understanding

The D. S. of A

What if our state and federal legislators were held to this standard?

What if our state and federal legislators
were held to this standard?

Reading time – 2:55; Viewing time – 4:39  .  .  .

At a time when a high school education is so often woefully inadequate for success in a global, interconnected world, where old time manufacturing skills have given way to computerized everything and where millions of employers are frustrated because they’re unable to find people with the proper training to do the jobs they have open, Republican Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin continues to slash support for the formerly wonderful state universities in Wisconsin.

Rick Snyder, Republican Governor of Michigan, headed the drive to allow the state to take control of any municipal government in Michigan that the geniuses in Lansing deemed was in financial distress, the sanctity of the municipal voting ballot be damned. That led inexorably to the poisoning of the children in Flint, MI due to the diabolical economic decision to change the source of the drinking water for that city. Instead of the safe Great Lakes water they had used for a century, the Lansing imposed Flint dictator decided to provide water from the Flint River, water which is corrosive, and that resulted in the city drinking water becoming laced with lead. Nobody knows the human toll or the financial cost that ingestion of lead will exact over the long term, but it will be enormous. Snyder and his Republican legislature in Lansing are doing a tap dance around accountability and as of this moment they are still dragging feet on fixing their mess. Meanwhile, the residents of Flint are trapped in a water quality disaster and an economic squeeze of Rick Snyder’s doing.

Sam Brownback (R-KS) promised Kansans that if they elected him governor that he would slash taxes and that would magically result in increased revenue for the state because of the dramatic economic expansion that lower taxes would induce. So, they elected him governor. Instead of the results he promised, his plan resulted in way lower revenue for the now nearly bankrupt state and a depressed economy across Kansas. Who might have even guessed that reducing the state’s income might reduce the state’s income?

Bobby Jindahl is the Republican governor of Louisiana. His state is a financial disaster. It is ranked the worst in the nation in educating its children. There’s lots more – and none of it is pretty. Let’s just move on.

Governor Rick Scott (R-FL) is the titular head of the state with more real estate in peril as the oceans rise than anywhere else. The streets of Miami Beach are often under water and much of south Florida is at or only slightly above sea level, so it doesn’t take much of a wave or much of a rise in sea level to flood it. And Rick Scott, a former fossil fuel homie, denies global warming and the human imprint on it, so he does nothing.

And, of course, right here in Illinois where we have a bottomless pension debt, our governor is so out of touch that we’ll call him Bruce Rauner (R-Pluto). He hasn’t offered a thing to fix the pension crisis and he continues to govern by refusing every attempt to establish a budget. Yes, that’s right: Illinois has been operating without a budget for well over a year and Governor Rauner seems to think in the way of Ted Cruz, that if we just shut down the functions of government that somehow all the best things will happen. That hasn’t work out too well for Illinois college students, as threats of shutdown of entire institutions were imminent, nor did it work out for our mentally ill who, because of the governor’s draconian methods, were not even getting their meds. Let the games of the rich continue, because they aren’t affected by their restrictive policies, even as those who are most needy continue to suffer.

These are the D. S. of A, the Disaster States of America, although not all of them. The Republican leaders in these states proudly and self-righteously thumb their noses at our bloated federal government and the over-taxation of the public. Yet, oddly, as they fail their states, or their states face crises, like Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey, they expect the federal government to bail them out of their catastrophes. Either that or they just do more of what doesn’t work and declare victory.

How are you feeling about that? Keep that in mind as you vote for your state legislators on November 8.

Thanks to Steve Sheffey for pointing out this video.

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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.

To All Men: It’s About You

Somebody's Mom

Somebody’s Mom

Reading time – 1:43; Viewing time – 3:19  .  .  .

It’s not at all unusual to refrain from contributing to research on, say, Parkinson’s Disease – until your mom’s voice begins to shake and she has trouble getting her hands to do the most ordinary of things.

It’s just human nature to have cared when Malaysia Flight 370 went missing, but it’s likely you went about your day in an ordinary fashion. Unless you had loved ones on that airplane.

And so it is as we react to the revelations about Donald Trump and his sexual assaults. You care, but if it wasn’t you or yours, perhaps you just go about your business.

