BBC Weighs In On US Mid-Terms

You have read or heard all the hoopla around the mid-terms….but we seldom get to see what others foresee in our future (a possible outcome)…..this article is from the BBC and is a good read…..

The upcoming midterm elections for US Congress, the first nationwide vote since Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol nearly two years ago, have many Americans on edge. The BBC’s Katty Kay has been finding out why.

Karen and Steve don’t want to take up arms. But if Republicans lose in November this elderly Arizona couple say a civil war is coming and, yes, they will fight. They have discussed it between them, and feel that taking up arms is their best option. It was at this point that our conversation grew a little dark and my faith in the strength of American democracy grew a little shaky.

I met the Slatons at their Trump paraphernalia store in Show Low, Arizona. It was one of the first stops on a month-long road trip that I took around America this summer, a journey to understand why the upcoming elections feel so consequential, perhaps even a little ominous.

The couple were delightful hosts. They were funny and generous. They took me on a tour of their extensive stock of whacky Trump merchandise and explained that, yes, there really are people who want a $100 life-size cut-out of the former president dressed as Rambo to put in their living rooms. Quite a lot of people actually. Trump as Rambo is one of their best selling items.

We talked about history, the economy and even abortion. But it was only when I questioned their belief that the 2020 election was stolen that things got tense. Wasn’t it possible, I asked, that millions of Americans just didn’t like President Trump and so Joe Biden won the election?

It was Karen who responded, with a distinctly steely glint: “If you’re a crazy liberal, we’re just not interested. The central news, let me call them, I’m not going to call them fake news, but it is fake news to say that America doesn’t like Trump. America loves Trump.”

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-63133259

Any thoughts?

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

The ‘Lincoln Project’

Remember the days when the Lincoln Project was the opposition to the Trump GOP….a bunch of disillusions of Trump made GOP strategists run for the hills and start a campaign to defeat Trump and his minions.

How have they done so far?

Dems were excited to have some real GOP in opposition to the rising tide of fascists in the Trump circle.

When the group formed the Lincoln Project I said then that we should not get too excited for if the succeed in ridding DC of the Trump influence they would then turn their ire on the Dems.

So the question is….did the Lincoln Project pull the wool over the eyes of Dems?

I said before and now that they did…..but read on…..

 

The Lincoln Project, the super PAC created in late 2019 to help defeat Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election, is one of the largest trolling operations in modern human history, designed to alter the country’s political future by getting inside—and thoroughly screwing with—the commander-in-chief’s head.

Formed and led by disenfranchised big-time Republican consultants and strategists, it produced viral ads that took the fight directly to Trump. Thanks to its blistering attacks, it became a hit with those on both sides of the political aisle, although its stratospheric ascent was interrupted by a series of bombshells that called into question the motives, and character, of the men and women behind it. Far from a feel-good fable, it turned out to be a more complex tale about activism and avarice, nobility and self-interest, loyalty and betrayal, success and scandal.

As co-founder Steve Schmidt admits, “Make no mistake: the idea that the Lincoln Project story is the story of the good people against the bad people is a very naïve take on this.”

The Lincoln Project is that warts-and-all saga, told in up-close-and-personal fashion by directors Karim Amer (The Vow) and Fisher Stevens. Immersing themselves with the group from early September 2020 (two months before the election) to February 2021, the duo’s five-part docuseries—premiering Oct. 7 on Showtime—is a multifaceted fly-on-the-wall portrait of 21st-century politics and the many gambles, compromises and duplicity it entails, all filtered through the experiences of those at the helm of the Lincoln Project. That leadership unit was announced in December 2019, and included Schmidt, George Conway, Rick Wilson (a former Daily Beast contributor), John Weaver, Jennifer Horn, Ron Steslow, Reed Galen, and Mike Madrid. All of them played key roles in the organization’s subsequent rise, even if this non-fiction account suggests that the four who were really running the show were Schmidt, Wilson, Galen, and soon-to-be-member Stuart Stevens.

