Bracing Views on Substack

W.J. Astore

Hello Everyone:

I’m experimenting with Substack, a hosting site that many of you are already familiar with. Some of my favorite authors write there, like Matt Taibbi, Chris Hedges, and Glenn Greenwald.

Here’s my site address: https://bracingviews.substack.com/

Why am I doing this?

  1. It gives me a backup to WordPress as a hosting site.
  2. Perhaps it will help me to spread my message.
  3. I think some of you will prefer the comments section there.
  4. It’s easier to monetize Substack, should I choose to go that route.

At this point, I plan on continuing to post new articles here at WordPress and at Substack. At some point, I may decide to post certain articles only at Substack, which has a “subscription only” option.

To be honest, I pay $5.00 a month to subscribe to Matt Taibbi because I really admire his work. I’m a “free” subscriber to other Substack sites. I haven’t decided yet whether to pursue the “subscription only” option for Bracing Views. Yes, I like to think I should be paid for my writing, but I also know that most of my readers aren’t exactly rolling in the dough, and making money from blogging has never been a motivation for me.

Anyhow, if you wish, please go to my site on Substack and subscribe. Also, if anyone has any experience with Substack or a preference for it, please let me know in the “comments” section below.

Many thanks!

65 thoughts on “Bracing Views on Substack

  1. I’ve been considering moving to Substack myself, Bill, as WordPress has never resolved my issues, and has dropped my help ticket completely. I, too, read several bloggers on Substack, and I have to say, we’d be in good company!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent move, Bill. You are joining outstanding company in Taibbi, Johnstone, Greenwald, Hedges, and many, many others.

    The only problem i have with it is that when i tried to make a Comment to “Spoiling for a New World War” on it, i got an Error Message that “Only paid subscribers can comment on this post.”

    i am more than ready to be a BV/Substack paid subscriber if that’s what it takes to be able to make Comments to Your posts. ~ jeff

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    1. Thanks, Jeff. That must be a default setting on Substack that only paid subscribers can comment.

      So now I have to figure out how to change that. Will let you know.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Hi Jeff: try making a comment now.

      When I imported all my BV library of posts to Substack, it appears that comments are not enabled, unless I go in and enable them for each article. Which I have for “Spoiling.”

      Give it a whirl and see what happens. Thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. As I see it the problem with Substack is the economics on the receiving end. $5 a month doesn’t seem like much but over a year that equates to $40-60 (assuming a yearly discount rate of $40). That may be OK if you follow just one person but any more than that and it starts to add up. Four people for instance would be $160 per year, which is a pretty hefty rate compared to, for example, a standard magazine. And $40-60 a month gets you the privilege of adding comments to a typical on-line magazine with its numerous articles, FWIW. I would think also that charging all commenters would lead to the expectation that the writer writes much more frequently than about once a week. So, depending on the rates at the writing end, it might make sense if you don’t count on the revenue and consider it more of a tip.

    All this analysis falls to nothing if you get funding from the CIA of course. I which case you don’t have to charge commenters. You just have to spend more time figuring out how to invest your ill-gotten millions. Of course you might have to get your stories cleared with some authority but isn’t that a small price to pay to be part of the 1%? (LOL)

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    1. I agree, Alex. It adds up. I have an affinity for Matt Taibbi so I pay him $60 a year. And I appreciate the bracing honesty of the Jimmy Dore show, so I send him $120 a year. But for other sites I use the “free” option. There are only so many sites you can pay for.

      I haven’t explored the subscription option at Substack yet, but I think a fair rate might be about $2.50 a month, or $30 a year.

      Then again, if I really want money, there’s always the far more lucrative CIA route …:-)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Bill, its good to see you reconsidering this. This reader would gladly pay for Bracing Views. NZ$8.50 just means dropping those creme-filled donuts from my grocery shopping. Or 2-cups of coffee less per month.

        Now that you have had a change of mind on this I want to try to change your mind on another issue. That of voting for 3rd party Candidates (!) I hope you will bear with me please.

