2022–First News

You have begun a new year…a year of elections, pandemic and far Right silliness and hatred….so I feel bad about being the messenger of more bad news for us mere mortals…..

Our holiday season of last year was the most expensive in recent history….sorry to say 2022 is not looking like any improvement…..

Red-hot inflation has been showing up in tangible form in everyone’s grocery bills throughout 2021. Is there relief on the horizon in the new year? Not so much. The Wall Street Journal surveyed several major food manufacturers and finds that prices for just about everything will keep rising. Kraft Heinz, for example, projects an average price increase of 5% for its products, though some will go as high as 20%. Fans of the company’s Grey Poupon mustard should brace for a hike of up to 13%. Another big name, Mondelez International, plans to raise the price of its cookies, candy, and other goodies by up to 7% starting in January. General Mills also will be raising prices next month. Produce, dairy, bread, juice, mac-and-cheese, frozen meals, mayo—you name it, it’s probably going up.

“There’s nothing immune,” says Tony Sarsam of of food retailer and distributor SpartanNash Co. The story cites by-now familiar problems, including supply-chain issues and higher labor and packaging costs. Not surprisingly, this will not only affect those who cook at home but those who eat out, notes Mashed. The costs of some items have risen higher than others over the past year, including beef (24%), bacon (20%), and eggs (12%), and no short-term relief looks to be in sight. Virtually all restaurants surveyed report major supply-chain problems with key ingredients, and menu prices are on track to keep rising. The Cheesecake Factory, for example, just raised prices 3% and may add another 2% in 2022.

Not to worry as wages stagnate the billionaires will still go to space and rake in fed money as they wait their turn in the rocket.

My prediction for 2022….nothing will change…the GOP will continue to do what they do best…..obstruct, the Dems will rant and rave and in the end do nothing, the MSM will continue to push a pro-war agenda of the MI-C….Americans will suffer from high prices and low wages…in other words the same crap we have suffered with for many decades.

Sorry to pee on the new year’s parade but forewarned is forearmed…..

Be well and be safe….

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Closing Thought–28Dec21

Journalists have been under attack worldwide by governments trying to hide their misdeeds….plus some of those assault has caused the deaths of hundreds of journalists worldwide.

Under the cloak of anti-terrorism even the US has joined the attacks (so much for the well beloved free press)…….

A special Customs and Border Protection unit used sensitive government databases intended to track terrorists to investigate as many as 20 US-based journalists, including a Pulitzer Prize-winning AP reporter, according to a federal watchdog. Yahoo News, which published an extensive report on the investigation, also found that the unit, the Counter Network Division, queried records of congressional staffers and perhaps members of Congress. Jeffrey Rambo, an agent who acknowledged running checks on journalists in 2017, told federal investigators the practice is routine, per the AP. “When a name comes across your desk you run it through every system you have access too, that’s just status quo, that’s what everyone does,” Rambo was quoted by Yahoo News as saying.

The AP obtained a redacted copy of a more than 500-page report by the Homeland Security Department’s inspector general that included the same statement, but with the speaker’s name blacked out. The border protection agency is part of Homeland Security. The revelations raised alarm in news organizations and prompted a demand for a full explanation. “We are deeply concerned about this apparent abuse of power,” Lauren Easton, AP’s director of media relations, said in a statement. “This appears to be an example of journalists being targeted for simply doing their jobs, which is a violation of the First Amendment.”

Customs and Border Protection did not specifically address the investigation, but said the agency “does not investigate individuals without a legitimate and legal basis to do so.” The new disclosures are just the latest examples of federal agencies using their power to examine the contacts of journalists and others. Rambo’s and the unit’s use of the databases was more extensive than previously known. The inspector general referred possible criminal charges for misusing government databases and lying to investigators, but the Justice Department declined to prosecute Rambo and two other Homeland Security employees.

Just another example of how the US Constitution is being shredded…..until nothing of our ‘rights’ will remain.

This is what the ‘free press’ has come to in these days of an oligarchy.

