Alt-Right

Finding Optimism


POST 1069

Third in a series (see Ignorance and Lies and The Underlying Disease)


Stand Up
I asked [my friend] what we would do if 150 crazy people — a mix of deranged narcissists, political extremists, weirdos, conspiracy theorists and other assorted friends of theirs — showed up suddenly on the perfect deck [where we sat overlooking the ocean]. I wanted to know if he thought we’d fight with them or leave.
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“Obviously,” I told him, “we would leave.” He agreed. Crazy people make normal people want to leave.

That’s exactly what we must not do if we hope to provide a cure for our terrible national disease and exit the craziness. Leaving would guarantee a ramping up of the crazy, the vitriol and the siege against the design of the Founders. They had lived under the thumb of despotic King George III and they knew the perils and the pain of autocracy. Our leaving would be capitulation to the forces seeking to undermine the very strength of our nation, our democracy.

So, don’t leave. Stand and fight back. Fight forward. Fight in every direction for your freedom, your rights and for everyone and everything you hold dear. That means standing up to the ignorants and the liars, like Ron Johnson, Jim Jordan, J.D. Vance, MTG, and all the rest of the extremist crazies. Stand up for equity and justice. Stand up to the 50-year-long war to disempower you, make rich guys richer and impoverish the rest of us. Stand up.

A Parallel

Today’s shrill voices and the violence, the threats and the chaos, the crazy and the stupid are all around us with propaganda and lies and visions of doom. Those voices aim to scare good people into capitulation. Those who give up – who leave, to use Steve Schmidt’s term – are today’s version of Neville Chamberlain and his capitulation to Hitler and tyranny.

Click me

Having given away the Sudetenland (then part of Czechoslovakia) to Hitler, Chamberlain came back to England from Munich in 1938 claiming, “Peace for our time.” Less than one year later Germany invaded and overran Poland and a year later began bombing London in the Battle of Britain. Here is the message, the learning:

  • Capitulation never works. It never brings peace. Never.
  • It only emboldens the bullies to do yet worse.

On October 29, 1941 things looked overwhelmingly dark for Britain. Prime Minister Winston Churchill visited The Harrow School, which he had attended years before. Here, in part, is what he told the boys that day:

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” .  .  .  this is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never — in nothing, great or small, large or petty — never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

Steve Schmidt is right: “Crazy people make normal people want to leave.”

But we aren’t going to do that. We’re going to stay and stand up to protect our democracy and our self-rule. We’re going to stay and stand up to the hatred and thwart the cruelty. We’re going to stay and stand and fight. We must not – we will not – leave.

We will never, never, never, never give in.

Optimism

I received a private reply from very long time friend Frank Levy to a recent Disambiguation, Ignorance and Lies. He’s given his permission to post some of his comment – many thanks to him for that..

My experience living among these American ethno-fascists [he lives in a deeply RED state], seeing their racism, watching them legislate for destructive and terrible policies for anyone that does not look, vote, pray, or love the way they do, watching them commit crimes of violence and hate against those very same people, watching them live out their misogyny and need to subjugate and humiliate women, and experiencing their virulent anti-Semitism leads me to two truths.
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One, these people are who they are and they do what they do because they have been taught by their mommies and daddies to hate all the people their relatives hate (thank you South Pacific), and who [they believe] their religion teaches them to hate (thank you Christian Bible and Quran).
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Two, they are who they are and they do what they do because they fear losing their privilege and power to the very people they despise and hate. And they hate democracy, while at the same time proclaiming themselves true patriots, because they know that they are a minority and that in a fair election they and their ideas are losers.
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So, here is why I think your optimism is misplaced: you can’t undo this kind of hate and fear through conversation and education.
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I believe Frank is right, that conversation and education won’t make a dent in the certainties of the fearful, the haters and the dispensers of cruelty, so I replied,
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Our national salvation doesn’t lie in conversions of the BillyBobs and the vitriol droolers – as you put it, the ethno-fascists. Rather, it lies in activating everyone else.
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We cannot wipe out the hatred and thuggishness in those who feel the imperative to hate and to be thugs. Their identities are wrapped up in that cruel package, making change for them impossible. What we can do is to overpower them at the ballot box and in legislatures, making their institutionalized bigotry and mania for domination of others a powerless thing, perhaps no more than an artifact.
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Maybe the more remote polling places and mail-in ballot drop boxes will be returned to North Carolina, Michigan, Wisconsin and Kentucky. Maybe millions will have their names restored to the voting roles in Georgia, Virginia, Arizona and Texas. Perhaps an overwhelming defeat will make Kari Lake shut up.
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It’s entirely up to us to make that happen. That’s the reason for optimism.

Obstacles to Optimism

Last Thursday a chunk of the MAGA extremism cult (please forgive the redundancy) came to Manhattan to parade themselves as brainless suck ups to Trump. They violated the gag order that

Judge Merchan placed on Trump and, in effect declared that they renounce justice.

Matt Gaetz (R-Young Girls) announced that he’s with the Proud Boy felons, saying, “Standing back and standing by, Mr. President.” Having already created chaos, these cheaters are attacking our justice system for being chaotic and broken. That’s what the extremists do: they break government, then blame Democrats for the ensuing chaos.

Also on Thursday, the news of Justice Sam “The Insurrection Man” Alito and his upside-down distress flag crashed into our Constitution. Is there nothing that is below him and Justice Clarence “Free Vacations Man” Thomas? Oh wait .  .  .  never mind.

The Republican pollution of the Supreme Court by insurrectionist sympathizers has driven disapproval of the Court to well over half of Americans. A few decades ago being a Supreme Court justice was the most highly respected profession. Now it doesn’t even make the top 20. It’s pretty hard to be optimistic about that.

Since impeachment isn’t going to happen and the Court’s newly drafted ethics guidelines have no teeth, perhaps now it’s time for Biden to pack the court with four additional justices, each of whom, refreshingly, has a moral compass. That would give us something to be optimistic about.


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 Underlying Disease


POST 1068


Second in a series (see Ignorance and Lies).

The Diagnosis

The slavish devotion of so many to worshiping ignorance and lies is baffling and the translation of that into violence is fraught with grave danger. It has been easy to criticize, saying those people are voting against their own interests, which is a high-minded way of pointing fingers and ridiculing. That’s only useful until the reality of the true danger lands with the force of an asteroid.

So I continue to try to understand the appeal of absurd and hateful conspiracy theories, the popularity of a con man with people who used to follow their common sense, and the anger and hatred that infect so many in our nation. At root it is all about trying to understand what seems, on the surface, to be both self-righteous and self-destructive. It is an existential challenge of our time.

