These U.S. Senators were willing to allow the United States to Default on paying its debts

The Senate vote was 63 to 36 to pass the debt ceiling bill. It was a contrived no vote. Those no voters knew the law would pass and were able to display their anger without impacting the resulting debt ceiling hike. Those voting NO could say to their constituents that they stood up to the big spenders. Sadly spending is out of control and everyone knows that is a fact.

Here are the NO voters as reported by the Washington Post. Numbers 1 to 63 were the YES votes

Members of the Democratic Caucus

64. Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts

65. Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon

66. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts

67. Sen. John Fetterman of Pennsylvania

68. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont

Members of the Republican Conference

69. Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming

70. Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee

71. Sen. Mike Braun of Indiana

72. Sen. Katie Britt of Alabama

73. Sen. Ted Budd of North Carolina

74. Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana

75. Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas

76. Sen. Mike Crapo of Idaho

77. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas

78. Sen. Steve Daines of Montana

79. Sen. Deb Fischer of Nebraska

80. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina

81. Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri

82. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi

83. Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin

84. Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana

85. Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma

86. Sen. Mike Lee of Utah

87. Sen. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming

88. Sen. Roger Marshall of Kansas

89. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky

90. Sen. Pete Ricketts of Nebraska

91. Sen. Jame Risch of Idaho

92. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida

93. Sen. Eric Schmitt of Missouri

94. Sen. Rick Scott of Florida

95. Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina

96. Sen. Dan Sullivan of Alaska

97. Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama

98. Sen. JD Vance of Ohio

99. Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi

Not Voting

100. Republican Sen. Bill Hagerty of Tennessee

Compromise is what makes the U.S. system of Law Work

The U.S. House of Representatives passed President Biden and Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s debt limit bill. It proves that compromise is possible in what so many say can’t happen in the politically fractured American democracy. This could be the beginning of Democrats and Republicans coming together on other issues such as reducing gun violence and birth control. Of course both parties will have to ignore the fringes of their parties and look for more compromise.

I believe it can be done.

Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes sentenced to 18 years in prison for Jan. 6 Capitol attack

Justice is done!

Stewart Rhodes, founder of the right-wing militia group Oath Keepers, was sentenced to 18 years in prison and 3 years of supervised release Thursday after being convicted of seditious conspiracy in connection with the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol attack. It’s the first sentence passed down to a person found guilty of the rare, Civil War-era charge linked to the riot.

Sporting an orange jumpsuit and his signature eyepatch under wire frame glasses, Rhodes brazenly addressed the court before the sentence was handed down, calling himself a “political prisoner” with “preordained guilt from Day One.”

“However long I spend in prison, my goal will be to be an American Solzhenitsyn to expose the criminality of this regime,” Rhodes said, comparing himself to prominent Soviet dissident Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and referencing the Biden administration.

Judge Amit Mehta, who is overseeing the case, strongly rebuked Rhodes’ characterization of his conviction.

“We can have disagreement about who is the better leader…but what we cannot have — what we absolutely cannot have — is a group of citizens who because they did not like the outcome of the election…were then prepared to take up arms in order to foment a revolution,” Mehta said. “That’s what you did.

“You are not a political prisoner, Mr. Rhodes,” he added. “You are here for that conduct.”

This report from USA Today.

Warner Bros.: Part 2: The Quarrelsome Quartet

This article was written by Martin Cooper, President of Cooper Communications, supervised public relations for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences for 10 years. It was published in the Warner Center News in Woodland Hills, California.

Sadly, the four brothers who left Poland for America and went from being penniless immigrants to owning one of the largest and most successful motion picture studios in the world, ended their lives in disharmony.

Many fairy tales feature a good sibling and a bad one. In the fairy tale of the Warner brothers, it was no different, except their story features four brothers: Harry, Albert, Sam, and Jack.

Looking back on the 100 years of Warner Bros., one can’t help but marvel at the incredible legacy left behind by these four brothers. Founding their eponymous studio in 1923, they faced numerous challenges throughout their reign, including navigating the censorship era, managing talent relations, and embracing technological innovation.

