Closing Thought–23Oct20

Talk about a waste of time!

I am always going on about the waste of taxpayer’s money and I have found yet more evidence of just how silly this system has become.

The Supreme Court will rule on the use of Pentagon funds for that silly wall on the Southern border.

The $2.5 billion on the table in an upcoming Supreme Court hearing on use of Pentagon funds to build the border wall has already been paid out, a Pentagon spokesman confirmed to Military Times on Tuesday.

The Supreme Court announced Monday that it would take up a challenge to one of the Trump administration’s U.S-Mexico border fencing funding workarounds, specifically $2.5 billion in military counterdrug money re-allocated in 2019 to be paid out to contractors by the Army Corps of Engineers.

“Those funds cover 129 miles across six projects,” Mitchell said, contract awards for fencing in New Mexico, Arizona and California, according to USACE data. The Pentagon could not provide details on how many of those miles have actually been completed.

The original lawsuit, first filed in Texas last year, challenged the legality of using those funds to build fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border. But as it wound its way through the courts, Pentagon spokesman Army Lt. Col. Christian Mitchell confirmed to Military Times on Tuesday, all of that money has been paid out.

A Texas judge ruled in favor of the plaintiffs late last year, putting an injunction on any further border construction. But a Justice Department appeal lifted that injunction, and last summer, the Supreme Court in a 5-4 vote decided not to hear a challenge that would have reinstated it.

“The Court’s decision to let construction continue nevertheless I fear, may operate, in effect, as a final judgment,” Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in his dissent, on behalf of the four justices who voted to hear the case.

It’s unclear, however, what would happen if SCOTUS rules against the administration. The original lower-court ruling stopped construction, but did not cancel contracts or force refunds, which could be the case again this time around.

In total, the Pentagon diverted $6.1 billion in 2019 to fund the border wall, including $3.6 billion in military construction funds.

(Military News)

Once again the courts are a day late and we are dollars short.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

 

Dems Play Games

I have often said that I think our Congress is a waste of time and money…..they spend more time running to a camera or massaging the genitals of donors or playing silly games.

The newest game is by the Dems on the SCOTUS committee vote…..

The Senate Judiciary Committee is due to vote Thursday on advancing the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court—but the panel’s 10 Democrats will not be present. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and the Democrats on the committee said Wednesday that Democrats will boycott the hearing to protest the “sham process” of rushing Barrett’s nomination through, the Hill reports. “We will not grant this process any further legitimacy by participating in a committee markup of this nomination just twelve days before the culmination of an election that is already underway,” they said in a statement.

The Democrats said Republicans were violating the “promises and rules” they established in refusing to grant Obama nominee Merrick Garland a hearing in the nine months before the 2016 election. The Democrats said Judiciary Committee rules require two members of the minority party to be present when business is conducted, but committee chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham said he would proceed without them, NPR reports. “I will move forward,” the Republican said. “She deserves a vote.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has signaled that he wants to hold a full Senate vote on Barrett’s nomination Monday, which would install the conservative justice on the court in time to rule on election-related cases.

The Dems are by NO means the only game players…..

This theatrics will accomplish nothing…..the nominee will go to Senate for a vote……and the Dems will look like pouty little brats.

It is stunts like this that I say the Congress is a pack of tired old political d/bags.

And the GOP is just as guilty….McConnell is playing a game for this nomination as well…..but he is playing with lives…..

Senate Majority Mitch McConnell told his Republican colleagues Tuesday that he has privately been urging the Trump White House not to strike a coronavirus relief deal with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi before the November 3 election, warning that an agreement could interfere with his chamber’s plan to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court early next week.

McConnell’s remarks, first reported by the Washington Post, came during a closed-door Senate GOP lunch just ahead of a Tuesday evening deadline for a relief deal set by Pelosi and agreed to by the Trump administration. While the deadline came and went without a deal, the House Speaker told Democratic lawmakers late Tuesday that the two sides “have been making some progress” and continued to voice optimism that “we can reach an agreement before the election.”

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/10/21/mcconnell-admits-hes-been-working-sabotage-covid-relief-talks-behind-scenes

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“lego ergo scribo”

Those Killings By Police

I have written many times about the deaths caused by the police mostly against people of color and how that can be eliminated….for one stop equipping the police with military weapons……that could go s long way at solving this murder problem of people of color.