It was in this quest that I came upon an interview in The Atlantic of Walter Kirn, my first brush with an outspoken and successful author, thought leader and iconoclast. The title of the piece is The Blindness of Elites: Walter Kirn and the empty politics of defiance, by Thomas Chatterton Williams. Kirn seems to speak for the people in “flyover country” who feel betrayed by, blown off by our “elites.” Note that even our use of the term “flyover country” declares our contempt for those who live there and demonstrates our elitist attitude.

I’ve written about the drivers of this sense of betrayal and have come to believe that there’s something there that, even after so many years of knee-jerk anger, we’ve hardly done more than knee-jerk right back. That’s not helpful to anyone, other than for momentary self-satisfaction. In other words, and to mix metaphors, all we’ve done is to repeatedly kick the hornets nest, never dealing with the the reasons for the swarm of angry hornets. Little wonder that we keep getting stung.

Try these short, non-sequential quotes from the essay:

Today [Kirn] regards Trump’s supporters not as the proverbial basket of deplorables but as more or less reasonable citizens with valid concerns. The movement around Trump, Kirn told me, is “an expression of American frustration on the part of people who feel like they got a really raw deal.” [i.e. betrayal]

.  .  .  his resentment against the tastemakers and gatekeepers is so unrelenting because it’s fueled not simply by dislike but also by real affection—a sympathy for Americans in unimportant places, people without power or influence, whose opinions and lifestyles he believes are often dismissed as retrograde or irrelevant.

.  .  .  the government’s attempts to manage the pandemic were a “behavioral-engineering enterprise, no longer having much to do with the truth, no longer having much to do with your right to desire what you wish or not desire what you don’t wish.”

Everyone, he suggested, was in on the game. “This group of legacy media institutions, along with a whole array of academic—what is called ‘civil-society organizations’—and frankly, Homeland Security, clerks of the government, got together and … ganged up to preserve this preferential cartel status for those [elite] groups and start shooting down the rebel ships.” [a reference to Kirn’s “Star Wars” metaphor}

You get the idea.

And even if at times Kirn seems to be contrarian only for the purpose of being a contrarian, he provides an insight into what America looks like and feels like from a non-elite perspective. The danger is that makes for easy pickings for a charlatan huckster promising to be the “retribution” for people who feel aggrieved.

The point is that what seems to be devilishly absurd actually has a sound footing in the realty of millions of Americans. It led to a first Trump presidency and over 74 million votes cast for him in the 2020 election. That’s bad news for democracy, but our collective ignoring of real grievances is leading to the possibility of a second Trump presidency and our continuing threat of dysfunction and violence.

If grievances based in reality are the underlying driver of otherwise sensible Americans electing a megalomaniac sociopath, what else are those grievances causing? Thom Hartmann put his finger on that recently, identifying inequity and inequality as the drivers.

So how does inequality provoke criminality? The research on the topic is pretty exhaustive, albeit poorly publicized, and the simplest explanation is among the most easily understood: humans are wired to rebel against unfairness. Unfairness thus destroys social trust.

Inequality causes crime because it destroys social trust, the core fabric of any society. It essentially makes us crazy. Without social trust, empathy and shared values weaken and culture begins to disintegrate. [emphasis original]

So, inequality provokes our social unrest, often called our “political divide” or “cultural divide” and that drives criminality. It drives our us-them animosity and makes us distrust our neighbors, demonize and attack all the “others” we can identify and in all ways rip apart our social fabric such that people are outright warning against and even promising a civil war.

Bernie Sanders is flamboyant and has crazy hair and a crazy manner, but,

He’s right about the inequity and unfairness baked into our American cake for decades.

For at least 50 years our poor and middle classes have been sending their wealth to the very rich via tax schemes that make golden promises for everyone but only benefit the rich. In 2010 our Supreme Court, rife with billionaire backed justices outright wrote legislation – they made it up themselves. Citizens United has allowed billions of big money bucks to buy our government and enrich already rich people. And that exacerbates our outrage over unfairness.

That is the diagnosis. Wealth inequity. Unfairness. Legalized cheating.

That is the betrayal, the rot. That is the primary source of so much of our social unrest. And that betrayal leads to anger and cruelty. From Mother Jones:

The relentless rot is exactly why huge swaths of the electorate do want [Trump] back. As it’s been said, the cruelty is the point.

The inequity and unfairness is tearing our country apart – that’s our national sickness.

Trump has already told us that if he wins the election he will further enrich the already fabulously wealthy. He will do this at the expense of everyone else and of our future generations.

We better get about moving past our swatting at symptoms – those angry hornets – and deal with the underlying disease. Our present abdication of that is what is driving this existential moment.

Your mandatory assignment: Read Hartmann’s post.


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.

Mom First – Then Ignorance And Lies


POST 1067


Mom

Today is the official day we celebrate mothers. I had one and it’s likely you did, too. So, today, in addition to all the “Happy Mothers Day” wishes, give Mom a special thanks for raising you to think critically and to have integrity. As we’ll see, those can be in short supply.

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Ignorance And Lies

We have an ongoing attack of political falsehoods that is biblical in scale. Like the trillions of locusts on their way to eat plants, terrorize small animals and you, these assaults on truth aim to eat away at our trust and make us afraid of one another.

You may recall that I have explained the causes of political falsity as being of no more than two possible origins:

  1. The person releasing such gas is ignorant. S/he does not know the truth, whether through willful witlessness, laziness or through some mental impairment. Such people are clueless, dangerous and without the sense to keep their mouths shut.
  2. The person spewing false statements is a liar. To qualify for this disappointingly not-so-rare distinction one must know the truth and speak contrary to it.

I recently saw Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH) on CNN spewing a string of idiotic, untrue things that host Kaitlan Collins would not have. She challenged them as false and without merit. Vance did the Trump two-step, doubling down on his false statements. Was he ignorant of the facts and too stupid to shut up, or was he lying? Turns out it doesn’t matter.

The people of Ohio are poorly served by someone peddling such fabrications and all of us are worse off for having it fogged in our faces. Our trust in one another and of our nation gets damaged yet further by each such falsification.

But what did Vance expect to get from vapidly flapping his mouth? A “look at me!” moment? Stature in the Insane Caucus of the Republican Party? Hope that Trump would notice how similar Vance is to himself and think him worthy of being Trump’s VP pick? Good for Vance. What’s in it for us?

