Small but good start on Yemen

The war in Yemen is a horrendous catastrophe causing immense suffering for its people and the US has been complicit in it by providing the Saudi Arabian regime with weaponry to prosecute their attacks on Yemen. Joe Biden has now declared that the US will end its support for the Saudi offensives.

Joe Biden has announced an end to US support for Saudi-led offensive operations in Yemen, as part of a broad reshaping of American foreign policy.

In his first foreign policy speech as president, Biden signaled that the US would no longer be an unquestioning ally to the Gulf monarchies, announced a more than eightfold increase in the number of refugees the country would accept, and declared that the days of a US president “rolling over” for Vladimir Putin were over.
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Bernie Sanders outlines his budget plans

In his first Senate floor speech after becoming chair of the powerful budget committee, Sanders details what is in the covid relief plan that his budget committee is drafting and says that it contains the fulfillment of the promises that he and many other Democratic leaders made to voters during the last election about what they would do if they got the majority. He says that they are obligated to carry them through. As usual, he focuses on the things that are important and does not take his eye off the ball and does not get distracted.

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The sorry state of the Republican party and conservative media

The fact that the Republican party leadership put QAnon Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene on the House education committee tells you all you need to know about how craven they have become. House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy has issued a mealy-mouthed statement about their decision not to do anything. It appears that she received a standing ovation from the Republican caucus. The Republican party leadership was willing to strip former Iowa congressman Steve King from all his committee positions for his hateful statements but is not willing to do the same for Greene although she is even crazier than he is, as hard as that is to believe. It should be noted that she has not publicly recanted her statements, instead choosing to tout her support from Trump. Her and her party’s defense is that she made them before she was elected to Congress.
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Why I do not invest in art or the stock market

While the GameStop controversy has faded from the news headlines, the issue is still roiling the markets. I was listening to an analyst who was saying that the people who are driving up the price of the stock may themselves end up losing a bundle. Some analysts are calling it yet another bubble that will burst at some point and then the stock price will revert to a more realistic value. But what is a realistic price of that stock? It seems to me that the price of a company’s stock is not based on anything tangible.
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The anti-vaxxers seem to be more militant than the anti-choicers

We know that the anti-abortion crowd can be very militant and resort to extreme violence, to the extent of murdering people who provide abortion services. But I notice that recently anti-vaxxers seem to be approaching and even exceeding that level of fervor, as can be seen when protestors temporarily shut down a covid-19 mass vaccination site that had been opened in the Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles.
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Super Bowl = Super Spreader

The encouraging news is that the number of covid-19 infections and hospitalizations in the US seem to have started to decline, though the death rates are still high. Since death rates is a lagging indicator by about two weeks, we can hope that they too will begin to decline soon. This graph shows how super spreader events like Thanksgiving and Christmas caused spikes that are only just abating.

By The New York Times | Sources: State and local health agencies and hospitals

But now there is another potential super spreader event and that is the Super Bowl to be held this Sunday. A poll suggests that 25% of all Americans will be “gathering with other people that live outside of your home (i.e., with people that are not roommates/cohabitants, etc.,) to watch the upcoming Super Bowl.” 64% said no and 11% said they don’t know or have no opinion.

25% of the population is a lot. While I can sort of understand how some people feel the pull of family gatherings at Thanksgiving and Christmas to be so strong as to overcome common sense advice to just stay at home, risking one’s life to attend a party to watch a sports event on TV seems truly idiotic, especially since only half watch it to see the game with the other half split between wanting to see the commercials and the half-time show, both of which can be easily seen later.

AOC’s experience during the insurrection

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been scathing in her attacks of some House members and senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley for their roles in instigating and supporting the insurrectionists, calling for them to resign or be expelled from Congress. In her recounting of the details of what she personally went through, you can understand why. It is pretty harrowing.

In an account remarkably candid for an American lawmaker, Ocasio-Cortez recounted going into hiding as rioters scaled the Capitol on 6 January, hiding in a bathroom in her office while hearing banging on the walls and a man yelling: “Where is she? Where is she?” She had feared for her life, she told an Instagram Live audience of more than 150,000 people.

“I thought I was going to die,” she said. “And I had a lot of thoughts. I was thinking if this is the plan for me, then people will be able to take it from here.”
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QAnon, the Republican party, and the Know-Nothings

In a recent comment, Who Cares compared the current Republican party to the Know Nothings of days gone by. I had heard of the Know Nothings and was curious about them, mainly because it was such a weird name for a political party. But I knew nothing (Ha!) about them and decided to look into this and found this article by Zachary Karabell that took a deep look at their sudden emergence in the 19th century and their equally sudden collapse. He compares them more to the QAnon movement within the Republican party rather than the party itself, but that may be a distinction without much difference.
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The Republican bipartisanship gambit

Barack Obama spoke about the need for bipartisanship when he came into office in 2008 and the Republicans used that desire to thwart his election platform goals though Democrats had big majorities in both houses of Congress. Or at least that is the conventional wisdom. I was more cynical. I think he and Democrats used that bipartisanship ploy to escape having to follow through on their promises.

That scenario is being played out again. Joe Biden also made a big song-and-dance about wanting bipartisanship and now Republicans are whining that they need to be part of any policy decisions, although they and Trump gleefully rammed through their massive tax cuts for the rich and other moves while thumbing their noses at the Democrats. Ten Republican senators have demanded, in the name of bipartisanship, that Biden take seriously their ridiculously low offer of a $600 billion stimulus package which is much less than the $1.9 trillion that Biden has proposed. As part of their bipartisanship gambit, Republicans are now also shedding copious crocodile tears over the deficit, the very thing they cavalierly dismissed when their tax cuts for the rich sent it skyrocketing.
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