21st Century

What We Can Do


I’ve been a fan of Art Friedson for a while and he recently posted 5 great tips for making change that we need. He’s given me permission to reprint his essay and you’ll find it below (ever so teeny-tiny edited). It’s a refreshing change from worrying and wringing hands.

As you read you’ll notice that Art is a genius. You’ll know that because he agrees with you and me. The trick lies in our putting that genius to work.

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What Art Friedson Has On His Mind

It seems like the sequel to Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day came out last week and it starred President Joe Biden. There’s plenty of blame to go around, but I’d rather focus on what we can do to turn things around.

We have about six months before voter opinions for 2022 are baked in. Lest you think things don’t change much over six months, let me remind you that Omicron was first listed as a Variant of Concern in the United States on November 20, 2021. Yep. Just two months ago. We’ve got three times that long to change the narrative for the midterms, so let’s get started.

Scanning the punditry over the past two weeks, here are five things the Biden Administration and Democrats across the ideological spectrum can do to create real change:

1. Just stop talking. WaPo’s Jennifer Rubin, always a sane voice, urges us to stop talking about mega-bills that have stalled. And while you’re at it, stop talking about the filibuster and all the other things we can’t change right now. It is not only unhelpful, it actually hurts us by making it look like not achieving the impossible is a failure.

It’s also not helpful to keep bashing Manchin no matter how richly he deserves it. He’s a Democrat from the former guy’s second-strongest state (after Wyoming). Without Manchin, we don’t have a majority in the Senate. Period.

2. Accentuate the positive. 529,000,000 Covid vaccine doses have been administered in the U.S. since Joe Biden became president. 63% of the population is fully vaccinated representing 208,000,000 Americans. 96% of K-12 schools are open for in-person learning today, versus 46% a year ago. All of that happened in one year, despite a well-organized, highly motivated (and astonishingly stupid) opposition. That’s a BFD.

The $1.8 Trillion American Rescue Plan was passed without a single Republican vote. Not one. Yet, pretty much every American – Republican or Democrat – benefited directly. The economy didn’t tank thanks to payments to American families. Restaurants, hotels, small businesses, churches, synagogues and mosques survived the shutdown thanks to it. Poverty rates were slashed at the very moment employment was at its nadir.

The largest investment in infrastructure since the 1950s was passed (with a handful of R votes, no less!) and is being implemented even as we speak. It will repair our roads and bridges, improve our ports and rails, and bring broadband to the farthest reaches of our country.

This is an astonishing list, my friends. If we could focus on what we accomplished rather than what we’re lacking, we’d be doing a whole lot better politically.

3. Draw the contrast. Like the Obama Administration, the Biden White House has been 100% free of the corruption and constant chaos of life under the former guy.
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Want to throw out Democratic control of Congress? Get ready for non-stop Jim Jordan, Paul Gosar, Marjorie Taylor Green and Lauren Boebert. Is that what you really want, America? I don’t think so.
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Remind everyone endlessly that every single infrastructure project they see was done almost solely by Democrats.
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4. Play small ball. The Administration has been swinging for the bleachers for 12 months, and while it worked in the beginning on the wave of the election, it has not proven sustainable. But singles and doubles can score runs as well. He can probably get enough Republican support to protect what happens after elections which is crucial. Of course, we care about what happens with voting itself, but don’t sacrifice a crucial election reform because we can’t get more. Go for it. He can get two or three very big-ticket items packaged in a new Build Back Better bill that Manchin and Sinema will sign on to. Do it. Find the wins, and make the R’s force the losses to establish the contrast in the midterms.

5. Pursue the Abundance Agenda. Derek Thompson has a great piece in The Atlantic that very effectively argues for increasing the supply of essentials America needs. We need to increase the supply of healthcare, housing, college, transportation, clean energy, and I would add, legal immigrants in order to create a sustainably strong American economy. Let’s go for it.

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The Infrastructure Plan will do all of what Art said PLUS it will put millions of Americans to work in good paying union jobs with good benefits and will give them the dignity that comes from working.

If you’d like more from Art and some other insightful commentary, subscribe to Nancy Kohn’s NKC Occasional Update. Guaranteed to get your thinking machine lubricated.

Meanwhile, the days are counting down and we’re all counting on us.

Stop the Presses!

From Indivisible Illinois Voting Rights Gazette, January 25, 2022:

DeSantis Proposes Creation of Police-like Office to Hunt Out Suspected Voter Fraud

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is proposing spending $5.7 million to create a new Office of Election Crime and Security, a first in the country.

Envisioned as an investigative unit, it would be authorized to look for violations of state election law and supposed election irregularities and would have the power to take control over any investigation conducted by local police or prosecutors.

With a proposed staff of over 50 investigators, the agency would have a larger staff than most police departments have to solve murders, even though only five Floridians have been arrested for alleged voter fraud in the 2020 election. It would be the first in any state dedicated to investigating and prosecuting election-related crimes. https://bit.ly/3Ib7cD0

Not to be outdone, a bill in the Arizona legislature would authorize the state’s auditor general to investigate state and local election administrators’ performance of their election duties. Normally the auditor general investigates financial practices, and has no election law expertise. Now, that office would be investigating voter registration and mail voting processes at the state and local level. 

The bill would also give the Legislative Audit Committee, another entity with no experience, the task of shaping the auditor’s investigations. https://bit.ly/3IDkoAX

Arizona legislature proposes funding for an entity with no expertise in election law to investigate voter registration. ” [all emphasis original]

That’s $5.7 million and 50 investigators to deal with 5 Floridians accused – NOT convicted – of voting irregularities. Nothing draconian and fascist to see here, folks. Move along. Same “no worries” for Arizona – the Brownshirt thugs are on duty!

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The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.

Did someone forward this to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!)

And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town vibrant.

JA


Copyright 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Exposé


BREAKING NEWS!

In a shocking exposé released moments ago, Red State TV, Red State Talk Radio and Red State Cable News simultaneously released the results of a three month investigation. They reported,

“We found that the vast majority of Red State Americans who have heroically refused to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus, as well as having ferociously refused masks and mask mandates, have instead been quietly receiving other preventives called “alternative treatments.” This was revealed in an exclusive interview with Kellyanne Conway, the former President’s spokesperson, who introduced the world to “alternative facts.”

Most Red State citizens interviewed for this investigation admitted to some discomfort over their preventive actions. They claimed to have the feeling they may have gone too far beyond the officially sanctioned loud proclamations of their freedom to refuse vaccines and their fierce demonization of maskers.

The most common of the alternative treatments by far (87.1%) is that Red Staters have been receiving brain injections of Botox.

“The medical explanation provided by practitioners is that Botox glaciates the brain, much like subcutaneous injections of Botox in the face. When used cosmetically, Botox prohibits voluntary facial movement, leaving patients looking very much like mannequins. In the case of brain injections of Botox, the brain becomes frozen in a similar manner with similar consequences.