At least at the outset of The Lincoln Project, such distinctions don’t seem to really matter—everyone receives an honorary “co-founder” title and are equally dedicated to their “psych-warfare campaign” against the president, whose mission is summed up by Rick Wilson: “We’re here to kick the shit out of Donald Trump.” What made the Lincoln Project unique was that this collection of disaffected Republicans were all veterans of various nasty political campaigns and had expertise in manipulative messaging and media, and thus boasted the specific skillsets required to be a thorn in Trump’s side. Consequently, it wasn’t long before their “Mourning in America” spot stoked the ire of the president, whose tweet about the group transformed it into an overnight sensation, helping it raise tens of millions, expand its staff, and become a hydra-like machine that poked the Trumpian bear in real-time on social media, developed popular commercials, and then—courtesy of Mike Madrid’s data-oriented team— strategically place them in the markets where they would have the most real-world success at pushing voters toward Joe Biden.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/how-the-lincoln-project-hoodwinked-anti-trump-liberals

I am not a fan of the Project….how about you?

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Our National Debt

The big news yesterday was that our national debt hit a whopping $31 trillion….that is right that is trillion with a “T”…..

The gross US national debt, which topped $30 trillion for the first time earlier this year, has now risen to more than $31 trillion, according to a Treasury Department report released Tuesday. The disclosure comes at what the New York Times calls an “inopportune time”—interest rates are rising, make it more expensive to borrow money and raising the cost of servicing the debt, which has ballooned to its current level from around $23 trillion at the end of 2019, just before the pandemic hit. “Too many people were complacent about our debt path in part because rates were so low,” says Michael A. Peterson at the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, which promotes debt reduction.

In May, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that interest payments and other debt costs would cost the federal government around $8.1 trillion over the next decade. The Peterson foundation estimates higher rates will add at least another $1 trillion. The Office of Management and Budget said in August that the federal budget deficit will drop by a record $1.7 trillion this year, though analysts warn that the underlying “addiction” to debt remains, the AP reports. “When you increase government spending and money supply, you will pay the price later,” says Sung Won Sohn, an economics professor at Loyola Marymount University. He predicts that high inflation will continue for the foreseeable future.

Our Congress has done what they always do….pass a Continuing Resolution to keep our government in business for the next few months.

This should be a gimme but instead the GOP and the Dems have to have a political theater around this necessity.

They even added money debt to the bill by promising more millions possibility billions to Ukraine for their conflict with Russia.

To the tune of $16 billion.

Now my question is why is there NOT some opposition to this blatant waste of taxpayer cash…..I mean they have plenty of opposition to social programs that would benefit the poor and needy….but have nothing to say about cash flowing into Ukraine on a daily basis.

Why?

Someone just please tell me the bottom line for Ukraine.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

AI Bill Of Rights

The Biden group has issued what is being called a new Bill of Rights….they take on technology…….

The White House rolled out a proposal for an artificial intelligence Bill of Rights Tuesday, saying that while automated systems have “brought about extraordinary benefits,” progress “must not come at the price of civil rights or democratic values.” The blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy lists five principles that should be built into AI systems to protect the public from discrimination and violations of privacy, Axios reports. The White House warned that automated systems including those used for patient care “have proven unsafe, ineffective, or biased,” and algorithms used in hiring decisions have been found to “reflect and reproduce existing unwanted inequities or embed new harmful bias and discrimination.”

The principles state that Americans should know when automated decision-making is being used and they should be able to opt out. They state that algorithmic bias should be limited and users should be given control of their data. The White House said the document was released after a yearlong consultation with two dozen government departments, as well as tech companies and civil society groups, the AP reports. The proposals are nonbinding and government regulation of artificial intelligence remains “minimal or nonexistent,” Axios notes, though numerous other sets of AI guidelines exist, including EU guidelines released in 2019 and an “algor-ethical” proposal the Vatican released in 2020. Companies including IBM have released their own ethical guidelines.

