State Of The Union — Peace or Chaos?

Tomorrow night at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, President Joseph Biden will give his second State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress and numerous guests.  Among the guests will be Row Vaughn and Rodney Wells, the parents of Tyre Nichols who was brutally beaten to death by police in Memphis, Tennessee, on January 7th.

For a number of reasons, there are additional security concerns this year. The magnetometers have been removed from the entrance to the House chamber, one of the first moves the Republicans made once they gained the majority in the House.  Also, according to a Capitol Police bulletin …

“… recent incidents targeting politicians and law enforcement agencies within the past month indicate that there is a heightened threat toward government officials.” 

Lest you think this is just so much hyperbole, I would remind you of the vicious attack on Paul Pelosi, husband of then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and then I would further remind you of the violent attempted coup at this very same Capitol on January 6th, 2021.  There can be no doubt that there is a danger brewing under the surface in this country, and further that there are far too many fools with guns out there – some whose offices are in this very same Capitol building!

Capitol Police have constructed a non-scalable fence around the Capitol grounds, and are taking other security measures, no doubt fully remembering January 6th.  Will it be enough?  Today, there are a number of representatives sitting in Capitol offices who played a role in one way or another in the events of January 6th.  They should be disqualified, but somehow they escaped the 14th Amendment that prohibits anyone who has previously taken an oath of office (Senators, Representatives, and other public officials) from holding public office if they have “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the United States.

I admit to being … concerned … about tomorrow night’s events. I still feel the horror of January 6th, still see the hatred that is festering in this country, hear the voices chanting “Hang Mike Pence”.  Not a single one of the plotters and schemers behind the insurrection are in prison, but are all free men & women, free to plot further rebellion, and relatively few of the ‘foot soldiers’ of that day are in prison. So yes, I am concerned.  I hope that my concerns are ill-founded and that the events of tomorrow evening will go off without a hitch.

Now, about that State of the Union …

It’s probably just as well that I wasn’t invited to give the speech, for I’m sure President Biden will do a far better job than I would.  The “state of the union” seems to be, in my ever-so-humble opinion, a disaster.  This nation is more divided than at any time in the past 150 years, perhaps longer.  Fully half of our elected officials no longer remember their oaths, no longer care about this nation as a democracy but rather would turn it into an autocracy at the first opportunity.  And outside of government, thanks to the divisiveness of our leaders, thanks to their lies and corruption, We the People are also divided … in a way I’ve never seen before, not even in the days of Jim Crow or Vietnam.

The current state of the union is that it’s a bloody mess.  This is not the fault of President Biden, who has been quietly getting the job done, has managed the impossible in a number of areas, but is rather the fault of We the People.  It was US who elected the corrupt politicians who now sit in Congress and make decisions every day that are ruining our lives.  It was US who were so poorly educated that we fell for the rhetoric spouted by the likes of Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, Kevin McCarthy, Matt Gaetz, Marge Greene, Ron Johnson and so many others.  It is US who have opted for the entertainment value rather than the seriousness of purpose, have voted for the clowns rather than the intellectuals.

I have no doubt that the President’s message tomorrow night will be one of hope, one that highlights the positive rather than the negative, and that’s as it should be.  The response from the Republican Party will be given by none other than former Press Secretary under Donald Trump, and current Governor of Arkansas, Sarah Huckabee Sanders.  I hope that the night does not turn into a three-ring circus of the sort the Republican Party is known for.  At the least, it will be interesting … let’s hope that’s all it is.

A Man And A Story To Remember

He is the man in the middle.

William Felton was born on February 12, 1934.

His grandfather was the family’s first generation born free on this continent. The young boy would hear stories of how the Ku Klux Klan went after his grandfather because he tried to raise money among the poor blacks to build a schoolhouse and pay a teacher to educate their children.

The young boy would remember his grandfather’s story, and he would remember the racism he and his family lived with daily.

When he was growing up, he remembers his father was once refused service at a gas station until all the white customers were helped first; when his father tried to leave, the attendant put a shotgun in his face, telling him, “Boy, you’re going to buy your gas from me” and he had to wait.

