Saturday Surprise — Fun Facts!

I realized too late last week that Saturday had come and gone and I hadn’t even thought of a Saturday Surprise post, so I vowed not to make the same mistake this week!  I hope you are all having a safe and relaxing weekend so far.  We are, as usual, staying in this weekend, with daughter Chris going out to pick up a few things and a carryout dinner later this evening.

I found some interesting and fun facts over at Bored Panda and I picked 10 of them to share on this post, but if you still want more, I suggest you head on over and see all 50 of them!

I can ABSOLUTELY believe this one!!!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and that you find something to bring you laughter and joy!

We The People Are Losing Our Voice

When I read this newsletter from Robert Reich this morning, my jaw dropped.  Sure, I knew that capitalism has run amok in recent years and that We the People seem to have no value to many of our elected officials, but … even I wasn’t aware to what degree our best interests have been subjugated.  I hope you’ll take a couple of minutes to read and ponder Mr. Reich’s words …


Why isn’t corporate America behind the pro-democracy movement?

Time for the biggest companies to step up and protect what’s left of it

Robert Reich, 14 January 2022

Capitalism and democracy are compatible only if democracy is in the driver’s seat.

That’s why I took some comfort just after the attack on the Capitol when many big corporations solemnly pledged they’d no longer finance the campaigns of the 147 lawmakers who voted to overturn the election results.

Well, those days are over. Turns out they were over the moment the public stopped paying attention.

A report published last week by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington shows that over the last year, 717 companies and industry groups have donated more than $18 million to 143 of those seditious lawmakers. Businesses that pledged to stop or pause their donations have given nearly $2.4 million directly to their campaigns or leadership political action committees.

But there’s a deeper issue here. The whole question of whether corporations do or don’t bankroll the seditionist caucus is a distraction from a much larger problem.

The tsunami of money now flowing from corporations into the swamp of American politics is larger than ever. And this money – bankrolling almost all politicians and financing attacks on their opponents – is undermining American democracy as much as did the 147 seditionist members of Congress. Maybe more.

Democratic senator Kyrsten Sinema — whose vocal opposition to any change in the filibuster is on the verge of dooming voting rights — received almost $2 million in campaign donations in 2021 despite not being up for re-election until 2024. Most of it came from corporate donors outside Arizona, some of which have a history of donating largely to Republicans.

Has the money influenced Sinema? You decide: Besides sandbagging voting rights, she voted down the $15 minimum wage increase, opposed tax increases on corporations and the wealthy, and stalled on drug price reform — policies supported by a majority of Democratic Senators as well as a majority of Arizonans. 

Over the last four decades, corporate PAC spending on congressional elections has more than quadrupled, even adjusting for inflation.

Labor unions no longer provide a counterweight. Forty years ago, union PACs contributed about as much as corporate PACs. Now, corporations are outspending labor by more than three to one

According to a landmark study published in 2014 by Princeton professor Martin Gilens and Northwestern professor Benjamin Page, the preferences of the typical American have no influence at all on legislation emerging from Congress.

Gilens and Page analyzed 1,799 policy issues in detail, determining the relative influence on them of economic elites, business groups, mass-based interest groups, and average citizens. Their conclusion: “The preferences of the average American appear to have only a miniscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.” Lawmakers mainly listen to the policy demands of big business and wealthy individuals – those with the most lobbying prowess and deepest pockets to bankroll campaigns and promote their views.

It’s likely far worse now. Gilens and Page’s data came from the period 1981 to 2002 – before the Supreme Court opened the floodgates to big money in the Citizens United case, prior to SuperPACs, before “dark money,” and before the Wall Street bailout.

The corporate return on this mountain of money has been significant. Over the last forty years, corporate tax rates have plunged. Regulatory protections for consumers, workers, and the environment have been defanged. Antitrust has become so ineffectual that many big corporations face little or no competition.

Corporations have fought off safety nets and public investments that are common in other advanced nations (most recently, “Build Back Better”). They’ve attacked labor laws — reducing the portion of private-sector workers belonging to a union from a third forty years ago, to just over 6 percent now.  

