When Is Enough Enough?

Personally I am sick of seeing my tax dollars being sent to Ukraine…..it is time for someone else to step up if Ukraine is all that damn important.

Ukraine just got the okay for billions more for their national budget….we are talking about cash sent to their bank account to be used for their budget…..

The US announced on Monday new massive aid packages for Ukraine, including $4.5 billion in direct budgetary aid and a $1 billion weapons package.

The $4.5 billion in budgetary aid is going to the Ukrainian government and is meant to pay for pensions, healthcare costs, and social welfare. The budgetary funds are being directed by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and will be sent in tranches, with the first sum of $3 billion being sent in August through the World Bank.

According to USAID, the new assistance will bring the total direct budgetary aid sent to the Ukrainian government by the US since Russia invaded to $8.5 billion. The massive amount of direct aid for the Ukrainian government comes despite Western concerns about corruption in Kyiv, which was previously used to argue against Ukraine joining NATO and the EU.

(antiwar.com)

Since the war began the Ukrainian budget has gotten $8.5 billion infusion from the US!

Think about that for a goddamn minute!

$8.5 billion of taxpayer cash sent to Ukraine to help with the budgetary shortfall…..and the US has how much of a budgetary shortfall?

This is cash does not include the multi-billion dollar arms packages that we are steadily shoving up Ukraine’s ass.

Time for the cash to stay where it belongs….here in this country.

When will the American public wake-up to the fact cash needed in this nation is being wasted on other countries and the only people that will benefit are the corporations….and the oligarchs.

Pay attention!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Is It Corruption?

I am asking about our government…..is it a representative body of the people or just a pack of greedy slugs scratching for more cash to do business?

I mean Russia has its oligarch…..and so does the US….although we pretend that it is different…..it is not greedy slugs selling their vote for cash…..it is corruption….but do not take my word for it…..

Another sign of growing discontent in America? A new poll from the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics finds a majority of Americans think the government is corrupt and stacked against them.

To probably no one’s surprise, 73 percent of poll respondents who identify as “strong Republican” respondents agreed with the statement that the government is “corrupt and rigged against everyday people like me.” But Republicans are far from alone in this sentiment. Fifty-one percent of “very liberal” voters agreed with the same statement.

Overall, 56 percent of survey respondents said that the government is corrupt. This included 66 percent of all Republican respondents, 63 percent of independents, and 46 percent of Democrats.

The survey of 1,000 registered voters found that a significant number of people expect that extreme measures may be necessary to protect against government overreach. 28 percent of respondents agreed with the statement that “it may be necessary at some point soon for citizens to take up arms against the government.” Thirty-six percent of Republicans, 35 percent of independents, and 20 percent of Democrats agreed. 

While some have portrayed this as a sign of increasing polarization or extremism, I think it’s the kind of poll question that makes for dramatic results but doesn’t really tell us much. Agreeing that armed revolution “may” (or may not!) be necessary at some unspecified point in the future doesn’t mean you think it’s terribly likely to be necessary.

One interesting finding is that people across the board believed that their political opponents might agree with them if they were better informed. Asked about “people who you disagree with on political issues,” half said that “the root of the problem” is that these people “are misinformed because of where they get their information.” Fifty-one percent of Republicans, 52 percent of Democrats, and 37 percent of independents believed this.

Most Americans Think Government Is Corrupt, a Third Say Armed Revolution ‘May Be Necessary’ Soon

This was made more possible thanx to yet another SCOTUS decision that let corporations give money hand over fist to representatives in the form of ‘donations’….bribes to do their bidding…..

Time for a change….you decide what to do….then do it!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Don’t Pee On Ukraine’s Parade

I have been a very vocal opponent to all the cash and stuff we are throwing at Ukraine in their struggle with Russia….

I have also said that I believe the PR firms and lobbyists are controlling the narrative that we Americans see and hear….and a recent occurrence does little to ease my mind…..