“In a city council meeting in Enid, OK, Dr. I.M. Bubba, Chief Frozier of the Red State Pandemic Treatment Center explained, ‘A medical trial of Botox brain injections was conducted over a 10-month period, following 20,562 unvaccinated people, ages 5 – 79. The trial established that this methodology is effective in alleviating patients’ concerns over both vaccinations and COVID-19. Indeed, the majority of patients contracted COVID-19, but remained placidly unaware of their symptoms and did not need anesthesia when being intubated. That is highly unusual, as most people react strongly to a tube being pushed down their throat. Many died a day or two later.'”

The CDC has peer reviewed the documentation provided to it by the Red State Pandemic Treatment Center and has issued this statement:

“Upon review of the documentation of the Brain-Botox treatment process we have concluded that if a person refuses proven vaccines against COVID-19 and elects instead to take alternative treatment by brain injection of Botox, at least the corpses will look younger.

“The CDC continues to promote the standard panel of vaccinations, including boosters, as the best preventive treatment against COVID-19. In addition, we strongly recommend wearing an N95 or KN95 mask whenever in public and near others who might have come from a Red State. Our national experience over 18 months of pandemic has made clear that Red Staters do not care if they infect fellow citizens, regardless of whether they have taken Botox injections. Therefore, always wear a mask.”

Concurrently with it’s peer review of this treatment, the CDC issued this alert:

CDC Safety Alert: Even if they are in an obviously infected condition and under the influence of Botox, Red Staters probably still know how to get to school board meetings to rage against vaccines and masks. Stand clear of them at such gatherings and protect young children and sensitive others from exposure.”

Watch this space for further BREAKING NEWS! on this treatment protocol and others, including cold turkey refusal and obstinate denial. All of these alternative treatments are likely to accelerate our changing national demographics through significant population attrition and will eventually have a large impact on our politics moving forward.

This Just In, Too

Each Thanksgiving New York Times opinion writer Maureen Dowd turns her column over to her brother, Kevin. I’m not sure what label he uses for himself, as the meaning of words like “conservative” and “Republican” have morphed into something quite different from what they were just a few short years ago. Whatever it’s called now, that’s the side of the political center Kevin falls on.

This year his Thanksgiving offering was delayed due to his contracting a nasty and lingering case of COVID (yes, he was vaccinated). His essay is now available here.

Last year I posted a reply to Kevin’s Thanksgiving offering – Oh, Kevin. As then, this year’s Kevin essay also includes claims that are upside down and accusations that are over-broad and unsubstantiated, but he also has some comments worthy of consideration. I say that even in the presence of the satiric brain-Botox comments above about anti-vaxxers. That was just for fun. Finding common ground is mandatory.

I encourage you to read his piece. Recognize that he’s clear-eyed about many things and he’s no Trump sycophant, nor is he delusional about authoritarianism.

We all know that 68% of Republicans believe the Big Lie that the last election was stolen from Trump via voting fraud. We’ve seen the grim statistic that there are 20 million who believe violence is justified in pursuit of their angry pseudo-patriotism. But there are millions more who aren’t in alignment with the haters and violence promoters. These people don’t have a big, cruel megaphone, so we rarely hear their voices. They are Americans who believe in an oath to the Constitution. Perhaps it’s time – long past time – that we make an overt peace with them and work together to protect and defend the democracy we both believe in.

The midterm election is just 310 days away. Let’s make this a happy new year.

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The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.

Did someone forward this to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!)

And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town vibrant.

JA


Copyright 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Year End Awards


Hypocrite of the Week

Iron Dome is a defensive rocket system that finds and destroys attacking missiles. During the Gaza war in May 2021 Israel used it against the roughly 4,400 rockets fired from Gaza into Israel and knocked down about 90% of therm. This entirely defensive system is all that stands between Israeli civilians and the next barrage of rockets launched by Hamas in Gaza.

Israel’s supply of these defensive rockets was greatly depleted during that war, so Israel is looking to the U.S., the only source, to replenish the supply. There is near universal support for that in the U.S. Congress, with the notable exception of Sen. Rand Paul. He has blocked the funding bill for Iron Dome four times, leaving the security of Israel in peril for over 90 additional days as of this writing.

ImageThis is the same Rand Paul who voted against humanitarian aid for the people devastated by Gulf Coast hurricanes, but who now has pleaded for help for Kentuckians devastated by that super tornado a couple of weeks ago.

I guess if it doesn’t help Rand Paul personally, it’s just not important to him. And being a hypocrite isn’t a problem for him, either. That makes Rand Paul the winner of the Hypocrite of the Week Award for a lot of weeks.

Hypocrites of the Year

Read these examples highlighted by Steve Sheffey:

More than 800,000 Americans have died from COVID, but Republicans continue to oppose vaccine mandates. Last week marked the ninth anniversary of the shootings at Sandy Hook, when 20 first-graders and six educators were murdered, but Republicans continue to block gun-control legislation.

Gotta add that this Valentine’s Day will mark the fourth anniversary of the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School in Parkland, FL, where 17 students and teachers were killed and 17 more were injured by the bullets fired by a deeply messed up former student. And still Republicans refuse to pass gun safety legislation that over 80% of Americans want. These Republicans are the same people who loudly proclaim that they are pro-life. Yes, seriously.

So, it’s the same deal: If it doesn’t help these Republicans personally, it’s just not important to them. And being a hypocrite isn’t a problem for them, either, just like Rand Paul. That makes them individually and collectively this year’s winners of the Hypocrite of the Year Award, same as last year. And the year before. And next year.

Oddly, Americans selected this hypocrisy by voting these people into positions of power. Ruminate on that a bit.

The 2021 Lucy Award

The Pull-The-Football Award Committee is unanimous in awarding the 2021 Lucy Award to Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia for his steadfast commitment to not committing. Furthermore, the Committee’s deliberation led them to the obvious conclusion that Manchin must also receive the Goalpost Mover Citation of Excellence for his incremental “one more thing-ism.” It’s unclear as of the time of this writing if Manchin will change parties and throw control of the Senate to Mitch McConnell and the obstructionist Republicans, but experts suspect that move may be on the way. That would secure the Benedict Arnold Award for Manchin, too.

Hypocrite of the Century

The votes are in and only one candidate received votes – all of the votes. Congratulations to Donald Trump for securing the well deserved Hypocrite of the Century Award! Here’s what’s amazing about that.

There are 79 years to come in this century, yet all 7.9 billion people on planet Earth agree on the winner of this award. “People are saying,” that it will be impossible for anyone to be a bigger hypocrite. This award is bestowed upon its recipient even knowing that he is on his way to becoming the world’s biggest loser, going from the Oval Office to the Iron Bars Office. He’ll be a hypocrite there, too.

Dupes of The Year Award

Ronald Reagan began the overt demonizing of government four decades ago and it has been amped up continuously by people appealing to the frustrations of ordinary citizens. Donald Trump tapped into that and exponentially increased that anger with the very things that get people to follow him, including his lies, never backing down regardless of how obviously wrong he is, continuously circus barking promises that will not and could not be fulfilled and always appealing to victimhood. And grift.

