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“Pet Peeves”

I remember that when I was starting junior high school, the school paper sometimes had a column, “Pet Peeves.” I don’t remember what was in there, and it didn’t run very long. Maybe things like people not throwing their trash in the baskets, or running too fast down the halls. Maybe more general things. I remembered the column, though, and of course the phrase was not original, it seemed to be from that general period.

There are all sorts of things which I might put into that category. I think most people have those. One shouldn’t let oneself get too angry at them, because they are just part of the way things are. (But they shouldn’t be!) And technology, with its concomitant lessening of personal treatment and individuality, has accentuated this. So I could probably write a book on them, except that by the time the book came out, there would be other ones. I will just indulge myself a bit by listing a few, some of which you might find amusing, or sympathize with.

Companies which have sought to save money by having voice mail systems installed, the goal of which is to avoid having to hire people to answer the calls, and so route the caller to the internet, or frustration and hanging up You have a question about a bill, or how to handle some matter with the company; and whereas at one time in the past, you would get an actual person who might try to help, now you get the inevitable recording, which is usually probably what they call a bot.

This recording of a real person or a bot, tries to get you to push other buttons; which if you do, will tell you to push other buttons. You are very lucky if you actually reach someone. And of course the question you had cannot be answered by the bot, because if it could, you wouldn’t be calling. So what could have been a ten-minute call turns into a half hour of pushing buttons, listening to stupid music play over and over, interspersed with ads for the company. “Did you know, that you can…?” “Have you tried our….?” For the sake of fairness, since they all do it, I will not mention the names of places which give me the choice of hanging up, or listening to fifteen minutes of ads before someone might answer, or you hang up anyway.

Large corporations’ endless search for more money, leading to them taking over the rights to various broadcasts, and forcing people to pay for them. For example, people had been able to watch Thursday Night NFL football on television. One had to have a cable package; mine is $145 a month, as it goes up every year, even though I really do not watch that much TV besides news and sports and TCM, and the station which shows noir films twice a week. But just to get TCM, I have to have the package which includes dozens of stations which I don’t want. The cable network, and they are a monopoly in any locale, knows what people like to watch, so they bundle those few stations with other ones, forcing someone who likes TCM to add $50 or so to the bill just to get it.

But the network which used to show the Thursday games, this year does not; it is now the property of Amazon Prime, which one has to join to see any of the games. Also, various Dodgers baseball games are now farmed to Apple TV. Some games are farmed to YouTube networks. The end result is what was predicted decades ago, that the consumer is going to be charged for virtually every program he wants to see. Squeeze them out of every cent, boys!

Rap music. Somehow someone decided that rap music must be played at intros to every game shown on TV. I do not like rap music at all, I don’t even think it is music, more like some kind of haranguing with a loud beat behind it. Yes, I know that some people love rap music, and that there is a cultural component, but it has become like a ritual; they have to play rap on the intros. I won’t mention the people who have their car windows open, their radios turned up as high as possible, blasting rap music out to anyone stuck at the light next to them.

Commercials in general, proliferating at an astronomical rate. I might write a whole essay on that sometime, but perhaps no more needs to be said, though the techniques of advertisers are interesting, if insidious in many cases.

The concept of “Influencers,” paid large sums to try to convince others to do what the payers want them to do.

The rapid decline in literate writing, particularly online. Oh, one does not expect great writing, but at least try to know what the words mean. Try to find more words than “hilarious,” “gonna,” “kinda,” “it’s genius.”Sometimes I think that they have a list of about thirty words, and thus must use them over and over.

“Race counting,” where almost nothing can be shown without some people adding up all the people of various races who are in it, and complaining. Diversity is a necessary value, but art is ruined or at least diluted when the focus is not on the story or dialogue, but about how diverse the cast is.

