Accountability

Smart, Educated, Experienced and Skilled


POST 1058


Sheila Markin posted a fine explainer and updater of what has happened to Trump’s lawyers. Her piece caused a sociological question to bubble up to top of mind.

I’ve wondered many times about all those attorneys, every one smart, highly educated, experienced and with considerable skill at their craft. The wonder, of course, is why they allowed themselves to be lured to crash onto the rocks by the siren song of the Orange Siren.

Of course, Trump deserves legal representation, as any dirt ball con man would. He deserves the presumption of innocence, too, even in the face of overwhelming evidence of his guilt. But,

Why would these smart, educated, experienced and skilled people aid and abet Trump in breaking the law?

Why would they associate themselves with Trump’s defamatory statements and invitations to violence?

Why would they file idiotic motions, like an absurd claim of absolute and permanent presidential immunity and why would they in good conscience attempt an inversion of the Presidential Records Act?

Why would they risk their law licenses aiding or defending illegal actions, lying to authorities and saying the most obviously idiotic things?

Why would they do such abhorrent things, knowing that the stink of Trump will be all over them and it won’t wash off for the rest of their professional lives?

Indeed, why would they do anything for Trump, knowing that there is a better than even chance that they won’t get paid for their work?

These Trump lawyers paid a huge price in dollars, work effort, time, hopes and dreams to get JD appended to their names. Then they betrayed their integrity and threw it all away – but for what?.

In her courtroom statement regarding her Georgia RICO plea deal, Trump attorney Jenna Ellis declared with great contrition, “If I knew then what I know now . . .”
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Really? She didn’t know that Trump would do with her what he does with everyone, including all of his former lawyers? She didn’t know that loyalty with Trump is a one-way street leading only to Trump and that at the first sign of an advantage for himself he would discard her like a used motor oil rag? She hadn’t a clue that she was joining a team that was conspiring to violate the law and the Constitution, working to overthrow the will of the people? It never occurred to her that the infamous Green Bay sweep was nothing less than a traitorous conspiracy, a coup plot?
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I have the same questions for all the rest of the lawyers who schemed to replace electors chosen by the people with phony “alternate electors”; lawyers who cajoled Mike Pence to violate his duty and the Constitution; who demanded pointless vote recounts and filed over 60 evidence-free lawsuits. Eastman, Giuliani, Chesebro, Powell, Habba, Navarro and more – there just doesn’t exist a remote possibility that they didn’t know in advance what they were getting into and, once there, that they didn’t realize that they were violating the law. So please, Jenna Ellis and anyone else with an, “Oh golly, I really didn’t know” claim, just shut up.
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I think I’m right – that this legion is of lawyers who are are smart, educated, experienced and skilled. And I believe that they are also boundlessly foolish at best and perhaps far worse. That will be confirmed when we find more of them censured, some imprisoned and later, some selling insurance because they’re no longer allowed to practice law.
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Meanwhile, I suspect that I’m not the only one wondering why these smart, educated, experienced and skilled people would do what they’ve done. And I wonder why some of them are continuing to promote and defend Trump’s dishonesty, when the obvious truth is almost blinding. So please, if you have some insight, even just a flicker of light to shine in this dark cave of the undermining of everything we claim to value and believe in, please share it in the Comments section below to help all of us understand.


Today is a good day to be the light

  • _____________________________
  • 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 ALL 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.
    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 or neighborhood vibrant.

    Click me

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Consequences v2.0


POST 1057


A Baltimore Bridge Collapse Question

As you know, on March 26 a mammoth container ship, the Singapore flagged Dali, crashed into a pylon supporting the Francis Scott Key Bridge that spans Baltimore Harbor, the country’s 11th busiest port. The ship is 984 feet long (over 3 football fields in length), weighs over 116,000 tons and was traveling at 9.2 mph, so the force of the collision was enormous and it took out a huge portion of the bridge. Six people died, two were saved and both land and sea transportation in Baltimore are severely hampered. The loss of life would have been much greater had first responders not quickly blocked access to keep others off the bridge. And had this collision happened at 1:30PM instead of 1:30AM, losses would have been far worse because the bridge would have been full of cars and trucks.

I had Joan Esposito’s radio program* on for the first few minutes of her program the day after the disaster and she asked an intriguing question. First, some background on what happened.

The ship impacted the pylon around 1:30AM. By 2:00AM Maryland Governor Wes Moore had been alerted, briefed on what had happened and had declared a state of emergency. By 3:30AM Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg had called the governor pledging whatever support was needed.

From C-Span:

“NTSB investigators, who are leading the investigation, arrived at the bridge scene at 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday [just 4-1/2 hours after the collision]. Twenty-four NTSB staffers were on site, including several specializing in nautical operations, human performance and engineering.” – NTSB chairwoman Jennifer Homendy

All of that is a really fast whole-of-government response.

A little later that morning President Biden said, “This is going to take some time. The people of Baltimore can count on us, though, to stick with them, at every step of the way, ’til the port is reopened and the bridge is rebuilt,” and he vowed to send federal funds. Later that day Secretary Buttigieg was on site in Baltimore and reiterated President Biden’s commitment.

For now we can ignore the instantaneous Republican demonizing, finger pointing and vows to help only if they can get other unrelated things they want. So much for whether Republicans give a damn for the people of Baltimore, the people of Maryland or some guy in Alabama who won’t be able to get his new pickup truck because the ship carrying it was supposed to dock in Baltimore but now is stuck at sea.

Now on to Joan Esposito’s question.

Imagine that this exact event had instead happened four years ago on March 26, 2020. How would President Trump’s team have responded? Try this.

Trump didn’t trust Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao. After all, she’s married to Mitch McConnell, who by then had greatly distanced himself from Trump. Plus she’s Asian. He didn’t invest her with any significant power to take action, so she wouldn’t have responded to the governor at 3:30AM like Pete Buttigieg did. She would have been reduced to going to Trump for a “Oh leader, may I?” conversation much later in the morning because Trump always watched TV looking for coverage of himself until nearly noon every day.

Trump certainly would not have wanted Chao to get attention when there was an opportunity to snare it for himself. He likely would have called a press conference in the White House to declare how we were going to build the greatest bridge – greater than anyone has ever seen. After grandstanding for as long as he could, he would have left the podium. He wouldn’t conference with then-governor Larry Hogan, a Black man, and he would have promptly forgotten the people of Baltimore. After all, what would be in it for Trump to bother with them? They wouldn’t vote for him, so there was no upside for him. Besides, it wasn’t infrastructure week. It never was.

Esposito asked, “When did Trump ever do the right thing? When did he ever, despite all of his false words, do anything to help any part of the country that was in need?” You know the answers.