Trump has manipulated thousands of elected officials and pundits to repeat and even expand his inflammatory lies and together they have fooled millions of Americans. Now over 60% of Republicans believe the 2020 election was stolen and 20 million think violence is appropriate for “taking back our country.”

These millions are once again the winners of the Dupes of The Year Award. Ensuring this honor for them were the hundreds of thousands of their fellow Americans who refused to mask or be vaccinated because of the right-wing lies told to them and who subsequently died. It’s possible that they are worthy contenders for a Darwin Award, too, which each year goes to people who most improve the human gene pool by removing themselves from it.

Wrong Time Award

No, not that kind. I’m talking about Time Magazine and their poor choice for their 2021 Person of the Year. Read Eugene Robinson’s clear, compelling case that Eugene Goodman is the real deal and should have been awarded that honor and been on that magazine cover. That’s why the Wrong Time Award goes to Time.

James Webb Telescope rocket lift-off, 12/25/21

The Hope Award

If you watched NASA TV early Christmas morning you saw the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope on an Ariane 5 Rocket. For we science geeks (Key requirement: you must believe in science) it was another lump in the throat success, a reinvigorater of can-do spirit and an ultimately cool way to restore a sense of pride.

The “Of Course I Still Love You” autonomous landing barge

An observation that I found impossible to miss is that the vast majority of NASA scientists are 20-somethings. That’s right, it was kids who put the most sophisticated telescope in the world out of this world. And it’s kids who make Elon Musk’s rockets back down onto their launching pads and onto the “Of Course I Still Love You” barge in the ocean.

And it’s largely kids protesting and demonstrating for action to battle climate warming all around the globe. It’s kids who are jettisoning racial and gender hatreds. It looks as if we Boomers and X-ers at last have done something right: we raised this upcoming generation who just might save us from ourselves and fix upon our times the label: “Hope.” That’s why our 20-somethings get The Hope Award.

Finally

God’s Tech Support – click me

We have skyrocketing infections and deaths due to the twin epidemics of COVID and American pigheadedness, and plenty more threats to send us out on the ledge. But before you climb through the window, reread The Hope Award section above and then read this from Dan Rather. He’s no Pollyanna, but he’s been around the block enough times to have a valuable perspective on the use of ledges.

In this season of wishing for stuff, I wish for us a just nation, where right matters and wins, where democracy always prevails, where we care about one another in the ways that truly matter and where we think and plan far into the future to set things on the best path for our children, grandchildren and all who will come after us. I figure it’s our job to make all of that happen, so wishing isn’t enough.

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The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.

Did someone forward this to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!)

And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town vibrant.

JA


Copyright 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Now Yer Talkin’


Republicans have done a truly excellent job of demonization. They call anything proposed by Democrats “socialism,” making clear that Democrats want to change America into a socialist state. That’s heavy stuff in this country, where most Americans think socialism is the same as communism, which, they are certain, is the political embodiment of evil. It’s even more potent than that when it comes to getting the votes of independent voters. Imagine how the socialism label plays for Cuban Americans in Florida, whose parents and grandparents fled Castro’s brutal communist regime.

The good news is that the Democrats have snappy labels and taunts for Republicans, too.

“Republicans hate your children and don’t care if they starve.”

“Republicans want you working with infected co-workers so that you get sick and die of COVID-19.”

“Republicans want you to have to work 3 jobs just to get by.”

Yes, it’s thrilling to see those billboards and see those TV commercials, too. Gotta love the over-dub of Trump’s “shit hole countries” speech, where the Democrats made it clear how much Trump and the Republicans hate all Hispanics, right?

No, not right. You didn’t see that video and you have not heard those slogans or seen them on billboards, because the Democrats are the worst political fighters in the history of history. They haven’t an attack element in their entire wimpy Party. And that is why the minority Republicans spanked them and got 50% of the Latino vote in 2020.

Have you heard any push back to the Republican and QAnon claim that Democrats are part of an international sex trafficking, child blood drinking cabal, even just to call them liars? Neither have I. Note, too, how that horrid characterization plays nicely with the ages old, idiotic and cruel anti-Semitic claim that matzos is made with the blood of Christian children. I’m looking for push back from Democrats against that hatred, against that blatant appeal to White Christian supremacy, and have yet to hear even a whimper of opposition. I haven’t heard any attack on Republican dishonesty.

John Kerry refused to confront the fictions of the Swift Boat liars, not wanting to dignify their lies. He waited way too long to speak up, giving the lies time to gain a strong footing and then he lost the 2004 presidential election. Triple amputee war hero Max Cleland (D-GA) lost his senate seat the same way. He waited too long to counter the slime and the lies of his opponent, Saxby Chambliss, and lost his Senate seat.

Survival means we must speak up and attack – or our democracy will die. Quod erat demonstrandum.

If the Democrats play their cards just right, if they stay the course with their eunuch communication and attack-free attacks on Republicans, they will continue to look like buffoons and will give away the government to the democracy-hating Republicans.

Just get this: If we lose our democracy to the authoritarians, there will be no getting it back. Not in the next election, if there is one, and not in any election after that. All will be permanently lost.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are nine quick stick ’em lines for Dems to use:

“Republicans hate your democracy.”

“Republicans oppose every plan to support working families.”

“How do you like being lied to by Republicans?”

“If something helps your family, Republicans are against it.”

“If Republicans win it will be like you being sent back to Cuba (or El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, the Soviet Union, the Philippines, etc.).”

“Republicans will steal your vote – if they haven’t done that already.”

“Republicans don’t care if the sea swallows your house or your children are killed by a hurricane or tornado.”

“Republicans don’t care that there are rats in your kid’s school.”

“Whatever is dear to you, Republicans are against it.”

There now, that wasn’t so hard, was it?

It matters what Democrats are saying – and what they’re not saying. And they better speak up, or the authoritarian Republican cheats will be the only ones talking, the only ones voters hear.

This post is focused on hitting and on hitting back. Democrats also have to be the party of what is good and right in America and of making things better. That’s for another post. Here’s a tickle of that from the November 17 post:

No, not just the President. Every elected official with a “D” after their name, every pundit, and every cabinet officer has to sell the benefits and call out Republican hypocrisy and lies.

Winning in Three Simple Steps
    1. Call out Republican cheating, lying, hypocrisy, anti-democracy and anti-We-The-People words and actions. Just tell the truth. Forcefully.
    2. Sell Democratic successes and benefits for We The People. No more public hand wringing or endless talk about cost.  Put President Biden’s name in BIG letters on every infrastructure project so that Americans connect the dots from the President to their own well-being. When the Build Back Better bill passes, label those projects “Courtesy of President Biden and your Congressional Democrats.”
    3. Do what’s required to produce massive voter turnout.

For clarity about the danger we face, read this Twitter thread – all of it.

Brought To You Today by the Number Seven

From Common Cause:

“MOST FRIGHTENING OF ALL: if just seven more states sign on, the Koch network, the Mercers, corporate funders, and their extremist allies will reach the two-thirds supermajority required to convene the [Constitutional] convention they need to tear apart the U.S. Constitution.”

