The Woke Reporter

The Mounting Damage of Flawed Elections and Armed Conflict

Freedom of the World 2024

Global freedom declined for the 18th consecutive year in 2023. The scope and scale of deterioration were extensive, affecting one-fifth of the world’s population. Everywhere, the downturn in rights was driven by attacks on pluralism—the peaceful coexistence of people with different political ideas, religions, or ethnic identities—that harmed elections and sowed violence. These intensifying assaults on a core feature of democracy reinforce the urgent need to support the groups and individuals, including human rights defenders and journalists, who are on the front lines of the struggle for freedom worldwide.

Choosing democracy in 2024

The rejection of pluralism by authoritarian leaders and armed groups during 2023 produced repression, violence, and a steep decline in overall freedom. This year, voters around the world will be asked to embrace democracy despite the countervailing forces of division and exclusion. The results of these elections will shape the international environment for years to come.

SOUTH AFRICA

Citizens of South Africa, once a beacon of democratic hope, will go to the polls this summer. The African National Congress (ANC) has governed without interruption since 1994 but now faces serious challenges, including rising violent crime, xenophobia, high youth unemployment, and insufficient accountability for corruption. Thirty years after antiapartheid leader Nelson Mandela came to power, 70 percent of South Africans are dissatisfied with the way that democracy is working, according to the survey group Afrobarometer.

INDIA

India’s elections will take place within a media landscape characterized by increasing legal attacks on critical journalists and outlets, the spread of internet troll farms, and the use of sophisticated spyware against reporters, civic activists, and opposition politicians. During the campaign, potential voters may receive bigoted information from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party through social media, which could further inflame already destructive ethnic and religious hatreds.

UNITED STATES

In the United States, harassment and intimidation of federal, state, and local politicians, election administrators, and judges pose a serious challenge to the conduct of November’s presidential election. Threats of violence can have far-reaching, harmful effects, potentially undermining compliance with election rules or deterring participation entirely. Actual violence related to political disputes can and has cost people their lives. Still haunted by the January 2021 attack on the Capitol and related court cases, Americans are heading into a decisive election starkly divided, with some questioning the very utility of fundamental democratic institutions.

The conduct of national elections in South Africa, India, and the United States, three of the most influential democracies in the world, will have ripple effects across the globe, with implications for international trade, interstate relations, and movements for freedom in authoritarian settings. But other electoral contests will also have important consequences.

EUROPEAN UNION

In June, elections for the European Parliament will be held in 27 member states, and the new legislators will elect the president of the European Commission. The current president, Ursula von der Leyen, has been an important supporter of Ukraine’s efforts to repel Moscow’s full-scale invasion.

 

The United Kingdom is likely to hold its first general elections since the completion of Brexit, its departure from the European Union in 2020. Both the EU and the UK continue to grapple with the issue of migration and have increasingly sought deals with authoritarian leaders that are meant to prevent the irregular entry of migrants and asylum seekers.

Two autocrats at the center of such deals, Tunisian president Kaïs Saied and Rwandan president Paul Kagame, will themselves seek new terms in deeply flawed contests set to take place in 2024.

All this voting will proceed in a global context that has become increasingly hostile to the sort of respect for different political, religious, and ethnic identities that sustain a democratic society. Over the past decade or more, many democracies have shirked their responsibility as stewards of the international system, failing to condemn coups, work for the peaceful resolution of destabilizing conflicts, and prevent abject repression in places like Afghanistan, China, Iran, and Russia from growing ever worse. In some countries, elections have elevated illiberal leaders who dismantle democratic institutions from within. Amid isolationist and discriminatory rhetoric, democratic governments and citizens may be tempted to wall themselves off from these challenges.

But free people and free nations are stronger together, and easier prey for authoritarians on their own. It is only by upholding inclusive principles at home, supporting those on the front lines of the struggle abroad, and building robust international partnerships based on shared values that democracies can reverse the global decline in freedom.

Flawed elections and armed conflict contributed to the 18th year of democratic decline according to the Freedom House organization. But by drawing strength from diversity, protecting dissent, and building international coalitions to support their own norms and values, democratic forces can still reverse the long decline in global freedom.

 

Sources: reprinted from Freedom House freedomhouse.org

 

Kroger and Albertsons merger will destroy competition.

The four biggest grocery store chains in San Diego may soon be under one controlling company by the end of 2024. San Diego County, with a population of around 3.5 million residents currently has four major grocery stores. Ralph’s and Food for Less are owned by Kroger. Von’s and Albertsons owned by Albertson would be acquired by Cincinnati-based Kroger.