The main point of the answer to Esposito’s original question is that elections matter – there are consequences to them. Competence matters. Clarity and dedication to our nation and to our people matter. The present administration is packed with extremely competent people in whom the President vests great power, so they are wonderfully effective and quick to respond. It would devastate our nation to go back to the all-about-Trump unreality show.

Mifepristone

Dear ethically challenged Supreme Court justices,

There are just a few things for you to keep in mind in this case, now that you’ve heard oral arguments on the attempt to ban this FDA approved drug.

  1. The doctors and scientists of the Food and Drug Administration are qualified to determine if a medication is both safe to use and effective. They are slow in their approvals because they are very deliberate in their work. Justices who are neither doctors nor scientists are not qualified to make such determinations. Second guessing the FDA from a position of ignorance is foolish at best and dangerous at worst. As Ruth Marcus put it, “[Alito’s] job is to interpret the Constitution. Would he rather run the FDA?” Supreme Court, you should drop this case and never again enter the realm of judging executive branch agency actions.
  2. The plaintiffs in this case have experienced no harm from Mifepristone. They have no standing to be bringing this case. Supreme Court, you should drop this case and never again accept a case where the plaintiff has no standing.
  3. The district court judge decided to ban this drug based on, 1) nonsense written in random, non-medical blogs by people ignorant about the drug and the field of medicine, and, 2) discredited studies that were withdrawn because they were false. Supreme Court, you should drop this case and never again accept a case that is based on zero evidence and the religious beliefs of a district court judge.

The points above were well known in advance of the Court agreeing to hear this case. The really important question now is why the Court would agree to hear this obvious loser of a complaint. I’m hoping it wasn’t to further advance the desire of 6 members of the Court to move us to become a terrifying 15th century theocracy. Think: both Dobbs and the comments of Thomas and Alito wanting to ban all birth control other than abstinence and the rhythm method. Like in the 1400s. And you know how well those work.

There remain significant consequences of Trump having won in 2016. His having seated three extremist Supreme Court justices is a crucial one. We continue to suffer from that and his other punitive actions, like $7 trillion in additional debt. On November 5, think about consequences.

One More Consequence

If you were a real enthusiastic Trump sucker and bought into his Trump Media merger scam, this past Friday was a nasty day.

Lets say you dug into your retirement money and bought $100,000 of stock at the offering price of  $79.38. Two days ago the stock was trading at $40.59, making your investment now worth $51,134. Congratulations: You lost $49,000 in just 12 days. You’re now just like Trump: a loser. And you’ve been conned – grifted – again. There are consequences to refusing to learn.

__________________________________________

* Click on the link and select the March 27 recording. Listen to the first 11 minutes.


Today is a good day to be the light

  • _____________________________
  • 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 ALL 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.
    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 or neighborhood vibrant.

    Click me

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

The Ultimate Con


POST 1056

CAUTION! Contains snark!

The content below touches on sensitive issues, willful ignorance and deeply held hypocrisies. It implies widespread gullibility and faith-free faith. Proceed if you dare, but follow the Surgeon General’s recommendation to wear an N95 mask while reading and to squint your eyes against the glare of nearly believable satire. Note that injections of bleach following reading are not recommended, but hydroxychloroquine injections are recommended, but only on a doctor’s orders and if you have malaria. Also recommended are to brush and floss daily and to hold hands when crossing the street.


The King Grifter Version – Click me

Donald, you’ve been a con all your life, including conning your father out of hundreds of millions of dollars and your relatives out of their inheritances. You’ve conned contractors and lawyers and even 1/3 of the American public. You’ve conned people by promising a university education and delivering nothing and by assuring them of vast riches by following your get-rich-quick scam. You’ve conned people with steaks and bottled water, vodka, a fraudulent charitable foundation, gold painted sneakers, perfume and now a Bible. Poor, easily influenced people have already been conned into buying a copy, as well as sending you donations for your ever-mounting legal bills to defend your felonies.

About that Bible. There is no American Bible. While we revere the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Pledge of Allegiance and the Bill of Rights, they are not holy documents and they were not inscribed by the finger of God – or even Lee Greenwood’s. Indeed, nowhere in any Bible other than your King Grifter Version is America mentioned. For effectiveness moving forward, we recommend that you not mention that you’ve broken most of the 10 Commandments repeatedly (Think: Access Hollywood tape), or that you don’t know anything that is between the covers of that book. And while most people don’t mind that you hoisted a Bible upside down in front of St. John’s Church after tear gassing peaceful protesters, it’s still not a good idea to mention that.

You have used The Big Lie repeatedly, even before the 2016 election, then claiming that if you were to lose that election that it would only be because of Democratic fraud that stole victory from you. That was a fine con, Donald, and through diligent practice over the years you’ve perfected The Big Lie, making claims not just of stolen elections, but Big Lies about judicial decisions you didn’t like and fantabulous lies about people, even about the daughter of the judge presiding in one of your cases. Because you adhere to the Big Lie principles so well, you’ve conned millions.*

But facing the facts of actuarial tables, Donald, you’re near the end of your run. Given your sedentary lifestyle and your diet of fast food junk, it’s probable that the only thing holding your body together is a massive clod of cholesterol glue. You’ve always been certifiably crazy, but now you babble incoherently, so dementia is right around the corner. While you still have the capacity to con on a grand scale, Donald, it’s time for supreme action.

You’ve tickled around the edges of claiming to be sent by God, saying things to your followers like, “I am being indicted for you,” and talking about your “divine purpose,” hinting not very delicately that you are Jesus himself, but that isn’t enough. You have to boldly transcend to The Ultimate Con.

You must take to the stage at your next big rally, with thousands of adoring dupes carrying Trump signs and Trump flags, wearing red, white and blue shirts and MAGA hats. You will speak (even to “my Negro”) and you’ll raise your hands pontifically. You’ll strongly – because you are a strong man – and with absolute conviction declare that you are not just a god, but the God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit – all of them. You’ll tell your faithful that you sent yourself to save America, to make it a Christian Nationalist place the way it was intended to be.** You’ll say that you are God, which means you can smite your godless opponents. You are The Law and all power and vengeance are yours, thus sayeth The Donald.

The Via Delarosa – Jerusalem

They will play deep, moving organ music and a great chorus of angelic voices will rise to the heavens strongly, as you solemnly labor from one side of the stage to the other, your hands grasping for purchase, your face in self-reverence, as though you’re struggling painfully and victimly along the Via Dolarosa. You will absorb the adoration of your people and all will bow their heads in maximus supplicationus. Many will weep.

The pundits will declare that to be against you is blasphemy. Pastors will pound pulpits in theocratic fervor and no Republican elected official will dare to utter even a single discouraging word, although that’s nothing new.