Learn more here.

Time

No, not that kind. I’m talking about Time Magazine and their poor choice for their 2021 Person of the Year. Read Eugene Robinson’s clear, compelling case that Eugene Goodman is the real deal and should have been on that magazine cover.

That Manchin Thing

There is lots of room for indignation, wailing about betrayal and more, but rather than having tantrums, let’s stay focused on what’s important. We have millions suffering economically, medically, educationally and more and we have the plan to cure huge swaths of that suffering, so let’s stay zeroed in on getting the cure for what ails us. To that end, read Paul Krugman’s clear explainer of why Build Back Better really is better in, What We Lose If We Don’t Build Back Better.

Finally

We’re on the bright side of the road now. We just passed the winter solstice and we will be gaining about 2 minutes of daylight every day until June 21, when we will have 6 more hours of daylight than today. Flowers will bloom. Children will play in the park. Neighbors will rediscover one another. And we, you and I, will be doing our part to make for a joyous November 9, the day after Election Day.

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The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.

Did someone forward this to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!)

And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town vibrant.

JA


Copyright 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Existential


Steve Bannon told us long before the 2016 election that he wants to “tear it all down,” meaning the administrative state. That includes our Constitution, democracy, learning and wisdom and the institutions that uphold our moral foundation. He wants it all blown up.

He is a nihilist, a hater of authority and a manufacturer of chaos and hatred. I have no interest in understanding his deep and profoundly debilitating daddy issues that drive him to create destruction, because doing so is useless to the critical task at hand. What is important is to recognize how impactful Bannon is and has been to Trump becoming the first American dictator and what that means to us.

Trump used Bannon first to get himself elected, then to convert the presidency into a money machine for Trump. Neither of them has even a consciousness, much less a concern for all who get crushed by their maniacal, mentally ill lust for ever more power and money. And, of course, Trump has used hundreds of sycophantic goons to subvert every agency of all three branches of government, demonstrating just how easy it is to get people to sell out and be manipulated for what they think are self-serving reasons. Even with regular examples dangled in their faces they just can’t seem to get it into their heads that they themselves will be next to be fed into Trump’s guillotine.

Many of us want to preserve our democracy and don’t agree with the 20% of Americans who are both Trump followers and who think violence is justified in order for them to get their way. That leaves us with critical challenges, chief among which is to answer the question, “What are you going to do about it?”

One option is to give in to the threats. History is teeming with examples of people cowed into submission by the threat or use of force. That means that they willfully made themselves serfs without rights, just pawns to be played and sacrificed for the benefit of the bullies. It’s understandable how fear could make people allow that, but if we do that we invite the despotism the bullies seek to create and which you and I don’t want.

In a recent webinar presented by The Atlantic one of the topics discussed was how to deal with millions of our fellow citizens who accept accusations that are completely untethered to any facts and who reject out of hand any observable evidence that counters their beliefs. The point made by the experts is that we don’t have an option of changing such peoples’ minds because they are set in concrete. They are impervious to all information that doesn’t support their predetermined certainties, so we must do things to appeal to those who have at least one foot on real ground if we are to protect our democracy.

I don’t have confidence in the Democrats’ willingness to face reality and do what needs to be done. Test my lack of confidence by listing all the times in a week you hear or see any Democrat directly and specifically unmasking the insurgents, the liars, the cheats and the haters. Include the times that you see the bad guys get punished for doing things like Lauren Bobert’s attack on Muslims and the White supremacist, anti-Semitic statements of Paul Gosar and Marjorie Taylor Greene and the homicidal representatives with their AR-15 Christmas cards. Where are the smack downs of Jim Jordan and Matt Gaetz? Add up all the incidents of push back to the crazies that you find in a week. I’m betting that the number on your list will be zero or very close to it. I’m afraid that we just can’t count on the Dems to do the right and necessary things – yet.

But what if we can turn up the heat on them?

We need people who will primary our confrontation avoiding senators and representatives. We need those people to be on the fiery point of the arrow aimed at the Trump conspiracy to end our nation. We need people who will organize giant protest marches in the streets of our towns and cities. We need people to show up at the protests and demand justice be visited on the law breakers and that democracy be assured for We The People. We need people to canvas door to door and encourage the non-voters to show up because that’s in their own best interests and because they’re screwed if they don’t.

We need you and I to get up off our BarcaLoungers and make noise. Lots of noise. We need for us to show up at protests and put lawn signs out front where the neighbors will see them. We need to write opinion pieces online and in local and regional newspapers (where they still exist). We need us to call into online talk shows and blast back against the hypocrites and haters so that other listeners might have their eyes cracked open just a bit. We need to go to town hall meetings and smack down the smack of the violent ones.

We need people who will challenge every calm and reasonable approach to our crisis of democracy, because those calm and reasonable tactics are powerless to stop an authoritarian coup backed by 20 million armed people who believe violence is okay. Doubt that? Grab your history book and read about Nazi Germany in the 1930s – and no, that isn’t hyperbolic and yes, it’s an apt comparison. We are in that kind of danger.

This is no thought experiment. This is existential – an actual life and death battle for democracy. Steve Bannon and the rest of the bad guys say they want to tear it down. I say, “Not on my watch.”

What do you say?

475

That’s the number the Associated Press published in an illuminating examination of our bemoaned, hallucinatory plague of voting fraud.

They looked at the 2020 election votes in the six so-called battleground states – Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – where 25.5 million votes were cast. The total of all suspicious votes (like people voting for dead relatives) reported by those states was just 475. That’s 0.00186% of the total vote.

President Biden’s cumulative margin of victory in those states was 311,257, which places the suspicious votes at 0.15% of the margin. Even if all those sketchy votes actually were fraudulent and even if all of them were added to Trump’s vote count in just one battleground state (pick one, any one), they still wouldn’t come close to making a difference in the outcome.

Some of us think that there is a firm reality that can be counted upon, like gravity, verifiable facts and counting. The rest aren’t interested in reality. For them, it’s evidence, schmevidence. So, sadly, nobody’s views will be modified even a little by the AP reporting. Such is the state of our political trench warfare and the failures of education to overcome primitive beliefs. Turns out we really aren’t much beyond beating drums in the jungle.

And Just For Fun

Thanks go to SS for the pointer.

————————————

The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.

Did someone forward this to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!)

And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town vibrant.

JA


Copyright 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Little


Note: This is the promised follow up to last Sunday’s post. JA

——————————–

Anyone who is watching can see the naked assaults and the unscrupulous dismantling of American democracy. Everywhere, the angry little people are attacking our institutions, taking away our rights and freedoms, keeping power for themselves and replacing all that we hold dear with rule by an anti-democratic minority.

This frightened savagery of little men and little women with little intellect and little vision, club their way through democracy, beating primitive drums to frighten the people and destroying all that is in their path to ever-more power and money for themselves.

