Living Large In Carson City: Helter Skelter/Look Out, ‘Cause Here She Comes Beatles Edition

Turning and turning in the widening gyre. The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world. William Butler Yeats

The time is now. Helter skelter. Charles Manson

Maybe it is a sign of the times when one of the world’s greatest poets and one of history’s most vile madmen can be quoted together and the outcome makes perfect sense. As Americans face a long, lonely haul before the end of the coronavirus outbreak can even be accurately predicted, all patriotic citizens should take a moment to reflect. Working through the haze of self quranteening, furtive early morning runs to Costco in search of the elusive toilet paper roll, and late night cocktails and snacking, most of America is too stupefied to take note of the state of the U. S. government, much less make sense of it. Such are the times.

Ground zero at my house is relatively calm, if not, with a fine pall of worry and concern hanging over our humble estate about how this is all going to play out.  Nevada is ranked number 23rd in the nation with just over a 1,000 cases diagnosed and 17 deaths. Of course, most people don’t understand just how lopsided the population concentration is across the state. Consider at this time, the megapolis of Las Vegas accounts for 753 of the diagnosed cases and 15 of the 17 deaths. The numbers are growing, of course, with yesterday accounting for 48 of the diagnosed cases since Monday, March 30. I digress.

Underneath all of the folderol and wacky miscommunication coming out of Washington and Trump’s mouth, serious shit is happening. Serious shit that the president and his minions would be happy for the rest of the country to ignore. In case America has forgotten, there is a presidential election coming up in November, and ready or not, the federal government and the states need to be prepared for it. This is where it gets complicated and nasty.

For all my life, there has been one truism that has held true through every election, presidential or otherwise: Republicans will do everything in their power to suppress the vote, which skews the election in their favor. Of course, over history there have been times when the issue swung to the other side like during the Jim Crow era, but in our modern world, Republicans have been the culprits. It doesn’t matter if was the Poll Tax, tricked out gerrymandering, throwing people off the voter rolls for no apparent reason, or simply, as we see today, closing down polling places at the last minute leaving voters to fend for themselves. The poor are disproportionately affected by this in a negative way, well hell, all Americans are to some degree.

Considering Trump’s manic thirst for power, the states need to take the lead on this pronto. Since there is no way to predict when the coronavirus will abate, or that it might go away during the warm summer months only to rekindle in the fall, the November 3 election date is iffy at best. Conventional wisdom holds that given Trump’s authoritarian tendencies, it isn’t a stretch to see him executing an executive order cancelling the election in light of the virus’s toll on the economy and the country.

The only way to possibly avoid such an action is for mail-in voting to be in place when November rolls around. The problem is that state’s are going to be cash strapped for the conceivable future due to outpouring of funds to prop up the medical profession as the virus takes its toll. Normally, the states could turn to the federal government to subsidize a project like this, but not in Trump world. Hell, he’s reluctant to send funds and equipment to state’s whose governors he sees as as not being appreciative enough of his actions.

For Trump, the virus is a wet dream that not even he could have imagined. In it he will see the perfect excuse to cancel the election and declare himself the grand poobah for four more years. Does anyone think that a court challenge wouldn’t go all the way to the Supreme Court? Does anyone have faith in the justices coming to  a fair and impartial verdict that puts the country first ahead of Trump’s wishes? I don’t think so.

In an article titled “How the coronavirus pandemic could soon explode into a constitutional crisis” by Cody Fenwick writing for Alternet, Fenwick quotes Davie Daley author of the new book UNRIGGED: How Americans Are Battling to Save Democracy who is sounding the alarm about just what could happen if conservative Republican governors follow Trump’s lead to suppress the vote later this year. Here he talks about recent events in the Democratic primary in mid-March,

. . . it gets harder and harder to imagine how a normal election might take place. As the crisis was ramping up, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced that he was canceling the March 17 election, in which Democratic primary voters were primed to go to the polls. He made this announcement the day before in-person voting was to take place, citing the danger posed by the outbreak, only to be ordered by a judge to proceed with the vote. He defied that order and kept the polls closed anyway. RawStory

Speaking of the polls, the article goes on to point out some obvious and serious concerns. Fenwick notes that the virus is especially hard hitting when it comes to seniors. Seniors are the primary source of people power that run most elections. What if there just aren’t enough poll workers to open the polls, or they are too frightened to show up at an event where hundreds if not thousands of people file in off the street to stand three feet away from them as they get their ballots. Fenwick also points out, how will voters exercise safe distancing when standing in line while queueing up to vote. Daly says it best,

“There are solutions, which all revolve around early voting, expanding vote by mail, expanding drop off centers and no-excuse absentee balloting,” said Daley. “All of this needs to be done in an effective way, and all of it costs money.” RawStory

Why are Republicans so afraid of mail in voting. Well, first of all, they can’t control the turnout. Second, if they can’t control the turnout, they can’t inhibit onsite polling places from dismissing voters as they show up to vote. This would mean they would have to turn to more nefarious means of suppressing the vote, further exposing their underhanded actions to skew the will of the American people. Old folks, minorities, and disabled voters would suddenly become a force to be reckoned with. In their own words, the issue comes down to this,

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Georgia State House Speaker David Ralston became the latest GOP official to warn about the perils that vote-by-mail initiatives would have on his party.

“This will be extremely devastating to Republicans and conservatives in Georgia,” he said. “Every registered voter is going to get one of these. … This will certainly drive up turnout.” RawStory

And now famously, Mad King Donald,

Trump earlier this week similarly told “Fox & Friends” that Democrats were pushing for initiatives that would generate “levels of voting that if you ever agreed to it you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.”RawStory

And so it goes.

Wacko of the Week Award

On Tuesday afternoon, a train engineer named Eduardo Moreno, apparently with great deliberation, derailed the freight train he was manning in Southern California, nearly killing occupants of three nearby cars. His target? The USNS Mercy, a Navy medical ship that’s been assisting nearby hospitals with COVID-19 patients.

“I had to. People don’t know what’s going on here,” Moreno reportedly told the officer who arrested him. Apparently, Moreno believes in a conspiracy theory that the coronavirus crisis is a hoax being deployed to cover for a shadowy takeover of the government. RawStory

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