Banking

I Admit It – Plus Abusing My TV


I have bashed Trump supporters.

(Parenthetical: Isn’t that backward? Aren’t our elected officials supposed to support us?)

I’ve called them names. I’ve accused. I’ve assumed and projected. And I stand by all of that for the violent crazies. But for millions of them who voted for Trump I’ve been wrong because I’ve largely missed the facts that animate them, although I’ve periodically mentioned those facts.

Every one of these people sees him/herself as a patriot. And their anger is based in the reality of the betrayals that stab them in the back to this day. They really have been taken for granted and left behind.

They lost jobs because of the “offshoring” of jobs, the closing of the factories, the hollowing out of whole towns and the rest of the destruction of abandonment. They lost jobs because of the “right-sizing” of businesses (which means to layoff people, most of them permanently), all condoned by Congresspeople more focused on themselves than on We the People. They never lifted a finger to help those who were losing their jobs.

Former House Speaker John Boehner proclaimed over and over that jobs, jobs, jobs was the number one issue. Then he proceeded to kill every attempt at creating, protecting and enhancing jobs and wages with only one exception: jobs for vets. These were vets coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan and Boehner had to be shamed into putting the bill on the floor of the House twice before anything good happened for those vets.

These people suffered while the fat cats grew multiples richer, as three huge “tax reform bills” were promised to increase jobs and wages, but they never did. They just stuffed the pockets of the rich elites.

They suffered because Reagan introduced what became known as “Reaganomics,” which has been an over 4 decades long theft of wealth from 99% of us that has been treansfered to the super wealthy. Nothing “trickled down” to the rest of us.

They watched us slip into a gigantic recession driven by bank bigwigs, some of whom broke laws. Only one went to jail. Then We the People were forced to bail out the banks, the people who sold us fraud.

These people were lied to over and over and fed the red meat of blame wrapped in cultural issues that came rapid fire and were shoved down their throats.

All of that was done by “the elite” of our country. It was done by Congress, the President and the ultra rich corporate titans interested only in their own welfare. Can you guess why Trump voters might hold a grudge against anyone who can be labeled as an elite?

By this point it’s so easy to blame “coastal elites” for anything and everything, as they promote cultural issues that just don’t resonate in the lives of people in the middle of the country. That made it easy for Trump to snatch their loyalty and get them to support candidates whose sole position is a constantly raised middle finger. And all that pent up rage made it easy for them to ignore Trump’s horribles.

Read Bret Stevens’ piece, I Was Wrong About Trump Voters. That essay got me restarted thinking about this issue.

And that rethinking brought back to mind that most of the betrayal of middle Americans has been done by Republicans. That makes it more than curious why anyone would vote for a Republican.

They told people that up is down, that whatever terrible things the Rs did wrong was actually what the Ds did. You know: “alternative facts.” Back in the old days we used to call them lies. And there was shame on the liars when they were caught, but, of course, this is now a shame-free world. Gotta give credit for the stunningly well done Republican propaganda, the Big Lies and the rest that made victims love their victimizers.

I don’t take back any of the things I’ve said about the haters, the violence practitioners or the spineless politicians. They deserve every scathing word.

But the millions who appear to be voting for anti-democracy and against their own best interests believe fervently that they are voting against elites who have stolen America and their American Dream. For the most part it appears that their passion has run too far ahead of their otherwise good sense, but these are not fundamentally flawed people, nor are all of their grievances baseless.

Their anger has roots in a reality that has hurt them. They have been ignored by leaders with policies and ideologies that have  left them far behind, but which has been pedaled to them by disingenuous opportunists.

We cannot abide the destruction done by or promised by angry people. What we can do is to look at the realities that have stolen the American Dream from Americans and take action to restore it for everyone.

Christopher C. Miller official portrait.jpg

Christopher C. Miller, Acting Secretary of Defense stooge for Trump, November 9, 2020 – January 20, 2021

Abusing My TV

As I watched the January 6 insurrection become worse, bloodier, more violent, more destructive, I was screaming at my TV, “WHERE THE HELL IS THE NATIONAL GUARD?” Not long after that I heard rumors that Trump had frozen all of our military so that they could not respond to the crisis. That turned out to be true.

According to Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher C. Miller’s own testimony, on January 3 he was ordered by Trump to “do whatever was necessary to protect the demonstrators” on January 6. The next day, January 4, Miller issued a one page edict that buried the feet of the DC National Guard in cement. They were ordered not to act. They were prevented from stopping the carnage and restoring the peace, jobs that they are trained to do. Here’s a download of Miller’s order to the DC National Guard. Read it sitting down, because it is stunningly evil. Watch Miller’s testimony to the January 6 Committee here.

