Those Voting Acts

It is MLK, Jr Day and what better time to look at the voting bills that are being considered in DC…..(by the time this is published I look fore the bills to be squashed)…..

The battle is on for voting rights…..but how many know what the two bills are all about or just what is included in the text?

This is just a little help….before you dismiss these attempts read the info and tell me where the problem is….if there is a problem.

How the For the People Act and Freedom to Vote Act differ

Provisions in the For the People Act and what the Freedom to Vote Act does with them
Keeps a provision
✏️ Amends a provision
➕ Adds a provision
Cuts a provision

For the People Act   Freedom to Vote Act
Prohibit states from requiring an excuse to vote absentee.   Keep
Require states to allow voters to apply for an absentee ballot online.   Keep
Prohibit states from requiring absentee ballots to be notarized or have witness signatures.   Keep
Require states to allow people to register to vote on Election Day.   Keep
Require states to allow people to register to vote online.   Keep
How the For the People Act and Freedom to Vote Act differ

Provisions in the For the People Act and what the Freedom to Vote Act does with them
Keeps a provision
✏️ Amends a provision
➕ Adds a provision
Cuts a provision

For the People Act   Freedom to Vote Act
Prohibit states from requiring an excuse to vote absentee.   Keep
Require states to allow voters to apply for an absentee ballot online.   Keep
Prohibit states from requiring absentee ballots to be notarized or have witness signatures.   Keep
Require states to allow people to register to vote on Election Day.   Keep
Require states to allow people to register to vote online.   Keep
Require states to offer 15 consecutive days of early voting … ✏️ … with some exceptions for smaller or mail-voting jurisdictions.
Require polling places to keep waits under 30 minutes … ✏️ … and prohibit banning giving food and water to voters waiting in line.
Require states that mandate voter IDs to also accept sworn statements signed by the voter. ✏️ Require states that mandate voter IDs to accept a broad and uniform range of both photo and non-photo IDs.
Require states to offer automatic voter registration at the department of motor vehicles and other government agencies. ✏️ Require states to offer automatic voter registration at the department of motor vehicles.
Tightly restrict states’ ability to purge voters from the rolls. ✏️ Modestly restrict states’ ability to purge voters from the rolls.
Implement public funding for congressional campaigns by matching every dollar a candidate raises from small donors with $6 from the government. ✏️ Allow states to choose whether to implement public funding for House campaigns by matching every dollar a candidate raises from small donors with $6 from the government.
Establish specific redistricting criteria for fair maps and require nonpartisan redistricting commissions in every state. ✏️ Establish specific redistricting criteria for fair maps.
New provisions: Allow election officials to sue if they are undeservedly removed from office.
  Increase protections against intimidating election workers.
  Increase the penalties for tampering with voting records.
  Require more records to be preserved after the election.
  Allow voters to sue if their vote is not counted.
Count prisoners at their last address instead of where they’re incarcerated for the purposes of redistricting.   Cut
Require presidential candidates to release their tax returns.   Cut
Bar members of Congress from sitting on corporate boards.   Cut
Bar members of Congress from using public money to settle sexual harassment or discrimination lawsuits.   Cut
Establish a code of ethics for Supreme Court justices.
Shrink the Federal Election Commission from six members to five in order to avoid tie votes.   Cut
Require states to mail absentee-ballot applications to all voters.   Cut

Sources: Brennan Center for Justice, Congress.gov, Sludge, Washington Post

There is so much more on these two bills….read the article it will help explain what this is all about.

What Might Democrats’ Voting Rights Bill Entail?

Nothing is more important that a citizen’s right to voice their opinion through their vote.

Any assault on these rights is an assault on the very foundation of our republic.

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MLK, Jr Day

Today we celebrate the life and times of Martin Luther King, Jr a great civil rights activist….as important as that is I remember him more for his opposition to war especially the Vietnam War….a war that I know all too well.

So my post will be about the man and his anti-war thoughts and speeches…..