Harry (1881-1958), the eldest and company president, took on the role of protector, ensuring the family business stayed on solid ground. Albert (1884-1967) was Warner Bros.’ treasurer and head of sales and distribution, steering the company through acquisitions and ensuring its survival during the Great Depression. Sam (1888-1927) was the technological genius, responsible for the introduction of sound to film, forever changing the way movies were made and consumed. Ironically, Sam died in 1927, the day before The Jazz Singer, which he had nurtured, premiered.

The youngest, Jack (1892-1978), was the charismatic showman, the driving force behind the studio’s creative endeavors, was instrumental in launching the careers of stars like James Cagney and Bette Davis, and is the villain in the Warner’s fairy tale.

Harry Warner’s granddaughter, Cass Warner Sperling, penned a quasi-tell-all book about her family, Hollywood Be Thy Name. One chapter begins: “‘I’ll get you for this, you son-ofa-bitch!’ Harry Warner, raising a three-foot lead pipe
threateningly over his head, chased his younger brother down the streets of the Warners studio lot.”

In the same book, producer and screenwriter Milton Sperling recalls, “Boy did Harry and Jack fight. I spent most of my
time on the Warner lot carrying truce flags back and forth between them, just to keep them from tearing the studio apart.”

Jack was a tough and ruthless businessman. He was notorious for his abrasive and domineering personality, and was known to be difficult to work with. He was also accused of mistreating his employees and engaging in unethical business practices, such as double-dealing and price-fixing.

Additionally, he was often at odds with other Hollywood executives, and was involved in several high-profile legal disputes and controversies. All of these factors contributed to his reputation as a disliked and controversial figure in the film industry.

And the fact that he “named names” during the House Un-American Activities Committee hearings that resulted in the Blacklist, gained him no fans in Hollywood.

But the ultimate perfidy was how Jack Warner became president of the studio.

More than in most industries, motion picture studios’ balance sheets vary widely year to year. Warner Bros. was no different; by 1956, the studio was losing money, declining from a net profit of between $2.9 million and $4 million each of the previous three years.

In May 1956, the brothers announced they were putting Warner Bros. up for sale. Jack secretly organized a syndicate, headed by Boston banker Serge Semenenko, which purchased 90 percent of the stock. After the studio was sold, Jack, without informing his brothers, joined Semenenko’s syndicate and bought back all his stock. Shortly after the deal was consummated, Jack, now the company’s largest single stockholder, appointed himself its new president.

According to Lou Lumenick, film critic for the New York Post: “Harry suffered a debilitating stroke shortly
afterward, and a furious Albert never spoke to his younger brother again.”

“Jack Warner Jr. reports that when his jovial father visited Harry for the last time at his 50th wedding anniversary party, the ailing old man simply shut his tear-filled eyes to avoid his betrayer.”

“Jack Sr. did not even return to Hollywood for his eldest brother’s funeral, remaining on the French Riviera.”

The family rupture never healed.

Lawsuits and contentious relationships between Jack Warner and his stars were also not uncommon. In 1935, James Cagney sued him for breach of contract; in 1943, Olivia de Havilland brought suit against him for the same thing. In 1948, Bette Davis, Warners’ leading actress, angry with Jack, left the studio, along with others, after completing Beyond the Forest.

Humphrey Bogart and Davis were constantly being put on paid suspension for refusing to appear in what they considered to be low quality movies that the studio wanted to legitimize with their star power.

Sadly, the four brothers who left Poland for America and went from being penniless immigrants to owning one of
the largest and most successful motion picture studios in the world, ended their lives in disharmony. One died the day before his biggest triumph while two others become embittered over betrayal by their youngest sibling.

In the Warner Bros. fairy tale, few remember Harry, Albert and Sam; the black knight emerged triumphant.