At Trump’s explicit order, the Capitol Police, the DC Metro Police, the Vice President, every member of Congress, every Secret Service agent, every news crew and every worker in the Capitol Building that awful day were all left bare to the violence of Trump’s murderous mob.

That’s why I was screaming at my TV.

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

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The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
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JA


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

Kavanaugh Lessons – Good News, Bad News


Reading time – 1:21  .  .  .

Immediately following the testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford before the Senate Judiciary Committee about her claim of having been sexually assaulted by Brett Kavanaugh, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) stopped to talk with reporters in the hallway outside the committee room. He went on a long, angry rant of accusations against Democratic members of the committee. He impugned Dr. Ford’s claims and falsely declared that there is no corroboration for her testimony. He demeaned the FBI by saying that they would never be able to find useful information on what happened three decades ago. He also proudly declared himself to be a victim. Later, during interrogation of Judge Kavanaugh following his own angry rant, Graham used his five minutes of questioning for a second temper tantrum.

Publishing date TOMORROW!

Graham spewed a lot of vitriol and it might seem that there’s no good news to be found there, but that isn’t so. The good news is that regardless of his occasionally seeming to be thoughtful, fair-minded and even senatorial, Lindsey Graham has once again shown us exactly who and what he is.

All the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee abused the nominating process, insulted justice, the Constitution and all Americans and voted in lock-step for Brett Kavanaugh. They continued to refuse to release any of the 100,000 documents pertaining to Kavanaugh’s record that the Republicans hid from the Democrats. They, like Lindsey Graham, have shown us once again exactly who and what they are. You can let go of your doubt. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that we’re now facing accusations that President Trump shook down the president of Ukraine in order to get dirt on Joe Biden’s son. What are the chances that Congressional Republicans will aggressively pursue this forehead-slappingly obvious abuse of power and criminal action?

Cast your vote in the Comments section below.

For further elucidation of Republican inclination to discharge their duties, read this.

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Ed. Note: I don’t want money or your signature on a petition. I want you to spread the word so that we make a critical difference. So,

YOUR ACTION STEPS:

  1. Pass this along to three people, encouraging them to subscribe (IT’S A FREEBIE!).
  2. Engage in the Comments section below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

NOTES:

    1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
    2. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling or punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
    3. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.

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

(Mostly) Quick Hits – They’re Linked, I Promise


Reading time – 6:49; Viewing time – 9:59  .  .  .

First, a heads-up for the impatient: The lede is buried at the end of this post.

A Really Tough Time for Republicans

Judge Roy Moore was removed from the bench twice for flaunting our laws in favor of his absolutist religious beliefs. Yes, he was an Alabama Supreme Court judge who disrespected the rule of law – that’s why he was removed from the bench – did I mention “twice”? Apparently, in Alabama that’s not a disqualifier for becoming a United States Senator. As you know, though, the story gets far worse.

Several women have gone public, accusing Moore of sexually violating them and  most were minors when the accused sexual predator allegedly violated them. We’re talking pedophilia. Here are some peculiars about this:

  1. There are only allegations of Moore’s wrongdoing – nine as of this writing – there have been no legal proceedings. If we still believe in innocent until proven guilty (and that’s questionable, given the Trump hysteria of “lock her up”) why are so many calling for Moore’s political lynching?
  2. We all know he’s a slime ball, with a history of his absolutist views being the only ones he deems of value, and his taking a million dollars from his charity for his personal use. He’s hurt both the Constitution and a lot of people and has that self-righteous stink of a hypocrite. That makes it easy to leap to a public opinion conviction of this guy.
  3. Donald Trump has slithered his tweets about how awful are the two wrongdoings of Sen. Al Franken (D-MN).  Oddly, even with the multiple accusations of Moore’s pedophilia, Trump hasn’t said a thing about him. That’s a mistake. I believe that the best thing that can happen is for Trump to weigh in on Moore’s alleged sexual predatory behavior. After all, other than Harvey Weinstein, Trump is the guy with the most experience in this field. Okay, that was snark.
  4. Why aren’t all Republicans leaping at the opportunity to fry Roy Moore? This is a political no-brainer.
  5. This is a really tough time to be a Republican with a spine, with a moral compass, with a drive to do what’s right for others and for our country. If such folks stand up for what’s right, the extremists will fire them from from their jobs in Congress and the state houses. That’s because about half of us – most of the reasonable, centrist Americans – don’t bother to vote, leaving to the extremists the decisions about who goes to Congress and our state houses. The solution to this is obvious. So, help a good-guy Republican by showing up and voting for the reasonable folks in every election.

Education

George W. Bush created the No Child Left Behind plan, which forced teachers to instruct students how to take standardized tests, rather than teaching them what they need in order to succeed in life. The name of that plan is something we all support and encourage, so the spinmeisters did their job. The only problem is that No Child Left Behind left millions of children behind.

