Monday 20th of March 2023

voting for war — only.....

In 2021 Democratic Party progressives asked those members of Congress who claimed to share their political priorities to stand up to their leadership, which meant standing up for the people. 

Those progressives knew that President Joe Biden promised to veto any legislation providing free, universal healthcare, known as Medicare for All. But they did what any political activist should do. They made the demand anyway. 


By Margaret Kimberly
Black Agenda Report


The call to #ForcetheVote was a request for House members to withhold their votes for Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the House unless she committed herself to bringing Medicare for All to a vote.

The House members who called themselves progressives did nothing of the sort. They elected Nancy Pelosi without demanding that she bring Medicare for All or any other issue for a vote. The Squad and the Progressive Caucus both failed to do what their supporters wanted.

In 2023 a different dynamic took place. Republicans won control of the House in the 2022 midterm elections. Some of their members, such as Lauren Boebert and Matt Gaetz, are considered lesser lights and are routinely dismissed by Democratic pundits and propagandists as being dumb, crazy or a host of other epithets.

Whatever one can say about them, they did something that Squad members did not. They withheld their votes from Kevin McCarthy, who needed 15 ballots to become speaker of the House, a record in congressional history. The process was messy, the word “chaos” was used a lot and social media memes making fun of McCarthy and the Republicans proliferated.

There was a lot of finger-pointing and snobbery about the Republicans, but there was far too little analysis. Delving into the story in a truthful way would have meant dredging up the progressive Democrats’ shameful behavior two years ago and exposing them to the level of critique that Boebert and Gaetz received.

Not only did Democratic progressives run for cover when their leadership dropped the hammer, but they lied in order to hide their cowardice. 

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others claimed that they would lose the speakership to Republicans unless they all stayed on board. “We are just an extremely slim amount of votes away from risking the speakership to the Republican Party. It’s bigger than any one of us.”

This statement was a bald-faced lie meant to keep liberals in line. Republicans didn’t lose the speakership to the Democrats despite taking 15 rounds of voting to select McCarthy. The overly hyped congresswoman known as AOC was doing the leadership’s bidding and protecting herself from criticism.

Actually, she may not have needed to lie. Many Democrats behave like cult members, mesmerized and hypnotized by con artists, living in fear of making any demands on any issue. They easily give in and have been indoctrinated into thinking they can never make political change.

Now Joe Biden is sitting in the political catbird seat. He can wheel and deal and triangulate to his heart’s content, which is what Democratic presidents actually prefer. They don’t want to provide Medicare for All or student loan debt relief, or a minimum wage increase. Biden can now feign powerlessness; the propagandists will join him in declaring that his hands are tied because Republicans control the House.

Republicans like Boebert will be scrutinized and caricatured so that Democrats can make fun and/or scare their people into shutting up. But it is actually more important to watch AOC and her cohort. Boebert and company are just the bogeywomen and men of the moment who provide a convenient cover for liberals the next time they are ready to perform another stab in the back. Phony progressives are a far worse enemy.

In the final analysis, the Republicans’ deal making was democracy in action. Elected representatives debated and challenged one another. Most importantly, party leadership faced a challenge they couldn’t avoid. 

This country would be far better off if the people who claimed to be progressive had acted likewise in 2021 instead of taking a dive when they should have been willing to confront.

Oddly enough, one of the demands that McCarthy met was a proposal to cut the federal budget to FY2022 levels. Such a cut would mean a $75 billion cut to military spending . Of course, Republicans don’t really want to do that. The military industrial complex survives with bipartisan support. But inadvertently the Republican renegades revealed how much their Democratic Party colleagues have increased defense spending.

This year on Jan. 16, Democrats and Republicans alike will fan out across the country and claim to pay homage to the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. King broke with President Lyndon Johnson when he denounced the Vietnam war, and was roundly criticized for doing so. 

The progressives of today possess none of his courage and go along with their party’s oligarchy when ordered to do so. The right wingers on the other side of the aisle seem to have far more conviction.

Margaret Kimberley is the author of Prejudential: Black America and the Presidents. You can support her work on Patreon  and find it on Twitter and Telegram. She can be reached via

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.






at least war isn't mentioned.......


BY Dr. Alan R. Shark


It’s that time of the year when many of dust off our digital crystal balls and develop one’s predictions for the year ahead. Having spent a good deal of time scanning the collective wisdom of others, I offer my annual take on what trends will be most prevalent in cities and counties across the nation. We begin the new year with continued worries about inflation, fear of a recession and political insecurity. Public managers and tech leaders are beginning to hunker down for a year of uncertainty and insecurity. Not all will be gloomy in 2023 as we will see tech once again shine in both applications, services and leadership.

