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      Some time back I read a book called The Foundations of Early Modern Europe, 1460-1559. One thread I picked out as particularly clear was their explanation of the effects of gunpowder. The first bit is what as known as pike and shot. Early gunpowder weapons were slow and inaccurate. But late medieval pike units had already changed warfare: not only could they […]
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MLK Day

It is a day to honor Martin Luther King, Jr., a holiday which always falls on the third Monday in January. So I will try not to get too upset about anything in the news; well, maybe one thing, which I will write about below, but mostly try to think of lighter things.

I will note that I have gotten the word in WORDLE all six times I have played. The first three times, I got the word on the fifth guess. The next time, the fourth guess, then the third, and today the fourth. But of course I do not want to be overconfident, as there are possibly tricky words they could come up with.

My major worry is if there were the sequence _A_ED. There are many words with different letters which could fit in there,. And apparently suffixes and plurals can be used, so there are rarer letters in TAXED, WAXED, VAXED (is that a word now?), FAZED, HAZED GAZED,, CAPED, JAPED, VAPED (is that a word now?), BAKED, CAKED, WAKED, JAWED. And now does one test all those out in a few remaining guesses? I am trying to figure out a strategy to deal with that, if I can. I will be disappointed if and when I finally miss one or two of the words. No quitting when you are ahead, as in blackjack or poker!

Now I will mention one irritating thing, which is personified in Chuck Todd of MSNBC and NBC, who is the epitome of a so-called broadcast journalist who acts like he is always being reasonable and fair, but is actually always echoing Republican talking points, no matter how illogical they are.

I do not ever watch his “Meet the Press” show. I think I stopped watching MTP, with Frank McGee decades ago, as I have read that virtually every week, whoever is the host has a lineup stacked with Republicans, with perhaps a token “liberal,” and that whatever is discussed on the show is invariably a criticism of Democrats, particularly if one is President, while Republicans are always catered to.

Well, it seems that yesterday, Todd blamed President Biden for not passing a Voting Rights Bill, saying, “Outside of the infrastructure bill, which was a big win, Mr. Biden has not been able to put together a small government coalition of Republicans to do the public bipartisan effort that some swing state Democrats have pleaded. “

Now, it is Todd, and so why should we be surprised; but it is on national TV, and of course it gets picked up by the rest of the media. So Todd, who has been on the air for years, who purports to have a great knowledge of the political world, thinks that the reason that Voting Rights is not being passed is because Biden has failed to get Republicans to vote for it?

The reasons that Republicans are not voting for it, are: 1) They always, always, vote in line with what McConnell wants them to do, and they certainly never break ranks to vote with Democrats on voting rights issues. 2) The Republicans are unanimously, in the House, the Senate, the state legislatures, against any voting rights laws. The only laws on voting they are for, are those which limit and suppress the vote. The evidence for this is seen every single day.

And Todd cannot figure this out? He thinks that Biden has failed here? This is not only utterly biased in perception, it is another case of the media setting up an impossible standard, and then blaming Democrats for not reaching it. “Why hasn’t Biden ended the pandemic?” “Why can’t he halt inflation?” Well, for one, those are worldwide problems seen everywhere, they are not somehow relegated to this country.

The problem, and the answers, particularly to inflation, can only be found through understanding the general worldwide causes, which are basically a very fast increase in demand after 2020, and suppliers either not ramping up fast enough to meet it, or deliberately limiting supply to gouge profits. It is a problem which must be dealt with, as Biden doggedly tries to deal with all sorts of things which he certainly did not cause.

But we know that the Republican game is to take any possible negative event or trend, and blame it on the Democrat in charge. No one expects Republicans to have any solutions, that is not required of them by the media. Republicans actually have no solutions to anything, unless someone actually thinks that cutting taxes even more on corporations, and letting them pollute at will, is some kind of answer.

So the daily news is mostly “Let’s blame Biden for everything,” while the Republicans are not supposed to, or required to, do anything. They are all against voting rights, but that’s okay, because they are Republicans. It’s up to Democrats to somehow get them to change.

This would seem equivalent to telling the abused wife or bullied child that it is their fault that their tormenter is acting that way. Or it is the Neville Chamberlain approach, thinking that somehow you can work with the epitome of evil, whose only intent is to destroy you. Now, this is obvious to us, but not to Mr. Todd, or the rest of the people who get on TV and spend their day attacking the Democrats for failing to pass a bill that every single Republican will not only vote against, but will do everything they can to even keep it from getting to the floor for debate, because they think it might hurt their ability to purvey their lies, and show them for the totalitarians they are.

But the media will persist in framing this in the most ludicrous way possible. Do they believe it? Are they given talking points every day by the executives at the stations? Are they effectively pre-selected by these executives, as people who will consistently take the right-wing perspective? Is it some kind of “groupthink” among these people?

It doesn’t really matter, because they know that they will keep doing it. Ratings do not seem to matter, their shows are apparently “loss leaders,” where the executives get more of what they want, by keeping the shows and the propaganda going. Maybe someday, Todd and Mitchell and the others will say so many palpably ridiculous things, that virtually everyone will turn off both them and their secondary echoers and magnifiers. Until that much hoped-for day, I try very hard to avoid Todd, and Meet the Press, and all of what becomes another implement of the Far Right propaganda machine.

And there are some journalists who point this inanity out, so that is at least something, though I wonder how many people they reach, as compared to the people who make careers out of framing every single issue and story in the way that most benefits Republicans.

Okay, now back to the more positive things. But can I first complain just a bit about the TV writer Sarah Phelps, who seemed to deliberately try to ruin Agatha Christie novels in her TV adaptations of them, and who now apparently is on the way to making “A Very British Scandal,” about the Duchess of Argyll, starring the superb Claire Foy, a vehicle for her particular take on things, and a show devoid of charm? I will slog through it. But stay far away from anything she did regarding Poirot, whom she invented in “The ABC Murders” as someone who did not actually come from Belgium, was never a detective, as he claimed, and was formerly a priest. Yes, that is what she created to indulge herself. Boo!!

Happy MLK Day!