21st Century

Campaign


Michelle Goldberg had an interesting piece in the New York Times last Sunday entitled “To Understand The Midterms, Meet Joe and Marie.” They are the Republican and Democratic candidates for Washington state’s 3rd congressional district seat and, as you likely suspect, they are quite different from one another.

Goldberg explains that Joe Kent has

.  .  . attempted a dance that’s become common in today’s G.O.P.: remaining in the good graces of the far right while putting some distance between himself and its most abhorrent avatars.

It’s like the now common, phony Republican candidate dance around abortion, attempting to mask how foamy-mouth wacko they’re against it. Then, having pulled a fast one on voters to get elected, they plan to let fly their true inner goggly-eye wacko.

In contrast, Marie Gluesenkamp Perez is running a straight campaign, saying what she believes and giving indication of how she will represent the voters, emphasizing abortion rights and protecting democracy.

Goldberg uses the entire center spread of the Opinion section of the Sunday paper to flesh out what’s happening in Washington’s 3rd . Not surprisingly, the fuller reality is freakier than the short paragraphs above suggest. Goldberg reports:

Here’s what Kent [said he] intends to do in his first two years in office:

“Impeachment, obstruction and oversight. The Biden agenda dies off in the crib.”

In his speeches Kent promised to impeach

“Biden on Day One, and then Vice President Kamala Harris (‘one of the lead fund-raisers for antifa and B.L.M. during the summer of 2020’), Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas.”

At [a] town hall, he emphasized his willingness to shut down the government: “I used to work in the federal government,” he said [he is a former Green Beret]. “It can shut down. It’s really not a big deal.”

Kent promised to hold Anthony Fauci “accountable” for the “scam that is Covid.” “Criminal charges,” said Kent. But what charges, I asked. “Murder,” he replied, as if it were the most obvious answer in the world.

It’s messy and awkward quoting someone who is quoting someone else, so apologies to Goldberg for my quotation mark clumsiness.

Meanwhile, you’ve just read a fine litany of the insanity and dishonesty that is today’s G.O.P. It’s a continuous loop of imagined and contrived grievances and absurd, tough guy payback. I mean, does Kent actually believe that Congress will impeach all those people? What are their high crimes or misdemeanors? Wait – scratch that last question. That was my mistake – I was being logical.

And Kent says he wants to go back to a full court press of obstruction so that nothing We The People want will come about. Welcome back to the Obama years dealing with the GOP Congress, the party of NO:

NO to all Democrats and Democratic policies, even if they’re identical to Republican ideas

NO to anything that will deal with our substantial national challenges

NO to everything that supports democracy

NO to kids being safe in school

NO to reproductive freedom for pregnant women and NO to anyone who wants to use any form of contraception other than the rhythm method

Old Joke:

Q. What do you call people who use the rhythm method of contraception?

A. Parents

Just get used to NO. If the Republicans gain control of even one house of Congress, NO is what we will have voted for.

And wait: Anthony Fauci is a murderer?

Just to be clear, having been a Green Beret doesn’t make Kent a congressional or budgetary genius or an expert on the price that is paid when the G.O.P. shuts down the government – AGAIN! – basically giving the finger to all 330 million of us.

But he’s right about one thing: Blathering this angry, baseless, stupid stuff in red and red-leaning areas, then being Jim-Jordan-Marjorie-Taylor-Green inflammatory is the way to get and stay elected. But that leaves us with having to deal with the Trump manipulation contrivance:

They spew a continuous fire hose of reality-free absurdity (commonly called bullshit) at a pace that prevents factual refutation – like the Kent idiocy listed above. Besides, their inflammatory lunacy appeals to voters driven by victim-hood.

So, how does one campaign against these Loony Tunes cartoon candidates? How can a reality-based candidate engage with voters poisoned by hateful G.O.P. fantasies? How can you even have a conversation or debate with people who believe the unreal and who wear a chip on their shoulder as though it’s a badge of honor?

These are the people vying to take control of our school boards, our library boards and our local, state and federal governments. They want to subjugate the rest of us in their puritanical, totalitarian horror show. That’s what’s at stake in the November midterm election and in every election for the next “who knows how many?” years. This is no sprint. This is a marathon of colossal duration and monumental consequences and we must win every race or everything you hold dear will be lost.

————————————

Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem with the same solution:
.
Fire the bastards!
.
The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.

Did someone forward this post 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!) It’s going to take a lot of us to get the job done.

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.

Gimme a Break


Caution: This post was made in a facility known to contain snark. Sensitive readers are advised to just get over it. Maybe eat some comfort food like chocolate chip cookies as they read.

Gimme a Break, Jim Jordan

Apologies, Jim. I’ve been meaning to write to you for a long time, but you know how it is, what with impeachments, insurrections, theft of national security documents and all the other annoying little stuff popping up all the time.

Things have changed since your days at the Ohio State University when you were an assistant wrestling coach. You remember back then when you failed to report all those abuses of student athletes by team doctor Richard Strauss, right? The sexual misconduct stuff? His hands on their genitals?

Just one question about that, Jim. You present yourself to the House and to the nation as a powerful, confrontational, absolutist, principled guy. To you, everything has the competitive urgency of an Olympic gold medal wrestling match, right? If that’s true, how come you didn’t take a stand to protect those young men at Ohio State who told you exactly what was going on? Where were you when it was time to confront the abuser and the enablers all the way up to the University administrators?

Are you just a paper tiger, Jim, or is it that everything is solely about what serves you best in the moment? I’m starting to worry that maybe those principles aren’t as absolute as you’d have us believe.

A word of caution about that reprehensible abuse business, Jim. If enough of the victims decide to make big noise about it, there is still the possibility of censure and even expulsion from the House for you. I don’t know much about the statute of limitations for such a wanton refusal to act rightly, but you might even face indictment. So here’s what to do, Jim.