  1. Cyber insecurity remains the No. 1 concern for years to come. PTI’s 2022 Local Government Cybersecurity National Survey has had cybersecurity at the top of the list for more than 10 years straight. The reason for cyber insecurity is year-to-year dramatic increase in cyber crimes coupled with a lack of qualified and trained staff, and all too often—inadequate budget resources. Congress passed an historic four-year $1 billion Federal Cyber Grant Program in late 2021 as part of the bipartisan Infrastructure Bill. The program calls for 80 percent to go to local governments and of that, 25 percent is to go to rural localities. But now that we have all studied the rules—no one expects much to happen in 2023. Why? Because the requirements are extremely cumbersome and demonstrate a complete lack of understanding of the needs of local governments and how they operate. This means local governments will have to continue on their own and not count on federal support, at least for now.
  2. Cyber insurance is becoming more difficult to apply for and afford. Insurance applications have become far lengthier and more difficult to fill out, and many local governments lack the expertise to complete them let alone afford the insurance. Premiums have more than doubled in the last year and coverage has actually decreased. This will cause some local governments to be outpriced, leaving them to fend for themselves and if they are fortunate put money aside for self-insurance.
  3. Tech staffing insecurity continues to get worse in 2023 unless elected leaders and public managers get serious about changing employment rules that go back a hundred years. Every tech manager I have spoken with laments how difficult it is to attract new staff, let alone keep their most qualified. Those who leave government are realizing salary increases between 35 percent and 50 percent on average. To make matters worse, a growing number of local governments are now insisting that workers return to their physical offices at least three days a week, while some insist on the full five. Tech staffing insecurity leads to greater cyber insecurity too. The problem of burn-out among the existing staff will become unstainable unless staff innovation takes hold. This translates into more competitive benefits, workplace flexibility, and the ability to work from home and other out-of-state locations.
  4. Managed Service Provider (MSP) insecurity is quickly becoming a serious dilemma for local government forced to turn to MSPs to augment stretched thinned staff. Supply chain attacks are on the rise and local governments are facing a crisis of trust; after all, they have turned to MSPs for expertise they cannot provide alone. Many local government managers are asking if not demanding MSPs provide better cyber protection and they want such assurances in writing. And there is no standard for which MSPs must abide by way of best practices. The bright spot here is the emergence of StateRamp and CompTIA’s Trustmark Plus programs that aim to certify cyber readiness that map security to CIS standards.
  5. Zero trust, I.D. management insecurity continues to become essential in order to trust in our nation’s digital infrastructure systems. Many need to be reminded that the internet was first conceived as a near complete trusted environment among known participants. Two-factor authentication (2FA) coupled with I.D. management, and enhanced access rights governance will make systems far more secure. Local governments will continue to move toward greater zero-trust architecture.
  6. Customer-facing technologies, which became essential during the pandemic, will continue to proliferate and improve. While the pandemic is somewhat winding down (the full extent remains to be seen) residents have come to appreciate online services as they do in the private sector. In the longer run, online automated systems save time and money for both citizens as well as government workers. As more systems move toward cloud-based services, the trend towards offering more online services will continue to grow for the foreseeable future. Governments at levels will be pushing out new apps in the ever-growing mobile environment where government can be reached 24/7 from anywhere.
  7. Augmented artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics are becoming more human-friendly and have become great tools in areas such as customer service. Chatbots have proven to be an effective means of supplementing staff in answering routine question either through text or voice. Offices are installing robotic receptionists and HR systems are providing interactive voice systems for their benefits policies. AI is being deployed in public safety, transportation, public works and data analysis to name just a few. Repetitive Process Automation (RPA) is finding new applications that enable public managers to achieve greater productivity and making it possible to deploy staff to perform jobs that are less monotonous and instead place them in more challenging positions.
  8. Blockchain for trust might be viewed as more aspirational than a new year trend, yet blockchain technologies are taking hold albeit slowly, where blockchain continues to be promoted as a means of providing near alter-proof records and providing greater trust from the public. Some have argued that blockchain technologies might be a great way to track and record election data that may help satisfy a distrustful public.
  9. Broadband access continues to grow. Last year Consumer Reports produced the “Survey on Broadband Affordability, Accessibility, and Quality of Service in the United States,” showing three-quarters of U.S. residents now view home internet as a basic necessity with a similar share of respondents voicing support for public networks built out by local governments. Three out of four Americans feel that municipal/community broadband should be allowed because it would ensure that broadband access is treated like other vital infrastructure such as highways, bridges, water systems and electrical grids, with equal access for all Americans to have equal access to it. Accelerated by the pandemic broadband insecurity has been met with the federal government stepping in and funding meaningful broadband protects throughout the nation. While the ambitious federal funding continues, much more needs to be done. The current build-out is certainly moving in the right direction, but required completion dates will need to be extended.
  10. Data analytics will explode. Smart cities and counties depend on reliable data from which to operate systems, provide the narrative for smart planning and improved data-based decision making. The tech community will continue to rally behind data innovation and new forms of data curation. Data innovation focuses on how we can do things both differently and better. Smart public managers will insist on better data from all sources, and better data from which to make decisions goes a long way in addressing insecurity.