“No sauce, please.” I do not like sauce on foods, unless it is a light butter sauce, perhaps. Many do, which of course is fine. But try to tell someone at a restaurant, particularly if you are taking out a meal, not to put sauce on it or in the package. I emphasize it, in a polite way, and the person taking the order nods and repeats it–and inevitably the bag is filled with packets of sauces, some of which drip out. One has to look at everything before taking it, or else you are sure to find sauces in there. A corollary: do any of you like your hamburgers plain and dry? I do. I learned from a food server that you should say “plain and dry,” or else it doesn’t work. So I do it, but then they ask me, do I want this or that on it? I say no. Then they ask if I want this or that other thing. I say, ”No!” in a polite manner. And then sometimes they put it in anyway.

Well, those are just a few of my “pet peeves.” Do you have any to add to the list?

A Very Good Day

I could say that yesterday was a great day, but of course we’ve still got the midterms, and Russia threatening to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, and the hurricanes on Puerto Rico. and migrants being flown and dumped as “a big joke against the liberals.” Things never get all fixed. But in things related to Trump, it was quite good.

New York Attorney General Letitia James has filed a civil case against Trump, his three oldest children, and the Trump Organization, for fraud in the calculated inflating and deflating of the value of his assets, to defraud the IRS, banks and other institutions, and the general public. The suit will seek to shut down the company in New York, make it impossible for them to obtain any loans in New York. and additionally seeks $250 million in damages.

She also suggested the possibility of some body filing a criminal case against them. though she pointedly did not refer to the Manhattan D.A. Alvin Bragg, who has refused to file any criminal case, though he once again says that “the investigation is ongoing,” perhaps like O.J. Simpson’s “search for the real killers.”

Trump responded in very typical Hitlerian fashion, by calling James a racist who is allowing crime to flourish in New York City, and who is very unpopular and incompetent. This is his stock in trade, he never defends the accusations, he turns them into a rallying cry for his forces to destroy the person who is criticizing him, investigating him, or suing him.

What will be the result of this lawsuit is of course uncertain. The State of New York would need to convince a jury that Trump’s obvious misstatements of value were deliberate, and intended to defraud. It seems obvious to me.

Trump pleaded the Fifth Amendment 400 times in his deposition, and his son Eric pleaded it 500 times. Trump said in 2016, regarding Hillary Clinton staff who were brought before a Congressional Committee, and took the Fifth because they knew that if they said one thing the Committee didn’t like, or got one date or former address wrong, they would be charged with perjury, that “only the Mob takes the Fifth.”

There is immense evidence that Trump had been egregiously lying about his financial assets for his whole adult life; getting loans, and probably helping Russia launder money, while doing favors for him which he has been obliged to repay ever since. As to why Deutsche Bank continued to loan him money, that is a story in itself, but while one could ask why other banks in the past did not do more diligence in assessing property values, that doesn’t get him off the hook for lying about them. And there is undoubtedly a dark story about corruption from many quarters; the very rich helping each other, with the costs ultimately being paid by the non-rich.

Trump may hate AG James, but she is relentless, and the highly regarded investigative reporter David Farenthold praised the depth of her research in this matter. And some respected people suggest that this ultimately will mean the end of the Trump Organization. We will see, but I would not dispute that, even with all the history of Trump getting away with everything.

And then we just had a three-judge panel from the Eleventh Circuit Appeals Court, finding in a per curiam opinion, that various rulings by District Court Judge Cannon were wrong, and not supported by fact or logic. The essence of the opinion is that The DOJ can look at the hundred or so documents with classified markings that they found on Trump’s property, and continue their investigations. The Special Master does not need to deal with that issue, the Appeals Court decided it.

The only recourse Trump would have is to appeal to the Supreme Court, where he would very likely lose, even with those Justices, because Cannon’s rulings were disgraceful, she made up law as she went along. and somehow was contending that DOJ had the burden of proving the material was classified, even though Trump never actually claimed in filings that it was not classified, nor did he bring up any evidence to show that he declassified any of the documents. Plus, the panel held that the markings were a red herring, because it is the contents which are important, and Trump had no legal right to them. Of course, an appeal to the Supreme Court would buy Trump more time, so he could well do it.