He remembers when his mother walked outside the house, wearing a nice dress, and a white policeman told her to go home and remove the dress because only white women were allowed to wear nice dresses.

He would say later in life, “It stood out, a wall which understanding cannot penetrate. You are a Negro. You are less. It covered every area. A living, smarting, hurting, smelling, greasy substance which covered you. A morass to fight from.”

Before his mother died of kidney failure when he was 12, she had told him, “William, you are going to meet people who just don’t like you. On sight. And there’s nothing you can do about it, so don’t worry. Just be yourself. You’re no better than anyone else, but no one’s better than you.”

Young William Felton would remember those words.

When he tried to make something of himself, he would try sports, but he would immediately be cut from his junior high school basketball team and told he just didn’t understand the game. But, he didn’t give up. He tried again in high school and was almost cut again, but this time the coach saw something in the young William Felton Russell.

“Bill” Russell would go on to win consecutive NCAA titles at the University of San Francisco, an Olympic gold medal in 1956, then help the the Boston Celtics win 11 titles in his 13 seasons. He would become the first African-American coach in professional sports in North America when he was named Celtics player-coach in 1966.

He, however, still would experience racism, as a basketball player and as a person, especially after he challenged social injustice, attending the 1963 March on Washington, supporting Muhammad Ali’s decision not to serve in the military, and even more recently when he posted a picture of himself taking a knee in solidarity with NFL players.

Russell would be criticized, written negatively about in the press. During his early years playing basketball, he would be refused rooms at hotels and service at restaurants. After he was named player-coach, his home would be vandalized, covered with racist graffiti, and his beds defecated on.

But, through it all, he remembered his grandfather, his “heroic dignity against forces more powerful than him… he would not allow himself to be oppressed or intimidated by anyone.”

After he became the first African-American coach in professional sports in North America, he remembered inviting his grandfather to one of his games, how his grandfather was surprised that his grandson was actually the coach of an NBA team. He would ask Russell’s father, “of the white men, too?”

His father would simply reply, yes, “The white men too.”

And, when he got to visit the locker room, his grandfather was shocked that the black players were allowed to shower in the same room with the white players and that there was no “whites only” bathrooms and drinking fountains.

His grandfather would say of his experience watching his grandson play with and coach white players, “I never thought I’d see anything like that.”

His grandfather would cry that day.

His grandfather was proud of him then, and he would have been proud of his grandson even more when Bill Russell received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his accomplishments on the court and in the Civil Rights Movement.

– Courtesy of Jon S. Randall Peace Page

And THIS, my friends, is but one of thousands of stories we MUST remember, MUST teach our children, in order that they not repeat the mistakes of the past.  Bill Russell died last July 31st at the age of 88.

An Online Site Where Homeschoolers Teach Their Children to Be Nazis

When I first read this post on Diane Ravitch’s blog my jaw dropped and I thought, “No, no way!!!” But I know that Diane is a reliable blogger not given to conspiracies or exaggeration. She is a historian of education, an educational policy analyst, and a research professor at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. Previously, she was a U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education. So, I read the article she quotes here, did a bit more digging, and long story short, I am truly horrified by the group she writes about. Thank you, Diane, for bringing this abomination to our attention!

Diane Ravitch's blog

Christopher Mathias wrote at Huffington Post about a group called Dissident Homeschool that provides resources for parents who want to teach their children to be Nazis. Through research and inquiry, he found the names of the couple who administer the site. Many of the states enacting voucher plans include payments for homeschooling. If you live in one of those states, your tax dollars might be subsidizing the training of Nazis.

Please read the entire article. It’s too long to repost in its entirety. It is awful that parents would do this, and worse that it is subsidized by public funds in many state voucher plans.

Mathias writes:

On Nov. 5, 2021, a married couple calling themselves “Mr. and Mrs. Saxon” appeared on the neo-Nazi podcast “Achtung Amerikaner” to plug a new project: a social media channel dedicated to helping American parents home-school their children.

“We are so deeply invested into…

View original post 772 more words

Tired

I’m tired, my friends, and I imagine you are too.

