Conservatism

A Love Letter To Millennials and Gen-Zs


Ed. notes:

  1. In these dispiriting times it can be easy to let our sense of love and awe for this country be dampened. But this Fourth of July weekend is exactly the right time to face that challenge, to find our inner red, white and blue and to cheer for the country we’ll make. Set out your flag and blast Stars and Stripes Forever for the more perfect union we are all tasked to create.
  2. If you’re not a Millennial or Gen-Z (and even if you are), please pass this along to all you know. Their future is at stake.

Dear Millennials and Gen-Zs,
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Warning: This is not a 3-minute TikTok video. This requires critical thinking. You know how to do this. Buckle up.
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Plus, what you think matters. Put it out there in the Comments section below to help we clueless Boomers understand how you see things.
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Now on to your love letter.

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Do you like what Boomers have done to things you care about? I mean things like not being safe in school; like that tens of thousands of American citizens have been prevented from voting; like that women have lost the right to choose what happens to their bodies; like that babies were ripped from their mothers’ arms at our southern border; like that nobody in charge seems to give a damn if we cook this planet and suffer the terrible consequences. Just guessing you’re not okay with any of that.

The cruel irony of this situation is that Boomers are the ones who caused civil and voting rights to expand and who made that awful war in Viet Nam end. We’re the ones who fought segregation and made assault weapons illegal (for a little while – more on that later). We’re the ones who spoke truth to power, so you might have expected better from us, but here’s where it gets dark.

Majority rule simply doesn’t exist in much of America. Playing by the rules has become optional. And we Boomers did this.

For example, the conservative Boomer majority on the Supreme Court recently decided a case from Maine that effectively says that government must provide financial assistance to students even when the school they want to attend is a so called “faith-based” school. “Faith-based” means that their curriculum is based in religion.

But wait: isn’t religious freedom and freedom from religion a key reason the Pilgrims came here? Isn’t that a tenet of our Constitution, as in the First Amendment? Didn’t the Founders demand that there be no connection between government and religious institutions?

Yes, yes and yes, but that’s no bother to these justices. They’re just 6 Boomers cramming their minority held personal preferences into our lives. This is yet another step in the direction of churches controlling our government, which is just fine if you want a theocracy. It’s what they have in Iran. Go there. You’ll love it.

Not!

Here’s another example.

A cowboy Boomer president lied us into two wars that killed thousands and displaced millions of people. He also ended the assault weapons ban, which is handy if you’re 18 years old and want to kill little kids and Black people. He actively promoted deregulation that plunged the world into financial crisis and none of the fat cats were held accountable.

But I’ll argue that the very worst thing that has happened is that the Republican Party, now a fully Boomer asylum, has turned into a lying, cheating cult and the majority of Americans don’t want that. So, how come they hold power in so many places? Maybe we should do something about that.

Republicans have been claiming voter fraud when they lose elections at least since 1994, this without so much as a shred of evidence to support their wild claims – ever. Don’t imagine that Boomer Trump started this, although he certainly has perfected the lying and cheating parts. So have his sycophants who perpetuate his lies, as well as the Boomer radio and cable talkers who make lots of money spewing lies. Think: accusations of Democrats as pedophiles, operators of an evil, world-wide cabal and igniters of wild fires via space lasers.

Now the Boomer Republicans are stoking violence to crush democracy and replace it with fascism. Doubt that? Click here and read Thom Hartmann’s frightening chronicle of it. If all that truth doesn’t scare you, something’s wrong. But I promise you that it will scare you.

In their fight to destroy democracy, Republican Boomers have trained ordinary citizens to make death threats to fellow citizens – it’s mobocracy. And in their decades-long quest to upend government, they’ve turned their backs on fundamental service to our countrymen. That has allowed and encouraged our mass shootings and expanded death and suffering from disease. You must read the interview of Dr. Peter Hotez, 1 Million Deaths Was a Choice and you’ll understand immediately.

I tell you without hesitation or doubt that the choice of death was made by our first fascist wannabe president. He threw tank car loads of gasoline on the anti-science fire in this country and a million people paid the ultimate price for that.