It wasn’t just the so called “locker room” tape from years ago that made this so awful, because there is now a steady drumbeat of women coming forward and disclosing his lewd, bullying and apparently illegal behavior that harmed them. Women across the country have rejected Trump because of his obvious misogyny.

There have been appeals to men on the grounds that they may have daughters, wives or sisters, so they should be able to relate to this brutality and abhor Trump and his abuses. After all, that would affect them. But that rather misses the mark, because some men don’t have daughters, a wife or sisters. Does that excuse them from the imperative to reject Trump?

Anna Marie Cox said it best after the Trump “locker room” recording was released. She said the obvious, that every man had a mother.

So, to all the men who had a mother: Is being abused by Trump the way you would have wanted your mother to be treated when she was 19 or 25? If she was beautiful, would you have thought that her beauty made her fair game for sexual ambush? Would it have been okay if she had been in the Miss Teen USA contest when she was 15 years old and Trump had walked into her dressing room while she was undressed? Would it have been okay if she had been assaulted by lewd comments as she did nothing more provocative than walk down the sidewalk or show up for work?

Perhaps it has to be that close – it has to affect we humans personally – in order for us to truly feel the empathy and sometimes the outrage we should feel over the undeserved suffering of others. Now, though, you don’t have to be a woman who was leered at or groped or raped or pinned against a wall, nor do those things have to have happened to your daughter, your wife or your sister. You’re not exempt from the imperative to reject Trump, because you had a mother. So, this is personal. This is about you.

Oh, and by the way  .  .  .

When I’m wrong, it’s important that I admit it, and so it is that I offer this ‘fess up.

A while ago I claimed in a post right here that those who support Trump aren’t idiots. They are simply people who are angry over being blown off and abused for so very long and Trump is the voice of their rage. Now, though, we’re told that 27% of American women still support Trump. Clearly, I was wrong. They really are idiots.

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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.

Trump Debate Bingo

Reading time – 87 seconds; Viewing time – 2:42  .  .  .

In a snappy article in the New York Times cleverly entitled, A Week of Whoppers From Donald Trump, authors Maggie Haberman and Alexander Burns list a single week’s “.  .  .  blizzard of [Trump’s] falsehoods, exaggerations and outright lies  .  .  .” and then debunk them.

After reading the piece it occurred to me that watching the September 26 debate would be more fun if I were to keep track of the false innuendo and bovine fecal matter that dribbles from Trump’s lips  .  .  .  just to record his prevarication score in Bingo-like fashion  .  .  .  to identify which lies he told the most times in just one 90-minute period.

Given that he was to be just one of the two debate participants, he would be limited to about 45 minutes of blatant deceit possibility, minus the time moderator Lester Holt might use for posing questions and suppressing audience reaction. Surely, not even Donald the Deceiver could rack up a high score in so little time, right?

Wrong.

In a debate where I found Donald Trump to be especially incoherent and non-specific, here are the top scoring Trump untruthables according to our crack CYA News staff:

  1. I was against going into the war in Iraq. He said something like that 4 times. Hard to tell because of his meandering, incoherent rhetoric. He said it other ways, too, which if added to the blatant denials of the truth brings the total to about 8 whoppers.
  2. Our African-American communities are absolutely in the worst shape they’ve ever been in before. He said some form of that approximately two times – sort of. Again, it’s hard to nail this down due to the Trump verbal blizzard of non-sequiturs.
  3. Lots of whoppers vying for third place, like:
    1. ISIS is in more and more places.
    2. I’m all for NATO.
    3. The Iran agreement is one of the great giveaways of all time.
    4. We lose on everything.
    5. “Stop and frisk” wasn’t found to be unconstitutional.

Perhaps things seem hopeless and you feel your sense of dignity and even your sanity assaulted by the Trump blasts of political dishonesty. Well, take heart – there is hope!

Have a look at the newest offering from the Represent.us folks. After watching their highly encouraging video, click through to their website. Then maybe even do something to make things better. I mean, really, that shouldn’t be too hard, since the bar is set so low.

DIRTY STINKING LIES BONUS SECTION:

David Leonhardt heads the New York Times Daily Opinion report and published the following summary of Deceitful Donald’s excursions from reality. There is no link to this in the newspaper, as this material was only offered as the lead article in the email to subscribers immediately following the September 26, 2016 debate.