Dr. Alan R. Shark is the vice president public sector engagement and executive director of the CompTIA Public Technology Institute (PTI) in Washington, D.C., since 2004. He is a fellow of the National Academy for Public Administration and co-chair of the Standing Panel on Technology Leadership, and associate professor for the Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University. He is also the host of the popular bi-monthly podcast, Comptia Sharkbytes. Dr. Shark’s thought leadership activities include keynote speaking, blogging and as the author or co-author of more than 12 books, including the nationally recognized textbook Technology and Public Management(now in its second edition), and CIO Leadership for Cities and Counties.












dreaming of social security.....

Before the election, right-wing leadership in both the House and Senate declared their intentions to hold the debt ceiling hostage to demand cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefits. 

This would be a disaster. Failure to increase the debt ceiling would wreck the global economy, producing a recession or even depression, and would weaken America’s standing in the world. 

Failure to increase the debt ceiling would not do anything to limit future spending, it would simply force the United States Treasury to default on its existing bonds.

Why is the new right-wing House majority making this threat? Because they have spent nearly a century resenting that Social Security works. It is a model of a simple, universal, and overwhelmingly popular government program. Our Social Security system puts the lie to Wall Street's insistence that private corporations are more efficient than what we can do together.

Social Security and Medicare are overwhelmingly popular. So while Wall Street has wanted for decades to cut, privatize, or otherwise destroy them, they have never been able to overcome the significant popular backlash to those cuts. That’s why they’ve hidden behind fast-tracked commissions, committees, and processes like the one Mitt Romney proposed in his TRUST Act. They want to cut Social Security behind closed doors, without their fingerprints.

President Obama attempted to negotiate with Republicans in order to raise the debt ceiling in 2011. Those negotiations yielded an agreement that prolonged the Great Recession, led to the downgrading of the United States’s credit rating, and nearly resulted in cuts to Social Security and Medicare. America is a democracy―we should not allow government-by-hostage-crisis to become routine. 

President Biden must make it clear: Raising the debt ceiling is the basic minimum that we expect from Congress. There can be no negotiation over a necessity.

Tell President Biden: Demand a clean debt ceiling increase!













greasing the war machine......



Last [YEAR], the US House approved a more than $80 billion increase in military spending by a whopping 350 to 80 margin. The Senate is expected to consider the legislation — the fiscal year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) — this week.

Out of the $858 billion the bill authorizes for the Pentagon, private companies should expect a staggering $450 billion. After all, the lifeblood of the US arms industry is the annual military budget (though it also makes a killing off of foreign sales). The largest weapons firms are especially dependent on Pentagon largesse. In 2020, 74 percent of Lockheed Martin’s revenue came from congressionally approved funding. For Northrop Grumman, another industry giant, that number was 84 percent.

With so much money at stake, it’s little wonder that military contractors sent the House trucks full of cash before the NDAA went to the floor. The 430 members who cast votes on the bill received $14.5 million in campaign and PAC contributions from the arms industry from 2021 through October 2022, according to data from OpenSecrets.

Do these political contributions influence, or at least correspond to, vote outcomes? Top congressional recipients bluster that they aren’t swayed by the checks poking out of their pockets. But after comparing the average amount a House member received to how they voted on the NDAA, I found that lawmakers who supported the $80 billion military spending hike accepted seven times more cash from military contractors than members who opposed it.

This dynamic is readily apparent in both parties, but more glaring among Democrats: yes votes took 8.7 times more industry cash than opposing ones, while House Republicans who backed the funding boost picked up 5.5 times more than their caucus peers.

The overwhelming disparity between yes and no votes — 81 and 19 percent, respectively — doesn’t reflect the view of the public. If it did, the outcome would have gone the other way, or at least been much closer.

According to a recent survey, 36 percent of Americans think Congress should cut military spending and 46 percent say it should remain flat. So even though fewer than 20 percent of the public wants a bigger Pentagon budget, more than 80 percent of US representatives just supported swelling it by $80 billion. And while Democratic members strayed farther from the views of their base than Republicans, both were out of step with ordinary people.

The distortionary effect of the weapons industry goes far beyond one roll call vote. Arms industry contributions systematically fuel a hypermilitarized, destructive foreign policy. They help drive up Pentagon spending for arms races and endless wars and reward particularly hawkish lawmakersSurvey after survey shows that the public is ready for more sensible, pro-worker approaches to foreign policy. But arms industry cash — among other factors — ensures that Congress is not.








the USSR having been dismantled, now the american empire wants to destroy russia.....