Closing Thought–20Oct20

Do you collect Social Security?

If so then you will be getting a rip-roaring 1.3% COLA for year 2021…..but not to worry your insurance will eat up most of that raise…..

The Democrats in the Congress have called the COLA “absolutely anemic”……and will try to do something about the small COLA…..

In the wake of the federal government’s announcement this week of a paltry 1.3% cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security recipients in 2021, a pair of House Democrats on Wednesday introduced legislation that would more than double the benefit increase next year as an emergency measure to help seniors cope with the devastating economic fallout of the coronavirus crisis.

“Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, seniors are facing additional financial burdens in order to stay safe,” said Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), who unveiled the bill alongside Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.). “This absolutely anemic COLA won’t even come close to helping them afford even their everyday expenses, let alone those exacerbated by Covid-19.”

Endorsed by advocacy groups representing millions of seniors and retirees across the U.S., DeFazio and Larson’s legislation would boost Social Security’s COLA to 3% in 2021 because, as the Connecticut Democrat put it, “a 1.3% cost-of-living adjustment is just not enough during these difficult times.”

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/10/15/remedy-absolutely-anemic-social-security-increase-amid-pandemic-democrats-bill-would

Sorry to be a Gloomy Gus but I will believe it when I see it…..we Seniors have been promised so much and given so little that I doubt any party’s claims of support.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

The Espionage Act of 1917

Yes dear it is time for a little history since many are as ignorant about history as they are about civics.

For over 100 years a full century the US has had espionage law on the books….and it has been used in many and various ways…

Let’s look at the Act….

The Espionage Act of 1917, passed by Congress two months after the United States declared war against Germany in World War I, made it a federal crime for any person to interfere with or attempt to undermine the U.S. armed forces during a war, or to in any way assist the war efforts of the nation’s enemies. Under the terms of the act, signed into law on June 15, 1917, by President Woodrow Wilson, persons convicted of such acts could be subject to fines of $10,000 and 20 years in prison. Under one still-applicable provision of the act, anyone found guilty of giving information to the enemy during wartime may be sentenced to death. The law also authorizes the removal of material considered “treasonable or seditious” from the U.S. mail.

Key Takeaways: Espionage Act of 1917

  • The Espionage Act of 1917 makes it a crime to interfere with or attempt to undermine or interfere with the efforts of the U.S. armed forces during a war, or to in any way assist the war efforts of the nation’s enemies. 
  • The Espionage Act of 1917 was passed by Congress on June 15, 1917, two months after the United States entered World War I. 
  • While The Espionage Act of 1917 limited Americans’ First Amendment Rights, it was ruled constitutional by the Supreme Court in the 1919 case of Schenck v. United States. 
  • Potential punishments for violations of the Espionage Act of 1917 range from fines of $10,000 and 20 years in prison to the death penalty.

https://www.thoughtco.com/1917-espionage-act-4177012

One hundred years ago, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Espionage Act into law, and since then it has been used to criminalize the disclosure of national defense and classified information.

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2017/06/one-hundred-years-espionage-act

Further reading…..http://totallyhistory.com/espionage-act-of-1917/

I bring up this bit of history because of the this current administration is dealing with “whistle blowers”….they are being persecuted and prosecuted…..

But in the House a reform bill to the Espionage Act is being offered……

Legislation proposed in Congress would amend the United States Espionage Act and create a public interest defense for those prosecuted under the law.

“‘A defendant charged with an offense under section 793 or 798 [in the U.S. legal code] shall be permitted to testify about their purpose for engaging in the prohibited conduct,” according to a draft of the bill Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard introduced.

Such a reform would make it possible for whistleblowers like Edward Snowden, Reality Winner, Terry Albury, and Daniel Hale to inform the public why they disclosed information without authorization to the press.

The legislation called the Protect Brave Whistleblowers Act is supported by Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg.

https://dissenter.substack.com/p/proposed-reform-to-us-espionage-act

I was around for the Pentagon Papers and the trial of Ellsberg for their release….I have always felt the American people should not be put in the dark by the government….that is what the USSR did and what China still does.  This country is better than that….that is until we elected that dude on the Golden Throne in DC.

Learn Stuff!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Devolve Or Dissolve

The partisanship these days is worse as it ever was and getting worse as the years go by.

I have written to help and try to explain why this is happening…..https://lobotero.com/2018/05/11/tribes/

There is some great observations about American society…..

There is not “a single important cultural, religious, political, or social force that is pulling Americans together more than it is pushing us apart.” That was written before the Black Lives Matter protests and riots. It’s gotten worse since then. A lot worse.