Dear Times Reader,
He lied about the loan his father once gave him.
He lied about his company’s bankruptcies.
He lied about his federal financial-disclosure forms.
He lied about his endorsements.
He lied about “stop and frisk.”
He lied about “birtherism.”
He lied about New York.
He lied about Michigan and Ohio.
He lied about Palm Beach, Fla.
He lied about Janet Yellen and the Federal Reserve.
He lied about the trade deficit.
He lied about Hillary Clinton’s tax plan.
He lied about her child-care plan.
He lied about China devaluing its currency.
He lied about Mexico having the world’s largest factories.
He lied about the United States’s nuclear arsenal.
He lied about NATO’s budget.
He lied about NATO’s terrorism policy.
He lied about ISIS.
He lied about his past position on the Iraq War.
He lied about his past position on the national debt.
He lied about his past position on climate change.
He lied about calling pregnancy an “inconvenience” for employers.
He lied about calling women “pigs.”
He lied about calling women “dogs.
He lied about calling women “slobs.”
So… who won the debate?
You can sign up for this daily newsletter, containing commentary and links to The Times’s full daily Opinion report, here.
David Leonhardt
Op-Ed Columnist

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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.

About Those Deplorables

false

Click the meter to get the fact-checked story on who started the birther insanity.

Reading time – 1:37 seconds; Viewing time – 2:56  .  .  .

I instantly cringed when I heard Hillary say,

“You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right?”

There is a difference between the act (saying something deplorable) and the person (they are deplorable) and my belief is that to condemn the person is to vilify, and that is a deplorable thing to do. So, I’m forcing myself to read between the lines and make a differentiation.

The polls have shown that a very large percentage of Trump supporters are motivated by some form of hate. The white supremacists are the extreme example, of course, but ordinary Americans with strong biases about race, gender identity, religion and national origin practice”othering” and they say and do, well, deplorable things. Like beating up protesters. My blood boils at the hatred of Trump and his cadre of brownshirts and brownshirt wannabees and I struggle to keep my “reject the action, not the person” mindset. In fact, there, I just failed again with the brownshirt comment.

Separating out these people who expressly promote hate, like David Duke, former Grand Peabrain of the Ku Klux Klan, and Alex Jones, Right Wing Village Idiot (and no, I won’t provide links to these two haters), I think a lot of Trump supporters are in his Kampf for far more benign reasons. They are frustrated at being lied to over and over by elected officials. They are suffering because so many good American jobs have disappeared (Fact: a large percentage of jobs are gone because of automation – off-shoring and bad trade deals aren’t the only boogie men). And they have been fed a steady diet of lies and hate from politicians, telling them that others are the cause of whatever their woes might be, all this in the absence of any facts that might be at least tangentially connected to reality.

All that doesn’t make these people innocent. At the very least they are guilty of allowing themselves to be ignorant. In their black and white world, they refuse to allow for the complexities of the world and foolishly insist on simple answers. And they allow themselves to be led by nothing more substantive than bumper sticker slogans.

And they are getting all of that from Donald Trump.

Stretch yourself, though, to allow that in their heart-of-hearts they love America just as much as you do and that they believe in right over wrong and good over bad. If you can do that, then Stephen King can explain our national obsession with delusion in this way:

the-trust-of-the-innocent

Think about that as you watch the debates.

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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.

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.

Green is the New Black

Green is the New BlackReading time – 1:52; Viewing time – 3:37  .  .  .

Many Democrats are angry and some even hate Hillary Clinton. The negatives tend to cluster around two things: trustworthiness (actually, the lack of it) and her disastrous position on ____________ (fill in the blank with your key issue). That has led many Democrats to proclaim with a righteous fury that they will not vote for her and they certainly won’t vote for Trump, so instead they will either abstain from voting or will vote for Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate. To explain why that’s self-defeating, let’s look at the math.

Votes for Trump will be from “the base”, plus those Republicans who put clothespins on their noses (thanks for the visual, D.W.) and vote for him only because his name is not Hillary Clinton. Clearly, all of those will be votes against Clinton.

Next point: Jill Stein doesn’t have even a remote chance of becoming president, so a vote for her won’t get her elected. In that sense, votes for her are wasted.

Finally, making the assumption that Democrats who abstain from voting or who vote for Stein would have voted for the Democratic candidate had that been someone other than Clinton, then those abstentions and votes for Stein will be votes against Clinton, which is exactly the same as a vote for Trump.