First, be sure you have your cockamamie Nazi buffoon “I knew nothing” story all buttoned up. Then, on your next McDonald’s run for your fuhrer, put that yooge sack of Big Macs and fries in your car and head on over to Starbucks. Pick up a couple of hemlock lattes, one for you and one for him. Keep yours in the fridge. You’ll know when the time is right to slug it down.

Jim, you’re amazingly good at gumming up all progress on the critical issues facing our nation, using phony outrage and unrelated inanities. You’re really adept at overly aggressive speech and behavior, too, as though you think that the marble floors of the Capitol Building are a big wrestling mat. But, Jim, they aren’t. Think of them as unyielding bedrock. Sort of like democracy. You remember democracy, right?

Komodo dragon – Click me

I’m sure your alt-right colleagues see you as a fine trench warfare fighter and there’s no doubt that some of those guys wish they could pull off the kind of stuff that you do. You’re smart and you’re quick, but, Jim, you have the moral judgment of a Komodo dragon. So, while they are self-serving like you, they just don’t have the chops for your unique displays of lack of integrity. Well, okay, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert have chops, too, but they need their assault rifles to look tough.

So, Jim, harbor no illusions of ever being the focus of a chapter in any book about political courage or patriotism. American voters who might possibly admire you or think fondly of you come with dysfunctional rage and a mania for destruction which you and your fellow provocateurs incite. You fight dirty, Jim, rutting in the leavings of the Great Orange Pig. Hey – that’s “GOP”!

I have to advise you to dramatically pare back your maniacally rabid support for the disgraced, twice impeached, former president. He’s going down, Jim, under multiple indictments. And you’re in danger, too, because of all your January 6 phone calls and texts with various subversives in the White House in those heady, anti-democracy days.

You could have been great for America, Jim, but instead you chose to be an extremist terrier, always biting at the heels and ankles of progress. You know that’s true, so it kinda sucks to be you, doesn’t it, Jim?

Please be sure to recommend to your dysfunctional MAGA family that they listen to President Biden’s speech from Independence Hall on September 1. You and they will have to watch it on YouTube (here), since Fox didn’t bother to give listeners the audio in real time. Instead, they showed a tiny frame of the President in the corner of the screen, while Tucker Carlson blabbered his stupiditudes. Tell your homies to answer the President’s question and declare which side they’re on: Trump’s or America’s. And be sure to tell them and all of us which side you’re on, too, Jim.

Oh, never mind. We already know.

Gimme a Break, R-Dudes

I confess that I was stunned when Trump began to dominate the news in 2015, as he wailed every grievance he could make up and blamed opponents of doing every psychopathic thing he himself did. In the mental health field that’s called projection. On the street it’s called lying.

Republicans are adept copy cats and opportunists, so both Republican politicians and every day citizens learned to mimic the Sociopath-in-Chief, to the point that the Republican Party is now organized around victim-hood. And the default sound they make is a perpetual, disingenuous whine.

I’ll let Paul Waldman of the The Washington Post be my Explainer-in-Chief. As you read his essay, which includes comments from “#whine-o Republicans”, keep in mind this fact-check: none of the grievances the Republicans blubber about is real. It’s all made up stuff, commonly called “lies.” All of it.

Click here to access Waldman’s piece. Then watch the Politics Girl video here. Many thanks to Steve Sheffey for the pointers. Check out his insightful posts here.

————————————

Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem with the same solution:
.
Fire the bastards!
.
The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.

Did someone forward this post 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.

Divine? Not So Much


Hey – it’s September 11. 9/11. That date rings a bell, right?

In this constant blizzard of the absurd, where everything is BREAKING NEWS! our attention is easily diverted. Nevertheless, it’s important that we hold on to the truth of it – the horror, the political ineptitude, the generosity of strangers, the selfless courage of our first responders and the determination of the warriors on Flight 93.

This is a good day to remember that day.


The Divine Right of Trump

From Wikipedia:

“In European Christianity, the divine right of kings, divine right, or God’s mandation is a political and religious doctrine of political legitimacy of a monarchy.”

That’s very legitimizing if you’re the king.

King George III, who in 1776 was on the throne by means of just such a right, was considered by many to be a mad king. Ref: the Declaration of Independence for an astonishing and awful list of things he did. The word “mad” just might come to mind.

He manipulated rules and events to enrich himself and his wealthy aristocrats, including the notorious tax on tea that gave the East India Trading Company a virtual monopoly and triggered the Boston Tea Party. Divine source of power or not, sometimes We The People get to the point where, as Bernie Sanders likes to say, enough is enough, although I’ve never cared for that phrase when any at all is way too much.

Meanwhile, you can substitute the disgraced, twice-impeached, former president’s name for King George III in the Declaration of Independence. Then substitute Trump’s egregious wrongdoing, including his illegal, unconstitutional and immoral actions into an updated version and it’s now the Declaration of Expulsion. You’ll understand immediately that he is totally mad and why he was the loser in the 2020 election. Any of him is way too much.

Plus, there’s nothing divine about Trump. So, notwithstanding the mindless and odious Christian theocracy zealots and the “self-defining as patriots” insurrectionists, we turned him out decisively for all those mad reasons. And we’ll do so again via the voting booth, should he beat all the legal raps coming his way.

Click me

All of which is to announce to Trump and to all of his angry, frothing (some just deluded) voter base and to his vile legislative sycophants that there is no Divine Right of Trump. To paraphrase Obi Wan Kenobi, “These aren’t the leaders we’re looking for. We can go about our business of replacing them.” Here I’m working a Jedi mind trick on you.

Yoda

To be fair, Trump has one inherent right, albeit constitutional rather than divine. He has the right to be held accountable and to pay the price for his wrongdoing. It’s going to be a rocky, uncertain and dangerous road, but, quoting Yoda, “Make that happen we must. On this everything depends.”

Yoda is very wise.

