Previous posts in this discussion:
PostReflections on Voting, the Electoral College (A. J. Cave, USA, 12/05/20 4:00 am)
In reply to Cameron Sawyer (December 2nd), yes of course, it is all about the US Constitution and not this president or that one. They come and go, mercifully, every 4 or 8 years.
(And in the case of Obama, we are unwittingly heading into a third term, with his vice president as his replacement and more or less the same cast of characters and usual suspects, as I wrote in my previous post, coming from consulting and capital firms founded by former Obama administration members to avoid to register as lobbyists. A revolving-door, full-employment act for Obama alumni.)
However, when it comes to the US Constitution, shall I remind the boys in the WAIS band that the eligibility to vote that was established in that Constitution, created on September 17, 1787, ratified on September 28, 1787, and going into effect on March 4, 1789, has been amended many times. That's because the US Constitution had not specified who is eligible to vote (and how)--only prohibited certain kinds of discrimination in establishing "qualification for suffrage [simply, the right to vote]." That "who" and "how" were left to individual states to figure out the eligibility rules.
The history here is irrelevant but interesting to know. Feel free to skip ahead.
In the 17th century, suffrage was based on property qualifications--meaning a certain amount of land ownership of some value--and a religion test.
In the 18th century, the religion test was dropped and suffrage in the "Thirteen Colonies" was limited to white males with varying property ownership criteria in each "state."
Among those who couldn't vote, were women, landless men, and freed slaves.
You can't wave the US Constitution in my face as if it were cast in stone. It has and will be amended when and as our circumstances change.
1870: 15th amendment, extended voting rights to cover "race, color, previous condition of servitude (slavery)."
1920: 19th amendment, extended voting rights to cover "sex (women)."
1964: 24th amendment, extending voting rights to cover poll tax evaders, "By reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax for federal elections."
1971: 26th amendment, extending voting rights by age "who are 18 years of age or older, to vote, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of age."
And again, no. Questioning the legitimacy of the votes and the inner workings of voting machines massively used now is not the same as subverting the "legitimate" votes and "legitimate" elections and the Constitution. The Founding Fathers who wrote the Constitution could not have foreseen our current technological prowess. They didn't even have electricity, let alone Internet. I am not even sure they had indoor plumbing.
We need to understand what are the rules of engagement using voting machines and their underlying hardware/software technologies (as well as other forms of technologies) the majority of voters don't even begin to understand--even if they haven't been hacked. It doesn't mean they won't. The only smartphone function, other than text and talk, used by the majority of Americans, is the camera. Here you have a full computer in your hands and all you do is taking pictures (and videos).
And, no. Popular votes discussion is not irrelevant. We have actually come full circle here.
After the spectacular collapse of the Hillary Clinton's dash for the White House in 2016, there was a lot of public chatter about her being the uncrowned queen of the people, were it not for the antiquated electoral votes. The Greeks have a good word for the likes of Hillary. It is called Hubris. She and everyone around her got punch-drunk drinking too much of their own Kool-Aid that being a "woman" was enough qualification for so many Americans to cast their precious ballots in her favor. I wasn't a fan and didn't bite.
Now that the shoe is on the other foot and Biden-Harris has the extra popular votes, a love of electoral votes is back in vogue.
In 2016, it was Hillary, popular vote and Russian meddling in our voting systems. We spent $32 millions to find out zilch, zero, zip.
In 2020, it is Biden-Harris, electoral vote and hacking our voting systems. We have government officials swearing that the elections were the most secure! These are the same guys (more or less) who said there was no need to wear a mask to fight an airborne virus. Duh!
All the votes are not counted and certified yet, electors haven't voted yet, and yet, we have a shadow government holding court on the Capital Hill right now and undermining the sitting President of the United States. They are not even subtle in mocking him. If vote certification and electors votes and the confirmation process is just for the great unwashed, why bother?
I adore Janet Yellen, but what's with all these fake press conferences with canned cabinet campaign speeches when we still have another president and cabinet until January 20th?
In the New York Times December 2nd Biden interview piece by a fawning Tom Friedman, the "takeaway" is the headline: "Here is what Biden had to say about the future: He [Biden] made sure Trump is not going to be President for four more years."
What are we? 12?
"I ran for presidency to make sure the other guy lost." Is this some sort of new political ideology, written by toy manufactures for 3 year-olds?
There isn't anything new here. Just the same old, same old. Maybe that's comforting to some--especially to Chinese and Russians and Iranians who must think they have won the lottery.
The parts about what Mr. Biden plans to do about (The Islamic Republic of) Iran is so outdated and out of touch with reality, it is actually funny.
Mr. Biden does mention that "we" [Democrats] didn't carry even one county. Duh! News flash: You didn't carry anything outside of the city walls.
As my sister says, we are walking among giants who have turned into stones.
JE comments: A. J., we do have Trump for another 46 days, but I don't understand your lament about Biden's "shadow government." Should he and his team do nothing prior to January 20th, lest they undermine Trump?
A couple of IR questions. I see how China and Iran may rejoice at the Biden victory, but how does Russia fit into the equation? And finally, what types of policies would you recommend Biden to pursue towards Iran?
How Is Biden Any Different from Previous Presidents-Elect?
(Francisco Ramirez, USA
12/06/20 3:04 AM)
It is time for A.J.Cave to get rid of her "California Democrat" hairshirt and liberate herself.