This led to the inevitable moment of high, or low, comedy, where Trump said to Sean Hannity that he could declassify documents just by thinking about it. Yes, he said that. This is so megalomaniacally delusional, that it doesn’t even seem worth it to ask if he could then reclassify them five minutes later, in his version of “Red Light, Green Light,” or whether President Biden could do the same thing, or maybe did it five minutes after taking office? One does blanch even thinking about how this person became President. If he somehow does again, he will become Tyrant Emperor, executing people with a wave of his hand, or a thought.

The main thing, for now, is that DOJ can look at these documents, and try to somehow staunch the damage which Trump has done. And if DOJ does undertake a full investigation, as they seemed to be trying to do, Trump is going to be found guilty of various things. Some say that DOJ will let him escape if he accepts a bar from ever running again, but that would not at all be sufficient in my mind. This needs to be delved into in all its depths, even though there are things which DOJ would keep from the public.

When Trump has no other recourse, as with the redlining of rental applications made by Black people on property he owned, or with the fraud that was Trump University, he settles, or accepts a fine. He cannot get away with this again. He stole Classified and Top Secret documents from the government, kept them at his home, refused to give them back, lied about what he still had. And then course the darker questions as to why he took them, what he did with the information in them, what he was planning to do with any of the rest of it. Judge Cannon gave him a few weeks delay time, now hopefully the investigation can continue.

As with everything related to Trump, the result will not be known for perhaps a long time, and there is no assurance that justice will be done. But big steps were taken toward that end yesterday. And that is enough to make it a very good day, at least in that context.

Upon a painted ocean

Day after day, day after day, 
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.

That image was taken just after Dawn from the back of the ship. If you’re wondering where the wake is, there isn’t one. We’re just drifting – intentionally. It’s a sea day.

Wake up song along the deck 12 running track:

The more I see, the less I know

Hey did you know you can work out on this ship? I got up at dawn and went to the fitness center for a two mile run. The view is amazing.

We are docked at Coco Cay. I’m having breakfast and my beach bag is packed. I slipped an orange and apple into it to munch later on a hammock on the beach. Ahhhh…

The weather is spectacular. Keep up the good work with the weather gods.

Here’s my new favorite song to add to my run playlist. Say Hey (I love you):

Once More Into the Breach

I watched more of the coverage of Queen Elizabeth: the ceremony, the mourning, the appreciation, and the funeral, in the last ten days, than I thought I would. I watched it on MSNBC, and a little on BBC. I am a big fan of Chris Jansing, who anchored much of MSNBC’s coverage. I don’t think there is anyone better than she at covering major events, so that was more of an impetus for me to watch. And so many good guest commentators from Britain, adding perspective and history, and a look forward.

Actually, I am going to miss the coverage. Not that it was not suffused with sadness, but it was still a nice change from what we will now go back to, which is coverage of all the bad people and things threatening our country and our democracy. Does anybody really want to see a picture, even with muted sound, of Trump glowering and shaking his fist in the air,? Hear Graham or McConnell or McCarthy with their propaganda which they make part of every sentence? Listen to more dire predictions about Democrats from people who would profit from being right about it?

Watching the enormous crowds in London and the rest of England, well-mannered and respectful; seeing and hearing the ceremonies, was rather encouraging, as we saw a nation which put other values over endless political rancor. There is something to be said about having a Constitutional Monarchy; which is not saying that I would want one here, though it would be nice to have someone of respect and some power, overarch the partisan politics, and the absolute evil, lies, inciting to riot, that comes from the Radical Right fascist theocrats who make up the Republican Party at all levels.

Of course, there have been bad monarchs, too. I know a fair amount of British history, though not at the level of the scholars. I was thinking that Queen Elizabeth II may well have been the best monarch they have ever had, though most of the rest of them were not very admirable . Her father, King George VI, was a decent man, and obviously she had a good role model in that regard. Of course she was not perfect, but taking into account the challenges she immediately faced, even while a girl while he was king; then her ascension at such a young age; her intelligence, general decency and kindness; appreciation for the ordinary working person; tact, almost unerring sense of how to handle things, she was incredible. And that is why she was, and will always be, loved by so many people.

