Closing Thought–14Aug20

WE as a nation are about to vote for our next president……these days it appears that knowledge og civics is in short supply……

I think that a little knowledge would be best for everyone and especially for the nation.

This can only help for the acquisition of that knowledge….

Civic education is crucial in America. Every American should know why the Declaration of Independence was written, why the colonists fought to break away from Great Britain, and what caused the Civil War. Americans should know their rights, duties, and responsibilities. All of these things—American history, principles, and virtues—are what it takes to be a good American citizen. 

Fortunately, learning about America and what citizenship means can begin at an early age. 

The following portals are designed to be used by parents, teachers, and students in elementary school, middle school, and high school. We’ve curated the best resources from institutions that teach about America, which will be especially valuable to teachers looking to fortify their curricula with quality American civics content. These resources are separated by appropriate grade level in order to help students better understand, or even encounter for the very first time, the American story. 

We hope that these portals will help you learn something about your country that you didn’t know. We hope that they will encourage you to become better students and citizens of the country that you call home. 

The best source for civic education is our veterans…..if anyone knows what it means to serve this country it is they…..

… their long history of providing critical support to civic education initiatives, veterans and veterans organizations have generally been overlooked as a resource in these recent efforts. But few citizens have more at stake in the preservation and inculcation of American values and civic knowledge than the men and women who have put their lives on the line in their defense. The recovery of this role for veterans and veterans organizations is crucial both to the well-being of veterans and to the revival of civic education. Those who seek to help veterans thrive should consider exploring ways to once again engage them in the crucial work of civic education, while those who seek to bolster civic education should look to veterans as assets in their work.

The Joe Foss Institute at Arizona State University’s Center for Political Thought and Leadership — named for World War II Medal of Honor winner Joe Foss and supported by Arizona philanthropists Randy Kendrick and Jim Chamberlain, among others — engages veterans in civic education through their Veterans Inspiring Patriotism program. This program brings trained veteran volunteers into K-12 classrooms to share their personal stories as well as to deliver educational content on American institutions and founding documents, symbols such as the U.S. flag, and the responsibilities of citizenship.

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2020/08/07/enlist_veterans_in_the_war_on_us_civics_ignorance.html

Learn Stuff!

VOTE!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Here Comes The Disinformation (Again)

It is that time of the political cycle…the Silly Season….less than 90 days prior to the general election….and the propaganda/disinformation/fake news abounds…..with NO letting up until November.

Joseph Goebbels (an infamous Nazi propagandist) said “If you lie tell a big lie and repeat it often until it becomes truth”….sounds like American politics to me.

My good friend and fellow blogger John over at Lines By Liming recently wrote about the “fake news” stuff…….his post can be read here….https://linesbyliming.com/2020/08/09/shenanigans-and-happenings/

Have been watching to proliferation of disinformation.fake news for years now and I have even been trying to educate my readers on how to spot the use disinformation.propaganda. fake news……just a couple of my endeavors…..

https://lobotero.com/2019/09/03/what-is-disinformation/

https://lobotero.com/2013/01/11/what-is-propaganda/

https://lobotero.com/2014/01/06/propaganda-2-0/

Those post of mine here on IST will help the reader understand and identify the use of disinformation….or propaganda….or fake news…call it what you like it is all the same.

But if you do not trust my take on the identifying of disinformation then maybe this will be more to your liking…..

Social media was a wonderful evolution of the digital world when it emerged in the 2000s in the form of companies like MySpace, Facebook and Twitter. Connecting with old friends or family members, broadcasting your latest thoughts on Penn State football or sharing a new recipe … social media made that easy and fun to do.

But while it was winning us over by connecting us with long-lost members of our high school graduating classes, social media was also being used to share news and, just as importantly, opinions about news. Almost one-fifth of American adults (18%) “say they turn most to social media for political and election news,” according to the Pew Research Center. And what’s worse, Pew found, is that these same adults are less likely to know about topics in the news, especially involving topics like politics.

