 2016). The Ohio legislature determined the new, April 28 primary date by fiat before the end of March. Democrats could have executed their March 17 choices any time after that. They didn’t. They didn’t bother to vote because with every mailed in bill for utilities, credit card, insurance or cable bill is a reminder on the return envelope to “save the cost of a stamp –pay electronically.” And they do. So bothering to express their choice for the Democrat candidate was, yawn, a bit of a bother. Going to the mall, coffee shop, concert or church is an event, an opportunity to see and be seen. Ditto for in person, going to the voting precinct to cast a ballot. One even gets an Ohio heart voting sticker. But Democrats chose not to vote during the mail in pretend election Ohio just had. In the fall there will once again be only two viable candidates for the office of President. In boxing title fights, you have to beat the champ. Dear Leader will bother his GOP base to bother and turn out no matter what the conditions are. In addition he will bother to eliminate the postal service, as we’ve heretofore known it, by the fall  election. The Democrats’ historic, actual, real response to voting by mail (as evidenced by the just completed Ohio pretend election) — why bother? Save a stamp as the major news networks will project a winner before the actual fall voting takes place (as they did in 2016). Why bother?

Death Cult For Cutie

April 26, 2020

In addition to the over 16,000 lies, fabrications, and misinformation by Dear Leader over the past 3+ years (as witnessed by the Washington Post) there should now be a new category – Gaslighting.  This blog has covered various individual occurrences in the past. With the Covid 19 pandemic playing out historically (as part and parcel of Dear Leader’s regime) the incidence of gaslighting has grown in number and frequency. Dear Leader, who has complete authority, declares something to be, only later to declare it isn’t. There are too many to analyze in any manner adequate to give full investigative insight. The latest incident, originating with the 4-23-20 press briefing (the internalizing of disinfectant and light as therapy for those ensnared by Covid 19), displaced the previous gaslighting of the week (or even day). This displacement of in depth investigation of historic occasions of gaslighting trivializes the practice and its otherwise significant and serious consequences. But then, that is exactly how gaslighting is supposed to work! One historic occurrence of Dear Leader’s ongoing practice of gaslighting was/is his lukewarm embrace of the federal guidelines (to stay at home, maintain social distancing, etc.) as well as the individual states’ authority to mandate and implement them. This was immediately followed by overnight tweets of “liberate” such and so state. This likewise was in coordination and conjunction with various statehouse anti-stay-at-home rallies, funded and/or organized by fundamentalist conservative GOP groups (prompting some pundits to brand this as akin to a kind of astro turf tea party). Analysis finds careful study of the iconic image from the 4-15-20 Lansing Michigan statehouse protest to be revealing of more than just the right of dissent. The protesters appear to all be male, and white. In addition to wearing urban and rural “street” clothes, there is a smattering of camo. They hold various flags and signs, as well as carry assault rifles and prominently displayed side arms (for all the honest world to feel). Some are wearing what appear to be bullet proof vests, what on other nationalities could also be described as bomb (suicide) vests. In short, this is a quite cohesive group. If this were Chechnya, Afghanistan, Syria or Columbia, no debate they would be described as paramilitary. But Lansing Michigan? What does membership in such a group implicate? To be a part of the military is to actively agree that someone must die, preferably not one’s own. Who can forget Arlo Guthrie yelling “I want to kill!” as a parody of Army recruitment in Alice’s Restaurant? Or the scene in Patton of the general saying the soldier’s duty is for the other side to “die for their country.” Or Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick suggesting that some old people need to  die to save the American economy. Or, more recently, that “there are more important things than living”? Or Dear Leader saying that 100,000 Covid 19 deaths would be a good thing. Analysis finds it indubitable that this group, loosely affiliated or not, is certainly paramilitary (Al Quida, Isis, and Al Shabaab are likewise loosely affiliated). Membership in the group implicates that someone must die, preferably not a group member – someone else. This fits right in with Dear Leader’s gaslighting of urging people to wear masks, but “I won’t wear one.” Or the use of hydroxychloroquine as therapy. Or the recent internalizing of disinfectant as a cure (akin to Jim Jones’ kool aid). Or opening up states for economic reasons. Etc. Someone needs to die for there to be membership under Dear Leader’s total authority.

