Behavior

Actually, We Will Replace Them


Click me to watch & listen to President Biden’s complete presentation.

“Silence is complicity.

“We have to refuse to live in a country where fear and lies are packaged for power and for profit.

“We must all enlist in this great cause of America.

“This is work that requires all of us—presidents and politicians, commentators, citizens. None of us can stay on the sidelines. We have to resolve here in Buffalo that from .  .  .  this tragedy .  .  . will come hope and light and life. It has to. And on our watch, the sacred cause of America will never bow, never break, never bend. And the America we love—the one we love—will endure.”

”President Joe Biden, May 17, 2022, Buffalo, NY

That’s all about countering the purveyors of and the bad actors for White Supremacy, and Replacement Theory in particular. It’s the old, hate filled notion that “others” are coming to replace the deserving ones, the White, European ancestry Christians, especially the males. Those “others” include Blacks, Browns, Muslims, Asians, Native Americans and more, all of this orchestrated by Jews, they proclaim. The haters are motivated by their fear and rage and that leads to violence. These are the people against whom the rest of us must enlist in this “great cause of America.”

Whites in America will soon be in the minority due primarily to a differential in birth rates, plus some (but not much) immigration. So, it might be understandable for White Supremacists to be afraid and to hold their hateful views, because they know how shabbily we treat minorities in this country. It makes sense that they might fear how they will be treated once they are in the minority.

Just imagine if Black police hassled, beat and killed unarmed Whites at the rate of about 1,000 per year, 3 killed per day. It would be terrible for Whites to be removed from a place of power and be replaced by “others” and treated as Whites have treated those “others” for over 400 years. That just wouldn’t be right, right?

So, they’re chanting “Jews will not replace us” and “You will not replace us.” How very testosterony of them. These people, their leaders and their elected officials are who my friend Sheila Markin calls the Rabid, Religious, Right-wing Republicans.

There is nothing at all about today’s Republicans that resembles traditional Republicans. They are fear and anger stoked tribalists after only two things: power and money. And they are pleased to stomp on anyone and anything that stands in their way, including democracy, the rule of law and food shoppers in Buffalo.

So, we’ll replace them. Here’s a feet-on-the-ground example of why we must.

On May 18 the House voted on a bill to provide emergency funds to deal with the infant formula crisis. If you don’t believe there’s a crisis, check with any parent of an infant whose mom isn’t breastfeeding her child or a parent of an infant with medical issues who cannot tolerate any form of mammalian milk. Those kids need to eat; otherwise, they go hungry, and that’s very bad for infants.

Note that these babies are the same individuals that Republicans and Replacement Theorists and White Supremacists and Bible thumpers were insane to protect when they were fetuses. Now that they’re born, these people just don’t seem to care too much about these kids any more.

So, 192 Republicans (and 1 Democrat) voted against the bill to keep these kids fed and alive. So much for their being pro-life.

It isn’t so much that the 192 Republicans hate babies, although that’s possible. It’s that they are slaves to the most hateful, extremist voters – like the ones who spew Replacement Theory and stolen election lies – and these legislators don’t have the spine to be a leader and stand up for what’s right. Welcome to HypocrisyLand.

But wait! There’s more!

The Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act of 2022 was brought to the floor of the House on the same day as Republicans voted to starve babies.  This is an act which is designed to combat domestic terrorism. Every Republican voted against it.

So, have a relaxed shopping experience, fellow citizen, at the mall or at Walmart or at the supermarket, knowing there may be a domestic terrorist waiting for you because 203 Republicans voted to do nothing to ensure your safety.

Republicans will not replace us. We’ll replace them. We must replace them. Our democracy cannot stand unless we replace them.

So, we end this piece where we began: “Silence is complicity.”

The Lies Have Been Here a Long While

Watch George W. Bush momentarily tell the truth here.

From Inae Oh of Mother Jones:

“George W. Bush—whose administration, lie by lie, sold a deeply fraudulent and immoral case for invasion—apparently sees a bit of himself in Vladimir Putin. I wonder why:

“Former President George W. Bush: ‘The decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq. I mean of Ukraine.’ pic.twitter.com/UMwNMwMnmX

— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) May 19, 2022

“I’m 75,’ Bush quickly offered, prompting laughter from the crowd.

“The gaffe, which came during a speech in Dallas on Wednesday, is sure to launch a bunch of thought pieces this morning. For some, it was cute, another Bush giving Michelle Obama candy moment. Others, like me, will recall his historic bait and switch that killed upwards of 200,000 civilians. Well, wherever you land, here’s your ever-relevant reminder that George W. Bush is still bad; please don’t let his never ending supply of dumb endear you. Now watch this drive.

DO NOT give this guy a pass because he’s a cute old man or because you’ve forgotten most of his horribles, like failing to heed the warnings about 9/11 and ordering torture. This guy lied when he inhaled and he lied when he exhaled and hundreds of thousands died because of him.

Trump and his supplicants roll the same way and 40% of our citizens want to follow him to oblivion.

So, one more time: “Silence is complicity.”

Quote of the Week
    • “The racist, antisemitic Replacement Theory espoused by a right-wing extremist who murdered ten people in Buffalo might as well be the Republican Party platform.”
    • Steve Sheffey

————————————

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

This Isn’t The Time


Instructions

Study this material. There is a test at the end.

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Click me to view the Gun Violence Archive

I know that this isn’t the time, because after each horrific mass shooting in America Mitch McConnell tells us that yet again. He said that after Sandy Hook. He said that after Parkland. He said that after the Pulse Nightclub and Sugar Land and Mother Emanuel AME Church and Aurora and Poway and Tree of Life Synagogue and El Paso and I’m pretty sure he’s going to say it now, after the Buffalo and Laguna Woods church shootings last weekend.

Yesterday, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), third-ranking Republican in the House, said, “It is not the time to politicize this tragedy,” yet she paid for ads pushing the replacement lie. Just another day in HypocrisyLand.

It seems that it’s never time to talk about doing anything to stop our American massacres. And it’s not because they happen infrequently. In fact, there have been 27 mass shootings this month alone and it’s only the 18th. Actually, we’re pretty good at murdering one another and we’re steadfast in doing nothing to make us safer.

For decades over 80% of Americans – that includes over 72% of NRA members – have wanted strict, universal background checks prior to the sale of any firearm. The vast majority of us want assault weapons to be prohibited. Same for large capacity magazines, bump stocks and both concealed and open carry. How’s that working out for We The Majority?