The mourning is for her, and it is also a mourning for an Age which seems to have ended. Consider that she likely had met Franklin D. Roosevelt, and of course had known Churchill as a girl, and then worked so closely with him. For her to be alive and ruling, in her constitutional monarch way, was to somehow feel like things would be all right; she had helped to have gotten Britain and America through the storm, seen the defeat of Nazism and Fascism. I thought yesterday about how awful it would have been for her to see America possibly turn into what the two countries had given so much to defeat. If nothing else, we can try to honor her by continuing a fight which they thought had ended in 1945, but really never ends.

I am not English, I am not Christian or Anglican. But I still liked to feel that there were people in charge there who believed in humanity and democracy, and who had the background and sense of history to help it prevail. Queen Elizabeth will be profoundly missed.

As to the monarchy, that is a British issue. I don’t expect too much from Charles III, but maybe he will do decently, whatever that exactly means. At least he cares about fighting global warming, though of course he will have very limited power in that regard. It is said that Elizabeth’s daughter, Princess Anne, would have been the best heir, but the rules at that time did not allow for a woman to inherit the throne if there were a male sibling. This may be greatly regretted in that context. Then we have to wait for William and Kate, whom I like. Maybe George and Charlotte could help! Charlotte already knows all the protocols!

As to Harry and Meghan, I personally think that the focus of much of the media and public on them is not very useful. They left England to live in America, and Harry gave up his role as a ‘working royal.” No one kicked them out, the Queen wanted them to stay. They will get plenty of publicity here, but the monarchy goes on without them. I hope that the British press tones things down, out of respect for Queen Elizabeth. if nothing else.

We now go back to primaries to worry about, and corrupt judges, and literal nazis running for office, like the Republican candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania. A seemingly relentless onslaught, which we have to defend against. Queen Elizabeth, in her 90’s, still represented, and actually was, a foundation against those forces. Her spirit and example will always be there. But we will need others to step in, if we are going to preserve what her and her courageous father’s and husband’s life were dedicated to.

And for various people who are complaining on Twitter that this was a waste of time, they should have been covering the attempted fascist takeover, and had more about the hurricane which hit Florida, I understand the concern, but I don’t think that they realize that Queen Elizabeth II was one of the greatest public figures of the last hundred years; and that she represented far more than pomp or pageantry to the British people, while she and her family were an emblem of strength and steadfastness at a time when much of the world was filled with immense foreboding, not too much different than now..

And we’re off

We’re leaving murky Miami behind and there’s blue sky and sunshine ahead. Keep up those prayers to the weather gods to keep Fiona away.

Haven’t had my margarita yet but I think it’s time. Thanks to all of you for fueling my 5 days of idleness and dissipation.

This song sums it up for the last 10 years. Five o’clock could come soon enough.

Good night.

And away we go!

Now, if I can only get from Fort Lauderdale Airport to the Port of Miami without spending all my latte money on Uber…

Nooooo!!

It waited all year to get anywhere near my destination. It knows. Somehow, it always knows:

I want you all to get down on your knees and beseech the weather gods to be merciful. Yes, the storm is only affecting airports and vacations in the islands south of me but it knows I’m coming. It is going to change direction if you aren’t intervening hard enough on my behalf.

I have to arrive at the airport 3 hours ahead if my flight. That means I’ll be in the terminal at 3:45am. That means, I have to leave my house at 2:45am.

Anyway, thank you from the bottom of my heart for the coffees and margaritas you have bought me. I might have to start on the margaritas right after breakfast today.

Why? Why? Why?

Aileen Cannon Is A Corrupt Judge

That is the essence of it. She is corrupt. There are not many corrupt judges, but there are certainly some. And Trump, and the Heritage Foundation, and all those forces which have risen in the last decades, want corrupt judges, on their side, of course.