  • I’m tired of being told that more than 3,200 deaths by guns, including 44 mass shootings in less than 28 days is simply the ‘price of freedom’. Freedom to … WHAT?  Get shot to death at the grocery store?  To have our children killed in school?  If that’s the price of freedom, you can keep the damned freedom!
  • I’m tired of the altogether too frequent killing of people by the police … the very people we are supposed to be able to trust to protect life. The relatively few police who take the lives of primarily Black people who have done little or no wrong, have given police officers everywhere a bad name and frankly, if I see a cop in a store, I turn the other way, hoping he doesn’t even notice me.  If I see one behind me at a traffic light, my heart stops and I try so hard to look innocent that I probably look guilty!
  • I’m tired of being called a ‘Marxist’ because I believe in human rights, believe that nobody should amass huge amounts of wealth while others go to bed hungry at night, or live on the streets in cardboard boxes.
  • I’m tired of spending more than half of my monthly Social Security stipend on medications that are essential to keep me from dying, while seeing the profits of the pharma companies that manufacture those drugs skyrocket.
  • I’m tired of listening to Republican politicians threatening to cut that very same Social Security that a) I paid into all my life, and b) is not enough to support me if I lived on my own! This is a threat against the very survival of those of us over a certain age, so apparently those politicians have decided that our lives no longer add value to the world.
  • I’m tired of conspiracy theories, especially those lies told by politicians who know the truth, but find it more expeditious to their own ends to push the lies.  And I’m tired of the ignorance in the general public that allows so many everyday people to believe those lies.
  • I’m tired of companies that raise their prices for one of a variety of excuses – supply chain issues, staffing shortages, increased production costs – and then at the end of the year show a huge increase in their profits.
  • I’m tired of the bigotry that is on the rise in this country. Anti-LGBTQ sentiment, racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, misogyny … all are increasing at significant levels, thanks in part to religious ‘leaders’ who have zero tolerance for any that don’t fit their pat little images, and in part due to politicians like Ron DeSantis and others who promote the idea that ‘other’ is bad, ‘other’ is to be shunned.
  • I’m tired of a free press that keeps shoving the former guy down our throats. By now, he should have faded into obscurity to the point that if we saw a picture of him, we’d say, “Oh yeah … I remember that fat slob … what was his name again?”  But no, we have to see his picture and read every word that comes out of his lying mouth on a daily basis.
  • I’m tired, most of all, of Republican politicians in Congress who are bastards. Sorry, Keith, but that fits them to a ‘T’.  They take our hard-earned tax dollars to the tune of $174,000 and more every year, and then fail miserably to do the job for which we paid them.  They don’t legislate, they retaliate.  They don’t build, they destroy.  They don’t govern, they campaign.  Before the current 118th Congress was even seated, they were already plotting their next election campaigns.  I’m tired of our government being so divided by party that ‘party’ is the only thing that matters, not people.
  • I’m tired of feeling helpless to change any of the things I’m tired of. I’m tired of being ashamed of this country I’ve lived in for almost 72 years now, tired of wishing I were almost anywhere but here.  My vote is my voice, but it is a very small voice, made even smaller with such tactics as gerrymandering that dilute my voice.

I could probably think of more, but … I’m tired of writing for tonight, so I think I’ll go read for a while now.

More Important Things To Worry About

I refuse to waste either my time or energy on the game of false equivalencies, on Republicans’ efforts to play the ‘whaddabout’ game, and thus I have little to say about the handful of documents found by President Biden’s own lawyers that were promptly returned to the National Archives.  The fact is that it wouldn’t surprise me one bit to find they were planted there, but I’m not going to dive into the world of conspiracy theories … eventually the truth will out.  Meanwhile, this nation has more important things to focus on, such as the ongoing attempts to destroy our democratic foundations, the ever-growing effects of climate change, a looming debt ceiling fight, a recent surge in Covid cases/deaths, voting rights, women’s rights, Putin’s war against the world, and much more.  So, I will share Robert Reich’s words about the false equivalencies between the fewer than 20 documents found among the President’s possessions and the truckloads of documents that Trump stole upon leaving office.  Beyond this, I can only say that the mainstream media is playing into the hands of the radical right and I shall not write on this topic again unless there is a valid reason to do so.