Which leads us to the companion question: Why do people believe such trash? What’s in it for ordinary Americans to abandon Mom’s teachings and to integrate political bovine excrement into their beliefs and even to bellow those fictions as though they’re verified truth? What makes them blather gibberish and dance in the ecstasy of self-righteousness, victimhood, anger and the delirium of hatred of others?

The answer is that it’s about feeling. Their abdication of their common sense and their absorption of lies makes them feel good and powerful. They feel seen and understood. They have a sense of belonging to the true and right tribe and are at last hitting back. Plus they’re sticking it to the elites whom they believe have blown them off all their lives. (See my post this Wednesday for more on this.)

That’s how people who claim they enthusiastically support our police rationalized viciously attacking, maiming and killing cops on January 6 and desecrating our Capitol Building.
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For those happily led astray, the mean spirited lies carry no need for verification or even good sense. And by absorbing and believing the untrue, they make themselves ready to believe yet more lies and distortions, oblivious of the destruction they bring upon not just those they hate, but upon themselves as well.

From First Ignorancians:

7. Verily I say unto thee, thou art putty in the hands of the liars, condemned to the hell of cluelessness and the coming curses. Thy ignorance shall keep ye enslaved and ye shall live with the Scarlet Letter “I” upon thy breast.

There is nothing we can do to save those self-selecting to be enslaved. They will live in the dark oppressive land of Dunno for all their lives and may well pass along their chains of enslavement to their children.

The rest of us must move onward toward that more perfect Union, that shining city on the hill, that promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
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And so we vote for those we hope and believe don’t worship ignorance and lies. We talk with others about reality, like that the Earth is round, not flat; that democracy is best; that minority cruelty and minority rule are awful; that legalized stealing of rights like healthcare and voting is un-American; that insurrection is traitorous and deserving of great punishment; that vigilantes are domestic terrorists and deserve great punishment; and that willful ignorance and lies are inexcusable.

From Second Ignorancians:

18. Tremble ye builders of mountains of mendacity, for the vote is well-nigh upon thee.

19. Followers of liars take notice while ye can. Leave thy willful and hateful ignorance and enter the land of truth, justice and the actual, verifiable, real American way. The truth shall set ye free from a life of Duh! and Huh?

26. Celebrate the faithful who believe in the Constitution and democracy and who have the clarity not to worship a sociopath and con artist. Abandon thy toxic gruel while ye still can, lest karma rise up and smite thee.

Because what goes around really does come around.

Instructional Music Selection

Listen to the words of Revolution 1 from the Beatles‘ White Album. John Lennon has something for us, all these years later.

“If you talk about destruction, don’t you know that you can count me out.”

“If you want money for people with minds that hate, all I can tell you is brother you’ll have to wait.”

“You tell me it’s the institution, well you know, you better free your mind instead.”

You’re Planning To Do What!?!

From Heather Cox Richardson’s post of May 9:

Former House speaker Paul Ryan told Yahoo Finance that he would write in another Republican rather than vote for Trump. “Character is too important to me,” he said.

If character is so important to Ryan, somebody please explain to Mr. Social Security Vouchers (that he claimed weren’t vouchers) that a vote for anybody but Biden is essentially a vote for Trump, especially in a close election. Third party votes are un-American and are evidence of poor character.


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.

May You Not Live In Interesting Times


POST 1066

Read all the way to the bottom for some good stuff.


About Those Interesting Times

Of course, that expression, often claimed to be a Chinese curse (but without verified attribution), didn’t include the word “not” in the original. Decide for yourself if it was intended to hope for something other than bland life circumstances or for stimulating ones; whether it was meant as a tease or perhaps it really was meant as a curse. Regardless, the word “interesting” makes the phrase an analytical thing and distances us from passion and motivation and simply misses the point of humanness.

But if we are to identify with the original phrase we would certainly find things interesting. Our news media has been full of it since 2015 when the Grim Celebrity Phony slid down his golden escalator and announced that Mexican robbers, drug lords and murderers were coming to imperil us. Worse, millions believed him. That could be interesting on many levels, as could over 30,000 lies and thousands of racist dog whistles. Fine, we found it interesting, if not acceptable.

But now we find ourselves faced with a convict with the impulse control of a bratty 6-year-old, having rapidly waning mental faculties and spewing an increasing blathering of gibberish. He’s vying to have the nuclear codes. He’s promising that he will be a dictator and is free to commit murder.

Sure, that’s all intellectual food to digest, but he’s promising to be an existential threat. He might get us all killed. That’s no longer just interesting. It is a life-or-death threat. Sword of Damocles stuff. Pray you won’t have just moments to kiss your ass good-bye, all because that brat had a tantrum.

I have neither need nor desire for such interesting times. I want the chaos and insanity to go away, I want to live in boring times when my existence isn’t threatened. I’ll find my own way to get intellectual stimulation and I wish the same for you. May you not live in interesting times.

But you do and there is no getting around that. In fact, you can change “interesting” to “dangerous” and those are the times we live in.

Many people of influence are working every day to turn this nation into a dictatorship.

They call it “the unitary executive,” unaccountable to Congress or to the courts. Morally slippery Bill Barr is an enthusiastic proponent of this dictatorship.

They bring bizarre cases to the Supreme Court, one of which seriously contemplates whether a president may defy our laws, even to the point of committing murder and then be immune from prosecution. That would be a dictatorship.

The Supreme Court heard a case about electioneering and then bizarrely ruled to allow unlimited money to buy our elections, an issue not even part of the original case. That destroys faith in our judicial system and promotes authoritarian wannabees into dictators.

Presidents ignore laws passed by Congress and then defy those laws with “signing statements.” That’s dictator stuff started by Ronald Reagan.

Many declare that the Founders intended the United States to be a Christian nation, which is both factually untrue (ref: The First Amendment and various Federalist Papers) and which gives rise to dangerous Christian nationalism, which is actually a despotic Brown Shirt thug-ocracy.

They sent riot police to attack and arrest peaceful protesters on college campuses and, most profanely, they say that’s the right thing to do, this in the name of non-discrimination. That’s your kid they’re beating up in a mini dictatorship.

In case you aren’t already, you need to immediately become clear that there are millions who want to take away your rights. This is not an academic thought experiment. They are in action every day, taking the vote away from our citizens, thwarting accountability, cheating our election system, terrorizing immigrants, banning books in a Fahrenheit 451 orgy, siccing riot police on peaceful protesters and so much more. This is not just happening to others. These despots are coming for you.

So, you do live in interesting times. It’s just that these times are going to eat you alive.

Unless we do something about it.

