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Stealing Elections

Stealing Elections

Stealing Elections

In case you’ve just returned from your vacation on Mars, there seems to be a bit of a sticky issue over ballots, mostly in Pennsylvania. Trump has been railing for months about mail-in ballots and stealing elections. All of this commotion without any evidence whatsoever even though studies have shown no evidence of any significant fraud in any elections over the years. One of Trump’s favorite rally lines is that he could only lose this election is if it is rigged. This is clearly the case of a man reading too many of his press clippings

Here is the situation in Pennsylvania. The State Legislature, controlled by Republicans, stated that absentee ballots had to be received by 8 p.m. on November 3rd, Election Day. The Pennsylvania State Supreme Court ruled that an extension of three days was valid due to the coronavirus pandemic. So Pennsylvanians had until 5 p.m. on Friday, November 6th, for ballots to be delivered, as long as they were postmarked by November 3rd. 

The US Supreme Court had declined to rule on this when it came before them but expressed an interest in revisiting the ruling after Election Day. The Secretary of State of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, anticipating such a move, ordered any ballots that arrived after 8 p.m. on Election Day be kept separated. The US Supreme Court did not disappoint and ordered those ballots kept separate in case of further review. 

The actual legal distinction seems to rest on whether the State Legislature or the State Supreme Court has the right to determine the election process. Those who point to the Legislature also fall into the category of people who rail against “activist judges” whose decisions ultimately become law.

And yet, isn’t that the function of a Court?  In a checks and balances system, the Legislature forms a check on the Executive, and the Court forms a check on both the Executive and the Legislature. In turn, the Senate serves as a check on the Executive. The Court is charged with the need to “Advise and Consent” for Executive Judicial appointments.

If the Legislature passes defective laws, the courts are supposed to “interpret” those laws and “judge” them. In the Supreme Court case, the judges are called “Justices” because they are tasked with the ultimate authority to provide Justice.

In Pennsylvania, at first glance, it would seem that the State Legislature has the right to determine how elections are held in Pennsylvania.

“US Constitution
ARTICLE I
SECTION 4

The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.”

This nonsense exists, despite the pandemic and the apparent corruption of the Postmaster-General, Louis DeJoy. A Federal court had ordered DeJoy and the Postal Service to restore the Post Office to the same state of efficiency that was in place in January of 2020. DeJoy, a major Trump contributor, was found to have deliberately slowed down postal deliveries during the pandemic to give Trump an advantage. How? Because Republican supporters tend to vote in person, while Democrats were mailing ballots to stay safe.

Furthermore, consider the Court’s potential view of the conflict between voters who were told they had extra time to vote, only to discover they may have been disenfranchised due to a power struggle between these two branches of the State government.

Even if the US Supreme Court invalidates the absentee ballots received after 8 p.m. on Election Day, no one expects it to affect the general election. 

But wouldn’t it be ironic if this election was decided for the second time in 20 years by the US Supreme Court rather than the will of the People? Talk about activist judges.

The Cult of Trumpism

The Cult of Trumpism

The Cult of Trumpism

With all the oxygen sucked out of the conversation every day by their fearless leader, Donald J. Trump, we should remember that 63 plus million Americans voted to put him in that position. For that reason, he can rightfully be called the glorious founder of the cult of Trumpism, a political movement (cult) known mostly for its many ignorant, racist, far right-wing bullies.

More than a political movement, it really is a cult of fanatics who believe every single lie spewing from his COVID-19 ridden mouth, and nothing anyone says will convince them otherwise. These are the roughly 38% who will vote for Donald Trump no matter what.

Incidentally, I know a woman who has a life-sized cardboard cutout of his majesty in her front hallway. Not noticing my dropped-jaw upon seeing this, she cheerily asked if I liked him.

Politely informed that I did not, she asked why. I told her that if she had lived in the New York City Metro area in the seventies, eighties, and nineties, she would know why.

Even back then, Trump was a well-known, serial, sociopathic liar who says things just because he thinks they make him sound good. Anything. He can’t help himself. He lies even when there is nothing to be gained except scorn for being caught in a blatant lie. 

Sixty-two percent of the country (those other than the 38% who form his cult) know that his words are verifiable lies. Verifiable! That is, captured on video or audio. 