It was just a short time after those twenty little 6- and 7-year-old kids and their six teachers and staff were slaughtered at Sandy Hook Elementary School that Wayne LaPierre of the NRA began to insult this country with, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” I have to admit that was a most excellent, chest-thumping marketing ploy for selling more guns.

There are way more guns in this country than people, so there must be a lot of good guys with guns. But how many bad guy murderous rampages have been stopped by a good guy with a gun? Can you think of even one? Neither can I.

Can you imagine a good guy with a gun at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in a shoot out with the bad guy as the halls were full of kids between class periods?

I’m not running for office and I don’t care who I upset by saying this:

  1. I want universal background checks before the sale or transfer of any firearm. That includes Grandpa giving his favorite hunting rifle to his grandson. That grandson just might be named Dylann Roof or Nicholas Cruz or  Eric Harris or Dylan Klebold or Omar Mateen or Robert Gregory Bowers or Adam Lonza. He might be mentally ill or he might be a White Supremacist, hate-filled homicidal maniac like the Buffalo murderer. I don’t want that grandson to get his hands on any firearm.
  2. I want assault weapons to be illegal. These are so-called “man guns” with which our over-testosteroned, angry, under-educated, morally deficient people get their “man card reissued.” Yes, that was the advertising for the Bushmaster assault rifle, the murder machine used at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
  3. I want absolutely no large capacity magazines or bump stocks or automatic firearms of any kind to be allowed anywhere. Alternatively, Americans to have the right to own as many muskets and musket balls as they want, just as the Founders intended when they wrote the Second Amendment.
  4. I want all new firearms sold to have an interlock so that only the owner can fire it. That will help to stop the theft of guns and their subsequent use to kill you and me. If technology makes it possible, I want all existing firearms to be retrofitted with that same technology.
  5. I don’t want any civilian walking my streets carrying a firearm, whether concealed or open carried. And I don’t want anyone to have a gun in the passenger compartment of their vehicle, just like we don’t allow open containers of alcoholic beverages in cars. We don’t need homicidal road rage any more than we need drunk drivers.
  6. I want a full semester of civics taught to every 8th grade school kid, whether in public or private school. Then I want every high school senior to take two semesters of civics classes. Graduation should be contingent upon successfully completing those classes. Maybe that will help to establish a sense of responsibility in our young citizens. They might even grow up to be responsible older citizens. That would be a refreshing change for our country.

Until I’m in charge you better make your voice heard. Otherwise, you’ll once again hear McConnell tell us this is not the time to talk about ways to stop the bleeding and the dying. You’ll have to endure chorus after chorus of “thoughts and prayers” from our jellyfish elected officials. You can identify them as those occasionally somber looking people with special lapel pins and who haven’t the courage to sneeze without first getting permission from their Party leaders, from the hate spewers and from the gun crazies.

If you and I don’t stand up and speak up there will be lots more dead fellow citizens who did nothing worse than go to school or go to an outdoor concert or go to church or have the audacity to go grocery shopping while Black.

Test

Answer each question to the best of your ability. If you find yourself stuck on any question, go on to the next one. When you circle back to the unanswered questions, if you find you still need help, you may use the Hint and the Explainers below.

Questions

  1. Why isn’t this already fixed?
  2. How is it possible that our circumstances have become far worse?
  3. What have we become?

    Click for the video – but be prepared with some tissues.

  4. Story Problem:

    On Monday Victor Blackwell of CNN interviewed survivors of the slaughter rampage in Buffalo last weekend. Two women he talked with had been on their way to the Tops supermarket. Their aunt was already there and was killed by that White supremacist gunman. One of the women was entirely distraught and the other was, as she described herself, devastated. Their pain was so palpable that Blackwell could barely keep himself together.

    At last he turned to the camera and to his anchor in the studio and said,

    “I was counting in the car, talking with my producer  .  .  .  I’ve done 15 of these – at least the ones I can count. And we keep having the conversation about Democrats will say guns, Republicans will say mental health, and nothing will change.

    “And I’ll probably do another one this year. Family after family, having nowhere to go with their grief.

    “We’ll get into a political conversation later, but is this the way we’re supposed to live? Are we destined to just keep doing this, city after city? Have we just resigned that this is what we’re going to be?”

    Q. What are your answers for Victor Blackwell?

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Hint

   The answer to questions 1 – 3 (and maybe #4) can be found in one word: Apathy.

Explainers

  1. The behavior we tolerate is the behavior we get.
  2. If we always do what we’ve always done, we’ll always get what we always got.
  3. Unless something changes, nothing will change.
Joke of the Week

This is humorous, but it’s sadly related in style to our present reality, including our domestic terrorism.

Fox News anchors stole engines #3 & 4 from the right wing of several large airplanes, then blamed it on a left wing conspiracy.

Many thanks to MA for this.

————————————

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Excess Deaths


Excess death is what happens when a virulent killer arrives at civilization’s door. It’s the number of people who have died over and above the number who would have died in the absence of, say, bubonic plague, the Spanish Flu or Covid-19.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently announced that there were 15 million excess deaths worldwide over the first two years of Covid. The Economist has done an exacting study of this issue and concludes the number is 18 million additional dead people.

We just passed the dreadful mark of 1 million Americans dead from Covid in just two years and we know that’s a low number for reasons identified below. For now, let’s put that into perspective by comparing that number to our battlefield war dead.

Here’s a chart from Statista – you can click the chart for details and to read the labels more easily.

For a more thorough comparison, have a look at this WaPo analysis.

Simple addition tells us that our total battlefield war dead from all major conflicts since 1775 is 1,284,702. In all cases the deaths from our wars were horrific and a tragedy and we were shocked by the losses.

It’s crazy that we’re well on our way to surpassing that number solely due to Covid and in just two years. In fact, we could surpass that number this year; certainly by next year. How strange that we continue to mourn our war dead but seem to have accommodated the ongoing massacre of our countrymen from Covid and have relegated their deaths to background noise.

One of the fascinating denials in the early days of our pandemic was the claim that Covid was far less of a threat than the flu, so what’s the big deal? I heard claims that the flu kills “only” 65,000 Americans every year and that Covid’s reach was far less, Eat, drink and be merry.

Turns out it hasn’t been that merry.