Speaking of our children being successful, it seems we don’t actually want that to happen. We continue to provide the majority of funding for our schools through property taxes, which is a great plan if the properties are in a wealthy area. It doesn’t work quite as well if the area is poor, because that results in low tax revenue for schools and inadequate resources for turning out well educated kids. That’s how we systematically condemn poor kids to poverty and our country to less than our best possible future.

Leadership

Being clear about what’s going on and about what needs to be done is hard work. Someone needs to stand up and declare, “THAT WAY!” and it isn’t at all obvious who’s up to the challenge. The call has to be inspirational and it must be clean and crisp and memorable so that we maintain focus and continue putting one foot in front of the other and in the right direction. But that call seems as yet uncrafted. In the face of challenges all around us, which way should we go? And who will you follow?

Monopoly (not the board game)

The Justice Department case against Microsoft 17 years ago for anti-competitive practices is the most recent enforcement of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, legislation designed to prevent monopoly. The  purpose of that act was to keep excessive economic power from being concentrated in too few hands, because otherwise society – that’s the rest of us – would be harmed. Ronald Reagan essentially terminated the Sherman Anti-trust Act through non-enforcement and not much has been done to prevent anti-competitiveness since then, even as large corporations buy competitors and consolidate power for themselves and largely at the expense of you and me. Think: airlines; investment companies; accounting firms; pharmaceutical companies; and banks.

Taxes

You already know that the basic fact of the proposed Republican tax plan is primarily a cash giveaway to the rich. That’s accomplished by taking benefits from poor and working class Americans. The Republicans are claiming that this corporate and rich people’s mattress-stuffer bill will deliver the wondrous magic of driving economic growth, new and better jobs for Americans and rising income for all. Plus, everybody gets their own pony in the back yard. But what if all the goodies (other than the cash gift to the wealthy) are really just a phantom that was dreamed up years ago in order to sell trickle-down?

Bruce Bartlett was a key guy in creating the trickle-down myth in the 1980s, so he knows something about this. Read his piece in the Washington Post, where he ‘fesses up to having been a true believer in trickle-down and now unmasks the fraud that it is. He pulls back the curtain about the claim that reducing taxes primarily on the wealthy will result in rising income for working Americans. Be sure to pass along his piece to your fiscally conservative brother-in-law and be sure to remind him of the $1.5 trillion debt the Republicans’ plan will create. That should make for a spirited Thanksgiving discussion.

Banking

The Glass-Steagall Act was passed following the Great Depression as a preventative against some reckless banking practices that helped lay waste to our economy and devastate millions of Americans. In 1999 that law was repealed, allowing investment banks, commercial banks and insurance companies to merge and invent heretofore unimaginable products that put the entire world on the precipice of economic disaster.  There have been many calls for the big banks to be broken up since then, precisely because they enjoy de facto monopoly of our financial world and can pose an existential threat to our country. Those break ups haven’t happened and the banking instruments that put our economy in peril in 2008 are vastly larger today. What do you suppose might happen?

Freedom

It’s time to pay attention to what’s going on and make sense of it all. Here’s a sampling of what some very wise people had to say about that.

Our government . . . teaches the whole people by its example. If the government becomes the lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. Justice Louis Brandeis

He Screwibus Union

The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion. Edmund Burke

The people of every country are the only safe guardians of their own rights, and are the only instruments which can be used for their destruction. And certainly they would never consent to be so used were they not deceived. Thomas Jefferson

If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom; and the irony of it is that if it is comfort or money that it values more, it will lose that too.  W. Somerset Maugham

We need clear, rational thinking and action in order to protect what we hold dear. Who would have thought that doing so would require courage on the part of those in Congress?

What we’ve seen so far are extensive connections to Russia and fatuous lies told about those connections by nearly everyone high in the Trump administration. What has been confirmed by 17 intelligence agencies of the U.S. is that Russia hacked of our election and tried to influence the votes of millions of Americans. Instead of believing our own experts, Trump believes Putin when all he offers is, “nuh-uh.” Trump maintains a submissive, lapdog posture toward Putin and his manipulation of and access to information makes it look like there’s been a bloodless coup, a Russian theft of America.

You are incrementally being put at greater risk by powerful people concerned solely with their own wealth and power and apparently without the slightest concern for our country. I assure you that staying quiet about this, doing an ostrich, will allow more harm to be done to you and to America. Robert Mueller is doing his job, but that may not be enough. Perhaps it’s time for you to stand up and speak up.

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Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we’re on a path to continually fail to make things better. It’s my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That’s the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue.

YOUR ACTION STEPS: Offer your comments below and pass this along to three people, encouraging them to subscribe and engage.  Thanks!

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

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