They’ve collected hundreds of billions in federal subsidies, bailouts, loan guarantees, and sole-source contracts. Corporate welfare for Big Pharma, Big Oil, Big Tech, Big Ag, the largest military contractors and biggest banks now dwarfs the amount of welfare for people.

The profits of big corporations just reached a 70-year high, even during a pandemic. The ratio of CEO pay in large companies to average workers has ballooned from 20-to-1 in the 1960s, to 320-to-1 now.

Meanwhile, most Americans are going nowhere. The typical worker’s wage is only a bit higher today than it was forty years ago, when adjusted for inflation.

But the biggest casualty is the public’s trust in democracy.

In 1964, just 29 percent of voters believed that government was “run by a few big interests looking out for themselves.” By 2013, 79 percent of Americans believed it.

Corporate donations to seditious lawmakers are nothing compared to this forty-year record of corporate sedition.

A large portion of the American public has become so frustrated and cynical about democracy they are willing to believe blatant lies of a self-described strongman, and willing to support a political party that no longer believes in democracy.

As I said at the outset, capitalism is compatible with democracy only if democracy is in the driver’s seat. But the absence of democracy doesn’t strengthen capitalism. It fuels despotism.

Despotism is bad for capitalism. Despots don’t respect property rights. They don’t honor the rule of law. They are arbitrary and unpredictable. All of this harms the owners of capital. Despotism also invites civil strife and conflict, which destabilize a society and an economy.

My message to every CEO in America: You need democracy, but you’re actively undermining it.

It’s time for you to join the pro-democracy movement. Get solidly behind voting rights. Actively lobby for the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

Use your lopsidedly large power in American democracy to protect American democracy — and do it soon. Otherwise, we may lose what’s left of it.

Your Opinions

A few nights ago, our friend David suggested I do a post asking for readers’ opinions on the most current issues and I thought it was a great idea, but hadn’t gotten around to it yet. Meanwhile, David himself posted a ‘questions’ post that asks six very pertinent questions. I couldn’t have done better, so I am sharing his. David has had some problems with his blog lately and unfortunately, there is no room for comments on his, so I will be asking him to check out comments here and respond where he feels so inclined. Thank you, David, for these thought-provoking questions.

The BUTHIDARS

Before we start, if you are a confirmed Republican who sees no problems confronting your Country at the moment and feels that everything is as it should be with the reduction in voting rights within the states adopting them, and that the Investigation into Jan 6th is wrong, there’s no point in starting an argument with me as you won’t change my views. If you have any constructive suggestions as to how things could change to benefit the United States We want too hear them. Please include any opinions on the current status of gun control too if you have them.

1.Are the current State Changes to voting legislation fair to all? If not, what is wrong with them and how can they be changed to ensure fairness?

2.Why will Republicans not bring forward and vote for the new Bills on Voting Rights, waiting in the wings.

3. Do You…

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Some Food For Thought

Late last night, I was trying to clean up my inbox before heading up to bed when I came across Robert Reich’s latest newsletter.  I found it both thoughtful and thought-provoking, so I am sharing it with you today.


Is there still a common good?

Yes. And I’ll tell you where to find it, and how to preserve it

By Robert Reich

We’ve gone through the shameful first anniversary of the attack on the U.S. Capitol and of the refusal of 147 members of Congress (all Republicans) to certify all the electors from states that voted for Biden, on the basis of no evidence of fraud. So far, no political figure has been charged with any criminal wrongdoing. We’ve seen 34 voter-suppression bills enacted by 19 Republican state legislatures; at least 8 give state legislatures the power to disregard election outcomes. More than 400 additional voter suppression measures are now being prepared. And we are now witnessing a struggle in the Senate to reform the filibuster so that voting rights legislation can be enacted. All of which raises a basic question: Is there still a common good?

I was at the impressionable age of fourteen when I heard John F. Kennedy urge us not to ask what America can do for us but what we can do for America. Seven years later I took a job as a summer intern in the Senate office of his brother, Robert F. Kennedy. It was not a glamorous job, to say the least. I felt lucky when I was asked to run his signature machine. But I told myself that in a very tiny way I was doing something for the good of the country.