CBS News retracted a documentary it briefly released on Sunday after pressure from the Ukrainian government. The original documentary (watch it here) CBS put out examined the flow of military aid to Ukraine and quoted someone familiar with the process who said in April that only 30% of the arms were making it to the frontline.

“All of this stuff goes across the border, and then something happens, kind of like 30% of it reaches its final destination,” said Jonas Ohman, the founder of Blue-Yellow, a Lithuania-based organization that CBS said has been meeting with and supplying frontline units with aid in Ukraine since the start of the war in the Donbas in 2014. “30-40%, that’s my estimation,” Ohman said.

After the documentary sparked outrage from the Ukrainian government, it was removed from the internet by CBS. In an editor’s note, CBS said it changed the article that was published with the documentary and that the documentary itself was being “updated.”

The editor’s note also insisted that Ohman has said the delivery of weapons in Ukraine has “significantly improved” since he filmed with CBS back in April, although he didn’t offer a new estimate on the percentage of arms being delivered.

The editor’s note also said that the Ukrainian government noted US defense attaché Brig. Gen. Garrick M. Harmon arrived in Kyiv in August for “arms control and monitoring.” Defense attachés are military officers stationed at US embassies that represent the Pentagon’s interests in the country. 

Previously, it was unclear if there was any sort of military presence at the US embassy in Kyiv after it reopened in May.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said the retraction by CBS was not enough and called for an investigation into the documentary. “Welcome first step, but it is not enough … There should be an internal investigation into who enabled this and why,” he wrote on Twitter.

In the documentary, Ohman described the corruption and bureaucracy that he has to work around to deliver aid to Ukraine. “There are like power lords, oligarchs, political players,” he said. “The system itself, it’s like, ‘We are the armed forces of Ukraine. If security forces want it, well, the Americans gave it to us.’ It’s kind of like power games all day long, and so eventually people need the stuff, and they go to us.”

Other reporting has shown that there is virtually no oversight for the billions of dollars in weapons that the US and its allies are pouring into Ukraine. CNN reported in April that the US has “almost zero” ability to track the weapons it is sending once they enter Ukraine. One source briefed on US intelligence described it as dropping the arms into a “big black hole.”

(antiwar.com)

This sounds like the preferential treatment that Israel is allowed in the US media.

This sounds a lot like Iraq and Afghanistan…..no one is tacking where and how our money for aid is spent….but yet Congress is so worried about any funds we spend domestically….

Now you tell me who runs the government.

Turn The Page!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Pharma Strikes Again

The attempts to try and control the runaway prices for drugs was thwarted by the Senate and Pharma and their suitcases of bribes have struck again.

Senate Republicans knocked a $35 monthly limit on insulin costs for diabetics out of the Democratic economic bill on Sunday. “The reality is the cost of insulin is not just out of control, it is devastating people,” Democratic Sen. Patty Murray said on the floor before the vote, per the Washington Post. Because of a parliamentarian ruling, the measure covering insured patients needed more than the usual simple majority to pass, the Hill reports. The tally was 57-43, with all no votes coming from Republicans. The parliamentarian’s ruling did not affect the similar limit for Medicare patients, which remains in the bill and could have an effect on insulin prices generally.

The House has passed a bill capping the monthly cost of insulin at $35 for insured patients, part of an election-year push by Democrats for price curbs on prescription drugs at a time of rising inflation, per the AP. Experts say the legislation, which passed 232-193 Thursday, would provide significant relief for privately insured patients with skimpier plans and for Medicare enrollees facing rising out-of-pocket costs for their insulin. Some could save hundreds of dollars annually, and all insured patients would get the benefit of predictable monthly costs for insulin. The bill would not help the uninsured. Ten Republicans joined all Democrats in voting for the legislation, notes the New York Times.

The Affordable Insulin Now Act will serve as a political vehicle to rally Democrats and force Republicans who oppose it into uncomfortable votes ahead of the midterms. For the legislation to pass Congress, 10 Republican senators would have to vote in favor to overcome a filibuster. Democrats acknowledge they don’t have an answer for how that’s going to happen, but the political sniping has begun: “If 10 Republicans stand between the American people being able to get access to affordable insulin, that’s a good question for 10 Republicans to answer,” said Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Mich., a cosponsor of the House bill. “Republicans get diabetes, too. Republicans die from diabetes.

