election

The Filibuster

While it may seem a strange way to conduct business, the filibuster within the Senate has existed as a procedure since 1806. It originated seemingly accidentally as an unforeseen consequence of a simple rules change, and has in one form or another regulated the legislative process ever since.

It has a much longer history; the first recorded filibuster was by Cato in the Roman Senate, opposing one of Caesar’s proposals in 60 B.C. However, the weight of tradition alone is insufficient to maintain this tool; one of McConnell’s unlauded triumphs was its preservation in the rules of the present Congress by passive opposition to the transfer of Senate leadership until language defining and guaranteeing it was inserted into the agreement. Otherwise, it may have been ended immediately with the convening of the new Senate — and it may well be again in 2022.

What is for us to consider rather is whether this tool is valuable enough to preserve, or instead fully deserves to be discarded as a relic of a long-outmoded past.

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It’s A Trap

Or, Why Nothing Will Happen On The 20th

Some people among us continue to insist that the election was stolen, that votes were manipulated and voices silenced — or invented, that tens of thousands of elderly folks in nursing homes (largely senile) had their ballots farmed at the behest of local organizers who wished to win more than they wanted to safeguard the election process.

Much of this is plausible. Certainly, the results of the election are not what they would have been had earlier laws remained in effect, and (in Pennsylvania’s case) had the governor strictly followed the legislature’s lead. Then too, given the truly vast number of election volunteers, surely some few must have violated the law here and there; in the present COVID age, identification validation went unverified in places it would not have. A neutral party could readily grant so much.

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On Trump And Civil Unrest

I’m going to be frank with you, and I want you to know why.

The thing is, we spend so much time pussy-footing around dangerous thoughts and ideas these days because we feel we can’t discuss them openly. Cancel Culture has taken its toll; the list of former celebrities only ever grows. Attrition is less among politicians, but pundits and journalists vanish almost daily, because they say something that society refuses to accept — there’s invisible lines, and they cross them, and that’s just something that cannot be borne.

Without judging this phenomenon, I want to acknowledge it and explain in terms accessible even to the meanest understanding why it does not dissuade me from being brutally open and honest about this topic.

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F&L 2020: It’s Not Over

It’s not over yet, people.

No, not the Presidential race, though to be sure we’re still working through some of the process. Instead, let us consider the Senate: presently deadlocked at 50 Republicans and 48 Democrats, with a probable two seats up for runoff elections in Georgia.

Republicans don’t seem to have quite realized yet that the Democrats are probably going to win both seats.

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When Will We Know For Sure?

Not today, and probably not tomorrow either. Sorry, but that’s the truth.

In a normal year, we’d have most of these things figured out by now, but this is not a normal year. Thanks to COVID-19, a record number of votes came in by mail, and the outdated laws in most states haven’t yet caught up with the new normal. As a result, some states will still be receiving votes through Friday, one or two over the weekend, and so on. It gets complicated, and there’s no reason you should have to know all the details.

But, what the hell — that’s what we’re here for. Right? …Right?

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Fear and Loathing: Handicapping 2020

It’s coming down to the wire, and there’s a ton of nervousness out there about who will win the election. Yes, Uncle Joe has a serious lead in the polls, but The Donald has been shown to be making gains among the undecideds — and we must remember that Clinton too led in the polls in 2016.

After all is said and done, it’s not the popular vote that will decide the election, nor should it be. It’s the Electoral College.

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Why We Don’t Have COVID Relief

The Senate has adjourned for their pre-election break following marathon sessions to confirm a new Supreme Court justice. This makes it highly unlikely that we’ll see more stimulus checks before Election Day.

But for once the blame doesn’t actually belong to the Senate, despite how bad this looks. They don’t have anything to vote on.

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F&L 2020: Is The Election “Rigged”?

The entire point of calling this “The Not Fake News” is to address commonly held misconceptions wherever they exist — “commonly held” because there’s no benefit to disproving something nobody believes in anyway, and “misconceptions” because there’s already a huge chorus of media outlets all voicing the same truths, so who needs one more?

In the past, people were obliging enough to present memes that could easily be demonstrated as false. However, now that our social media corporations are taking those down almost as quickly as they go up, it’s difficult to capture one long enough to dissect it, much less to spread the actual truth behind the meme. The danger of this is that rumors are started by that first glimpse, but without permanence there’s no space for discussion or disproof. Even the original poster won’t be sure what it was they started off trying to say.

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F&L 2020: Enthusiasm Gap

OPINION

Be warned: I’m about to start blaspheming here, though not against any widely respected or even recognized faith.

My target is not a god per se, but rather certain beliefs fervently held by adherents of political parties — who, if they know me well enough by now, have already stopped reading. Which is fair enough; if I fail to lend credence while they impugn my faith, why should they pay attention to someone kicking at the underpinnings of theirs?

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F&L 2020: Death Of A Candidate

President Trump has been tested positive for COVID-19. Since we’re presently engaged in an election, it’s important to consider what happens if he — or another candidate — should die.

Fortunately, we have a process to determine this for us. So, in order to reduce uncertainty, let’s consider the possibilities and project, as best we may, what will happen under each of them.

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