False equivalence

Biden’s documents

Robert Reich

For years, Trump and his enablers in Congress and on Fox News have accused Hillary Clinton and then Joe Biden of doing exactly what Trump has done, or worse, and the mainstream media has usually played along by making false equivalences. But of course there’s never been any valid comparison. Trump repudiated the Constitution and staged an attempted coup, which he’s still mounting, among other things.

And now we have the specter of Biden being accused of having done exactly what Trump did when Trump brazenly stole top-secret documents from the United States.

But let’s be clear: The Biden documents were discovered by Biden’s own lawyers, who then reported the discovery to the Justice Department. The Trump documents were requested repeatedly by the National Archives. Trump repeatedly refused to produce them. They were then found by the FBI over the objections of Trump and his lawyers.

Democrats have an old-fashioned belief that democracy requires truth, facts, and logic. So when mistakes are made, they usually try to explain them to the public, as the White House is now doing with regard to the documents found in Biden’s possession.

Unfortunately, the White House did not disclose the discovery to the public for two months, apparently waiting until after the November midterm elections before which the disclosure could have been damaging to Democrats.

Yesterday, Attorney General Merrick Garland, citing what he called “extraordinary circumstances,” appointed a special counsel to investigate the handling of the documents — inviting more false equivalence between two investigations: Biden’s unknowing possession of such documents and Trump’s knowing possession.

Republicans have no such qualms about democracy, facts, and logic. A Republican House hellbent on investigating Hunter Biden, the FBI, and anything they can find to embarrass Biden and the Democrats is already making as much political hay as possible out of the discovery of the documents in Biden’s possession, as are their mouthpieces on Fox News.

The task for Biden and the White House will be to keep an even keel by not getting distracted by this commotion, and continuing the important business of governing the nation. Over the long term (meaning during the next two years of run-up to the 2024 election), the contrast between the House Republicans’ zany partisan escapades and Biden’s seriousness of public purpose will offer the most potent means of avoiding all false equivalences.

Artificial Intelligence? No Thanks

Question for you:  Why do you write a blog?  No, it’s not a trick question … you’ll understand in just a minute.

To answer my own question, I write my posts mainly because I think I have something to say.  Others might disagree with that, but that’s okay … enough people read my posts to make me want to keep writing.  We all, I think, have something to say that is important to some people, and that’s what all writing, whether fiction or fact, a novel or a blog, is about.  It comes from our minds and our hearts, we write our thoughts and views, and what we write is unique to us.  A blog is a lot of work … research, writing, editing, responding to comments … but it is rewarding in its own way.  We learn from each other and ‘meet’ new people, make new friends, share ideas.

Akismet does an excellent job of filtering ‘spam’ comments out, only occasionally sending a legitimate comment to the ‘spam’ folder or letting an illegitimate one through.  I don’t get a lot of ‘spammy’ comments these days, maybe 2 or 3 a day, but I always review the spam folder at least once a day before permanently deleting them.  Below is the one I found in my spam folder this morning …

Hello, jilldennison.com I hope you are doing well with managing your website

And I Know How much it is time-consuming to write a good blog post for your website but Did you know you can automate your website with a robot?

You can write a blog post automatically without writing a single paragraph. For example, let’s say you want to write a blog about Art.

In the software write ( write me content about The best Art ideas for 2023)

Done, the robot gives you an entire blog post, and it is plagiarism-freeAnd you can try it here for free: [link deleted] I hope you enjoy it, have a nice day.

My first inclination was simply to send it into the virtual trashbin, for I enjoy writing my own posts, sharing my own views, thoughts and ideas.  Why on earth would I want a computer to do the thinking for me???  But then, I thought it might be fun just to try it out.  Note that in no way will I use this to write my posts – when the day comes that I’m too lazy or witless to write my own posts, I’ll sign off and that will be the end of Filosofa’s Word!  But, I did think it would be fun to try, just to see what this “artificial intelligence” thing came up with.  And so, I chose a simple topic:  The gun problem in the United States.  In just under 20 seconds, this is what it came up with …

The Growing Gun Crisis in the United States

Gun violence has become an increasingly pressing issue in the United States, with gun-related deaths and injuries on the rise. From mass shootings to everyday violence, guns have been used to cause immense harm to individuals and communities across the country. But why is this happening? Let’s explore what is causing the gun crisis in America and how we can work towards a solution.