The point is that we idealistic 60s Boomers don’t have a good track record of adhering to our professed ideals. The dishonesty and corruption against which we railed in the 60s has been dramatically expanded. The Republicans are thugs and the Democrats don’t seem to have the cojones necessary to stop the carnage. And rules just don’t seem to matter any more.

This is about deciding whether we are our brothers’ keeper or whether we’re just in it for our selfish selves. This is about whether we keep our word and are true to the values we espouse or whether cheating, lying and violent attacks on others and our cherished institutions should be our code of conduct.

I’m guessing that you don’t want the crazy stuff and you cannot count on Boomers to fix this because we created this mess.

Here’s the key:

Unless things change, nothing will change.

The good news is that you’re the ones who can and will make real change happen.

Pearl S. Buck, a recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature, unknowingly wrote this note for you in her 1967 novel, To My Daughters, With Love:

“Upon the profound discontent of the young…do I set my faith.
I beg you, the young, to be discontented.
I pray that you may rebel against what is wrong, not with feeble
negative complaining but with strong positive assertion.” *

From a Millennial/Gen-Z reader:

Past young generations have led groundbreaking movements that have shaken the system for the better. Through petitions, walkouts, and other disobedience, we’ve brought about change in the past.

So, Millennial/Gen-Z person, we Boomers are dumping a gigantic pile of political crap in your lap. This is completely unfair, but,

  1. You have enormous, perhaps not yet recognized power.
  2. The old guys who made the mess will be gone, no longer an obstacle.
  3. Did I mention that you have gigantic power and can outsmart and out-muscle the people who selfishly want to make things worse?

So, it comes down to this:

All the things you care about, like our country and our future survival are in your capable hands.
.

Here is the same message from the 1980 movie Airplane! It’s ancient history to you, of course, but one scene captures well your grim circumstances and the unreasonable tasks before you. Click the pic below.

Click me

Late Additions

The Senate, composed almost entirely of old Boomers, passed a “gun safety bill.” That’s an odd descriptor for legislation regarding killing machines. The good news is that 15 Republicans voted for the bill. The bad news is that 33 Republicans voted against it. Apparently, these 33 prefer dead grannies and dead school kids over a little inconvenience for gun owners. It’s absolutely astonishing that senators have to be shamed into protecting little kids.

Still, this bill is a first step to help to prevent your younger brothers and sisters from being gunned down while sitting at their school desks.

But don’t get too happy, because the twisted, far right Supreme Court 6 struck down a 109 year old New York law prohibiting carrying guns in public. That will be a huge boost to road rage shootings and bar fights in the Big Apple.

And stunningly, the Court ruled to dramatically limit the ability of the EPA to regulate climate warming emissions from power plants, which are responsible for about 30% of our carbon dioxide emissions. What could possibly go wrong?

Technical note: Science doesn’t care if we believe in it. It just is.
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This is the kind of idiocy we Boomers are leaving to you. Like I said at the beginning, buckle up. It’s time to get to work to make this what you want it to be.

A Final Thought – and It’s Optimistic

If you feel despondent and, perhaps, mired in apathy, it’s because you care, yet are tired of feeling frustrated and hopeless. Understandable.

We are back to the beginning, when Thomas Paine** wrote, “These are the times that try men’s souls.” He was right then and he’s right again now.

What Paine knew was that democracy is a participation sport. That’s the only way it works. We Boomers have had our time at the plate and we punched out some singles and doubles and even a few home runs. We also struck out a lot. Now, it’s your turn at bat.

You are the ones who can do this. You are the ones who are the best educated and most open both in your attitude and in your acceptance of others. You’re the ones thinking beyond the stimulus du jour and you have the energy to take action. And you know that you are the ones who will live with whatever consequences you create, so you have huge skin in this game. And millions of  you are united in all of that. That’s a lot of power. It’s why so many of us believe in you.

So, to torture the baseball metaphor one last time, grab a bat, because you’re up.

You can do this!
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Love and kisses,

The Boomers

PS – A Request

What’s your reaction to this in-your-face dose of reality? What is it that Boomers just don’t get and need to understand? How do you see things? What are you willing to do to make things better?