“This is the White House saying that workers, students, consumers, communities, everyone in this country should expect and demand better from our technologies,” Alondra Nelson, OSTP deputy director for science and society, tells Wired. Nelson says the blueprint is “really just a down payment” on moves to limit harmful AI, though critics say the proposal should have included a framework to hold people and companies responsible for abusive AI practices. The US Chamber of Commerce, meanwhile, warned that if some of the recommendations become law, it will “handcuff America’s ability to compete on the global stage,” reports Reuters.

I support the idea…..but corporations will see that their paid agents in Congress will make this just a fart in the political wind.

But for those interested in the bill and the actions….I have the link for you…..

https://www.whitehouse.gov/ostp/ai-bill-of-rights/

Read it and decide for yourself….

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

The Seditious ‘Oath Keepers’

Since 6 January there has been a focus on the real reason for the militia known as the Oath Keepers…..for years they presented themselves as the ‘protectors’ of the Constitution and country…..since the insurrection their alleged reason for existence has become more clear…..

The federal courthouse in Washington, DC heard dramatic opening arguments Monday in the most serious Capitol riot case yet—the seditious conspiracy trial against Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and four of his lieutenants. The right-wing militia members are accused of plotting to prevent Congress’ certification of President Biden’s election victory “by any means necessary,” including violence. In his opening statement, assistant US Attorney Jeffrey Nestler said the “core democratic custom” of a transfer of power goes back to the time of George Washington, CNN reports. “These defendants tried to change that history,” he said. “They concocted a plan for armed rebellion to shatter a bedrock of American democracy.” He says Rhodes began plotting to overturn Biden’s win days after the 2020 election.

The defendants, Nestler said, planned to attack “not just the Capitol, not just our government, not just DC, but our country itself.” Prosecutors said Rhodes acted “like a general,” remaining outside the Capitol as his “troops” breached the building on Jan. 6, 2021, Politico reports. Prosecutors said the group stockpiled weapons at a Virginia hotel for a “Quick Reaction Force” and discussed using boats to bring them across the Potomac River to DC. The other four defendants are Kelly Meggs, leader of the Florida chapter of the Oath Keepers, Florida member Kenneth Harrelson, retired US Navy intelligence officer Thomas Caldwell, and Ohio militia leader Jessica Watkins, the AP reports. Nestler played video of Oath Keepers members inside the Capitol, where some tried to find House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Defense lawyers have argued that the Oath Keepers went to DC to provide security for figures including Roger Stone, and they were only at the Capitol because they expected then-President Donald Trump would invoke the Insurrection Act and use them to stop what they considered a Democratic coup, the Washington Post reports. Nestler said Rhodes, a Yale Law School graduate, tried to use the Insurrection Act as “magic words” to justify illegal acts. Phillip Linder, Rhodes’ attorney, argued in his opening statement that the Oath Keepers “did nothing illegal” and they “are not a violent group.”

Let me point out….these people are still in the process of a trial….as it is they are accused not convicted….

Throw the book at these bastards!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Is ‘MAGA’ On The Wane?

I say the best news…..we have heard all the outright lies these candidates have told and yet they are still spouting crap while the rest of us suffer…..

There are some reports that point to a dwindling of the MAGA candidates….could this be good news on the horizon?

The state and nation’s voters are, as usual, deluged by a tidal wave of campaign promises from candidates as the November elections draw near. And as usual, we are being promised far more than these candidates can or will deliver should they attain the offices they seek. But after the absolute debacle of the Trump/MAGA/insurrection administration — and evidence of failing campaigns by those who followed, supported, or emulated those extreme positions — it appears voters have wised up to the fact that their promises are as phony as the inflated assets valuations that now have their grifter-in-chief sinking in a quicksand of legal woes.

It’s telling that a desperate GOP is withdrawing tens of millions of dollars from political races in which the far-right candidates parroted MAGA’s extreme agenda that seeks to divide Americans based on any number of issues. Wrong skin color or race? Love someone of the same sex? Came from a “shithole” country? Want to control your own body and decide when or if you want to have children? Won’t give the Q-Anon one finger salute at MAGA rallies? Think the climate crisis is real?

