Saturday, January 1, 2022


2022 has officially arrived in the United States.  jk  We present a year-end curation of notations as we look forward to the privilege to serve. 

Happy New Year 2022

Biden's 2022 To-Do List - If He Wants to Avoid a Red Wave

Adriana Cohen, NY Post

President Biden’s Christmas wish list might include a stronger economy, shrinking inflation and a disappearing virus.Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

Given that this is the last On Politics newsletter before Christmas, and of 2021 for that matter, it seems like a good time to take stock and reflect on what a wish list might be for the nation’s leaders.

Today, Democrats control both the White House and Congress. But the party’s hold on power is so slim — the 50-50 split in the Senate means that Vice President Kamala Harris must break tied votes — that the entire Biden agenda is dependent on every single Democrat’s falling into line. And they aren’t all doing so.

History bodes poorly for the party of the president in a first midterm election, and many Democrats are bracing for a rout in 2022. Here is what we think the nation’s leaders are looking for in the New Year:

President Biden: He won the Democratic nomination after making two early bets in the primary that paid off big: that he would be seen as the most electable Democrat and that Black voters would be a loyal base. Both bets paid off. Similarly, Biden made an early two-pronged bet about the midterms: that a surging economy and a waning threat from the coronavirus would deliver victory to the Democrats.

Right now, neither is happening.

The omicron variant is bringing rising caseloads and fresh fears despite the widespread availability of vaccines. Meanwhile, monthly economic reports tell the story of the fastest inflation in decades, the kind of in-your-face figures that can swamp other positive economic indicators like the unemployment rate.

Wish list: a stronger economy, shrinking inflation and a disappearing virus.

Mitch McConnell: The Senate Republican leader has an excellent shot at returning to the majority in 2023 — after only two years in the minority. But while the overall political landscape appears rosy for the Republicans, McConnell’s party must navigate a series of primary races next spring and summer that he and his allies worry could result in extreme and unelectable 


Year-end accounts of the U.S. economy are very strong indeed. According to Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal—which are certainly not giddy media outlets—U.S. economic output has jumped more than 7% in the last three months of 2021. Overall growth for 2021 should be about 6%, and economists predict growth of around 4% in 2022—the highest numbers the U.S. has seen in decades. China’s growth in the same period will be 4%, and the eurozone (which is made up of the member countries of the European Union that use the euro) will grow at 2%.

The U.S. is “outperforming the world by the biggest margin in the 21st century,” wrote Matthew A. Winkler in Bloomberg, “and with good reason: America’s economy improved more in Joe Biden’s first 12 months than any president during the past 50 years….”

In February, Biden’s first month in office, the jobless rate was 6.2%; today it has dropped to 4.2%. This means the Biden administration has created 4.1 million jobs, more than were created in the 12 years of the Trump and George W. Bush administrations combined. Wages in America are growing at about 4% a year, compared with less than 1% a year in the eurozone, as worker shortages and strikes at places like Deere & Co. (which makes John Deere products) and Kellogg’s are pushing wages up and as states increase minimum wages.

The American Rescue Plan, passed by Democrats in March without a single Republican vote, cut child poverty in half by putting $66 billion into 36 million households. More than 4.6 million Americans who were not previously insured have gotten healthcare coverage through the Affordable Care Act, bringing the total covered to a record 13.6 million. When Biden took office, about 46% of schools were open; currently the rate is 99%. In November, Congress passed a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that will repair bridges and roads and get broadband to places that still don’t have it.

Support for consumers has bolstered U.S. companies, which are showing profit margins higher than they have been since 1950, at 15%. Companies have reduced their debt, which has translated to a strong stock market.

The American economy is the strongest it’s been in decades, with the U.S. leading the world in economic growth…so why on earth do 54% of Americans disapprove of Biden’s handling of the economy (according to a CNN/SSRS poll released yesterday)?

That disapproval comes partly from inflation, which in November was at 6.8%, the highest in 39 years, but inflation is high around the world as we adjust to post-pandemic reopening. Gas prices, which created an outcry a few weeks ago, have come down significantly. Patrick De Haan, an oil and refined products analyst at GasBuddy, an app to find cheap gas prices, tweeted today that average gas prices have fallen under $3 a gallon in 12 states and that in 36 U.S. cities, prices have fallen by more than $0.25 a gallon in the past 30 days. Falling prices reflect skyrocketing gasoline inventories.

Respondents also said they were upset by disruptions in the supply chain. But in fact, the much-hyped fear that supply chain crunches would keep packages from being delivered on time for the holidays has proved to be misguided: 99% of packages are arriving on time. This is a significant improvement over 2020, and even over 2019. It reflects that companies have built more warehouse space and expanded delivery hours, that people have shopped early this year, and that buyers are venturing back into stores rather than relying on online shopping.

What it does not reflect is a weakened retail market. Major ports in the U.S. will process almost one-fifth more containers in terms of volume than they did in 2019. Container traffic at European ports has stayed flat or declined. Consumer goods are flying off the shelves at a rate about 45% higher than they did in 2018: it looks like Americans will spend about 11.5% more in this holiday season than they did in 2020. Indeed, according to Tom Fairless in the Wall Street Journal, American consumer demand was the key factor in the global supply chain bottlenecks in the first place.