Well Known People Banned in Russia

Former United States President Barack Obama, late night television host Stephen Colbert, and CNN’s Erin Burnett are some of the “500 Americans” Russia has banned from entering the country.

The list includes Obama, former US Ambassador Jon Huntsman, several US senators and the next expected chairman of the joint chiefs Charles Q. Brown Jr.

The rambling list of names also includes American late night TV hosts Jimmy Kimmel, Colbert, and Seth Meyers.

If was one of them I would wear their banning as a badge of freedom of thought.

I view them all as heroes.

Old but Able

President Biden left for Japan on Wednesday for a meeting of the leaders of seven major industrial democracies who get together each year to try to keep the world economy stable. He decided to shorten his Far East trip and not visit other countries but return to the United States to confront the debt ceiling issue.

That is a lot of travel and a lot of issues for a man that many say has lost his ability to handle multiple problems. Is Biden slowing down and unable to deal with the variety of challenges he must confront?

Biden’s occasional incorrect words is something that everyone experiences. The man has a “full plate” of issues every day. Regardless of your age, how many of you reading this posting could handle the 24-hour job of president of the United States? My guess is few of you could meet the challenge.

Of course you could vote for a non-stop liar in November 2024. You know who I am writing about. The man who as recently as last week held a rally on CNN claiming that the election was rigged and a woman he sexually molested is “a whack job.”

Biden walks slowly. Is that your problem?

Donald Trump Town Hall

This event was a disaster for CNN and Donald Trump!

Trump’s defiance at the CNN town hall may scare off many voters — but not the GOP base. They love him!

Donald Trump agrees to a town hall meeting hosted by CNN. That is the network that Trump called the fake news channel. The switch to friendship between Trump and CNN shook many CNN viewers who have now say they won’t be watching any more. Initially I too said that I would not watch CNN as they have abandoned truth for viewership. I changed my mind before the town hall broadcast.

Before the town hall began, CNN faced heavy criticism for lending Trump its platform, with many critics suggesting that the network was prioritizing ratings above its commitment to the truth. The reason for viewing Trump was to learn if he had decided to start accepting reality. I was wrong. From the very beginning he repeated his claims that the 2020 election was rigged. Then went on to call the Carroll lawsuit a “witch hunt.”

While the audience at the town hall was all Trump fans the broadcast showed the world that Trump has not changed. His willingness to pardon and free those convicted of seditious conspiracy related to the January 6 attack on the Capitol tells all Americans what an elected Trump would be doing in a second term in office.

I’m glad I watched.

This report from POLITICO Playbook is worth the read.

CNN’s New Hampshire town hall with DONALD TRUMP last night may have done more to boost his chances of winning the GOP presidential nomination than anything that’s happened since the 2020 election.

Over and over again, a self-assured Trump lied and rewrote history. He claimed to have finished the border wall. (He didn’t.) He asserted that he’d been “exonerated” from accusations that he attempted to strong-arm Ukraine into digging up dirt on Biden. (He wasn’t.) He refused to apologize to MIKE PENCE for putting him in harm’s way on Jan. 6 and insisted that his ex-VP had the power to overturn the election. (He didn’t.) He called MICHAEL BYRD — the Black Capitol Police lieutenant who fatally shot ASHLI BABBITT while protecting lawmakers during the storming of the Capitol — a “thug.” (He isn’t.) He called Jan. 6 “a beautiful day.” (It wasn’t.) He defended his infamous “grab ’em by the pussy” comments. (Really?)

And the live studio audience — which seemed vocally pro-Trump, as if imported from Mar-a-Lago — ate it up. They cheered when he denied moderator KAITLAN COLLINS’ factual assertion that he took three hours to tell the Jan. 6 rioters to go home. They applauded when he called E. JEAN CARROLL — who one day earlier was awarded $5 million in damages from Trump for his sexual abuse and defamation of her — a “whack job.” They laughed when he called Collins “nasty” and questioned whether she understood what she was talking about.