        In your state, North Carolina, as we speak the Senate race is being closely fought by a (D) and (R) candidate. Very closely.
        Cheri Beasley, the “lefty” progressive with a platform in line with Bracing Views is polling at 43.3%. The regressive Ted Bubb(R) is polling at 45.8%. Less than 3% ahead. I hope I am right here, and not making a fool of myself with any of these facts.

        The noble candidate Matt Hoh (G), who we all agree has a perfect platform and would like to see elected, is polling at 0.7%. (Undecided at 5.0%)

        Sadly, a vote for Matt is a vote that Cheri can’t get to beat the repulsive Ted Budd – and will help your state getting stuck with two (R) senators. To have a chance of seeing any of the Matt’s platform being implemented will be impossible if Cheri loses. A vote for Matt will surely be a vote for getting what we detest.

        Won’t holding your nose and voting (D) give you at least a chance of what you want?

        Respectively, am I out to lunch here! Got it all wrong? Too pragmatic?
        I will not be offended if you disagree
        Cheers mate. No worries
        Dennis

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        1. Hi Dennis: North Carolina, sadly, isn’t my state. I can’t vote for Matt Hoh.

          I think people should vote for the candidates they believe in. If everyone did that, maybe, just maybe, we’d get better results.

          Why vote for someone that you know is not going to honor the promises they make? For someone that you know is against what you believe in? In that case, why vote at all?

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      2. Let me ask You a question, if i may, Bill: Do You ~ and folks like Taibbi, Johnstone, Greenwald, Hedges, et al ~ receive any renumeration when one of Your articles is posted online by such portals as Tom Dispatch, Sheerpost, Consortium News, and the like?

        Like

        1. TomDispatch does pay. When my articles run there, they often go to Scheerpost, Consortium News, Counterpunch, Alternet, and similar sites. Those sites do not pay.

          When I wrote for Huff Post I was not paid. When I wrote an original article for Alternet, I was not paid. There’s not much money in writing for “fringe” progressive sites. You can see why writers are eager to be part of the MSM, if only to make a living.

          Matt Taibbi has done very well at Substack. Greenwald too. Obviously, they have thousands of paying subscribers (I think). Johnstone runs her own site and does a good job soliciting donations.

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          1. Thanks for the info. i wonder if at least part of the reason Greenwald and Taibbi have such a following is that they had followers back when they were “conventional” journalists. i’ve been reading Greenwald ever since i saw CITIZENFOUR and learned of his work with Edward Snowden.

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  4. You are stubbornly hanging on to the meme…”Why vote for someone that you know is not going to honor the promises they make?”

    If Cheri Beasley is elected, North Carolinian “leftys” have let’s say a 50% chance of what they believe in being honored. If they cast their vote for Matt, as great as he and his platform is, they have a 90% chance of a regressive platform, that they voted against, being honored. (And, if it was your perfect world, where everyone voted for the candidate’s, they believed in, this fact would not change a thing.)

    In these close races, at the end of the day when the counting’s done, voting for minority 3rd (G) party candidates is surely complicit in giving the nod to someone that will honor promises that they disagree with. And that’s on their conscience.

    Anyway – that what makes America (and New Zealand) great. You get to Vote for who you believe in.

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    1. It’s my vote, and they haven’t taken it from me (yet). Why should I vote for candidates and parties that keep failing me? That I don’t believe in?

      I refuse to have my vote dictated to me by those who say I must vote for candidate D because candidate R is worse when I have other choices available.

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      1. Ironically, in some cases Democrats are funding “extreme” Republican candidates, then hoping that people won’t vote for the extreme Republican that they funded!

        How cynical is that? The lesser of two evils truly is still evil.

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      2. Not yet, they haven’t.

        But they have the means, methods, and mechanisms in the works to do exactly that when they determine that it is probably necessary in order to “win” the election in question.

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  5. Bill, this is not just an American phenomenon.
    It happens in all democracies with first-past-post voting.
    It’s a systemic flaw.

    Once two parties become established the system cannot be fixed.
    It would take one party to f*ck up hugely and lose ALL its support to fix flaw.
    Which is not going to happen.
    Why the Green Party can never get any traction in America, even though it has in other countries.