Where Are Guns Coming From?

The U.S. has some of the most lax gun laws in the world, making it easier for guns to be obtained than in other countries. In fact, there are an estimated 393 million civilian firearms in circulation in America—almost one gun per person! This means that even those with criminal records or mental health issues have access to guns, leading to an increase in gun-related crimes and deaths.

What’s Being Done To Address It?

Fortunately, groups like Everytown for Gun Safety are working hard to pass legislation that would make it more difficult for people who should not have access to guns from obtaining them. These organizations advocate for policies such as universal background checks, extreme risk protection orders (ERPOs), and red flag laws that would prevent those at high risk of gun violence from getting their hands on firearms. So far, they’ve had success—39 states now have a form of ERPO law on the books!

Gun violence is an epidemic in our country that needs immediate attention—and we all play a role in addressing it. By supporting initiatives like universal background checks and ERPOs, we can help reduce gun-related deaths and injuries by ensuring that only those who should have access to firearms actually get them. It may seem daunting but together we can make a difference—a difference that could save lives! Let’s join forces and create a safer future for everyone!

Okay, well … on the one hand, I was amazed by the accuracy of the information, as well as the coherency and error-free grammar and spelling, although it was rather generic and didn’t really tell us anything we didn’t already know.  But, it lacks that personal touch, it lacks the passion with which a human would write.  It is not something I’ll be using hereafter, especially in light of the fact that to go beyond the ‘free trial’ would cost $490 per year!!!  But mostly, I would feel like a cheat, and I wouldn’t have the personal satisfaction I get when I write what I think is a good post.  If I were going to let a computer do my thinking and writing for me … why bother?

The Next Two Years …

Looking ahead to the next two years in the United States Congress, I think we all foresee chaos.  I don’t anticipate that the work of government, the work of We the People will be done, since the Republican-led House of Representatives has already told us they have no intention of doing their jobs.  They have made it clear they plan to obfuscate and obstruct the will of the people by impeaching not only the president (not for any crimes, real or imagined, but simply in retaliation for the twice-impeached former guy), and then they plan to defund the FBI, but only after a lengthy, costly investigation led by the likes of Gym … er, Jim Jordan, himself a criminal.  So, it would be easy to slip into despair, wondering why we are even bothering to pay taxes to keep the government running if they aren’t planning to do a damn thing about such important issues as the environment, guns, healthcare, education, voting rights, women’s rights, and the multitude of things that we hired them to address.  But Robert Hubbell has a slightly different take, one which I think deserves some pondering.  Here is a portion of his post …


The next two years.

Robert Hubbell

02 January 2023

As we enter 2023, there is no escaping the fact that we are beginning the long march toward the presidential election of 2024. As we start that journey, we have every reason to be confident about our ability to rise to the occasion. We did so in 2022, as we did in 2020 and 2018. The lesson of each of those campaigns is that our biggest challenge is overcoming the persistent media narrative that the Democratic Party is in disarray while the MAGA wing of the Republican Party is ascendant. That has not been an accurate description of the political dynamic in America since 2016, but the media has been like a dog with a bone—it won’t give up the negative narrative about the Democratic Party despite all objective evidence to the contrary.

          On the Democratic side of the scale are the results of the last three elections (or four if you consider the popular vote in 2016). On the Republican side are four losing elections and truly daunting challenges entering 2023. While we should never count on Republicans to defeat themselves, the narrative is misleading if we focus exclusively on the challenges facing Democrats—a favorite journalistic technique whenever a story is needed to predict doom for the Democratic Party.

          The stories circulating at the top of the news cycle this week highlight the challenges the Republican Party will face as it begins to awake from a six-year binge with a strange bedfellow whose appearance in the harsh morning light of 2023 should give the GOP a sinking feeling of regret and panic. Let’s see what the GOP sees in the mirror at the dawn of a new year.

The impossibility of breaking up with Trump.