The CDC shows us that, depending on the flu variant, between 12,000 and 52,000 Americans die each year from influenza. That’s between 39 and 142 deaths from flu per day.

Here’s a chart of new daily Covid deaths through May 12:

 

As you can see, we’re now at 445 deaths from Covid per day – that’s a rate of 162,425 for the year. That’s more death from Covid than from the flu this year or in any recent year – at least 3 times more. And that math doesn’t take into consideration the escalating number of deaths from Covid expected as this year progresses.

Here’s a STAT chart of our 1 million Covid deaths through March:

Click the chart for the story of wonderful scientific achievement and horrible systemic failures, some willful. Indeed, read Politico’s assessment of the ongoing, conscientious Republican insanity to promote the death of Americans. Key point: “It was a deliberate effort by members of the House Freedom Caucus, in the House, some U.S. senators, amplified nightly on Fox News.”

Yes, it’s true that vaccinated people can contract Covid and a few can die – see the blue lines at the bottom of the chart. The difference is that most don’t die from it. They just need medical help for a while and then they go home and resume their normal lives.

This chart only reflects the officially reported Covid deaths since vaccines became available. They don’t count the people who died without a diagnosis or who died away from a medical facility that tallies the numbers, two of the reasons that the total Covid death count is almost certainly much higher than 1 million.

This chart also doesn’t count those who died because they couldn’t get help for an unrelated affliction, and if the present trend continues we are going to have lots more excess deaths like that. These people will be, for example, heart attack, stroke, cancer and car crash victims who were unable to access the medical care they needed in time to save them because their medical facility was overrun by Covid patients.

Think: Dad died from a heart attack while waiting in his car in the Emergency Room parking lot. He was there because unvaccinated Uncle Bubba had Covid and was in the bed that dad needed and was taking the time, attention and energy of the doctors and nurses who could have saved Dad.

So, don’t imagine that you’re safe from Covid because you’re vaccinated and boosted and you’re a good little mask wearer. You might one day require medical help that you can’t get because of all the unvaccinated people who are sure that Covid isn’t as bad as the flu, or because they think that vaccines cause all manner of imaginary symptoms or are loaded with Bill Gates’ nanobots or because their freedom is more important than anything, including your life – and who are in hospital beds needed by others.

These are the numbers. Factual, empirical data. Again, the current daily Covid corpse count is 445 and that number is expected to rise. Making that worse is that we don’t know how many more people will die because the unvaccinated are clogging hospitals. I sure don’t want the people I love or me to be among those excess deaths. Just guessing you feel the same.

Video of the Week

If you paid attention during the Democratic primary season of 2020 you learned that Pete Buttigieg is a really smart fellow. He’s clear, articulate and is a no drama presenter. Take a listen to his discussion of the implications of the Supreme Court’s likely smack down of Roe during his visit to the Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago last week. Note especially his metaphor that now might be the last high water mark for rights and freedom in America. Brian Tyler Cohen’s commentary following Buttigieg is well worth the watch, too.

For the full Buttigieg session, click here.

————————————

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Show-And-Tell


There have been an uncountable number of rallies and protests since the draft copy of the Justice Alito-written decision of the Supreme Court to crush Roe was made public. My observation is that public outrage is on a level with that over the murder of George Floyd (say his name). Even Stephen Colbert couldn’t manage mirth – there were no smiles in his delivery. The chants at protests are angry. The editorials are biting.

This is rage over the abuse of the majority by the activist, dishonest minority that has gone on for decades. This is fury over the horrific betrayal of the public trust and the near certainty that more betrayal is on the way. And this is outrage over the inevitability that women will suffer and women will die because of this Supreme Court’s culmination of the Republican Party’s march backward to Puritanical psychosis.

Don’t imagine that a strike down of Roe will make for the end of abortions. There have always been abortions. The difference will be that without Roe we’ll return to the dark days of back alley abortions. Women will suffer from procedures conducted in filthy rooms by semi-educated quacks, instead of getting the help they need in certified, hygienic medical facilities from licensed doctors and nurses.

Read the complete piece from Monika Bauerlein, CEO of Mother Jones. Meanwhile, read this excerpt:

“As Ari [Berman] explained, ‘Republicans invest so much energy into voter suppression…because it allows them to enact cruel, unpopular policies with no accountability at the ballot box. The GOP doesn’t need to have the support of a majority of the state’s voters if it skews who actually gets to vote.’

“Same in Washington, DC. Five of the Supreme Court’s nine justices were appointed by presidents who lost the popular vote. In the Senate, the 50 Republican senators represent 41 million fewer people than the 50 Democrats. The GOP controls state legislatures and congressional delegations through an absurd degree of gerrymandering: In Wisconsin, 75 percent of districts are heavily Republican, even though Joe Biden won the state in 2020. In Texas, just under 40 percent of the population is white, but white voters are the majority in 60 percent of state legislative seats. (It took me a minute to wrap my head around that math.) The Texas legislature that passed a ‘heartbeat’ bill, which forces women to leave the state for abortion care, is 73 percent male and 61 percent white. It’s hard not to think of apartheid-era South Africa when you look at numbers like that.”

Don’t think even for a moment that this Roe betrayal is about anything but a return to the full patriarchy of White Christian supremacy and the powerless non-citizenship of everyone else. I can’t help but wonder in astonishment at the women who want that powerlessness.

If there is ever to be a more perfect union, this destruction of rights, as well as the destruction of rights caused by voting/voter suppression in all its diabolical forms must be reversed. There’s only one way to do that:

Remove the thieves from office
.

The pictures above are from the rally last Saturday in Skokie, IL, with several hundred in attendance. I’ll leave you with one last image from there. It’s a bit hard to make out the coat hanger at the top of the sign. If you don’t know what it means, ask your grandmother. She knows about the desperation and self-mutilation of women before Roe. That’s why we must never go back.

————————————

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA

 


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

Don’t Tell Me


Click me

Stop the Presses!

Before we get to the meat of today’s post, please watch this most timely video. You’ll know what to do after that. Then, come back here for the aforementioned meat.

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Don’t Tell Me

You remember Popeye cartoons, I’m sure. Our hero would be going about his business but then would be attacked by the bully, Bluto. Sometimes Bluto would try to kidnap Popeye’s girlfriend, Olive Oyl. Bluto would beat Popeye to a pulp. Then, at last, Popeye would down a can of spinach and declare, “That’s all I can stands. I can’t stands no more!” and he’d proceed to apply some accountability to Bluto.