    New Zealand changed its voting system to mixed-member proportional (MMP) system to facilitate minority 3rd parties in 1996. Whether it has worked is hotly debate.
    Take care.

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  6. If there is nobody that You can vote FOR, there is always the option of writing-in “None Of These Candidates.” And there is also working toward having “None Of These Candidates” as a mandatory choice on every ballot of every federal election in 2024.

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    1. On August 22 2012, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Jones agreed with the plaintiffs that the option is not constitutional because if “None of these Candidates” received the most votes, it would not win the election, and struck down the law allowing the option as unconstitutional.

      On September 4, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued an emergency stay against the district court’s order. The emergency stay barred the implementation of Judge Jones’s injunction until the Ninth Circuit could hear an appeal, allowing the “none of these candidates” option to remain on the ballot in the November 2012 elections. On July 10, 2013, the Court of Appeals threw out the lawsuit, preserving the “none of these candidates” option.

      It could be argued that the option is not settled Law, since it could be challenged by the Supreme Court.

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      1. A campaign against marking “None of These Candidates” on the ballot in the upcoming election was recently launched (8/30/2010) by Cathy Valenta Weise, a mediating attorney in Reno.

        “People think this category has some protest value”, she says. “There is nothing farther from the truth. Voters have always had the right to withhold their votes in protest. A person will be elected to office in spite of marking “None of These Candidates” on the ballot. Voters shouldn’t be misled into thinking it has some greater impact than withholding a vote. They simply are giving up their votes in both instances. There is no evidence to indicate that a candidate even acknowledges these non-votes or changes a stand on political issues because of this ballot line”, Weise said. “History shows that the real consequence of this ballot line is that it favors the incumbent or the one who conducts the most negative campaign.”

        “It only serves to divert votes that would otherwise be cast for a candidate, most likely in opposition to another candidate in the race.”

        “Elections are a way to maintain government or effect a non-violent change in government through the candidates we elect. Vote for a candidate, or for another, to oppose the election of a candidate. But don’t throw away your vote by marking “None of These Candidates” on the ballot,” Weise concluded.”

        Make up your own mind Bracing Views readers.

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        1. “Recently launched” on 8/30/2010? How about giving BV readers something a little more current than 12 years ago to make up their minds on?

          Nevada Voters have had “None Of These Candidates” as a choice on EVERY election ballot ~ federal, state, and local ~ since 1975. [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/None_of_These_Candidates ]

          Given that Nevada Voters still have the NOTC option, it looks like Ms Weise’s campaign didn’t accomplish much.

          Do You have a source for that tale?

          Like

          1. Note: In Nevada, if NOTC were to actually win an election, the candidate getting the second highest vote would be declared the winner.

            Like

      2. Until the Court of Appeals ruling is overturned, Dennis, it IS settled law.

        re NOTC receiving the most votes: As pointed out in an earlier BV article on NOTC [https://bracingviews.com/ 2022/04/10/reforming-americas-elections-the-notc-way ]:

        ~ 2. Another objection to NOTC would be “Well ~ not that it would or could ever possibly happen ~ but what happens if ‘None Of These Candidates’ actually wins an election? Or forces a run-off? Then what?”

        Then come up with a brand new slate of candidates and run the election again, with NOTC remaining a choice. Presumably the fact that NOTC either won the election or forced a run-off would [or at least could] send a very loud and clear message to the Ruling Political Class that their reign of unbridled power ~ at least when it came to this particular federal election ~ is over. At least for now.

        The article also addressed another objection:

        ~ 3. A third ~ and the weakest ~ objection could be from those who would claim that NOTC would undercut efforts by Third Parties to have a real impact in elections, and thus government and governance, by taking support and votes away from them, their candidates, and their agendas.

        At this point ~ and with very, very few exceptions as far as actually, really impacting the outcome of any election over the past 120 years ~ any votes for any and all Third Party Candidates are essentially wasted, other than providing the voter with the personal satisfaction of voting her or his conscience, and of, somehow, “sending a message.” That is a principal reason that the PRC would be so quick to recommend it, as noted in Objection 1 above.