Public opinion polls have consistently shown support across party lines for congressional action to limit drug costs. But Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., complained the legislation is only “a small piece of a larger package around government price controls for prescription drugs.” Critics say the bill would raise premiums and fails to target pharmaceutical middlemen seen as contributing to high list prices for insulin. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said Democrats could have a deal on prescription drugs if they drop their bid to authorize Medicare to negotiate prices. “Do Democrats really want to help seniors, or would they rather have the campaign issue?” Grassley said.

Screwing diabetes sufferers is paramount for the GOP.

Then Pharma goes into full blown fearmongering…..

Groups like this mysterious American Prosperity Alliance (which just launched their website in late June), Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and National Association of Manufacturers have been going all in, dropping millions of dollars on deceptive ads aimed at getting people to oppose drug price negotiation. Meanwhile, Republicans are trying to frame it as “socialist price controls!,” for reasons of “follow the money.”

“I don’t think socializing prices that is putting the government in charge of this is the way to continue the kind of healthy effective pharmaceutical industry that has saved the lives of millions of Americans,” Mitch McConnell said earlier this month.

Although at this point I think that one is probably a hard sell. Polls have shown for years that huge majorities of the country want the government to do far more about the price of pharmaceutical drugs than just letting Medicare negotiate prices.

Too many people have to buy overpriced insulin, Epipens, and too many people remember the time Medicare paid “$172 million between 2006 and 2011, about twice as much as the consumer would have paid at the retail level” for penis pumps for this to be an easy thing to pull off. Many of them have even heard that the government could have saved $3.6 billion by buying Medicare pharmaceuticals from an online pharmacy. Additionally, with inflation being what it is, it’s not gonna be all that easy to get people riled up about “socialist price controls.” When the other option is “getting completely screwed and paying out the nose” for things, “socialist price controls” just don’t sound that menacing.

Of course, allowing Medicare to negotiate prices is not “socialist price controls” anyway, anymore than private insurance companies negotiating prices is “socialist price controls.” In fact, for all intents and purposes, health insurance is a form of collective bargaining. The insurance companies say “We have this many customers, you can sell your drug to our group but only if you charge this much.” That’s why people in countries that have socialized health care pay less for their drugs. Because their whole country is one giant insurance group, which gives them leverage. This is what Medicare should be, but it’s not, because pharmaceutical companies prefer a system where they get to tell the US government how much it is going to pay for drugs and the US government has to pay that amount, regardless of how ridiculous it is.

https://www.wonkette.com/pharma-groups-hope-to-scare-americans-into-letting-them-screw-us-forever

Time for the public to stop bitching and start paying attention…..because eventually your very existence will be at issue.

Turn The Page!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Closing Thought–09Aug22

In these days of high inflation we all have been jammed up at the pump….those damn gas prices are just too damn high…..but not to worry they have started their slow drop……but will they ever return to the days of yore when gas was affordable?

The answer to that question is….probably not!

Nothing can make or break a president’s political fortunes like the price of gasoline. As Ben Lefebvre reports for Politico, President Biden is trying to ease the pain by tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserves, easing rules on ethanol sales, and proposing a temporary gas tax cut. Such bandages might bring temporary economic and political reprieve, but they’re not likely to last, according to Lefebvre. Others may disagree. For example, Republicans blame Biden’s climate agenda and are apt to call for more drilling. Environmentalists and transportation analysts say oil prices are bound to fall amid rising demand for electric vehicles and renewable fuels. That may be true, eventually, but US demand for gasoline will remain high for the foreseeable future, and there’s not much anyone can do about it, writes Lefebvre.