Well, I’ve reached my Popeye Point (again), where I can’t stands no more. So, put on your thick skin and protective eye wear, strap in and let’s go. This is for people who ostentatiously claim that they are Christians, as though that explains and excuses whatever they do.

Don’t tell me you’re a Christian if you’re spewing hatred at innocent people or objecting to a hearing for terrified asylum seekers.

Don’t tell me you’re a Christian and pro-life if you approve of the death penalty or you applaud the murder of abortion providers. And you’re not pro-life if you proudly deny food to poor children. Or you ignore high infant and maternal mortality rates, especially for poor women and children. Or you oppose gun safety legislation. I will concede only that you are pro-fetus and really don’t give a damn about kids after the moment of birth, even in the gruesome reality of Sandy Hook and Parkland.

Don’t tell me you’re a Christian if you plot to assassinate politicians or you lie about elections being stolen. And no, you can’t hide behind claiming you were duped. You’re not that dumb. You’re just horribly lazy, willfully gullible and, pathetically, you need to see yourself as a victim.

Don’t tell me you’re a Christian if you raised your arm and yelled “Seig heil!” or if you think there were “fine people on both sides” at Charlottesville. Or if you just turned away as babies were ripped from their mothers’ arms at the Rio Grande.

Don’t tell me that you’re a Christian if you voted for Donald Trump even after hearing him brag that he can “grab women by the p%$$y” and after hearing at least 19 women credibly accuse him of sexual assault. Or after his multiple hateful Muslim bans. Or after hearing his idiotic and murderous solutions to Covid, like injecting bleach or taking hydroxychloroquine, distractions that caused hundreds of thousands of extra deaths.

Don’t tell me you’re a Christian if you’re making up “grooming” and pedophile lies in order to get haters to donate to your campaign. Or if you donated to any of the liars making such claims.

Don’t tell anyone you’re a Christian if you’re spouting the insane conspiracy BS that Democrats drink children’s blood and are pedophiles and sex traffickers and are in charge of a worldwide cabal against White Christians. Instead, just tell people that you’ve had severe brain damage.

There’s more, of course. But your claim of being a Christian is a lie you use as a self-serving ploy, a cheater’s shield and a blinder so that you don’t have to look at yourself and see who and what you really are.

I love the question you consistently refuse to answer:

What would Jesus do?

Whatever the right answers are, you’re doing the opposite.

One more thing: an open-hearted invitation to redemption.

I know this crap has been crammed into your brain, but it doesn’t have to stay there. The invitation is for you to take the bold, daring step to think for yourself. Critically. That means no more sleepwalking through your life. No more goose stepping because some hate spewing moron told you to do that. Think for yourself. All the time.

Until you do that, don’t tell me anything.

To Everyone Else:
.

This isn’t a diatribe against Christianity. It’s a rant against hypocrisy.

Those hypocrites from whom I don’t want to hear are irredeemable, my invitation to their redemption notwithstanding. We should waste none of our time laboring to get them to reform and to support democracy, because they are intentionally blind. We must hope that their children and grandchildren can be saved from repeating the fear and anger and hatred these people spit on our country.

30% of Americans are in that irredeemable category. Our future depends upon our reaching the other 70%.

Yet More Don’t Tell Me

Thanks to FL for pointing this out.

I also don’t want to hear smug assertions of apolitical justice from the five radical Supreme Court justices who lied, dissembled and snow jobbed their way through their Senate confirmation hearings so that they can now eliminate Constitutional rights.

I’m talking about the justices who directly said that Roe and Casey were settled law. And I’m talking about the ones who dumped a blizzard of words to lead us to believe that if challenges to those cases came to the Court that they would defeat those challenges. Instead, they all voted to kill Roe, according to Alito’s leaked draft opinion. These are the justices who brought their Roman Catholic and fundamentalist Christian beliefs to the bench and are now imposing them on all Americans.

Check me on this:
.

I thought that judges and justices were supposed to rule on cases based on secular Constitutional and legal precedents. Did I get that wrong?

Perhaps the liars should be impeached.

But maybe we should save up for the impeachments, as this extremist, not-at-all conservative Supreme Court majority opens the door to stripping yet more rights from Americans, like voting rights (already in progress), same-sex marriage rights, birth control rights and all manner of privacy rights. Give some thought to what will happen when this court pushes more decisions down to radical, minority controlled state legislatures, which will then imperil even more Americans. Who will save Texans from Texas then?

The real problem is the injury these justices do to the Court, (see this Twitter feed, too) to our country and to the American people with their self-righteous Puritanism.

A Special Message For American Women from the RNC Inquisition
.

“We’re sure the Supreme Court Justices will be sorry for all of you who will die or have your lives ruined because of their ruling on Roe. Clearly, these five or six justices and we here in the RNC Inquisition believe deeply that’s just God’s way. He (not She) works in mysterious ways, you know.

“So, bummer for you, honey. Things will go better if you just subsume yourself into the patriarchy of today’s Republican Party and we’ll control you. Just keep your mouth shut and be a good little breeder.”

Must Reads

John Pavlovitz writes fine, insightful essays, but this one is brilliant. It’s a clarion call to all of us. It truly is the time for us to stand shoulder-to-shoulder and hold up the sky. Read his piece and you’ll understand.

And do not miss Maureen Dowd’s proper contextualizing of the Republican Puritan insanity in today’s op-ed, Marilyn Monroe v. Samuel Alito,

Jokes of the Week

Q. Why did the Republican cross the aisle?

A. Don’t be silly – they never do that.

Q. How many Republicans does it take to get to the truth?

A. Nobody knows.

Q. What will women do when they have an unwanted pregnancy?

A. They’ll pray for divine intervention for a miscarriage and hope they aren’t indicted for murder.

Ear Worm of the Week

We took in a Rogers & Hammerstein concert last week and lots of show tunes have been dancing in my ears since then. One is Oklahoma! Unfortunately, a lyric from that song has become polluted by our politics in this way:

“We know we belong to the land,

“And the land we belong to is grand,

as long as you’re a straight, White Christian man.

————————————

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Restoring the Dream


    • You got trouble, my friend. Right here in River City.
    • Oh, we got trouble with a capital “T” and it rhymes with “D” and it stands for Democracy.