Why would I say that?

There is a body of proof that illustrates the PDsm that get military equipment have a higher kill ratio of the public than those that do not get the equipment from the DoD.

Americans have seen it time and again in recent months on the nightly news: Protesters in the streets confronted by local police officers carrying assault rifles, some atop armored vehicles, looking more like soldiers than public servants.

Much of that equipment has trickled down to police departments from a controversial Defense Department initiative known as the 1033 program, a 30-year-old federal initiative that provides a way for the military to dispose of surplus equipment by sending it to local police.

The results paint a troubling picture: The more equipment a department receives, the more people are shot and killed, even after accounting for violent crime, race, income, drug use and population.

Only 7% of Georgia’s law enforcement agencies received surplus military gear at any time over the 10 years, but those agencies accounted for 17% of the 261 people shot and killed by police.

https://www.military.com/daily-news/2020/10/09/police-killings-more-likely-agencies-get-military-gear-data-shows.html

Instead of basically giving this equipment away why cannot the DoD sell it to Third World countries that could use it for their own defense and the US could recoup a bit of the cash it spent funding the development of this equipment?

Just A Though!

For those inquiring minds……further reading will fill any gaps….

https://lobotero.com/2018/09/07/closing-thought-07sep18/

https://lobotero.com/2020/07/21/is-it-police-reform-or-defund-or-abolition/

https://lobotero.com/2020/06/24/de-fund-the-police/

There is more….but it will take some interest if you would like to search IST…..

Time for the Police to return to their motto of “protect and serve” and leave the fascistic BS of “punish and enslave” to the garbage heap of history.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Winner-Take-All Economy

We are told almost daily of the attributes of the “free market” economy….but those markets are far from free….for many years I have written numerous times about this lie….this illusion…..

https://lobotero.com/2008/09/20/free-markets-truth-not-spoken/

https://lobotero.com/2020/05/25/that-free-market-illusion/

Then there is the economic inequality….where 1% of the population owns more than the bottom 80%…..but how bad can it possibly be?

Well as you might imagine I have also written numerous posts on this as well…..

https://lobotero.com/2014/02/25/the-increasingly-unequal-states-of-america-income-inequality-by-state-1917-to-2011-economic-policy-institute/

https://lobotero.com/2018/03/17/inequality-how-bad-can-it-be/

After WW2 the economic growth ranged across all levels of society but that equality was to be short lived……our economy has become winner take all….and each passing year the inequality spreads.

In the three decades following World War II, the US saw economic growth that was shared across all levels of income, from the working class to the richest 1 percent. But that changed after the mid-1970s as income inequality increased exponentially during the next four decades.

A new study by nonprofit research organization RAND nails down what really happened. It shows that this rising inequality took a substantial bite out of the earnings of up to 90 percent of American households.

In this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast, we talk with the authors of the RAND study, mathematician Carter Price and labor economist Kathryn Edwards.

Price and Edwards detail the unique approach they took in putting this report together. Up until now, they explain, nobody had devised a formula to show just how individuals and their families were affected by the rising inequality across the entire income spectrum. 

Proof Positive of the Winner-Take-All Economy

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scriblo”

Closing Thought–21Oct20

Remember all those horror stories coming out of the old USSR where the KGB was installed in all branches of the government to keep track of it’s people?

Well thank god that does not happen here in the good old US of A, right?

Or does it?

The White House planted two political officials with no public health experience at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to keep tabs on the agency and its scientists, according to The Associated Press.

Nina Witkofsky was appointed as senior advisor to CDC Director Robert Redfield at the agency’s Atlanta headquarters in June and within weeks had been promoted to CDC acting chief of staff.

The second political arrival, Chester “Trey” Moeller, is Witkofsky’s deputy. 

Witkofsky, the AP said, played a small role in Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign. Her CDC profile also says she has worked in governmental affairs for 20 years, including at the State Department. 

https://www.businessinsider.com/white-house-planted-political-operatives-cdc-control-narrative-ap-2020-10

Has the US now created a KGB like section for spying on governmental officials?

Any thoughts?

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

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.

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“lego ergo scribo”

Is The Answer “Herd Immunity”?