Required Reading

Here’s how the far right (read: fascist pretenders to a despotic throne) see things, this from Heather Cox Richardson.

And here’s how this plot against America is getting funded, thanks to the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court scheming. Read this from Mother Jones.

For Our Moral Purist Voters

From Frank Bruni, May 3, 2024:

.  .  .  the smart way to bar someone “wholly unfit” from the White House [that’s Chris Christie’s descriptor of Trump] is to vote for that person’s opponent. That’s how elections work. “None of the above” isn’t a principled stand. It’s a moral cop-out — and its own dereliction of duty. [emphasis mine – JA]

The same goes for those who intend to vote for Robert Kennedy, Jr., Jill Stein or any other 3rd party candidate. Likely those intending to vote 3rd party think that they are making a statement of integrity or a principled stand against two unacceptable old guys. What they are really doing is abandoning their responsibility to guard our democracy and to protect and defend our Constitution.

You may not like the options. A vote for whoever you think is least bad may be onerous, yet it may be as good as it can get now. But a vote for anyone but Biden is a vote to attack and kill our democracy.

Print this section of this Disambiguation and bring it with you to the voting booth on November 5 as a reminder.

Something To Make You Proud

Our modern Foreign Service is 100 years old and it is staffed by amazing people doing the heroic as an every day thing.

I urge you to link here and read some of these short recollections from these amazing people who “were there when” and who stood a post every day to say, “This is who We The People are.” Reading these stories will make you proud both of our Foreign Service people and proud to be an American.


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.

Not That Giuliani


POST 1065


Giuliani Can Wait. First Crime, Anti-Social Behavior and Cookies

All the statistics tell us that our rate of crime is decreasing. Nevertheless, we rage at one another as though it’s a holy exercise against crime, as some may well feel that it is. What could better demonstrate our goodness and integrity than frothing at the mouth our declarations that we are right and those who disagree are agents of the devil? More important, what is it that drives us to distrust one another so vehemently?

Thom Hartmann explored this once again in a recent post. Here are some snippets to give you a clue.

Poverty doesn’t cause the societal disintegration that leads to most crime, it turns out: inequality does. And America is now, far and away, the most unequal developed country in the entire world.

So how does inequality provoke criminality? The research on the topic is pretty exhaustive, albeit poorly publicized, and the simplest explanation is among the most easily understood: humans are wired to rebel against unfairness. Unfairness thus destroys social trust.

Walk into a preschool class and give one child a pile of cookies while giving everybody else only one each and see what happens. In fact, it’s not just humans; this holds true across all mammalian species from rats to dogs to apes.

In just reading those words about cookies I bet you can feel the words forming on your lips: “THAT’S NOT FAIR!” You’ve rebelled against unfairness all your life because, well, unfairness is unfair. It’s offensive. It’s cruel. And you’ve seen a lot of unfairness.

As research across 33 nations published in Oxford’s European Journal of Public Health found, inequality devastates social trust among people, opening the door to antisocial crime, including violent crime .  .  .

While billionaires who pay less in federal income tax rates than you do blast themselves into space on giant penis-shaped rockets, the majority of Americans are struggling to get by. I say “the majority” because a decade ago the number of Americans who could call themselves “middle class” slipped below 50% for the first time since the Eisenhower era. [all emphasis original]

Billionaires now pay a lower rate than the bottom half of income earners. Click the pic for the story and  read Thom Hartmann’s comments here.

Little wonder that we are a nation of pissy people, some violently pissy, looking for others to blame. Just listen to the victim raging at Trump rallies and at White supremacist demonstrations, the bullying at school board meetings and the intimidation of voters. The ragers are brainlessly claiming voter fraud in the presence of exactly zero evidence of it, but they are disenfranchising millions nevertheless, leading to more power and wealth transferred to the rich and more dis-empowerment and impoverishing of everyone else.

We are four decades into the very intentional program of the transfer of massive wealth from our poor and middle class to our wealthy and ultra-wealthy. This has been incrementally baked into our economy and our psyches and we haven’t even noticed the shift because generally the individual changes have been small, except for the trillions of dollars of tax reductions for the rich, engineered by Bush II and Trump. Those led to $ trillions more national debt that you and I are paying for. Collectively they have undermined your prospects and your wallet massively. Somewhere in our innards is our scream, “THAT ISN’T FAIR!” And we are right.

Worse, we are wrongly taking it out on one another. The fair target of our anger over loss of trust in ourselves lies with self-serving politicians and ultra-wealthy manipulators. For a current view of how these people intend to take all the rest from you, see this. Don’t be bamboozled by the apparently patriotic claims in that document. It is a blatantly anti-American plan to destroy our country and hoard all the wealth and power for the already massively rich.

It’s no longer about cookies. But it’s still about unfairness. And, like Justice Potter Stewart commenting about pornography, you know unfairness when you see it.

Yeah, He’s a Creep, But .  .  .

.  .  .  for a moment, set aside the bad taste in your mouth caused by Rudy Giuliani’s behavior over the past two decades and try to remember this.

Click me – watch all 8 minutes of this video – and remember

In the aftermath of the 9/11 attack Rudy Giuliani, then Mayor of New York City, attended every funeral for the 343 first responders who died on that awful day. He spoke words of empathy and encouragement that the people of the city and across the nation, wounded as we were, needed to hear. They called him “America’s mayor.” He was what the nation needed in that moment, especially since Dubya had failed us so terribly and allowed that attack to happen.

Giuiliani went on SNL just 18 days after the catastrophe. With him and filling the stage were the fire chief, the police chief and as many NYFD and NYPD personnel as they could fit. Standing in the long and strong applause, he took no credit for himself, telling us that the first responders behind him and those not there that Saturday night were the heroes. His message was strong. He threw a humorous jibe at Lorne Michaels when he was asked if it was okay for the SNL cast to be funny. He told us that New York was open for business. We got the message. It was okay to smile again.

That clip brought to mind our present troubles. We are under attack from a large and sometimes violent portion of our countrymen, now properly labeled domestic terrorists. We have thousands of public servants who refuse to do the will of the people, making them a threat to our democracy, a roadblock to solving our problems and to forming a more perfect union. Indeed, these people are working to create a system of permanent minority rule, the very antithesis of democracy. Even our Supreme Court, once the most honored and trusted institution in the nation, is now distrusted by nearly 2 of every 3  of our citizens. Around 45% of voters intend to vote for a sexual attacker, defamer and likely to be convicted felon. These are very dark times indeed.

When the time is right, who will stand in leadership and tell us that we remain the most important democracy in the world, the place of We The People, the shining city on the hill?