With apologies to Meredith Willson, creator of the wonderful music and lyrics for the wildly successful musical The Music Man, paraphrasing his words became irresistible after seeing Rob Reiner’s tweet from April 20.

He’s right, of course, as today’s Republicans work every day to replace democracy with authoritarianism led by Donald Trump or a Trump imitator. But there’s a problem with Reiner’s tweet: It doesn’t sell.

For many, a threat to democracy is too esoteric, too theoretical to solidly grasp it, much less to be motivated by such a claim. Worse, millions of Americans believe that democracy has already been taken from them, stolen by elitists in the 2020 election, stolen by people who don’t understand or care about regular Americans. That makes Reiner’s tweet sound like a lie to them. Perhaps they hear his tweet and then believe that left-of-center types think regular Americans are stupid enough to believe his vaporous claim.

I was on a Zoom call last week with a couple dozen like-minded people who were bemoaning the continuing threat to our democracy by extremists and self-serving liars. The context was about how to win in our next elections. The problem is that the argument about the far right’s threat to democracy, however impassioned anyone may feel about it, is only motivating to those who already agree and there aren’t enough of them to win an election.

The real battle is not to win over the far right extremists. The battle is for the independents, the middle-ists,* the regular Americans just going about their lives and who don’t like getting bashed by crazy claims from those who would inflame them. To win these folks over will take something more tangible to them than a claim about an idea.

From the Captain Obvious System Operating Handbook:

Appeal truthfully to the middle-ists on the basis of what’s important to them.

Now, there’s an idea that just might be good for both middle-ists and our country. Pair that with some Rock ‘n Roll philosophy from The Rolling Stones’ Ruby Tuesday:

    • “There’s no time to lose,” I heard her say.
    • Catch your dreams before they slip away.
    • Dying all the time,
    • Lose your dreams and you will lose your mind.
    • Ain’t life unkind?

Okay, what about the American Dream? We figured it was ours, and it was. But some of us, perhaps millions of us, feel like it’s already gone or is being stolen from us and the robbery is happening in plain sight. The millions are angry, just as any of us would be if something dear to us were being taken away. Perhaps life doesn’t have to be that unkind.

What if we were to do something about restoring the American Dream, that sense of limitless possibilities (watch this space on Wednesday)? That might help. But the view of our possibilities is dramatically clouded by the anger and hatred that has been unleashed from the American subconscious by self-promoting thugs. This isn’t going to be easy. Nevertheless, it is necessary, because the alternative is unthinkable.

We have to catch that dream before it really does slip away and we all lose our minds.

Must Reads For Restoring the American Dream

First, Hillary Clinton wrote a wonderful piece about Madeleine Albright shortly after Albright died. Two notes about that.

  1. We have a national obsession to bash Clinton or defend her. Whatever your opinion of her, set that aside and learn about Albright.
  2. Albright lived under authoritarianism until she was 11 years old, so she knew the difference between that and freedom and democracy. She valued democracy likely far greater than those of us for whom democracy has been a given. Read and learn, grasshopper.

Second, Emmanuel Macron won the presidency of France over fascist, Putin loving, bigoted, authoritarian wannabee Marine Le Pen, daughter of fascist, Putin loving, bigoted, authoritarian wannabee Jean-Marie Le Pen. NATO and those who love freedom and democracy can breathe a sigh of relief over that.

David Leonhardt’s piece about that election provides clues to what is going on in the United States. For example, why do far right, angry, hateful extremist politicians get so many votes from ordinary citizens? I encourage you to read Leonhardt’s essay and substitute USA for France as you read and you’ll get a better understanding of how and why our nation is divided and perhaps a clue as to how to deal with that.

Hint: It’s a hard, uphill pull to convince people to let go of our protective “fear of the other,” of our need to blame and our enormous capacity for rationalizing of the irrational. That struggle is connected to restoring the American Dream.

Bonus Section: Gotta Fix This
.

Click me for the story

Read that carefully: ” .  .  .  prosecutors may have used false testimony;”  “.  .  .  prosecutors suppressed other evidence that would have been favorable to her.” Oh, and they browbeat her into a false confession – it’s on videotape.

I’m no lawyer or Constitutional expert, nor am I conversant in all the details of this case, but I’m pretty sure that prosecutors cheating is not okay. Nevertheless, it happens. Note that the chief prosecutor in Ms.Lucio’s case is now in prison for bribery and other things no prosecutor should be doing.

There are hundreds of innocent people who have been falsely imprisoned, some nearly executed, but who were exonerated through the work of The Innocence Project. We’ll likely never see the end of cheating prosecutors or inept pubic defenders, but Ms. Lucio’s case and the cases of others are why we need to end capital punishment, even in Texas.

Gotta fix this.

Updated Children’s Book

With the disclosures of recorded telephone calls of House Republican leadership shortly after the January 6 insurrection, we were rewarded by learning of the concern they held for the welfare of others in Congress. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Spineless) was specifically concerned that the ongoing vilification of other legislators by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Pedophilia) could ignite additional violence. McCarthy said that kind of thing would have to stop and that he’d have words with Gaetz. Isn’t it wonderful that McCarthy had concern for the well being of others, for doing the right thing and for stopping Gaetz and others from putting other members of Congress at risk?

Sadly, his moment of morality didn’t last long. It appears he never took any such action and that he later lied about having said that he would. That’s just so surprising.

Meanwhile, Republicans in the states are moving to burn books and Gaetz is still running wild. Do you think the Republicans will ban this book, too?

Gaetz is under investigation for having sex with an underage girl and for sex trafficking. Many thanks to JN for the cartoon.

————————————–

* There’s nothing wrong with the word “centrists.” There’s just something pleasing today about “middle-ists,” regardless of the fact that until this post it wasn’t a word. I like it. Might use it again.

————————————

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Numbers, Masks, Injustice & MTG


Numbers

This is scary.

There are roughly 331 million citizens in the United States, of whom 258 million are adults (identified at least by age, if not by behavior). Only 168 million adults are registered voters. The other 90 million adults either haven’t bothered to register, they’re ineligible to vote, like convicted felons in some states, or they have been removed from voter roles through black hearted partisan purgings.

Currently, 47% of adults claim to be Republican or Republican leaning. 47% of our 258 million adults equals 121 million Americans who identify as Republican or Republican leaning. But here is where the numbers become frightening.