Yours will be the kingdom, the power and the glory of the Ultimate Con.***

This Ultimate Con hasn’t been tried since the first century AD/BCE when the incestuous Roman emperor Caligula grabbed that turf. He was a deviant, but that might appeal to you. Note, though, that his grab for god status didn’t work well for him, as he was assassinated not long after making that claim. Still, it was a great con.

Who knows? You might get away with it. If you can make this work and get yourself elected, your self-serving truth may be known and it will set you free (from prison).***  As your truth is said in the Book of Donald, “I say unto you, and this is true, it’s a witch hunt, a hoax. I won bigly and strongly. Stop the steal!” These moving words are for monks to ponder by candlelight in dark, damp monasteries for centuries.

Donald, this will be your greatest con ever.****

This Next Is No Con

Many thanks to Sheila Markin for this:

Below is a [link to a] letter written by a concerned American who wants to pressure Justice Roberts to ask Justice Thomas to recuse himself in the upcoming case United States v Trump. Take a look and see if you want to sign on. You do not have to be a lawyer to sign it. Pressure on Roberts to try to get Thomas to do the right things is probably worthwhile even if it doesn’t keep Thomas from doing the wrong thing.
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https://ldad.org/letters-briefs/justice-thomas

I signed the letter and urge you to sign it, too.

________________________________________

* In a fine post by Thom Hartmann, he offers an audio clip of President Roosevelt during the 1944 presidential campaign, with FDR explaining The Big Lie masterfully. Scan down to the bottom of Hartmann’s post to hear the short clip. Important for your understanding is that Republican Presidents Harding, Coolidge and Hoover had been in charge for the 12 years before Roosevelt won the 1932 election. Those Republican men brought us the Great Depression. So, it isn’t just today’s Republicans howling The Big Lie. There were Republican Big Liars in 1944, too.

** Regardless of the somewhat vague references to God in our founding documents, the Founding Fathers were adamant that this is not a theocracy, that this is not a Christian nation. CNN published a most accessible review of this. Better, albeit far more ambitious, would be a review of the Federalist Papers.

*** With apologies to The Lord’s Prayer and John 8:32.

**** Donald sent out a blizzard of 77 Truth Social ALL CAPS messages on Easter. His messages were about himself, attacking his opponents, attacks on judges and members of their families and comparing himself to Jesus. More specifically, his primary Easter message contained 7 words about Easter and 161 words attacking his enemies and whining about the legal system. Likely, his White Christian (in name only) minions ate it up. Great lead-in to The Ultimate Con.


Today is a good day to be the light

  • _____________________________
  • 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 ALL 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.
    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 or neighborhood vibrant.

    Click me

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Are You Better Off?


Post 1,054


Update on She Who Must Not Be Named

Wall Street Journal online, March 24:

[MSNBC’s president, Rashida] Jones told employees the cable network has no plans to have [former RNC Chair Ronna Romney] McDaniel on the channel, according to people familiar with the conversations. A number of MSNBC anchors and producers have voiced concern internally about McDaniel’s ties to former President Donald Trump and the RNC’s role in his efforts to challenge the 2020 election results.

The natives at 30 Rock were plenty restless and the president of MSNBC was forced to abandon the idiotic, trust bashing decision to hire McDaniel.

Here is Steve Schmidt’s March 25 update:

On Friday, NBC News was disgraced by the actions of its executives who cavalierly discarded its reputation, ethics and standards.

On Sunday, [Kristen] Welker and [Chuck] Todd turned a cynical farce into one of NBC News’ finest moments.

Ronna McDaniel won’t be back [to MSNBC]. [emphasis mine]
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The truth won on Sunday, and both Chuck Todd and Kristen Welker are owed the gratitude of all who care about the truth. These are people who can be trusted. They earned it.

This is all about truth, honesty and trust and how critical they are to journalism.

Here’s Rachel Maddow’s March 26 comment on this betrayal of honest journalism.

Here’s a brief review of McDonald’s actual sordid attempt to overthrow our democracy – a fact check against her claims on Meet The Press last Sunday. This woman is bad ju-ju in every way.

On To “Are You Better Off?”

Writes Prof. Heather Cox Richardson,

” .  .  .  four years ago [when Trump was President] we were in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. Supermarket shelves were empty, toilet paper was hard to find, healthcare professionals were wearing garbage bags [for protection] and reusing masks because the Trump administration had permitted the strategic stockpile to run low, deaths were mounting, the stock market had crashed, and the economy had ground to a halt.”

There is lots more like this terrible list so I hope that Trump continues to ask his audiences his “Are you better off?” question, because they are much better off today and we will realize that more and more with each asking. Meanwhile, I have some questions.

Trump is flailing. He cannot complete simple sentences using low syllable count words because he devolves into gibberish. He cannot cover his half-billion dollar obligation to the State of New York and Joe Biden has come from behind in the polls to match Trump. He still has multiple trials for dozens of charges ahead of him with the first criminal trial just two weeks away. It’s highly doubtful that he can grift enough cash from his takeover of the Republican Party to cover his enormous legal bills.

That he has not been able to get a half-million dollar bond, now knocked down to $175 million, is easily the most troublesome thing for Trump. His properties stand at risk of seizure by the state, while no sane American would lend money to this over-leveraged, creditor stiffing blowhard. But he needs the cash. Where will he get it?

He’s re-hired convict Paul Manafort, the grifter who stripped millions from Ukraine and Russia. Do you suppose Manafort is back to exercise his skills and get Trump money from foreign sources like Russia or Saudi Arabia, which gave Jarrod Kushner $2 billion for his “I’m clueless” investment business? Possibly it will be China, which might see a leverage angle to giving Trump money, such that they could let pass his disparaging “China virus” slurs in favor of the ability to pull his strings.

The point is that if Trump can raise the money he needs he will likely be beholden to a foreign despot. Should he win the election, that indebtedness would be a situation that is terribly dangerous for America, as it would make the President of the United States a national security risk. Would he abandon our allies upon command from his creditors? Would our intelligence services dare to give him full briefings?

Must Read

I’ve read, I’ve studied and I’ve noodled endlessly hoping to understand people who vote against their own interests, who deny reality and who believe any preposterous, anger inducing thing that’s flashed before their eyes. They have some legitimate grievances, to be sure, but they spiral down from them into believing that everything about America is horrible and dystopian and that Democrats and the “elites” are in a child molesting cabal. They are convinced that only they and those who agree with them are real Americans and that hating “others” is a good and pure American thing to do.

David Corn of Mother Jones interviewed Tom Schaller and Paul Waldman, co-authors of White Rural Rage: The Threat to American Democracy and I think those guys are on to something valuable and clarifying.

I have not read their book yet, but intend to because the interview is so enormously valuable. Your reading assignment today is that interview.