Who will declare that we are the keepers of the flame of freedom and justice?

Who will tell us that we can once again talk with our neighbors and even strangers and that we are still America?

Who will tell us that it is okay to smile again?

We need to be thinking about that and deciding who we want to stand in that place of trust and of leadership on January 20, 2025. Our military professionals are taught “Mission first. People always.” What about the rest of us – what are our marching orders?

Our mission is clear. We need to be doing whatever it takes so that the right person is standing before us and announcing to the world and to ourselves, “We The People are America.”

And that it’s okay to smile again.

Remembrance

Tonight starts Yom HaShoah, the day we remember those caught in the betrayals, the cruelty and the death of the Holocaust. We remember for many reasons, including that genocides continue to occur. But mostly we remember the innocents who suffered and the ones who died – were murdered – then.

They were just like you. They worked hard, they loved their children and their children loved to play. Until they no longer could. Light a candle today in their honor.

We remember, lest they be forgotten. May their memory be for a blessing.


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.

Somebody Has To Tell Me . . .


POST 1063


.  .  .  why we are even talking about:

– whether doctors can be criminally prosecuted in Idaho for having made efforts to save the life of a pregnant woman in distress or if they have to wait until death is imminent before proceeding with life saving treatment and by then the woman might never again be able to carry a baby?

– Trump claiming that a president cannot be prosecuted for “official” criminal acts and that a former president cannot be prosecuted unless the House of Representatives has impeached him and the Senate convicted him. Clearly, “Equal justice under law” will no longer have any meaning.*

– that the Supreme Court of the United States has taken this immunity case, this violation of reason, this affront to the Constitution, this kick in the teeth of justice seriously? And they may well grant Trump such god-like power!** Read this excellent explainer.

– whether Texas women can travel to another state for an abortion or whether she can be given consult from others without any of them going to jail? That is to say, why is it necessary to question whether Texans have freedom of speech or freedom to travel? Or Floridians? Or Mississippians?

.  .  .  how it’s even possible that:

– the state of Tennessee has authorized school teachers to carry firearms, when everyone has known for a very long time that the real problem is not unarmed teachers, but over-armed citizens with a vigilante mania or some other mental derangement, like, “I feel like a weenie, and I know I’ll feel powerful if I kill a bunch of people.”

– Fuhrer Greg Abbot of Texas has his police and National Guard in riot gear on the campus of the University of Texas – Austin and they are arresting and are prepared to beat up kids who are in peaceful protest over suffering Palestinians? This looks like it can become like the 1968 police riot in Chicago all over again, with kids beaten, arrested and shot.

– hateful idiots on college campuses across the country are screaming pro-Hamas, anti-Semitic vitriol, hurling threats at and committing physical assaults on Jewish students? Someone taught them to hate. Someone taught them that they could beat up those who are somehow different from them. I wonder who that might be.

– we tolerate the cruelty heaped on Asians, Muslims, Blacks, Browns and Jews? Oh yeah: it’s that “Someone taught them” thing again.

– a large segment of the Republican Party favors Vladimir Putin and Russia over a democratic ally in Europe and even favors Russia over our own country?

– the majority of Republicans (about 70%) believe Trump’s Big Lie about the 2020 election? Didn’t these people receive an education? Do they understand concepts like evidence, reality and the rule of law? How is it that a jury of his peers found Trump liable for sexual abuse and for defamation – twice! – and they still plan to vote for him? And they’ll vote for him even if he is convicted of felonies – crimes – before the election?

– sitting senators (Tom Cotton and Josh Hawley) are calling for National Guard deployment against peaceful protesters? Cotton posted, “I encourage people who get stuck behind the pro-Hamas mobs blocking traffic: take matters into your own hands.”

– that Speaker Mike Johnson bellowed from the steps of Low Memorial Library, “Columbia has allowed these lawless agitators and radicals to take over. Anti-Israel encampments are popping up in universities all across this country. The madness has to stop.” Mother Jones How come today’s Republicans sound an awful lot like hateful, anti-civil rights creeps of the 1960s? Perhaps Johnson and his snarling Buddies On Repression Extremism Society (“BORES”) will bring Iranian Revolutionary Guards to shoot college campus protesters, just like they do in Tehran.

_____________________________________________

* This from Wikipedia:

OLC memoranda

In 1973, amid the Watergate scandal, the Department of Justice‘s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) issued a memorandum concluding that it is unconstitutional to prosecute a sitting president.[23] Its arguments include that the president “is the symbolic head of the Nation. To wound him by a criminal proceeding is to hamstring the operation of the whole governmental apparatus in both foreign and domestic affairs.”[24] It says that the statute of limitations should not be tolled while the president is in office, but suggests that Congress could extend the statute of limitations specifically for presidents.[25] After the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Clinton, the OLC issued a second memorandum in 2000, distinguishing civil and criminal presidential immunity and determining that it was still improper to prosecute a president due to the adverse affect it might have on his ability to govern.[26]

That is the rationale for the recommended prohibition against prosecuting a sitting president – but only while he or she is still president. My understanding is that there is nothing in either memorandum to indicate that there is a prohibition against prosecuting a president for crimes committed while in office once that president has left office.

More to the point, nowhere is it written that a president enjoys permanent protection from prosecution for criminal activity when no longer in office, as when Trump stole classified documents, brought them to Mar-a-Lago and then lied to the FBI and defied a subpoena. But, of course, Trump’s lawyers have claimed just such protection at the Supreme Court.

Required Reading – click here

Blindfolded Lady Justice – for now

.

The Court heard this case with Justice Clarence Thomas present. He did not recuse himself – again – in his obvious temper tantrum ignoring of his conflict of interest, as his wife Ginni participated in the insurrection at the heart of this case.

Someone has to tell me why the Supreme Court accepted this farcical and cruel excuse of a case. These Justices make it look like Lady Justice is peeking out from behind her blindfold, telling them that it’s okay for them to be political hacks and to undermine our justice system.

If you wish to dig into this further, here’s a link to the full OLC memos, along with pertinent commentary.

** If Trump succeeds with his case in the Supreme Court, President Biden could immediately have Trump assassinated by Seal Team 6, claiming him to be a clear and present danger to the United States. If Seal Team 6 were to refuse such an order, Biden could bring a pistol the the first presidential debate and kill Trump himself. Either way, Biden could never be prosecuted for the murder because the Supreme Court would have made it legal to be a presidential murderer.

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.