Can’t Catch a Break

King Charles III

The recent anniversary and media saturation coverage of Princess Diana’s death were noteworthy for an unexpected reason.

As their marriage was devolving, both Diana and Prince Charles had extramarital affairs. She was understood and continued to be adored by the public. He was castigated. He never stood a chance, as the public took the side of the pretty princess.

Now Queen Elizabeth II has died after 16 years as a princess and 70 years as queen. She endeared herself to the public, first at age 14, as she spoke via radio to the terrified children of the empire during the blitz of WW II. She brought words of comfort, hope and strength to them. Later she greeted the troops coming home and did so much more over the decades that won over the public. And she reigned for such a long time that few can remember any other monarch.

Immediately upon her death her 73 year old son became King Charles III. It really won’t matter what he does or how well he does it. His mother was and will remain so enormously popular that he will be regarded as little more than a caretaker until his son becomes king and renewal begins.

This guy just can’t catch a break.

Here’s Maureen Dowd’s take on this.

————————————

Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem with the same solution:
.
Fire the bastards!
.
The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.

Did someone forward this post 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.

What Should We Do About That? – v2.0


Source: Wikipedia – click the pic

Basic Human Decency

Naomi Judd died by suicide in April at the end of a long battle with mental illness. That’s bad enough, but this story gets worse.

Law enforcement did their investigative work following the suicide, creating a dossier of private, intimate conversations and information that may be released to the public. Daughter Ashley Judd and others of the family have filed a petition, asking the court to keep private what is so obviously private. She wrote that when such things are exposed to the public,

“The raw details are used only to feed a craven gossip economy, and as we cannot count on basic human decency, we need laws that will compel that restraint.”

The middle portion of that sentence grabbed me: “as we cannot count on basic human decency.” Of course, Judd is right. That plays out in millions feeding on prurient stuff, taking delight in public outrage and the raw hostility that besets our nation. We really cannot count on basic human decency. Just ask our polling place workers.

If you think decency – being respectful of one another – is a critical piece of a solid social structure, one you’d want to be a part of, and we cannot count on basic human decency, what should we do about that?

Fauci

There are millions of frustrated Americans, upset with the changing directions prescribed to us to deal with the Covid pandemic. Is it masks or no masks? Lockdowns or just go about your business? “Social distancing” or not? Vaccine? Second Vaccine? Booster shots? New booster shot with only an emergency use authorization?

The official story has changed numerous times and a lot of people lost confidence in the CDC and Dr. Anthony Fauci because of those many changes. Plus the lies and conspiracy theories peddled by the twice impeached, disgraced former President and know-nothing muckrakers expanded confusion and frustration exponentially and a lot of people died needlessly.

But wait just a second.

Regardless of the obsessive finger pointing about the origin of the never-before-seen virus, our medical establishment started with no knowledge, no base of information to find answers for how to deal with this disease. Our professionals didn’t know how the disease spread, had no tools to diagnose it (no tests, remember?), they didn’t know how to treat it except to swat at symptoms and they were woefully short of PPE to protect themselves so they could continue protecting us.

The President refused to trace cases, which could have limited spread, and did his best to stop testing so that the pandemic wouldn’t look as bad as it really was just to make himself look better. The scientists and docs didn’t know who was most susceptible or how to cure them and they didn’t even have a place to pile the bodies – and that’s just a short list of the knowledge holes and roadblocks our professionals faced.

And people were pissy because the scientists and docs couldn’t immediately give one absolute and unchanging answer from the very start!
.

So, the valuable questions have nothing to do with Covid. They have to do with the hyper-reactive “I want what I want even before I know what I want” people who prefer being pissy. They’re the people who seem to have forgotten about basic human decency. They are part of the reason why Dr. Anthony Fauci is ending his CDC career.

So, it’s the same question as in the first section of this post: If we cannot count on basic human decency, what should we do about that?

Covid Corner

Speaking of Covid and the CDC, here’s a chart showing “Covid positive hospitalizations per week (all ages)” since the pandemic began. This doesn’t include all cases. This reports only the cases that were so severe that hospitalization was required. Over a million of those people died and we know that the pandemic remains dangerous because almost 500 of our fellows are dying from it every day.

.

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Given our obviously cyclical experience with Covid (reference: the chart above), what do you think will happen this January? What should we do about that?

Quotation Station

“Joe Biden’s “Soul of the Nation” address got at a cold and disquieting truth: the MAGA movement cannot be placated, reasoned with, or politically accommodated in any way. There is nothing its adherents want – and nothing anyone can give them – beyond chaos and political destruction.”

  • Tom Nichols, Staff Writer
  • The Atlantic Daily, September 6, 2022

“They promote authoritarian leaders, and they fan the flames of political violence that are a threat to our personal rights, to the pursuit of justice, to the rule of law, to the very soul of this country  .  .  .  MAGA Republicans have made their choice. They embrace anger. They thrive on chaos. They live not in the light of truth but in the shadow of lies.”

  • President Joe Biden,
  • Independence Hall, September 1, 2022
What should we do about that?
.

Also see David Frum’s short read, The Justification of Biden’s Speech – So Much of It Was True. 

————————————

Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem with the same solution:
.
Fire the bastards!
.
The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.

Did someone forward this post 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.

What Should We Do About That? – v 1.0


Sun Tzu

The great soldier, leader and philosopher Sun Tzu offers wisdom from 5th century BC China that is valuable even today. Here’s a case in point.

Donald Trump has shown repeatedly that he doesn’t care a bit about America, democracy, the law, truth, reality – this list could be quite long. All he cares about is enhancing his power and wealth and he doesn’t care what he has to destroy to get it. Here’s Sun Tzu on this:

.
.

We have millions of our fellow citizens behaving badly. They weren’t always hostile and ready to believe the unbelievable, but with charismatic leadership from a sociopath, they’ve gone reptilian. They want nothing less than to vent their rage in destruction and in dangerous and anti-American ways. And they take their direction from Donald Trump.