That was more than a half century ago. I wish I could say America is a better place now than it was then. Surely our lives are more convenient. Fifty years ago there were no cash machines or smart phones, and I wrote my first book on a typewriter. As individuals, we are as kind and generous as ever. We volunteer in our communities, donate, and help one another. We pitch in during natural disasters and emergencies. We come to the aid of individuals in need. We are a more inclusive society, in that Black people, LGBTQ people, and women have legal rights they didn’t have a half century ago.

Yet our civic life—as citizens in our democracy, participants in our economy, managers or employees of companies, and members or leaders of organizations—seems to have sharply deteriorated. What we have lost is a sense of our connectedness to each other and to our ideals—the America that John F. Kennedy asked that we contribute to.

Starting in the late 1970s, Americans began talking less about the common good and more about self-aggrandizement. The shift is the hallmark of modern America: From the “Greatest Generation” to the “Me Generation,” from “we’re all in it together” to “you’re on your own.” In 1977, motivational speaker Robert Ringer wrote a book that reached the top of The New York Times bestseller list entitled Looking Out for # 1. It extolled the virtues of selfishness to a wide and enthusiastic audience. The 1987 film Wall Street epitomized the new ethos in the character Gordon Gekko and his signature line, “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good.”

The last five decades have also been marked by growing cynicism and distrust toward all of the basic institutions of American society. There is a wide and pervasive sense that the system as a whole is no longer working as it should. Racism, xenophobia, and religious intolerance are on the rise.

A growing number of Americans feel neglected and powerless. Some are poor, or Black or Latino. Others are white and have been on a downward economic escalator for years. Some have been seduced by demagogues and conspiracy theorists.

Is there a common good that still binds us together as Americans? Yes, and it’s not the whiteness of our skin, or our adherence to Christianity, or the fact that we were born in the United States. We’re bound together by the ideals and principles we share, and the mutual obligations those principles entail.

After all, the U.S. Constitution was designed for “We the people” seeking to “promote the general welfare”—not for “me the selfish jerk seeking as much wealth and power as possible.” During the Great Depression of the 1930s and World War II, Americans faced common perils that required us to work together for the common good. That good was echoed in Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Four Freedoms”—freedom of speech, of worship, from want, and from fear. The common good animated many of us – both white and Black Americans—to fight for civil rights and voting rights in the 1960s. It inspired America to create the largest and most comprehensive system of public education the world had ever seen. And it moved many of us to act against the injustice of the Vietnam War, and others of us to serve bravely in that besotted conflict.

Americans sharply disagree about exactly what we want for America or for the world. But if we are to participate in the same society we must agree on how we deal with our disagreements, our obligations under the law, and our commitment to democracy.

It’s our agreement to these principles that connects us, not agreement about where these principles lead. Some of us may want to prohibit abortions because we believe life begins at birth; others of us believe individuals should have the right to determine what happens to their bodies. Some of us want stricter environmental protections; others, more lenient. We are free to take any particular position on these and any other issues. But as political equals in this democracy, we are bound to accept the outcomes even if we dislike them.

Our central obligation as citizens is to preserve, fortify, and protect our democratic form of government. We must defend the right to vote and ensure that more citizens are heard, not fewer. We must require that presidents be elected by the will of the people, and prevent political parties and state legislatures from disregarding the popular vote. We must get big money out of politics so the moneyed interests don’t have more political power than the rest of us.

Democracy doesn’t require us to agree. It requires us to agree only on preserving and protecting democracy. This meta-agreement is the essence of the common good.

Those now attacking American democracy are attacking the common good that binds us together. They are attacking America.

We must join together — progressives and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, inhabitants of blue states and of red states, business leaders as well as leaders of nonprofits and of the public sector — to rescue American democracy from those who now seek to destroy it. There is no time to waste.

Your thoughts?

The Week’s Best Cartoons 1/8

This is TokyoSand’s first cartoon post of the year and one that is well worthy of sharing.  Needless to say, the main topic of the week is the one-year anniversary of the attempted coup on January 6th … and some of the ‘toons have brilliantly captured the thoughts and reactions one year later.  As always, TS has culled the best of the lot for us, so enjoy!  Thank you, TokyoSand, for all your hard work on these Saturday posts!