Law And Order: Special Hush Money Unit


POST 1062


Headline of the Month

From Politico of 4/14/2024

“A porn star, a president and a publisher named Pecker:

“The key potential witnesses at Trump’s criminal trial”


The Hoped For End of the Hush Money Trial

It’s the conclusion of jury deliberation in the Donald Trump hush money/criminal fraud/election interference, multiple count felonies case. The courtroom is silent in anxious anticipation, as the jury solemnly returns to Judge Merchan’s tense courtroom. The defendant has awakened from his courtroom nap and is focused on the jury with a sneering stare.

Judge Merchan: “The defendant will rise.”

Trump rises slowly, belligerent and hostile in rebellion against authority.

           Judge Merchan:   “Jury foreman, have you reached a verdict?”

Jury Foreman:     “We have, Your Honor.”

Judge Merchan:   “Regarding 34 counts of falsifying business records to cover up a crime, what is your verdict, guilty or not guilty?”

The jury foreman reaches into a pocket, pulls out a pitch pipe and blows a note. The entire jury turns menacingly toward defendant Trump. They furrow their brows in obvious distaste and snarl in unison,

“YOU’RE FIRED!”


Gang-Greene

You’ve known all along that Marjorie Taylor Greene is cruel and dishonest, vulgar and infantile and constantly inappropriate (ref: any Biden State Of The Union address). Her foaming-at-the-mouth refusal to help Ukraine leaves European nations and the U.S. at risk from the war mongering new iteration of megalomaniac Josef Stalin. That’s why she has earned a special title from Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-FL), who said, “that Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene . . . should be appointed as Vladimir Putin’s Special Envoy to the United States Congress.”

In one of her most desperately cloying, grabbing, begging, pleading for attention idiocies, Marjorie Taylor Greene threatened to call for Speaker Mike Johnson’s removal from his speakership for his impudence to bring to the floor a bill for support of Ukraine. Putin didn’t want that to happen, preferring the continuing depletion of Ukraine’s war matériel so he can succeed in his invasion. Greene and her extremist conspirators in un-American activities, the Gang-Greene, are brain-free suck-ups to Donald Trump, who is completely captivated by Putin and proudly wears the title Putin has given him: Useful Idiot. That title goes for Greene and her abominable Gang, too.


Boomer Corner

From a recent post by my friend Ed Gurowitz:

It is this thoughtlessness that worries me. I have many German friends and family, and I’ve asked some of them what their parents told them it was like during the rise of Nazism. Even allowing for a people providing exculpatory explanations, what I have heard overwhelmingly is that people just let it happen – whether through apathy, feelings of powerlessness, or secret sympathy, it doesn’t matter. As Edmund Burke famously said, “All that is needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

That is what I’m afraid of – good people doing nothing when the opportunity to vote is there.

Me, too. Which is why I offer the following.

From Wikipedia – Click the pic

We Boomers did some good work in the 60s when it was our asses on the line in a senseless war, our values were being assaulted by a continuation of centuries of cruelty that seemed like it would never stop. It was our time to respond to Abigail Adams, who expected her husband John to come home with a Constitution that guaranteed women the right to vote – he didn’t do that. And it was even time to (gasp!) guarantee non-Whites all the rights of citizenship. Crazy, right?

But those days are gone.  Our job was largely done, so we left the protests and went about our lives. The world moved on, only not always in a good way. Some of what we accomplished was tragically reversed and now we face a very bad threat.

We never thought we’d have to fight this fight again, but right now the forces of destruction are shaking our world, this time with an even greater threat to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The bad guys have been plotting this since we left the protests behind and they are organized and well funded by billionaires, who plan to be our fascist overlords.

You know what that means:

It’s time for us to saddle up again and fight for what is right.
.

It’s time for we Boomers to once again make our voices heard in a deafening thunder to say that we’re not going back. We will never back down. We will stop the forces of destruction. We will protect our sacred democracy.

READ THIS: An Urgent Call To All Boomers.
.

Then take action. You’ll know what 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.

Horrible, Horribler, Horriblest


POST 1061


Horrible

Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire had been a Nikki Haley supporter making Never Trump sounds, this in his blowhard-y way, but that doesn’t work now that Haley’s candidacy is over. Now he’s backing Trump. He even says Trump shouldn’t drop out of the campaign even if he’s convicted of felonies. Here’s his exchange with George Stephanopoulos last Sunday, as reported by Heather Cox Richardson:

Just to sum up,” Stephanopoulos said, “You support [Trump] for president even if he’s convicted in [the] classified documents [case]. You support him for president even though you believe he contributed to an insurrection. You support him for president even though you believe he’s lying about the last election. You support him for president even if he’s convicted in the Manhattan case. I just want to say, the answer to that is yes, correct?”

Sununu answered: “Yeah. Me and 51% of America.” *

Aside from its overstatement of Trump’s national support, Sununu’s answer illustrated the triumph of politics over principle. Earlier in the interview, Sununu explained that he could swallow all of Trump’s negatives because he wanted a Republican administration. “This is about politics,” he said.

That exchange was on the eve of jury selection in the first trial of the only ex-president to be charged with felonies. It seems that Trump isn’t the only fraud and Republicans are in a cowards conga line, meekly peeing on Trump’s command. Don’t confuse Sununu’s bluster with strength or integrity. He’s nothing more than a wimpy Trump suck up.

Horribler

From a newsletter from AVOW, a Texas organization working to protect abortion rights:

Here are just a few of the policies Texas extremists are pushing:

Direct district attorneys to investigate and prosecute abortion support funds and their donors for helping people who travel out of state for care.

Censor and shut down websites with information about accessing abortion care — including educational websites like Avow’s NeedAbortion.org.

Expand the abortion bounty law out of state for medication abortion.

It wasn’t enough for them to ban abortion care in Texas — now they want to block free travel and information. [all emphasis original]

You’re reading that correctly. The state of Texas wants to end freedom of speech and the right to travel freely between states. Plus, of course, they want to eliminate everything related to pregnancy except waiting, regardless of the viability of the fetus or whether the mother will survive the ordeal or if she was raped by a thug or is the victim of incest by Uncle BillyBob. They want to eliminate all contraception but abstinence and, it seems, stop all sexual activity unless a government official observes and approves the act. Don’t even think of getting funky.

All that prohibition is very odd, in that Texas used to proclaim itself as having a starched spine over liberty and independence. “Don’t mess with Texas,” they proudly declare. Those folks used to believe in freedom. But now we see that they only want those things for people who agree with those in power, the freaks who want to control others’ lives. Looks like those guys have taken over the job of messing with Texas.