There seems to be a new “cure” for the pandemic flying around social media and even the White House has picked up on this piece of manure.

This miracle cure is known as “herd immunity”…..

Before we go any further maybe a quick lesson into what is meant by the term…..The eight-paragraph declaration cites no scientific data and does not seriously attempt to argue its case. It is, rather, a series of assertions constructed retroactively from the demand by US big business to abandon public health measures to contain the pandemic: “Schools and universities should be open for in-person teaching. Extracurricular activities, such as sports, should be resumed. Young low-risk adults should work normally, rather than from home. Restaurants and other businesses should open. Arts, music, sport and other cultural activities should resume.”

Herd immunity, or community immunity, is when a large part of the population of an area is immune to a specific disease. If enough people are resistant to the cause of a disease, such as a virus or bacteria, it has nowhere to go.

While not every single individual may be immune, the group as a whole has protection. This is because there are fewer high-risk people overall. The infection rates drop, and the disease peters out.

Herd immunity protects at-risk populations. These include babies and those whose immune systems are weak and can’t get resistance on their own.

You can develop resistance naturally. When your body is exposed to a virus or bacteria, it makes antibodies to fight off the infection. When you recover, your body keeps these antibodies. Your body will defend against another infection. This is what stopped the Zika virus outbreak in Brazil. Two years after the outbreak began, 63% of the population had had exposure to the virus. Researchers think the community reached the right level for herd immunity.

(WebMD)

Like I stated…even the White House has jumped on this fringe belief…..

Newsweek reported that two Trump administration officials said the White House supports the Great Barrington Declaration, a statement advocating the mass infection of the population with COVID-19 through a policy of “herd immunity.”

The declaration comes out of a meeting organized by the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER), a right-wing libertarian think tank centered in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. It calls for governments to “build up immunity to the virus through natural infection,” discourages remote work, and promotes mass gatherings where the virus can spread. The implementation of this policy would mean death on a massive scale.

The “herd immunity” policy is condemned by all reputable health authorities, including the World Health Organization. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Monday called such a policy “unethical.” He added, “Herd immunity is achieved by protecting people from a virus, not by exposing them to it. Never in the history of public health has herd immunity been used as a strategy for responding to an outbreak, let alone a pandemic.”

But this is precisely the policy that has been implemented by the Trump administration and other governments throughout the world.

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/10/14/pers-o14.html

Let me make it easier…..I will run the numbers for you…..the “cure” needs about 65% of the popular to be infected….that is about 200 million cases…..which will result in about 2 million more deaths…..

Now is that acceptable to you?

Apparently it is acceptable to about 20% of the population…..

One in five Americans think herd immunity is good government policy to address COVID-19. 

That’s according to a recent YouGov poll, which followed reports that Scott Atlas, a recently added member of the White House pandemic task force, had been advocating for the administration to embrace natural herd immunity as a public-health strategy. Atlas strongly denied these reports, and Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert said, “That’s not a fundamental strategy that we’re using.” 

That is scary that the idea of infecting 200 million people is acceptable.

Just goes to prove my point that social media can convince morons of anything.

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

The Clayton Anti-Trust Act 1914

Speaking of economic news……

Hold your breath it is time for the Old Professor’s history lesson…..first Mata Hari was executed in Paris on this date in 1917….and in 1966 the Black Panther Party is established……and in 1969 over 2 million people protested for the end of the Vietnam War…..

On this day. 15 October, in 1914 the US Congress passes the Clayton Anti-Trust Act…..

On this date, the 63rd Congress (1913-1915) passed the Clayton Antitrust Act (P.L. 63–212) in a bid to curb the power of trusts and monopolies and maintain market competition. By the turn of the 20th century, large corporations had cornered whole segments of America’s economy using predatory pricing, exclusive dealings, and anti-competitive mergers to drive local businesses to ruin. In Congress, Members decried the evils of monopolies, including Representative Robert Crosser of Ohio who warned that a “failure to check the growth of monopolies…will result in industrial slavery.” Representative Alben W. Barkley of Kentucky dubbed the trusts “offensive organizations.” Most agreed that government regulation of the trusts was too lenient and rallied around the Clayton Antitrust Bill when Representative Henry Clayton of Alabama introduced it in 1914. Representative John J. Casey of Pennsylvania remarked, “I realize and appreciate the importance of this bill, because I believe it is one of the most important that has or will come before this House for consideration.” The Act supplemented and strengthened the Sherman Act of 1890, an existing antitrust bill that had failed to effectively regulate the massive corporations. The newly created Federal Trade Commission enforced the Clayton Antitrust Act and prevented unfair methods of competition. Aside from banning the practices of price discrimination and anti-competitive mergers, the new law also declared strikes, boycotts, and labor unions legal under federal law. The bill passed the House with an overwhelming majority on June 5, 1914. President Woodrow Wilson signed it into law on October 15, 1914. 