What do you think we should do about that? I mean before Donald Trump and his mobs burn our own nation to the ground.

“Let me say this to my MAGA Republican friends in Congress:
Don’t tell me you support law enforcement if you won’t
condemn what happened on [January] 6th.
For God’s sake, whose side are you on?”
President Joe Biden, August 30, 2022, Wilkes Barre, PA
.

Yes, there are sides. You know the right side to be on and it surely is NOT the “burn it to the ground” side.

What Do You Think We Should Do About This?
.

Trump is the brat who threw the board game all over the room when it was clear that he was going to lose. He broke pieces and stomped on the board. If he couldn’t win he was going to make sure that nobody else could win, either. He’s still behaving that way, but today the game is a dire one, because the stakes are life and death.

There were more than 11,000 documents or photographs found at insecure Mar-a-Lago that were not classified. There were also 31 documents marked CONFIDENTIAL, 54 marked SECRET, and 18 marked TOP SECRET.

Among the materials stolen by Trump and recovered by the FBI are 48 folders marked at some level of classification like those in the picture above, but the folders are empty. The secret documents are gone.

Some folders are labeled TOP SECRET; some are SECRET/SCI, the most closely guarded information. That designation means that the information in such a folder is critical to our national security. And the super secret information in the documents those folders used to contain is missing.

This isn’t about some love note from a malicious despot. It isn’t a picture of Trump with some dignitaries. What’s missing is likely information concerning our nuclear arms, strategic plans, secret agreements with allies and more. That information may well no longer be secret.

The documents and information that belong in those folders were where they belonged, in those folders, on January 20, 2021. That’s when Trump metaphorically sneaked out of the White House and smuggled the classified documents out with him by hiding them under his overcoat. And now that we know those super secret folders are empty, we are faced with some existential questions:

–  Who has the contents of those folders now?

 –  What have they done with the documents?

–  Who and what are now imperiled because Trump has released the information to unknown persons and nations who may well be our enemies?

Trump lost the game of President and, because of that, has repeatedly tried to prevent Joe Biden from winning and keeping it. But this isn’t a board game. This is the most serious game in the world. It’s the game where informants are killed when they’re found out. It’s the game that, when nations lose, the worst happens.

We cannot afford to let Trump break alliances, out the very people who feed us critical intelligence and throw the moving pieces of this game all over the world, but he may well have already done just that. To mix metaphors, this time it may not be ketchup on the wall. This time it might be blood.

What do you think we should we do about that?

Related: For a clear and valuable take on “the soul of our nation,” have a look/listen to this. Many thanks to JA for the pointer.

Watch for What Should We Do About That? – v2.0 on Wednesday, September 7.

————————————

Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem with the same solution:
.
Fire the bastards!
.
The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.

Did someone forward this post 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.

Over Just The Past Few Days


Education

Ron DeSantis blasted President Biden’s student debt relief program – just another entrant in the “Nothing So Stupid That the Republicans Won’t Say It” contest.

We established publicly funded public schools 170 years ago to educate our people. From How Stuff Works:

“Massachusetts passed the first compulsory school laws in 1852. New York followed the next year, and by 1918, all American children were required to attend at least elementary school.”

From QuestionAnswer.IO:

“By 1918, all U.S. states had some sort of mandatory attendance law for [high] school.”

Each level of education became necessary for the welfare of our nation and for individuals to be ready for the challenges of our rapidly changing life and world. We funded schools publicly then, as now, because both we-the-public and our nation benefit. Ignorance just doesn’t work well for our country.

The world has progressed and much of what it takes now to succeed simply cannot be supplied solely by a K-12 education. Ever-finer, more advanced skills continue to be required. We’re late coming to the realization that we must publicly fund college just as we do public grade schools and high schools. Here’s an example of why that’s true.

We graduate about 70,000 engineers annually. China graduates about 600,000 and India graduates about 350,000. They are both dramatically out-educating their young compared to us.

We’re in a global competition and we will remain unprepared to compete and win as long as we continue to refuse to fully educate our citizens for today’s world and tomorrow’s. Keeping our people unprepared would be a huge economic and national security mistake.

Doubt that? Read this.

And recognize that student debt relief and public funding of colleges and universities necessarily mean a redistribution of wealth – the haves will be required to subsidize the education of both the haves and the have-nots. Everyone else will have to pitch in, too. That brings us to the never ending conflict over wealth redistribution, which traces its angry origin at least as far back a the Civil War, and that brings us to,

This Gallup Moment

Check the graph below from Gallup’s This Week In Charts and you’ll have no difficulty seeing the massive shift to public approval for heavy taxes on the rich to finance the commons, which importantly benefits our poor and middle class with schools, roads, etc.

I suspect this change in public attitude has been accelerated by the past 50 years of legislation favorable to the rich and which penalizes the rest of us. The change may also be traced to the lack of enforcement of laws to prohibit rich guy favoritism. Example: only one guy went to prison for the massive fraud and deceit of the George W. Bush financial meltdown of 2008, even though many violated SEC regulations and fraud statutes. Then there are all the massive “trickle down” tax breaks, about 85% of which benefited already rich people, not you and I.

You’re right: that isn’t fair.

So the rich have benefited enormously for decades – for generations, really – while the rest of us just muddled by. It seems that now over half of we Americans think that rich people should pony up their fair share for the benefit of all of us. Imagine that!

Click me for the story.

The IRS and (probably not) You

On August 26 German Lopez wrote in The Morning newsletter of the New York Times, opining on the Biden announcement about increasing the number of IRS agents and resources, “Kari Lake, the Republican candidate for Arizona governor, tied the increase in [IRS] agents to the F.B.I. search of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home and warned, ‘Not a single one of us is safe.’”

I sure hope she’s right, if by “safe” she means “protected from being audited and indicted for tax evasion.” I don’t want anyone to be safe from that.