Turn The Page!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Conservatives In Progressive Clothing

As Congress slips out of DC they abandon policies to rush home to suck off the high dollar donors….so the country will come to a standstill for a couple of weeks.

Next year is an election year and the Dems will try to do what they always do……

Every year, election year that is, Dems put on their progressive clothing to win votes and have NO intention of carrying the principles of progressivism forward once elected……what I am saying is that if the voter is looking for a conservative party then look no further the the Dems.

I recently read an article that talks about the media’s hatred for Biden (more on that shortly)……..there seems to be some that thinks the media is trying to undermine the Biden agenda…..

Why does the media hate Joe Biden? This is a question that has been puzzling me. Why would Joe Biden, who represents the same neoliberal order the corporate media does, be a target of hysterical disdain? It is certainly not because Mr. Biden is taking us too far to the left. Even by the standards of corporate media, Mr. Biden hasn’t taken any serious steps to address our climate apocalypse or any other aspects of our quick march to the end of society as we know it.

Framing Joe Biden as a tool of the left is a narrative used by the fascist right in their conspiracy to erode democracy but why would the supposedly liberal media be joining in? A “return to normal” as represented by the corporate bipartisan neoliberal management of the underclass into the end times is exactly what Mr. Biden represents, and exactly what the media claimed they wanted.

The criticism of Donald Trump, much like the criticism of Joe Biden, frames him as a leftist. Mr. Biden is framed as a woke socialist while Mr. Trump is framed as a revolutionary populist. It is at least true that Mr. Trump wants to end bourgeois democracy. And it is true that Donald Trump used every opportunity to eliminate the free press. This was in theory at least the reason for and the limit of the media’s criticism of him.

Even if the media was incapable of representing the realities of 99% of the population it made sense they would be critical of Donald Trump, regardless of his corporate policies outside of his attitudes about the media. But it seems they dislike Joe Biden even more than the man who was seeking to destroy the very existence of journalism.

Biden’s Imaginary Leftism Is Not Why The Media Hates Him

I agree that Biden’s agenda is imaginary Leftism…..but I do not see the hatred that the writer of the article sees…..

The media helps promote the repressive pro-war agenda of Biden…..the media helps promote the ‘compromise’ myth…..I just do not see the hatred…..if anything the media promotes the spineless policies of both parties.

Any thoughts?

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Those Kennedy Papers

Closing Thought–16Dec21

For decades conspiracy theorists have been wanting and waiting for the Kennedy assassination papers so they can further the beliefs they want to be true.

The Biden admin has done what they have longed for….released the investigation papers../….well some but NOT all….

The White House on Wednesday released almost 1,500 additional documents tied to the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Experts say there’s little point in searching for a smoking gun within them, reports CNN, with Fox News adding a large number of the documents involve assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. The National Archives and Records Administration said the release of the “previously withheld” records was done to adhere to an October memorandum issued by President Biden that required “releasable records” be disclosed by today’s date.

It’s a step forward in an elongated process that was supposed to wrap up in 2017: the John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act passed in 1992 specified all assassination records be made public by October of that year. Then-President Trump balked on releasing some, and Biden allowed for a delay as well. At least 10,000 more are either still withheld or remain partially redacted, as today’s deadline only applied to those that national security agencies have not suggested should continue to be withheld. A second deadline set by Biden of Dec. 15, 2022, was “to allow for the remaining documents to undergo a rigorous security review and then be released,” per CNN.

CNN adds that there’s a third deadline in all this, which is also today, and one that could “be more significant than the documents release.” Biden’s memo reads, “For any record containing information that an agency proposes for continued postponement beyond December 15, 2022, the agency shall provide, no later than December 15, 2021 … an unclassified letter, to be signed by the head of the agency, providing a written description of the types of information for which the agency is proposing continued postponement and reasons for which the agency is proposing continued postponement of such information.” The memo says NARA will review proposed redactions with agencies no later than September 1, 2022.

How disappointing for the conspiracy nerds.

And the wait continues…..