On July 2, 1964, Martin Luther King Jr. stood behind President Lyndon Baines Johnson as the Texan signed into law the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Although not the first civil rights bill passed by Congress, it was the most comprehensive.

King called the law’s passage “a great moment … something like the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation by Abraham Lincoln.” Johnson recognized King’s contributions to the law by gifting him a pen used to sign the historic legislation.

A year later, as Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 into law, King again joined the president for the occasion.

But by the start of 1967, the two most famous men in America were no longer on speaking terms. In fact, they would not meet again before King fell to an assassin’s bullet on April 4, 1968.

King was foremost a minister who pastored to a local church throughout his career, even while he was doing national civil rights work. And he became concerned that his political ally Johnson was making a grave moral mistake in Vietnam. Johnson quickly escalated American troop presence in Vietnam from 75,000 to 125,000 in 1965. And by 1968, more than a half a million troops were stationed in the Southeast Asian nation.

https://theconversation.com/how-the-vietnam-war-pushed-mlk-to-embrace-global-justice-not-only-civil-rights-at-home-169916

I remember his words and after experiencing war first hand I too became an anti-war activist…..

America is not in the habit of remembering King as an anti-war resister. We prefer to hold him up as a peace lover in a vacuum, a pacifist taken out of context from the time and place in which he lived, in the midst of what he deems to be an unjust war in Vietnam. But in his radical 1967 speech “Beyond Vietnam,” given before a crowd of 3,000 people crammed into New York City’s Riverside Church, the reverend shored up two years of protests into his most comprehensive statement against the war. He called for a worldwide fellowship that moved beyond tribe, race, class and nation, and he condemned a war that sent young black men 8,000 miles to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not yet found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem.

Even as King spoke of the need for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all mankind, he knew that his words would be dismissed as cowardice and weakness. `I am not speaking of some sentimental response,’ he insisted. `I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as a supreme unifying principle of life.’

https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php

MLK was a great man and a great civil rights leader but he should also be celebrated for his work as an anti-war activist as well.

Have a great day…..

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

 

Can You Say Cheese?

I think there is nothing better than a good cheese…..my better half says with enough cheese I could eat a bowling ball…..

My friend Pete, https://beetleypete.com/, and I are always talking about wine and cheese….but how many people know anything at all about cheese other than it is either yellow or white?

Since it is the weekend and I so enjoy giving my readers a little FYI….and what better subject than cheese…..

‘I hate to dictate to people. I don’t like too many rules,” says Iain Mellis, a cheesemonger of 40 years, with cheese shops bearing his name scattered across Scotland. Mellis has spent his life trying to make artisan cheese more accessible; the last thing he wants is to be so prescriptive that people are put off.

Yet the world of good cheese is already mired in misunderstandings that, at best, detract from its enjoyment and, at worst, result in its ruination. Cheese stored incorrectly is easily marred, while the mistaken beliefs that you need red wine, specialist knives or even a cheeseboard to enjoy it only reinforce cheese’s recherché reputation.

As we enter the season of cheese – and the month during which we will buy (and eat) more cheese than in any other – it is worth debunking some of the more commonly held fictions regarding fromage.

https://www.theguardian.com/food/2021/dec/06/fromage-fictions-the-14-biggest-cheese-myths-debunked

My preference is Camembert for soft cheese, sharp cheddar for semi-hard and Manchego for a hard cheese…..a good red wine Malbec or a Granache…..

I also enjoy a good grilled cheese made with Havarti, Cheddar and Provolone…..

What is your favorite cheese?

Have a good weekend….be well and be safe…..

“lego ergo scribo”

Mississippi Secedes–1861

This is for all my Civil War history buffs.

My state of Mississippi officially secedes from the Union on 09 January 1861…..I offer up this resolution for their actions on that day….this is the official statement…..

A Declaration of the Immediate Causes which Induce and Justify the Secession of the State of Mississippi from the Federal Union.

In the momentous step which our State has taken of dissolving its connection with the government of which we so long formed a part, it is but just that we should declare the prominent reasons which have induced our course.

Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery– the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin. That we do not overstate the dangers to our institution, a reference to a few facts will sufficiently prove.

The hostility to this institution commenced before the adoption of the Constitution, and was manifested in the well-known Ordinance of 1787, in regard to the Northwestern Territory.

The feeling increased, until, in 1819-20, it deprived the South of more than half the vast territory acquired from France.

The same hostility dismembered Texas and seized upon all the territory acquired from Mexico.

It has grown until it denies the right of property in slaves, and refuses protection to that right on the high seas, in the Territories, and wherever the government of the United States had jurisdiction.

It refuses the admission of new slave States into the Union, and seeks to extinguish it by confining it within its present limits, denying the power of expansion.

It tramples the original equality of the South under foot.

It has nullified the Fugitive Slave Law in almost every free State in the Union, and has utterly broken the compact which our fathers pledged their faith to maintain.

It advocates negro equality, socially and politically, and promotes insurrection and incendiarism in our midst.

It has enlisted its press, its pulpit and its schools against us, until the whole popular mind of the North is excited and inflamed with prejudice.

It has made combinations and formed associations to carry out its schemes of emancipation in the States and wherever else slavery exists.

It seeks not to elevate or to support the slave, but to destroy his present condition without providing a better.

It has invaded a State, and invested with the honors of martyrdom the wretch whose purpose was to apply flames to our dwellings, and the weapons of destruction to our lives.

It has broken every compact into which it has entered for our security.

It has given indubitable evidence of its design to ruin our agriculture, to prostrate our industrial pursuits and to destroy our social system.

It knows no relenting or hesitation in its purposes; it stops not in its march of aggression, and leaves us no room to hope for cessation or for pause.

It has recently obtained control of the Government, by the prosecution of its unhallowed schemes, and destroyed the last expectation of living together in friendship and brotherhood.

Utter subjugation awaits us in the Union, if we should consent longer to remain in it. It is not a matter of choice, but of necessity. We must either submit to degradation, and to the loss of property worth four billions of money, or we must secede from the Union framed by our fathers, to secure this as well as every other species of property. For far less cause than this, our fathers separated from the Crown of England.

Our decision is made. We follow their footsteps. We embrace the alternative of separation; and for the reasons here stated, we resolve to maintain our rights with the full consciousness of the justice of our course, and the undoubting belief of our ability to maintain it.

That is word for word the declaration for the cessation of the state of Mississippi from the United States……now you tell me what the reason for this was…..it is clear to me no matter what they narrative has become….there was NO ‘Lost Cause’ it was preserve the institution of slavery…..

I offer this up because the schools in the South are failing to teach what lead to the Civil War that killed so many Americans.

In social studies standards for 45 out of 50 states and the District of Columbia, discussion of Reconstruction is “partial” or “non-existent,” according to historians who reviewed how the period is discussed in K-12 social studies standards for public schools nationwide. In a report produced by the education nonprofit Zinn Education Project, the study’s authors say they are concerned that American children will grow up to be uninformed about a critical period of history that helps explain why full racial equality remains unfulfilled today.

https://time.com/6128421/teaching-reconstruction-study/

The history lesson is done….you may now return to your normal drudgery.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

A Quick Civics Lesson

College Of Political Knowledge

Civics 101

These days few people seem to have no knowledge of how our Congress works (granted the term ‘work’ may be a stretch)….so I thought that a quick short civics lesson is called for…..

The House of Representatives is one of the two chambers of the United States Congress; the other is the Senate. Each state receives representation in the House in proportion to its population (there is a minimum of one Representative per state). Rhode Island currently has 2 representatives, David Cicilline and myself. Below are answers to some common questions about Congress and links to additional information related to the legislative process. Click on the questions to jump to the answers.