While squatting in the Oval Office for four years, Trump dramatically reduced IRS resources in a stunning effort to protect himself and his rich buddies from scrutiny. That worked. Now Biden is working to restore the agency to a level where it can actually do its job. Got a problem with that, Kari Lake? We can fix your problem by defeating you in November. Go back to your hollow-head TV gig.

Covid Corner

Covid continues to rear its ugly head and promises to keep doing that until all the unvaccinated people either get vaccinated or die. It’s just that simple.

Below are the new cases chart and the death tally chart. These are cases per day averaged over 10 days. We’re still reporting nearly 100,000 new cases every day, and that number doesn’t include the cases identified via home test and those who never get diagnosed (the ones who just tough it out).

Nearly 500 of our fellows are dying every day from Covid. Almost every one of those 500 had refused to be vaccinated. Some have religious objections. Got that. But some just refuse as a demonstration of their stubbornness, masked in a mantle of self-identified freedom. And some refuse to be protected because they believe the cruel and evil lies about both the disease and the vaccine that have been crammed down their throats since Covid was identified and then vaccines became available.

Regardless of the why of their intransigence, our vaccine refusers are over-burdening our medical professionals and institutions and are walking super-spreaders who endanger the rest of us.

Whatever happened to “promote the general welfare” and concern for others and our freedom to not be infected by stubborn people?

Source: STAT, 8-29-22 – click me

Everything’s Okay Now

Following the virulent Republican anti-abortion campaign of fear and moral outrage over the past 49 years, the extremist Supreme Court killed Roe and now everything is just great for Republicans.

Wait – it’s not?

The national outrage over Republicans ending rights and promising to end still more has caused Democratic voter registrations to double those of Republicans and has caused Kansas to declare there’s nothing wrong with it. They defeated the extremist minority, killing the anti-choice state constitution amendment by 18 points.

The mid-term election is just 69 days away and proclaiming an anti-abortion position is threatening to be an anti-get-elected certainty for Republicans. What’s an extremist, hair-on-fire, Trumpy-MAGA candidate to do? Well, they figured it out.

Republican candidates are removing anti-abortion everything from their websites, their campaign literature and their campaign stops, hoping you won’t remember it was there. They haven’t changed their toxic minority position and they still want to force their medieval ways onto the majority of us and they’re just as authoritarian as before. But they think you’re dumb enough to forget who they are and what they stand for, now that they ditched the evidence.

See? Everything’s okay now.

Finally,

All of this happened over just the past few days. This list doesn’t include the Donald Documents crimes and his threat to our national security, extremist violence, mass shootings or stupid Ted “Cancun” Cruz or Lindsay “Weather Vane” Graham statements. It omits Doug Mastriano, Hershel Walker and Dr. Oz inanities, billionaire Barre Said’s $1.6 billion gift to an ultraconservative PAC that avoided taxes, and, and, and.

We didn’t used to have so many unforced domestic errors.

 

————————————

Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem with the same solution:
.
Fire the bastards!
.
The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.

Did someone forward this post 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.

Any Representative Democracy . . .


Freshman wing of Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School – still a crime scene. Click to read the story

.  .  .  should be representative of the people.

Ours isn’t.

Well north of 80% of us want far greater regulation of guns than we got with the recent milquetoast bill. And even that weenie bill required accumulating hundreds of thousands of murdered people to sufficiently motivate legislators captured by the gun industry to find the courage to stand up for little school kids. Not representative.

Emma Gonzalez: “We call B.S.” Don’t you? Click the pic

BTW – Canada just banned the importation of handguns. They are taking substantive steps to make their country safer. Tell me again why we can’t take strong measures to stop, oh, say, school shootings. Note that the words “school shootings” is a sanitized version of what actually happens. The reality is children are ripped to pieces by bullets from assault weapons. Read the linked article.

Memo from the Supreme Court: “Did you remember to set your clocks back 400 years?”

Nearly 70% of us want abortion to be legal, but the Supreme Court killed that at the federal level, this in a Bible thumping tantrum. You can download the 15th century based majority opinion written by Justice Alito here, although I warn you that it is 79 pages of drivel.

At the same time, half the states are in the process of making abortion illegal at that level. Ref: Kansas, where the state legislators are thumping their Bibles to end abortion, but the people just deep-sixed the proposed amendment to their state constitution that would have done just that. But the self-righteous zealots in Topeka have promised to be back to thwart the will of the people. Not representative.

The vast majority of We the People want democracy. Nevertheless, the Republican Party is doing everything it can to destroy the democracy the majority of us want, as legislators raise fists, lie and pass laws to steal elections from – guess who? – We the People. Not representative.

It used to be unthinkable for a political candidate to declare before an election that if they win it was a free and fair election, but if they lose that the election was stolen by massive voter fraud. Heads I win; tails you cheated. There are a bunch of Republicans claiming that now, before the upcoming mid-term election. 26% of Americans actually believe that deceit, but the majority of We the People see the dishonesty and manipulation and say no. Still, that’s what the autocrat wannabees are saying to us. They’re unrepresentative.

Orbán the Terrible Beware the jaws that bite, the jaws that catch.

Viktor Orbán, the dictator of Hungary, was the keynoter of the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC). He spouted racist, anti-Semitic hatred and immigrant slurs, “a pure Nazi speech worthy of Goebbels”. The rabid attendees cheered him wildly. Why are Republicans celebrating dictators like Orbán and Putin?

All this and more would not have been possible just a short time ago. Can you imagine Republicans as autocrats trashing democracy during the Cold War? Or during Reagan’s presidency? Unthinkable. And it would have been unrepresentative.

To be fair, we’ve always had a minority population of Christian nationalism zealots who want the United States to be a theocracy. That’s an autocracy with a religious text as its constitution, full of sufficiently vaguely worded rules, ripe for interpretation in any way desired by the autocrats. The only theocracies these despot lovers criticize and even hate are Muslim theocracies in Iran, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Be clear, though, that the inevitable result of the “My theocracy is better than your theocracy” insanity is a new Crusades.