Rachel Gutman of The Atlantic Daily reported about those 121 million Americans that,

“Sixty-eight percent of Republicans do not believe that the 2020 election was free and fair, but few can explain exactly why. “I can’t really put my finger on it, but something just doesn’t feel right,” one Donald Trump voter told Sarah Longwell.”

Applying that data, 68% of 121 million self-identifying Republican Americans equals over 82 million Americans, or 32% of all American adults, who believe The Big Lie even in the complete absence of facts, data or evidence to so much as suggest that fraud took place.

Clearly, for these 82 million Americans accusations alone have superseded the need for the presentation of evidence. No proof is necessary for them to pronounce judgment and sentencing. Let me focus that a bit better:

One-third of American adults “can’t put their finger on it” and have absolutely no evidence for it, but they believe outrageous, completely unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud!

Plus, 57% of Republicans (about 69 million Americans) say that the January 6 insurrection was “patriotism,” not a crime.

I warned you that this is scary.

Unmasked

Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle decided last week that the CDC was just too mean and had overstepped the limitations of a 1944 law that allowed it to create limitations on Americans to keep them from killing one another with disease. Apparently, she felt that interfering with Americans’ right to infect one another was an abridgement of freedom too far. So, thanks to her nationwide quash of the regulation, we may Covid-slay one another at will.

We have two problems. The first is this 34-year-old judge nominated by Trump.

Before her Senate confirmation she was found Not Qualified to be a federal judge by the American Bar Association due to her lack of experience. That was no impediment for Mitch McConnell and she was rammed through the Senate. Before assuming the bench for a lifetime appointment, Judge Mizelle had driven past a courtroom once or twice, but had  never been in one.

Now, without hearing even a single syllable of oral argument about the mask mandate (i.e. without actually trying the case), she’s made a decision that reverses this CDC regulation nationally. I guess her Trump appointment makes her smarter than all the doctors, scientists, legislators and lawyers. Her finding is likely to have huge consequences, as our case and death counts continue to rise and new variants of Covid are wreaking havoc.

The second problem we have is that we’re Americans, which means we’re little cry babies and we want what we want when we want it. If things don’t work to our satisfaction quickly, somebody has wronged us, we’re poor little victims, and somebody – anybody – has to pay big time. For example, “Make those pedophile, weenie-hearted Democrats suffer for the burdens imposed by their socialist CDC!”

But still, will we sacrifice a little comfort for the sake of the our nation, for the well being of our fellow citizens? Don’t get me started. Oh, wait: I’m already started.

Authoritarian Moment

“Despots go after the press first. They seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can’t stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it’s a huge threat to them.”   –  Monika Bauerlein, CEO, Mother Jones

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – MLK, 1963

Here’s Malcolm Nance from Ukraine. “I’m done talking. It’s time to take action here.”

I’m from the Internet and on some weekends I play fake soldier.

 

Something tells me that all the militia tough guys, the internet testosterone trolls and the badass guys with AR-15s strutting through their local Starbucks and threatening kids carrying posters at protests aren’t in Ukraine with Nance.

So, to all the camo wearing, shaved head burly boys: You whine about your rights; you wail about government stealing your god-given freedom; you bellow about your liberty. But when it’s actually on the line, when children and grandmothers (“babushkas”) are being murdered and cities are being leveled and people need help to keep their freedom, you’re AWOL. You’re nowhere to be seen when someone is shooting back.

In your next tough guy selfie video, please explain what that makes you.

The MTG Mental Infirmity

Click me

Last Friday Marjorie Taylor Greene testified in court, under oath, about her encouragement and participation in the preparation for the January 6 insurrection that was designed to upend our democracy. She responded to questions about what she had said and done, repeatedly claiming some version of, “I don’t remember.” That was a fine ploy to prevent her from committing perjury, but hardly believable, as she had spent years advocating for conspiracy theories, disrespecting the Constitution and encouraging sedition.

But with all her convenient loss of memory, perhaps she is rightly worried about her mental decline and loss of recollection. No worries, because we can provide comfort to her with this simple reassurance:

Marjorie, we understand your cunning testimony about not remembering those unpatriotic things you’ve said and done, but don’t fret. You can check with us any time, because we remember quite well what you’ve done.

And Finally, for Florida Gov. DeSantis
.

Click me for the story from The Onion

————————————

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA

 


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

Dunning-Krueger & SmackDown


The Dunning-Krueger Effect

We suffer – oh yes, we suffer greatly! – from people who proclaim they have wisdom, brilliance, expertise and, worst, announce “truth” as if they actually know something. They act as though their appearance of confidence is all that is required. The sad news is that some reasonable level of competence really is required for most endeavors, especially for leading a nation. Absent that, we get into a lot of trouble.

It’s called the Dunning-Krueger Effect.

“The Dunning-Kruger effect is the phenomenon whereby people with little knowledge tend to overestimate their abilities, precisely because they ignore how much knowledge is necessary .  .  .

That may seem rather benign, but it leads people to say and do the most outrageous and harmful things, like accuse others of horrific deeds (see the next section of this post). Here’s a graph of this phenomenon.

In the snap of your fingers you can name ten people immobilized at step one on Child’s Hill. Examples: Reps. Kevin McCarthy and Marjorie Taylor Green, as well as Sen. Bill Lee. And that’s just from last week’s cavalcade of deceit.

Here’s another graph of Dunning-Krueger with labels you may find more useful.

We have far too many politicians stuck on the peak of Mt. Stupid. Being there leaves them with nothing to do but sell out to whoever brings them more power and money. They are rendered paralyzed by fear of falling into disfavor with whoever is dispensing what they want (their “puppet master”). They will say and do the most inane and destructive things just to stay in the good graces of he who pulls their strings.

They will cheat and lie and when caught they will double down on their lies. They will sell others down the river without another thought. The problem is that you and I are on that boat headed south and we’re on board solely because of the permanent residence of our self-deluded politicians on Mt. Stupid.

If you want to know more about the Dunning-Krueger effect, click on the charts above. If you want to get rid of politicians stuck on the peak of Mt. Stupid, vote them off the mountain this November and in 2024 and recruit others to do the same.*

Smack Down

I know you hear the outrageous, hateful, bigoted rants of haters who seek to marginalize us, to create divisions to weaken us, to give power to the minority at the expense of the majority. Maybe your blood boils when you hear leaders spew lies and fear and your eyes go googly when some otherwise ordinary citizen recites the crap s/he has been fed by the hate mongers.