There’s not much left of a common American culture. We watch different networks, read different websites, and have a different set of Facebook friends. Politics has come to shape our identities, for both left and right. Tell me who you vote for and I’ll tell you what sports you like, what music you listen to, what blogs you read, and even where you buy your groceries.

America’s Choice: Devolve or Dissolve?

But what do the American people think?

I wrote about a study back in 2012…..https://lobotero.com/2012/10/10/we-are-sick-of-the-partisanship/

https://lobotero.com/2010/11/19/do-americans-really-want-a-divided-government/

Another pressing question is…..should the US be broken into two?  (This article deserves to be read!)

Many in blue states have gone through a Kubler-Ross range of emotional reactions to the Trump/Republican administration. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. When you get to the acceptance part, a psychologist told me, “You need to figure out a plan of action that changes things in the real world. Acceptance is not the same as resignation. Being bummed out is not the end of the road but should be a beginning.” We are probably at that political point now. I know I am. 

After all we have been through, after the last four years of Trump’s antics, he still has the support of a little over 40 percent of the electorate. His base fervently foresees that life post-Trump will resemble a Stalinist gulag of socialist regulation, late-term baby killing, and political correctness equal to China’s cultural revolution. Right-wing media, in all its hydra-headed broadcast and internet forms, has provided this vision. As QAnon has shown, when it comes to irrationality, there are no limits. 

Should America Voluntarily Split In Two? Election Day May Force Us To Ask

With the vote just days away…maybe now would be a good time to decide what kind of country you want before you mark the ballot.

Once again I think about the cartoon that Ben Franklin came up with in the early days….

How Ben Franklin's Viral Political Cartoon United the 13 Colonies - HISTORY

Interesting thoughts and the Old Professor would like to have yours as well…..

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

15 Days To Go

In about 2 weeks we will finally know who had the better campaign…….which Old Fart caught the people’s attention the best?

You know all that support that Trump supposedly has among white men?

There is good news/bad news…..

Good news is the Trump is losing support with whites…..bad news is he, Trump, is gaining with blacks and Hispanics.

Yes Dear you read all that correctly…..losing support with whites….gaining with Hispanics and blacks…..

There’s a well-known truth in politics: No one group swings an election.

But that doesn’t mean that the demographic trends bubbling beneath the surface can’t have an outsized effect. Take 2016. President Trump won in large part because he carried white voters without a college degree by a bigger margin than any recent GOP presidential nominee, though there had been signs that this group was shifting rightward for a while.

Likewise in 2018, a strong showing by Democrats in suburban districts and among white voters with a four-year college degree helped the party retake the House, a shift we first saw in 2016 when Trump likely became the first Republican to lose this group in 60 years.1 And this is just scratching the surface. In the past few years, we’ve also seen hints that more women voters are identifying as Democrats and that some nonwhite voters might be getting more Republican-leaning.

Trump Is Losing Ground With White Voters But Gaining Among Black And Hispanic Americans

Look at the stats closely.

With two weeks to go there are a few things you can do to remain sane…..that is if you want to be sane.

fivethrityeight.com has a method…..

1. Keep the context of the COVID-19 pandemic in mind.

2. Don’t assume the race is in the bag for Biden.

3. But also don’t buy the narrative that “polling is broken.”

4. Don’t get too obsessed with comparisons to 2016.

5. Don’t pay much attention to individual polls; wait for polling averages to move.

6. Beware talk of “October surprises.” They’re usually overhyped.

7. Don’t read too much into the campaigns’ behavior.

8. Don’t get carried away with early voting data.

8 Tips To Stay Sane In The Final 15 Days Of The Campaign

Just hang in there the insanity is nearing its conclusion.

We can soon have a new set of issues to bitch about.

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!

VOTE!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Inkwell Institute Study Of War Update

I have studied war in all its forms for 40+ years…..nothing about it makes much sense these days…..but I try to keep my readers informed.

Since the 2020 election is sucking all the energy out of the foreign policy of the US…I thought I would let my readers know what was happening around the world while they were distracted by the antics of Donald the Orange.

The Chinese are testing a horrible weapon along the same vain as a cluster bomb but this is a swarm of deadly drones….

The China Academy of Electronics and Information Technology (CAEIT) has released a video of a test involving an array of 48 weaponized drones launching from the back of a truck, The South China Morning Post reports.