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Return To Normalcy

April 20, 2020

“America’s present need is not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy; not revolution, but restoration; not agitation, but adjustment; not surgery, but serenity; not the dramatic, but the dispassionate,” Joe Biden? Nope. Warren Harding 100 years ago during the 1920 presidential contest (which he won). “Return to Normalcy” was his campaign slogan. (Joe Biden’s ‘Return to Normalcy’ Campaign Has Echoes of 1920 by Ryan Teague Beckwith, Bloomberg, 4-11-29). Beckwith writes that the nation was traumatized by the enormous mechanized butchery of WWI, the loss of a half million people due to the Spanish Flu, and 8 years of a very unpopular (and disliked) president. Writing for New Yorker magazine just at the start of the currently pervasive Covid 19 pandemic, Erich Lach headlined: Joe Biden, the Normalcy Candidate, Keeps Winning in Abnormal Times (3-18-20). He writes of Biden in 2019: “He was the normalcy candidate. He asked voters not to look ahead, to potential policies like Medicare for All or free public colleges, but to look back, to the Obama Administration and its relative stability. Wouldn’t a restoration be nice? Let’s remember who we are.” Then his description for mid March 2020: “In polls, voters said that they liked the policy ideas put forward by Sanders and others. But, at polling places, they went for Biden.” His succinct last line gives the wistful: “But now, with many Americans shut up in their homes, or soon to be, many voters continue to say that a return to normal sounds pretty good.” Does it? Two Americans who have steadfastly stuck with their assessment (repeatedly over years), and have not been shy about voicing it, are Anthony Fauci and Bernie Sanders. Fauci would disagree about a rosy return to “normalcy” anytime soon. His sober prognostication on the future of handshakes when greeting forebodes any future “return to normalcy.”  In a NY Times Op Ed (Bernie Sanders: The Foundations of American Society Are Failing Us, 4-19-20) Sanders underlines the current fundamentals: “We are the richest country in the history of the world, but at a time of massive income and wealth inequality, that reality means little to half of our people who live paycheck to paycheck, the 40 million living in poverty, the 87 million who are uninsured or underinsured, and the half million who are homeless.” “The absurdity and cruelty of our employer-based, private health insurance system should now be apparent to all. As tens of millions of Americans are losing their jobs and incomes as a result of the pandemic, many of them are also losing their health insurance.” “In truth, we don’t have a health care “system.” We have a byzantine network of medical institutions dominated by the profit-making interests of insurance and drug companies.” “Further, while doctors, governors and mayors tell us that we should isolate ourselves and stay at home, and rich people head off to their second homes in less populated areas, working-class people don’t have those options. When you are living paycheck to paycheck, and you lack paid medical and family leave, staying home is not an option.” He ends with: “If there is any silver lining in the horrible pandemic and economic collapse we’re experiencing, it is that many in our country are now beginning to rethink the basic assumptions underlying the American value system.” Analysis finds the longing for “normalcy” to include the desire for a normal presidential election in November. If that should ever materialize in any “normal” sense is dubious, given the aberrant preliminaries. Either way Analysis finds it is shaping up to be a contest of mythic proportions – the myth of “Make America Great Again” versus the myth of “Return To Normalcy.”

Uninformed In Licking County

April 16, 2020

Politics was once the news. Now Covid 19 has usurped that title. Currently politics is attempting to wrestle the title back to itself. Evidence for this is Dear Leader’s claim of “total authority” to determine when it is over and safe to come out. Would you take his word for it? Since Dear Leader is without a plan, relying mainly on being a “stable genius”, the when has shifted variously – first “Poof” it will just disappear, then 4-12-20 (Easter), now 5-1-20 (has little to do with International Workers’ Day). When it will actually be determined resides with the virus, according to Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Who determines is the politics, only the virus has little regard for democracy. It votes without registering or being qualified. And it votes more than once. The Newark Advocate has once again shifted its coverage of the numbers. When the pandemic first started up in Ohio, the Advocate gave the daily box score of diagnosed infections in Licking County. Then when the numbers increased, the daily show ceased and went to weekly. Now with the numbers approaching 100, the daily tabulation has returned. Why does this matter? In California the Governor, Gavin Newsom, laid out the state’s plan for reopening. It has six major conditions that need to be met for the qualified “all clear” to sound – capacity for testing, isolating, follow up, etc., protection of vulnerable population, the health care system can handle resurgence, therapies are readily available, public institutions can operate while facilitating social distancing, and the ability to quickly reimpose self isolation if necessary. For the sake of generating public confidence, it is a plan based on qualifications that can only be achieved through open and available reporting. As of this writing the Licking County Health Department is reporting 91 cases of diagnosed Covid 19 in Licking County. Does anyone other than the Health Department know where these are located? When the Advocate ceased its daily tabulations Licking County was second to Delaware County in reported cases for the 6 counties adjoining Franklin County (Columbus). Franklin County is one of the major centers of the virus in Ohio. As of this writing Licking is now 4thbehind Delaware, Pickaway, Fairfield counties (in that order). All the counties adjoining Franklin now have almost half as many cases combined as the total in Franklin. The diffusion of the virus is inevitable. Is anyone reporting on this? For a plan based on conditional requirements (like Newsom’s) to work implicates open and accurate reporting. How would one know conditions are being met without such reporting?  Of the 91 current cases, what percentage of cases border Franklin County? Are in Newark? Or are they in Hebron, Hanover or Utica? For the sake of expediency, does the Newark Advocate/Dispatch prefer  the authoritarian “all’s clear” to a thoughtful and engaged reporting of what conditions really are? Crimes are reported by neighborhood, where registered sex offenders reside, as well as notification of habitual DUI’s (yellow license plates), even product safety recalls are grounded in specificity. When it comes to the Covid 19 virus, why are we so uninformed in Licking County?