Two more points about very proud rural Americans:

  1. From STAT: “A new study explains the rural-urban divide in cervical screening rates” Despite the rate of women dying from cervical cancer being almost a third higher in rural areas than in urban ones, screening rates are actually lower in rural communities. A new study published in Cancer found that this disparity has persisted in the country’s community health centers .  .  .”
  2. From the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston: “Americans in rural areas do not live as long as their counterparts in urban areas. Americans in urban areas are living longer, on average, than Americans in rural areas, and that divide is growing wider, new research from the University of Texas Medical Branch shows. In 2005-2009 life expectancy was 78.8 in urban areas compared to 76.8 in rural areas. Then from 2010 to 2019 rural counties experienced declines in life expectancy (-0.20 years for women and -0.30 years for men), while urban counties experienced modest increases (0.55 years for women and 0.29 years for men) .  .  .”

To that we can add that 95% of Covid deaths are of unvaccinated people disproportionately from red states.

Said another way, our people are angry and dysfunctional and are suffering and dying younger, even as we have the tools to reverse that. We are left to wonder what would propel people into self-destruction. I’m thinking that their being fed a whirlwind of lies and malicious disinformation for decades is at least a piece of that. So, no, these people following Trump, continuing to ingest the poison he feeds them still, are not better off than they were four years ago.

Late Update

NBC News has cancelled Ronna Romney McDaniel from all parts of NBC. Just guessing Lester Holt is greatly relieved.


Today is a good day to be the light

  • _____________________________
  • 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 ALL 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.
    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 or neighborhood vibrant.

    Click me

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Delusion


Post 1,050


Not Looking Too Supreme

Yes, the ballot disqualification decision was unanimous and it may well lead to further disapproval of this ethically challenged court. We don’t know if that unanimity was because every justice dug deeply into their vault of jurisprudence and agreed or because the justices feared a violent public reaction to banning Trump from ballots and office. You know: like it says in the 14th Amendment. That is to say, they chickened out, which is exactly what bullies hope for.

Here’s what CREW, the plaintiff in this 14th Amendment case, said of this decision:

The Court had the opportunity to clear Trump of the finding that he incited insurrection, and the Court chose not to. Instead it simply ruled that states do not have the power to enforce Section 3 of the 14th Amendment unless Congress says they can. [I.e. the Court’s decision was based on a technicality.]

It’s disappointing that the Court failed to bar Trump from the ballot. This was a test for the Court, and it failed to meet the moment.

But in this ruling, there is a win for our democracy: Trump will go down in history as an insurrectionist. [emphasis original]
.

See this for a clear explanation of what this means. Sadly, the Supreme Court effectively erased Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, essentially adding a 28th Amendment. They did it without the formal process required by the Constitution. The notion of doing that should be delusional.

American Terrorists – Constant Delusion

You’ve seen the shaved head militia crazies, AR-15s strapped to their chests, fingers covering triggers, Glocks strapped to their thighs just above their cargo pockets filled with ammo clips. This look is their macho swagger, their tattoos giving messages of death and so-called patriotism. They seig heil their leader, muscles a-popping, brows furled in intensity and they promise death to the elite scum who they say are traitors to the true America.

Sure, it’s a stereotype, maybe a bit immoderate, but you’ve seen these guys in television news coverage invading the Capitol Building on January 6 and in state capitol buildings in Wisconsin and Michigan and just outside polling places (here and here) on missions of voter intimidation, as though that’s their patriotic duty. Sometimes they parade in a forest of Trump flags, American flags and Nazi flags. The mixed symbols clash in a display of confusing bravado, but the testosterone, absolutism and love of violence messages are clear. And while you didn’t see all the automatic weapons they had on January 6 (many were stashed in their hotel rooms in Virginia), these are members of the army of angry people who stormed and desecrated our Capitol Building looking to murder the Vice-President and the Speaker of the House.

These people are itching for a fight and they think they are going to retake control of America (that means control of you) and establish their notion of patriotic purity by means of their might. They have plenty of would-be Rambos standing by and over 400 million guns in their arsenals.

I’m reading an old Tom Clancy novel, Dead or Alive, and it is, of course, a good guys versus bad guys macho tale. One paragraph (p. 115) describes bad guy Islamist terrorists. See if it makes you think of anyone else.

” .  .  .  they thought of themselves as Holy Warriors and sought after their seventy-two virgins but were in fact young people with few prospects, to whom religion was the path to greatness they would otherwise never achieve. It was remarkable that they were too stupid even to see that.”

Strip that description of the seventy-two virgins and replace religion with MAGA and you have our delusional American crusaders. They believe their mission is holy and they can justify it with quotations like a Jeffersonian Tree of Liberty “spilling of blood” phrase and demonization of immigrants bringing their “poisoning blood.” These are the people who will bring Trump’s “bedlam” when things fail to go Trump’s way.

We don’t need any more standoffs, like Cliven Bundy’s chest puffing idiocy. We surely don’t need a Ruby Ridge or a WacoBranch Dividian catastrophe. So, when these guys, these self-styled American crusaders, decide to provoke a confrontation, what are we going to do?

I hope our government people are working scenarios that will result in the security of our nation and that they have a notion of how to accomplish neutralizing these Rambo wannabees with minimal loss of life. But that’s a tough challenge when dealing with people who think their cause is holy and pure and who are willing, some eager, to die for their cause. You know enough history to recognize the delusional pattern.

Now, This Is Delusional So, Bless Her Heart!

Click the pic for the SNL version of Sen. Katie Brttt’s (R-AL) cringe-worthy rebuttal to the SOTU. Start at 2:26 or watch the Biden lead-in first.

Delusional Senator Endorses Violence

Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH) brought his usual cerebral fuzziness to the issue of aid to Ukraine, as reported by PBS:

MUNICH (AP) — A Republican opponent [Vance] of new U.S. funding for Ukraine argued at an international security conference Sunday that the package stuck in Congress wouldn’t “fundamentally change the reality” on the ground and that Russia has an incentive to negotiate peace.

Ukrainians are dying. Their cities are being destroyed by Russian bombs, artillery and rockets. The country is being obliterated. That’s Putin’s stated goal – to erase Ukraine and rebuild it as part of Russia.

What you need to know is that Vance has never served in combat, so he knows nothing about battlefield realities. He has never served in uniform, so he knows nothing about any nation’s military. And he knows nothing about any incentive for Russia to negotiate peace. He is an ignoramus lacking the sense to keep his ignorant mouth shut.

Many thanks to JN for the pic

That package stuck in Congress is designed to bolster Ukraine’s ability to defend itself and to drive the Russian army out of Ukraine. Without that aid, Ukraine will run out of munitions and all will be lost. And Putin has publicly stated that he will then set his sights on the Baltic countries, Romania and eastern Poland. Happily for Putin and the Russians, Trump has invited them to do “Whatever the hell they want.