The reasons go on and on but the bottom line remains the same — if you’re not with us, you’re against us. But lo and behold, it would appear there are far more voters who are not marching in goose-step with the MAGA crowd, and who believe in tolerance, acceptance, and common humanity. And that’s causing Congressional Republicans to distance themselves from those positions.

But at this late stage of the game, even those candidates who are trying to scurry away from their far-right primary positions are facing the ugly reality that they’re likely to lose. Why? For the simple reason that the vast majority of American voters and businesses prefer stability and predictability to insurrection, lawlessness, and disregard for future generations.

The GOP’s MAGA Campaigns Aren’t Going So Well

I do not know if I believe this report…..I want to but I have seen how these things go….

Any thoughts?

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

What About The Polls?

Let me state from the git-go….polls are notoriously wrong almost every election….so the news that was released this week should be taken with a grain of salt….

If past performance is any indication, polls ahead of this year’s midterm elections may be setting Democrats up for another major letdown. That’s according not only to pundits but also the pollsters themselves, who according to Politico have been wringing their hands and tweaking their methods ever since the 2016 election forced a reckoning in the industry. Postmortems back then alerted pollsters to a new breed of voter: Trump supporters, a considerable chunk of whom are hard to reach or simply refuse to participate in polls, therefore skewing results toward Democrats.

Despite significant adjustments aimed at reaching more non-college educated voters and those without landlines, most pollsters bombed again in 2020. Biden won, but the margins were far narrower than predicted, especially in many battleground states. Indeed, 2020 polls were the least accurate in four decades, and the industry doesn’t seem to know why. As the New York Times’Nate Cohn puts it, the polling community essentially “declared that it was ‘impossible’ to definitively ascertain what went wrong in the 2020 election.” Since then, pollsters have continued the handwringing, but they haven’t made major changes, hoping instead that Trump’s absence on the ballot will relieve the poll-skewing effect of his supporters.

Polls are looking relatively rosy for Democrats, contrary to traditional wisdom that shows a president’s party underperforms in midterms, especially in an uncertain economy. Some pundits say Democrats have legitimate momentum on their side, thanks to the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision and the fact that lots of Republican candidates have very low favorability ratings, per the Washington Post. Democrat candidates also outperformed polls in recent special elections in New York and Alaska. But as the Times also points out, the strong Dem polls are appearing in the exact same battleground states pollsters botched in 2020. For example, in Wisconsin, Democrat Mandela Barnes shows a seven-point lead over incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson; in 2020, polls showed Biden at +8, but he won the state by less than a point.

My thoughts is it is a toss up…..granted the Dems have gained a bit because the president has gained…..but I have NO confidence in the Dems to pull it out and I have no confidence in polls…..

Thoughts?

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

SCOTUS Docket For The New Session

The docket is being set for the new session of the Supreme Court……is there any surprises?

The Supreme Court opens its new term Monday, hearing arguments for the first time after a summer break and with new Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. Already the court has said it will decide cases on a range of major issues including affirmative action, voting rights, and the rights of LGBTQ people. The justices will add more cases to their docket in the coming months, but here is a look at some of the cases the court has already agreed to hear, per the AP. The justices are expected to decide each of the cases before taking a summer break at the end of June:

