I Needed This …

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Confession time.

Regrettably, I must admit I’ve been swayed by the several negative news items surrounding many (and often, most) of President Biden’s actions and decisions over the past year. So much so that I’ve expressed my disappointment in him “out loud.”

Then I read Heather’s most recent newsletter.

As she so carefully and thoroughly went down the list of his accomplishments throughout 2021, I was a bit ashamed that I had allowed myself to be so influenced by the media and their seemingly incessant desire to focus on the negative.

I am not saying that Biden has been a perfect leader.

There are definitely areas where I think he could have handled things better. As an example, I personally feel he (or perhaps the news media?) put far too much focus on trying to rein in the virus. Naturally we all want it to “just go away,” but it is not a country or a personality that can be fought and overcome. Rather, it is a pernicious and invisible enemy that tends to defy all manner of attack.

And to that point, there’s really only so much we can do …

In any case, this was just one of the reasons why I needed to read what Heather outlined in her newsletter about President Biden. I needed to be reminded of his several accomplishments, rather than allowing myself to be so influenced by the (seemingly innate) negativism of the media.

As well as the ongoing criticism by various Republicans!

I trust you will gain as much benefit as I did from Heather’s excellent synopsis of President Biden’s first year in office.

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The News and Its Sources

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Every so often I see discussions on various blogs related to news sources. One person will adamantly claim a particular source is biased a certain way, while another person will just as adamantly claim the opposite.

Occasionally such dialogues can get rather “heated” as each person offers “proof” that their assessment of a particular news publication is the CORRECT one.

Much of one’s value judgement in these discussions is based on personal bias … although we tend to deny this and tell ourselves we’re viewing the topic from a purely neutral perspective. 😉

In any case, I came across this website awhile back and for me, it clearly lays out where the various news sources stand. I invite you to take a look. (I tend to think some of you may be a bit surprised.)

And don’t stop at just the listings … read on to the section: “How to Recognize Biased News Source” where it lists the characteristics that will help you make an informed determination.

Finally, this from the article’s closing:

Finding an unbiased newspaper or news source may seem like an impossible task. In part because humans are seldom able to have an open mind about something. 

And, most importantly, this …

Therefore, it is up to the public to read multiple news sources and different viewpoints before forming a judgment. 

What Do You Think?

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If you haven’t already heard/read about the actions of Kyle Rittenhouse, then I suggest you do some Google-type research. 

For those of you who ARE familiar with the name and the associated offenses … this post is for you.

As a refresher: Rittenhouse faces five felony charges and a misdemeanor weapons charge for killing two individuals and wounding a third during a protest in Wisconsin. If he is convicted of the most serious charge against him, he faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison. 

Closing arguments are scheduled for Monday, the 15th. The final jury members will be selected and will, most likely, begin deliberations on Tuesday. (Added note: there is still some discussion related to some lesser charges which the judge is considering over the weekend and will announce his decision on Monday.)

So where do you stand? Should Kyle Rittenhouse be found Guilty or Not Guilty? Do you see him as an armed vigilante who should definitely be sent to prison? Or was he simply a misguided kid trying to defend himself? Or perhaps something in-between?

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My personal opinion? No matter the circumstances, two people DIED at the hands of a 17-year-old kid using a semi-automatic AR-15 style rifle. While I hesitate condemning him to life in prison because of his age, I do not feel he should be allowed to walk away scot-free.

How Does This Make You Feel?

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Forbes has reported that Elon Musk’s net worth just reached $225.2 BILLION — very likely making him “the richest person to ever walk the planet.”

He has passed both Google co-founder Larry Page (#6), as well as Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg (#7) — and widened the gap between him and Jeff Bezos of Amazon fame.

More on Afghanistan

The following was a “comment” in response to Heather Cox Richardson’s latest newsletter (8/18/21).

It was written by Linda Mitchell, “a Professor of medieval history, feminist, ally and supporter of causes of right, equity, and justice.”

She addresses several issues that personally, I had not considered — primarily because, as a rule, I pay minimal attention to happenings in other countries until they become, as Afghanistan has done, “newsworthy.”

In any case, from what I’ve read so far in various news and “opinion” sources, I found Linda’s outlook spot-on.

1. The US military establishment lied and lied and lied when they talked about the combat readiness of the Afghan army. They have done so for 20 years. They even admitted that they lied a number of times when pressed. Their motive in lying was to present the military trainers as competent, when they were not. If this sounds familiar to those of us who lived through the Vietnam era, well, there you go.

2. There is not a single US administration that behaved proactively in Afghanistan. There has not been a single congressional “class” that has behaved proactively in Afghanistan. Plenty of academics–from historians to economists, to anthropologists, to sociologists–have been saying over the last 40 years that the West’s way of dealing with Afghanistan was going to fail and was wrongheaded from the start. But the last 20 years has also seen the dumbing down of the federal government, the glorification of ignorance and prejudice and jingoistic idiocy. So the people who actually had a clue were ignored or vilified. QED.

3. If the people of Afghanistan had cared about the pro-Western cultural institutions that western money propped up in their country–education and rights for women, a government elected through a democratic and transparent process, an economy based on capitalism–they would have embraced this idea beyond the few elites and the dedicated female teachers of girls and women. But they did not. Because Afghanistan is not a country. It is a delegation of provinces with intimate and historical ties to traditions we dismissed and ignored. We did not make them care about women and girls. THEY DON’T CARE ABOUT WOMEN AND GIRLS. The hollering going on now about “how do we save the women and girls” is laughable because the people who should have been asking those questions are the ones who embraced TFG’s jingoistic and autocratic foreign policy, who are determined to police women’s bodies and criminalize women’s bodily autonomy in the USA, who claim religious exceptionalism, who say NOTHING about the abuse of women and girls in their favorite countries, like Saudi Arabia, where al Qaeda came from. They are our Taliban: they just wear suits and talk about the “rights of the unborn,” and claim that their militant death-cult brand of Christianity is the “true” one. And they are winning here in the USA: take a look at the judicial decision to ban certain abortions in TX.

3. We had the chance to do the ONE THING that would have broken the economic back of the Taliban: stop the growing of opium poppies and the opium trade–the market for which is THE WEST–and replace it with well-constructed, carefully planned alternatives that the people in the south and west of the country (where poppies are grown) could manage THEMSELVES. We did not consult with the people whose lives were at risk if they did not grow opium. We did not ask them what THEY wanted to do, what THEY wanted to grow. We just went in and behaved like the boorish mo****f***ers we are and claimed to know better. We did not.

4. Why are all media outlets losing their s*** trying to blame SOMEONE for this horror show? Because they think it will help their ratings. Because as institutions the commercial media are all idiots and ignoramuses, led by suits who like their corporate bonuses no matter their political stripes. Because the last person in the room is the one they blame. Why don’t they instead do something useful, like re-animate the pages from the RNC website that praised TFG’s “brilliant and groundbreaking deal” with the Taliban? Which they scrubbed as soon as the debacle occurred.

I could go on but I won’t. Sorry for my rant of the day. I admit that I don’t understand why anyone is surprised by any of this.

As always, your reactions/opinions/disagreements are welcome — so long as you don’t go off-topic or become insulting of others’ viewpoints.