And The Creep Goes On

April 12, 2020

Man-made climate change is not news. The scientific community has been studying it and notifying the world about it for nearly a half century. Geologists label the current era as the Anthropocene to designate the effects of man on the environment. Geologists talk in terms of large periods of time, with sudden occurrence evidencing change being rare (volcano, meteorite strike, etc.). The change within “climate change” is slow and, for the most part, barely noticeable. Referencing historic records, natural records (ice cores, etc.), and statistical data makes the change jump out and allow for projections. Analogous change takes place when a democracy slides into authoritarianism though there are no records or statistical data to reveal the movement. Any history is always the history of current time being made (news). The change taking place is likewise so slow as to be barely noticeable. In the US the current national conversation on mail-in voting gives a stark illustration of the authoritarian creep taking place within America today. Free market capitalism frames the debate as a competition, a partisan “free choice.” Nothing could be more obfuscating. In Ohio, as in other states, the dominant GOP has relied on mail-in voting as the “compromise” to the Dems demand for early voting, wide spread polling places, Sunday voting, and same day registration/voting. The authoritarian creep comes to the fore when what actually occurs is considered, not the rhetorical cover meant to obfuscate the factual change. In the past week’s propaganda briefings, Dear Leader has reiterated his opposition and disdain for mail in voting, returning to the voter fraud mantra that his earlier administration’s defunct, disbanded and discredited voter fraud commission could not reveal (but like the Emperor’s clothes, the Emperor is sure it is there). “The president fiercely criticized mail-in voting as “horrible” and “corrupt” during the White House coronavirus task force’s daily news conference Tuesday [4-7-20], but also conceded that he voted by mail in Florida’s primary last month. Trump offered no legitimate explanation for the discrepancy between his position on mail-in voting and his personal voting habits, but insisted “there’s a big difference between somebody that’s out of state and does a ballot, and everything’s sealed, certified and everything else.” In other instances of mail-in voting, however, “you get thousands and thousands of people sitting in somebody’s living room, signing ballots all over the place,” Trump claimed. “You look at what they do, where they grab thousands of mail-in ballots, and they dump it. I’ll tell you what — and I don’t have to tell you, you can look at the statistics — there’s a lot of dishonesty going along with mail-in voting, mail-in ballots,” he continued, adding: “I think if you vote, you should go.”” (Trump: GOP should fight mail-in voting because it ‘doesn’t work out well for Republicans’, Quint Forgey, Politico, 4-8-20). How is one to grasp such a contradiction (especially in light of the same Dear Leader advocating Americans wear masks but he himself will not)? White House rejects bailout for Postal Service battered by coronavirus by Jacob Bogage for the Washington Post contributes more factual evidence of authoritarian activism. “Trump threatened to veto the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or Cares, Act if the legislation contained any money to directly bail out the postal agency, according to a senior Trump Administration official and a congressional official. “We told them very clearly that the president was not going to sign the bill if [money for the Postal Service] was in it,” the Trump Administration official said. “I don’t know if we used the v-bomb but the president was not going to sign it, and we told them that.”” Funding would run out by the end of spring without a loan provision included in the CARES Act. “Without the loan, which still has not been approved by the Treasury Department, USPS would be “financially illiquid,” by Sept. 30, according to estimates provided to lawmakers.” “And while the Trump Administration and Mnuchin pushed through private-sector bailouts in the Cares Act — $350 billion to the Small Business Administration loan program, $29 billion to passenger airlines and air cargo carriers, and economic incentives for the construction, energy and life sciences industries, among others — Mnuchin has signaled any postal relief funds in a “Phase IV” stimulus package currently under negotiation would amount to a poison pill.” Nothing would benefit Dear Leader’s authoritarian aspiration better than privatizing the USPS (particularly during the start up of the fall Presidential balloting). Akin to the demise of net neutrality, various “competing” mail delivery services would make for all the more reasons to invalidate a mailed in vote (limited service, hierarchical pricing,  uncommitted and insecure service, etc.). Though not privatized, the recent primary election in Wisconsin gave clear evidence to what patchwork requirements and deadline commitments result in. Analysis finds further evidence of authoritarian creep when the Republican Governor of Ohio shut down the March 17 primary and was challenged by the Democrats  over the legality of his move, the Trump appointed SCOTUS refused to hear it and let Mike Dewine have his way. When the Democratic Governor of Wisconsin opted to do the same, the SCOTUS deigned to consider the Republican challenge and voted 5-4 to allow the election to proceed. Oho is left with a pretend election at the end of April (all mail-in balloting). To vote in said pretend election requires multiple mail-in documentation hoops to jump through. The actual ballot itself is rife with opportunities of invalidation on grounds the envelope was not sealed properly, enough information/verification was not or incorrectly provided, lacking correct postage, etc. Like the hanging chad election outcome in the 2000 SCOTUS decided presidential race, there is ample grounds for ambiguous interpretation of outcome. In short, mail-in voting offers no panacea for the future of Democracy in America. It does, however, open a window on the continuous creep of authoritarianism within the current workings of the established, two party reliant system.