A judge can be corrupt in various ways. Taking money is the most obvious form, but there are other enticements to corruption. The promise of advancement and fame. Being part of a political or social or religious sect whom you believe you are helping by your favorable decisions. The corruption comes from judges simply deciding cases based on whom they want to help, whom they want to defeat.

Probably most corrupt judges do not see themselves that way, not like various ones in Western movies who good-naturedly admit that they can be bought. I would say that Judge Cannon can convince herself that she is doing the right thing. She is protecting Trump. She is worried about his “reputational damage.” She doesn’t trust the DOJ, and the FBI. She thinks that Trump is more important than anyone else, so must be accorded rights that no one else has.

The corruption is in that, and more. She is so biased that she says that there is doubt as to which or any of the documents he stole (a word which of course she doesn’t use) are classified; so it must be decided by a Special Master, whom she manages to retain the ability to fire at any time. Now, the only evidence is that various documents were marked as Classified. She thus does not believe the markings? Oh, she would never say that overtly, but that is the import.

As to the absurdity that Trump somehow declassified all of these documents, this has never been alleged in any of the filings. He says it on television, a week after he first said that they were planted by the FBI. And he says it to someone who is on his side and will never question him. But he is very careful never to say it in a judicial document, nor have any of his attorneys said that. They don’t want to be disbarred, or put in jail.

But Cannon says that there is doubt. Based on nothing but her love of Trump, and whatever promises she made to him to get her appointed in his last few months in office, and of course her allegiance to Heritage, and the Federalist Society.

The idea of judicial oversight is dependent on judges following the law, following precedent, treating everyone equally, and actually trying to make the fairest decision. Cannon and the other corrupt Trump judges do not do that. The infuriating problem is that the legal system is such that a judge can do almost anything from the bench, and get away with it. She or he can come up with some ridiculous argument, and just cloak it in language so that the supporters of that position will feel gratified and righteous.

The only protection society has is that the judges are intelligent and honorable people who do their best. If that is not true, we have some kind of totalitarian state which pretends that it is not one.

The rather amazing thing is that Trump and his forces were able to get this case out of the DC courts and over to his handpicked judicial fixer, Cannon. They apparently did that by filing a case for return of property, and getting another jurisdiction. It seems to me that Garland and the DOJ did not handle this as well as they had to, knowing whom they were dealing with, but that just my opinion from the bleachers.

I do respect attorneys like Andrew Weissmann, Neal Katyal, Asha Rangappa, and most of the others who are guests on MSNBC. But they have often continued to believe that Cannon cannot possibly be so bad as to ignore the facts and the law. Barbara McQuade, another highly respected legal mind, said that DOJ offered Cannon an off-ramp, and she did not take it.

Well, that is the point. She is corrupt. It is like saying that you thought you had a deal with the mafia, but they broke it. They are the mafia., they are not to be trusted. Cannon was, from the outset, from the minute that Trump’s people got the case to her, completely on his side. She would do whatever he wanted. So why would they think that she would let DOJ have access to the marked Classified documents, so as to protect against the very real danger that they said the country was in, if they could not work on the case?

That is not how she is. The respected legal minds are the ones who out of trust, and decency, and the belief that any judge who takes an oath will try to follow it, kept hoping or even assuming that she would not make decisions like a crooked mafia-employed or gangster-bought judge of earlier eras.

But that is what we are confronted with. These are people who somehow have what is like a religious fervor, and nothing is able to permeate that. Cannon is, and will always be, a…handmaiden? worshipper? political asset? of Trump and the MAGAS. Again, from the stands, I would have immediately appealed her first decision, to get this out of her hands. Yes, the 11th Circuit may be corrupted, but some Trump-appointed judges have ruled against Trump. And as awful as the Supreme Court is, I still can’t quite believe that they would rule for Trump in this case. If they did, they would change the law for many years, and give free tickets to many criminals besides Trump.