        And in present day America, no Third Party built on any particular ideology and focused on any specific issues, by itself, is in a position to have any effective impact whatsoever on any election whatsoever, let alone on how the government is run after the election.

        If, on the other hand, NOTC was a choice on all ballots; and if all Third Party voters would add their vote to all those Americans who reject both of the major party’s candidates by voting NOTC; and if the RPC had to then go back to the drawing board for another election with different candidates and a different set of promises: If all that happened, Third Partiers would have a much bigger say in how things are run in this country than they do now, or have ever had in the past.

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        1. One has got to wonder Jeff if this Option is indeed the panacea its proponents insist it is, why is it that…

          No similar options have been permitted, much less approved, on any other state levels, least of all the federal level, as of 2022. ~ since 1975. That’s 47-years with no takers by people who are much more knowledgeable on the issue than you or I.

          That it “becomes an option on every ballot of every federal election in 2024” would seem to be a pipe dream.

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          1. Has any similar option even been proposed any place else?

            Has anybody tried to introduce NOTC the same way that “Ranked Choice Voting” was introduced, and ultimately proposed, approved, and implemented for state and federal elections in Maine and Alaska? i have no idea.

            But if it’s just a “pipe dream,” Dennis, then let’s not waste any more time talking about it, OK?

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        2. The BV article had this to say:

          In 2016, “None Of These Candidates” received 28,863 Nevadan votes, while Clinton took 539,260 and Trump got 512,058, a difference of 26,202. One wonders how those numbers would have changed if “NOTC” wasn’t an option and all [or even some] those NOTCers voted for either one or the other.

          In 2020, NOTC-NV took 14,079 votes to Biden’s 703,486 and Trump’s 669,890, a difference of 33,596. Apparently, Nevadans felt they had a bit more of a choice this time than last.

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          1. We will never know how those numbers would have changed if “NOTC” wasn’t an option. And for that reason, have no evidence that it actually does anything. Am I correct Jeff?

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            1. am intrigued by that lexical opacity termed ‘evidence’, sourced from the latin memes ‘out of’ [‘e-‘/”ex-‘] and ‘to see’ [‘videre-], given that it means information from ‘personal testimony or what seems obvious to one’s eye or mind’ [oxford dict]. as we are all selcouth in our unique backgrounds and experiences, what one presents as ‘evidence’, whether in document form, from personal testimony, or from some other putatively legitimate manifestation, should be held suspect, in abeyance, in suspended incredulity; it can be dead-down unreliable. mendacity, hyperbole, confusing patois, and subreptition are elemental to every language, as you fellows are well aware, language is used to dissemble as often and as effectively as it is used in one’s effort to accurately communicate ideas. ‘evidence’, even from sources one has come to trust, can be manipulated, so perpetually requesting ‘evidence’ is often an exercise in futility.

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              1. One can wonder – how those numbers would have changed if “NOTC” wasn’t an option – JEANIE.
                But that’s all.
                Since the experiment WHERE “NOTC” WASN’T AN OPTION was never run – no evidence, of any sort, was gathered and the numbers cannot be known.

                Valid Scientific Evidence means evidence from well-controlled investigations, controlled studies, studies and objective trials without matched controls, and case histories conducted by qualified experts THAT RESULT IN REPEATABLE RESULTS.

                Using this definition of evidence JEANIE, scientists have been able to develop the Cat Scan machine, put a man on the moon, and allow you and me to be communicating on the internet. We did not do this by holding all evidence to be suspect, in abeyance, or in suspended incredulity.

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                1. And how do You propose to have “well-controlled investigations, controlled studies, studies and objective trials without matched controls, and case histories conducted by qualified experts THAT RESULT IN REPEATABLE RESULTS” for an election?

                  What do we do? Have two sets of ballots on Election Day that all Voters must vote on: one with NOTC as an option, and one without NOTC?

                  And how do You propose to run an experiment “WHERE ‘NOTC’ WASN’T AN OPTION”? Isn’t that how every election in the US except in Nevada is run now?