It’s a new year and I’m back with our normal Saturday editorial cartoons feature. This year started off with a bang! New Year By Mike Luckovich By Walt Handlesman By Rob Tornoe January 6 Anniversary By Pat Bagley By Bill Bramhall By Mike Luckovich By Michael Ramirez By Lalo Alcaraz By Kal…

See all the ‘toons at TokyoSand’s Political Charge!

“They Call Me Mr. Tibbs” — R.I.P. Sidney Poitier

It was less than a week ago that I shed a tear over the death of the beloved Betty White, and today I shed yet another upon reading of the death of another Hollywood icon, one who broke the colour barrier on the ‘big screen’, Sidney Poitier.  Mr. Poitier was 94 … not quite as old as Betty White who died just a few days short of her 100th birthday, but like White, he had a long and meaningful career … he made a difference.  How many of us can say that?

Sidney Poitier (r) with Nelson Mandela

A bit about Mr. Poitier’s start in life from today’s Washington Post

Sidney Poitier was born on Feb. 20, 1927, in Miami, where his parents were on a visit to sell tomatoes they had grown on their farm in the Bahamas. The family soon returned home, to the desperate poverty of Cat Island. His mother dressed the seven Poitier children in flour sacks.

At 15, after being jailed overnight for stealing corn, he was sent to live with an older brother in Miami who could provide a roof but little else. After the frightening encounter with police in Florida, he left for Harlem, hoping to find a more welcoming environment for Black people.

At first, he scrounged for change to sleep in pay toilets. When it became too cold to sleep on benches, he lied about his age (he was 16) and joined the Army in 1943.

He became a physiotherapist at an Army psychiatric institution on Long Island, but his anger at what he called the “abusive” attitude toward the patients and the racism he encountered at a local roadhouse antagonized him. Through the intervention of a sympathetic doctor, he received an honorable discharge.

Flipping through help-wanted ads in 1945, he saw a call for actors at the American Negro Theatre in New York. He figured it was easy work — that any profession that advertised next to requests for porters, busboys and dishwashers must require no special talent.

At his audition, Mr. Poitier’s unintelligible, singsong island accent dismayed theater founder Frederick O’Neal. But O’Neal was in such dire need of male actors that Mr. Poitier was hired with the understanding that he would also moonlight as the theater’s janitor.

During his first Broadway appearance, a small part in a 1946 production of Aristophanes’ ancient Greek comedy “Lysistrata,” Mr. Poitier suffered stage fright and began delivering lines out of order. But citing his “terrible fierce pride,” he later said he was determined to refine his skills. Over the next several years, his good looks and sensitivity as a performer brought him to the attention of Hollywood, and he made a strong impact in “No Way Out,” his film debut.

In his second feature film, Mr. Poitier was cast as a young clergyman in “Cry, the Beloved Country” (1951), based on Alan Paton’s novel about apartheid. Working on location in South Africa, Mr. Poitier was forced to live far from the studio, and he had to deal with other restrictions and insults. Officially, he was an “indentured laborer” of director Zoltan Korda. Mr. Poitier later called South Africa “on a racial, political and social level, the worst place I have ever been.”

Still a relative unknown on-screen, Mr. Poitier owned and operated a Harlem ribs restaurant to support his growing family between movie assignments. He had married Juanita Hardy, a model, in 1950, and they had four children.

As we now know, Mr. Poitier went on to help change the way the world viewed Black people through his many, many films and roles.  I first remember seeing him in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and then in To Sir with Love, both in 1967, but the role he may be most famous for was that of Virgil Tibbs in In the Heat of the Night.  There is no way I could possibly summarize Mr. Poitier’s life and career in a single blog post, nor will I try.  A few accolades are in order, however.  Mr. Poitier was the first Black man to win an Academy Award for best actor.

In 2002, Mr. Poitier received a lifetime achievement Oscar for “his extraordinary performances and unique presence on the screen and for representing the industry with dignity, style and intelligence.” That year, Denzel Washington became the second Black man to win the best-actor Oscar.  In 2009, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.