Truth has no place in their little world. It has been completely replaced by propaganda, by projections of their own failings onto others and by yet more cruel lies layered upon the carcasses of prior lies. They do this with their faux patriotism and their shams about freedom and independence. The smallness of these little people leads them to constantly scheme to create control over others’ bodies, minds and lives in their conspiracy mania to control We The People.

From Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises:

“How did you go bankrupt?” Bill asked. “Two ways,” Mike said. “Gradually, then suddenly.”

And that is exactly how democracies die: gradually, then suddenly. In case you have difficulty seeing the assaults on our own democracy, just look to the recent histories of other countries like Hungary, Russia, Turkey, the Philippines and elsewhere. They’re just a little further down the road to despotism. Here’s the really bad news about that:

Right now we are at a moment of inflection, a tipping point, between gradually and suddenly.

We suffer from a good but distracted populace, too myopic and stressed to notice much of what is beyond their daily lives. If we are to prevent the sudden fall, the crash that breaks everything, we must open the eyes of everyone to the truth and reality of the danger before us and we must then marshal our forces to push back the little people who would bring us tyranny.

Truly, this is a Thomas Paine moment.
.
“These are the times that try men’s souls; the summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”
.

The bugle has sounded. It’s time for us to stand by our country and by We The People.

You know what to do to stop the little men and the little women of little intellect and little vision from destroying our democracy.* Look at the graphic below and you’ll realize that the countdown is relentless and that there is no time to waste. It’s time to grab your metaphorical musket, report for duty and stand a post for democracy.

Required
A photo of a crowd with a MAGA hat in the foreground and people standing on scaffolding with a Second Amendment flag and Trump banner in front of the smoke-obscured U.S. Capitol

January 6, 2021 – A day which will live in infamy

A lot of people are investigating threats to our democracy, most notably the members of the House January 6 Commission. They’re interviewing, issuing subpoenas and referring refusers for criminal prosecution. Likely, their report is almost a year away.

Other well informed people have plenty to say and you’re in luck, because some experts are convening on the 13th and you can watch this must-see event. From The Atlantic:

The January/February issue of The Atlantic is devoted to examining the crisis of American democracy.

Join Jeffrey Goldberg, along with Pulitzer-winning staff writers Barton Gellman and Anne Applebaum, on Monday, December 13 at 11 a.m. ET for a virtual event revisiting the Capitol riot, one year later. Register for free.

Here’s a link to the cover story of the January/February issue, Trump’s Coup Has Already Begun, and here’s a link to another piece, The Election That Could Break America. Like the virtual event, both of these pieces are a must.

Many thanks to LP for the heads up.

Finally

This can all feel overwhelming and unstoppable, but just in time the right message has arrived.

“December 7, 1941 – A day which will live in infamy” – FDR

Yesterday was the 80th anniversary of the Japanese attack on our naval and air forces at Pearl Harbor and Hickam Field in Hawaii. 90-year-old Dan Rather has some things to say about that. He was 10 years old then and today passes to us some wisdom from his father and from his own experiences. He concludes his piece, writing,

“I call upon those memories many times to return me to equilibrium. Especially on this day. December 7. A day that not only lives in infamy, but a day that also spawned a repudiation of despair.”

So, step off the ledge. Come back inside. We’ll roll up our shirtsleeves and do what Americans did then, what we always do. And we’ll repudiate the despair we’ve felt so deeply.

———————–

* I’m researching the best things for us to do to make sure those who would stab democracy in the heart are defeated. It’s often a confusing and even frustrating fight, because every cause seems to have a story and a hand extended toward your wallet. You want to do what will be most effective so that democracy wins, but you don’t know where to put your support. It’s just plain hard to divine where that is or what to do. If you have a suggestion, please pass it along. Meanwhile, expect a report soon. After all, the mid-terms will determine control of Congress and that election is just 335 days away.

————————————

The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.

Did someone forward this to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!)

And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town vibrant.

JA


Copyright 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Domestic Terrorism and Your Ancestors


Likely, the first part of the title of this post makes you think of the kid who killed 4 classmates in Michigan’s Oxford High School last week. Maybe you also remember the Las Vegas shooter, the Tree of Life Synagogue and Mother Emanuel AME Church shooters and the murderer in Charlottesville and the insurrectionist murderers at the Capitol Building. You’d be right using that title for all those murderers. But I’m thinking about our terrorist elected officials.

Like the terrorists who made it a felony to give a bottle of water to someone waiting in line to vote. And the ones who made it legal for thugs carrying Glocks and assault rifles to patrol the grounds right outside polling places. What could possibly go wrong there?

And like the terrorist legislators who use minority rule to make second class, powerless citizens of those who likely wouldn’t vote for them.*

And the terrorists in Congress who regularly threaten to shut down the U.S. government whenever a Democrat is in the White House. They’re the same terrorists who threaten to cause our country to default on its debts. They do that every year a Democrat is in the White House, too.

“Hey, world, we just decided we won’t pay you what we owe you. Too bad for you and goodie for those of us who refuse to pay our national credit card bill, ‘cus we just stuck it to the President and our opponents in Congress. That’s how you know that we’re very tough guys. You’re just collateral damage and honestly, we really don’t care what happens to you or our standing among nations, as long as we get our way now.”

There was a time when terrorists putting a gun to the nation’s head to get their way wouldn’t have been tolerated. Back then the idea of claiming that an election was stolen, this in the total absence of any evidence to support the claim, would have earned censure, rebuke and ridicule. Storming the Capitol to stop the peaceful transfer of power wouldn’t even have occurred to anyone. But all of that and more have gone on and much is still going on right now, energized by a constant fire hose of lies. We’ve always had politicians who lie, but there are few if any other examples of a coordinated, extremist attack on reality.

If we’re to deal with this domestic terrorism we’ll have to figure out some things, like:

How is it that ignoring the will of the people is standard and lying to the public every day is both commonplace and smart politics?

How is it that we wring hands and then move on as though nothing has happened every time some whack job guns down kids, shoppers, concert goers and worshipers? Then we refuse to do anything to prevent the next murderer wannabe from getting his hands on a gun.

And how is it that the extremists, the radical terrorists, have manipulated the Supreme Court into a being a mob of partisan hacks that,

– invites huge money into our politics so the rich can buy their legislators (Citizens United). Worse, they exaggerated that harm with an issue unrelated to that case (“legislating from the bench”) that gave full human rights to corporations

– blocks gun safety legislation at every opportunity (Heller) and snuffs countless other attempts to obey the will of We The People – NOTE: a minimum of 80% of us want those gun safety laws.

– is now almost certain to ignore established law, decisions and the precedent of generations (no more stare decisis), leading to mistrust of the rule of law and making Supreme Court justices nothing more than political hacks**

– is now almost certain to tell women that they are not full citizens with the right to make decisions for themselves and that the government will be their daddy for life**

– is now almost certain to stimulate huge growth in the back alley abortion business, leading to otherwise preventable sterilizations, sickness and death – we’ve seen this movie before**

How is it that we tolerate such wanton disregard of decency and responsibility and we abandon the most fundamental rule of democracy, majority rule?