                  Like

                2. too troo, den. i was, in a subauditum gesture, endeavouring to suggest constraint from jeff in his relentless commands for ‘evidence’ from you. it was becoming a wee-tit tiresome. as a marine and aquatic invertebrate zoologist [retired], i palpably understand the quintessential craton of evidence-based experiments; it is the newel post around which every scientific investigation wraps itself. nonetheless, whether in the lab or under the seas, lakes, and rivers, my consociate investigators and peripheral colleagues often experienced different descries and divaricating interpretations of putative evidence… ‘evidence’ that could be repeated and corroborated by the rest of us. later, however, these outliers were proved to be not only correct, but also more ‘sensible’.

                  Like

            2. It wasn’t presented as “evidence,” Dennis. It was presented to show how many votes NOTC got in 2016 and 2020 compared to Trump, Clinton, and Biden.

              You will note that the operative term is “One wonders how those numbers would have changed… .”

              On other words, no assertion was made one way or the other about abything. All that was presented were facts.

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          1. …..come up with a brand new slate of candidates and run the election again….

            You are pulling our leg right? So what happens if we get the same result?….come up with a brand new slate of candidates and run the election again…and again….

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            1. Exactly. If no “REAL” candidate can get more votes than “None Of These Candidates,” what does that tell You about what the Voters think about the choices that the Ruling Political Class has given them?

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              1. I wonder how the voters in Nevada feel about footing the bill to “come up with a brand-new slate of candidates and running the election again”… with the possibility of ‘None Of These Candidates’ actually winning the second election. Then what?

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                1. Have a third election.

                  And , from Round 1, there would be a very stiff entry fee to be assessed against every candidate that would make the politicians and their owners and operators pay for their election bid; and not the Taxpayers/Voters of Nevada.

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  7. intoxicating au-courants, wja! tnx. i’ve been a matt/chris/glenn promoter and supporter on substack, as well as elsewhere, for a coon’s age. am delighted to be apprised of this supernumerary access on substack to your thought-provoking, supernal, challenging mentations and well-researched exegeses.

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  8. Just want to say, Bill. that the layout of Bracing Views over on Substack is just about perfect. All i have to do to go from You to Greenwald, Hedges, Taibbi, and/or Johnstone is move the pointer less than two inches. It don’t get no better.

    Like

        1. Nice. i just gotta ask then: Who is Aron Blue; and how does she get in the same category as Hedges, Greenwald, Taibbi, and Johnstone? It’s certainly not immediately evident from her site.

          Like

  9. Meanwhile, the Eastern Front of Cold War II gets just a little bit warmer… :

    DOJ ACCUSES 10 CHINESE SPIES AND GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS OF ‘MALIGN SCHEMES’ by Devlin Barrett, Perry Stein and Ellen Nakashima

    The United States on Monday unveiled charges accusing two Chinese intelligence officers of attempting to subvert a criminal investigation into a China-based telecommunications company — one of three new cases that FBI Director Christopher A. Wray said shows Beijing is trying to “lie, cheat and steal” its way to a competitive advantage in technology.

    In total, the U.S. Justice Department said 10 individuals were Chinese intelligence officers or government officials engaged in criminal conduct, and in the most alarming case, accused two men of working on Beijing’s behalf to bribe a U.S. law enforcement official to share secrets about an ongoing prosecution of a major Chinese firm. Although officials did not identify the firm, people familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing cases, said it is Huawei Technologies, a global telecommunications giant that has been in a years-long battle with the United States over trade secrets, sanctions and national security concerns.

    Unbeknownst to the two accused Chinese operatives, the law enforcement official they thought they had successfully bribed was in fact operating as a double agent, working for the U.S. government, gathering evidence against the two suspects, and feeding them false details and documents to win their trust, officials said.

    Wray publicly thanked the unidentified double agent for their careful work to build the case. “We employ double agents frequently in our counterintelligence operations against the PRC’s [People’s Republic of China’s] services and other foreign threats. Given the nature of that work, we rarely get to publicly thank them. So I’m delighted to have that chance today.”