          A sizable portion of the Republican Party is done with Trump—but it will be impossible for the GOP to break up with Trump. He will either be the 2024 GOP nominee, or he will destroy the party in the process of losing the nomination. Worse, just as MAGA extremism appears to have crested at the polls, Trump is forcing contenders for the nomination to “out-Trump Trump” in their quest for the 2024 nomination. See, e.g., Ron DeSantis, Greg Abbott, and Kari Lake.

          Trump began the new year by sending a warning shot across the bow of the Republican Party. Last week, Trump posted an article titled The Coming Split on his vanity social media platform, Truth Social. The article urged Trump to run as a third-party candidate if the GOP does not nominate him for president in 2024. See Huff Post, Trump Appears To Float Third-Party Threat If GOP Won’t Back Him | HuffPost Latest News.

          The author of the article, right-wing journalist Dan Gelernter, wrote the following:

Do I think Trump can win as a third-party candidate? No. Would I vote for him as a third-party candidate? Yes. Because I’m not interested in propping up this corrupt [GOP] gravy-train any longer. . . . What should we do when a majority of Republicans want Trump, but the Republican Party says we can’t have him? Do we knuckle under and vote for Ron DeSantis because he would be vastly better than any Democrat? I say no, we don’t knuckle under.

          As noted in the HuffPo article, current RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel told Trump that if he runs as a third party, “We [the GOP] will lose forever.” McDaniel is right. If Trump leaves the GOP, it will be nearly impossible for another GOP candidate to win in a general election. And the result will be the same if Trump mounts a third-party challenge or merely sulks at Mar-a-Lago, hurling insults and raising money for Trump-affiliated PACs that he spends on legal defense and tacky parties.

          Despite Trump’s weakened state from the midterms and mounting legal problems, Kevin McCarthy’s inability to secure the votes to become Speaker is directly related to Trump’s continuing gravitational pull on the GOP. The Freedom Caucus and assorted crazies in the GOP are demanding that McCarthy veer to the extreme edges of MAGA extremism to garner their support. For example, McCarthy has floated the idea of Jim Jordan leading a Judiciary Committee investigation into FBI Director Christopher Wray because . . . . well, you know. In MAGA-world, “FBI bad, Oath Keepers good.” Trump appointed Wray as FBI Director but has been highly critical of Wray’s unwillingness to pursue Trump’s revenge agenda against Hunter Biden, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, etc.

          Likewise, Ronna McDaniel is trying to keep her job as the Chair of the Republican Committee by saying that the top priority of Republicans in the new congressional term is “getting to the bottom of Hunter Biden’s laptop.”  That should be a pretty easy task since Rudy Giuliani has had a copy of the hard drive from Hunter Biden’s laptop since October 2020. If there is anything on the laptop worth getting to the bottom of, it should have emerged by now. More importantly, the obsession with Hunter Biden’s laptop illustrates that the Trump revenge agenda is eclipsing the ability of the GOP to pursue a substantive agenda.

          So, there you have it. Trump won’t let the GOP walk out the door without starting an internecine war that may destroy the party. And even without Trump actively trying to destroy the party, he has unleashed reactionary forces that even he cannot restrain. Over the weekend, McCarthy reportedly offered a concession to the radical wing of the Freedom Caucus that would allow a handful of Representative to call for a “no confidence” vote on the Speaker—something McCarthy previously said he would “never” do. As a result, the extremists in the GOP, like Matt Gaetz, will be controlling the GOP agenda in Congress. See Newsweek,  Steve Bannon says Matt Gaetz Will Be ‘De Facto’ Speaker After McCarthy Concessions.

          [Update: McCarthy’s humiliating offer to allow a “motion to vacate” by five members was rejected in a letter by nine Republican members sent on New Year’s Day.]

          Whatever challenges Democrats face as they move toward 2024, those challenges do not include an inevitable struggle for control of the party that will inflict grievous injury no matter the outcome. Democrats face challenges, too, and we will be reminded of them early and often by the media. So, keep in mind that the next two years will be extraordinarily difficult for the GOP, even if the media fails to mention that fact.

Dealing with the polls over the next two years.