Continue reading “Kroger and Albertsons merger will destroy competition.”

WHO AM I

I am a 66-year-old gay man. I have always been gay, and although I was married for a few years when I was much younger, I was aware that I was a gay man. I knew that I was gay as far back as I can remember. I didn't know what it was or meant, but I knew that I was different from other boys, and I knew without a doubt, even before I was seven years old that I had better not talk about it. So, I became a very quiet person for fear of someone finding out.

I didn't ask to be gay; I didn't choose to be gay.

I am not gay because:
     I hate God.
     I wanted to rebel.
     I was molested into it.
     I saw something on TV or read a book.
     Saw a rainbow flag or watch a pride parade.
     My father was weak or absent.
     I was sexually confused, not masculine, or knowing gay people.

I have never molested a child and would cheerfully use a dull rusty knife to cut the balls off any man who molested any of my nieces or nephews, or even your nieces and nephews. I don't have AIDS or VD. I am not trying to destroy the republic, or Western civilization, such as it is.

For the entirety of my life, I have listened to conservative religious people call me a threat to everything good and holy. I have listened to them accuse me of wanting to molest children. (And for the record, people who are not primarily pedophiles are overwhelmingly heterosexual, but that’s another issue). I have listened to them call me a diseased pariah, a pervert, disgusting, immoral, confused, filthy, and an enemy Of God, faith, freedom, the family, marriage, children, national security, and Western civilization. I have heard them say that my very existence is enough to bring down the mightiest empires. I have heard them say that if I am serving my country, I am a threat to the country and the military. I have seen them initiate political campaigns to deny me the right to marry the man I love, to kick me out of the teaching profession, to put me in prison, to quarantine me so that normal people are not affected by my perversion and my multiple diseases, both of which are a figment of their filthy imaginations. I have listened to these good Christians rejoice in the death of a kind, good, wonderful gay man 40 years ago. I have listened to them proclaim that the disease that killed these men is the punishment from God.

I can go on and on, but I think you get the point.

What these people do is hide their hate, fear, ignorance, tribalism, hypocrisy, stupidity, bile, anger, lust for power over others, money hunger, and overweening arrogance behind something they call their “sincere religious belief” and “traditional morality,” and worst of all, they call it “God’s love”. They still overwhelmingly support the most immoral, worst, stupidest, and treasonous man ever to hold the office of president and call him God’s chosen. They have even compared him to the second coming of Jesus Christ: three times married, twice divorced, four times (at least) bankrupt con artist, self-proclaimed sexual assaulter, fornicator, and adulterer, who paid a prostitute A bunch of hush money because he fornicated with her while his third wife was pregnant with his fifth child.

For the record, I don’t hate conservative Christians. Like a good Christian, I hate what they do, the harm they cause to the bay and trans kids, their subversion of our republic, and their desire to control everything and everyone.

If you want respect for your beliefs, then maybe it’s time to start acting respectably.


The Decline of World Democracy

The enemies of freedom have pushed the false narrative that democracy is in decline because it is incapable of addressing people’s needs. In fact, democracy is in decline because its most prominent exemplars are not doing enough to protect it. Global leadership and solidarity from democratic states are urgently needed.

Governments that understand the value of democracy, including the political powers of Washington, have a responsibility to band together to deliver on its benefits, counter its adversaries, and support its defenders. They must also put their own houses in order to shore up their credibility and fortify their institutions against politicians and other actors who are willing to trample democratic principles in the pursuit of power. If free societies fail to take these basic steps, the world will become ever more hostile to the values they hold dear, and no country will be safe from the destructive effects of dictatorship.

According to the Freedom house report, the global decline in democracy has accelerated in 2020, and the share of countries designated Not Free has reached its highest level since 2006. The report downgrades the freedom scores of 73 countries, representing 75 percent of the global population. Some of the countries that experienced significant deterioration in their political rights and civil liberties include India, Belarus, Hong Kong, Azerbaijan, Ethiopia, Poland, and Hungary. However, the exact number of countries that have seen the rise of anti-democratic governments for authoritarian regimes in the last ten years may vary depending on the criteria and methodology used to measure democracy.

For most of the past 75 years, despite many mistakes, the United States has aspired to a foreign policy based on democratic principles and support for human rights. When adhered to, these guiding lights, have enabled the United States to act as a leader on the global state, pressuring offenders to reform, encouraging activists to continue their fight, and rallying partners to act in concert.