There’s a Comments section below for the purpose of answering those questions and others and for airing your views. If there’s anything we need now it’s open discussion to bridge the I Don’t Get It Gap. So, please put it out there to help us all to understand how you see things.

Thanks!

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* Many thanks to friend and quotemeister Mardy Grothe for the Buck quotation.

** Interesting factoid: Paine was 39 when he wrote Common Sense, which would make him the equivalent of a Millennial.

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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.
.

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.

Gun Ears


‘You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.” – Winston Churchill

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Let’s start with this obvious but enormously powerful basic: Regardless of where we stand, all discussions about guns are loaded with emotional juice, primitive fight-or-flight reactions and mind blanking, logic eliminating passions. We cannot imagine the depth of the stupidity of those who disagree with us.

This is a true “both sides” situation.

Many thanks to Gary Larson for his years of genius exemplified in this Far Side cartoon that just seems to fit our “think-they-know-everythings”

Because of that it’s pretty well impossible to have a thoughtful, logical discussion about guns. Nevertheless, to illustrate my foolishness, I’m going to try just this one time. Plus this other time. Oh, and this one. For more, click on the search box above my pic on the right and search on the word “guns.” BTW, that’s a seagull flying past my nose.

Gun lovers cite the Second Amendment as though that’s all they need to establish their claim that they can keep and bear whatever arms they want. It’s an absolute, they tell us. “What part of ‘shall not be infringed’ is unclear to you?” they ask. Well, there are just a few things about that – here’s a sampling.

First: The reason for the Second Amendment

It was included so that southern states would ratify the Constitution. Basic bribery. Those muskets and militias were for one purpose: to put down slave rebellions. To the best of my understanding, that need no longer exists. That means that amendment is no longer required.

I’m now less confident that another reason for the Second Amendment was because our early government had no money for a standing army, so they needed citizens to be ready if the Brits came back, which they did a dozen years later. Go look it up, if you like.

Second: The “well regulated militia” part

Start buy watching this previously linked video.

The hypothesis in the Second Amendment is, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State .  .  .” Well, the Revolutionary version of a militia has morphed into the National Guard. They are well regulated. There are no other state militias.

And there is no other place for the required regulation (i.e. training) outside of the active duty military, so the rest of the hypothesis for gun ownership according to the Second Amendment no longer exists, either.

Private citizens possessing firearms aren’t members of a real militia, however earnestly some may believe they are, and they aren’t regulated at all. They bear no resemblance to the Second Amendment or to the National Guard.

Read this thread by a vet as he explains the training our military recruits receive – very much like the description in the video above. They are very well regulated. Compare that to the training – regulation – you’d receive if you were to purchase a handgun, hunting rifle or assault rifle at a gun show or from a gun dealer. Or if the 18 year old next door were to buy those firearms. There’s no relationship of that to the intent of the Second Amendment.

Watch this video of former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Warren Burger as he explains the fraud about the Second Amendment that has been foisted upon the American public by the gun industry.

Third: The “shall not be infringed’ part of the Second Amendment

That does sound like an absolute, but here’s what super conservative, “originalist” Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said about that:

Turns out that the right to keep and bear arms may, in fact, be infringed. It already is. Quod erat demonstrandum.

Fourth: The weapons

Go ahead, hold to originalist thinking. Keep and bear arms exactly as intended by the Founders. Stockpile muskets, balls, powder horns and flintlock pistols. I just don’t want that to be extrapolated to any citizen having the right to have any modern weapon. Today’s weapons are killing machines not even imagined by the Founders.

Fifth: Protection against a tyrannical government

The Second Amendment doesn’t say or imply any such thing. Read it above – that’s the entire Second Amendment. There’s nothing about imagined tyranny done by our government or what to do about it if it were real.

Seriously, is some bunch of camo-wearing guys skulking through the woods going to overpower our armed forces and topple what they believe to be a tyrannical government or perhaps bend the government to their will? Doesn’t matter. The Second Amendment has nothing to do with any perceived tyranny of our government,

The Gun Ears Part

This is the hard stuff.