But (Her Emails) His Lies?

Trumpers don’t care about his lies. According to statista.com, Trump was considered five percent more honest than Hillary Clinton, and she was only thought to be 25% honest!

And isn’t that lack of caring one part of the definition of a cult

“A misplaced or excessive admiration for a particular person or thing.”

Consider Jim Jones and the tragic murder of his followers in Jonestown in Guyana in 1978. 

Or the disputed history of David Koresh and the “Branch Davidians” and the tragedy in Waco, Texas, in 1993. The term “disputed” is used because while “David Koresh taught that he was a messiah,” various other factors came into play challenging the idea that he led a cult.

Whatever the reasons, whatever the consequences, blind faith in obviously human wisdom versus sheer common sense, can hardly lead to good outcomes.

Why Would Anyone Ever Trust a Sociopathic Liar?

This is a wild guess, but suppose Trumpers wanted to verify what they heard from The Donald. Where do you think they would go for that? How about Fox News, Breitbart.com, InfoWars.com? Of course! Conspiracy theories abound and are reinforced at the White House and on Twitter.com.

I have even watched a member of Congress on the House floor state that we can only get the truth from the President of the United States!

Many Trump loyalists have told me when faced with facts from the Washington Post, the New York Times, PolitiFact.com, or Snopes.com that they are all Fake News and not to be trusted. Why? Because they are all the “Enemy of the People.” Such is the power of a cult leader.

And yet, we’ve brought this on ourselves. People are looking for something different in our elected officials. On the one hand, they want them to be like us. On the other, they want someone special. Gallup polls on Congressional job approval back to 1974 average a 63% Disapproval rating. So, what do we give them? A liar who has tapped into their deepest frustrations and continues to feed them exactly what they want to hear.

There is deep dissatisfaction with Congress in the country, and when someone is so different and “tells it like it is” and promises to “drain the swamp”; that noise gets attention. Were you appalled when you heard the name-calling and nicknames assigned by Trump to fellow candidates for the Presidency? Remember “Low energy Jeb” and “Little Marco”? Trumpers obviously weren’t. They loved him for it because the others were all politicians and he wasn’t, but he was kicking their butts.

If you’re watching TV this Election season, in a pandemic with rising infections and deaths, tell me you don’t see thousands of cult worshippers literally risking a horrible death to get close, to hear the same words they’ve heard before, but this time right from the horse’s (ass) mouth.

Don’t wait. Don’t hold back. Give money to anti-Trump opposition candidates. Man the phones. Politics is the only means we have to save our republic, but this isn’t just political. It’s existential. There is a huge cult out there and they want us gone because we are in their way.

Whoever Said “Let Trump Be Trump” Should Be Thumped!

Whoever Said “Let Trump Be Trump” Should Be Thumped!

Whoever Said “Let Trump Be Trump” Should Be Thumped!

When what’s-his-name began his run for President in 2015, most people in the media seemed to think it was a joke. Many mainstream media celebrities and pundits laughed when they had to announce something about “The Donald.” But to supporters like Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie, who wrote the book, Let Trump Be Trump: The Inside Story of His Rise to the Presidency, there is Kool-Aid, and then there is the Jim Jones unique brand of Kool-Aid to which this belongs.

Let’s get real here. If you’ve lived anywhere on this planet for at least the last five years and unless you’re addicted to Fox News, you must have at least heard that Donald Trump is a colossal serial liar. Or that he’s an admitted p*ssy-grabbing serial rapist and misogynist, a xenophobic, white-supremacist endorsed by David Duke, a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan.

Moving on from his good points, I could go on for days listing his more vile characteristics, but if you have an open mind and Fox News hasn’t brainwashed you, I’m pretty sure that you may already know them.

Because to paraphrase Shakespeare, “I come to bury Trump, not to praise him.”

I wish. If ever the planet would have been better off without the birth of just one, single person, it’s Donald J. Trump.

Honestly, did the authors think that portraying him as he is would win votes? They must have thought so because he simply wasn’t doing as well when he was trying to be “Presidential.” He has the attention span of a gnat, the reading ability of a fourth-grader, and was an easy target for impressionists playing on his defects.

