Tag: politics

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Divided We Stand

At Noon EST today, Joseph R. Biden Jr. ascended to the Presidency of the United States, having taken the oath of office about 12 minutes earlier. He later issued 15 executive orders, which is an unprecedented number compared to his predecessors. None to one is typical on the first day. Democrats are unified controlling the Executive and Legislative branches of government.

Biden’s first-day actions and posturing by the House and Senate are indicative of a party with a mandate. But there is none. The 46th President won the 2020 Election by slimmer-than-appears electoral margin and Democrats command a narrow number of seats in Congress. The data, along with recent protesting and rioting by conservative and liberal constituents, reflect a nation deeply divided, rather than united behind the new Commander-in-Chief. The situation portends that his calls for unity will fail, although I hope otherwise.

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Citizens are the True Symbols of Our Democracy

I wonder on this 92nd Martin Luther King Jr. birthday what the great civil rights leader would think about what’s happening in Washington, D.C. during 2021. Following last week’s U.S. Capitol breach during a massive rally of Donald Trump supporters, the District is essentially locked down ahead of the January 20 inauguration of Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris. A seven-foot high, non-scalable fence surrounds the symbol of American democracy, which may never be freely open to the public again.

“Roughly four times the number of American troops currently deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq combined”—that’s 21,000—are protecting the U.S. Capitol and D.C. for the inauguration, Karina Zaiets, Javier Zarracina, and Kim Hjelmgaard write for USA Today. Alex Ward, first-hand reporting for Vox: “The seat of American democracy looks like a city under occupation”.

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Flowers, Anyone?

The Featured Image is an attempt to soothe the soul, following an insane few days that promise to be absolutely crazier. I captured the flowers on April 2, 2018, using Leica M (Typ 262) and Summarit-M 1:2.4/50 lens. Vitals: f/4.8, ISO 200, 1/250 sec, 50mm; 10:24 a.m. PDT. Photo is composed as shot; no edits.

As for the bizarre goings on, to start: During a massive rally of up to 1 million people (my guess, 250,000-plus) in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6, 2021, protesters broke into the U.S. Capitol during certification of the electoral vote that confirms the 2020 Presidential Election winner. Violence ensued, and lawmakers were evacuated, including Vice President Michael Pence. A woman (Ashli Babbit) from here in San Diego was shot and killed by police. Later, an officer (Brian Sicknick) died of injuries sustained during the melee. Politicians quickly called the assault an “insurrection” and failed “coup”, blaming President Donald Trump for instigating the incident.

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Flickr a Week 53: ‘Blue Lives Matter meets ACAB’

The final Wednesday of the year brings us to the second-to-the-last post in the series, should it conclude as previously planned. I am undecided. For now, our selection captures some of 2020’s most important themes—triple-P: pandemic, politics, and protests; for sure one overlaps another in some manner or another. My first choice, self-titled “Respirator Life“, by David Geitgey Sierralupe, is unfortunately All Rights Reserved. So I had to pick another selection, one Creative Commons-licensed, from the carpenter who lives in Eugene, Ore.

Rally for Democracy“—with a nurse wearing KN95 mask and typifying fallout from the Presidential Election and SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2), better known as COVID-19—was a contender. But the choice came down to a coin-toss between two street shots with the same self-title: “Blue Lives Matter meets ACAB“. The acronym stands for “all cops are bastards”. The second choice (blame the quarter for landing tails).

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California Cancels Christmas

Reading the list from my previous post, Cali life might seem so fab that you’re ready to move to the Golden State. Cool your jets and read on first. Earlier today, Governor Gavin “Gruesome” Newsom extinguished the light at the end of the holidays, by announcing even more SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—also known as COVID-19restrictions that assure Santa won’t shimmy down any California chimneys this Christmas Eve, even if wearing a mask or practicing social distancing. St. Nick Corp. isn’t an “essential business”, meaning one exempt from the onerous obstructions to living—or even breathing—under the benevolence of Governor Newssolini’s  auspicious authority.

Bigger than the new lockdown protocols is their nebulous nature. Newsom has organized the state into five regions, placing San Diego County with Los Angeles County, which has the greatest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases (e.g. infections) in the United States. He expects that ICU capacity will fall to 15 percent within the next day or two, which will be the event that steals Christmas from Southern California, if not statewide. But he was downright dubious about when this would happen, although he could confidently say that once the trigger pulls, the new shutdown order would be in place for at least three weeks. Do the math. Santa ain’t coming this year!

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The Benefits of Living the COVID California Crackdown

Thanks to Governor Gavin “Gruesome” Newsom’s dictates demanding that citizens stay home, California is now a fine freeloading paradise where taking responsibility for anything is a crime. But that’s okay, because his do-nothing principle is assured to protect us—locked inside our own living-in-paradise prisons—from SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2), also known as COVID-19.

I have heard some commenters refer to the Gov as Newssolini, but anyone with more than two functioning neurons should see such insinuation insults the dictator. (Say, Mr. Mussolini, how’s the temperature in Hell these days?)