  • Affirmative action: In cases from Harvard University and the University of North Carolina, the court could end any consideration of race in college admissions. If this seems familiar, it’s because the high court has been asked repeatedly over the past 20 years to end affirmative action in higher education. In previous cases from Michigan and Texas, the court reaffirmed the validity of considering college applicants’ race among many factors. But this court is more conservative than those were.
  • Voting rights: The court could further reduce protections for minority voters in its third major consideration in 10 years of the landmark Voting Rights Act, which was enacted to combat enduring racial discrimination in voting. The case the justices are hearing involves Alabama, where just one of the state’s seven congressional districts has a Black majority. That’s even though 27% of the state’s residents are Black. A ruling for the state could wipe away all but the most obvious cases of intentional discrimination on the basis of race.
  • Elections: Republicans are asking the justices to embrace a novel legal concept that would limit state courts’ oversight of elections for Congress. North Carolina’s top court threw out the state’s congressional map that gave Republicans a lopsided advantage in a closely divided state and eventually came up with a map that basically evenly divided the state’s 14 congressional districts between Democrats and Republicans. The state GOP argues that state courts have no role to play in congressional elections because the US Constitution gives that power to state legislatures alone. Four conservative justices have expressed varying levels of openness to the “independent state legislature” theory.
  • Clean water: This is yet another case in which the court is being asked to discard an earlier ruling and loosen the regulation of property under the nation’s chief law to combat water pollution. The case involves an Idaho couple who won an earlier high court round in their bid to build a house on property near a lake without getting a permit under the Clean Water Act. The outcome could change the rules for millions of acres of property that contain wetlands.
  • Immigration: The Biden administration is back at the Supreme Court to argue for a change in immigration policy from the Trump administration. It’s appealing a ruling against a Biden policy prioritizing deportation of people in the country illegally who pose the greatest public safety risk. Last term, the justices by a 5-4 vote paved the way for the administration to end the Trump policy that required asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico for their court hearing. In July, also by a 5-4 vote, the high court refused to allow the administration to implement policy guidance for deportations. A Trump-era policy favored deporting people in the country illegally regardless of criminal history or community ties.
  • LGBTQ rights: A new clash involving religion, free speech, and the rights of LGBTQ people will also be before the justices. The case involves Colorado graphic and website designer Lorie Smith, who wants to expand her business and offer wedding website services. She says her Christian beliefs would lead her to decline any request from a same-sex couple to design a wedding website, however, and that puts her in conflict with a Colorado anti-discrimination law. The case is a new chance for the justices to confront issues the court skirted five years ago in a case about a baker objected to making cakes for same-sex weddings.
  • Art world: The court’s resolution of a dispute involving pieces by artist Andy Warhol could have big consequences in the art world and beyond. If the Warhol side loses a copyright dispute involving an image Warhol made of the musician Prince, other artworks could be in peril, lawyers say. But the other side says if Warhol wins, it would be a license for other artists to blatantly copy.

A full docket and the chance for SCOTUS to continue to chip away at our rights and privileges.

Anything new here?

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

GOP And The World Of Tomorrow

The mid-terms are just weeks away and there is much confusion on which way the votes will break…..will the country go back 70 years or will we look forward to the future?

The country as we have known it is at stake….is the end near?

It appears that all interest in the mid-terms is just not there…..and that makes me think that the results is all but sealed…..

Let’s look at the world of tomorrow if it breaks towards the GOP……

The party has issued its plan for the near future with a win and control of Congress…

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy on Friday directly confronted President Biden and the party in power, choosing battleground Pennsylvania to unveil a midterm election agenda with sweeping Trump-like promises, despite the House GOP’s sometimes spotty record of delivering and governing in Congress. McCarthy, who’s poised to seize the speaker’s gavel if Republicans win control of the House in November, hopes to replicate the strategy that Speaker Newt Gingrich used to spark voter enthusiasm and sweep House control in a 1994 landslide. The House GOP’s “Commitment to America” gives a nod to that earlier era but updates it in the age of Donald Trump, with economic, border security, and social policies to rouse the former president’s well of supporters, per the AP.

“What we’re going to roll out today is a ‘Commitment to America’ in Washington—not Washington, DC, but Washington County, Pa.,” McCarthy said at a manufacturing facility, standing with a cross-section of other lawmakers. “Because it’s about you, it’s not about us.” He offered a portrait of party unity despite the uneasy coalition that makes up the House minority—and the Republican Party itself. Propelled by Trump’s “Make America Great Again” voters, the Republicans need to pick up just a few seats to win back control of the House and replace Speaker Nancy Pelosi, though McCarthy’s ability to lead the House is far from guaranteed. McCarthy spent more than a year pulling together the House GOP’s often warring factions—from the far-right MAGA to what’s left of the more centrist ranks—to produce a mostly agreed-upon agenda.