The drones can be seen launching from tubes, with a set of pop-out wings deploying from each right after. Troops on the ground then identify the drones’ targets on a tablet device. Each one is packed with explosives, according to The Times.

https://futurism.com/the-byte/chinese-weapon-launches-swarm-explosive-suicide-drones

Does anyone remember MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction)?

Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) is the deterrence concept developed in the 1960s by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara in response to the Soviet nuclear threat. For the 2020s and beyond, America should not acquiesce to entering this mutual suicide pact with Iran or North Korea.

Various formulations of MAD were based on having enough surviving weapons after a Soviet first strike to kill 1/5 to 1/3 of the Soviet population and destroy half its industry. Henry Kissinger’s response to MAD was prescient: “The doctrine of ‘assured destruction’ led to the extraordinary conclusion that the vulnerability of our civilian population was an asset reassuring the Soviet Union and guaranteeing its restraint in a crisis. For the first time, a major country saw an advantage in enhancing its own vulnerability.

MAD proponents still believe the U.S. population should remain vulnerable against large Russian and Chinese nuclear missile attacks. The proponents argue that defending against such attacks would be destabilizing, even as both adversaries continue to deploy more deadly nuclear armaments in the absence of significant U.S. defenses, and the U.S. contemplates spending hundreds of billions to modernize its own nuclear arsenal.

MAD also appears to be the only U.S. deterrent to even very small nuclear attacks from space by emerging nuclear powers Iran and North Korea. With one or at most a few space-based nuclear explosions, both adversaries could mount electromagnetic-pulse (EMP) attacks that could disable America’s electricity supply for very long times, possibly resulting in the deaths of 2/3 or more, up to 90%, of the U.S. population (well over 200 million fatalities) after a year and collapse of American society

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2020/10/15/mad_is_bad_us_policy_for_iran_and_north_korea_580803.html

Recently Turkey and Greece  once again went at each other…..this time it was over gas reserves and not Cyprus….https://lobotero.com/2020/09/18/greco-turkish-tensions/

The tension calmed a bit and now it is about to flare once again…..

In a move certain to widen the rift between Turkey and its NATO allies, Turkey tested its Russian-made S-400 air defense system Friday in the latest affirmation that Ankara intends to operationalize the system.

Turkish and Russian media reports said the launch took place at a military base near the Black Sea. The test marked the first time the Turkish military fired the system it bought in 2017, ignoring years of warnings from NATO not to buy the Russian system. It comes just weeks after the system’s radar tracked a Greek F-16, earning Turkey a sharp rebuke from NATO.

https://breakingdefense.com/2020/10/turkey-tests-russian-s-400-as-tensions-with-greece-nato-spike/

Turkey has accused Greece of violations….

Those tensions had flared up over the summer, prompting a military buildup, bellicose rhetoric and fears of a confrontation between the two NATO members and historic regional rivals.

“Our Oruc Reis has returned to its duty in the Mediterranean,” Erdogan told legislators of his ruling party in a speech in parliament. “We will continue to give the response they deserve on the field, to Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration who have not kept their promises during talks within the EU and NATO platforms.”

He didn’t spell out what the promises were but Turkish officials have been accusing Greek officials of engaging in a series of “provocations” despite efforts to revive the so-called exploratory talks between the neighbors that were aimed at resolving disputes and were last held in 2016.

https://apnews.com/article/turkey-europe-recep-tayyip-erdogan-ankara-greece-9118400193af9a0048397be12830a439

Armenia and Azerbaijan are at each others throats once again…..

September 27th 2020, two countries have been battling it out for supremacy over a disputed site. The countries in question include Armenia and Azerbaijan and the dispute is related to that of region called as Nagorno-Karabakh. So, what exactly is the conflict and why exactly has an old dispute resurfaced all over again? How are the world super powers react to this?

Nagorno-Karabakh comes under the geographical jurisdiction of Azerbaijan but is administrated by groups from Armenia. A closer look on the map shows Nagorno-Karabakh is an enclave inside Azerbaijan

The current conflict began after Azerbaijan reportedly initiated an attack on civilians areas in Nagorno-Karabakh including the capital city of Stepanakert. Armenia claims it was forced to retaliate in order to protect civilians living in the area. In the following days, both sides claim to have made significant damage to the order side, with multiple narratives presenting a polarising picture of the ground reality.

Understanding the Armenia, Azerbaijan conflict

But if you are a reader of exquisite taste then you will want to read what I have to say about this conflict…..https://lobotero.com/2020/10/12/meanwhile-back-at-the-south-caucasus-conflict/