Saturday, July 9, 2022

Indepen-Dunce Week In Review

So far in the last 72 hours we've seen the ouster of PM Boris Johnson in the UK, the assassination of former PM Shinzo Abe in Japan, and now the absolute collapse of Sri Lanka's government as the country's financial reserves have been plundered so badly that it has run out of money for importing basic goods like food, fuel, and medicine.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, whose family has dominated politics in Sri Lanka for much of the past two decades, was asked by the country’s political leaders to step down on Saturday after months of protests accusing him of running the island nation’s economy into the ground through corruption and mismanagement.

The call for Mr. Rajapaksa’s departure was confirmed by two lawmakers and came after protesters entered the president’s residence and his office, ​and thousands ​more ​descended on the capital, Colombo, to register their growing fury over his government’s inability to address a crippling economic crisis.

By the evening, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who took office only in May and was also facing demands to resign, said he would step down, saying he had “the safety of all citizens” in mind. Protesters entered his private home late Saturday and set it ablaze, said Dinouk Colombage, a spokesman for the prime minister, adding that Mr. Wickremesinghe was not at home at the time.

Sri Lanka has run out of foreign-exchange reserves for imports of essential items like fuel and medicine, and the United Nations has warned that more than a quarter of Sri Lanka’s 21 million people are at risk of food shortages.

The economic crisis is a major setback for the island nation that was still grappling with the legacy of a bloody three-decade civil war. That conflict, between the government and the Tamil Tiger insurgents who had taken up the cause of discrimination against the ethnic minority Tamils, ended in 2009. But many of its underlying causes have remained, with the Rajapaksa family continuing to cater to the majority Buddhist Sinhalese.

At least 42 people have been injured in clashes with security forces in the city, health officials said, after the police used tear gas and water cannons against protesters and fired shots into the air to try to disperse them.

A Sri Lankan television station said four of its journalists were attacked by security forces outside the residence of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Saturday evening. In a video released by News 1st, the Colombo-based media outlet on Twitter, officers in riot gear can be seen using sticks to repeatedly beat a man holding a camera, even after he falls to the ground. The station said all four of its journalists were rushed to the hospital after the incident.

Local news media showed footage of protesters breaching parts of the presidential residence as well as his secretariat, a separate building that houses his office.

Videos on social media showed protesters jumping into the pool in Mr. Rajapaksa’s residence, resting in bedrooms, and frying snacks in the presidential kitchen.

“I came here today to send the president home,” said Wasantha Kiruwaththuduwa, 50, who had walked 10 miles to join the protest. “Now the president must resign. If he wants peace to prevail, he must step down


The last three years in the US has been unprecedented.

So have the last 3 days around the world.

Indepen-Dunce Week: Georgia On My Mind Once Again

The Democrats' most bunerable senator remains Raphael Warnock, who is neck and neck in his battle with human concussion tackling dummy/sperm donor Herschel Walker.

Georgia is already a hotbed of political spending as Democrats try to maintain their momentum in the state—and a new poll shows the race between former NFL player Herschel Walker (R) and incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) is neck-and-neck.

A survey by Data for Progress conducted between July 1 and July 6, exclusively shared with The Daily Beast, shows Walker narrowly leading Warnock by 49 percent to 47 percent. Both candidates fell into negative favorability ratings, as Walker received a -3 favorability while Warnock received a -7.

The Georgia Senate seat is one of the Democrats’ top priorities this year as they hope to maintain power in Congress’s upper chamber. But with the party forecast to face massive headwinds during the midterm elections while President Joe Biden’s favorability continues to spiral, Democrats in Georgia, like many other states, could be facing an uphill battle.

But there have been glimmers of hope for Warnock’s re-election bid. Walker has been plagued by scandals, most recently reports by The Daily Beast that he has at least three children he’d kept secret from the public, despite speaking against absentee fathers throughout the campaign. And other polls have shown Warnock and Walker as tied, while another had Warnock leading by 10 points.

Though the latest poll shows Warnock down from those previous numbers, Data for Progress founder Sean McElwee told The Daily Beast he sees it as “a more accurate reading of the race,” noting their research shows Republicans are invested in economic issues this cycle while Democrats continue to focus on party values.

Walker has consistently hammered economics as a tenet of his campaign, railing against Democrats for inflation and gas prices throughout his candidacy.

The gubernatorial race between Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams and Republican incumbent Brian Kemp is not nearly as close, according to the poll. The survey found that 53 percent of respondents said they’d vote for Kemp compared to only 44 for Abrams. Kemp also had a +3 favorability rating, compared to Abrams’ -9.

Previous polling shows Kemp and Abrams in a close matchup, with a June Quinnipiac poll having them tied.
If there's any caveat here, it's that in 2020, state polling was across-the-board abysmal, as it was in 2018 and 2016. Especially for Senate contests, races that were thought to be close were double-digit wins for Republicans like Susan Collins, Joni Ernst, Thom Tillis, and Roger Marshall.

Of course, those state polling errors went the other way too, that both Georgia Dems won as well in 2020.

Here's hoping that Warnock can hold on.


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