Wait! That’s it! Let’s send drones and a bunch of Navy Seals dressed as palmers and knights to all those Muslim countries to force them to change to our pure Christian nationalism ways. Forced conversion always works so well.

“There be monsters here!”

And we can apply that same technique to our coastal elites to change their colors to bloody red. This is shaping up to be a joyous global spectacle of outrage and murder on an exponential scale that might satisfy even the apocalyptic world enders. Of course, we’ll need world maps to be redrawn showing both that the Earth ia flat and that there be monsters off the edges. O’ the glory of the age of darkness we’ll create with our country run by unrepresentative autocrats!

Or we can come to our senses and vote out of office the traitors to democracy, the unrepresentative ones, and once again be that shining city on the hill, holding the lamp for all the world to see. And we’ll tell Viktor Orbán to go away and never come back.

————————————

Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem with the same solution:
.
Fire the bastards!
.
The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.

Did someone forward this post 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.

Fun In Far-Right Lunacy


How ’bout a Little Murder?

Right wing crazies continue to be out in force in North Carolina, a state that joyously stole voting rights from tens of thousands of its citizens. That’s a state that does precision, targeted gerrymandering to deliver the majority of Congressional seats to White Republicans, even though they garner only a minority of the votes.

NC Bill 158 was intended by its sponsor, state Rep. Larry Pittman, to be a ballot initiative this November. His bill would make it legal to murder a pregnant woman who intends to get an abortion if you are “defending the life of a baby.”

No, of course you don’t believe that. How crazy would someone have to be to propose such a thing? Well, now we know.

Download that stupid, barbaric, death-dealing proposed legislation here and read that seriously hollow-skull death warrant by a seriously hollow-skull legislator who would authorize murder. It was drafted and submitted to the NC legislature in 2021, but, surprisingly, even in North Carolina most of the state representatives aren’t quite that crazy. Too few of them supported that homicidal maniac law, so it bogged down in committee.

The point is that Rep. Larry Pittman’s insane, legalized murder scheme was proposed at all. For now, the good news is that Pittman is not seeking reelection. The bad news is that Pittman isn’t alone in his dangerous and wacko notions.

Consider Texas SB8, enlisting vigilantes to spy on and bust neighbors for even thinking about getting an abortion. They can then collect a $10,000 reward (that’s the minimum) for doing the dirty work of the state, this to immunize the state and thus allow it to circumvent the law.

Click for the story

Our Murder Industry Good News

We massively cull our human herd via suicides at the rate of one every 21.5 minutes, mostly accomplished using pistols. Easy-peezy, trigger squeezy. That’s testament to something – I don’t know what. While that’s been happening, we’ve had an ever-increasing series of mass murders and now the firearms industry has set a new record.

Those mass murders have largely been done with assault rifles. Here’s what’s noteworthy about that: our firearms industry has sold over $1.7 billion of assault rifles in just the past 10 years. What a success story! I’m sure they’re cheering in Buffalo, Uvalde, Highland Park, Newtown, Parkland, Aurora, Littleton, Blacksburg, Stockton, and Santa Fe. And in Las Vegas, Squirrel Hill, Loveland and more. The mass murder list grows at the rate of 1.5 shootings per day, nearly all by assault rifles.

That billion dollars doesn’t count the money spent to accessorize those battlefield killers, like extended capacity magazines, bump stocks, sniper sights and huge volumes of ammunition. Be clear that the (literally) breathtaking billion bucks doesn’t count any of the other things that go “bang” and which aren’t assault rifles, like hunting rifles, shotguns, pistols and the rest. $1 billion. It’s a true American commercial victory.

It’s great to see that we Americans still have “it”. Indeed, you may have thought that we’re first only in Covid deaths. Not so, because we’re also number one in death by firearms, yesterday, today and tomorrow. Cue the proud, real man music.

This is the country we have created with our intentional injustices, our overt embrace of  dishonesty, our never ending claims of grievance and our bottomless insecurities masquerading in bravado. Is there a way to send an entire country into psycho-therapy? Should we supplement fluoride with mood elevators added to our water supplies? Think of it: we’ll stop tooth decay and rage crimes all at the same time.

Dear Clarence,

The Federalist Society Six – The Rights Bandits – They’re Wrong

You killed our rights as if we weren’t right there seeing what you were doing. You’ve promised to do yet worse, as you metaphorically play your pre-Enlightenment instrument and declare that only 2,000-year-old music may be played. You’ve made it clear to everyone that you want to restore ignorance and fear and you want to hobble our minds, relegating us to a new Dark Ages. But bad news is on the horizon for you, Clarence, because our turn is coming.

Clarence, you’re just not seeing it. We will out-last you. We will out-live you. We will negate you.

Your band of self-righteous rights assassins is having its day and a tiny percentage of Americans who are big mouthed zealots is cheering all of you. But the vast majority of We The People (remember us?) are preparing to supersede you. We will out-smash your smashing of stare decisis and we will revisit and restore everything you crushed. We will overwhelm and reverse your attempt to take us to some fantasy of Biblical purity, your far right lunacy. We’ll do that because:

Far right is far wrong.
.

Clarence. Your day of basking in the glow of your puffed, self-righteous ego and your imagined high tech victimhood will be over and you will be a mere footnote in the history of world cruelty. We will replace you. We will not miss you.

Begone, Clarence.

Many thanks to JN for this

WAKE UP, AMERICANS!

Smell the coffee and see what is really happening right in front of you, because it’s all going to play out in the duplicity of this far-right court. Your pocket will be picked clean of your rights. It will take generations to repair the damage. So, watch this video. It will give you clarity about what the Court is really doing.

