Accountability

It Isn’t About Your Message

Housefly.Reading time – 1:54; Viewing time – 3:17  .  .  .

The 2012 general election generated a lot of forward looking comments from pundits and political operatives, like:

The Republicans will have to change their messaging if they are going to appeal to Latinos.

“Severely conservative” Mitt Romney will have to pivot to the center in order to attract independents.

Republican candidates have to stop saying things like, “A woman’s body has a way of shutting that down [in cases of rape],” and “[Pregnancy from rape] is God’s plan.”

This year those statements are being modified only slightly by saying that Trump will have to change his messaging if he is going to appeal to Latinos and African-Americans. Like Romney, he’ll have to pivot to the center in order to attract independents. He’ll have to stop demeaning women and he’ll  have to refuse to align with hate groups if he is going to attract anyone but the hair-on-fire pissy people (my description, not a quote).

The important point, though, is that all that “how to win elections” word torturing is completely misguided, wrong-headed and even dishonest.  It seems to say that all that matters is the manipulation of the message and of voters.

To which I say, “Nuh-uh.” What is important is not the crafted messaging of an appeal to African-Americans or a pivot to the center or avoiding saying stupid stuff. What is important is what candidates would actually do. And however you dress up Trump’s piggy statements, it’s clear that even with lipstick, he will continue to be a pig and he will do what pigs do.

Charles Blow recently wrote, “Trump is an unfiltered primal scream of the fragility and fear consuming white male America.” Surely, there’s much we can learn from that. More critically, though, Trump’s frivolous comments about the use of nuclear weapons abandons common sense and even survival. In a real crisis, what would he do?

This election is about many things including what’s already been mentioned, as well as voter disenfranchisement, big money poisoning of our politics and the millions of good paying jobs that Congress continues to say “It’s all about” but consistently refuses to take action to improve. It is about these substantive issues and is not about focused-grouped, misleading messages.

TO OUR POLITICAL CANDIDATES (not just Trump) – News flash: It isn’t about your message.You need to understand that Latinos don’t care what you say about immigration reform; they care about what you would do about it. Americans don’t care how you flap your lips about Medicare, Social Security, jobs, climate warming and terrorism; they care about what you would do.

If you’re all about the hot air of your finely honed, misleading messaging, then all you are is a manipulator and we will sniff you out. You may have had your way with us for a while, but if you’ve been dishonest with us, we will swat you like we would an annoying housefly and flick you away.

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Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we are on a path to continually fail to make things better. It is my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That is the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue.

YOUR ACTION STEPS: Please offer your comments below and pass this along to three people, encouraging them to subscribe and engage.  Thanks!  JA

Copyright 2018 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Baggage Claim

Woman-with-emotional-baggageReading time – 43 seconds; Viewing time – 1:44  .  .  .

It’s time to admit that things are out of hand and are causing us great harm. Specifically, we have politically motivated emotional outbursts masquerading as policy statements and thoughtful commentary. These outbursts are as common as dandelions in spring and are just about as useful. We are all burdened by the weight of the dysfunctional behavior that gets dumped on us daily and the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta recently announced that this burden trumps all others and is causing spinal injuries and brain traumas, especially to our seniors and young children. Something must be done.

Well, there is good news. Air Canada has found a way forward and all we have to do is to follow its lead and apply it to our pathological politics.

The cure is simple: Charge politicians a fee for the emotional baggage they attempt to get us to carry. That’s right: We stop enabling their craziness and instead make them pay for their dysfunctional doo-doo.

The fees need to be steep in order to get their attention and cause them to reconsider the narcissism, denial, rationalization, projection, antisocial personality disorder* behavior and outright lies they intend to spew on us. And, like the Air Canada model, they must be required to pay in advance of their spewing.

  • So, go ahead – read the article. Betcher gonna like the idea.
  • * “Antisocial personality disorder is characterized by a pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others.”  – Psychology Today

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Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we are on a path to continually fail to make things better. It is my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That is the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue.

YOUR ACTION STEPS: Please offer your comments below and pass this along to three people, encouraging them to subscribe and engage.  Thanks!  JA

Copyright 2018 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

America Through the Looking Glass

Antique Looking GlassReading time – 37 seconds; Viewing time – 55 seconds  .  .  .

