Posts Tagged ‘2020 Presidential Election’

Loopholes, Not For Everyone

January 29, 2021

            Warren Buffet is quoted (somewhere) as claiming his secretary pays taxes at a higher rate than he does (though she certainly is less wealthy than he if Capitalism is as Capitalism does).  As our former president pointed out, Buffet is smart and takes advantage of all the loopholes legitimately available to him. According to conventional capitalist wisdom, all perfectly reasonable. To paraphrase a popular TV drug advertisement: “Loopholes, not for everyone…” Speaking of taxes, the Licking County Treasurer, Roy Van Atta, recently mailed out the semi-annual real estate tax bill. Along with the bill was a separate sheet headlined: “To limit in-person payments and potential exposure to Covid-19, we encourage payments to be made by one of the below options.” One of the payment options is the use of a drop box. In addition to the one located at the Newark South Second Street Administration Building, there is a drop box in Pataskala. America is notable for its collective amnesia with regard to all things cultural or historical. Prior to the recent 2020 election, Ohio’s Secretary of State, Frank LaRose, ruled that counties could only have one drop box for ballot collection (ostensibly for the sake of security!). Both Roy and Frank are Republicans. “Loopholes, not for everyone…”  While on the subject of collective amnesia with American history and culture, how about that Rand Paul? The GOP’s Kentucky Senator argues that since the insurrection against the Electoral College procedure took place on January 6, 2021 and the impeachment trial is to take place in February, 2021, it is unconstitutional as the impeached one, whose guilt or innocence is on trial, is a private citizen and no longer president. Analysis finds the implication to be that the president committed the crime (for which he was impeached), not American citizen Donald Trump. Elected public officials are not citizens. Jimmy Stewart’s Mr. Smith left for Washington as just another citizen but became…? Analysis finds it ironic that both citizen Jimmy and elected official Rand share the same party affiliation. “Loopholes, not for everyone…” While on the subject of irony, the 1-29-21 online Newark Advocate comes to mind. “Ohio House committee leader’s call to ‘stop this vaccine s***’ featured in new video” by Jackie Borchardt (1-29-21) is notable for the buried lead, located waaay at the end of the report: “Meanwhile, Ohio has administered just under half of the vaccine doses sent to the state. Ohio ranks 41st in administering doses on a per capital basis, giving 6,384 shots per 100,000 residents as of Thursday, the CDC reported. At least 682,705 initial doses – about 5.8% of the state’s population – have been given in Ohio, the state reported Wednesday.” Same day, same online Newark Advocate, Michaela Sumner headlined “Limited by COVID-19 vaccine supply, Licking County pauses registrations for next week.” Need more be said? “Loopholes, not for everyone…”

Solipsism

December 1, 2020

            The news seems to be that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Indeed. No, not the Covid 19 news, which is the real news, though there is a vaccine on the horizon (along with a hidden army of anti-vaxxers just over the ridge). Rather, the presidential election of 2020 appears to be reaching some sort of definitive finality. Unhidden is Dear Loser, er, Leader who can’t bear the thought of the spotlight not being on him, and him alone (he feels so naked without it). The pesky winners justifiably shine the light on the enormous turnout. 75% of registered Columbus Ohio voters did so. Unheralded is that, save for the top of the ticket, voting trends maintained the status quo, if not grew it nationwide. The party that hopes to be in the White House in 2021 actually lost traction with their other candidates on the exact same ballot. Like with the corona virus, the nation, and pundits, seem to be so fatigued that the only worthwhile news is something that projects a different future. But the well has been poisoned, and because of the fatigue, no one dares speak of holding anyone accountable for the devastating vandalism. GOP representatives and leaders who previously enabled and capitalized on Dear Leader’s lies (they are actually called lies in the vast majority of press coverage today. Finally) today are trying to distance themselves from the embarrassment. The Washington Post interviewed and found only 2 of the 53 GOP senators would admit Biden was the president elect the week immediately after the polls closed. Ohio Governor Dewine, who leads from behind a facemask, is now struggling with the state’s hospitals filling to capacity, not allowing space or staff for other medical conditions to be addressed (the normal function of a hospital). All because the well has been poisoned and the state’s constituents believe mask wearing and pandemic precautions are a matter of personal choice (conveniently referred to as a “political statement”). Who will be held accountable? But wait, the poisoning extends well beyond the alternate “personal choice” attitude as to what is science, and whose (as well as what is speculation, real or fancied). It hits at more nitty-gritty things such as relying on our institutions when the needs arise (established institutions which exist precisely to fill that need). The 2020 Census, upon which so many official decisions and policies rely, has been put in jeopardy (not the Alex Trebek kind). The EPA is no longer a source of clean water and air. The Dept of Ag can no longer be relied on for food security, whether the growing or distribution to those without (SNAP). Ditto Homeland Security, Dept of Justice, FBI, etc. ad nauseam. Even the courts role as arbiter of final resort is subject to personal interpretation. The poison seems to be that if all is in doubt then anything can be believed. And who is to be held accountable? Has culpability also succumbed to the solipsism of personal choice/interpretation?