Mr. Poitier was modest about his legacy, saying …

“I was part of an influence that could be called paving the way. But I was only a part of it. I was selected almost by history itself. Most of my career unfolded in the 1960s, which was one of the periods in American history with certain attitudes toward minorities that stayed in vogue. I didn’t understand the elements swirling around. I was a young actor with some talent, an enormous curiosity, a certain kind of appeal. You wrap all that together and you have a potent mix.”

R.I.P. Sidney Poitier … you made a positive difference in the world.

Words Of Wisdom From Jimmy Carter

Yesterday, I had more than enough of articles about the anniversary of the January 6th attempted coup … I was on overload, most of the articles repeating the dire warnings of the one I had read just before and that I had previously expressed here on Filosofa’s Word.  Mind you, I understand the desire to pontificate on the events of that day and their extended outcomes, potential disasters going forward, for I have indulged in such myself.  However, there comes a point where it’s overload, time to step back and focus elsewhere for a few minutes or a couple of days.  So, today’s post was going to head off in a different direction.  Until … I read this piece in the New York Times by former President Jimmy Carter and … well, Carter is the most humanitarian president I’ve seen in my lifetime, and I respect his views.  So, without further ado, I hope you’ll bear with me for one more piece about that fateful day and its implications for our future …

Jimmy Carter: I Fear for Our Democracy

Jan. 5, 2022

By Jimmy Carter

Mr. Carter was the 39th president of the United States.

One year ago, a violent mob, guided by unscrupulous politicians, stormed the Capitol and almost succeeded in preventing the democratic transfer of power. All four of us former presidents condemned their actions and affirmed the legitimacy of the 2020 election. There followed a brief hope that the insurrection would shock the nation into addressing the toxic polarization that threatens our democracy.

However, one year on, promoters of the lie that the election was stolen have taken over one political party and stoked distrust in our electoral systems. These forces exert power and influence through relentless disinformation, which continues to turn Americans against Americans. According to the Survey Center on American Life, 36 percent of Americans — almost 100 million adults across the political spectrum — agree that “the traditional American way of life is disappearing so fast that we may have to use force to save it.” The Washington Post recently reported that roughly 40 percent of Republicans believe that violent action against the government is sometimes justified.

Politicians in my home state of Georgia, as well as in others, such as Texas and Florida, have leveraged the distrust they have created to enact laws that empower partisan legislatures to intervene in election processes. They seek to win by any means, and many Americans are being persuaded to think and act likewise, threatening to collapse the foundations of our security and democracy with breathtaking speed. I now fear that what we have fought so hard to achieve globally — the right to free, fair elections, unhindered by strongman politicians who seek nothing more than to grow their own power — has become dangerously fragile at home.

I personally encountered this threat in my own backyard in 1962, when a ballot-stuffing county boss tried to steal my election to the Georgia State Senate. This was in the primary, and I challenged the fraud in court. Ultimately, a judge invalidated the results, and I won the general election. Afterward, the protection and advancement of democracy became a priority for me. As president, a major goal was to institute majority rule in southern Africa and elsewhere.

After I left the White House and founded the Carter Center, we worked to promote free, fair and orderly elections across the globe. I led dozens of election observation missions in Africa, Latin America and Asia, starting with Panama in 1989, where I put a simple question to administrators: “Are you honest officials or thieves?” At each election, my wife, Rosalynn, and I were moved by the courage and commitment of thousands of citizens walking miles and waiting in line from dusk to dawn to cast their first ballots in free elections, renewing hope for themselves and their nations and taking their first steps to self-governance. But I have also seen how new democratic systems — and sometimes even established ones — can fall to military juntas or power-hungry despots. Sudan and Myanmar are two recent examples.

For American democracy to endure, we must demand that our leaders and candidates uphold the ideals of freedom and adhere to high standards of conduct.

First, while citizens can disagree on policies, people of all political stripes must agree on fundamental constitutional principles and norms of fairness, civility and respect for the rule of law. Citizens should be able to participate easily in transparent, safe and secure electoral processes. Claims of election irregularities should be submitted in good faith for adjudication by the courts, with all participants agreeing to accept the findings. And the election process should be conducted peacefully, free of intimidation and violence.