And yet 63% of the poll’s respondents to the CNN/SSRS poll said that the nation's economy is in poor shape. And here’s why: 57% of them say that the economic news they've heard lately has been mostly bad. Only 19% say they are hearing mostly good news about the economy.

How people think about the country depends on the stories they hear about it.

Those maintaining the Big Lie that Trump won the 2020 election know that principle very well.

Yesterday, former national security advisor Michael Flynn filed a request for a restraining order against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and a temporary injunction against a subpoena from the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Today, U.S. District Judge Mary Scriven of Tampa denied Flynn’s request, noting that his lawyers had not followed correct procedure. On Twitter today, legal analyst Teri Kanefield pointed out that, like so many others launched by Trump loyalists, Flynn’s lawsuit was not an actual legal argument but part of the false narrative that Trump and his loyalists are being persecuted by Democrats, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who stole the election.

That was the strategy behind the sixty or more lawsuits over the election—Trump won only a single minor one—and behind the continuing demands of Trump loyalists to relitigate the 2020 election. They have produced no evidence of the rampant fraud they allege, but the constant demand that election officials defend the results sows increasing distrust of our democratic system.

Douglas Frank, an associate of Trump loyalist and MyPillow founder Mike Lindell, has pressed claims across the country and told the staff of Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, a Republican, that he was launching lawsuits across the country and that LaRose’s office had better cooperate.

“I’m warning you that I’ve been going around the country. We’re starting lawsuits everywhere,” Frank said, according to a recording reported on by the Washington Post’s Amy Gardner, Emma Brown, and Josh Dawsey. “And I want you guys to be allies, not opponents. I want to be on your team, and I’m warning you.” Frank has called for “firing squads” for anyone found guilty of “treason,” by turning “a blind eye to the massive election fraud that took place in 2020.”

And yet, we continue to learn about the reality of the effort to overturn the election. Today the January 6 committee asked Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH) to provide information about his conversations with Trump on January 6—a topic that has made Jordan noticeably uncomfortable whenever it comes up—as well as any other discussions the two men had about overturning the election results, and whether Trump talked about offering pardons to those involved in the insurrection. In October, Jordan said he would be happy to talk to the committee.

Also today, Proud Boy Matthew Greene pleaded guilty to conspiring with others to obstruct law enforcement on January 6 and has agreed to cooperate with law enforcement. His guilty plea and testimony that he helped to program handheld radios for the Proud Boys on January 5 establishes that there was a shared plan and preparation to attack the Capitol.

There are signs that some Republicans might want to get out from under whatever might be coming. Representative Tom Rice (R-SC) today said he regrets voting against counting the electoral votes of two states that voted for Biden, although he continued to say there were problems with the election. “In retrospect I should have voted to certify,” Rice told Olivia Beavers of Politico. “Because President Trump was responsible for the attack on the Capitol.”

And in a new interview, quite casually, when talking about his border wall rather than about the election itself, Trump himself undercut the Big Lie altogether: “We built almost five hundred miles of wall,” he said, “and had we won the election it would…be completed by now.”


However you square it, younger voters were key to the electoral coalition that brought Joe Biden to power in the 2020 presidential election.

According to a Pew Research study published in June, those under thirty broke for Biden by some twenty-four points (59 percent to only 35 percent for Donald Trump) while voters in the same age group who had not cast a ballot in the two preceding elections broke for him 59/33. It’s no exaggeration to say that without the overwhelming support of many millennials and Gen-Zers, Joe Biden probably could not have been elected president.

It’s particularly striking, then, to see Biden’s support among voters from both generations in total free fall less than a year after his swearing in.

Just how badly have Biden and his administration fallen out of favor with the young? While Biden’s approval ratings are down across all age groups from last January, recent findings by Economist data journalist G. Elliott Morris find that the president’s scores with those under thirty and ages thirty to forty-four have dropped in staggering fashion...
Read more

Here's the latest...

Mass culture is becoming a museum dedicated to itself, its artifacts curated by an ever-narrowing family of conglomerates. Nowhere is that clearer than in the decline of The Simpsonswhose groundbreaking satire was killed by monopoly capitalism.

At the center of the “dark academia” aesthetic is the fantasy of uninterrupted personal time and deep scholarly concentration in an elite campus setting. It couldn’t differ more from the reality of the hyper-capitalist modern university.

New York City’s incoming mayor, Eric Adams, was dealt an early defeat last week when his hand-picked candidate for council speaker was rejected in favor of Adrienne Adams. It's a sign that Adams will not have a rubber-stamp council at his disposal.
Image article 1

Image article 2

Image article 3

Image article 4

Image article 5

Image article 6

Image article 7

Image article 8

Image article 9

Image article 10
Image article 1

Image article 2

Image article 3

Image article 4

Image article 5

Image article 6

Image article 7

Image article 8

Image article 9

Image article 10

Image article 11

Image article 12

No comments:

Post a Comment