People are dying as Vance displays his boundless ignorance and cowardly fealty to Trump, who told Vance to oppose military aid for Ukraine. Decide for yourself why Trump would insist on blocking aid to Ukraine and, as a result, provide aid to Putin.

Vance is not just spineless. He is a promoter of Putin’s butchery.

Nickname Rhymes with “Tucker”

Tucker Carlson outdid himself by directly promoting Vladimir Putin and, in consequence, undermining democracy everywhere. He did so in a suck-up interview witnessed by pinheads in Red states and by some already shaky allies. That has earned Carlson a special award.

Many thanks to JN for the pic.

I wonder if MAGA Americans can remember when we were the good guys and the Russian oppressors were the bad guys, especially when they invaded another country and committed war crimes. The righties used to be good at standing up to Russian tyrants. Now they cower before Trump and his despotic pals Orbán, Erdoğan and Putin and they puff their chests as though they are brave.

Congratulations on your award, Comrade Tucker. You’re delusional.


  • Today is a good day to be the light
  • _____________________________
  • 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 ALL 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.
    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 or neighborhood vibrant.

    Click me

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

All You Need To Know


Post 1,045


It Only Hurts When We Laugh

 

You likely see the humor and perhaps appreciate the creativity in this cartoon, even as this is terribly cringe-worthy. It was sent to me by a dear friend and I’m working hard to forgive him. Here’s the problem.

This cartoon conflates two alt-right lunacies – fertilized egg personhood and extreme gun rights – as if some contest can be won by not being the most awful. But in reality, it doesn’t work that way.

We (both individuals and our country) are besieged everywhere in every way by alt-right extremists doing things like:

book banning/burning – there are over 1,000 books already banned in Florida alone,* many banned by people who don’t even have kids in the schools

patriarchal gender dominance (“Women belong in the home having and raising children” as well as limiting women to “my type” or “not my type”)

justice negation

election fraud through manipulating the system or baselessly denying results

tearing down our democracy

racist degradation (“Where’s my Negro? He’s gonna love these gold sneakers.”)

gun rights valued over human life

You know well that this list could go on for pages and still not cover all the fear- and anger-generated assaults on human rights, human dignity and democracy.

These MAGA anti-America phony patriots are actually after just one thing. They want all the power for themselves so that they can remake our country into something our Founders would say is exactly what they rebelled against.

The MAGAs not only want this country to be Christian nationalism (which is neither Christian nor nationalism), but they want it to be their own notion of Christian. There are two core problems with that: 1. What they want is something Jesus wouldn’t recognize or approve of; 2. That is exactly what the Founders did not want for our country – see the First Amendment.

Back to the cartoon.

It only hurts when we laugh. That’s why we don’t laugh much about our politics.

So, Here’s All You Need To Know

By 2018 Donald Trump had ramped up his vicious attacks on would-be immigrants, first with his rapists, murderers and drug dealers labels, his caravans scare tactic and his replacement idiocy. But nothing compares to his “zero tolerance” reign of terror. That was when he ordered that children be separated from parents at the border. You need to see the reality of this in your mind’s eye.

Picture a young mother with an infant on her hip and a toddler holding her hand on her other side. They wait in line for a long time and are eventually led into a room where they are seated across a table from a Border Patrol agent. She is told that she can’t enter our country legally and will be detained. The next thing that happens is that another Border Patrol agent rips her children from her and takes them away to be detained separately from her, on their own.

And this story gets worse.

The children were put into a cage with many other children and with no adult to care for them. There wasn’t even someone to change soiled diapers. Now for the worst parts.

  1. There was no plan to enable those children to be reunited with their mothers. No documentation. No identifications. Nothing. There were over 5,000 children detained/imprisoned this way and there was no system to ever to set things right. Those children were set adrift and their mothers made bereft and hopeless. Some of those mothers were deported – without their children.
  2. Trump and his brown shirt kidnapping mastermind Stephen Miller declared publicly that this cruelty was the point (and here). It was intentional. They wanted to discourage others from traveling to our border by letting them know in advance that we are and will continue to be barbarically cruel.

That was done in our names. Let’s make that more personal: Your name is attached to each separation. You and I allowed that to happen. Enough of us voted for this megalomaniac, wicked leader and we got what we elected.

The only good news is that immediately upon taking office President Biden stopped the Zero Tolerance policy and began reuniting mothers and babies. There are many sad stories that accompany those reunions, like kids who don’t remember or don’t recognize their parents; plus, there are still about 1,000 children who have not been reunited with their parents because of the daunting task of finding and matching families. Read this from Mother Jones.

You know all about Trump’s racism, detachment from reality, 30,000 lies, intention to be a dictator and use Seal Team 6 to murder his opponents and all the rest. Any one of his sociopathic failings should be enough to tell you that you never want this savage to have any power at all – ever.

There’s more.

It isn’t just his sycophantic followers, like Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Mike Johnson, Josh Hawley and Ron Johnson who we need to remove from the halls of power. We need to prevent every MAGA follower from having any position of authority because they will slavishly follow the slightest word from their deranged leader. We’re seeing this right now, with Speaker Mike Johnson refusing to bring bills up for a vote for time-critical things, like support for Ukraine to continue its battle for freedom, for humanitarian aid for Gaza and for our border security. This is being done by MAGA extremists at Trump’s direction while he is not even in office.

If we fail to stop the goose stepping MAGA horde, Trump will once again be able to inflict his cruelty on innocents.

There’s so much craziness that’s so very outrageous that it can make your head spin, so let’s make this simple. Always remember Trump and the MAGAs proudly ripping babies from their mother’s arms. That’s why you’re rightly certain that you do not want Trump or any MAGA to have any power anywhere, in any way, at any time. Remember what MAGA always does. That’s what Trump and his goose steppers will do again if we let them.

There is no court of justice or cavalry coming over the hill to save us. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for and we cannot wait any longer. We have to mobilize ourselves to not only vote, but to encourage others to vote and stop the MAGA cruel insanity.

Do it in remembrance of all those mothers and babies.

That’s all you need to know.

.

———————————————————–

* For a clear view of what is in store for this nation if Republicans gain control as they have in Florida, review this PowerPoint presentation focused on book banning in Florida. This fascist mind control is the canary in the coal mine for the rest of us.

Click the link, then click or double-click the listing in your download folder.


  • Today is a good day to be the light
  • _____________________________
  • 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 ALL 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.
    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 or neighborhood vibrant.

    Click me

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Elections


Post 1,044

Get Over It

Joe Biden is the Democratic Party nominee for President. Regardless of his age, his awkward gait, his historic gaffs, his verbally relocating various world leaders to other countries, his paltry number of press conferences, his refusal to be younger than he is and his inability to make everything in the universe just the way you like it, he is the nominee.

