Danger From All Directions


Reading time – 3:47  .  .  .

Here are some news chunks that at first may seem to be unrelated, yet they really are connected.


“The FDA won’t ban a type of breast implant that has been linked to cancer, the agency announced Thursday. Textured breast implants have been tied to a form of cancer known as anaplastic large-cell lymphoma and have been banned in many other countries.”


“A Kaiser Family Foundation poll of 1,200 adults finds that a majority do not favor the Trump administration’s proposed changes [drastic cuts] to Title X, the program that provides funding for family planning and other services to low-income people.”


“He lied to Congress. He lied to Congress… If anybody else did that, it would be considered a crime. Nobody is above the law — not the president of the United States, not the attorney general.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi blasted Attorney General William Barr at a press conference Thursday, saying that part of previous testimony Barr gave Congress on April 9th was a lie. The attorney general then denied knowledge of concerns raised by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team over Barr’s four-page summary of the Mueller report. By March 28, Barr had already received a formal letter from Mueller that conveyed the special counsel’s concerns and spoken with him about it over the phone.”

It’s the “emBARRassment” of Barr. Thanks AS for that.


“Trump at war with Democrats: ‘We’re fighting all the subpoenas’

“Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump vowed on Wednesday to fight “all the subpoenas” issued by House Democrats investigating his administration, reinforcing his administration’s increasingly combative posture toward congressional oversight.”


Trump-Putin (Again): President Donald Trump said he discussed Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report with Russian President Vladimir Putin in an hour-long phone call today. However, Trump says he didn’t warn Putin not to meddle in the upcoming 2020 elections: “We didn’t discuss that,” he told reporters.


On a small stage these can be seen as disconnected actions of the incompetent. With a wider focus, these can be seen as manifestations of a continuing Trump-led national march to authoritarianism and the formal abandonment of We the People. These are actions both small and large that undermine our rights, our safety, our security, our freedom and democracy itself, while at the same time aggregating power to Trump, he who cannot be indicted for his crimes.

Further, that inevitably leads to our loss of leadership in the world – it’s already happening – which will further undermine our security. Read the piece in The Atlantic by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) to get a perspective on the extensive and self-destructive reach of authoritarianism that is upending the hard-won battles, both in war and in debate, the work to build democracy.

The task before us right now is the same task that President Lincoln set before the nation in closing his remarks at Gettysburg on November 19, 1863:

“It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Were the 51,112 casualties at Gettysburg for nothing?

We are faced with that same question about the hundreds of thousands who have died and the millions who suffered in all of our conflicts in order to protect our democracy. Because if we now allow authoritarianism to undermine what we declare we hold dear, then we will have betrayed them and they will have suffered and died in vain. And government of the people, by the people and for the people will perish from the earth.

It’s time to see what is happening right in front of our eyes. That it is not masked doesn’t make it any less dangerous and it is just as disloyal to our country. Metaphorically, it doesn’t matter if you saw the poisonous snake before it bit you. You’re dying just the same.

It falls to us to keep faith with those who have protected our democracy. This is our time to rally to Lincoln’s call. Read his words again and let them seep into your bones.

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Copyright 2019 by Jack Altschuler
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3 Responses to Danger From All Directions
  1. Jim Altschuler Reply

    Is it possible that there is anyone left who doesn’t understand the state of affairs in the administration? The House and Senate? America?

    It seems obvious that there must be a great many people who don’t understand; just look at the cheering mobs at Trump’s rallies. They remind me of words of the past coming back to haunt us:

    “Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.”
    “If you can’t win them with wisdom, baffle them with bulls–t.”
    “You can fool some of the people all the time, or all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all the people all the time.”

    I didn’t think these up; they were created by others and their accuracy remains.

  2. John Calia Reply

    Pretty good, Jack. But you lost me at “Schiff.” Extreme partisans of both the left and right ignore facts that don’t fit their preconceived arguments — few more so than Schiff. He’ll find a welcome audience in the Atlantic, a publication that wears the same blinders. To my mind, there is no doubt that Trump is bad for the nation. But how is what you’ve described as a march toward authoritarianism any different than the tug of war over executive privilege that occurs in every administration.

    • Jack Altschuler Reply

      I suggest that you read Schiff’s essay before you dismiss my comment about national security just because his name is invoked.

      As for “a march toward authoritarianism,” I see this as exponentially more dangerous than any executive tug of war, including Nixon. Trump is willfully breaking laws and violating 240 year norms, like the imperative to obey a subpoena. He’s the only executive since WW II to disrespect our allies and embrace those who attack us. And he’s the only one to baselessly accuse and ridicule the very agencies of our government which keep us safe, which can accrue power to himself.

      This is nothing at all like other administrations, and I include with that comparison Ronald Reagan and his Iran-Contra lawbreaking. There is little that was done under George W. Bush that I liked. He went to Congress and lied, but still he asked permission to stupidly invade Iraq.

      This isn’t a tug of war between the executive and other branches of government; this is an intentional march to dictatorship by a psychotic. Read “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump.”