Those true-believers knew there was an entire segment of the population who identified themselves with Trump because he “tells it like it is.” People hated Hillary with a passion and couldn’t wait to “take our country back” from that ‘n?gger’ in the White House and everyone like him.

So, let’s talk about Trumpers, not him because they are almost as big a problem.

They are probably an even more significant problem because he is their leader, and tacitly permits them to echo his actions and utterances. Once he is out of power, there will still be “Trumpism,” and he will be only too happy to satisfy his incessant need for insatiable approval by providing them with “leadership.” He, and they, will be a constant thorn in the side of any attempt at rational governing.

I suppose that for those who took him literally when he said, “What have you got to lose,” never really thought that much about it. For those of us who lived in the New York City metro area in the eighties, we couldn’t imagine that the clown show we knew as Donald Trump could be taken seriously by anyone with half a brain.

Now that they’ve seen the real shitshow, do they regret it? It doesn’t seem like it with 38% of the populace still drooling over his every word and deed. We call them his base and base they are. I simply do not understand how certain friends of mine can still support him. Doctors, dentists, educated people, along with those suffering from the Dunning-Kruger effect, admire him.

 

An example of the Dunning-Kruger effect

An example of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

“People with less than average abilities tend to overestimate their true abilities, while those with higher than average abilities tend to not realize how much better they are. That is, some people are too stupid to know how stupid they are, while smart people assume most can do what they can.”

They can’t all be racists, can they? Are they all absolute suckers for his serial lying? They can’t all possibly be members of Sociopaths of America, right?

My wife and I were outside talking to a landscaper today. I’ve dealt with him before, and he’s a lovely man. He was telling us about how often he tests his labor pool and the resentment he deals with when having to tell someone that they can’t work for a couple of weeks because they tested positive. Bear in mind that we live in Florida, currently one of the world leaders in COVID-19 infections. We were wearing masks, and he wasn’t. At one point in the conversation, he expressed frustration in not knowing what to believe.

At that point, I realized that he was following the guidelines, but he wasn’t sure why because of conflicting information. To me, there is no conflicting information; to him, there is because of Trump.

I would hope that anyone would expect decency, morality, and principle to be part of the government that leads them. I can almost see a political ad with a picture of Trump and the caption, “Would you buy a used car from this man?” Really, would you? You know him now; you’ve seen him in action. There is hardly ever a word of truth that comes out of his mouth.

So why on Earth would anyone ever recommend that Trump should be Trump, instead of trying to find a more normal human?

How about this for an answer — they knew roughly 38% of this country feels the same way about all the things that Donald Trump espouses. With a 38% lock, they just needed to convince another 13% to buy the lie. Surely many Republicans would step up, as well as many Independents. How many felt that Donnie was a newcomer to politics, so he couldn’t possibly be as bad as the long-term politicians? Hillary had been in national public political life since 1992, with plenty of time to build up a list of enemies and pure hatred in the mind of the public. If you hated Hillary, there’s no better reason to vote for Trump. Sometimes I wonder how she even managed to get almost three million more votes than Donnie with those odds.

Here’s the thing about arguing with a liar. You can never win. For every argument that you bring up, they’ll bring up another lie. If you’re a Trumper, you love this, because he’s winning. He’s beating the establishment at their own game. He promises you all the things you want to hear, and he’s winning! Whether you just hated Hillary, or that “black bastard” in the White House, or only vote Republican, or just want the baby-killing abortion clinics to stop, or want the Pledge of Allegiance back in schools, you love this guy. How many politicians assign nicknames like Little Marco, Low-energy Jeb, Crooked Hillary? He’s a successful billionaire who says he funded his campaign, and you love it!

Maybe you’re tired of gays getting married and wanting their rights. Donnie’s going to take care of all of that. Remember, “what have you got to lose?”

What idiot with a national platform will stand up for them and create an atmosphere where they can vent their frustrations and rage with impunity? Will they see their loss as a regular, cyclical part of democracy, or the result of a “deep state” plot, or voter fraud?

Let’s break down the losers by category. These certainly aren’t all Trumpers, but they’ll have to find a way to cope.