And just maybe you wish that somebody – anybody – would hit back hard. You need right and wrong to be restored to something having moral fiber.

Well, wait no longer.

The video below is of Michigan State Senator Mallory McMorrow on April 19 offering “words” for another senator who had trashed her with accusations of pedophilia in an emailed fund raiser the night before. Even if you’ve seen it, watch it again.

This is the kind of sterner stuff we need in this country. This is the kind of impassioned smack down of hatred that we need to see in every venue where hateful idiots are spewing vile lies. Sen. McMorrow may be exactly who we’ve been waiting for to shine a light that leads us all back onto the right path.

 


* Here’s a comment from one of the D-K pieces, addressed to those on the peak of Mt. Stupid:

“Please move out now while you still know it all.”

————————————

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Getting Attention, Statistics and Projection


Hey! Over Here!

The New York Times gathered for a discssion Four Opinion Writers on How the G.O.P. Fringe Took Over American Politics. Here’s a comment from Ezra Klein from that discussion.

“Democrats have a lot of theories of policy. They have a lot of theories of politics. They just do not have a theory of attention. And what I would say for the Trumpist Republican Party is it mostly doesn’t have a theory of policy. It has a middling theory of politics, and it is overwhelmed by its own theory of attention. And I don’t think there’s some kind of grand strategic plan happening over there.

“But I think that one way to think about the asymmetry, or maybe the inversion of the two sides right now, is that Republicans know how to get attention, but they don’t know how to be strategic about it. And Democrats know how to be strategic, but they don’t know how to get attention.”

I maintain that messaging from Democrats is uninspiring and commonly submarines their value to Americans. Klein is adding that they don’t know how to get attention, this in the face of Republicans who are experts at getting attention. I’m certain he’s right.

The key tools Republicans use to get attention are:

  1. Stoking fear of “the other”, be they Democrats or Blacks or Mexicans or Muslims – all the usual suspects. Those “others” aren’t real Americans, Republicans would have us believe.
  2. Saying crazy, even stupid things and being outrageous.

Clearly, Democrats aren’t going to stoke racial fears and hatreds in order to get attention and votes. But what about being outrageous? They can:

Call out Republican lies and label them that way – not falsehoods or misstatements: LIES! And ask Americans how they like being lied to.

Many thanks to JN for passing this along.

As the food stamp program is ending they can make headlines saying, “Republicans don’t care if poor kids starve!”

They can go on the Sunday news programs and tell America that Republicans are banning and burning books, just like the Nazis.

Speaking of books, Democrats can proclaim that Republicans want to cut short your kids’ education – leave them ignorant and prepared to be losers. They even want to close your public school.

Beto can tell Texas women that Gov. Abbott wants them to carry their rapist’s baby to term. And carry the babies from incest, too. Even if they’ll likely die in childbirth. Same thing in Mississippi, Oklahoma, Florida and other states.

Declare that new strains of Covid are already here and it’s killing our unvaccinated, but Republicans don’t care if they die.

Speaking of Covid, Republicans are spreading anti-vaccine and anti-mask disinformation, fighting against everything that would help end the pandemic. They’re doing that to attack Democrats over the inflation caused by the pandemic! Clearly, they don’t care if Americans go broke or die. That last sentence is the important one.

You get the picture. It’s how it’s said that gets attention.

One of the reasons so many liked Trump is that he seemed to them to be strong. No politically correct phrasing comes from him. He’s all about groundless accusation and promises of “unbelievable” and “huge” great stuff that never materializes. And he’s about “hit back harder,” as declared by Kellyanne Conway, as though hitting back harder were a good thing. Many see that stuff as strength.

There’s no need for Democrats to mimic Trump’s cruelty and stupidity. All they have to do to appeal to those wanting strong leaders (that’s all of us) is to speak plainly.

For example, when Ted Cruz was abusing Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson over kids’ books, Democrats should have said the same thing publicly as they screamed while watching their TVs: “What a jerk! That guy wouldn’t know the truth if he read it in a children’s book.” I.e., Democrats must speak the outrage plainly.

Instead, we got Dick Durbin doing nothing. When he did speak he seemed to have a mouth full of oatmeal.

He let Lindsay Graham get away with his temper tantrum, false accusations, stealing 50% more time than was his, and then storming off like a 7-year-old brat. We got next to nothing in leadership from the #2 senator at a time when strength was called for. What we should have heard from Durbin was,

“The senator’s time is done – we’re not negotiating more. The senator will silence himself or he will be removed from this chamber. He will not be allowed to come back until he is prepared to apologize for his rude, insulting behavior and write on the board, ‘I will follow the rules, I will follow the rules,’ 100 times.”

That would be outrageous, of course, yet appropriate. And it would have made the 10:00 o’clock news across the nation. The Ds would have gotten some good attention as the strong ones. It would have been clear what they stand for. Instead, it was just another lost opportunity and a show of weakness.

Democrats have managed to disagree with Republicans, but only in nicey-nice Democrat-speak. That gets no attention. But it just isn’t that hard to get attention. The question is whether they have the courage to do what’s necessary.

Must Read

Late find following the writing of this post:

Thom Hartmann writes, “It seems that Democratic leadership is suffering from a serious deficiency of outrage.”

Statistics of the Week

From the Center for American Progress:

“There are 139 elected officials in the 117th Congress [109 representatives and 30 senators] who still deny the scientific consensus of human-caused climate change.”

These Republicans “have received more than $61 million in lifetime contributions from the coal, oil, and gas industries.” [emphasis original]

Projection Speak of the Week

Democracy is failing and authoritarianism is rising because of democracy’s bad moral foundations, said Sergey Karagonov, former advisor to Vladimir Putin, from back in the days when Putin had advisors. Vyacheslav Nikonov, a member of the powerless Russian legislative body, attacked democracy as the evil against which good guy authoritarians fight. Think: Putin as a warrior for all that is good and right in the world.

Somebody please tell me when there has been an authoritarian whose primary motive wasn’t amassing wealth and power for him/herself. For extra points, name one who made the lives of ordinary citizens better. Name even one authoritarian (another word for “dictator”) who wasn’t amoral or immoral and who didn’t descend into some form of debauchery and cruelty.