To her credit, Collins tried to fact-check Trump in real time. She noted over and over again that the 2020 election was not “rigged,” and that judges — some of them appointed by Trump — had in fact tossed about 60 court cases alleging fraud. She balked when Trump claimed that under the Presidential Records Act, he had the right to take classified documents to his Florida resort. (He doesn’t.) She pushed back when he claimed that he never asked Georgia election officials to “find” him the exact number of votes needed to defeat Biden in Georgia. (He did, and it’s on tape.) She rejected his attempts to blame NANCY PELOSI for his supporters rioting at the U.S. Capitol. (She doesn’t control the National Guard.)

But the furious pace of his falsehoods made them impossible to counter in real time. Trump just filibustered. And many of Collins’ fans came away feeling like CNN had put her — a rising star and widely respected journalist — in a no-win situation.

The night underscored how CNN has changed under the management of CHRIS LICHT. Not that long ago, CNN star anchor JAKE TAPPER refused to have GOP lawmakers who declined to certify the 2020 election on his show. Now, the network appears to have done a 180.

INSTANT REGRETS: Before the town hall began, CNN faced heavy criticism for lending Trump its platform, with many critics suggesting that the network was prioritizing ratings above its commitment to the truth. Not everyone saw it that way, of course: JON RALSTON, the CEO of the Nevada Independent, posed a Twitter thread earlier in the day defending CNN’s decision, noting that Trump is the GOP frontrunner and needs to be questioned.

Minutes into the event, Ralston reversed course. “It’s a farce,” he wrote. “I am so sad.”

By the end of the night, the reviews were abysmal. The words “disaster” and “disgrace” were plastered all over Twitter. On MSNBC, host ALEX WAGNER called the spectacle an “hour of misinformation, lies and disinformation.” MATT FULLER, Washington bureau chief of the Daily Beast, railed against the forum as “journalism malpractice,” evidence that the media has “absolutely learned nothing.”

“Does CNN count that as an in-kind campaign donation?” asked DAN RATHER.

Even network talent and talking heads participating on CNN panels following the event seemed shell-shocked. And sources inside the network confided their deep regrets.

“It was a complete disaster,” one CNN employee told Playbook, arguing that the format — specifically, stacking the audience with Trump supporters who cheered his lies — was a “strategic error.”

“It made it seem like CNN was endorsing that behavior,” the employee said. “Incredibly disappointing.”

CNN did not respond to requests for comment about whether they regretted giving Trump a platform — nor did they answer questions about whether Trump or his team had a say in selecting audience participants.

In a statement, network spokesperson MATT DORNIC defended Collins as a “world-class journalist” who was able “to arm voters with crucial information about his positions as he enters the 2024 election as the Republican frontrunner. That is CNN’s role and responsibility: to get answers and hold the powerful to account.”

Debt Ceiling Shenanigans

This is called Playing Chicken with the debt ceiling. If the ceiling isn’t raised, according to Treasury Secretary and person-who-has-had-just-about-enough-of-these-stupid-shenanigans Janet Yellen, America will default on its debts somewhere around June 1. If that happens, all economic hell will break loose, likely plunging the United States into a recession and potentially bringing the global economy down with it.

Republicans in Congress raised the debt ceiling three times under President Donald Trump without issue, even as Trump was adding nearly $7.8 trillion to the national debt. The U.S. debt increased $9 trillion during the eight years Obama was in office. 

The ceiling cap is all about trying to alert that the Congress has voted to spend money it does not have. The Committee on Ways and Means has the responsibility for raising the revenue required to finance the Federal Government. This includes individual and corporate income taxes, excise taxes, estate taxes, gift taxes, and other miscellaneous taxes. Clearly the Committee has not done its job.

Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is trying to win points with the extremists in the G.O.P. by threatening to not raise the limit. Everyone agrees the government should not spend money it does not have. The savings the G.O.P. want to make are all on the backs of the poorest Americans.

At the end of the day Biden and McCarthy will reach a compromise. The consequence of no compromise will be devastating for the United States and the rest of the world.