How are laws made?
How many members of Congress are there?
How long do members of Congress’s terms last?
What does a member of Congress do?
How can I tell what is currently happening on the House floor?
How can I watch the proceedings on the House floor?
How does a Representative introduce a bill?
How do I find out the status of a particular bill in the House of Representatives or the Senate?
What is the Congressional Record?
What is a roll call vote?
What is a Congressional recess?
What is the 115th Congress?

This is by no means a complete education on the functioning of our Congress but I will give the reader an understanding of the workings (when they actually do some work)….

If you want this country to survive then I suggest you read and re-read this and all others.

Do not let stupidity destroy this country…you can be the solution….now take it!

More civics lessons to come……

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“lego ergo scribo”

SCOTUS Of Today

I have made my thoughts on the modern SCOTUS….I think they are nothing more than political hacks that are a slave to party politics not the rule of law…..

With said let’s look at the SCOTUS of today…..

The Robert’s court has been concerned about the ethical lapses that the court has been plagued with recently…..

There have been ethical lapses by federal judges, Chief Justice John Roberts has conceded. And as a workplace, the court system has not been free of discrimination and harassment, the Washington Post reports. But he cited the principle of judicial independence in arguing that courts should be left alone to police themselves. “The Judiciary’s power to manage its internal affairs insulates courts from inappropriate political influence and is crucial to preserving public trust in its work as a separate and co-equal branch of government,” Roberts said. The chief justice made the case in his year-end report on the judiciary.

Roberts referred to “topics that have been flagged by Congress and the press over the past year”—not problems the judiciary spotted on its own. Wall Street Journal reports, which he addressed, found judges’ actions “inconsistent” with a statute requiring them to recuse themselves in cases in which they have a financial stake. “Between 2010 and 2018, 131 federal judges participated in a total of 685 matters involving companies in which they or their families owned shares of stock,” Roberts wrote. Although he said that’s a “99.97% compliance rate,” Roberts said that the judiciary takes the issue seriously and that those 131 judges “violated an ethics rule.”

Ethics training for judges will be stepped up, Roberts said, and computer software might be used to spot potential conflicts of interest. He also mentioned steps being taken to protect judiciary employees, per the Post. Legislation has been introduced that would, among other things, set up whistleblower protections for staff members. Again, Roberts said the judiciary has it under control, adding, “I appreciate that Members of Congress have expressed ongoing concerns on this important matter.” Roberts is working from a position of strength: A recent poll found the chief justice has the highest popularity rating of 11 federal officials. On the other hand, per Axios, a September poll found the Supreme Court’s approval rating down to 40%.

Seriously?

“Independent”?

That is about as a stupid statement….they are political hacks…that is how they get nominated.

Nothing about the court smells of independence…..the court no longer works for the country but rather for the political corporate machine….

In 2008, Linda Greenhouse, a New York Times reporter who had covered the Supreme Court for almost 30 years, assessed the court’s place in the nation in an essay. “The court is in Americans’ collective hands,” she wrote. “We shape it; it reflects us. At any given time, we may not have the Supreme Court we want. We may not have the court we need. But we have, most likely, the Supreme Court we deserve.” Greenhouse’s views have changed since then, she writes in a new opinion piece in the Times, as has the court. Now, she writes, the country deserves better.

The justices don’t represent the views of the majority of Americans because they weren’t chosen by a majority of Americans. Six justices were picked by Republican presidents, only three of whom received a majority of the popular vote when they were elected. The GOP leanings of small states and realities of the Electoral College mean that the three justices named by former President Donald Trump were confirmed in close votes by senators representing less than half of the US population, Greenhouse notes.

The result is a court whose majority view isn’t the nation’s. For example, polls regularly show Americans want to leave Roe v. Wade alone, but the court’s illogical handling of the Texas law suggests that’s not the way it’s headed, writes Greenhouse. “We now have justices apparently untroubled by process and precedent, let alone appearances.” With their life tenure, these justices could “capture the court for the next generation and freeze in place a legacy the American people never chose,” she says. That leads Greenhouse to an updated answer on that rhetorical question from 2008: “Is this the Supreme Court we deserve? It is not.” (Read the full piece here.)