So right away, we know that people who get their news from social media are less informed than their peers who listen to news on the radio, watch it on TV or read reliable print or online publications.

https://papost.org/2020/08/07/how-you-can-spot-disinformation-online-and-on-social-media/

The MSM is losing its place as the 4th Estate…..it is no longer the trusted source for news and information……

A report released this week indicates the majority of Americans believe the media plays a critical role in democracy—and think United States news outlets are failing to deliver accurate coverage.

“That’s a bad thing for democracy,” John Sands, director of learning and impact at the Knight Foundation, which conducted the study in conjunction with Gallup, told the Associated Press. “Our concern is that when half of Americans have some sort of doubt about the veracity of the news they consume, it’s going to be impossible for our democracy to function.”

According to the report,

Less than half of Americans, 44%, say they can think of a news source that reports the news objectively. Republicans who can name an accurate source overwhelmingly mention Fox News, while Democrats’ responses are more varied.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/08/04/impossible-democracy-function-study-reveals-growing-mistrust-american-media

Hopefully this will help my readers understand and be able to tell when they are being fed manure dressed up as “news”……

I always return to what that Nazi Goebbels said about a lie…..tell it big and repeat that lie many times and it will become truth (paraphrase)……

Learn Stuff!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Will You Vote Democrat In November?

Just a mere 3 months before the vote of the century (at least that is what some are calling it)…..do you know what your candidate is promising?

So far we have two choices for our vote for president of the United States…..Repub Donald Trump or Democrat Joe Biden…this post is for those that think they will vote Dem in November.

Here is the platform that Joe Biden will be running on when he meets Trump in the head to head……

New draft text of the Democratic Party’s 2020 platform calls for bringing “forever wars to a responsible end” and pledges to end the U.S. role in the conflict in Yemen — a sharp reversal from the Obama administration’s policy of arming and assisting the Saudi-led intervention.

The 80-page text, first reported by the Washington Post, is a sign of how far the party’s center of gravity has shifted in four years. The draft was released Tuesday evening to the more than 150-member platform committee for an amendment process. It will likely be ratified at the 2020 Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee next month.

With lengthy sections on racial justice, immigration, climate change, and health care, the document hews closely to many of the policy recommendations produced by a Biden-Sanders unity effort earlier this month. But that unity report largely left out foreign policy, which is where some of the Democratic platform draft’s most significant departures from the 2016 platform lie.

https://theintercept.com/2020/07/22/democrats-unveil-draft-foreign-policy-platform-with-promises-to-end-forever-wars-and-regime-change/

A Grand Plan….but Dems have always had great plans and ideas….they just suck at the game of politics.

Since I try to be an FYI blog during this election season……if you would like to see what is being promised to the voter buy the Dems…..

Click to access 2020_07_21_DRAFT_Democratic_Party_Platform.01.pdf

Let me inject my thoughts on Biden……can Joe breath new air into out international standing?

My answer is yes…..he is a centrists and that makes him a devotee of Neocon thought……

Centrist Democrats do not only see American interests and values threatened by Beijing’s growing assertiveness, on the contrary, they will also expect that American foreign policy remains committed to keeping in check Russia’s military assertiveness in Eastern Europe. Democratic Party centrists will particularly hope that Joe Biden will seek to leverage U.S financial and diplomatic support to the Ukrainian government while also keeping tough on Russia through economic and financial sanctions for its interference in Donbass and Crimea.

These pressing strategic priorities could spell out the gradual decline of U.S foreign policy presence in the Middle East. This is plausible given that centrist Democrats are now openly questioning whether the region is worth the high levels of military engagement that the U.S has maintained for decades. While Democratic Party centrists want Joe Biden to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal, they would also want him to cease American defence support to Saudi Arabia. Centrists democrats aligned with South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttieg, are also calling for U.S troops to return without delay from America’s post-9/11 wars. As for Israel, while there is consensus among centrist Democrats that it remains in America’s national interest to support the security of the Jewish state, its survival is no longer in question, given Israel’s military power to defend itself.