The problem boils down to the nation’s refining capacity, which has fallen steadily in recent years, not because of political directives or decreased demand but—in several ways—as a result of climate change. First, there’s the physical threat posed by intensifying storms along the Gulf Coast. That’s why Phillips 66 closed a Louisiana refinery damaged by Hurricane Ida last year, and it’s also why insurance rates are skyrocketing. Meanwhile, Shell shuttered a Louisiana refinery as part of its “strategic shift to shrink its fossil fuel asset portfolio.” It’s being converted to produce biodiesel. Others are following suit as executives and investors adapt to the economic and politic realities of climate change. Nobody plans to build new refineries, and those that remain are old and getting older. And that’s why any future presidents should expect to feel Biden’s pain. Read Lefebvre’s analysis here.

Sorry to be a bummer and pee on the parade….but I thought you needed to know before you got too excited.

You see they, oil industry, will keep a tight control on supply so they can maximize their profits.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Will Inflation Slow?

A good question for us armchair economists…..and I am sure there is a wealth of opinions out there…..this is just mine.

Let’s begin with the new Inflation Reduction Act before the Congress……

The bill, introduced last week after a long-awaited deal was struck between Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D–N.Y.) and moderate Sen. Joe Manchin (D–W.Va.), was pitched as a way to lower costs for consumers while also reducing the federal budget deficit and spending billions on environmental initiatives meant to combat climate change.

It didn’t take long for a problem to present itself.

“The impact on inflation is statistically indistinguishable from zero,” concluded the Penn Wharton Budget Model (PWBM), a number-crunching policy center based at the University of Pennsylvania. In fact, if the bill’s passage had any impact on inflation in the short term, it would be to increase it very slightly until 2024, according to the group’s preliminary analysis, released on Friday.

Other parts of the Inflation Reduction Act would do what Manchin and Schumer claim. According to the PWBM report, the bill would reduce future deficits by a cumulative $247 billion over the next decade and would marginally reduce the national debt as a result. It would spend about $370 billion on new environmental and climate initiatives. It would pay for all that by raising taxes and by boosting IRS enforcement, in hopes of chasing down revenue that currently goes unpaid.

But again, the Inflation Reduction Act won’t actually reduce inflation.

The ‘Inflation Reduction Act’ Won’t Actually Reduce Inflation

Once again the answers to the nation’s economic problems is a bill or action that does little to help.

I have made my thoughts known and the comments were as I expected…..but like I say….they are my opinions not a game plan although my ideas would help.

“Inflation” is the new buzzword of the year. It is the reason for the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes designed to increase the costs of some loans. It is the excuse given against renewing the expanded child tax credit program that briefly lifted millions of American families out of poverty. It forms the name of one of the key pieces of legislation that may salvage President Joe Biden’s first term: the Inflation Reduction Act. And, it is the basis of Republican complaints against Democrats heading toward the midterm elections this fall.

With all this concern over inflation, one wonders why so little heed has been paid to another “i” word: inequality.

For decades, government officials, media pundits, mainstream economists, politicians, and others were content to allow and even enable money to flow upward, enriching the already wealthy. They paid little heed to increasing inequality, beyond shrugging their shoulders and lamenting the injustice of it all.

To fiscally conservative politicians, it seems that inflation equates to trouble, but inequality is perfectly tolerable.

To Reduce Inflation, Control Corporate Profits

We are told daily how tough things are for the corporations…..and yet they find enough cash to buy other companies even football teams when times are tough.

So yes….I agree with the article above.

Turn The Page!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

 

Dems Did Something Right

In a vote down party lines (go figure) the Dems have passed a sweeping economic package (I am not sure how damn sweeping it is….but at least they did something)

Democrats pushed their election-year economic package to Senate passage Sunday, a hard-fought compromise less sweeping than President Biden’s original domestic vision but one that still meets deep-rooted party goals of slowing global warming, moderating pharmaceutical costs, and taxing immense corporations. The estimated $740 billion package heads next to the House, where lawmakers are positioned to deliver on Biden’s priorities, a stunning turnaround of what had seemed a lost and doomed effort that suddenly roared back to political life. Democrats held united, 51-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote, the AP reports.