What has happened to us such that we allow all of this to go on?

Those aren’t idle or rhetorical questions. I want your insight on how we came to allow our values to be desecrated, because I surely don’t have answers. Here’s something to stimulate your thinking.

About your ancestors

Imagine for a moment that you could talk to your grandparents or great-grandparents for an hour or two, people of the Greatest Generation and perhaps the generation before them, born in the late 19th or the earliest part of the 20th century. You’d tell them what is happening in today’s America. What do you suppose they’d say? Here’s my guess.

It would take most of that time for them to begin to believe you, because they’d be shocked and horrified. Your report would be of an America that is unimaginable to them. Much of the story you’d have told them would describe some of the very reasons we went to war against countries that did the things we’re doing right now.

That’s how far we’ve strayed.

Look for a clear call to action on Wednesday, December 8.

—————————-

* From Prof. Heather Cox Richardson:

“After 19 Republican-dominated states have passed election laws suppressing the vote and gerrymandering districts, a reactionary minority controls them. Although Biden won Wisconsin, for example, the state supreme court today left in place districts that likely will enable Republicans to control 60% of the legislative seats in the state (and 75% of the state’s seats in the U.S. House of Representatives). Ending federal protections for civil rights means handing to these reactionaries power over the majority of us.”

**  From Dan Rather:

“The issue of abortion is one on which fair minded people, honest to their own beliefs and moral codes, can disagree. But today was not about personal choice. It was about the law of the land that will make no exceptions other than those carved out by the states. And if the history of a time before legal abortions is any guide, and there is no reason to suspect otherwise, today will beget many personal tragedies, ruined lives, hardship, and despair.

“What transpired in the marbled halls of the Supreme Court was not genteel, even if it was wrapped in the ceremony and vocabulary of polite legal discourse. It was a traumatic reckoning. First and foremost for the rights of women to have control of their bodies and their lives. And secondly for a nation of laws, where precedent is supposed to matter. Instead, we saw a fixed legal right, enshrined in jurisprudence for half a century, likely shredded by a handful of unelected and unaccountable arbiters of what our nation of more than 300 million souls can and cannot do.”

“There are many subplots to this drama. We can talk about how a majority of the justices on the reactionary side of the ledger were appointed by presidents who lost the popular vote, and what that means for the health of our democracy. We can talk about how many of the justices were less than truthful, or outright lied, in their confirmation hearings when they acted like they would judge an abortion case on precedent and the law instead of having their minds made up. We can talk about the politics of the court and whether Democratic voters slept-walked on the issue for too long.”

————————————

The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.

Did someone forward this to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!)

And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town vibrant.

JA


Copyright 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Antipodean


That was a new word to me, too. From Dictionary.com:

Antipodian – adjective: 1. of, relating to, or originating from places on the opposite side of the globe, especially Australia and New Zealand

That sounds suspiciously similar to “the Orient” – meaning the East. Like Antipodean, it’s an area defined by its location relative to the West, specifically, Great Britain. Defining places relative to the Brits is so very 19th century. Seems rather self-important of them. But it’s the antipode that is the focus for us today.

The Economist reports that

Antipodean anti-vaxxers are learning from America’s far right
.

More than 85% of Australians and New Zealanders are vaccinated and some of the strictest pandemic prevention efforts have combined with that to make for pretty good COVID statistics relative to the rest of the world. But, of course, not even all Kiwis and Aussies can tolerate such good news for long and instead they balk at restrictions and being told what to do, just like Americans. Clearly, that visceral, primitive reaction isn’t continent limited. The worse news is how Australians and New Zealanders are learning from our very own anti-vaccine extremists.

The death threat spewers, those calling for reform via rifle and shotgun, the hystericals over imagined theft of their freedom are in the minority but they are loud and vocal. Reports The Economist,

“‘Protesters are taking inspiration from America’s far right,’ says Mr Spoonley. Some wave flags featuring Donald Trump, wear red hats and threaten journalists. They have started calling politicians ‘traitors’ and calling for lynchings. Placards mentioning QAnon, an incoherent conspiracy theory which is taking off in the Antipodes, are increasingly common.”

The red hat on the guy with the bullhorn in the pic to the left reads “Make Adelaide Great Again” – MAGA. I’m sure the power trip he appears to be on helps him to feel more in control; same for the sign carriers and those just yelling.

Protesters in New Zealand on November 9 chanted and carried signs reading, “Kiwis are not lab rats.” That’s a valiant effort to characterize their protest, but it’s more than a bit upside down. What they seem to be missing is that refusing vaccinations and rebelling against public health safety restrictions essentially puts everyone into a lab experiment – rats in a box with infection stalking them at all times. Indeed, the resistors are making themselves into those lab rats by openly sharing the dangerous variants of the virus. So, those Kiwis really are lab rats. They volunteered for the experiment and their rage will not protect them from sickness or death.

That’s what we Americans do in our spreader and super-spreader events, like the Harley Davidson mash up last summer in South Dakota and our football games and going unmasked indoors among strangers.

What’s at stake is life and death and our pandemic problem is made much worse by the human “You can’t tell me what to do!” riddle.  Who do you suppose has a good idea how to solve that riddle?

And That’s Related To

Hatred is hatred, no matter its origin or excuse or self-righteousness or self-satisfying justification. People who want to hate will find both a way and a target.

The example above is, on the surface at least, a tantrum over individual liberty and rage over imagined victimization. That it casts aside any vestige of good sense or duty to others is quite beside the point. People have found a way to feel wronged and they are venting their rage, hating whatever phantom bad guy they can conjure, like vaccine mandating politicians, the media, imaginary fascists or socialists or communists and more. It’s very little different than burning at the stake women imagined to be witches, this in order to cast away evil spirits or those believed to be summoning them. For some, it’s just hatred and rage for the feeling of power that their rage gives them.

So, it will come as no surprise that hatred based on race and religion is pretty much the same as any other. In America we have a multi-centuries long trail of duplicity, subjugation and violence against anyone whose ancestors were not from northern European countries or England and who were not Christian.

That has continued most proudly in what has passed as the Republican Party since the Voting Rights Bill became law in 1964. It carries on today in voting restrictions and other efforts to maintain minority control of power and money. You saw it in Charlottesville, on January 6 at the Capitol Building and in hateful, incoherent blogs and brainless attacks on people and on reality in Congress and from the twice-impeached, disgraced former president and his sycophants.

This is not new, but it has reached a critical point in this country. For clarity about this, today’s required reading is from Thom Hartmann in his piece, Revealed: The Racist Plot To Tear America Apart.

Finally

Ten Republican controlled states have successfully prohibited the President’s vaccine mandate for healthcare workers.

Eleven Republican controlled states have filed suit against the President’s vaccine mandate for employees of private companies with over 100 employees.

Nine Republican controlled states have banned school mask mandates.