    The other two cases highlight what U.S. officials say is A RELENTLESS EFFORT BY THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT TO BOTH RECRUIT AMERICAN SOURCES AND HARASS PERCEIVED ENEMIES ON U.S. SOIL.

    “EACH OF THESE CASES LAYS BARE THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT’S FLAGRANT VIOLATION OF INTERNATIONAL LAWS, AS THEY WORK TO PROJECT THEIR AUTHORITARIAN VIEW AROUND THE WORLD,” Wray said at a news conference.

    Continued at https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/10/24/justice-china-telecom-giant-spy-investigation/ [EMPHASIS added.]

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    1. APPLE is determined that HUAWEI will not dominate the mobile phone market.
      And the Cupertino Company whose phones are made in China is losing.
      And they are enlisting the US government to win the battle.

      Like

  10. I can’t afford to pay all these writers going to Substack & to Medium & to other platforms. I really miss when everyone posted on WordPress & everything was free. I understand wanting to make a living & I also understand that WordPress is a PITA but I’m a disabled senior on a very small budget.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. “A group of 30 House liberals is urging President Joe Biden to dramatically shift his strategy on the Ukraine war and pursue direct negotiations with Russia, the first time prominent members of his own party have pushed him to change his approach to Ukraine.

    The letter, sent to the White House on Monday and first reported by The Washington Post, could create more pressure on Biden as he tries to sustain domestic support for the war effort, at a time when the region is heading into a potentially difficult winter and Republicans are threatening to cut aid to Ukraine if they retake Congress.

    In a letter led by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the 30 Democrats call on Biden to pair the unprecedented economic and military support the United States is providing Ukraine with a “proactive diplomatic push, redoubling efforts to seek a realistic framework for a ceasefire.”

    https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/liberals-urge-biden-to-rethink-ukraine-strategy/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I saw that too. It’s about time the “progressives” stepped up. Unfortunately Pelosi, Schumer, and McConnell are all firmly pro-war. Not sure about Kevin McCarthy. I also note that the pro-war faction may pass a huge additional Ukraine aid bill in order to offset a possible reduction in Ukraine funding if the Republicans take Congress, as McCarthy discussed.

      Like

  12. In todays Seattle Times…..

    “PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Republicans are pressing their advantage deep into Democratic territory in the closing stretch of the 2022 campaign, competing for an abundance of House seats amid growing signs that voters are poised to punish President Joe Biden’s party even in the bluest parts of America.

    Republicans need to win only a handful of seats to take over the House of Representatives, which Democrats now control by a narrow margin of 220-212. But with two weeks until the election, Republicans are looking to run up the score and win a more expansive — and governable —majority by vying for districts in Democratic bastions….

    Simply making incursions so deep into Democratic terrain is a victory for Republicans. Win or lose, they have diverted limited Democratic resources. But Republicans need just five seats net to flip the chamber, and with the current daunting map, some Democratic strategists worry the party could lose far more: 20 or even 30 seats.”

    https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/nation-politics/democrats-on-defense-in-blue-states-brace-for-a-red-wave-in-the-house/

    And polling across the country is suggestive that the Republicans could also get a majority in the Senate!
    Is Comatose Joe going to become a “lamed duck”, and Nancy Pelosi neutered ?

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  13. In todays Seattle Times!

    “WASHINGTON — The Congressional Progressive Caucus has withdrawn a letter, signed by 30 House liberals and sent to the White House Monday, that urged President Biden to negotiate directly with Russia to bring an end to the war in Ukraine.

    The withdrawal comes a day after the letter, led by Congressional Progressive Caucus chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., triggered fierce pushback from many Democrats, as well as from Ukrainian officials, who argued it was unrealistic to negotiate with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    They also worried the letter could create more pressure on Biden as he tries to sustain domestic support for the war effort, at a time when the region is heading into a potentially difficult winter and Republicans are threatening to cut aid to Ukraine if they retake Congress.”

    Gutless wonders!

    Like

  14. … would be very sorry (surely like many others) to see your writings go to “subscription-only”
    … donate to quite-a-few… subscribe to hardly any

    Like

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