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

All In The Name Of The “Deal”

This year has been a bust for the Dems in Congress….they failed on police reform and voting rights (2 bills) and as the midterms are quickly becoming a thing and the Dems need something to run on the president is willng to gut his famous infrastructure bill to try and help Dem candidates win their re-election.

The answer is as it always is to gut the great legislation to grab that elusive deal between the parties and to pass a bill.

Same as it ever was.

This time around the $3.5 trillion infrastructure bill is being gutted to the tune of 50%……

President Biden declared Thursday he has reached a “historic economic framework” with Democrats in Congress on his sweeping domestic policy package, a dramatically scaled-back deal announced hours before he departs for overseas summits, per the AP. Biden’s remarks at the White House came after he traveled to Capitol Hill to make the case to House Democrats for the still robust domestic package—$1.75 trillion of social services and climate change programs the White House believes can pass the 50-50 Senate. “It will fundamentally change the lives of millions of people for the better,” Biden said at the White House.

Together with a nearly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill heading for final votes as soon as Thursday, Biden told lawmakers it would be a domestic achievement greater than those from Franklin Roosevelt or Lyndon Johnson. “I need your votes,” Biden told the lawmakers earlier, according to a person who requested anonymity to discuss the private remarks. Biden was eager to have a deal in hand before departing later in the day for global summits. But the revised package has lost some of the Democrats’ top priorities as the president’s ambitions make way for the political realities of the narrowly divided Congress.

  • Out: Paid family leave and efforts to lower prescription drug pricing are now gone entirely from the package, according to senior administration officials.
  • Still in the mix: Free prekindergarten for all youngsters, expanded health care programs—including the launch of a $35 billion new hearing aid benefit for people with Medicare—and $555 billion to tackle climate change. There’s also a one-year extension of a child care tax credit that was put in place during the COVID-19 rescue and new child care subsidies. An additional $100 billion to bolster the immigration and border processing system could boost the overall package to $1.85 trillion if it clears Senate rules.
  • The Hill has a comprehensive look at what’s in and what’s out.

This is not a done deal but it is close….but it ain’t over til the fat white guys vote.

I guess the old political saying still rings true….”something is better than nothing”…..unfortunately I do not think this will be the vote getter that the Dems think it will….2022 will be a bad year for Dems.

I am not disappointed for this is typical legislative drama that is in there for the optics these days.

And you wonder why the country has not moved forward….look no further than the legislative process and the unwillingness of the players to ‘stick tom their guns’.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Murder Of The Middle Class

There is a slow and torturous murder being inflicted on the Middle Class in this country.

Since the last half of the 20th century the Middle Class has been struggling to maintain the position and the life that they have been enjoying since the invention of the Middle Class….and sadly it is a losing battle.

Corporations have been chipping away at the Middle Class status with the help of the government….and it began in earnest with the election of Reagan in 1980.

Forty years ago, on August 5, 1981, President Ronald Reagan fired 11,345 striking air traffic controllers and barred them from ever working again for the federal government. By October of that year, the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization, or PATCO, the union that had called the strike, had been decertified and lay in ruins. The careers of most of the individual strikers were similarly dead: While Bill Clinton lifted Reagan’s ban on strikers in 1993, fewer than 10 percent were ever rehired by the Federal Aviation Administration.

PATCO was dominated by Vietnam War-era veterans who’d learned air traffic control in the military and were one of a vanishingly small number of unions to endorse Reagan in 1980, thereby scoring one of the greatest own goals in political history. It’s easy to imagine strikers expressing the same sentiments as a Trump voter who famously lamented, “I thought he was going to do good things. He’s not hurting the people he needs to be hurting.”

https://theintercept.com/2021/08/06/middle-class-reagan-patco-strike/

I have written many posts on the death of the Middle Class…..

What’s Killing the American Middle Class?

Who Or What Killed The Middle Class?

The American middle class is dying.

In 2015, it dipped below 50% of the population for the first time since data collection started on the issue. It’s now an official minority group.