And just in case you’re still a smidgen unclear about your important choices, read Ira Leavit’s explainer featuring your favorite Marvel Cinematic Universe superhero. I superrecommend it.

Then pass this message along to 3 people, because it’s going to take a massive number of us to prevent a far-right lunacy disaster.

We must do that, because in all ways, there is no fun in far-right lunacy.

————————————

Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem with the same solution:
.
Fire the bastards!
.
The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.

Did someone forward this post 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.

Hartmann Agrees


I think that it isn’t the system that needs reform. It’s the people who are undermining the system who need reform – or replacement. Click for the story – see Item #3.

Not long ago I posted a love note to Millennials and Gen-Zs. It was something of an apology for what we  Boomers have done that threatens them and for the huge pile of political poo we’re piling at their feet. It isn’t pretty and it won’t be easy. But it’s critical that they grab hold of this mess, shackle it in irons and imprison it for the life of this planet.

I laid out some of the key challenges and let our Ms and Zs know that we believe in them, that they can do this. They can restore what has been stolen, they can take the critically important steps to save our planet and themselves and they have the power to replace our national dishonesty, denial and mindless rage with truth and reality.

It turns out that Thom Hartmann agrees with me and he’s laid out far more clearly the reasons that Ms and Zs are so screwed – his word. I encourage everyone to read his message and see it as a laying out of the challenges that must be met.

These challenges should not be partisan or political, but the sad truth is that they are. There is only one party that tolerates and promotes hatred. There is only one party that fights against the advancement of gun safety.* There is only one party that rejoices in taking away our rights. There is only one party that consistently takes from the poor and middle class and gives to the super rich. There is only one party taking away your vote and working to destroy our democracy and replace it with a fascist autocracy.

There is more bad stuff that they do, of course, but the point is that the Republican Party, the one that used to be conservative, standing up for the values you believe in, no longer exists. They stand solely for enhancing their own power and wealth at our expense.

Read Hartmann’s piece and you’ll understand.

While you’re at it, read The Democrats Need to Wake Up and Stop Pandering to Their Extremes, a forehead slapper from The Economist. You’ll understand that one, too.

See? It just doesn’t take that many words. This took 30 seconds to think of and about 15 minutes to construct.

BTW

I’ve pummeled Democrats repeatedly for their astonishingly poor communication skills. They’re nearly always way too wordy, taking what would be said by Republicans in under two dozen words and instead expanding them into unintelligible paragraphs that not even the author can remember and which put readers to sleep.

President Biden’s July 9 essay in the Washington Post explaining/defending his trip to Saudi Arabia was just such a communication disaster. It demonstrates that in 1,387 words. Yes, over 2 pages of dense text!

What are the communications people in the White House thinking?

I did muscle through it on my second attempt. It is boring. It is W-A-A-A-A-A-Y too long. And it feels like an old prize fighter recounting a win from years ago.

“Joe, I want  to hear about how what you’re doing today will help me tomorrow. And I want to hear about it in a maximum of 60 seconds.”

I think Biden is doing a really good job of doing his job. But he and the Ds are so dreadfully, painfully, self-destructively lousy at communication that even Democrats can’t see the good stuff that’s happening right in front of them. Look at this from the New York Times:

Sixty-four percent of Democratic voters prefer a candidate other than President Biden in 2024, a Times/Siena College poll shows.
.

That’s happening as we are in an existential battle to save democracy from the Rs who would crush it. If we’re to win that battle and succeed in saving our nation, voters will have to feel good about voting for Democrats.

Crappy communication won’t help.

NOTE: I reached out to the DNC with an offer to help. So far no reply.

Covid Corner – post-video late addition

In an interview with Politico and discussing his retirement, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the lightning rod and target of extremist right wing paranoia, said, “If somebody says, ‘You’ll leave when we don’t have Covid anymore,’ then I will be 105. I think we’re going to be living with this.”

A STAT report commenting on Fauci’s interview response reported, “That statement is a concession that we never flattened the curve of cases and we’re instead living with the virus and its variants.”

I’m left gobsmacked by the profound impact 22% of the U.S. population has had by refusing to be vaccinated and by having temper tantrums over masks. “Living with the virus and its variants” is the price we all pay when the fierce independents and the power and money opportunists hold sway over the common good. Read the charts.

Just a couple of weeks ago we were losing 327 Americans per day to Covid. Now it’s up to 417 per day. And 98 – 99% of those who die are unvaccinated. Have a fiercely independent day, Bubba – while you still can.


* “And I believe it is insane that Republicans in the U.S. Senate — who accept the Second Amendment as a death warrant for tens of thousands of Americans each year — will not even agree to legislation raising the minimum age to purchase such weapons of war [AR-15 style assault weapons] to 21.”

“Shame on this country for refusing to take those guns out of the shooters’ hands — or to prevent them from buying those guns in the first place.”

Eugene Robinson, Washington Post, July 19, 2022

————————————

Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem with the same solution:
Fire the bastards!
.
The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.
.

Did someone forward this post 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.

MAGA Time and Time For A Moon Shot


I was thinking about what the term “MAGA” means. I don’t mean the words; rather, the reference point.

If the goal is to make America great again, the construct requires an antecedent when America was deemed to be great, a glory from which we’ve foolishly slipped. That’s what the MAGA folks want to restore, it seems. Okay, when was that?

Could they be thinking about the Revolutionary War period, when the inhabitants of the Colonies were all engaged, shoulder to shoulder, in the great quest for freedom from King George III? If so, that’s misguided, because about 20% of the colonists were loyalists to the King and the vast majority were fence sitters. The revolutionaries were a small minority. That’s why Thomas Paine had to exhort colonists to enlist in the fight. Was America great then? There were heroics, to be sure, but probably not overall greatness.

It’s hard to imagine the Civil War period as great, as we killed 620 thousand Americans. Or perhaps that was a great time for some, proudly enslaving others and reaping the benefits and when poor Whites were pretty much our national trash. The White land owners were the undisputed kings of their realms. Maybe that was when America was great.