Of course, that might be a year away. The major goal of Judge Cannon was to stall this. By so doing, she tied the hands of the FBI and other bodies to protect the information in those documents. Our agents abroad, our data, information about criminals, foreign and domestic. All intended by Cannon to be stymied, in order that she could protect what matters to her: Trump, and her chances of being on the Supreme Court, and her keeping high standing in the land of MAGA.

At long last, will people stop believing that anything good ever comes out of these people? They are agents of our domestic enemy. They believe in a theocratic and autocratic state. They are willing to do anything they can do achieve this. The idea that they are corrupt is anathema to them; they believe that their enemies, the liberals, the Democrats, now the DOJ and the FBI, whom their forces are threatening with violence, are the corrupt ones.

We have to somehow find ways to work around them, over them; win enough elections to try to change the court, as immense a task as that is. But not trust them, or hope that they will adhere to the gravity of their positions, and have a regard for hundreds of years of jurisprudence. Because that is outside of the boundaries of their corrupt natures. Cannon, and most of the Secret Service detail of Trump; and most of his cabinet, and all those others still wreaking their damage, wherever they were situated by him. The poisoned seeds of his tree.

The Midterms Are Coming

I never watched “Game of Thrones,” but I am familiar with the ominous phrase from the show, “Winter is Coming.” I won’t write more about that, because my ignorance about the series would make me look silly. But I would see it, maybe in previews of upcoming episodes, or online; and it always seemed to me to be about more than the show, in some sense a warning about the real world, even if not intended.

It has felt like that to me, as we try to stave off the fascist state which far too many people seem to be working toward. This is not like twenty or thirty years ago, where I and my family would follow politics and elections closely; but as much as we cared, and got upset when our side lost, it did not feel like the end, but just a chapter in a continuing story, with lessons which we could learn from, as we tried to do better as a Democratic Party and a nation.

Things have changed, or maybe just predictably evolved, so much, that now it seems that we are a short step from losing America forever. I don’t need to go over all the things which have happened, as the Republicans have slithered from Gingrich’s evil “Contract with America,” to lying the country into a war; to the “Tea Party”; to Trump and MAGA, and a whole bunch of people sounding like Mussolini and Hitler, and reveling in it.

And of course the attempted coup, which if successful, and I think it almost was, would very possibly have brought a dictatorship, with control of the Executive Branch, DOJ, the Courts, local law enforcement, and the media, all in the hands of complete autocrats. And as we know, the Republicans are running a slew of election deniers, people who are determined to override people’s votes by having the corrupt state legislatures simply declare them the winners, over and over.

So in some real sense, I dread the upcoming election. Because the Republicans have become so evil, that I don’t think we can live with even a partial takeover of the country by them. And how likely is it that Democrats can hold both the House and Senate, not only this time, but for so long that the fascists cannot complete their goal of turning this country into some kind of Fundamentalist Theocratic dictatorship which cannot be reversed?

I hesitate to go into this too much in depth, because I do not want to depress everyone, or myself. But I think we all know that if this group of people who call themselves Republicans get hold of any lever of power, any one of the branches of power, they will wreak havoc upon it. Even just winning the House means that they will spend all their time holding hearings intended to destroy President Biden’s image, and render him unelectable. They will impeach him. They will impugn his integrity and his morals. They will have hearings on Hunter Biden, and attempt to tie them together. They will perhaps try to throw Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic House leaders out of the Congress. Their hearings will be part destructive revenge for the hearings on Trump; and like the endless Hillary hearings, a course intended to cause their right-wing media networks to have fodder for daily attacks on all Democrats.

I think this is a certainty, even if they have the smallest of House margins. So rather than spool this all out, I would rather look at the prospects for the midterms, and what kind of chance we have to prevent this.

I can read polls, as we all can do. I can try to extrapolate from what is going on in the country, and from what I know about recent elections. In general, things looked bad a couple of months ago; then they turned around. Most of that was due to the “Dobbs” decision, which overturned Roe v. Wade. We have seen some remarkable results, where Democrats have surprised, as in recent New York elections, or where abortion rights voters have swamped their opponents, as in Kansas.