Meanwhile, nearly half of Americans don’t have enough money to cover a surprise $400 expense. Many are living paycheck to paycheck, with little to no cushion. And US homes are less affordable than they’ve been in decades—possibly ever.

I’ll tell you why this is happening and how to secure your spot among the “haves” in a moment. But first, let’s take a look at the America that was.

The Long Death of America’s Middle Class

Centrism and corporate control of the government is killing the Middle class….not long from now there will be little left of what use to be the jewel of the American economy…..today it is all about the shareholders and cash….the workers mean NOTHING.

I do not see a reversal of this trend….since cash drives the politics in this country it will only get worse.

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Who’s The ‘Socialist’ Now?

Closing Thought–26Oct21

How many years have we had to endure the lies and manure spread by the GOP about those damn socialists?

Well for at least the 50 years that I have been writing about our f*cked up politics.

Looks like the worm  is turning (as they say)….

The GOP is trying desperately to convince the working class that they are the way forward…well at least for the next couple of elections….

Republican candidates running for president often start by declaring that the economy under a Democratic president is in horrible shape — a veritable “carnage” as Donald Trump put it — even though it wasn’t, and with supreme confidence declare that only they have the vision to right the ship.

Their vision — or delusion — is that cutting regulations and taxes is the key to stimulating growth. Unfortunately, the only ones who get “stimulated” are the rich who see the biggest gains from tax cuts.

I have previously shown how tax cuts have not helped the working class. Take a look at this graph. The bottom 50 percent of workers did not see any income gains during the 1980s from Ronald Reagan’s huge tax cuts enacted in 1981.

https://www.tampabay.com/opinion/2021/08/21/republicans-who-are-the-socialists-now-column/

It is a smoke screen to help their corporate owners get much ‘benefits’ from the government.

Sorry sports fans but the solutions to our domestic problems whether it is poverty, hunger or homelessness will not be solved by corporate America….the real ruling party in this country.

And these problems will not be solved by Congress either….their ineffective governance is a by-product of their corporate ownership.

There are solutions but few want to think about….

Liberals and progressives would do well to understand that while class is not everything – far from it, as I shall argue below – there are still no real or lasting solutions to problems that rightly agitate them under capitalism and bourgeois democracy, that is, under the de facto material dictatorship of the capitalist class and its mode of production. Take the giant American problem of racial inequality and oppression. Does it have a certain real life of its own, one that should not simply be reduced to class in economistic ways? Sure. Of course. Go to any major US city and observe how residence and employment and the lack of both are apportioned and spaced by race. Look at the long and continuing legacies of Black chattel slavery and its ugly stepchild Jim Crow: the de facto racial apartheid, separate and unequal settlement, schooling, and investment patterns that are endemic across the United States along with racially disparate mass incarceration and felony marking and numerous other and interrelated practices and policies wired to produce savagely disparate outcomes by race. Look at the dogged denial of race and systemic white racism’s continuing central relevance in American life on the part of millions of right-wing white Amerikaners, whose politics are shaped at their core by absurd narratives of white victimization and a fear of white demographic encirclement. Race has a terrible space and life of its own in the US. Race matters. It matters a lot.

No Solutions Under Capitalism: Revolution is Required

Dems have a limo dick approach….they wait for the GOP to attack and then they get outraged and counter attack…..but their attack is a haphazard attempt to look engaged….they are not.

The GOP plays the long game on their issues and Dems sleep through their time and react when it is way too late….and there is you main problem….Dems are just as owned by corporations as the GOP….they have NO interest in bucking their donors and owners.

Dems are the biggest problems of our society…..

Turn The Page!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Means Testing

The buzzword used by GOPers and conserv Dems to stop people from getting the help they need.

What is this policy to prevents people from assistance?

A means test is a method for determining whether someone qualifies for financial assistance to obtain a service or good, for instance, welfare payments. It looks at the means, or monetary resources, a person has available to them to pay for a particular service or good, then determines that person’s access to financial assistance based on their ability to pay for it.