Consider A. J.'s incessant partisan laments about calling Joe Biden President-Elect before the Electoral College casts its votes. Is calling Biden President-Elect a break with customary practice? No, Trump and others were called President-Elect long before the Electoral College assembled. So, why was this reasonable until 2020? Didn't Trump and others had their shadow cabinets in place long before the Electoral College was assembled? Why was it reasonable until 2020? Did Trump undermine the Obama administration by acting as President-Elect and by making Cabinet choices before the Electoral College met?
Check out the not-socialist Wall Street Journal for a sequence of Trump appointments. Flynn, for example, was offered the National Security Adviser position (yes, this does not require Senate confirmation), as reported by the WSJ on November 18. These laments have no foundation in historical reality. I doubt that A.J. objected to customary practices in 2016.
No one was more mocking than primary candidate Trump. No one was more mocking that presidential candidate Trump. No one was more mocking that President Trump. But I guess there are two standards: if the mocking comes from Trump, it is acceptable, maybe even delightful. If it come from Trump supporters, ditto. Who can forget the repeated mocking chant "Lock Her Up?" Alas, it is Chanting Flynn who has needed a Presidential pardon.
But heaven forbid that Trump and The True Believers in the Golden Calf be mocked.
JE comments: I don't think I mentioned this previously on the Forum, but I've been at Mom's in Delaware for the last few days, across town from the Biden compound. Today we plan to drive over to his ritzy neighborhood to see if there's anything to see.
A. J. Cave (next) has sent further thoughts on the election results.
- California Lockdown; What To Do with Iran? (A. J. Cave, USA 12/06/20 3:24 AM)
It's Saturday night, and with the new lockdown there isn't much to do, unless you are the Democratic California Governor Gavin Newsom or Democratic San Francisco Mayor London Breed and dining at the posh Napa eatery, the French Laundry, with an army of your best campaign donors and dearest political supporters.
While probably 98% of our small restaurants would not survive the yo-yo close-open-close merry-go-round, our top politicians are eating at $350 per person minimum pre-paid French Laundry. Bon appetit.
Governor Newsom is up for reelection in 2022. We have to put up with Mayor Breed until 2024. And California is solidly Democratic. They don't have anything to worry about. They just say, "we have to do better," and wait three seconds--which is just about the full span of our political attention.
By the way, we don't have hunger in California. If you don't have enough to eat, you are not hungry, you are food insecure, which according to the ca.gov, it means you have uncertain access to enough food to eat.
There are 5.4 million Californians--including 2.3 million children--who are food insecure. That's 1 out of every 4 kids.
Those are 2019 numbers and haven't been adjusted to reflect the impact of the 2020 pandemic on food insecurity.
Since I wasn't invited to the governor's ball or mayor's soiree, I thought I amuse myself with the 2020 presidential election numbers.
And voilà, AP's numbers are wrong.
New York finally got to 99% reporting and the new numbers aren't reflected in the totals. Human error. They're probably thinking no one is crazy enough to check the numbers in her own excel spreadsheet on a sleepy Saturday night. They might be fixed by Sunday morning. Who knows?
The AP (Associated Press) totals are:
My numbers are:
Except for California and New York, who are still counting with their fingers and toes, those states reporting 99% are pretty stable. They are: Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. Rest are reporting 100%.
I should be able to wrap up my analysis in couple of days.
Until then, here is my take on John's latest questions:
Q: Should he [Biden] and his team do nothing prior to January 20th, lest they undermine [President] Trump?
A: No. They should be busy working on the transition. That does not include Mr. Biden calling on the Congress to release a second relief/stimulus package immediately, as if he has the authority. Nancy Pelosi has been holding the relief package that is desperately needed by so many hostage to ensure there is enough money buried in the package to bail out California and to spite President Trump.
Did I mention that California government has paid as much as a billion dollars to prisoners and death row inmates as a part of the Covid unemployment package originally meant to help gig workers like Lyft and Uber? Oops.
California privacy laws prohibit cross-checking social security numbers of the inmates with the social security numbers of those applying for unemployment. A billion-dollar sinkhole. They have probably paid dead people too.
Q: John asked about the China, Islamic Republic and Russia equation.
A: I leave this to Russian experts.
Q: What type of policies would you recommend Biden to pursue towards Iran?
A: Why should I recommend policies to Mr. Biden and his team for free? Doesn't he have a Secretary of State nominee?
The Islamic Republic bankrolls Middle Eastern instability under the veil of (Shi'a) Islam. If American taxpayers are down with that, who am I to get in the middle of this mess?
Iran is engaged in cyber warfare with US on daily basis. It's cheap and effective. The nuclear deal is just a cover to take American dollars to spend on destabilizing the region (along with Russia).
President Trump's maximum pressure has pushed IRI's economy into a recession, but that hasn't stopped them from extracurricular spending.
This is how much IRI spends (2019 figures) on terrorism (various groups in each territory, too many to list here):
Syria $6 billion
Iraq $1 billion
Lebanon $700 million
Palestine $100 million
Yemen $100 million
Afghanistan $2 million
My 80-something aunt voted for President Trump. She says, (President) Trump is the only one who has been standing up to those godless mullahs. She can have the last word here.
JE comments: Standing up to unsavory regimes may play well politically at home, but does it accomplish anything beyond human suffering? The obvious case study used to be Cuba, to which we've "stood up" for sixty years. It's sobering to realize we've been in a Cold War with Iran for almost as long--forty years.
On Governor Newsom's double-header of political stupidities, see this piece from the LA Times:
- California Lockdown; What To Do with Iran? (A. J. Cave, USA 12/06/20 3:24 AM)