All of that is happening in extremist Gov. Greg Abbott’s Texas, he who proudly declares, “Slice ’em with razor wire and drown ’em in the river” cruelty; he of the defying of a Supreme Court ruling; he of the un-American way.

Horriblest

We wondered why a mean spirited creep snarling, “You’re fired!” was somehow entertainment for so many. And we lived in the frustration of millions accepting obvious fantasy, lies, cruelty, sideshow hucksterism and plain-to-see narcissism, resulting in all that and more being visited upon all of us. As bad as that was, it has become far more dangerous.

Trump’s mental decline is apparent to anyone paying any attention at all. As nonsensical, as vacuously performative as he has always been, things are far worse now and are becoming clinically perilous.

You must read Trump’s Brain Is Not Okay. This is not some updated Trump bashing or progressive leveraging. This is a serious examination by serious mental health professionals of what every one of us can observe any time Trump speaks or acts in public. He is becoming incompetent in ways that unmask his inability to operate on an executive level.

Dementia in various forms isn’t uncommon, but he is campaigning to be the next President of the United States. He has declared he will be a dictator, that he’ll be your “retribution,” that he will order Seal Team Six to assassinate his political opponents, that he will order our armed forces to take hostile action against lawful American citizens. He will babble like a toddler and

He will have the nuclear codes!
.

Don’t imagine that if he is elected that sane adults will be in the room to stop him all the time. Rather, imagine him as a tyrannical child having spontaneous and unpredictable temper tantrums with the world’s most destructive toys at his disposal.

Read: Trump’s Brain Is Not Okay.
.
Actually Horriblest-er

In the House of Representatives of the United States, its Republican members brought forth an impeachment resolution and puffed with great thundering bombast and imperiousness over the managing of our southern border, effectively blaming Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas for the ongoing debacle. They presented no evidence of any high crimes or misdemeanors.

On Wednesday the full Senate of the United States took up the matter, with Republicans vying for an opportunity to get a video clip to use in their campaigns for reelection in November. After a few hours of pointless blathering, the impeachment was discarded.

The debacle that is our southern border is the result of exactly one thing: Congress has failed to deal with the problem for decades.

Two months ago the Senate passed a very tough bipartisan bill to deal with the problem, but the House Republicans were told by Donald Trump not to even bring it up for a vote. He prefers to use immigration problems as a campaign talking point. So, the Trump-owned Cowardice Caucus of Republicans sits on its hands as terrified immigrants wait and suffer. Plus at Trump’s insistence the cowards made sure that aid didn’t get to Ukraine, Taiwan or to Israel/Gaza for over 480 days.

Our Congress is doing all that in our name as people are dying.

Finally, Some Good News

The scene is a time worn courtroom in New York City. It is Friday, April 19 and all are tired from the now completed arduous task of jury selection. As the day is ending the defense is challenging yet another decision by the judge.

Justice Juan Merchan:

“The defense is targeting my decisions one by one by one. That has to end .  .  . There comes a point where you have to accept my rulings. There’s nothing else to clarify. Nothing else to argue. We are starting this trial Monday morning.”

Like it or not, Orangeman, Justice Merchan is in charge, you are not and there’s nothing you can do about it.

________________________________________
* Nope – sorry, Governor. It isn’t 51%. It’s 42%. Now, what are you going to do when that number plummets because, unlike you, Americans won’t tolerate a crook, a fraud, a traitor, a cheat, a rapist, a liar and a convicted felon in the White House?


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.

Reverberation: “Are You Better Off?”


POST 1060


A Bit More About “Are You Better Off?” From March 27

Have a look at this from Sheila Markin’s post, When Will Republicans Give Up on Trump?

Biden has been delivering on the promises Trump made and failed to deliver on. Remember how Trump promised infrastructure week? It never happened with Trump. It is happening with Biden. Remember how Trump promised to lower prescription drug costs? He didn’t get it done. Biden is getting it done. Remember how Trump said he was for the little guy? No, he wasn’t. [87% of his tax cuts went to the rich.] Bidenomics is working to beat back inflation and create more jobs for American workers. Our country is avoiding the inflation hitting post pandemic Europe. Trump gave America empty promises. Biden has created the strongest and most stable economy in the world despite a divided congress.

She also noted that,

President Donald Trump certainly lived up to his self-proclaimed status as the King of Debt during his term in office. The national debt spiked by $7 trillion during Trump’s tenure (CNN).

Do I remember correctly that Republicans have long proudly called themselves “deficit hawks”? If that’s what they are, how did they let such massive debt pile up on their watch? Oh, wait: They couldn’t pay attention to the skyrocketing national debt because they were bent over in cowardly subservience to Trump.

My answer to Sheila’s question about when Republicans will give up on Trump comes from the reality of when addicts at last enter 12-step programs.

Republicans will give up on Trump when they have hit rock bottom, when it hurts so bad, when all is lost, when hope is gone. Of course, it will be easier once Trump is in prison, but other extremists will attempt to take his place. Republicans will have to have experienced rock bottom if they are to stand up to the Trump wannabees and supplicant crazies. Then we will all be better off. Until then, low expectations are recommended.

Our Not Very Supreme Court

Let your illusions of judicial purity vaporize.

They have decided cases where no actual case existed, like Citizens United, effectively replacing Congress and making up their own laws.

They have made extensive use of the “shadow docket” to issue unsigned, unexplained and opaque one-sentence orders over issues of great importance, having heard no oral arguments and offering no rationale or justification to their very consequential rulings.

They declared that we are beyond our 400-year racial strife. It hasn’t ended, even by imaginary mileposts, yet the Court says that we no longer need the Civil Rights Act. Pay no attention to the millions of non-Whites who were dis-enfranchised instantly upon the Court neutering the Act.

In 2010 they declared that corporations have all the rights and freedoms that you have and that corporations and even foreign big money interests can overpower our elections and effectively steal your power and our elections.

And, of course, they violated stare decisis, which they said they believe in and will follow during their confirmation hearings. They overturned Roe and are looking at hobbling our regulatory agencies that keep us safe. Plus, they have pledged to make birth control illegal.

Don’t forget that they actually took the Trump appeal, which claims he has complete immunity from every crime he has committed. What could they be thinking in considering this rule-of-law abomination of a case?

If you’re hoping that the Court will use this year’s upcoming cases to begin to resturn America onto the path you know it should be on, you are advised yet again to have low expectations.

Clearly, if we are to be better off four years from now, something will have to change.