Everyone benefits when the United States serves as a positive model, and the country itself reaps ample returns from a more democratic world. Such a world generates more trade and fairer markets for US goods and services, as well as more reliable allies for collective defense. A global environment where freedom flourishes is more friendly, stable, and secure, with fewer military conflicts and less displacement of refugees and asylum seekers. It also serves as an effective check against authoritarian actors who are only too happy to fill the void.

Next: The US decline on the Global Democratic Index.

The Attack on Israel, the US Elections

Our hearts and prayers go out to all those people in the Middle East who have been affected by the brutal tragedy and violence.
Did the republicans just get a golden ticket to the 2024 elections.

The attack on Israel was a terrible tragedy, and it should not be exploited for political gain. However, some politicians will inevitably try to use it to advance their own agendas, or to blame the US for the breach. One Israeli official has already accused the US intelligence of failing to detect the signs of the attack.

I think the US will react in three ways. First, they will offer more aid and equipment to Israel, even though Israel already has the best defense system and military capabilities in the world. Second, they will criticize Biden and the intelligence agency for not providing vital information that could have prevented the attack. Third, they will demand more funding and stricter enforcement for border security. They will argue that this attack shows the need to protect the US from external threats.

I can imagine Republicans coordinating their strategy over the weekend, and launching their attack on Monday morning, regardless of what intelligence and events unfold over the weekend.

Here is how I expect them to spin the tragedy:

  • They will blame the Biden administration and the Intelligence Department for not giving enough intelligence to the Israelis.
  • They will ask Congress to appropriate more money for Israel, and to cut Social Security, Medicare, and other social programs to pay for it.
  • They will use this as a rallying cry to secure the border by increasing enforcement, providing more funding, and deploying troops.

They will repeat these talking points through every channel of the Republican party until the election cycle.

They will accuse Biden and all Democrats of being soft on security, intelligence, crime, border crossings, and military readiness.

And finally, they will initiate more investigations to find out who they can blame, embarrass, humiliate, and destroy to make themselves look good.

This is a horrific event that deserves compassion and solidarity, not political manipulation. It is sad that some Republicans will use it as an opportunity to advance their own interests.

The republicans will see this as a golden ticket to the election.

When does life begin: A National Debate

I truly believe consciousness begins at birth, when we first open our eyes and ears, when we feel the touch of our mother, when sensory input begins do present our surroundings to us and we begin to have a perception. It is also when a child receives a soul, when breathing in the first breath of life. Of course if you are religious, then you should not read what I posted. Religious people believes life begins at conception and should be given rights. We both have different views on when life begins. If you view the issue from a spiritually ethical view, then you would believe life begins at conception, but if you view it purely by biological and bio-electric, then you will believe that life begins at birth.

“Research indicates that even before birth, mothers’ moods may affect child development,” that being noted, Does it also mean that the fetus is conscious? Signs are rather contrary. Personally, I believe, that the fetus’ personality development is like a program being written, but it isn’t running yet. When you read “How To Create a Mind -Wikipedia,” a great book by Ray Kurzweil, it would suggest the same.

An embryo at conception is a cell that is genetically human, just like any other cell in your body. But an embryo is not “a human life” in the sense of it being ‘the life of a person”. Jennifer Anniston is a human life. Bradley Wiggins is a human life. They are legally and morally recognized as people, with sentience, personality, the ability to make choices and are legally recognized as having commensurate rights and responsibilities.

“Pro-lifers” seem to conflate the fact that an embryo is technically “biologically human” with the idea that it is “a human life” to suit their arguments. There are organisms that are far more sophisticated and far more capable of sentience, whose lives and welfare are treated with contempt. Whether they are open about it or not, there arguments are based on the Christian metaphysical belief that at conception an embryo has a soul. And they are based on Christian absolutist morality. These beliefs are completely unproven. If Christians want to live their own lives by these beliefs that’s completely acceptable. However they absolutely do not have a right to impose this on other people in a secular society. The scrapings of my cheek and parts of my toenails are “biologically human”. Do we want to give those cells rights?

An embryo at conception has no more sentience than the contents of a petri-dish. Giving it rights and responsibilities would be meaningless. As soon as pro-lifers demonstrate that an embryo has “a soul” in a way that meaningfully affects decisions about the course of its life, at that point we can have a conversation about whether it has a right to life. We might want to talk about other animals at the same time. We have pretty strong evidence that many higher mammals are sentient, yet raising the in factory farms to be killed and eaten is apparently OK.