The Supreme Court needs reforming….start with banning political think yanks from having any influence in the nomination process (but that is a pipe dream on my part for the corporations own every part of our government and that includes SCOTUS).

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I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

 

“That Rag-Tag Army”

The truth is that the news is so damn redundant that I have become bored with it….and after all the readership of this blog slips during the holiday season…..so I revert back to my secondary interest…history.

I have been doing a lot of reading about the beginnings of the United States, from 1750-1812, and watching documentaries on the Revolutionary War and in that time I have seen and read many things that are not that accurate.

Most of the history is whitewashed or sanitized, if you will…..

If instance take the participation of France in the American Revolution…..

It’s the goddamn American Revolution. Sure, the French stepped in late in the game, but by the time they bothered to put down their baguettes and wine, the colonists had already proven they were a solid bet. Even after the Americans won at Saratoga, French assistance was, well, French: underwhelming and plagued by indecision.

The Reality

In the centuries since the Revolutionary War, French contributions have been criminally downplayed. Somewhere between the real Yorktown and Mel Gibson’s rather less accurate version, The Patriot, the monumental French war effort during the birth of America got forgotten, buried in the sand, and pissed on.

The truth is, the 13 colonies would never have earned their freedom without French intervention — the whole battle for American independence was essentially a proxy war between Britain and France. To the French, America was nothing but another theater in their grand blood feud against Britain. They were all about making the Englishmen eat every last available dick, and since they noticed they could use the colonists’ struggle for independence as a handy feeding pen, that’s exactly what they did.

France began providing arms and ammunition as early as 1776 (the war started in 1775). In early 1777, months before Saratoga, the French sent American colonists 25,000 uniforms and pairs of boots, hundreds of cannons, and thousands of muskets — all stuff that the colonists would’ve had a hard time surviving without, and all stuff they had no access to on their own. And that was just the tip of the iceberg: From supplies to advice to military reinforcements, France exercised all the fiscal restraint of a drunk businessman at a strip club when it came to funding the American war.

France provided a whopping 90 percent of the rebels’ gunpowder. Let that sink in for a second. Without France, the entire American Revolution would have devolved into a bunch of dudes swinging their muskets as clubs within weeks.

Still, the most important French contribution to the revolution (or, if you’re British, their ultimate dick move) was the least visible to Americans. As mentioned, the reason France pampered the Patriots was always selfish. They were out to weaken the British forces — particularly their naval strength — in order to take the fight to them, perhaps even conquer them. That’s why, for much of the Revolutionary War, the British ships tasked with kicking America’s ass had to survive 12 rounds with the French navy before they could even think of crossing the Atlantic. France gleefully fought the British, eventually teaming up with Spain, declaring a war, attacking from all sides, and even setting up an invasion force. In those battles, America’s independence was a fart in the desert.

So, when the Colonial army was fighting for dear freedom, history books tend to conveniently forget that they did so with French money, equipment, and backup forces, while France and its other allies were busy pummeling the empire from every other side.

(cracked.com)

Like I stated whitewashed.

Like so many other things and people the US history tends to sanitize the facts so that the noble Colonialist appear more god-like.

There is such much more and so many myths that need to see the light of day.

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!

Joy to all and to all a good night.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Do You Remember Ukraine?

There is a civil war going on in Ukraine…..basically because of a democratic election was overthrown with help from the US (so much for the sanctity of elections) just because we did not agree with friends that Ukraine had made.

And the American people remain clueless at the situation and the consequences…..

For years the situation in Ukraine has festered and the US keeps scratching the scab off the social sore…..and Biden has been at the heart of the social unrest…..

Seven years after President Biden and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Victoria Nuland, played key roles in carrying out the 2014 putsch that toppled Ukraine’s democratically elected president and ignited a deadly civil war, the U.S. and NATO have escalated hostilities toward Russia in Ukraine and in the Black Sea. As the conflict between the US and Russia over Ukraine threatens to erupt into a hot war, and neocons on both sides of the US political spectrum exhort Biden to get tough on Russia, the question arises whether Americans understand the recent history of Ukraine, particularly the US role in causing and intensifying the conflict, the fascist influences that pervade Ukraine’s military, and the anti-democratic actions of Ukraine’s current President Zelensky.