I’ve tried to be logical and level headed about this, even as I became more agitated as I wrote. Like I said, this issue is loaded with juice for most of us and I’m no exception. Perhaps it’s time to hear from someone who disagrees with me.

Try this guy. But first, be clear that your challenge is to listen to him all the way through. Maybe listen twice or even three times, seeking solely to understand him and what he has to say. Your job is not to craft your insightful response to prove him wrong or to impugn his intelligence or to give in to becoming angry and resentful. It is simply to understand.

I warn you that this assignment will almost certainly be difficult, but it’s very important. Click on the pic, watch, listen and learn, grasshopper.

Maybe you noticed immediately that this fellow demonstrates my opening point, that gun ownership – keeping and bearing arms – is a very emotional subject.

Yes, I know you can shoot down some of the things he says, including his redirection away from guns in America to the British gun laws and to our drug problems. Yes, I heard his toxic masculinity about what “real men” do and “going down swinging.” Just ignore that stuff and consider that he is earnest in his distrust of government (aren’t you?) and, by the way, he has some ideas worthy of consideration, like hiring unemployed vets to protect kids.

Could you have a conversation with this guy without it turning into a fight, what with Buffalo, Laguna, Uvalde and Tulsa on your mind? Do you have the courage to listen to him while seeking only to understand? I tell you with complete confidence that’s exactly what it will take for us to begin to mend our deep political divide and learn to live with one another.

I have no illusions about converting this guy. What I have is a notion that we all have plenty to learn and we cannot accomplish that task by yelling at one another. That demand for learning and being respectful is on all of us. So is taking action.

Must Reads of the Week

It is critical that we stay clear about what needs to be done. Read Thom Hartmann’s piece on this because this is going to take a while.

And read the Twitter thread of Sean Castin (D-IL 6). The comments below it are worthwhile, too.

Adaptive Quote

From Monika Bauerlein writing in Mother Jones about the likely Roe decision and minority rule:

” .  .  . I thought about how far gone a democracy is when 54 percent of the population support a constitutional right and 28 percent oppose it, yet the 28 percent position wins out.”

The numbers on gun safety/control are far more lopsided than that, with 80 – 90% of us supporting gun safety laws, yet the minority position continues to win out. That’s deadly.

From Reader FL

For those red-staters who proudly believe that it is safer to live in Alabama than in big, bad, dangerous NYC, here are some numbers to chew on:

The 2021 homicide rate in NYC was 5.5 individuals per 100,000 residents.

The 2021 homicide rate in Alabama was 14.2 individuals per 100,000 residents.

Finally, A Little Lighten Up

Watch Stephen Colbert’s Monday scoop on PuppetGate.

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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.

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.

The Scariest Part


Holy crap, Batman!

There’s a lot of scary stuff going on, like the Ukrainian genocide done by that Putin beast and his threat to use weapons of mass destruction, with all of their end-of-the-entire-world implications. He’s Hitler in the 21st century, and we all know how well the 20th century version worked for us. Be sure to check the Required Viewing section at the end of this post about that.

The scariest part, though, is our national craziness, the absolute conviction of right-ness of the toxic, extremist right and our smoldering civil war.

A March 24 WaPo story (this is a must read, &/or Jane Mayer’s report) exposed the radical, extremist views of Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. She was strongly connected to Trump’s attempt to upend our democracy. Her husband, Justice Thomas, was the only one to vote to keep hidden from the January 6 committee an important cache of documents, this in an extremist attempt to obstruct the investigation. Dan Rather asks the Watergate questions:

What does Clarence Thomas know? And when did he know it?

What do you suppose the Thomas’ talk over dinner sounds like? “Don’t ask, don’t tell” isn’t an acceptable explanation. And, with his clear appearance of impropriety at a time when public approval of the Supreme Court is down to only 50%, why hasn’t Justice Thomas recused himself from all Supreme Court issues related to the January 6 investigation?