Second, we must push for reforms that ensure the security and accessibility of our elections and ensure public confidence in the accuracy of results. Phony claims of illegal voting and pointless multiple audits only detract from democratic ideals.

Third, we must resist the polarization that is reshaping our identities around politics. We must focus on a few core truths: that we are all human, we are all Americans and we have common hopes for our communities and our country to thrive. We must find ways to re-engage across the divide, respectfully and constructively, by holding civil conversations with family, friends and co-workers and standing up collectively to the forces dividing us.

Fourth, violence has no place in our politics, and we must act urgently to pass or strengthen laws to reverse the trends of character assassination, intimidation and the presence of armed militias at events. We must protect our election officials — who are trusted friends and neighbors of many of us — from threats to their safety. Law enforcement must have the power to address these issues and engage in a national effort to come to terms with the past and present of racial injustice.

Lastly, the spread of disinformation, especially on social media, must be addressed. We must reform these platforms and get in the habit of seeking out accurate information. Corporate America and religious communities should encourage respect for democratic norms, participation in elections and efforts to counter disinformation.

Our great nation now teeters on the brink of a widening abyss. Without immediate action, we are at genuine risk of civil conflict and losing our precious democracy. Americans must set aside differences and work together before it is too late.

January 6th Anniversary — Demand Accountability!

Today is January 6th 2022, exactly one year after the insurrection, riots, attempted coup, or whatever terminology you choose to use, at the U.S. Capitol in an attempt by Trump and his mindless followers to overturn the election that was won, fair and honestly, by President Joseph Biden.

Much has been discovered about who, how, and why the horrific, nightmare-inducing events of that day occurred, but as yet, far too much remains shrouded in mystery as damn near every person subpoenaed to give evidence in front of the committee investigating the day has refused or ignored the subpoena, and as conflicting tales come from the likes of Steve Bannon, Peter Navarro, Mike Pence, and countless others.  Others who have been subpoenaed to testify have appeared before the committee and then pleaded the Fifth Amendment, the right not to incriminate oneself by one’s testimony.  I break here for my thoughts on that …

If you have to plead the Fifth Amendment, the right to ‘remain silent’ rather than to tell the truth and incriminate oneself, then you obviously have something to hide.  It’s not rocket science, folks!  If I say I refuse to answer your question on the grounds that my answer will incriminate me, then I am obviously guilty!  This has got to be just about the dumbest amendment to the U.S. Constitution that exists!

“Did you kill your husband?”

“I refuse to answer on the grounds that it may incriminate me.”

Duh … it really doesn’t take a high-paid lawyer, a judge or jury to know that this person did, indeed, kill her husband!

And so, when the likes of Alex Jones, Mark Meadows and Roger Stone “plead the fifth”, it becomes obvious they have something … more likely many somethings … to hide!  And just in case pleading the fifth isn’t enough to cover their vulnerabilities, several are suing the committee.  Alex Jones, Mike Flynn and eight other major right-wing figures and Trump advisers have sued over the committee’s investigation, including the former guy, his former chief of staff Mark Meadows, outside lawyers John Eastman and Cleta Mitchell.  Obstruction, distraction, or both … take your pick.

The goal of those who are doing their level best to slow the investigation is to drag it out beyond the 2022 midterm elections, when Republicans hope they will control both chambers of Congress and will call off the investigative committee.  That CANNOT BE ALLOWED to happen!!!  There MUST be accountability for any and all involvement in the events of and leading up to that day, no matter how minor.

There is plenty of guilt, and the guiltiest are the ones crying the loudest, doing their damndest to delay and obstruct.  But make no mistake, my friends … if there is not harsh punishment for every person even remotely involved, it will open the door to a far more violent, far more successful coup in 2024.  Note, please, that I did not say it “might”, but that it WILL.  The groundwork is already being laid, plans made, and lessons learned from the failure in 2020.