  1. Always Republicans — I don’t suppose they’ll be happy, but they’ll be okay.
  2. Trump-enabling politicians — They’re band-wagon politicians, so they’ll probably try to find ways to explain their temporary insanity if you’ll only give them another chance.
  3. Independents and moderate Republicans — They might have hated Hillary and thought it was time to shake up Washington.
  4. Dunning-Kruger morons — They drank the Kool-Aid and will never understand what happened to “their country.”

Such is our America today. Our basest instincts are allowed to run free because 38% of the population are bullies and loudmouths with no filter, and no way, or reason to discern right from wrong.

Let’s fast-forward to November. Will Donnie accept the election verdict if he loses, or claim voter fraud, as he’s setting us up for now? Will Vlad (Putin) stage some sort of crisis, causing Donnie to try to postpone the election? Where does this 38% base go to relive their recent glory days if he loses? You can rest assured that the hue and cry from Trumpers will not lack for “leadership.”

Having survived impeachment, and with nothing to lose, wholesale pardons will be issued, rats will be abandoning ship, cooperation with an incoming Biden administration will be non-existent. Barr’s DOJ will secretly be shredding documents. The Department of State will be doing likewise, and all will be deleting records on servers that no one even knew existed before.

As if that weren’t enough, if Mitch McConnell keeps his leadership role in the Senate and Biden wins, the Grim Reaper will continue to wreak his very own brand of havoc. But that’s a whole other episode.

To save our country, voters must thoroughly thrash Trump to show the Trumpers that though they be loud, they are still a small, small minority.

Why the Electoral College? Existing Schools Not Good Enough?

Why the Electoral College? Existing Schools Not Good Enough?

Why the Electoral College? Are existing Schools Not Good Enough?

In reality, it was the Framers of the Constitution who came up with the Electoral College, not the Founding Fathers. The primary difference is that the Founding Fathers wrote the Declaration of Independence, and the Framers wrote the Constitution. While the first set of Framers were the Founders also and wrote the Articles of Confederation, the second set of Framers ( the party of the second part) wrote the actual Constitution once they discovered that the Articles would not be sufficient actually to govern the country. But the Framers just couldn’t bring themselves to allow ordinary people to vote for President directly. After the 2016 Presidential election, how many people are asking, “how’s that Electoral College thing workin’ out for ya?”

While the President was the only position to be elected by the entire country, there was resistance to allowing the decision to be made by the uneducated, common folk. After all, who knows what kind of lying, undisciplined, narcissistic, unskilled, nepotistic, snake oil con men, and traitorous leaders they would elect?

So, the Electoral College was a mechanism whereby the people elected Electors from their state (“notable” leaders) who would do the voting for the President. Because the House of Representatives favored the larger states (more representatives), they made a legislative compromise to allow the smaller states to maintain equal status with the larger ones by electing 2 Senators from each state.

This same mechanism was used to determine the number of members of the Electoral College: the number of House members plus the number of Senators. They would meet in their respective states on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December (who thinks of this stuff?) and simultaneously vote for the President and Vice President. At one point, the winner became President, and the runner-up became Vice President. That sounds fair, now doesn’t it? (Picture how that system would work in any of the elections you can remember in your lifetime. Trump-Clinton? Ewww.)

The Electoral College was a last-minute compromise

Not only did the Framers NOT consider women or Blacks as voters, but they didn’t want the Common People to vote for the Chief Executive of our young country. Some of the early qualifications for voting were property-owners or taxpayers because exactly who voted was left to the states to decide.

George Mason of Virginia argued that ‘it would be as unnatural to refer the choice of a proper character for chief Magistrate to the people, as it would, to refer a trial of colours to a blind man. The extent of the Country renders it impossible that the people can have the requisite capacity to judge of the respec­tive pretensions of the Candidates.’

And following the times, even the Declaration of Independence refers only to men — not women, not Blacks — but men, men, always to men.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Not surprisingly, some of the Framers of the Constitution had also been Founding Fathers signing the Declaration some 20 years earlier. Now they were trying to frame the Constitution, and they once again deferred to the States and allowed them to ignore women and Blacks if they chose to do so. (Another little-known reason for this is that the college couldn’t agree on a mascot, making who could vote as tricky as deciding on a mascot.)