Co-Conspirators

Sydney Powell, Trump’s lying, scheming, defamation spewing excuse of a lawyer, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges instead of the full panel of felonies with which she was charged, specifically, charges relating to the effort to manufacture evidence of voter fraud. She had to agree to flip on Trump and his co-conspirators to get that deal and will likely testify in both the Georgia RICO case and Jack Smith’s January 6 sedition case. She avoids prison, does a year of probation, pays a $6,000 fine, plus she has to write a letter of apology. Not clear who that will be addressed to. And it’s not at all clear whether her law license will be pulled.

I thrill when bad guys get their just due. While I’m glad she’ll be flipping on the other criminals, I sure would like see her go to prison for a bunch of years for her obvious criminality, to be welcomed there by a spiffy new orange outfit. That woman is seriously bad ju-ju.

All of that goes for felons Kenneth Chesebro and teary-eyed “If I knew then what I know now” Jenna Ellis, too, as well as bail bondsman Scott Hall. Chesebro was the mastermind of the phony electors scheme. Ellis certified the return of all stolen classified documents from Mar-a-Lago, failing to mention the hundreds of super-secret materials Trump kept, some of which he showed to others. Hall was a schemer attempting to access voting machines. All pleaded guilty and I am likewise sorry we won’t see how they look in orange.

So, the Trump co-conspirators’ score: 4 down, 15 to go. Watch for more defectors from Trump, like Mark Meadows, as trial dates close in and the arms of Miss Liberty reach out for the bad guys.

Have a look at Prof. Heather Cox Richardson’s update on Trump’s co-conspirators here.

President Eisenhower, 1953

Regular readers might recall that I consider myself an Eisenhower Republican. Of course, today Ike would be considered a radical lefty, a socialist, a BLM sympathizer and far worse. I steadfastly believe he was clear thinking and did a wonderful job for America.

His inaugural speech on January 20, 1953 serves as a warning for us today. He said,

“In the light of this equality [of all], we know that the virtues most cherished by free people–love of truth, pride of work, devotion to country–all are treasures equally precious in the lives of the most humble and of the most exalted”

“And it warns that any man who seeks to deny equality among all his brothers betrays the spirit of the free and invites the mockery of the tyrant.”

“The enemies of this faith know no god but force, no devotion but its use. They tutor men in treason. They feed upon the hunger of others. Whatever defies them, they torture, especially the truth.”

Words for our time. Watch Eisenhower’s 13-minute address here, and take action, especially if you want to be better off 4 years from now.


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.

Useful Idiot


POST 1059


From a Salon interview of Dr. John Gartner:

We have becrumb a nation.” “All comp-ply-ments”. “I know Poten.” “He can’t cam-pay.”  “We will expel the wald-mongers.”

There are more examples where Trump couldn’t complete a sentence and strung the fragments together incoherently. It’s worth noting that his demeanor changes dramatically at these moments. At one point, Trump was making nonsense sounds, struggling to form even a single word. At one of his events, he said “We’ll re-ve-du. Ohhhh..” At that moment, Trump took a long-defeated sigh, and looked up at the ceiling blankly, looking confused and de-energized. Finally, Trump is sometimes reduced to simply vocalizing nonsense sounds that are not words at all like an infant. For example, at a recent rally Trump said “Gang, boom. This is me. I hear bing”. Trump is, at times, literally babbling nonsensically.

From an updated version of an article originally published on September 7, 2018 in The Conversation/Reuters:

At least several thousands of mental health professionals who are members of the National Coalition of Concerned Mental Health Experts share the view that the nuclear launch codes should not be in the hands of someone who exhibits such levels of mental instability.

Trump is dangerously messed up, at times detached from reality, narcissistic, paranoid, sociopathic and a few more descriptors that we most certainly must not tolerate in a President of the United States. Let’s connect that to another piece of critical information.

From the Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute:

Treason refers to the betrayal of one’s own country by attempting to overthrow the government through waging war against the state or materially aiding its enemies.

According to the United States Constitution, Article III, Section 3, “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.”

Furthermore, 18 U.S.C § 2381, states that a person guilty of treason against the United States “shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.”

By that definition, along with various of Trump’s other felonies, including inciting an insurrection against our country, his over 35,000 lies, promises to pardon the January 6 traitors and his ever-expanding pile of gibberish, Trump is both demented and a traitor.

It has been plain for at least 7 years that Trump is Putin’s useful idiot, which is why Putin expended so much online effort and invested so much money to get Trump elected. We shouldn’t care a bit whether the idiot is useful to Putin because he’s hoping to get permission to build Trump Tower Moscow or to become an authoritarian tyrant himself or for any other reason. He’s a useful idiot for Putin whether through greed or loss of mental function. As a result, Trump is an idiotic enemy of the United States. And this gets worse.

The 2025 Project is an effort by extremely rich authoritarian wannabees to take complete control of the United States. These guys can see the same thing you see – that Trump is deteriorating before our eyes and they don’t care. Trump is their guy because they will be able to control him for their own purposes. In other words, Trump is a useful idiot for our hateful, anti-America far right extremists, too.

These are the guys who want to take away your rights, your freedom, your ownership of anything and your fundamental right to safety and security. They want to brainwash your children and make everyone scared all the time. So, one more time:

TRUMP IS A USEFUL IDIOT FOR BOTH PUTIN AND FOR OUR OWN FAR RIGHT EXTREMISTS!.

Click the pic. Thanks to JN for it.

I don’t have any idea whether Trump understands that he’s a tool for the 2025 Project despot wannabees, any more than whether he understands that he is Putin’s useful idiot. But your crazy cousin Buddy, wearing his MAGA hat, donates over and over to Trump’s legal defense costs, even as that deprives his family of what they need. He is happily succumbing to his confirmation bias and, in the process, promoting the overlords who will savagely repress him. And poor, severely duped Buddy will wonder what happened.

For Your Use

Here’s Steve Schmidt’s description of MAGA. Feel free to quote him.

” .  .  .  a political movement that breathes victimization, resentment, grievance, contempt and anger as air .  .  .”

And here are my questions about MAGA politicians and their followers:

What does it say about MAGAs that they believe known liars, cheaters, murderers and propagandists like Putin, Orbán, Erdoğan, Trump, Greene, Comer. Johnson and Jordan and refuse the reality that is in front of their eyes? What does it say about them that they refuse funding for arms that Ukrainians desperately need, allowing Putin’s army to continue to bomb apartment buildings and hospitals, killing children and grannies?

Note for our Gaza protesters: You cannot be in integrity while protesting the plight of Gazans and at the same time support the withholding of aid to Ukraine.


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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