Supremely Disingenuous

October 27, 2020

            10-26-20 The SCOTUS issued a decision disallowing the counting of mail-in ballots in Wisconsin arriving after the Tuesday election deadline. Unusual with the decision was the inclusion of a written concurrence by Justice Bret Kavanaugh. He writes “For important reasons, most States, including Wisconsin, require absentee ballots to be received by election day, not just mailed by election day. Those States want to avoid the chaos and suspicions of impropriety that can ensue if thousands of absentee ballots flow in after election day and potentially flip the results of an election. And those States also want to be able to definitively announce the results of the election on election night, or as soon as possible thereafter. Moreover, particularly in a Presidential election, counting all the votes quickly can help the State promptly resolve any disputes, address any need for recounts, and begin the process of canvassing and certifying the election results in an expeditious manner.” It is no coincidence that the lines “And those States also want to be able to definitively announce the results of the election on election night,” and “counting all the votes quickly can help the State…” sound like they could have been said by the very same Chief Executive that appointed Bret Kavanaugh to be one of the Supremes. As recently as the glut of rallies this run up week to the election, Dear Leader has been emphasizing just that. Indeed, in an AP fact check from 10-26-20, Calvin Woodward cites: “TRUMP: “It would be very, very proper and very nice if a winner were declared on November third, instead of counting ballots for two weeks, which is totally inappropriate and I don’t believe that that’s by our laws.” — remarks to reporters Tuesday. TRUMP: “Big problems and discrepancies with Mail In Ballots all over the USA. Must have final total on November 3rd.” — tweet Monday.” In the follow up check Woodward notes: “And “our laws” don’t require the immediate reporting of all election results in the country; delayed counting is unavoidable.” “As for his demand for a “final vote total” on election night, that flies in the face of how votes are counted and reported. Apart from the usual lags in rounding up and reporting totals from every precinct in the country, the U.S. is seeing unprecedented numbers of early votes, and some battleground states won’t even start counting them until Election Day votes have been tallied.” “Earlier in the campaign, Trump asserted that the winner should be declared on election night, another outcome no one can guarantee and one that may elude the country in a week. There is no requirement that the winner be determined Election Day.” Analysis wonders whether “our laws” are the same laws that Justice Kavanaugh decides on. After a week of pontification on the sanctity and gravitas of originalist interpretation, Analysis finds it supremely disingenuous to try and have the American people believe that, in the days before railroads, telegraph or telephone and heavily reliant on original horsepower for speedy travel, the originators of the US Constitution intended for comprehensive and complete election results to be available throughout the 13 original states on election night itself. “Time is of the essence” is nowhere to be found in their delineations of the results of the electoral process. However, it is found in almost all contemporary contract law regarding real estate, something Dear Leader is quite intimate with.