An uncountable number of Republican legislators, operatives, pundits and TV, cable and radio blabbers have had tirades of faux patriotism against masks and vaccinations. With false propaganda – lies – they have exhorted the public to rage and to refuse to comply. Never mind the risk to health and even survival.

These are the very same people who are publicly criticizing President Biden for poor performance in combating the pandemic and, in consequence, the economy. Indeed, if their lies can maximize the pandemic suffering and death for another 11 months, that should keep inflation high and the economy doing poorly. Then perhaps Republicans can retake power in Congress.

It’s nearly all unvaccinated people who listen to that propaganda and are dying from COVID at the rate of about 1,000 per day. There are 342 days until the 2022 election, and that leads to the key question:

Is it okay for over 300,000 more Americans to die so that Republicans can rule?

Like I said, hatred is hatred, no matter its origin or excuse or self-righteousness or self-satisfying justification. And it takes a lot of Republican hatred to view 300,000 additional deaths as just collateral damage in their selfish, diabolical quest for power and money.

Here’s a question I heard posed not long ago: Are you okay with the way things are now? If not, what needs to be changed and in what way?

I’ll be posing those questions periodically, hoping to trigger your critical thinking.

————————————

The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.

Did someone forward this to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!)

And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town vibrant.

JA


Copyright 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Be Decent, Waukesha, Climate & Just-For-Fun


Be Decent

Over 5,000 nut balls have disrupted airline flights with their violent behavior, endangering flight attendants, pilots, first officers and all the other passengers on those many flights. If you check with any teacher, dean of students or principal you’ll learn that our school kids are in a similar state of craziness.

Parents are having temper tantrums at school board meetings – yes, just like children who missed their nap and are kicking and screaming on the floor of the cereal aisle at the supermarket. Citizens are screeching incoherently at town hall meetings, ranting and menacing their neighbors, whom they themselves elected. We have athletes lying about having been vaccinated, then testing positive, having endangered both teammates and opponents and then justifying their actions with nonsense.

People at every level of government are saying the most outrageous, googly-eyed, false and rage inducing things, even attacking Big Bird. Our political blabbers are blabbing mindlessly and dishonestly and the online bullying continues unabated, spreading fantastic lies and ridiculous and brutal conspiracy theories. Somehow millions of our fellow citizens believe this idiocy.

Click me

We’re facing challenges, to be sure, but they’re not all unprecedented – we’ve seen some of these movies before. But our society hasn’t held up very well this time. We’ve degenerated into fearful, rageful things, fighting in some dystopia of our own making. Are we a less hardy bunch now? Have we lost our civilization backbone? Did we lose the secret of how to be together?

Watch this clip from the 1990 movie, The Bonfire of the Vanities. It doesn’t address root causes or the myriad, fundamental frailties of human beings, but it’s good advice. Actually, it isn’t just good advice; it’s great advice and an imperative for our time. It’s what we’ll have to do if we are to save ourselves from ourselves. *

A Word About Waukesha

Long ago a friend urged me to see bad things in a different way. He said to ask what the bad things are here to teach. What is it that we have refused to learn and retain through any other means of instruction? It may be hard to apply those questions to the tragedy in Waukesha just now, given the physical and emotional pain assaulting that community, but I’ll take a stab at that.

As the people of Waukesha come together in vigils, as they nurse their wounded of body and wounded of heart, perhaps they show us that our lesson is that we are in this life together. They tell us through their selflessness in this grievous moment that it’s time to stop assuming the worst of one another and stop attacking those we fearfully think of as “other.” They’re saying that it’s time for us to be a community. Maybe relearning that – yet again – is our lesson from this awful attack.

Climate

Speaking of saving ourselves from ourselves, the bad news is the way in which climate is changing and the ways in which we are making it worse instead of better. But you knew that.

The real question is what we – that’s us, acting primarily through our governments – are willing to do to ensure that our climate doesn’t kill us, which is something many humans would prefer. Actually, the keys to the most desirable solution are really pretty simple. For example, we have to get past – as in: replace – politicians who are in climate crisis denial to remove their self-serving roadblocks so that positive action can occur.

The core solution to our climate crisis cannot be found in any Glasgow blah, blah, blah resolution. It lies in the center of the region known as “Less Talk – More Positive Action – No Negative Action.”

That area is opaque to large corporations and very rich people, because that’s not where they accumulate ever-more-massive wealth. What happens instead right here in our current Earth sabotage is that campaign contributions go to politicians who ensure growing massive wealth for the already massively wealthy. That causes cataracts to grow over entire governments to the point that they’re blind to what is glaringly obvious. That drives a stasis which is counter-productive to the continuation of human life. But, hey, what a vast further enrichment of already rich people there will be for the short time we humans are around to see it!

We need cataract surgery on our governments. Immediately.

Click me

This has been creatively explained in the video to which you can link from the pic to the left. Please note that this video contains graphic and “colorful” language. If you know that you will find such language objectionable, you can find a bleeped version here. Either way, the message is clear, compelling and challenging to all of us.

We have to make our governments stop the greed saturated, suicidal stuff and do the things that will allow us to continue to live on the only inhabitable planet in the known universe. Or we can continue as we are and turn over the planet to our children and grandchildren and let them scratch out a miserable subsistence in the ever-dwindling arable land on Earth for the few wretched years available to them.

It’s our choice.

Pop Quiz!
  1. Can you think of even one reason we should still be subsidizing fossil fuel industries? If you have more than one, rank order them starting from the most dumb.
  2. Compare and contrast: A). Taking immediate positive action to prevent the worst climate catastrophes, and; B). Talking about taking positive action, but continuing our smug, willful intransigence. An extra 5 points each will be awarded for the inclusion in your answer of the following terms:
    1. survival
    2. massive migration
    3. desertification
    4. permanently flooded coastal cities
    5. wars
    6. societal breakdown
    7. wildfires
    8. deforestation
    9. catastrophic weather events
    10. integrity outage
  3. List the names of your senators, congressperson, governor and state representatives, along with their phone numbers. BONUS: 10 points each if you call their offices and tell them to immediately take action to combat the climate crisis.
Just For Fun

SNL, November 6, 2021 – Click me

Feeling stressed preparing for Thanksgiving? Worried about what Uncle Dorkus will say this year? Just need a laugh? Well, look no further.

Grab a glass of your beverage of choice and have a look at what is probably the best SNL skit in decades. Be sure to read a couple dozen of the comments below it. I promise you that, one way or another, this has happened to you.

—————————

* “Saving ourselves from ourselves” – Several states have introduced or intend to introduce bills to prevent the mandating of any vaccine to prevent highly contagious diseases, like polio, smallpox, measles, rubella, chicken pox and the rest. We know what happens to civilizations when people aren’t protected from such things, because we have the experience of thousands of years of misery, suffering and death to make that clear. Denying that is stubborn, willfully obtuse and homicidal.