You’ve heard comments about the multiple Trump bankruptcies and failures, but to really understand you need to read the meaty account of them in Newsweek, Donald Trump’s Many Business Failures, Explained by Kurt Eichenwald. As you read it, keep in mind that Trump has told us repeatedly that he’ll be the greatest president ever because he’s such a great businessman and a winner. Eichenwald’s essay puts the lie to that nonsense.

Trump wants you to believe that he knows things that you don’t know, and he’s right. You don’t understand, for example, that failure is success. You just don’t get that a lie is better than the truth and that innuendo, insult and slander are hallmarks of personal greatness. All of us but Trump missed the fundamental life lesson that fraud is the calling card of great virtue. To any sane person, it’s craziness.

But the true craziness of our time is not Trump and his dishonesty; it is that 30 percent of the American electorate is so enraged that they support him and cheer anything he says that feels like a “f**k you” aimed at others. They are so enraged by all the lies and sellouts over so many years by those in power that they mindlessly latch onto Trump’s permanently raised middle finger.

What have we done?

For a fuller understanding of the Trump alternate universe, take a look at Katy Tur’s piece on the Marie Claire website and you’ll see that life around Trump is life through the looking glass. Can that possibly be good for you or even for Trump’s 30 percent? Could America as we know it survive that?

Thanks go to ABS for the pointer to the Newsweek piece.

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Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we are on a path to continually fail to make things better. It is my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That is the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue.

YOUR ACTION STEPS: Please offer your comments below and pass this along to three people, encouraging them to subscribe and engage.  Thanks!  JA

Copyright 2018 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Yooge

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=yooge

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=yooge

Reading time -122 seconds; Viewing time – 4:04  .  .  .

Now that we’re in the midst of the political conventions and immediately following the Trump narcissist extravaganza, it’s time to do something unusual, to separate from cable blather and give our full attention to reality.

Trump’s 1987 book “The Art of the Deal” was presented as an autobiography by the then-38-year-old Trump. In truth, Tony Schwartz is the ghostwriter who penned every word of it and he has an irreparably guilty conscience now for having done so. His Faustian bargain with Trump and the truth about Trump’s dishonesty are detailed in the July 25, 2016 issue of The New Yorker magazine in a critically important piece by Jane Mayer, author of “Dark Money.” Schwartz tells us that in writing the book, “I put lipstick on a pig.”

You need to read this piece to fully understand:

    1. That Trump really is a sociopath.
    2. That Trump is impulsive and has no attention span.
    3. That, “Lying is second nature to him.” “He lied strategically. He had a complete lack of conscience about it.”
    4. That Trump has no regard whatsoever for the people he falsely claims to champion.
    5. That the only thing Trump wants to make great is his public attention. For Trump, it is not and never has been about America.

On that second point Schwartz says, ” .  .  .  that it’s impossible to keep him focused on any topic, other than his own self-aggrandizement, for more than a few minutes  .  .  . ” His experience with Trump left him with the clarity that Trump has, ” .  .  .  a stunning level of superficial knowledge and plain ignorance.” Those are really bad personality flaws for someone who is Commander in Chief of the world’s most powerful military. The job of president requires the ability to learn and understand deep and complex issues and all the implications surrounding them. Says Schwartz, “I genuinely believe that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes there is an excellent possibility it will lead to the end of civilization.”

Regarding Trump’s claim to care about the poor and working people, “In the past seven years, Trump has promised to give millions of dollars to charity, but reporters for the Washington Post found that they could document only ten thousand dollars in donations – and uncovered no direct evidence that Trump made [the promised] charitable contributions from money earned by “The Art of the Deal.”

To illustrate the impact of the last point about public attention, George W. Bush wanted to be seen as a war president. He proceeded to lie us into invading Iraq, which led to ISIS, the Syrian civil war, an unrestrained Iran, terrorist murders around the world and our never-ending Middle-East wars, all because Dubya wanted the public attention and image of war president. And Schwartz tells us, ” .  .  . that Trump seemed driven entirely by a need for public attention.” What do you suppose that sort of personality disorder might mean for our children and grandchildren?

It’s crucial that the American people know and understand the frightening truth about this P.T. Barnum-like charlatan before it’s too late. So send this blog to everyone you know, lefty, centrist or righty, informed or not and tell them to click on the link to Mayer’s article on Schwartz, just as you will. Tell them to read the piece – it’s startling – and then to pass this along to everyone they know. Because this is about reality – actual facts – from the guy who studied Trump like no other and knows the truth about him. We can handle the truth; what we can’t handle is a yooge sociopath in the White House.