 

Days Of Irony: Gaslighting For Beginners

April 5, 2020

Analysis shows irony instrumental in gaining insight into the totality of a nation being consumed by Covid 19. The dictionary’s primary definition is “the expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite” but the supplement speaks more to the times we live in: “a literary technique, originally used in Greek tragedy, by which the full significance of a character’s words or actions are clear to the audience or reader although unknown to the character.” After all, we all are consumed by the news we consume which is essentially a literary technique; Dear Leader’s daily propaganda conferences come to mind. Which brings up the local leadership of not only Newark’s Mayor Jeff Hall, as well as the Licking County Commissioners – all MIA. But when they do surface (Local governments brace for possible recession as coronavirus pandemic continues, 4-4-20, The Advocate) their primary concern is the projected loss of revenue. As long as the dollars show up, what difference does it make whether there is a healthy hand or sick one holding it? The last time we heard from the Licking County Health Department was its refusal to allow for a needle exchange. Be safe Newark! Staying with the politics of it all, what if they gave an election and no one showed up? The slightest proposed gun regulation legislation always provokes swift and vociferous protest while Ohio’s primary being shifted to a “mail in” election, slated less than a month after legislation, is received with not even a whimper. The irony is that the alternate date of April 28 (and mail in format) was lobbied for by none other than David Pepper and the Ohio Democratic Party. Ostensible reason was for the expediency of vetting delegates for the July convention. Ironically, the anointed candidate for said convention changed the date of that convention to August (or even September). The irony grows when one considers that nasty old Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders mucking up party unity with all his agitated speech about income inequality, direct universal healthcare, free higher education and childcare. Too radical for the American people to embrace! They’d prefer Biden’s more moderate ACA HMO approach that determines ahead of time, for the doctors, who deserves care and who doesn’t qualify. Or Dear Leader’s “be nice to me” approach of dispensing patronage health care benevolence. NOT. Ironically (which is the theme of this posting), Covid 19 has shown otherwise. The current time sees an active preference for universal direct health care, forgiveness of student debt and child care urgency. There are smaller ironies, like abortion clinics “needing” to be closed while churches (and gun stores) “need” to be left open. Some rights are essential rights while others are non essential. But the largest, most blatant irony of them all is that, in just over 10 years, “free market” capitalism has required a total bail out of enormous proportions, again! This is no small individual bank collapse or savings and loan scandal. We’re talking maintaining and subsidizing an entire system to make sure it doesn’t become something else, entirely or partially (think hybrid cars). Both the incumbent candidate, Dear Leader, as well as his presumed opponent, Joe Biden, advocate bailing out the entire “free market” system in order to maintain and preserve it. Free market capitalism has abdicated responsibility for any of it through promotion of entrepreneurial agency (subjectivity), personal choice (and responsibility for) individual health care, retirement, employment, etc. The ultimate irony lies in the solution to the collapse of these entrepreneurial enterprise, self employed subjects with the current crisis. Stay at home or go to work? The token response is a one time cash hand out “dole” that is way short of even smelling like Mr. Sanders’ capitalist socialist state (with the added welfare insinuation that a “dole” implies and all); all done to ensure the health, safety and exclusivity of “free market” capitalism in these days of Covid 19.