Opinion – Can Joe Biden Revive Transatlantic Relations?

Do not settle!  Know your candidate!

Learn Stuff!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Mail-In Voting

This seems to be the biggest situation for this vote in November…should mail-in voting be the rage as to protect people from the possibility of contracting the Covid-19 virus…..Dems want the mail-in vote and Repubs do not…and the debate goes on.

First why would the GOP not want it….they have done very well in the past?

Or is it just Trump and his minions that do not want it?

Even a close Trump adviser has said they do not want Americans to vote……

President Donald Trump’s economic adviser Larry Kudlow said that the administration does not want protection of voting rights to pass as part of the coronavirus stimulus package.

“So much of the Democratic asks are really liberal left wishlists we don’t want to have,” said Kudlow. “Voting rights, and aid to aliens, and so forth. That’s not our game.”

https://www.rawstory.com/2020/08/trump-adviser-we-dont-want-to-have-protection-of-voting-rights-get-through-congress/

Donald the Orange has gone so far as to threat the use of his extensive Executive Orders…..

President Trump escalated his criticism of mail balloting in a big way on Monday, first in a press conference in which he hinted at using executive action to curtail it and also in an interview. Coverage:

  • Two months: In a sit-down with Axios on HBO, Trump said widespread mail voting would lead to chaos. “You know, you could have a case where this election won’t be decided on the evening of Nov. 3. This election could be decided two months later.” He added: “Lots of things will happen during that period of time. Especially when you have tight margins. Lots of things can happen. There’s never been anything like this.”
  • Executive order: At his White House press conference Monday, Trump said some kind of executive order on mail voting is within his authority. “I have the right to do it,” he said, per Politico. “We haven’t gotten there yet, we’ll see what happens.” Trump didn’t provide specifics about what is under consideration.
  • Nevada: Trump also said the White House would sue Nevada after lawmakers there passed a bill to provide mail ballots to every voter ahead of the election, reports Reuters. “We will be suing in Nevada. And that’s already been taken care of, we’ll probably file something tomorrow,” he said.
  • The evidence: Trump continued to assert that mail balloting is vulnerable to fraud, while news stories (including this one at the AP) continue to assert that he has no evidence to back that up. Politico calls cases of fraud “exceedingly rare” but adds that mail voting might have higher risks if proper safeguards are not in place.
  • A GOP worry: The Washington Post reports that GOP leaders around the US are worried about an unintended consequence of the president’s campaign against mail voting—his supporters are refusing to embrace the practice. “As a result, state and local Republicans across the country fear they are falling dramatically behind in a practice that is expected to be key to voter turnout this year,” write Amy Gardner and Josh Dawsey.

SCOTUS has finally stepped into this fray….and the GOP did not come up too good…..

A Supreme Court ruling on Thursday means that it will remain easier than usual for people in Rhode Island to vote by mail in the November election. In an unsigned order, the justices kept emergency rules in place that allow people to cast their ballots without the signatures of two witnesses, reports Reuters. Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo suspended the two-signature requirement in April, ahead of the June primary, because she said it would have posed a health risk during the pandemic, per the AP. State lawmakers agreed to keep the looser restrictions in place for next month’s primary and the November general election, but the Republican National Committee and the state’s Republican Party objected.

On Thursday, though, the court allowed the rules to stay in place, noting that no “state official has expressed opposition.” This marks the first time the court has ruled on a voting matter related to the pandemic, notes the Washington Post. The ruling said justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch would have granted the GOP request. Republicans oppose easier mail voting because they say, as does President Trump, that the process is vulnerable to fraud. But a rep for the ACLU says the ruling means “hundreds of thousands of Rhode Island voters will be able to safely cast their ballots without risking their health.”