Click me

Sure, a younger, more vigorous candidate would be attractive, other things being equal, which they never are. Yes, we’d be inspired to see this candidate doing multiple campaign stops every day, kissing babies and thrilling us with speeches filled with patriotic fervor. We’d delight hearing Kennedy-like repartee, seeing Obama-like airplane boarding hops and shaming of the people who are blocking what we all know is the right thing to do. You’ll have to settle for just that last one.

Biden is going to continue to be the nominee. He’s going to make more gaffs and be older than you’d like. And he’s going to smile that 1,000 watt smile and wear aviator sunglasses and know the difference between right and wrong, good and evil, patriotism and sabotage. He’ll be a lousy candidate but a phenomenal President, doing what the vast majority of Americans want their President to do. He will protect our country, honor the Constitution and steadfastly advance old fashioned stuff like democracy and the rule of law. He’ll continue to return us to government of, by and for the people. You know – like Lincoln said.

Campaigning isn’t the same as actually doing the job. And in the end, the campaigning won’t mean a thing. What will matter is having the right values to be the commander of this ship of state. Only Biden checks that box.

He’s old. Get over it.

Need more help? Take a look at this fantastic list from Daily Kos.

Reality Denial – Reprise
  1. There are claims still being made by congressional Republican election deniers (over 140 of these cowards* are still in office). They are also being made by delusional Trump lawyers and temper tantrum dopes who lost their elections (I’m looking at you, Kari Lake.) Plus there are the frothing Trump supporters and those with a pathological need to be in community with like minded haters (the aggrieved victimhood addicts). Nevertheless, there is a total lack of evidence of voting fraud. Even Rudy Giuliani at last had to admit that. And Trump lost every lawsuit he filed in trying to steal the election for himself – every one for a total lack of evidence. BTW: “Everybody says” and “People are saying” are not evidence. They are not facts. They are circus barker lies.
  2. There is voluminous proof of the opposite, that the 2020 presidential election was free, fair and devoid of all but the most insignificant voting irregularities. This is supported by audits and recounts in many states, counties and cities. To be fair, there were a handful of guys in Ohio and Pennsylvania who tried to vote in the name of their dead mothers. All of their fraudulent votes were cast for Trump. Their votes were discarded and they were prosecuted.
  3. Still, millions of Americans continue to claim that the election was stolen from Trump. They make their claims entirely on the basis of “Yeah, but I want Trump.” They have their fallacious certainties and they voice them with passion, often with barely controlled anger and sometimes with firearms to prove their might and right. But their volume and guns don’t change a thing: they’re still wrong. Pathologically, factually wrong. And they are dedicated to their groundless, anti-American beliefs. Wanna change their minds and votes? Fugeddaboutit.

Of the non-MAGA Republicans (yes, there still are a few), David French writes in The New York Times,

“. . . in any clash between traditional Republicans and MAGA, traditional Republicans typically surrender.”

That’s called cowardice. Or dereliction of duty. Or violation of oath of office. Or all three and perhaps still more dreadful descriptors. They are members of the “I want to keep my job, so I’ll just cave in and shut up” club.

Unqualified

During the first utterly forgettable Republican primary non-debate, several of the candidates railed against abortions done just before a natural birth would occur. I think the walls of my family room are still echoing my involuntary shout, “WHAT?!?

What evidence is there of such a thing? I found out by reading Neil Steinberg’s 13 takeaways from that shameful Republican demonstration of dishonesty and unintended buffoonery. Here’s his #9 explainer:

Someone should tell these Republicans that the reason a woman needs the right to an abortion up to the time of birth is if the baby she is carrying is dead, or has such massive infirmities that it will die shortly after birth. Nobody has an abortion in the eighth month because they’re afraid their child will grow up to be like Ron DeSantis, although that seems a valid reason.

The point of mentioning this abortion nonsense is to use it as a placeholder for all the lies, distortions, hyperbolic propaganda and delusions that Republicans use to “flood the zone.” They vomit this crap (terminology from the DSM-5 reference book for psychological disorders**) so fast that there is no possibility to counter it in real time.

Biden is beginning to swing a club at Trump now, calling out some of his lies and anti-American – let’s call it crap. That’s a start, but we need more people calling out the liars. We need more people asking publicly whether these people spouting untrue things are liars or whether they’re willfully ignorant or just stupid. We need more people shaming the hypocrites when they do and say shameful things, because these candidates aren’t worthy of holding public office.

Nikki Haley’s speech to concede the New Hampshire primary election (here – start at 1:35) was full of attacks against Biden. Other than accurately stating his age, none of what she said was true. None!

But now she thinks that all she has to do is to spout hyperbolic, antagonistic lies and hold on until they perp walk Trump to the fitting room for an orange jumpsuit. Then she’ll beat Biden to become the next President by default. She might be right. Biden can beat Trump, but many have significant misgivings about whether he can beat Haley. She’s younger, you know. But still unqualified.

And she lies. Call her out.

Voters

Bob Dylan was right and continues to be right: The times they are a-changing. Have a look at this chart from Gallup:

Click me for the full report.

Now, if the moderate women – the black line – (defined as those who aren’t bat shit crazy) were to join the ascendant liberal women – the dotted blue line – they would constitute an enormous force for sanity. All they have to do to save our Republic is to show up and vote.

_______________________________

* Courage:

mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty – Merriam-Webster

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if those non-MAGA Republican dopes were suddenly able to find their courage and do what’s right? Have low expectations for this.

** Not actually true. Just a joke, although the DSM-5 is real. Nevertheless, we’re wishing for Republican mental health to re-appear. Once again, have low expectations.


  • Today is a good day to be the light
  • _____________________________
  • 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 ALL 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.
    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 or neighborhood vibrant.

    Click me

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Joe Biden Has To Be Better Than Super Bowl Commercials


Post 1,042


However odd it might be, we love our Super Bowl commercials as a form of entertainment. Millions tune in just for them, not so much for the football game. And with the cost for just 30 seconds of ad time at $7 million, the ad agencies and the companies they create ads for better make you want to buy their product.

So, here’s a test: Name all the brands or products you remember seeing in the 59 commercials you watched on February 11. I’m guessing you won’t remember many of them, so let’s try this another way.

There were roughly 101 celebrities in the ads. How many can you name and what is their connection to the product they hawked? (Answer: none)

Far more to the point, having seen the Super Bowl commercials and had your arm twisted by celebrities, are you likely to buy any of the advertised products? Betcha you’re not. And there is a point to this that goes well past your product buying habits and Super Bowl commercials.

While we might have been entertained by some of these ads (whether or not we could figure out what they were for), our behavior will be largely unchanged. The reason for that is the same as for poor political messages.