The Senate is in the middle of reconciliation which means that conserv Dems will screw the rest of us….hard and steady.

Personally I am against such programs….and I am not alone……

As Democrats weigh what to include — and what to cut — in their budget reconciliation bill, lawmakers are grappling with an existential question: who should qualify for vastly expanded social services.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is among the moderate Democrats who have pushed to prevent the well-off and wealthy from receiving benefits like universal pre-K or free community college, as lawmakers try to get the $3.5 trillion bill closer to $2 trillion. “I cannot accept our economy or basically our society moving to an entitlement mentality,” Manchin said in late September.

But this call for means testing, policy parlance for limiting eligibility for social programs based on income, overlooks a few problems, experts say. Means-tested benefits can actually be more expensive to provide, harder to sell politically, and less effective than universal social programs, and they can place both a social stigma and discouraging bureaucratic requirements on Americans in need.

Means testing have also long been associated with a moral argument that some segments of the population are deserving of government benefits, while others are not. This idea undercuts the belief that a social safety net is intended to help support those broadly in need, and shifts the burden onto individuals to prove that they’re worthy of getting basic help.

https://www.vox.com/2021/10/15/22722418/means-testing-social-spending-reconciliation-bill

I have a hard time with this burden of proof thing…..we do not seem to demand such proof from our representatives….we just roll over and play dead as they go about screwing your neighbors.

We need Medicare For All….

Time for the American people to learn to get involved with the government beyond some beauty contest ever 2 to 4 years.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

SCOTUS News

The Supreme Court is making the news almost daily…..many of us are calling for some sort of reform with the Court…..something has to be done to try and control these political hacks that are suppose to be neutral to the political antics of the political parties…..they are not.

One of my concerns is that these judges are not acting in a responsible way and are being unduly influenced by outside players….

In a letter to Roberts, Reuters reported, the Democratic lawmakers questioned whether Roberts had done enough in his role as the presiding officer of the Judicial Conference of the United States to uphold the integrity of the federal judiciary and enforce ethic rules.

Warren and Jayapal cite a Wall Street Journal report that revealed 131 judges failed to recuse themselves from cases involving companies in which they or their family members owned stock—a scope of ethics violations the lawmakers called “stunning.”
 
The letter cites legal precedents from the code of conduct that require judges to recuse themselves from all cases where financial interest is involved, calling the extensive ethic breaches, at least in part, “a direct result of the inadequate processes for judicial accountability.”
 
“These conflicts of interest have affected hundreds of cases and the integrity of the justice system,” the letter reads.
The letter references other instances in which Supreme Court justices similarly did not recuse themselves from cases despite potential financial conflicts, including through ownership of individual stock, as further evidence of a “systemic failure that requires accountability.”
 
Warren and Jayapal argued that their comprehensive ethics legislation—the Anti-Corruption & Public Integrity Act—if passed—would close the large gaps in the U.S. judicial ethics system by requiring public release of disclosure reports, overhauling the recusal system, and barring judges from owning individual stocks.
 
Biden put together a commission to look at the Court and suggest changes that could be made….(really this was a worthless time waste)…..

The first word from President Biden’s commission charged with exploring changes to the Supreme Court was mostly about what the panel hasn’t done. “The Commission did not attempt to discern whether the Court is beset by a crisis of legitimacy today, nor do we take a position on whether the Court’s independence is at risk or whether it has become too anti-democratic,” said a draft document released before a meeting Friday. The panel was asked to consider specific changes, but its final report, to be presented to Biden in mid-November, won’t included actionable recommendations, CNN reports.

That was more or less the plan, but the cautious, hesitant approach evident in the drafts still irritated people, mostly Democrats. “This was not even close to being worth the wait,” said Brian Fallon of Demand Justice, who criticized the “the paralysis-by-analysis” approach, per the New York Times. On one major proposal, adding members to the court, the drafts show members seem to agree that would be legal but not on whether it “would be wise,” per MSNBC. The documents cited polls showing the idea is unpopular. The commission is focusing too much on the politics of expansion and not enough on potential benefits, said Sherrilyn Ifill of the NAACP.