Such reversals of a century of progress toward better health, now with easy, cheap preventives available everywhere, is being fought in the name of reptilian notions of individual freedom and the crank idea of a mandatory vaccine as an assault. If the legislative attempts to end science, medicine and learning in several states succeed, my strong recommendation is to permanently stay away from anyone from Montana, Idaho, Florida and all the other vaccine refusing states, as well as anyone who has had contact with anyone from those states. And don’t let your kids play with their kids.

Said Dr. Anthony Fauci about vaccine refusal, “It’s the normalization of insanity, I think.”

Read about it in STAT here.

————————————

The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.

Did someone forward this to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!)

And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town vibrant.

JA


Copyright 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Winning, Part Three: Pick One


Preface

In the first two parts of this series I did my best to make the case that Republicans cause us to suffer from their two fatal flaws: obstructionism to anything rational; and a complete absence of any policy that would serve We The People or our country. You could throw in hypocrisy and dishonesty, but let’s keep this simple.

At the same time Democrats suffer from two fatal flaws: spinelessness to confront Republicans; and an almost complete lack of self-promotion.

Sensitive Reader Warning

This third post contains both snark and some words Mom told you not to say. In addition there is exaggeration contained herein that may not be intended seriously – maybe – so sensitive readers should squint their eyes while reading.

—————————–

We have a complex national insanity. The symptoms include the very effective tactics Republicans have scammed on the American people and the dreadful Democrats’ messaging and, worse, how they consistently bring a fork to an Uzi fight. They’re really quite pathetic and in each election they live out Einstein’s definition of insanity:

Doing the same things and expecting different results
.

Example

During the Virginia gubernatorial campaign, Trump-lite Glenn Youngkin blew the naked racist dog whistle of Critical Race Theory, pledging as governor that he will put a stop to the hateful indoctrination that makes white children feel ashamed of their skin color. He would never allow CRT to be taught in Virginia schools. He’s so very brave and upright, he wants us to believe, but really he and what he said are just a standard pile of Republican dog doo-doo.

That’s because the actual, on-planet-Earth truth is that there is not even a single K-12 school in Virginia – or in any other state – that even mentions Critical Race Theory, much less teaches it to kids. Not one. Youngkin made hay of it, though, and isn’t he just the perfect little White supremacist hero?

The real point for us and those wanting to beat candidates like Younkin is that no Democrat yelled,

“LIAR!!!”

.

Where was Terry McAuliffe when it was time to call out Youngkin for his lies and challenge voters to decide if they like being lied to by Youngkin? Where is any Democrat when it’s time to call out Republicans – ever? That’s the fork at the Uzi fight, the fights that Democrats are so good at losing.

I have two options for Democrats, offered under the assumption that they actually want to win elections and perhaps stop the 50-50 “dance of the delicate senators.” All they have to do is to pick one of these options.

Option One

Start kicking butt and taking names. Call out the dishonesty and hypocrisy of the Republicans. Nail them for their complete absence of integrity, ideas or policies to deal with our vexing issues. Say it over and over that all they have are culture wars – tricks to drive Americans to hate one another and to ensure their minority rule – and obstruction.

Say the words:

The Republicans haven’t a constructive thing to offer We The People.
.

Forget the statesman-like posture, Democrats. It looks great, but it loses elections. Attack! Just do it. I promise I won’t tell your mom.

Option Two

Let all the former Confederate states secede from the Union.

We’ll build Trump’s moronic wall between us and the new Confederacy, not Mexico, and seal them out, so they’ll have to stand on their own. Of course, they won’t like that, because they’re so dependent on federal subsidies, meaning money from blue states. Too bad for them. Let’s see if they can feed their kids using the bluster of their fierce independence, Trump flags on their pickup trucks and their hatred. Let’s go, Bubba!

Best of all, we’ll win elections and won’t have to deal with all that crap.

So, that’s it, Democrats. Jump into the alley fight – the Uzi fight – with the attitude, resources and intention to win. Do whatever is necessary. If you’re not willing to do that, then let the crazies walk away – urge them to walk away – make them go away.

Pick one.

End of snark.

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Winning Summary

No other time matters but now – and time is growing short.

The Republicans really are America’s Radical Front and have made themselves the enemy of our country. They’ve stacked the deck against American values in the Senate and minority rule is taking over. It’s fueled by fear and rage and power lust that puts all of us at risk.

Republicans haven’t even a single policy that would serve We The People or the country, so they inflame culture wars to keep us divided. They stoke hatred and fear and division and tribalism to the point of lying Americans into committing violence against one another.

Stop looking for the Republican bottom. There is no bottom, no low to which they won’t go, including encouraging murder. Rep. Paul Gosar made a video of him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and attacking President Biden with swords. Ted Cruz even attacked Big Bird. Yes, BIG BIRD! And a lot of these elected senators and representatives promoted and supported the insurrection that was intended to end our democracy.

That is the reality and we better stay awake and take action, because allowing ourselves to doze off or to be a door mat to radicals, a typical non-response of Democrats, will end our dreams of a better America. It’s time to wake up.

That leaves us with the key question of our time:

How long are Democrats, Independents and traditional Republicans going to let these radicals get away with killing us and our democracy?
.

Clearly, the point is not that we should act like them to create division, nor should we participate in lying, hypocrisy, dereliction of duty or fear and hate mongering.  The point is that it’s time for Democrats to fight back with a national surgery of truth to excise the Republican festering wounds to our country.

It’s time to go public, loudly, and name what they’re doing so that Americans can see that abhorrent truth for themselves. Call them out every time. Nail these guys for their dishonesty. Shout out their dereliction of duty. Blast them for their anti-democracy, anti-American behavior and their endless streams of lies against We The People. The same goes for the abhorrent talking heads spewing lies and stoking hatred and division.

No more Mr. Nice Guy. Start doing what will win elections – scratch, bite, kick, claw. Fight like you want to win. Put them under a national microscope and show their ugliness to everyone. Stop letting them get away with poisoning our country.

And stop waving the cost of Democratic policies and proposals in everyone’s face. Wave the banners of Democratic successes. Sell the benefits. Do it over and over.

No, not just the President. Every elected official with a “D” after their name, every pundit, and every cabinet officer has to sell the benefits and call out Republican hypocrisy and lies.

And for those of us who aren’t Democratic operatives, read the graphic to the right. To make the message plainer for our time, just insert “The ongoing Civil War to kill democracy.” We each have to do our part to ensure massive voter participation in every election. The next one is just 356 days away.

Winning in Three Simple Steps
  1. Call out Republican cheating, lying, hypocrisy, anti-democracy and anti-We-The-People words and actions. Just tell the truth. Forcefully.
  2. Sell Democratic successes and benefits for We The People. No more public hand wringing or endless talk about cost.  Put President Biden’s name in BIG letters on every infrastructure project so that Americans connect the dots from the President to their own well-being. When the Build Back Better bill passes, label those projects “Courtesy of President Biden and your Congressional Democrats.”
  3. Do what’s required to produce massive voter turnout.

And do all of that all of the time. That’s how to win.

————————————
The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.

Did someone forward this to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!)

And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town vibrant.

JA


Copyright 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

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