          It was not your imagination. Polling regarding the 2022 midterms was not only wrong, it was so wrong that it may have negatively affected Democratic prospects in some contests. The NYTimes published a lengthy analysis of the polling errors in 2022. See NYTimes, The ‘Red Wave’ Washout: How Skewed Polls Fed a False Election Narrative. Kudos to the Times for engaging in introspection about how the media amplified misleading polls. The Times does not mention its own prominent role in distorting the narrative to the detriment of Democrats.

          The lengthy analysis in the Times can be distilled to the following:

  • Polls are not elections.
  • In a closely divided electorate, polls communicate virtually no useful information.
  • Republicans have figured out how to manipulate polls.
  • Polling aggregators like Fivethirtyeight.com and the media amplify the misleading polls generated by partisan affiliates of the GOP.
  • Misinformation from junk polls depressed Democratic turnout in certain instances.

          The ability of Republican pollsters to distort the media narrative had real-life consequences on the outcomes in 2022. Democratic funders abandoned Mandela Barnes in his race against Ron Johnson when garbage Republican polls began to suggest that Johnson was pulling ahead of Barnes by five points (or more). In the end, Barnes lost by one percentage point. But the “negative narrative” resulted in a fundraising edge by Ron Johnson of $26 million.

          What if Democratic funders had not abandoned Barnes based on misleading polling? Would Barnes have fared better if the Democrats had not ceded the fundraising advantage to Ron Johnson? We will never know the answers to those questions for certain. But we can stop falling for the same stupid Republican games in the future.

          So, here’s the point: Don’t stress out over polls during the next two years. We must go about our business as if every vote might be the deciding vote in every election.

Making History … As We Speak

Today is the final televised hearing of the January 6th committee.  What happens next?  Time will tell.  I like to think the Department of Justice will act on the recommendations of the committee, as well as their own investigations, and that those who participated in attempting to overthrow our voices, our government, will pay a steep price.  I’m not holding my breath, however.  Robert Hubbell’s newsletter today echoes my own thoughts, only he says it much better than I could …


The Judgement of History

Robert B. Hubbell

19 December 2022

On Monday, December 19, 2022, Americans will witness history in the making. A congressional committee will recommend that the DOJ pursue criminal proceedings against a former president for engaging in insurrection to stop the peaceful transfer of power. The recommendation will be based on an exhaustive, transparent, bipartisan investigation that unfolded in public. Republicans boycotted the committee after GOP leadership unsuccessfully attempted to appoint participants in the insurrection to the body investigating their crimes.

The criminal referrals should not be cause for celebration or feelings of vindication. Rather, they should be a cause for hope and increased resolve that our experiment in democracy will endure despite the actions of faithless servants and aspiring tyrants. The United States of America is bigger than Trump and his skulk of cowards. It will outlast them, hold them to account, and subject them to the judgment of history.

The criminal referrals and findings of the January 6th Committee are critical steps in setting the record straight for future generations. The names of the insurrectionists will be memorized by schoolchildren learning about dark passages in our nation’s history: Benedict Arnold, Aaron Burr, Jefferson Davis, Donald Trump, Jim Jordan, Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, . . . .

Sadly, the insurrection continues to this day as the GOP seeks to shield members of its party who remain in Congress after they betrayed the Constitution. No Republican member of Congress agreed to appear before the Committee to provide crucial evidence in one of the most important investigations in our history. The recalcitrant members of Congress continue to violate their oaths every minute they obfuscate, impede, and distort the work of the Committee. They deserve to be expelled from Congress. Indeed, the Committee may recommend discipline or criminal referrals for members who failed to comply with lawful subpoenas issued by the Committee, The Week, Schiff says Jan. 6 committee deciding ‘appropriate remedy’ for uncooperative GOP lawmakers.

 In a depraved act of supreme disrespect and partisanship, a “shadow” committee of Republicans will issue a “counter-report” to the official report of the January 6th Committee. That report will seek to lay blame for security lapses at the Capitol for the insurrection. See Axios, Scoop: GOP shadow committee re-emerges for Jan. 6 report. The response by law enforcement and intelligence agencies is a legitimate area of investigation—and will be covered in the January 6th Committee’s report. But the point of the “shadow committee’s” separate report is to confuse and dilute media coverage of the findings in the J6 Report. Sadly, many members of the media will give “equal time” to a “PR stunt” by insurrectionists and the serious and sober effort by the J6 Committee to understand the root cause of the insurrection.