So go ahead – do it now before the next hyperbolic news cycle breaks your concentration. And remember – and I mean this literally – we’re all counting on you.

You can watch Tony Schwartz on Bill Maher’s Real Time – RNC Convention Edition here starting at 22:20.

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Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we are on a path to continually fail to make things better. It is my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That is the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue.

YOUR ACTION STEPS: Please offer your comments below and pass this along to three people, encouraging them to subscribe.  Thanks!  JA

Copyright 2018 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Up To Here

Samantha Bee - Full Frontal

Samantha Bee – Click the Pic

Reading time – 47 seconds; Viewing time – 2:01  .  .  .

Read this (perhaps again). Then read this:

Political obfuscation (a “snow job”) is an elemental force which cannot be overcome by fact or reason. It can only be defeated when enough people rise up in indignation, refusing to be lied to again.

Are you there? Are you sick of the lies, the distortions, the refusal of our leaders to take on the real challenges of America, to solve the enormous problems that affect all of us? Are you longing for hope that someone will be a leader who doesn’t take us down yet another blind alley and march us into even more stagnation? Metaphorically speaking, are you furious that you’re still waiting for the men and the truck to show up and fix the damn potholes? Are you up to here with political stupid stuff?

If you’re not, you’re probably not paying enough attention, because you’re being played for a sucker every day.

From the New Testament:

James 2:17 – “Thus also prayer by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”

Translation: Waiting and praying leads to nothing. You have to actually do something.

Has your indignation at being lied to reached the point when you’re ready to “have works” and do something? Then make your voice heard.

Go to the Common Cause website, enter your address and click GO. You’ll see who the candidates are in your state and district and whether they support reform.  If they haven’t responded to the Common Cause questionnaire, blast ’em an email or tweet – there’s a utility for that right on the website – and tell them to get going. You deserve to know where they stand, so demand it.

Then add your voice right here in the Comments section below.

And as a reward, click on the pic above to watch Samantha Bee’s brilliance.

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BREAKING NEWS! (Wait a second – if it’s news, it must be breaking. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be news. It would just be old information, right?)

It was just revealed that the Orlando shooter had sex with two Latino men, one of whom revealed afterward that he is HIV-positive. Shortly after that the bad guy entered a gay bar frequented by Latinos (and himself at other times) and shot 103 people. So, maybe the massacre wasn’t inspired by ISIL. Maybe the guy was terminally angry over his own stupidity and took it out on others.

Maybe we need a gun law that prohibits gun purchases by emotionally unstable stupid people.

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Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we are on a path to continually fail to make things better. It is my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That is the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue.

YOUR ACTION STEPS: Please offer your comments below and pass this along to three people, encouraging them to subscribe.  Thanks!  JA

Copyright 2018 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Does the Constitution Mean Anything to You?

Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth. — Mohammed Ali

“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.” — Mohammed Ali

Reading time – 51 seconds; Viewing time – 1:55  .  .  .

There are lots of Americans, each with our own understanding, so what do you suppose the Constitution means?

Donald Trump wants to prevent any Muslims from entering the United States. I thought there was something, somewhere in the Constitution that bans religious tests for anything. Oh yeah, it’s the First Amendment. I guess the Constitution doesn’t mean much to Trump.

George W. Bush was a master of silencing protest, as he got special “federal protection zones” for his appearances where there would be protesters. They were called “free speech zones” and the protesters were made invisible to both Bush and to television cameras. In contrast, people carrying signs of support for Bush were allowed to stand close in so that they could be seen and heard. Didn’t we used to have free speech zones that ran border-to-border? Oh yeah, that was in the First Amendment, too. Looks like the Constitution didn’t mean much to Bush, either.

Donald Trump wants our military to torture prisoners and kill the families of terrorists. Both actions are war crimes. Isn’t there something, somewhere in the Constitution that says that it isn’t okay to do those things? Oh, yeah, it’s that cruel and unusual punishment thing in the Eighth Amendment. And murder – I’m pretty sure that isn’t okay. Apparently, Trump sees the Constitution – shall we say – differently.