I’m not confident that the Reconstruction and Jim Crow periods qualify. Not a lot great there, if “liberty and justice for all” means anything, although we did manage to kill and displace uncounted numbers of Native Americans in our westward expansion and lynching was a semi-national past time.

Same problem with Freedom Summer in 1964, when Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman were tortured and murdered in Philadelphia, MS. They were there for the very American activity of registering citizens to vote. Their murders still stand as a symbol of the period. Was that a proud epoch in our history – a MAGA idealized period – when brutality ruled over civics and basic decency?

Maybe the MAGA folks think of the 1950s as the time when America was great. It did work pretty well for Whites. Ours was the only industrial economy left intact after WW II. Jobs were plentiful and wages were good. It was a time when “others” knew “their place.” And it was well before the radical Blacks and college kids were making trouble with all those pesky protest marches for civil and voting rights and against the Viet Nam war. Yeah, that was a great time to be White in America. That must be the MAGA reference point.

It seems to me that when the almost completely White* MAGA crowd spouts “Make America Great Again” what they really mean is to make the country great for them. Just them. This is the very definition of White supremacy, selfishness and the refusal of equal protection. It’s all for me and who cares about anyone else?

That’s what the enslavers said until the Civil War. They continued to believe all their lives that “The South will rise again!” touting their “Lost Cause” totem, and it seems to have done just that with our current insane far right populism. That’s what the Jim Crow South enforced. That’s what hundreds of years of cruelty and broken promises to native Americans were all about. That’s what Reagan worked to create, albeit with carefully written and highly choreographed terms that made selfishness sound patriotic.

And that is what Trump and all the ideological, far right extremists in Congress and elsewhere want to create. It’s about the absolute right of the individual over the common good. All for them and who cares about anyone else?

I should have told you that there will be a pass-fail exam. To prepare, you must watch the history lesson from Professor Heather Cox Richardson, as she digs into the deeper meaning of the Roe-killing Supreme Court Dobbs decision. It’s likely much farther reaching than you now realize. So, grab your cup o’ joe and listen up.

To close this section, here’s a fine and insightful, pre-massacre comment from the July 4th weekend:

“Even though our politics is toxically polarized right now, we don’t need fewer arguments right now; we just need less stupid ones.”

  • Eric Liu, CEO, Citizen University
  • PBS News Weekend, July 3, 2022
Time For A Moon Shot

Picture credit: NASA and Wikipedia

Surely, there can’t be many doubters left that we are at the whim of the fossil fuel industry. The craziness of U.S. gas prices that have gone over $6 per gallon is actually dwarfed by what customers are paying in Europe. So, let me say this with as much clarity as I can muster: We travel about and stay warm in the winter at the pleasure of and discretion (if any) of oil producers, and many of them have no interest at all in what works best for us. Think: Russia; Saudi Arabia; Iran – and even the myopically focused, shareholder and  C-suite-centric U.S. fossil fuel companies, still selfishly thinking Milton Friedman got it right. **

Add to that the actual, real life fact that we are in the process of cooking our planet, making huge areas uninhabitable, reducing crop yields, killing people in freak storms that are so common that they aren’t freaks anymore and incrementally drowning coastal land areas. It’s possible that the smart move is to let go of our petty insecurities and short term thinking that lead to nothing good and instead do something about what matters. Like staying alive.

Apparently, Coal State Joe doesn’t care about his grandkids.

This just might be the moment to rally the U.S. and perhaps the world to a moon shot, a dramatic shift from fossil fuels to renewables that won’t kill all of us. This just might be the time to create incentives for solar panels on every roof, for far more fields of wind generators, for the development of power from tides and all the rest of the things that we will eventually do anyway. The only question is when our circumstances will have become sufficiently dire and scary for us to break out of our denial and do the obvious.

Right now is the time for that moon shot. We can start with a Presidential call to action and by firing all politicians who refuse to accept reality. I’m thinking about you, Joe Manchin (D-WV), as you abandon any concern for your grandchildren (see the graphic to the left). You, too, Marco Rubio (R-FL), as you mealy mouth about climate warming, while the Mayor of Miami Beach is on Highway A1A and the sea water is over his ankles. Read a related CBS story here.

In the face of Manchin’s Luddite refusal to support fighting global warming and the Supreme Court having hamstrung the EPA’s power to regulate, read Four Ways the United States Can Still Fight Climate Change. It’s not enough, but it’s something.

——————————–

* Don’t let a few Black faces in the audience behind MAGA speakers fool you. They’re placed where they are to make these hate rallies look more inclusive for TV viewers, but there are actually very few non-Whites attending. If you want to test that, watch any video of the January 6 insurrection and count the non-White faces.

** Friedman Doctrine: “An entity’s [corporation’s] greatest responsibility lies in the satisfaction of the shareholders.” Friedman’s tortured logic said that focusing solely on maximizing return to shareholders would result in the best outcomes for all stakeholders (employees, customers, suppliers, the community, etc.).

Today’s era of high inflation is caused, in part, by whimsically puffed up prices (whatever the market will bear) for energy, transportation, food and more. Per corporate reporting, this has resulted in greatly inflated corporate profits and, therefore, a far greater return to shareholders.

Is that resulting in the best outcomes for all stakeholders, as Friedman predicted? How is Friedman’s notion working for workers and small businesses? How is that working for you, as you stand at the gas pump and watch the numbers climb?

I really don’t think that Gordon Gecko (“Greed is good“) was entirely right. Self-interest is fine, but not in the absolute and certainly not to the exclusion of everyone and everything else. If we’re to keep this planet habitable, it’s going to require us all to work for the common good, irrespective of shareholder satisfaction.

————————————

Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem with the same solution:
.
Fire the bastards!
.
The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.

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  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.
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JA


Copyright 2022 by Jack Altschuler
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