How The Lie Tells The Truth

September 9, 2020

            During this final stretch of the presidential election campaign, the enthusiasm factor definitely favors Dear Leader. Both the folks who own the boats (and ATV’s, RV’s, in home theatre TV’s, etc.), as well as the folks who make this ownership possible through their low wage labor, wear their hearts on their sleeves (as well as flag poles, truck beds, motorcycle sissy bars, etc.). And Dear Leader feeds off this adulation, offering up whatever sound bytes, dis info or mis info which may get a rise out of his reality show audience. The truth value of all this exchange is now, finally, immediately and continuously being challenged by media fact checkers. This, in turn, is swiftly transferred into sound bytes of actual and factual information by the opposition. The latest front in the battle to secure Mt. Parnassus, the abode of Apollo the god of truth, has been conjoined by the likes of investigative journalists (an endangered species on anyone’s list) writing for The Atlantic, Rolling Stone or Salon, as well as this year’s crop of tell all books from the likes of Bob Woodward, Michael Cohen or Mary L. Trump. The GOP’s official position during the Obama years was pretty much straight forward and embarrassingly honest: top priority was to get rid of Obama. Seemed politically viable enough. Obama’s flaws and untruths were readily enough pointed out and embellished. But that only worked as long as there was an assumed baseline, ground of truth (which could be verified like the great “keep your own doctor” of the ACA). Today’s lies are fast, furious and continuous, at a speed challenging the most adept of fact checkers (over 20,000 in 4 years for Dear Leader alone according to the Washington Post). The truth revealed by all this is that the lie promoted for whatever given decision or policy is preferred by the boat owners and those working for them in their marinas. This, that Dear Leader enthusiasts prefer and seek out the lie intentionally and knowingly, is a particularly hard truth to swallow, let alone digest. But then, Apollo was known to be a particularly cruel god.

Decision 2020

May 28, 2020

5-25-20 AFP headlined: India yogi who claimed to live without food or water dies aged 90. “An Indian yogi [Prahlad Jani] whose claims he spent decades without food or water earned him a band of devotees and the scepticism of doctors died Tuesday, his neighbour told AFP.” “He told AFP in 2003 he got the “elixir of life from the hole in my palate, which enables me to go without food and water”. There was no way of verifying Jani’s claims, but doctors have said a person cannot go for long periods without food or water without organ damage and the body breaking down.” Who would you vote for, Jani or the doctors? Think carefully, decide wisely as this will be the foundations of the 2020 presidential election in 5 months. Back in 2002 European scholar and curator Bruno Latour organized an extensive investigation in what he entitled Iconoclash. It considered topics such as “Why do images Trigger so Much Furor?” and “What is Iconoclash? Or is There a World Beyond the Image Wars?” Etc. One of his prime examples centers on the Reformation, a period when there were wars fought over the appropriateness of statues, paintings, relics and other iconic images within the churches of Christianity specifically as well as within the religion generally. Writing at the time of these actual events Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592) offers one description (amongst many): “To speak frankly, there seems to be great self-love and presumption in granting your opinions such esteem that you can justify disrupting the public peace in order to establish them.” Returning to present time, Analysis finds an analogous Iconoclash unfolding before our weary eyes. It may not be a disruption centered on imagery, but it certainly does involve a destruction of the previous regime that values science, research, statistical data, factual analysis and intellectual conclusions. Montaigne seems to speak to the present reformation when “there seems to be great self-love and presumption in granting your opinions such esteem that you can justify disrupting the public peace in order to establish them.” The evidence is overabundant with Dear Leader’s Twitter usurpation, extortion of North Carolina’s pandemic response for mass gatherings by moving the upcoming GOP convention (after promoting individual state response), disdain for following his administration’s own CDC guidelines and recommendations with regard to masks, forcing people to unsafe work in the midst of an “invisible enemy,” championing the ingesting of hydroxychloroquine proactively as well as injecting bleach prescriptively, etc. Analysis finds that in November of 2020 the choice will not be about an economy, or racism, or security (personal, national or international). The choice for America will be between Prahlad Jani or the doctors. Who will you vote for?