The civil war in Ukraine has festered for seven years and exacerbated tensions between Russia and the West. The situation has markedly deteriorated since Biden was installed as president in January 2021. This is not unexpected given Biden’s long history of aggression toward Russia and US interference in Ukraine, a nation that borders Russia but lies 5600 miles distant from the US Prior to the US 2020 election, Biden regularly leveled epithets at Russia’s President Putin, denounced Russia as the US’ greatest threat, and assured the Council on Foreign Relations that he supported NATO enlargement, particularly membership for Ukraine. Once Biden took office, bellicose actions followed the rhetoric. In April 2021, the Biden administration made evidence-free allegations that Russia committed “cyberespionage” and attempted to interfere in the US election, and imposed draconian economic sanctions as penalty. That same month, Blinken accused Russia of amassing troops near the Ukraine border (which means inside Russia), a move which would have been justified, if accurate, given Russia’s fears that the civil war in Ukraine would spill over onto Russia territory and threaten its own national security.

Conflict in the Ukraine: Do Americans Realize What Is at Stake?

Just another front to justify the spending of  billions on the M-IC…..and that is the real reason to preserve the cash that is thrown at the Pentagon…..and NO ONE cares.

WHY?

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“lego ergo scribo”

Which Political Animal Are You?

We all have formulated our political beliefs….but what political group do you fall into?

An expansive new Pew Research Center survey, mostly conducted in July, breaks the American electorate into nine distinct groups, which Pew calls “political typology.” It’s something it’s produced periodically since the 1980s, but the findings released this week are based on a much larger sample size.
Republicans, in this view, are a coalition of four subgroups:
  • Faith and Flag Conservatives.
  • Committed Conservatives.
  • Populist Right.
  • Ambivalent Right.
Democrats are also a coalition of four subgroups:
  • Progressive Left.
  • Establishment Liberals.
  • Democratic Mainstays.
  • Outsider Left.
A large portion of the public — 15% — makes up Pew’s ninth group: Stressed Sideliners. These are people who don’t have a clear partisan orientation, have a mix of conservative and liberal views and may not take part in elections.
 
Me?
 
I guess by the Pew standards I would be considered an Outsider Left.
 
Again I ask…..which are you?
 
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I Read, I Write, You Know
 
“lego ergo scribo”

Remember The Pandora Papers?

Of course not.

That would mean that most people have the capacity to store information….I doubt that is possible anymore.

So what is the Pandora Papers?

The Pandora Papers is a leak of almost 12 million documents and files exposing the secret wealth and dealings of world leaders, politicians and billionaires. The data was obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in Washington DC and has led to one of the biggest ever global investigations. More than 600 journalists from 117 countries have looked at the hidden fortunes of some of the most powerful people on the planet.

The Pandora Papers reveal how unusual offshore finances and secretive wealth have infiltrated global politics. Some of the people named in the papers are major political leaders in developing or impoverished countries, such as Jordan and Kenya.
“Many of the power players who could help bring an end to the offshore system instead benefit from it — stashing assets in covert companies and trusts while their governments do little to slow a global stream of illicit money that enriches criminals and impoverishes nations,” the ICIJ said in its introduction to the series, which is being published by the Washington Post in the United States and the BBC and The Guardian in the United Kingdom.
 
The names mentioned in the articles are a who’s who of heads of state, billionaires and public officials from all corners of the world. Here are five of the biggest takeaways from the series.
 
This illustrates just how deep the corruption around the world has bored its way into the seats of power.
 
For most of us this is not news we have been telling the world about this for decades….now there is proof to our accusations.
 
You are welcome.
 
I Read, I Write, You Know
 
“lego ergo scribo”