“The Senate is making history,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer ahead of the final votes. “I am confident the Inflation Reduction Act will endure as one of the defining legislative measures of the 21st century.” Senators engaged in a round-the-clock marathon of voting that began Saturday and stretched into late Sunday afternoon. Democrats swatted down some three dozen Republican amendments designed to torpedo the legislation. Confronting unanimous GOP opposition, Democratic unity in the 50-50 chamber held, keeping the party on track for a morale-boosting victory three months before elections in which congressional control is at stake. The House seemed likely to provide final congressional approval when it returns briefly from summer recess on Friday.

The bill ran into trouble midday over objections to the new 15% corporate minimum tax that private equity firms and other industries disliked, forcing last-minute changes. Still, the approval gives Democrats a campaign-season showcase for action on coveted goals. It includes the largest-ever federal effort on climate change—close to $400 billion—while capping out-of-pocket drug costs for seniors on Medicare to $2,000 a year and extending expiring subsidies that help 13 million people afford health insurance. By raising corporate taxes, the whole package is paid for, with some $300 billion extra revenue for deficit reduction. Nonpartisan analysts have said the package would have a minor effect on surging consumer prices. Schumer told the Washington Post that the legislation provides “things that Americans have longed for, and couldn’t get done.”

This ought to improve the Dems chances in November……it may even boost Biden to low approval ratings from very poor approval.

More needed doing but I guess we should be thankful that these people did something positive.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Here a RINO, There A RINO

Another of my series of WTF Is Happening?

Now there is a popular term in the last few years….meaning those GOPers that do not hold the same radical beliefs of those little nuts in the party.

The GOP is a party running scared….afraid of minorities….afraid of women….afraid of education….afraid of science….afraid of fact checking…..afraid of the voter….and afraid of itself……hence the label RINO……

But what does it mean and where does it stop?

What do you know of the history of the term?

I can help with that lapses in your education……

Republican In Name Only (RINO) is a disparaging term that refers to a Republican candidate whose political views are seen as insufficiently conforming to the party line.

The phrase, without the RINO acronym, became first popularized during the Theodore Roosevelt presidency, as he was often labeled a “Republican in name only” by both critics and proponents, as his trust-busting policies were at odds with long-standing Republican Party ideologies.

By 1992, the acronym “RINO” had shown up in print, with an article in the New Hampshire Union Leader, written by John Distaso, being cited as the first instance of RINO in print.

The use of the term RINO arose as polarization increased in the political parties. Prior to the 1992 election of Bill Clinton, the Democratic and Republican parties had been in a long process of realignment where conservative Democrats and liberal Republicans were quite common. With the election of Bill Clinton, Republican ideological unity became increasingly fixed. This is exemplified by Grover Norquist’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which called upon signatories to reject and oppose all measures to increase tax rates. By 2012, nearly every Republican presidential candidate was a signatory to this pledge.

The increasing ideological unity of the Republican Party made holdovers from the previous political alignment look like outliers. Whereas historically liberal Republicans comprised a wing of the Republican Party, they had (by 1992, and especially by 2020) become incompatible with the Republican Party itself.

Therefore, in an age of party unity, the term RINO was often used as a political weapon. It could be used as a threat: vote how your party wants or be branded a RINO. It could also be used as an effective tool in a primary campaign: the incumbent is a RINO, vote for the challenger. Indeed, in the 2010 Congressional Elections, the Tea Party effectively used the term RINO as a way to “primary” Republican Incumbents whose policies were not conservative enough.

I know you have heard the term used….you may have even used it yourself…..but what is a RINO in the Republican world?

Donald Trump went to Wyoming to campaign against Republican Rep. Liz Cheney. He repeatedly called her a “RINO” and urged the state’s voters to elect her challenger, Harriet Hageman. But Trump’s speech exposed how the meaning of “RINO” has changed. It used to refer to people who weren’t Reagan conservatives. Now it refers to people who are.