This led to a continuing evolution of voting rules into and throughout the nineteenth century. In some states, free Blacks could vote, but not all states. The electoral process went through periods where only property owners could vote, and then only taxpayers. As the process evolved more toward white men only (regardless of whether they were property owners or taxpayers), women who owned property in New Jersey even lost the vote that they once enjoyed. (Rumor has it that this was the result of a brawl involving a member of the Soprano family of Nutley, New Jersey before migrating back to Sicily, only to return to the USA in the late 1800s.)

My personal choice for making wise choices in national elections is to test —

— for an informed electorate before allowing them to vote. Not enough voters care about issues to become knowledgeable enough to vote.

Man-in-the-street interviews seen on late night comedy TV demonstrate all too clearly that geography, current events, government, politics, legal issues and the like seem far beyond the capacity of modern US citizens to grasp or even care about.

However, naturalized citizens, who have given up their past lives to come here and work hard for the opportunity to grow and succeed, have to take a test to prove their understanding of our history and how our government works. Can you pass this test? I can. (98% correct.)

We’ve seen what happens when the “will of the people” is overridden by the Electoral College. We’ve seen what happens when people are too lazy to vote or leave it to the uninformed but passionate, to vote.

It’s time for the EC to go and time for people who care about choices their leaders make to get informed and get out the vote! Time to know and care at least as much as the legal immigrants our leaders rail about in terms of how our country is run.

Fake News

Fake News

Fake News

Social Media and Anonymity Breeds Bullies

Social Media and Anonymity Breeds Bullies

Social Media and Anonymity Breeds Bullies

If you’re reading this, you may have never known a time without social media. Or a time without bullies. For the rest of us, we’ve probably known at least one bully at some point in our life.

To be clear, Merriam-Webster, an online dictionary, defines a bully this way:

It used to be that a bully could just get in your face or call you on the phone or leave you notes in your mailbox or your school locker. Proximity was vital for the bully, so you could try to arrange not to get too close. Not anymore.

With the advent of the internet for almost anyone in the world and social media, anonymity is virtually guaranteed. The distance separating people also practically guarantees that it’s easier to be a bully without consequences.

Cable news shows, with their 24-hour news cycle to fill with content, often fill it with guest “panels” struggling to make their point, usually by making the loudest point. Cable news becomes an example for the rest of us.

So the fact that anyone can be a bully, especially on social media, leads me to offer an example if you need any.

My sister posted in this thread, so I went to check it out. It took place in October of 2012, during the presidential election. Nothing gets bullies more fired up than a presidential election. Instinctively, I saved the thread, not knowing what I would ever do with it, but now I know.

You’ll notice that it starts somewhat reasonably but watch what happens when I, a definite outsider, post a link to something they don’t like. The thread speaks for itself, but I pointed out some things to be sure they were clear.

Unfortunately, I got a little caught up in the fray in a couple of places, but the defensive instinct kicks in, and you realize that whatever you write, none of these people knows where you are, and there’s nothing they can do about whatever you say.

And That’s How Easy It Is to Become a Bully on Social Media.

One way to raise yourself is to put other people down. And if those people are seen as inferior already, always surrounding yourself with people like them, always makes you the biggest fish in a small pond. Don’t ever leave the pond, though. Reality can be daunting.

But this is America. We should be having an exchange of ideas, where the best ones are appreciated. In the acting profession or any other, working with the most talented people encourages a competition that makes the quality of the entire enterprise even better.

Another type of bully is the anonymous one. This one has all the traits of the first, but they’re afraid to be discovered because that’s just it — they’re afraid.

Maybe they’re afraid they’re wrong. Or if people know who they are, they could be punished. Note the extremists who lost their jobs and homes when we discovered who they were. Or maybe they’ve always found it easier to strike and run away before the going gets tough.

We’ve Always Been Told to Stand Up to Bullies.

I’m suggesting a corollary to that advice. Let’s not become them. If we do, we become a world of cowardly bullies, and we already have too many.

Think about it. I’m sure you’ll be able to come up with the names of some well-known bullies even if you’re not on Facebook, or Snapchat, or Twitter.