Oddly, an authoritarian is exactly what our extremist political righties think they want. Set aside whether that is an American thing to do. Focus for the moment on whether you want to be under the thumb of a self-serving, amoral, cruel dictator. See this Sunday’s post for more.

Sadly, our home grown authoritarian lovers don’t even get to the point of thinking about such things. They get a short-lived jolt of power from their tirades as they demand non-democracy, but they’re left powerless immediately after the power rush fades.

The science is well known about how anger short circuits logic and reason and it is that short circuit that we have to confront if we are to avoid a Vladimir Putin wannabee in power over the United States of America. For more, read this from Heather Cox-Richardson.

————————————

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Cancel Culture, Crayons, Lincoln & Lemonade


Cancel Culture

It’s about shutting down, shutting up and shutting off opponents.

The power of authoritarians lies in the absolute, unthinking enforcement of their desires and taboos by absolute, unthinking followers who are otherwise average people. We’ve watched this dynamic in constant replay through all the Trump years, as people did and do unpatriotic things just because Trump wanted them to – and they’ve believed their actions were patriotic. All such things require is a nod from the authoritarian and people will do destructive, even self-destructive things. And nobody will push back against the authoritarian for fear of being persecuted and even expelled from the group at any time and for any reason.

For example, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) was a Trump sycophant. He regularly carried water for Trump and even talked insurrectionist trash at the rally on the Ellipse on January 6. But he got on the wrong side of Trump and has been kicked to the side by Trump and his followers. Brooks has been cancelled.

That’s cancel culture.

The funny thing is that Trump suck-ups point their sinister, threatening fingers at Democrats, accusing them of cancel culture whenever Dems decry bad behavior, like cops killing unarmed Black men. Then these same Trump wannabees proceed to cancel gays, lesbians, Blacks, teachers, doctors and more using legislation to shut them down, up and off. And they seek to end our democracy and our Constitution, which these cancelers falsely claim they are protecting.

The armies of the authoritarians charge ahead without so much as a single critical thought in their heads. That’s how Hitler got millions of ordinary and otherwise peaceful Germans to do the most despicable things. Threats and intimidation are all it takes. As Lord Tarkin said in Star Wars – Episode IV, “Fear will keep the local systems in line.” And so it does.

Republicans used to be strong advocates for law and order and for the rule of law. Yet on April 6 all but two Republicans voted not to hold Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino in contempt of Congress for having obviously and publicly refused to comply with lawful subpoenas issued to them by the January 6 Committee. Plainly, these guys broke the law. You would be in jail in a heartbeat if you did such a thing, but 203 Republican representatives voted to let these guys skate.

This happened because the House Select Committee is getting ever closer to Trump’s involvement in the insurrection, so Trump wants to stymie the committee. His unthinking and absolutist sycophants in the House did his unpatriotic bidding by voting against the contempt resolutions for fear of being persecuted and perhaps expelled from the Trump cult, like Mo Brooks. Ask Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney if you need further explanation.

Obeying Trump is more important to most Republicans than obeying the law.
So, they used their NO votes to cancel the rule of law.
.

That’s cancel culture.

Here’s a reminder from the New York TimesBret Stevens. Read these words as the marching orders for today’s Republicans.

.  .  .  we recall the words of Otter, one of the frat house characters from “National Lampoon’s Animal House”: “I think this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody’s part.”

Canceling the rule of law is really stupid. Our job is to make sure that effort is futile. We have to cancel the cancelers.

Crayons

I don’t know where I found the graphic to the right – at the bottom it says, “Your Tango.” Feel free to explore.

Meanwhile, this is so simple – and frightening – that it could be written in crayon. If I had crayons.

Somehow, I managed to get to this point in life without having read George Orwell’s 1984. While walking the dog recently I came to a house with a Little Free Library in the front yard by the sidewalk. There I found a copy of 1984 and took it home.

Couldn’t resist

Within minutes of starting to read the book I was startled to find a plain description of Trump rallies, the January 6 insurrection and the mindless public recitations of demonstrably and obviously false claims. Here’s just a bit of the description of a Big Brother Two Minutes Hate session.

“The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but that it was impossible to avoid joining in. Within thirty seconds any pretense was always unnecessary. A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledge hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one’s will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic.”

” .  .  .  the entire group of people broke into a deep, slow, rhythmical chant of ‘B-B! .  .  .  B-B! .  .  .  B-B!” over and over again, very slowly, with a long pause between the first “B” and the second – a heavy, murmurous sound, somehow curiously savage, in the background of which one seemed to hear the stamp of naked feet and the throbbing of tom-toms.  .  .  it was an act of self-hypnosis, a deliberate drowning of consciousness by means of rhythmic noise.”

There is a mob mentality that is alive and murderous in our country. From “Lock her up!” to “Beat the hell out of protesters” to “Can we use the guns now?” we are awash in angry people who deny reality and recite the lies and rage they have been taught to chant by the authoritarian. They are ravenous for power and do not care who or what gets trampled by their stampede, even those things that allow them to rage.

Sometimes, their violence is thinly veiled. Sometimes, they make death threats and they menace voters and school boards. Sometimes, they shoot people.

Would that Orwell were wrong.

Abraham Lincoln and You

No, that isn’t the title of Heather Cox-Richardson’s April 15 post, but it could be.

She begins her post with this: “Early in the morning of April 15, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln breathed his last.” With him could have gone the glue holding the states together and our very democracy, even as the Civil War was all but over.

But it wasn’t over – not really – and we see it being waged today in sneaky, dishonest ways. Except for slavery itself, all the divides of those awful years are with us and they are as threatening and corrupt today as they were then. Richardson’s post is a must-read – here’s a link.

Lemonade

Friday night I found the flyer you see at the right stuffed into my mailbox. The next day I stopped by to find that 3 first grade girls, 7 years old, had created the flyer and had set up a lemonade stand, complete with cookies, surprise packages and bags of dog treats. They and several of their friends flagged down cars, sold their goodies and were devastatingly cute.

“Just a kid thing,” you might say. But when that cold spring day was over these kids had raised almost $800 to send to an outfit doing humanitarian work for Ukrainians.

And the kids had learned a lesson about helping those who need help. They’re a great example for all of us.

Girls, YOU ROCK!

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Copyright 2022 by Jack Altschuler
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