This was suppose to cease the idea and exploitation of being a wage slave…….and how has that worked out?

This law has very little teeth anymore…..we have monopolies everywhere in our business societies….the US has a long history of trying to make the society more equitable……https://www.thoughtco.com/the-clayton-antitrust-act-4136271

How has all this legislation done at help this society become a more equitable society?

I do not see it….how about you?

(Watch this blog for more thoughts on monopolies….posts coming soon)

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Learn Stuff!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Supreme Court Drama

The hearing for the newest nominee for the Supreme Court is being held as I type…..I also thought that a small idea of the theatrics might be amusing for my readers….(this may be the only post I do on this silly game)….

The day went something like this….

The actual questioning of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett has begun on Capitol Hill. However, Barrett is following the tradition of nominees not answering questions about how they might rule on key issues—in this case, ObamaCare and abortion, notes Politico. “If I give off-the-cuff answers, then I would basically be a legal pundit,” she said. “I don’t think we want judges to be legal pundits. I think we want judges to approach cases thoughtfully with an open mind.” Some highlights:

  • No deals: Barrett insisted she didn’t discuss ObamaCare with President Trump or anyone in the White House. “Absolutely not,” Barrett said in response to a question from the GOP’s Charles Grassley, per the Washington Post. “I was never asked. And if I had been, that would have been a short conversation.” Democrats fear Barrett will help the court undo the Affordable Care Act. A key case is on the docket in November.
  • Abortion: After Democrat Dianne Feinstein asked Barrett her views on two landmark rulings establishing a woman’s right to an abortion (Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey), Barrett declined to offer her views of them, per the Hill. “If I express a view on a precedent one way or another, whether I say I love it or I hate it, it signals to litigants that I might tilt one way or another in a pending case.” Feinstein said it was “distressing” not to get a better answer. “I have no agenda to try to overrule Casey,” said Barrett. “I have an agenda to stick to the rule of law and decide cases as they come.”
  • Abortion, II: Barrett declined to say whether she agreed with mentor Antonin Scalia that Roe v. Wade was incorrectly decided. “I don’t think that anybody should assume that just because Justice Scalia decided a decision a certain way that I would, too,” she said. “I can’t pre-commit or say, ‘Yes, I’m going in with some agenda,'” Barrett added. “I have no agenda.”
  • More on agenda: The AP highlights this quote: “Judges can’t just wake up one day and say I have an agenda, I like guns, I hate guns, I like abortion, I hate abortion and walk in like a royal queen and impose their will on the world.”
  • Election: Barrett declined to say whether she would recuse herself from any election-related case involving Trump, reports the Hill. Democrat Patrick Leahy pressed her on the issue, saying recusal is necessary “where impartiality might reasonably be questioned.” But Barrett wouldn’t go there: “It always happens after consultation with the full court, so I can’t offer an opinion on recusal without short-circuiting that entire process.”

The Dems are still playing to the camera….they do not have the votes to block this silly pathetic endeavor so their acting is moot.

 Yet Another topic that I have strong opinions about……https://lobotero.com/2020/09/23/dems-need-to-buck-up/

Image

Even her colleagues think she should step back…..

October 10, 2020

Dear Judge Barrett,

We write to you as fellow faculty members at the University of Notre Dame.

We congratulate you on your nomination to the United States Supreme Court. An appointment to the Court is the crowning achievement of a legal career and speaks to the commitments you have made throughout your life. And while we are not pundits, from what we read your confirmation is all but assured.

An Open Letter to Judge Amy Coney Barrett From Your Notre Dame Colleagues

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”