Richard e Hill - a Writer's Journal

2012 Election Tidbits


Is Politics Becoming a Spectator Sport?

In our youthful dreams we fantasized about taking our activities to the ultimate level.  Then life’s clock of reality struck twelve and first base returned to being the sewer lid, centerfield, the adjoining neighbor’s yard; a microphone, a hairbrush; a basketball court, a driveway; an ice rink, a swimming pool; and the stage, a foot locker.  We were then reduced to being spectators as surrogates performed our deeds in stadia, theatres, convention centers and virtual arenas.

Other walks of life were impacted as well as Boy Scout medals didn’t transmogrify into Silver Stars; the captain of the safety patrol, the Chief of Police, and the prettiest girl in school became just another ordinary made up face on the way to a job.  Enter the surrogates again as their purview expanded into a keystroke, warp speed, gigabyte, abbreviation laden, "reality TV", marketing poll driven, and spin doctored hidden world.

Who are these surrogates that control our lives? They are Super PACs, pundits, talking heads, agenda driven journalists, and comedians; the visible standard bearers for the uber wealthy and power brokers. Yes, a “funny thing” happened to a guy that didn’t know who to vote for.  A few chuckles later he did.  To say that comedians are responsible for the state of the world, is and of itself is laughable, but they are definitely in the mix of opinion shapers. As critical junctions occur in a campaign ---- send in the clowns and sometimes these jokers appear serious. When is the last time you heard someone express an original thought? Instead it’s “did you hear what (insert name here) said last night?” “On the (insert program name) show, they took apart the (insert issue) here. 

In the virtual arena where a vote is the price of admission, while a miniscule percent of the “one percenters” sit in luxury boxes and enjoy the perquisites of their stature as their duly chosen sycophants through verbal legerdemain and statistical prestidigitation attempt to deliver bought and paid for results. Mythical “Everyman” waits for the crumbs of inclusion. “Joe the Plumber”, no! Have you seen the cost of plumbing? He has plumber’s butt because he is weighted down with cash and mooning you as he pads his time driven invoice.

The legitimate “Everyman” repeatedly counts his change from squeezed currency and the end that is exposed is the one that is getting farther and farther from reach. Others stand outside the virtual arena, disenfranchised ----- no vote, no entry, no hope.

We are better educated than any time in history. Yet, we let others decide what is best for us while we gaze hypnotically, texting away ---- as anthropologists wonder if the opposable thumb was really genetic progress.

 Instead of filling full coffers, help someone with gas money or transportation to find a job or get to the polls. Learn the issues and the ramifications. Talk about the issues as you solve community problems. It doesn’t have to be a “bridge to nowhere”; it could be repairing a step for the elderly, monitoring children to safely walk home from deteriorating schools, building a swing in a gang infested playground as the baggy subfusc scourge is reminded that there are people united and who care.

 Take it to the bank, wherever there is a crowd of people doing constructive things and discussing issues ---- the politicians will find you and assist you in gaining admission into the virtual arena.

 The 1% can outspend the 99% but they CANNOT OUTVOTE them.



 Bradley, the Oh Kee Doke, and Oz

According to the polls Tom Bradley was well on his way in 1982 to becoming the Governor of California.  After a spectacular stint as the strict, no nonsense Chief of Police in Los Angeles, he was carving a unprecedented niche as a dynamic politician as his career path had segued to becoming the accomplished heralded FIVE time Mayor of Los Angeles beginning in 1973 in a rematch of the racially charged 1969 Election with fading machine powerhouse Sam Yorty. Yes, Sam Yorty had played the race card big time in 1969, but this divisive rhetoric fell on ears that were listening for a message with the theme of change in 1973.  Speculation loomed that  Bradley’s  time in the Sacramento Governor’s Mansion would be a short stay anyway as the glare of the National spotlight would be luring him to Washington D C as a Senator or even a Vice President. Then the unthinkable happened, African American Tom Bradley was DEFEATED by George Deukmejian of Armenian descent, returning him to his day job as Mayor!  How could this happen?  After all the 1982 Election Day exit polls had Bradley winning going away.

The electorate had grown weary of being polled and scrutinized.  A poll taker’s nightmare had occurred ---- the respondents had become biased and analytical instead of spontaneous and earnest.  The pollsters had fallen for the Oh Kee Doke as respondents were expressing views which were felt as politically correct; then voted the more socially acceptable opposite. The Bradley effect was born.

The Oh Kee Doke, the modus operandi of street hustlers as they “run their game”. The interlocutor with the aid of surrogates would tantalize victims with his “game” while his surrogates co-signed and verified the authenticity.

Granted, poll taking methodologies and analysis has become more sophisticated, but the warning signs are there. Polling can be and to a certain extent is overdone and politically selective. Combine this with inculcating advertisements and you have a body of people who have had enough. This is particularly true in the so-called swing States where the choices are thought to be still in doubt and may yet be swayed.

Look behind the curtain and realize the folly being presented ---- then vote accordingly to your belief.