The opinions expressed in this article is mine and mine only. Since it is a personal opinion, it is based on my own personal experience and beliefs. Everyone is entitled to what they believe, and I am not here to change someone’s opinion or beliefs.

The Woke Report for the week of September 24,2023

Beginning with the election of Joe Biden, republicans and right-wing conservatives have continued attacking and seeking revenge on anyone who opposes their agenda. More corporations are facing new boycotts, they are bypassing lower courts rulings and taking their cases to conservative supreme courts, new challenges are still being added over the 2020 and 2024 election. Right-wing conservative groups are continuing the take over of school board and now local city and county government boards, all the while continuing to ban books and eliminate diversity and equality studies from grade schools through college. Are they ever going to do something to improve our lives?

These headlines and their links are taken from Yahoo Front page and are the publications of their respective organizations.

Burger King faces a whopper of a Bud Light-style boycott problem
https://www.yahoo.com/finance/m/7c530ab2-927a-3e32-a06a-478d4471b44e/burger-king-faces-a-whopper.html

A unique Texas legal rule lets the attorney general’s office supersede some judges’ orders
https://www.yahoo.com/news/unique-texas-legal-rule-lets-100000998.html

California sues anti-abortion organizations for unproven treatment to reverse medication abortions
https://www.yahoo.com/news/california-sues-anti-abortion-organizations-193624256.html

The Far Right Took Over a County Board in Michigan and Wreaked Revenge
https://www.yahoo.com/news/far-took-over-county-board-000639137.html

Which health department programs are at risk if the county budget is approved Tuesday?
https://www.yahoo.com/news/health-department-programs-risk-county-203022856.html

My Take: Ottawa County impact gats failing grades
https://www.yahoo.com/news/ottawa-impact-gets-failing-grades-080259851.html

My Take: Ottawa County officials have forgot the basic rules of integrity
https://www.yahoo.com/news/oi-officials-forgot-basic-rules-080023674.html

3 in Kent in Ottawa County hospitalized with West Nile virus.
https://www.yahoo.com/news/3-kent-ottawa-co-hospitalized-221200751.html

Kari Lake’s trial to review signed ballot envelopes from Arizona election wraps up
https://www.yahoo.com/news/kari-lakes-trial-review-signed-214710604.html

Kari Lake court arguments continue over making public signatures on 2022 ballot envelopes
https://www.yahoo.com/news/kari-lake-goes-court-judge-130032771.html

“Not even in the ballpark”: Judge dismisses three “obviously unqualified” Kari Lake witnesses
https://www.yahoo.com/news/not-even-ballpark-judge-dismisses-210144137.html

Kari Lake’s sixth sense tells her she will lose, again, in court
https://www.yahoo.com/news/kari-lakes-esp-tells-her-235341899.html

Conservative activists uses Civil War-ere law to challenge US corporate diversity
https://www.yahoo.com/news/conservative-activist-uses-civil-war-190339100.html

Top Republicans launch probe into Leonardo DiCaprio-funded blue state lawsuits against Big Oil Companies
https://www.yahoo.com/news/top-republicans-launch-probe-leonardo-090003193.html

Mississippi’s state auditor proposes cutting funding for degree programs like women’s and African American studies in the state
https://www.yahoo.com/news/mississippi-state-auditor-proposes-cutting-223722433.html

Mississippi’s auditor says several college majors indoctrinate students and should be defunded
https://www.yahoo.com/news/mississippi-auditor-says-several-college-144453922.html

The Daily Woke Report (Sample)

This is a sample blog for The Daily Woke Report presented to you by The Woke Reporter. These events happened over the past month. Please return often to see this site progress and hope to see you on our October 1, 2023 launch.

“Never apologize”: How Moms for Liberty teaches its members to spin the media
https://www.yahoo.com/news/never-apologize-moms-liberty-teaches-015512177.html

Moms for Liberty’s School Board Antagonism Draws GOP Heavyweights
https://www.yahoo.com/news/moms-liberty-school-board-antagonism-170705343.html

GOP presidential candidates want the Moms for Liberty vote in Pennsylvania.
https://www.yahoo.com/news/gop-presidential-candidates-want-moms-160041211.html

The Moms Who Started The School Board Wars Are Now Presidential Kingmakers
https://www.yahoo.com/news/moms-started-school-board-wars-190249450.html

Louisiana Democratic governor vetoes bill banning gender-affirming care for minors
https://www.yahoo.com/news/louisiana-democratic-governor-vetoes-bill-024234207.html