For a message to cause us to take action, it has to move us. We have to feel something that lights our fire or brings tears to our eyes. It doesn’t matter if there are celebrity endorsements unless the message speaks to us deeply.

So, here’s the deal for Joe Biden. He has to stop doing whatever it is he’s doing now and speak to us from his gut to ours. He has to make us feel why we should care.

We know that the other guy is entirely bad for our country and bad for us personally. We get it and it’s okay for Joe to tell us about that. But nobody wants to vote for Joe Biden only because he isn’t as bad as the other guy.

Joe, ya gotta make us want you bad. You have to reach into us and touch our hearts and our guts. Then your gaffs and your verbal and physical stumbles won’t matter to us and we’ll vote for you.

When the message digs into our innards we remember it and we just might be moved to give the product – Joe Biden – another try, as did the best Super Bowl ad ever, the 1984 Macintosh ad.

You clicked through to watch that Macintosh ad, didn’t you? If you hadn’t seen it already you were curious and if you saw it back then, you remember it because it did more than entertain you. it moved you. It shook your world and made you think differently about what is possible. Maybe it changed you. You were hungry to see whatever that Macintosh thing was going to be and how it was going to leave behind the boring stuff the big boys had and how it would make your world not just better, but really cool, too. That feels really good and motivates us to take action.

Click me – and then see point #5 below

Simon Sinek has a wonderful TED talk and a book called Start With Why. He points out that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t tell us that he had a plan. King told us, “I have a dream today” and we were grabbed down deep by that dream. We were captivated and motivated and had tears of passion in our eyes. His message was moving and memorable through the great magic of hope and that’s just what we need right now in order to restore our democracy, revive America and heal our deep, self-inflicted wounds.

Biden has a plan to do that, and nobody wants to hear about it.

In other words, Joe, you have to be what the Superbowl LVIII commercials were not: moving and memorable. Tell us about your dream for us, Joe.

What if the people running Biden’s campaign were that good? What if his messages truly spoke to us and were more powerful than the largely ineffective Super Bowl LVIII commercials? What if Joe Biden told us about his dream?

Super Bowl Ad Clunker

Boyhood pal Frank Levy reacted in a FaceBook post to the Jesus “He gets us” Superbowl ad:

“I always thought the point of Christianity and Christians was that they are supposed to get Jesus, not the other way around.

He’s right.

Who’s Counting?

$5M + $83.5M + $453.5M .  .  .

and the interest meters keep on running.  Plus. the threat of prison time is looming.

Accountability: It’s a good thing.

Have I ever mentioned that I love it when a bully gets punched in the nose?

Finally

There was a campus shooting resulting in murders last week. I know someone living nearby the scene. That it was nearby makes our ongoing mass murders more than horrible. It makes them very personal.

I wasn’t having an empathy outage during the Kansas City and Atlanta and Fayetteville and Claxton and Baltimore and Bronx and Jackson and Huntington Park and Chicago and Birmingham and Carson and Montgomery and Burnsville and Middleton and Indianapolis mass shootings (those are just since Super Bowl Sunday). It’s just that this campus shooting, being close to home (as in: heart) brings it into stark reality for me. It’s funny how sometimes we don’t fully “get it” until it’s personal.

Well, I don’t need that up close and personal wake up call to feel the pain and awfulness of these murders. Nevertheless, these shootings do carry more voltage for most of us when they are personal. And every one of them is personal to real live people, like you, me, our families, our friends and our neighbors, whether across the street or across the country. Now two more are dead and more families wail and grieve.

See my post about this here.


  • Today is a good day to be the light
  • _____________________________
  • 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 ALL 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.
    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 or neighborhood vibrant.

    Click me

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

What’s Most Important


Post 1,040


The President of the United States has a lot of responsibilities, including that ” . . . he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed . . .” as required by Article II of the Constitution. The to-do list is long and demanding to the point of being inhuman. There is significant long term impact from nearly everything the President does.

He has to manage:

immigration

the economy

safeguarding our democracy

transportation, like rail and air safety and highways

the health and welfare of the American people

Enough. You get the idea.

But which job of the President is most important? The sine qua non. The one for which all others can be made to take a number and stand in line. As critically important as it is, even in this age of grift, fraud, treason, insurrection and more, it isn’t justice. Even as the cost of groceries is frustratingly high, it isn’t the economy. Our immigration system has been universally pilloried for decades, as Congresses have steadfastly refused to do anything to make it better. That has left us with the chaos we see every day. But even fixing that isn’t the most important duty of the President.

The most critical task of the President of the United States is national security. Protecting us from bad guys who would do us harm must take precedence, because if we are at risk of foreign attack, none of the other issues will matter.

The task is never ending. There is no box to check and then say “next.” On December 8, 1941 it was obvious and easy to identify what must be done. Such clarity is exceedingly rare. National security is most often devilishly complicated.

For example, consider the Ukraine war. In 2022 when Putin’s Russia invaded Ukraine in an effort to destroy that country and to make it part of Russia, it wasn’t obvious that we had a dog in that fight. But it quickly became clear that Putin’s genocidal war crimes adventure has consequences that can impact us.

It’s plain to see that this former KGB tough is trying to reconstitute the Soviet Union. That puts our NATO allies at risk and that means that war would be at our doorstep if Putin succeeds in Ukraine and then starts after our NATO friends. He’s already suggested that annexing the Baltic states might be next. Maybe eastern Poland, too.  Article V of the NATO charter would pull us into the conflict and our national security would be immediately compromised. That electric shock up your spine just now is you recognizing how close we may be to World War III. Prof. Heather Cox Richardson has more on this here.

That’s why national security is job one and why it is devilishly complicated. Let’s look at this situation just a bit more.

It’s well established that Putin kills his critics and political opponents, so it’s little surprise that he murdered Alexei Navalny. Putin had him tried and convicted on trumped up charges and sent him to a gulag in the Siberian Arctic and held there in solitary confinement. There was little Navalny could do to Putin from there. so why bother killing him? Here’s my theory.

Putin is an incrementalist. He pushes the envelope, finds that he can get away with something and then pushes some more. Ukraine is a perfect example.

After annexing the eastern section of Ukraine and the Crimea in 2014 he stopped there, waiting for world reaction. All he got were blabbers blabbing. No one came to the rescue of the Ukrainians to push Putin back, so in 2022 he went after the entire country. That’s incrementalism.

He didn’t get away with that recent invasion yet, but he may be in position to do so. Our spineless Republican Trump suck-ups have followed Trump’s demand to prevent Biden from having a win, so they refuse any further funding for Ukraine. These House cowards are leaving the Ukrainian fighters running out of munitions. They just ceded the bombed out city of Avdiivkak to the Russians, giving them a major win and a retreat for the Ukrainian forces.