Behind the Wizard's Curtain

"JOBS", the sign in bold letters behind Mitt Romney underscores his Presidential Campaign central theme. 12 million jobs in 8 years ---- quick math translates that into two 4 year terms. 12 divided by 8 years interpolates into an average of 1.5 million jobs per year.  1,500,000 divided by 12 (the number of months in a year) means 125,000 jobs per month. That is great unless you are Barack Obama.  Analysis of the monthly Jobs Report by Romney and surrogates leads us to believe this rate of growth is "stagnant and slow". Even the 170,000 jobs created in October 2012 is "inadequate" and "we can do better".

This reminds me of the carnival hustler that ran away to the mythical Land of Oz and became "The Wizard". Romney the contemporary Wizard has shifted his traveling show from Michigan to Massachusetts to Utah with a course set for Washington DC.  Incidentally the Salt Lake City Tribune, published in the REPUBLICAN and MORMON State of Utah endorses Barack Obama for the Presidency.

The 2012 Presidential Campaign alone has accumulated ONE BILLION dollars in contributions for EACH PARTY. The industries being "rescued" and or "bailed out" in these instances are the media in political advertising revenues and the fast food establishments for the army of campaign workers.

 As the folk balladeer Jim Croce sang, "Oz never gave nothing to the Tin Man that he didn't already have".

Revisited : What Time Is It?

It's that time again; Daylight Savings Time adjustment. The brain child of Benjamin Franklin in 1784 (all the States, Commonwealths and Territories were in the same time zone then) has been a Spring ritual that gained popularity during the World Wars I and II to conserve energy. I believe Daylight Savings Time should be eliminated altogether and when we "spring ahead" in March 2013, it should be the last time. Furthermore there are too many time zones. In these days of high speed travel and instant connectivity, the varying times within the continental USA are confusing.  China, which is slightly smaller than the USA in square miles, has one time zone. Since they are our chief trading partner and creditor, send them a time zone. Seriously though, I believe two time zones would be ample, the current Pacific Zone should be merged with the Mountain Zone and the Central merged into the Eastern. Alaska could/would have a modified Pacific Zone for the entire state. The geographic boundaries of time are in 15° one hour increments; the majority of the continental USA is within two time boundaries. Therefore the one hour shift between zones would be adequate. The media and transportation industries would benefit from this change ---- "prime time" would 7:00 PM or 8:00 PM. 

The calendar and the dates have been changed frequently during recorded history, all in an effort to align with the solar year to be consistent with the time the Earth orbits around the Sun. The calendar evolved from eight, ten, or twelve months with intercalary months, mainly February used for adjustment. The beginning of the year (and sometimes the calendar proper) corresponded to various methods ---- significant events; start of a war, beginning of a reign, just to enumerate a few. Months were sub-divided by Kalends, first day of the month. Nones traditionally the day of the half moon, either day 5 or 7, and Ides, traditionally the day of the full moon, either day 13 or 15.

The correct current date was so confused that the years at the beginning of the Julius Caesar reign were deemed "the years of confusion" until the Emperor decreed a year (46 BC) of 445 days in length to "correct" the previous errors. This was the provenance of the Julian calendar when in 1582 Pope Gregory XIII promulgated the Gregorian calendar, which was soon adopted by most Catholic countries. The Protestant countries followed later, and the countries of Eastern Europe even later. The British Empire (Great Britain, territories, colonies including USA) finally adopted the "new format" in 1752 by removing 11 days (Wednesday, 3 September - Thursday, 13 September) from the calendar.

 The removal of the 11 days from the calendar was not seamless. There were riots and other public outrage demanding "Give us our eleven days back!"  All previous date references were not adjusted, simply ignored. A noteworthy exception was George Washington's birthday. Washington was born on February 11, 1731 (Old Style) and February 22, 1732 (New Style). He did not celebrate February 22nd as his birthday until later in life. Note: The official designation for this holiday is Washington's Birthday not Presidents Day. For those who dreaded the Millennium --- your fears were unfounded because the Christianity based calendar despite all of the adjustments is still several years in arrears, meaning the Millennium had already occurred before 2000.

April 1st was New Years Day in France in 1582 (March 25th, Annunciation Day was New Years Day in the U. K.) ---by the way, a forthcoming Happy New Year. The ancients believed and probably rightfully so, that the year began with the first day of Spring; calendars were based on lunar cycles. There are several explanations for the origin of April Fools' Day, but here is the most plausible one. In 1582, Pope Gregory declared the adoption of his Gregorian calendar to replace the Julian calendar and New Year's Day was officially changed to January 1st. It   took awhile for everyone in France to hear the news of this major change and others obstinately refused to accept the new calendar, so a lot of people continued to celebrate New Year's Day on the first of April - earning them the name "April fools." The April fools were subjected to ridicule and practical jokes and the tradition was born. The butts of these pranks were first called poisson d'avril fish" because a young naive fish is easily caught. A common practice was to hook a paper fish on the back of someone as a joke. This evolved over time and a custom of prank-playing continues on the first day of April.

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