Many Republicans don’t want to see the panel doing anything more, saying expansion would upend norms and already has received too much attention, per the Washington Post. “Far-left progressives are clearly trying to expand their political power under the guise of ‘court reform,'” said Kelly Shackelford of First Liberty Institute. Two conservatives quit Friday, leaving 36 members on the panel. Although the commission sidestepped the legitimacy question, a Gallup Poll in September found the Supreme Court’s approval rating down to 40%.

There’s more support for imposing 18-year term limits on justices. But members aren’t sure how that could be done. It might take a constitutional amendment, or maybe just a statute. Some members don’t want to do anything that could “encounter so many constitutional problems.” Biden threw cold water on that idea anyway on Friday night when he was asked if he supports term limits. “No” was his answer. Laurence Tribe, a constitutional law expert on the panel, isn’t sure about term limits, either. But he worries about the effects of rejecting every potential improvement because of possible risks. “Many people, and I include myself in this, believe we are indeed in a ‘break-the-glass’ moment,” he said.

Did you really think that there was going to be any help by this Commission?  If so, then you have been asleep for the last 40 years.

Turn The Page!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

 

Debt Ceiling–The Game

The big news other than abortion and congressional antics has been the debt ceiling….if it was not raised then the government would shutdown….and the game began……

The Repubs, as usual, played it tough before they cave and do a deal that would extend the functioning of government….at least for a short while……

As usual the game was all too predictable……

The Senate dodged a US debt disaster Thursday night, voting to extend the government’s borrowing authority into December and temporarily avert an unprecedented federal default that experts warned would devastate the economy and harm millions of Americans. The vote of 50-48 in support of the bill to raise the government’s debt ceiling by nearly a half-trillion dollars brought instant relief in Washington and far beyond. Congress has just days to act before the Oct. 18 deadline after which the Treasury Department has warned it will quickly run short of funds to handle the nation’s already accrued debt load. The House is likely to return to approve the measure next week. The White House signaled Biden’s support, with principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre saying the president would sign a bill to raise the debt limit when it passed Congress.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Thursday an agreement has been reached with Republicans to extend the government’s borrowing authority into December, temporarily averting a debt crisis. “We’ve reached agreement,” Schumer announced as he opened the Senate, reports the AP. “Our hope is to get this done as soon as today.” Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell had offered to accept a short-term extension on Wednesday, shortly before Republicans prepared to block legislation to suspend the debt limit until December of next year.

The agreement sets the stage for a sequel of sorts in December, when Congress will again face pressing deadlines to fund the government and raise the debt limit before heading home for the holidays. McConnell and Senate Republicans have insisted that Democrats would have to go it alone to raise the debt ceiling and allow the Treasury to renew its borrowing so that the country could meet its financial obligations. Further, McConnell has insisted that Democrats use the same cumbersome legislative process called reconciliation that they used to pass a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill and have been employing to try to pass Biden’s $3.5 trillion measure to boost safety net, health, and environmental programs.

McConnell said in his offer Wednesday that Republicans would still insist that Democrats use the reconciliation process for a long-term debt-limit extension. However, he said Republicans are willing to “assist in expediting” that process, and in the meantime Democrats may use the normal legislative process to pass a short-term debt-limit extension with a fixed dollar amount to cover current spending levels into December. Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy’s take: Assuming final details in the emergency legislation are in order, “for the next three months, we’ll continue to make it clear that we are ready to continue to vote to pay our bills and Republicans aren’t.” McConnell: “This will moot Democrats’ excuses about the time crunch they created and give the unified Democratic government more than enough time to pass stand-alone debt-limit legislation through reconciliation.”

Does all that sound the least bit familiar?

The end result was all too predictable….it is the same game with the same result year after year.

Another waste of time because it is not something that needs the wasting of this valuable time….a ploy all too familiar……especially with the approach of an election year.

These are the games politicians play to avoid the heavy lift the country needs badly.

Turn The Page!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”