That kind of battlefield advance made it time for Putin to push the envelope in a different direction, so he had Navalny murdered. Now Navalny is out of his way permanently.

Steve Schmidt wrote of Navalny:

One day, his name will be known in the same breath as Gandhi, Mandela, Churchill, Lafayette and Lincoln around the world. One day, when Russia is free, Alexei Navalny will be exalted. Today, he is simply dead, murdered for demanding that each individual human has a right to live in freedom.

Anne Applebaum wrote in The Atlantic:

Only minutes after his death was announced, I spoke with Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the Belarusian opposition leader. “We are worried for our people too,” she told me. If Putin can kill Navalny with impunity, then dictators elsewhere might feel empowered to kill other brave people.

More incrementalism.

Now the world is howling, including freedom loving Russians, but my guess is that the howling will slowly quiet and Putin will have gotten away with his crime. The envelope will have been permanently expanded.

That devilishly complicated national security task which comes above and before all others becomes not just more difficult, but more likely murderous when our own team is in constant conflict with itself, undermining our efforts and our options. It used to be that our political differences stopped at the water’s edge. We came together as one to protect and defend our country. Now that imperative has been betrayed, over-laid by petty self-interest and the infestation of cowards. Now the MAGA crowd sides with Putin.

We have elections coming up. Many candidates will thump their chests and proclaim what true Americans they are. They will tell you that their opponent is a weenie, soft on immigration, wanting open borders and willing to let our blood be poisoned by “others.” Those alt-right people are enemies of our country because they are spineless cowards, traitors to our Founders and our Constitution and violators of their oath of office, regardless of the holy verbiage they vomit.

Vote for the other candidates. The ones who have demonstrated that they will go to the Congress or their state capitol to fight for America, to honor their oath of office and to demand justice everywhere. Vote for the candidates who believe in this America, not some dreadful replica of the murderous nation led by Vladimir Putin.

That’s what’s most important for us to do.


  • Today is a good day to be the light
  • _____________________________
  • 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 ALL 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.
    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 or neighborhood vibrant.

    Click me

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

You’re Not Going To Like This


Post 1,039


There was a glorious victory parade yesterday in Kansas City in celebration of the Chiefs’ Superbowl LVIII win. The crowd was estimated at a million people, twice the population of the city. There were waves and smiles and cheers and then people began to be shot and they dropped to the ground. As of the time of this writing there were at least 22 reported injured and one dead. Three people have been arrested. All this happened in the presence of over 800 law enforcement people.

Another day in America, another mass shooting. It’s 45 days into the year, we’ve already had 49 mass shootings and a total of 4,925 people are dead from gun violence. We commonly know who the bad guys are soon after a mass shooting, but I think we need to expand our definition.

I wrote here (in the “Innocents” section) about non-Hamas Gazans, commonly referred to as innocent Palestinian civilians. Since Hamas took over government in Gaza in 2006 the innocent Palestinians have stood by watching those hundreds of miles of tunnels be excavated and production equipment, computers and war matériel be loaded into those subterranean factories of death. Out of them have come tens of thousands of rockets that have been unleashed on Israeli civilians. While that carnage has been ongoing, what did those innocent Palestinian civilians do to prevent or stop the killing?

If, as it seems obvious, they did nothing, then they simply cannot be called innocent civilians. At very least they are complicit in those murders, those rapes, those atrocities because of their passivity. Now, here comes the part you’re not going to like.

If that logic holds, then we are not innocent in the shooting of those people in Kansas City, nor of the murders at Sandy Hook or Parkland or Uvalde or Tree of Life or anywhere else. We have allowed our system to be compromised, bastardized, politicized, weaponized and monetized so that any fool, any angry dirt bag, any paranoid or any Rambo wannabee can get his hands on combat weapons and ammunition. He can pick any day when the spirit of murder moves him and then blast away until he runs out of ammunition or the police shoot him down.

WE INNOCENT AMERICANS ALLOWED OUR SYSTEM TO DEVOLVE INTO THIS.

I foolishly thought that 20 little first graders and 7 teachers blasted and butchered into bloody puddles on the floor of Sandy Hook Elementary School would be the event that would bring us to our senses. That shows how naive I am, because as our nation wept and we held our little ones closer, the next mass murderer was on his way, locked and loaded and looking for blood.

AND WE DID NOTHING TO PREVENT HIM FROM MURDERING INNOCENTS.

Yesterday Everytown for Gun Safety opened their email this way:

Six years ago today at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, 17 students and school staff were shot and killed, and 17 more were wounded.

And yesterday marks one year since the deadly mass shooting at Michigan State University, where three students were shot and killed and five others wounded.

And today in Atlanta, four students were shot and wounded after school in the parking lot.

And just hours ago, another community was terrorized by gun violence: At the Super Bowl Championship parade in Kansas City, where at least one person was killed and many wounded.

Once again, everyday moments and celebrations have turned into tragedy.

And once again, entire communities are picking up the pieces from preventable acts of gun violence.

We sit in stupefied silence as the gun lobby threatens, cajoles and bribes our lawmakers and these politicians cower before them. They tell us about the Constitutional right of red blooded Americans to have guns and no tree hugging liberal weenie is going to take their guns from them. And then we reelect those cowardly lawmakers and afterward wring our hands at each of the next massacres, wondering how that could have happened. “Nothing anyone could have done about that,” they tell us with phony, mopey faces.

And they’re right about that because we let it happen. You and I. We sit motionless and inertia wins. That murderous body in motion stays in motion because it isn’t acted upon by an outside force, which should be us.

If we haven’t done anything to make things better to protect our people, if we haven’t put our right to stay alive over the right of gun ownership, then we are about as innocent as those Palestinian civilians who stand by and let Hamas do its murdering.

We seem to have shamed politicians enough that they have abandoned their despicable thoughts and prayers nonsense, but our efforts to make things better have been pitiful. Life isn’t safer for our little kids at their desks in school, wondering if they’re next, or for high schoolers in the halls between classes or for partiers dancing in Las Vegas, or for worshipers in churches and synagogues or for grannies in supermarkets buying milk and bread.

Go ahead – push back if you like – but I think we’re complicit in these murders because, like the Palestinian civilians, we’ve allowed the murders to happen. Those “preventable acts of gun violence,” as Everytown calls them, weren’t prevented because we didn’t prevent them from happening.

Of course, my accusation does not go to the Moms Demand Action folks, the Every Town for Gun Safety people, the March For Our Lives kids from Parkland and the others who are speaking up and demanding the reform that the rest of us are allowing to not happen. We keep voting for those who will not make the laws we all know we need in order to protect little kids sitting at their desks and parade attendees in Kansas City. That’s on us.


  • Today is a good day to be the light
  • _____________________________
  • 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 ALL 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.
    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 or neighborhood vibrant.

    Click me

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

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