So, the math says that if you are a disaffected Democrat and either abstain from voting or vote for Stein, you will assure that America is endangered by a sociopathic President Trump. There, I said it: President Trump. How did that feel in your gut to read those words? Really scary and black?

If you fail to vote for Clinton and instead abstain or vote for Stein, Green will be the new black.

Yes, the DNC played unfairly with the nomination process. Absolutely, there are things about Clinton that don’t comport with your ideas about how things should be and assault your sense of right and wrong. I get it. Overriding all of that is this simple imperative:

There must never be a President Trump.

On August 7, 2016 Bill Maher put into perspective the issues you have with Clinton, saying, “There’s no room for boutique issues in an Armageddon election.” Armageddon election! That’s exactly what we have when a presidential candidate speaks glibly about using nuclear weapons.

Want to feel a bit better about holding your nose and voting for Clinton? Here’s some help.

Ezra Klein has an ordinary size human head, but tucked inside is a brain the size of Delaware; he is monstrously smart. His recent Vox article is about Hillary Clinton and her “gap” – the difference between how people who know her feel about her, versus the feelings of those who don’t have first-hand experience. This piece is enlightening and is a must-read, unless you’re dedicated to being frustrated and angry about Clinton. I double-dog dare you to read it.

Libertarian is the New BlackBTW: Everything said here also goes for disaffected Republicans who are thinking of abstaining or voting for Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate. Each of those voting options is a vote for Trump. Good Republican friends don’t let their friends do 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 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.

Magic Beans

BrexitReading time – 2:41; Viewing time – 3:48  .  .  .

The people of the United Kingdom have spoken and, while the final count was very tight (51.9% to 48.1%), the slim majority has decided the future of the UK and it is not with the European Union. World financial markets, governments around the world and a global army of pundits are trying to sort out the meaning and ramifications of the decision. Everyone wants to know how this works, what’s next and how it affects themselves. All good questions, but the far more important question is why apparently sensible people would do such a thing. What are the drivers for this out-sized behavior? Try this.

We’ve been told since the 1960s that the world is changing and that the pace of change will continue to accelerate. Indeed, it seems that the crystal ball gazers back then were right and the world now looks in many ways as it was predicted to be by outlandish science fiction stories of the past. And be clear that there are unintended consequences to all that change, one of which is job displacement.

One of the key drivers of the Brexit impetus was a reaction to immigrants. The EU mandate is to accept immigrants, many of whom come from Eastern Europe with not much in the way of marketable skills. The belief of the UK public is that these immigrants have been stealing jobs from the “natural” residents of the British Isles and, in consequence, depressing all wages. Regardless of the accuracy of that belief, Britons have reacted in a protectionist way, wanting life to return to a time when they had a steady job with good, livable wages. All they have to do, they apparently believe, is to raise an Anglo-Saxon finger eastward and prevent all that immigration. That feels ever-so-powerful.

Another way to say that is that the world has changed, they don’t like it and they want to revert to a time before the change, when things were understandable, life was steady and predictable and they felt in control of their own lives, when “others” weren’t upsetting their equilibrium. They imagine that they felt powerful then.

And that sounds a lot like the Donald Trump “Make America Great Again” message to American voters.

Millions of Americans are angry. Their jobs went somewhere to someone who would work for 1/30th of the wages they worked for. All they can find are jobs that pay poorly and have no benefits, so they can’t support their families, even as their well educated kids are living in their basements. They’ve been promised over and over that their leaders will make things better, but those same leaders have betrayed them for selfish reasons. They’re angry and they’re raising an American middle finger in just about every direction, especially at the establishment.

We, like the UK, are living in a state of change and some of it hits us hard. Worse, we don’t know what tomorrow will bring and human beings have an existential fear of the unknown that hates unpredictability.

Circus sideshow barker Trump is doing what the Brexit leaders did: he is promising a return to a predictable world, some imagined golden yesterday. That message sells well to people desperate for some sense of control and power in their lives, but it is nothing more than the illusion of vapor, something that nobody can deliver.

No one knows how this rapidly globalizing world will work; we humans are making it up as we go along. So, beware the charlatan who tries to sell us magic beans, lest we make a mess for ourselves the way they just did in the UK.