The substantive positions for which Trump praised Hageman—on oil drilling, guns, crime, and border enforcement—were no different from Cheney’s. In fact, according to the American Conservative Union, Cheney’s voting record is far more conservative than the record of Rep. Elise Stefanik, who, at Trump’s behest, replaced her last year as chair of the House Republican Conference.

In his speech, Trump called Cheney a “lapdog” for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. But that accusation, too, is bogus: Cheney has voted against Pelosi’s positions more consistently than have the top three officials in the House Republican Conference.

So Trump’s beef with Cheney isn’t about conservatism. Unless, that is, he finds her too conservative. And in many respects, he does: On several major issues, Cheney respects longstanding Republican principles, while Trump flouts them.

You can disagree with Cheney or her father about their positions on these conflicts. But you can’t argue that Trump’s position, compared to theirs, is more “Republican.” For 15 years, Afghanistan, Iraq, and the global struggle against terrorism defined the GOP. The 2012 Republican platform—the last platform before Trump seized control of the party—resolved to “employ the full range of military and intelligence options to defeat Al Qaeda and its affiliates.” The platform opposed troop withdrawals from Afghanistan and pledged that “future decisions by a Republican President will never subordinate military necessity to domestic politics or an artificial timetable.”

What Makes a Republican a “RINO”?

Don’t get me started on DINOs!

Your history lesson is done…..now don’t you feel smarter?

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Closing Thought–04Aug22

Our Congress has voted on Sweden and Finland vote on joining NATO…..overwhelmingly in both Houses.

I have been in opposition to this situation for I think it will make things more volatile than they are now…yet another finger poke at Russia.

It is official the Senate has voted to allow Sweden and Finland into NATO…..

The Senate on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a resolution approving Sweden and Finland’s bids for NATO membership, demonstrating the bipartisan consensus on expanding the military alliance further on Russia’s border.

The measure passed the Senate in a vote of 95-1-1, with only Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) voting “no,” and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) voting “present.”

In an op-ed published inThe National interest, Hawley explained that he was against expanding NATO into Sweden and Finland because he believes the US should be expanding its military resources into the Asia Pacific to counter China.

An amendment that Paul tried to add to the resolution would have emphasized that Article 5, NATO’s mutual defense clause, does not supersede congressional authorization for war. But the amendment failed in a vote of 10-87.

The Senate vote was needed to ratify US approval for Sweden and Finland to join the military alliance. All 30 NATO members need to approve the Nordic nations’ memberships, and according to The Hill, the Senate vote makes the US the 20th country to do so.

In July, the House voted on a resolution supporting Sweden and Finland’s NATO bids that passed in a vote of 394-18, with only Republicans voting against the measure.

Turkey is the only NATO member that has said its legislature might block Sweden and Finland from joining the alliance. Ankara initially blocked the Nordic countries from applying but lifted the objection after signing a memorandum at the NATO summit in June.

Turkey accused Sweden and Finland of supporting the PKK, a Kurdish militant group Ankara considers a terrorist organization. Under the memorandum, the two Nordic nations agreed to respond to Turkey’s extradition request for suspected PKK members and other alleged “terrorists.” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the Turkish parliament could block Sweden and Finland’s NATO bids if they don’t comply.

(antiwar.com)

The bipartisan consensus for expanding NATO remains strong as the House approved a resolution on Monday endorsing Sweden and Finland’s memberships in a vote of 394-18, with only Republicans voting in opposition.

This is not something that the US should enter into lightly….but we did and apparently lobbyists money was well spent.

Ask yourself (you probably won’t) with this vote who will benefit the most?  (That means follow the money)

Turn The Page!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

If You Want Democracy Then Learn…..

Since this country is proud of its democracy maybe a good thing to do is learn a few basic skills that will preserve the democracy that we all say we love…..they are much needed skills as we watch the republic slide into disarray.

This is probably not going to happen because most Americans think they know all there is about the Constitution, the very foundation of this nation.