We have also seen Biden look better, through passing important legislation. This all combined to push Democrats to leading, albeit slightly, in the generic Congressional polls.

Of course, there is a large difference between House and Senate races. Senate races cannot be gerrymandered. Over the last few decades. Republicans have run amok in gerrymandering, turning 50-50 states into 65% or more Republican districts. I just read where in Georgia, a 50-50 state, where Biden won, Abrams came close to winning four years ago, and there are now two Democratic Senators, the Republicans in the state legislature wrote maps which give them about a 70% advantage; and after winding through the courts, it was held that it was too close to the midterms to reform the districts, that will have to wait until next year.

Despite the immense efforts of Marc Elias and his group, and others, there is no question that Republicans have given themselves 10-15 extra seats through gerrymandering. In New York, where the Democrats actually tried to gerrymander, the courts threw the map out. It is a game which Democrats seem either unequipped to win, or are prevented from winning by the fairness of their own appointees.

So what are the chances that we somehow hold the House? The oddsmakers have us about 20% likely to do it. This week’s inflation numbers, not awful, are yet easily turned into negatives, because .1% more inflation sounds so much worse than .1% less inflation. That was unfortunate, we needed a break there.

I don’t see why Biden (who is not on the ballot), and Democrats are blamed for inflation, but they are. Try explaining economics to average voters. And the recent bill will help, but not in time for the elections.. We need to depend on a massive abortion rights vote. Lindsey Graham may have helped by announcing support for a national ban on abortions after 15 weeks. Now such a bill, if passed, would be vetoed by Biden. but apparently Graham thinks this will galvanize the anti-abortion people.

We know that a billionaire actually gave Leonard Leo’s Heritage Foundation $1.3 billion toward Senate races. There are a lot of lying ads that can be written and shown hourly, with that kind of money. In most of the last Senate election cycles, Republican candidates have gained ground in the last few weeks of the campaign, and this has to be attributed to the massive funds which Republicans have to pour into their candidates’ campaigns.

Just to try to take reasonable guesses now, obviously the Senate chances look better than in the House. I would see us picking up Pennsylvania with Fetterman. I think that Barnes can hold off Johnson in Wisconsin. Beasley can win in North Carolina. Those are three seats to pick up. Unfortunately, I don’t think that Ryan will beat Vance in a state where Republicans have been winning almost all races, except for Sherrod Brown being able to keep his Senate seat. And I don’t think that Val Demings can defeat the truly despicable Marco Rubio, not in Florida.

On the other side, I think that Kelly can keep his seat in Arizona. Also Hassan in New Hampshire. But I am afraid that we will lose in Nevada. And somehow it seems that Walker may win in Georgia. I hope my friend GA6thDem can have better news on that race.

So of course I am just surmising; and I would want the chance to make predictions closer to the election, but I would see us picking up 1 to 2 Senate seats. Winning the House is unlikely. It would take an inflation report in October which is relatively positive. No increase in gas prices. Enough campaign funds to at least counter the billions which the Republicans will have.

And somehow an amazing turnout for “Roevember,” higher even than the registration numbers we are seeing now. The highest Democratic turnout in a midterm ever. It will take that, to not lose the five or more seats which would give Republicans control of the House.

Also, do not neglect crucial state races. There are four governor’s races that we have to win. Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Arizona. Those are states we must win in 2024, and we cannot afford to have the awful candidates the Republicans are running in those states have control of the election process. Cannot! We need Shapiro, Whitmer (and her two colleagues Benson and Nessel), Evers, and Hobbs to win. Abrams would be great, but I am not confident.

And for the first time since the days of pulling levers, Democratic voters have to vote for every Democrat downticket. Surely they must have learned by now, that putting any Republican in office is a blueprint for losing democracy.

The midterms are coming, like it or not. We have to do what we can, in different ways, and we have to hope for the very best. I remember Falstaff’s poignant line before having to go to battle, in “Henry IV, Part 1, “I would ’twere bedtime, and all well.”