Inherent in the Constitution are obligations that rest on the shoulders of all of us. They tell us what it means to be a responsible citizen and they carry duties of service. Some understand that, as did Mohammed Ali. He said, “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.”

What does the Constitution mean to you? And what will you do – what action will you take – to make sure that it continues to mean that?

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Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we are on a path to continually fail to make things better. It is my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That is the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue.

YOUR ACTION STEPS: Please offer your comments below and pass this along to three people, encouraging them to subscribe.  Thanks!  JA

Copyright 2018 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Memorial Day In Two Parts

Arlington Cemetary

This essay was originally posted on Memorial Day, 2012 and is offered today (with some updating) as a reminder of what this holiday is about. For more, have a look at Fred Rasmussen’s article in The Baltimore Sun. Some of his data is different from mine; no matter, though, as the meaning is intact.  JA

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1. Our War Dead

It was originally called Decoration Day, a formal day of remembrance of the fallen Union soldiers of the Civil War. The refreshing of their graves was the order of the day. It became known as Memorial Day in 1967 and was declared to be in honor of the American dead from all of our wars. That federal re-naming packaged all of the individual honoring ceremonies for our war dead and all the individual traditions practiced around the country into a neater package, something that apparently was important in 1967. In addition, the date of remembrance was shifted from May 30 to the last Monday in May so that there would be a 3-day weekend.

We no longer conscript our young into military service and instead rely upon a voluntary corps of warriors, leaving the rest of us to follow the imperative of our former president in time of war, that we go shopping. That’s handy, as shopping is more pleasant than thinking about our young crawling through the desert and being shot at.

Then we see a soldier in desert fatigues walking through the airport, wearing his boots, the color of desert sand, his camouflage backpack hung from his shoulders, and we know he’s either on his way to or from trouble and war becomes real to us. It’s already quite real to that GI in desert fatigues.

Memorial Day is not for that soldier. It is for those who have died. What is poignant is that the soldier in the airport might be one of those whom we remember next year.

Memorial Day is intended to be a somber event, a Decoration Day for refreshing graves. It is not about parades with circus clowns to entertain us or political clowns to promote themselves. It is about the renewal of our individual and collective memory of those who can no longer march, lest we forget them.

2. Making More War Dead

If we care to think deeper, Memorial Day is also an opportunity to ask if what we want is to be in a near-perpetual state of war, as has been the case since the Korean War began in 1950. After all, war is what creates the dead women and men whom we remember on Memorial Day.

Keeping our military busy shooting bullets and rockets has been very good for business for the war matériel companies and they would be financially much worse off if we stopped expending ordinance in foreign lands.

Having our Defense Department spend more than do the next 15 industrialized countries combined doesn’t seem to enhance our safety. To be sure, we need a robust national security, but angering the rest of the world with our heavy-handed military response to all conflict doesn’t help us, so why would we keep doing what we’re doing?

If you want an answer to that question, heed the advice offered by Deep Throat: Follow the money. When you arrive at clarity (it won’t take long), decide if that’s the America you want. If it isn’t, you better stand up and speak out, because if you don’t, that’s the America you’ll get.

Silence will make certain that we continue to fill far too many graves with our young and then remember them on the last Monday in May. Too bad they won’t be here to know they are appreciated.

Copyright 2018 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Hoffer Clarity

HAHofferPicReading time – 27 seconds; Viewing time – 55 seconds  .  .  .

“Rudeness is the weak man’s imitation of strength.”

Is additional explanation really necessary?

Sadly, yes, because more than rudeness is inflicted on us by weak people. There is also:

– boundless ignorance masquerading as muscular ideas

– bigotry, xenophobia and continuing appeals to the crudest of instincts, all coming out as hatred

  • – constantly shifting positions on important issues driven by spinelessness and dishonesty

Don’t imagine that this description is only applicable to our current sociopathic political reality show. While our politics truly are in an exaggerated, comic book state right now, this dysfunction is a constant. Caveat voter.

Thanks, GRR, for pointing out the quote.

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Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we are on a path to continually fail to make things better. It is my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That is the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue.

YOUR ACTION STEPS: Please offer your comments below and pass this along to three people, encouraging them to subscribe.  Thanks!  JA

Copyright 2018 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Bruce Rauner and Us

9,000 Illinoisans demonstrated against Rauner at the statehouse on May 18, 2016

9,000 Illinoisans demonstrated against Rauner at the statehouse on May 18, 2016 – Photos courtesy of Karl-Heinz Gabbey

DSC_5953Reading time – 1:17; Viewing time 2:42  .  .  .