Instead of thoughts and prayers on this one-year anniversary, let’s renew our determination to NOT allow the perpetrators to go unpunished and to consistently demand that Congress support the January 6th Committee in its effort to get to the bottom of the attempted coup and to punish the perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law.  DO NOT let this fade into the background amidst all the other distractions … it will be either the continuation or the death of the United States as we have known it.  The Republican Party has redefined itself … don’t let them redefine the nation.


Additional Note:  The former guy has cancelled his intended “press conference” that was initially scheduled for today.  It is reported that his ‘advisors’ warned against it, said it could turn on him and on those Republicans running for congressional seats in the mid-terms.  Surprisingly, the former guy heeded their advice.  I’m pleased to know we won’t be seeing his ugly mug or hearing his lies and false accusations, but … it ain’t over yet, folks.

Blame Biden!

The press has been grossly unfair to President Biden.  Even the outlets that Republicans taunt as being “left-leaning” such as The Washington Post and the New York Times have resorted to making much ado about any negative news, and ignoring or glossing over the positive.  And the right-wingers comeback is predictably … “Whaddabout when Trump was president?  The press always gave him grief.”  Sure, but there is one MAJOR difference … Trump deserved every bit of the criticism and more, while Biden is trying very hard to do the right thing, to reverse the damage that was done during the four years of Trump’s largely chaotic rule.

Just one example from Eric Boehlert’s newsletter, Press Run …

NBC ignores blockbuster 943,000 new jobs report

It’s hard to believe this actually happened, but it did. On August 6, the Department of Labor released the July jobs report which produced mind-boggling results — nearly 1 million new jobs were created as the U.S. economy roared back to life following the pandemic. For some inconceivable reason, “NBC Nightly News” on August 6 did not cover the jobs report; no mention was made at all.

They weren’t alone in shrugging off the fantastic economic news for the Biden administration. At 4 p.m. on that Friday, roughly seven hours after the stellar July job numbers were released, the story was highlighted in the 37th headline as you scrolled down the NBC News homepage. At the CBS News homepage, none of the top 50 headlines at that time addressed the jackpot economic report.

At CNN, by Friday afternoon the jobs report had been blacked out as the network’s homepage made way for “This Underrated Form of Exercise is So Good for You,” and “Lucy Lawless Reunites With ‘Xena’ Costar.”

The episode was perhaps the best indication that when it came to economic news, the press had a very specific story it wanted to tell in 2021 (inflation!), and that good news could be set aside.

I have seen President Biden blamed for the “supply chain crisis” which was really no crisis at all, as despite the dire predictions that store shelves would be empty for Christmas, retail sales in the United States jumped nearly 11 percent in 2021 compared with the holiday period in 2019.

After months of the media insisting consumers were terrified about the rising inflation rate, and that stores would be barren this season thanks to supply chain woes, shoppers snatched up everything in sight, sending holiday sales soaring to a 17-year high. Clothing sales jumped 47% compared to 2019 (pre-Covid), jewelry 32%, electronics 16%.  That runaway spending meant consumers had no problem finding products, despite months of dire media warnings and claims that it all meant terrible news for the White House.

I can speak from my own experience … I did all my shopping online this year, as due to both my own illness and the pandemic, I was not able to shop in person (nor did I have any desire to, for I am not a ‘shopper’).  Not one single item I ordered was delayed significantly or unavailable.  Not ONE!  Well … with the exception of toilet tissue … every time somebody says “BOO”, U.S. consumers run to the store and buy out all the toilet tissue.  I’ll never understand the obsession over toilet tissue!  Wine, I could understand, but toilet tissue???

And then there’s the issue of not enough workers to fill certain jobs.  This one confounds me, for the positions that companies are having trouble filling are low-paid jobs and workers have moved on to greener pastures where they can earn a living wage.  HOW THE HELL is that President Biden’s fault?  If there is blame (and there is – plenty to go around) it is the corporations who are unwilling to let a single penny of profit go to the people producing and selling their product.  Blame also lies with Congress , glossy-eyed over the donations of the aforementioned wealthy corporations, who have steadfastly refused to raise the the minimum wage beyond the current whopping (sarcasm intended) $7.25 per hour.  With increases in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), that $7.25 is now worth 21% less than it was in 2009 when it was last raised, or $5.73.  This amounts to just under $12,000 per year before taxes are withheld!  My rent alone is more than that!!!  So, is it any wonder that people are gravitating toward better paid jobs in an effort to feed their family and keep a roof over their heads without having to work 16-hour days???  No, folks, President Biden isn’t the reason companies can’t keep employees … the companies themselves are the root of their own problem.