Gingrich has been working with McCarthy and his team to craft the style and substance of the proposal. Mostly, the GOP pocket card hits broad strokes—energy independence, security, and an end to liberal social policies, particularly in schooling. Conservative Republicans, however, complain privately that McCarthy isn’t leaning hard enough into their priorities, as he tries to appeal to a broader swath of voters and hold the party together. Dems, meanwhile, aren’t impressed at all with the GOP’s agenda. “Long on slogans and short on details,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., told union workers in Pittsburgh on Friday, according to excerpts of his speech. “That’s because the true details of Republicans’ agenda are too frightening for most American voters.”

Then there is the Constitution thing…..they want to re-write the document and not in a good way….

… former Democratic U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold wrote in an op-ed at The Guardian that Article 5 of the U.S. Constitution allows the document to be amended, either with amendments being proposed by two-thirds of Congress and ratified by three-quarters of the states, or through a method that has never been tested: the establishment of a new constitutional convention.

To hold a new convention, two-thirds of all state legislatures—34 total—must apply to hold the gathering, where lawmakers would have broad freedom to change the Constitution however they saw fit. Three-quarters of states would have to ratify their proposed amendments.

“The right has already packed the Supreme Court and is reaping the rewards, with decisions from Dobbs to Bruen that radically reinterpret the Constitution in defiance of precedent and sound legal reasoning,” wrote Feingold, referencing recent rulings on abortion rights and gun control. “But factions of the right are not satisfied to wait for the court to reinterpret the constitution. Instead, they have set their sights on literally rewriting our foundational document.”

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2022/09/19/warnings-mount-over-right-wing-plot-rewrite-us-constitution

There is so much more at stake than a election of a few far right slugs….they could change the very country into something that was never intended by those far thinking Founders.

You have the power to protect this country from radical change….that is thinking that you want to save this country.

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!

Then VOTE!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

“Best Thing Since Sliced Bread”

It is Sunday and I would like to drop some history on you as well as a bit of FYI……

First I would like to thank my blogging friend, Pete, for playing along with the photo quiz on yesterday’s post.

Now for the history….

I am old enough to remember that oleo had a color packet because it could not be yellow to confuse the consumer.

How many times have you heard something like that is the ‘best thing since sliced bread’?

Did you know that sliced bread was banned at one point in our history?

The year was 1943, and Americans were in crisis. Across the Atlantic, war with Germany was raging. On the home front, homemakers were facing a very different sort of challenge: a nationwide ban on sliced bread.

“To U.S. housewives it was almost as bad as gas rationing—and a whale of a lot more trouble,” announced Time magazine on February 1, 1943. The article goes on to describe women fumbling with their grandmothers’ antiquated serrated knives. “Then came grief, cussing, lopsided slices which even the toaster refused, often a mad dash to the corner bakery for rolls. But most housewives sawed, grimly on—this war was getting pretty awful.”

The ban on sliced bread was just one of many resource-conserving campaigns during World War II. In May 1942, Americans received their first ration booklets and, within the year, commodities ranging from rubber tires to sugar were in short supply. Housewives, many of whom were also holding down demanding jobs to keep the labor force from collapsing, had to get creative. When the government rationed nylon, women resorted to drawing faux-nylon stockings using eyebrow pencils and when sugar and butter became scarce, they baked “victory cakes” sweetened with boiled raisins or whatever else was available.

So by January 18, 1943, when Claude R. Wickard, the secretary of agriculture and head of the War Foods Administration, declared the selling of sliced bread illegal, patience was already running thin. Since sliced bread required thicker wrapping to stay fresh, Wickard reasoned that the move would save wax paper, not to mention tons of alloyed steel used to make bread-slicing machines.

https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/america-banned-sliced-bread

The moral of this post is….never take anything for granted….it could change in the blink of an eye.

Enjoy your Sunday….be well and be safe….

“I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”