Then the president has said that he is blocking cash to stop mail-in voting…..

During his daily Covid-19 briefing Wednesday evening, Trump dismissed Democratic congressional leaders’ demands for $3.5 billion in election assistance for states and $25 billion for USPS as “ridiculous” and vowed to continue blocking the funds. While USPS leadership insists it has “ample capacity” to meet election needs, postal workers have warned that without emergency funding, the agency could struggle to deliver mail-in ballots on time in November.

“Therefore, they don’t have the money to do the universal mail-in voting. So therefore, they can’t do it,” said the president, who repeated his false claim that mail-in voting is highly susceptible to fraud. “How are they going to do it if they don’t have the money to do it?”

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/08/13/just-comes-right-out-and-says-it-trump-declares-postal-service-cant-handle-mail

One final note or maybe two……Donald and his wife will vote by mail…if it is good enough for them then why not the rest of us?

Next, how do you prevent American citizens from voting….there is a Constitution no matter how much some may hate it that guarantees my right to vote….nothing is said how the vote gets there.

Then Pelosi says…”we don’t agonize, we organize”……cute saying but how has that worked out in the last decade?

Learn Stuff!

VOTE!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

US Needs A New Foreign Policy

As a foreign policy geek I feel that foreign policy should be front and center in this election…..after all we are still fighting on at least 3 of the continents.

First there will be little new if Biden wins the election.

Our foreign policy has been one of war first diplomacy later tactic for 50+ years……this leads to the endless wars that we are plagued with today.

Cultivating any coherent national foreign policy won’t be possible without a common goal, concrete values, and a clear vision of what America is and should be. But a sharp generational divide provides major obstacles to this path forward, also a real chance for much-needed reform.

In the post-Cold War era, American foreign policy considerations seemed to be increasingly separated from domestic issues. Undergirding the American strategy was the spread of liberal democracy around the world—through international institutions or by force. Domestic support of this project was easy in a world that remembered a forceful America defeating the Nazis and landing on the moon. Today’s grandparents and their grandparents remember an America worth fighting for.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2020/07/30/generation_z_and_foreign_policy_building_a_common_vision_of_restraint_in_a_divided_era_115508.html

As I have said our foreign policy has been going in the wrong direction….especially since Pompeo has taken over the State Department……he is a Neocon that will do what he can to start new wars ……

The new president needs to re-structure the State Department…..

The foreign policy apparatus of the United States has a significant issue of hubris. It also has a structural problem. The two are deeply intertwined. While a lot can still happen in the next three months, it looks like Joe Biden’s team will win the presidency in November. Such a victory would signal not just consent for Biden and the Democratic party, but exhaustion at the last four years of endless dramas and politicization. That wellspring of exhaustion isn’t just from Trump, but from the American political system, and a key challenge for Biden will be to demonstrate at the outset he is different. One way to do that is to show that government actually works, and rely on careerists to fill a much larger portion of the foreign policy key positions at the Departments of State, Defense, and Treasury, both domestically and at embassies abroad.

Re-Structuring American Foreign Policy Post-Trump

The American Conservative makes some great points….

Four years after the once unthinkable election of a Republican president who called the Iraq war a “mistake,” America still needs a genuinely conservative foreign policy of realism and restraint.

Hegemonists and hyper-interventionists are being challenged for the first time in two decades, perhaps as never before in the post-Cold War era. The folly of their never-ending, no-win wars is evident to voters, prime-time cable news hosts, diplomats, academics, even the veterans and active-duty soldiers who have fought in them. A new generation of conservative thought leaders is coming of age that turns the thinking that prevailed under George W. Bush on its head, yet the Right is still underrepresented in the fight against the hawkish dead consensus and the GOP’s governing class lags well behind.

The Foreign Policy We Need

We definitely need a new way of thinking about international situations…..but sadly I do not think that no matter who wins in November our foreign policy will remain about the same…..same wars….same rhetoric…..

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”