There probably wouldn’t be a budget crisis in Illinois – or at least it wouldn’t be as severe – had we not spent decades in Magical Thinking Land.

State workers, including teachers – you know, the people who teach your kids – really did need better incomes, but increasing taxes to fund that was not a politically clever thing to do. Politicians wanting to keep their jobs decided that what would be better was to offer a pension to state workers. It was a promise to underpaid state workers of retirement income at a later date. That way the state could defer the additional expense and let the job of finding extra money for that to be dumped on some later generation of legislators and governors.

But the day never came when politicians in Springfield had the courage to face up to the reality that the promise of those deferred payments to workers would actually have to be honored. They just waited, juggled budget line items and hoped for some magical solution to appear, even as state liabilities continued to pile up. All that waiting wasn’t a serious problem, right up to the point when the state went broke.

At that same time we found ourselves in the dungeon of Republican thinking, where all government is bad, where all unions are bad and all taxes are bad. Then Bruce Rauner rode into town on his mealy-mouthed promise of fiscal responsibility for the state. That meant eliminating unions so that workers would have nothing to protect them from people like Bruce Rauner. We could solve our fiscal problems on their backs and on the backs of teachers. Also on the backs of mentally ill patients and school kids. This makes sense if your name is Rauner.

So, shame on all of us for allowing our politicians to let us believe that there was a free lunch that extended for generations. Taxes were low – everyone liked that – but now we have a crisis of epic proportions, paired with an intransigent governor who seems to believe that he is an emperor and is above compromising with the pitiful representatives of the people.

We’re approaching a full year without a budget and Illinoisans – once again, these are real people – are suffering. It just might be that Bruce Rauner is monumentally wrong for Illinois, but we’re stuck with him unless he is found guilty of some impeachable offense. Sadly, being arrogant, mean and a tool for the 1% are not such offenses.

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Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we are on a path to continually fail to make things better. It is my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That is the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue.

YOUR ACTION STEPS: Please offer your comments below and pass this along to three people, encouraging them to subscribe.  Thanks!  JA

Copyright 2018 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

A Reality Check for Trump Voters

Reading time – 67 seconds; Viewing time – 2:34  .  .  .

You’re flashing the bird at the “establishment” – the authority figures, the big money kids, the guys in the expensive suits and power ties. They have been screwing you for so long that you can’t even remember when you weren’t being screwed. You have no recollection of the last time anyone from any establishment said something that didn’t ring phony. You’re mad as hell and you’re not going to take it anymore.

Got it. You’re right – you are being screwed.

And you’re being screwed in ways you might not realize.

Because the crazies with the megaphones have been tweaking your nose over immigration, God, guns and gays. They’ve been fanning your flames with absolutist junk, like, “You’re either with us or you’re not an American” and they have made your blood boil. And all the time they were doing their misdirection trickery they were picking your pocket.

It started with Reagan’s “supply-side economics,” which was supposed to “trickle down” wealth to you from the fat cats. How’s that been working for you? The answer is that it’s not working at all, because the fat cats kept it all for themselves. And they’re still keeping it and protecting their rights to keep their claws deeply embedded into your wallet, thanks to the laws your legislators enacted that created tax breaks only for already wealthy people. You didn’t catch even a little break.

They told you that it was all about jobs, jobs, jobs. That sounded good. Then they defeated every attempt at job-creating legislation except the one for vets. And the Republicans had to be shamed into passing that.

That’s right: They distracted you with tweaky social issues while they ate your lunch. And they’re still eating your lunch.

Just get this: Donald J. Trump has been and is an integral part of the establishment misdirection scheme that got your pocket picked. His claws are holding your cash and he’s proposed cutting taxes even more for the rich kids – but not for you. Trump won’t be trickling any money down to you.

You know a phony when you see one, even if he sounds like a really good circus sideshow barker. So, when November comes around, put your hand on your wallet and keep it there as you vote.

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Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we are on a path to continually fail to make things better. It is my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That is the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue.

YOUR ACTION STEPS: Please offer your comments below and pass this along to three people, encouraging them to subscribe.  Thanks!  JA

Copyright 2018 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

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