Parents of transgender youth are suing to block Georgia’s gender-affirming care bill
https://www.yahoo.com/news/parents-transgender-youth-suing-block-133717839.html

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards vetoes “Don’t say gay.” Gender-affirming care, and pronouns except on birth certificate
https://www.yahoo.com/news/louisiana-gov-john-bel-edwards-232614295.html

The number of Kansas residents officially changing genders quadrupled this year ahead of new law
https://www.yahoo.com/news/number-kansas-residents-changing-gender-194427810.html

No charges for Oklahoma sheriff who talked of killing journalists, prosecutor says
https://www.yahoo.com/news/no-charges-oklahoma-sheriff-talked-205709837.html

Speaker Robin Vos says he’ll move to end minority scholarship program after Supreme Court Ruling
https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/politics/2023/06/30/speaker-robin-vos-says-hell-move-to-end-minority-scholarship-program/70370988007/

Supreme Court lets stand gender dysphoria case in liberal win
https://www.yahoo.com/news/supreme-court-lets-stand-gender-162424271.html

Supreme Court allows transgender woman’s lawsuit against Virginia prison to continue
https://www.yahoo.com/news/supreme-court-allows-transgender-woman-170032608.html

Indiana Supreme Court: Lawmakers can ban abortion except to protect mother’s health
https://www.yahoo.com/news/indiana-supreme-court-lawmakers-ban-143514766.html

One thing GOP Presidential Candidates Agree On: marginalized Americans Should Suffer
https://www.yahoo.com/news/one-thing-gop-presidential-candidates-214209979.html

2nd bus carrying asylum seekers from Texas arrives in Los Angeles
https://www.yahoo.com/news/2nd-bus-carrying-asylum-seekers-005532793.html

The Woke Reporter Today

Welcome to another edition of The Woke Report.

Question on Sexually Explicit School Library Books Upsets Virginia Parents
https://www.yahoo.com/news/sexually-explicit-school-library-books-100217731.html

Georgia Kids would need parental permission to join social media if Senate has its way
https://www.yahoo.com/news/georgia-kids-parental-permission-join-040725736.html

Florida Students Limited to Excerpts of Shakespeare Due to ‘Sexual’ Themes
https://www.yahoo.com/news/florida-students-limited-excerpts-shakespeare-120006641.html

Idaho Professors Sue Over Law Threatening Prison for Teaching about Abortion
https://www.yahoo.com/news/idaho-professors-sue-over-law-144400821.html

Florida Gov. DeSantis Suspends Official, Smile Behind ‘This is Fine’ Meme
https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/florida-gov-desantis-suspends-official-182033904.html

Stephen Miller Files Complaint That Gay Pop-Tarts Are Sexualizing Kids
https://www.yahoo.com/news/stephen-miller-accuses-kelloggs-sexualizing-190256052.html

Judge Reminds Anti-Abortion Attorneys That No Women Helped Draft Utah’s Constitution in 1895
https://www.yahoo.com/news/judge-reminds-anti-abortion-attorneys-170500779.html

DeSantis-appointed state attorney cancels diversion programs, nixes policy following Worrell’s ouster
https://www.yahoo.com/news/desantis-appointed-state-attorney-cancels-191000692.html

DeSantis suspends a second elected Florida prosecutor
https://www.yahoo.com/news/desantis-suspends-second-elected-florida-124148270.html

Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet cancelled by DeSantis’ ‘don’t say gay’ law
https://www.yahoo.com/news/shakespeare-romeo-juliet-cancelled-desantis-160136741.html

GOP Lawmaker’s Wife Makes Little Free Libraries a Culture War Battleground
https://www.yahoo.com/news/gop-lawmaker-wife-makes-little-024022191.html

Republican Congressman Accidentally Admits There’s No Proof of Biden Corruption
https://www.yahoo.com/news/republican-congressman-accidentally-admits-no-212137547.html

Ron DeSantis Again Claims Immunity From Disney Lawsuit Over Theme Park District
https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/ron-desantis-again-claims-immunity-230657166.html

Red states are threatening to criminalize out-of-state abortions. These blue states are fighting back
https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/column-red-states-threatening-criminalize-120039732.html

Disclaimer: The Daily Woke Report consists of headlines and links to other news sources around the internet. While we strive to keep the information up to date and accurate, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, expressed or implied about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the blog or the information, products, services or related graphics contained on this blog for any purpose.