Trump is acting like a wounded and cornered animal. He is lashing out on his vanity media platform, resorting to the language of incitement that ignited the insurrection. See HuffPo, Donald Trump Evokes Jan. 6 Insurrection, Tells Backers It’s Time To ‘Deal With’ FBI, DOJ “Thugs”. It is doubtful that any other president in American history will ever be credibly accused of insurrection by a congressional committee. Trump is entering a league of one.

The political backlash against the Committee and its members will be savage. Kevin McCarthy has vowed to remove Adam Schiff from the House Intelligence Committee in retribution. Republican leaders of all stripes will lie, distort, and deflect. The tired refrain of “What about Hillary’s emails?” pales in comparison to charges of insurrection, obstruction of an official proceeding of Congress, and conspiracy to defraud the United States (i.e., the fake electors scheme).

For those who care about defending democracy, the vote of the Committee on December 19, 2022, will be momentous. To the extent you can, ignore the noise and focus on the rare achievement that is the sign of a functioning democracy—an effort to hold a former leader to account for his crimes in office. Whatever happens, the judgment of the January 6th Committee will be inscribed in stone as the official history of the unsuccessful insurrection that culminated in the events of January 6th, 2021.

Second Civil War

Blogging friend Brosephus doesn’t speak often, but when he does, his words have meaning. Today, he asks a relevant question: When does democracy begin to defend itself? Some food for thought here, folks …

The Mind of Brosephus

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the second American Civil War. If you haven’t already realized it, we’ve been living through a war since December 2008. War has not been officially declared, however I’ll suggest that the moment the GOP decided to go full obstruction as opposed to actually governing in the best interest of America was the day the war began.

I can already hear the questions and see the puzzled looks. “What war?” you ask. “Isn’t war supposed to be violent and deadly?” Well, the Cold War between the US and Russia was fought for decades without direct battle. Likewise, the second civil war thus far has not been fought as a traditional war.

This is a war against the Constitution itself, and the fight became visible on January 6, 2021. Since that time, we’ve had numerous people convicted for their actions that day on charges that include seditious…

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Who Will It Be????

Well, folks, it’s that time of the year again.  No no … not the ‘holiday season’ … well, yeah, it is that too, but I was referring to Time Magazine’s Person of the Year!  Tomorrow, Time will announce this year’s person.  I looked at the list this afternoon and the first name stunned me … China’s Xi Jinping … the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party.  Okay, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, considering they nominated the former guy as recently as 2020.  But still … shouldn’t Person of the Year be an honour held for people who have done and/or are doing something good in the world?  Yes, I do realize that they don’t necessarily award it to ‘good’ people, but rather those who were the biggest newsmakers of the year, but still …

And it gets even better …

The U.S. Supreme Court in all their “glory” is also on the list because, according to Time, it is “incredibly influential this year due to its conservative supermajority.”  Time seems to applaud their decisions that have set women’s rights back to the last century and taken authority to try to save the planet from disaster away from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Elon Musk and Ron DeSantis both made the list, as well.  Elon because he “has garnered controversy surrounding his takeover of Twitter” and Ron because a) he won his election, and b) his little stunt of flying migrants to Martha’s Vineyard that gained him lots of attention.

Others on the list include MacKenzie Scott (Jeff Bezos ex-wife), Liz Cheney, and Janet Yellen … all decent sorts who have done some good, but not Person-of-the-Year sort of good.  I suppose we should just be thankful that Kanye West, Stuart Rhodes or Nick Fuentes aren’t in the running!

There is really only one person on the list who I consider worthy of the honour of being named “Person of the Year” and that is Volodymyr Zelenskyy (and Time didn’t even spell his name right!)  He is fighting the Russian bear on behalf of the people of Ukraine and has never once wavered, never considered backing down.  He is truly a man of courage and convictions, and if I had a vote on the Time Person of the Year, my vote would be for President Zelenskyy!