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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.

Tony Soprano in the Cabinet Room

Reading time – 54 seconds; Viewing time – 1:53  .  .  .

May 24, 2016
Chicago, IL
WLS Radio, 890 AM

Local radio talk show host Jonathon Brandmeier interviewed a caller today who identified as a truck driver. He poo-poohed criticism of Donald Trump for having connections to the mob. He said that if you want concrete for your construction project, as Donald Trump does for each of his buildings, then you have to do business with the mob. No big deal.

Brandmeier asked the caller how he would feel if Trump were elected president and brought in mobsters for every cabinet post. The caller said that he couldn’t care less. Besides, he said, those guys know how to get things done.

Brandmeier then ridiculed those who think ties to the mob is a worrisome thing, as though it’s a given that such people are fools.

And that is the attitude of dismissal of ethics and good judgment that pervades our political world right now. It’s a friendly elbow in the ribs of understanding among like-minded people who don’t care about anything they don’t feel threatened by at the moment. Hey, whatever works.

We live in an era of great political emotion. Dangerously, the emotion of 35% of Americans is destructive of learning, reason and democracy.

Talking reason to an emotionally charged person is an exercise in futility. So, our job between now and November 8 is to stop whining about the lack of sense of Trump supporters and instead speak to the 65% with both our reason and our emotion. You can begin your part right now by passing this piece to 3 people you know who aren’t politically attentive.

All that hangs in the balance is the future of America.

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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.

Betrayal

WWPReading time – 88 seconds; Viewing time – 3:36

One of the most difficult things to deal with is betrayal. It is the very thing that is driving the popular success of the Donald Trump f#&k you campaign. People feel sold out – betrayed – by our government and they are livid and they gravitate to a candidate spewing outrage. That sense of betrayal – the stab in the back by those we trusted – is part of the reason why treason is a capital crime.

And it is exactly why I have a problem with the Wounded Warrior Project. I’ve always had an unease about the slick commercials that show wounded vets in rehab, families with a disabled parent and they’re all smiling, a popular country singer tugging at hearts in a practiced baritone voice and a sound track that begs that we say a prayer for peace. The commercials are slick, because nowhere in the ads is there a statement about services actually delivered to vets and the benefits vets get and the recoveries they experience due to Wounded Warrior Project services, so the ads don’t quite pass the sniff test. What is really going on?

In a stunning January 27, 2016 article in the New York Times online, Dave Phillips detailed the lavish spending – hundreds of millions of dollars per year – that Wounded Warrior Project spends on its executives, not vets, for travel, dinners and hotels, its draconian employee practices and other questionable activities of the organization.

Wounded Warrior Project urges us to donate $19 per month and they give a WWP blanket as a token of thanks. That would be nice, were the monthly ding on your credit card account actually going to helping our vets. Phillips reports that, “About 40% of the organization’s donations in 2014 were spent on its overhead  .  .  . which includes administrative expenses and marketing costs  .  .  .” That means that $7.60 of every $19 monthly donation goes to executive pay and fancy hotels at $500 per night, instead of helping wounded veterans. To put that into perspective, ”  .  .  .  the Semper Fi Fund, a wounded-veterans group .  .  .  spent about 8 percent of donations on overhead.”

Ugly fact: Phillips reports that Mr. Nardizzi, CEO of Wounded Warrior Project, ”  .  .  .  was given $473,000 in compensation in 2014.” Is it okay with you that all that money went to a very healthy, never-been-in-the-military CEO instead of going to vets suffering PTSD or amputations? If you have donated to Wounded Warrior Project, are you now feeling duped?

We hold our veterans in highest esteem, as they do for us what we don’t want to do ourselves. They intentionally put themselves in harms way to protect us and they too often need our help when they come home. I’m all for supporting our veterans and I’m definitely not for supporting Mr. Nardizzi, who probably won’t be sending me a Wounded Warrior Project blanket any time soon. And that’s okay, because I think he is betraying our veterans.

CBS reported on this issue, too, and if you’d like to read the weasel words Wounded Warrior Project had to say in response, click here. Perhaps the reporting is wrong. Maybe they spend 20% on overhead, as Nardizzi claims in his rebuttal. But 8% is even better – and there’s still that sniff thing.

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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.

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Copyright 2018 by Jack Altschuler
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