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Flickr a Week 48a: ‘President Trump Pardons the National Thanksgiving Turkey’

We celebrate America’s day of family, friends, and gratitude with self-titled “President Trump Pardons the National Thanksgiving Turkey“, which Shealah Craighead captured on Nov. 24, 2020. Camera and photo vitals are not available. Shooting location, for the fowl named Corn, is the White House Rose Garden.

I had wanted to feature something about the Pilgrims, whose pilgrimage to this continent would be a 400-year-anniversary celebration in Plymouth, Mass., if not for the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—also known as COVID-19pandemic. Failing to find an appropriate Creative Commons-licensed image and seeing that the President likely gives amnesty to his last bird—following the General Services Administration declaring Joe Biden “apparent President-elect“—plans changed.

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‘It’s Official’

Today begins the end of the Donald J. Trump presidency. Emily Murphy, Administrator for the General Services Administration, sent a letter to Joseph R. Biden, Jr. informing him that resources would now be made available as dictated by the Presidential Transition Act of 1963. Her action essentially declares Biden the apparent winner of the Nov. 3, 2020 national election.

Uncertainty loomed over the outcome as states counted, or recounted, votes, and Team Trump unleashed a torrent of legal challenges. That said, the Associated Press waited only four days before declaring Biden and Kamala Harris the winners and designated them president- and vice-president elect, respectively. Other media-outlets followed; the two candidates gave victory speeches and started announcing immediate policy actions for when they assume office and announcing who will fill key forthcoming administration positions—all while operating before signage reading “Office of the President Elect” (hehe, boastfully with no hyphen).

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Going Postal

Among Americans, few institutions, and the services provided, are as meaningful as the United States Post Office. The Second Continental Congress created the U.S. postal system on July 26, 1775—nearly a year before the Colonies formally declared national independence from Britain—and chose Benjamin Franklin as the first postmaster general. Living generations, even the youngest among them, share some emotional experience from receiving, or sending, mail. The card from grandma is a tangible expression of her love for you. Delivery of an online-ordered package—and every other one before it—is a moment of anticipation and joy. Feelings about the mail are entrenched, and within our society they are universally shared.

We put faith in the Post Office and its capacity to deliver our mail. But now, Democrat politicians and their supporters assert that our faith is misplaced—that we cannot trust the USPS, because the Trump Administration conspired to  disrupt postal operations to tamper with this year’s Presidential election. The allegations exploded like a supernova—seemingly from invisibility—not long after the President raised concerns that universal mail-in ballot initiatives, like the one here in California, would lead to voter fraud. Trump’s Democrat rivals assert that cost-cutting streamlining of postal operations and recent slowdown of mail processing are evidence of his interference to steal your vote.

It’s non sequitur. One thing has little to do with the other. Donald Trump is a longstanding critic of the USPS as it exists today—way before the brouhaha about mail-in ballots—and there are legitimate concerns that existing postal logistical capabilities and various states’ voting rules will lead to electoral chaos. But as a political maneuver, Democrats have whacked a hornet’s nest of emotional attachment to mail that already stings the President.

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Party-Pooping Politics

The first of two presidential conventions convening this month is underway. The Democrats are meeting, if you rightly can call it that, in Milwaukee, Wisc. Most of the speeches are being given individually, rather than before crowds, from remote locations, because everyone is scared into a tizzy about spreading—or worse—catching SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2); better known as COVID-19. I suppose that it would be bad form for 77-year-old Joe Biden, running mate Kamala Harris, or anyone among the party’s esteemed elite to catch Coronavirus and die. Surely members of the opposing party can hope.

Speaking of the Republicans, their greet-and-not-meet event starts on Aug. 24, 2020, in Charlotte, N.C.. Flag-waving, MAGA-hat-wearing supporters can likewise stump for their candidates, Donald Trump and Mike Pence, before televised, remotely-given speeches. Every vote counts, unless your constituents catch COVID-19 and die before Election Day; so it’s better they don’t gather together. Eh?

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Newsom’s Gruesome California

Today, while walking along the Campus-Cleveland alley, between Tyler and Van Buren, in the University Heights neighborhood, I saw something stranger than the rubber duck that appeared in mid-July—and on the same rooftop. Were these clothes laid out to dry during another day of scorching heat? (San Diego County is sweltering hot this weekend, and there is a weather advisory.) Maybe someone left them for homeless folks or anyone else wanting, or needing, the garms?

Spring and Summer 2020 are nothing less than alien, societal landscapes—an apocalyptic drama that commenced with Governor Gavin “Gruesome” Newsom’s mid-March order that effectively shut down California to (supposedly) slow spread of SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—better known as COVID-19. The sterilization of normal behavior meant few (I saw two) garage/yard sales and little to no opportunity to donate items to thrift stores—or shop in them. Residents’ response: More giveaways placed in alleys for whomever might what them; quality of the stuff is significantly better than typical, too.