The most recent unemployment rate as of November was 4.2% … matching the lowest level in 50 years, yet the media chose to focus on other issues, barely giving a nod to the unemployment numbers and in some cases claiming the numbers shouldn’t be taken seriously.  Granted, no president makes nor breaks the economy single-handedly, but if we’re going to criticize him over the negative, why not give him a bit of credit for the positive?

And then there’s Covid.  We have nearly 850,000 deaths in the U.S. due to Covid … the most of any nation on the planet.  Why?  No, it is not President Biden’s fault!!!  The former guy so mishandled and bungled the response to the pandemic in early 2020 that it is a miracle we aren’t all dead.  He intentionally withheld information and downplayed it, held rallies and events that were hotbeds for the transmission of the disease, yet Republicans and the media blame President Biden.  Biden has done everything in his power to ensure that there are sufficient vaccines for every person over the age of 5, but if there is blame for the continuing surge, it falls squarely on the shoulders of the anti-vaxxers.  Those who refuse the free vaccine for whatever ‘reason’ are responsible for the continuation of the rise in cases and deaths, and they are to blame for the isolation that many of us are still experiencing.

The Republicans such as Kevin McCarthy and many others feed this pack of lies to the media and they gobble it up like leftover Thanksgiving turkey!  The old saying is “If it bleeds, it leads”, but the new saying should be “If it pleases Trump, to the front page it will bump.”  I strongly suspect that the editors of the formerly reliable news organizations are well aware that they are distorting the news in many cases, but they must have some underlying reason to do so, and my guess is that it involves $$$$$$$$$$.  Doesn’t everything these days?

President Biden and his attempt to pass legislation to help the struggling people of this nation has become the scapegoat for any troubles, real, perceived, or contrived.  That it is unfair is the least of the problem … that it will colour the views of some of the people, ie voters, is the greater problem.  If President Biden and by extension the Democratic Party can be blamed for every problem, then the elections of 2022 and 2024 will indeed reflect those falsehoods.

I don’t expect the media to fawn over the current president, but neither do I expect them to jump into the fray of finger-pointing and blaming him for problems that started long before he took office!  I expect them to report facts and leave the drawing of conclusions to their readers – most of us are, after all, smart enough to put two and two together and understand what is happening.  Unfortunately, others will gobble up the sensational headlines and continue to blame President Biden for everything from the price of lemons to the toilet paper shortage!

One Nation, Divisible, with Liberty and Justice for Few – How the U.S. could split up

Due to my own unfortunate circumstances of late, I have not been reading many blogs, but I’m gradually working my way back into the fray. Tonight, I read Robert’s blog and I found it to be extremely well-written (as his always are) and more thought-provoking than any I’ve read in a long time. I urge you to read this from start to finish and think about the possible outcomes of our current state of division. There are no easy or particularly good solutions. Thank you, Robert, for this excellent piece of work!

The Secular Jurist

One Nation, Divisible, with Liberty and Justice for Few
How the United States of America could split up much sooner than expected
January 3, 2022

By Robert A. Vella

The United States of America is currently the longest standing democracy in the world at nearly 246 years old (as a constitutional republic, it is almost 234 years old).  The next oldest democracy is Norway at 208 years old.  That’s quite an accomplishment considering that it barely survived tearing itself to pieces during the disastrous Civil War of 1861-1865 and also the global threat to democracy posed by Nazi Germany, fascist Italy, and Imperial Japan during the catastrophic Second World War.  But, even the most optimistic Americanophiles have always known that the U.S. could not endure forever.  All countries experience multiple peaks of achievement and valleys of failure, and all of its various forms of government are inherently transitory.  Even the…

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