If you truly love the democracy this country has to have and use all the techniques at our disposal…..if not then the slide that started back in 2010 will eventually eat away at the foundations of this country until we are left with nothing….nothing good.

These simple skills will help this democracy survive and thanx to the site courterpunch.org these skills are easily learned and used….even for the thickest dolts out there…..

As primaries roll out around the country, we’re tracking voter turnout. Raised on Schoolhouse Rock’s cartoon civics lessons, I know that being a good American means voting.

Those 1970’s cartoons weren’t wrong. Voting is the most fundamental act of democratic citizenship. That’s why it has been fiercely contested throughout our history.

But now we’re in the 21st century, deluged by information, increasingly divided, with few models of bipartisanship.

Democracy now requires much more than voting. What should a 21st century Schoolhouse Rocks teach?

Finding information

Most fundamentally, we need to be skilled seekers of information. In this era of deepfakes, bots, and fragmenting media platforms, the ability to access and evaluate information is key. Algorithms push us ever more deeply into one point of view. To address multifaceted 21st century issues, we need deliberately to seek a variety of information, including backstories about controversial events, from differing sources to construct the whole picture.

Understanding our own biases

We must process information skillfully, getting around our inherent neurobiological biases. For example, we naturally lap up information that confirms what we already think but ignore information that challenges our world view. We also are wired for double standards: we attribute another person’s bad behavior to their personality (“she’s late because she’s disrespectful”) while giving ourselves a pass for the same behavior (“I’m late because traffic was bad”). Understanding these natural biases lets us challenge ourselves to explore issues more fully.

Having conversations – not arguments – across divides

Understanding biases promotes a third democratic skill: truly talking with one another. Research, including my own, shows that liberals and conservatives alike often experience cross-divide conversations as an assault on their values. Yet most people also believe these conversations are important and would like to have them to feel connected and informed.

Constructive conversations require listening and asking good questions. Political scientist Andrew Dobson describes listening as our “democratic deficit.” We rarely listen closely to the other side. This undermines our ability to create policy which is seen as a legitimate outcome of democratic debate. Nor do we ask enough genuinely curious questions to learn why others think what they do to help find common ground. As Steve Benjamin, former head of the National Conference of Mayors, noted, “We all suffer from some degree of experiential blindness and need to become experts at learning about others’ perspectives.”

Having complicated relationships

Perhaps the most important – and most difficult — 21st century citizenship skill is maintaining relationships with people who think differently. For a democracy to function, we need not only a robust marketplace of ideas, but also the ability to work together for policy that meets widespread needs. A conservative interviewee in my study remarked, “Everybody is so comfortable being polarized – they are not happy unless they’re mad.”

It’s challenging to hold conflicting feelings about people, appreciating their good qualities while disagreeing on politics. But perhaps we make it harder than it is.

Research shows we overestimate both how much the other party dislikes us as well as how much they disagree with us about policy. Asking genuinely curious questions and remembering what we appreciate just might help us find that we have more in common than we think. Our 21st century democracy needs us to develop these skills.

Learn these skills and use them…..it will not be easy but survival is essential for this country.

Next Question.

How many amendments are there to the Constitution?

(I pause here for the dash to the Google machine)

27 and can you name them?

Do not hurt yourself I can help you out…..

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The First Amendment lays out five basic freedoms: freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, and the freedom to petition the government.

hese rights were important to establish because they ensured that individuals could think, speak, and act without fear of being punished for disagreeing with the government. 

In addition to being arguably one of the most important amendments, the First Amendment is still very much at the center of America’s political discourse today — from questioning whether or not Twitter bots have First Amendment rights to whether or not the White House banning a CNN reporter violates the Constitution.

https://www.insider.com/what-are-all-the-amendments-us-constitution-meaning-history-2018-11#the-first-amendment-famously-protects-freedom-of-speech-1

Learn this stuff!

You must choose….does the republic survive as a democracy or will it divide itself along ignorant useless biased lines.

It is your decision….choose wisely.

Turn The Page!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”