The WaPo story revealed Ginni Thomas’ mind numbingly wacko certainty that the 2020 election was stolen, calling it, “the greatest Heist of our History” in a November 10 text to then White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. He went Biblical, texting back, “This is a fight of good versus evil…. Evil always looks like the victor until the King of Kings triumphs.”

This is (currently) a free country where people can believe what they want to believe. If Ms. Thomas and Mr. Meadows want to believe her heist lunacy or if they believe that the moon is made of green cheese or that butterflies are evil spirits sent to carry them to a place of everlasting pollen irritation in their noses, they get to think that. What is far more worrisome is Meadows’ reply.

He and millions of Americans who believe the Stop the Steal fiction don’t believe they’re in a political brawl. They believe down to their bones that this is an existential battle of good against evil, against the devil, ungodliness, unholiness, lies, impurity, sexual deviance and more. Again, Meadows said it plainly. And, like all religious extremists, he invoked the “King of Kings.” Ya gotta believe Ginni Thomas is mainlining that drug. That isn’t the problem.

The problem is that at least 73 million Americans are mainlining it. They think their Stop the Steal delirium is an existential battle for the glory of the King of Kings. There is almost nothing in the history of the world as murderous as a religious zealot, let alone millions of them. Their story is fully set in concrete and no assemblage of facts or presentation of reality will dissolve their holy concrete. *

They are fed self-justifying, cruel fictions by manipulators in order to reinforce their hateful certainties, like that Democrats drink children’s blood (an old anti-Semitic trope) and that they traffic children and that they will bring in socialism to poison the pure heart of our godly republic or that they will bring aliens (meaning immigrants) to take away their god-given jobs – the list of their lies is endless. The 73 million hear these perversions of reality and their rage gets amped up.

Given all the putrefaction they believe is assailing them, why wouldn’t true delusionals storm the Capitol intending to murder Pelosi, Pence and any member of Congress they could find? Why wouldn’t they crush democracy in the states, steal from the unbelievers, send asylum seekers back to be snuffed out, conspire to kidnap and murder a governor, withhold medical care from millions of undeserving “others” and more? They believe they see so much appalling and vile contamination that all of their actions are justified as purification in the name of God. That’s the holy crap, Batman.

And that’s the scariest part.

And they aren’t alone

I’ve always had to hold my nose whenever authoritarianism loving William Barr was so much as mentioned. His smug self-certainty and absolutist (read: terrorist) beliefs and actions are anathema to our Constitution. Plus, there is his lying by misdirection, like his summary of the Mueller Report. It bore no resemblance to the actual report, but his summary did manage to claim exoneration of Trump by falsely saying that the Report says Trump was innocent of all wrongdoing. Then he withheld the full Report for months, leaving his phony summary to infect the public consciousness.

He did lots more reprehensible stuff, but his motivations are the scary thing. Professor Heather Cox Richardson’s post details his fundamentalist views. She reports Barr’s warped notions about self-government.

The Framers clearly intended that there would be no king of this country, no authoritarian for life. They were clear that we the people would pick our leaders through periodic free and fair elections. You know: democracy. In contrast Barr thinks that self-government means individual morality. “And, since people are inherently wicked, that self-government requires the authority of a religion: Christianity.”

Whoa!
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Judgements heaped on others commonly are projections of oneself, so from Barr’s own mouth we learn that he is inherently wicked. Worse, he jumps to Christianity as the cure for inherent wickedness. Yet Vladimir Putin is said to be deeply religious. It doesn’t appear that the authority and impact of Christianity on him is helping the world or the Ukrainians much. Barr is deeply wrong in both his judgement and his conclusion.

The more important point is that Barr makes up James Madison quotes (things Madison never said) on which to base his dishonesty and arrives at a conclusion that endorses theocracy – there’s that fundamentalist thing. Again.

There are a lot of people with sincerely held religious beliefs who would gladly transform our democracy into a theocracy, perhaps like Ginni Thomas and Mark Meadows. Worse, they have a former United States Attorney General on their side.

And that goes along as a piece of the scariest part.

Feckless – Who dat?

Righties have been exulting in demonizing Democrats with imaginary awfuls at least since the Newt Gingrich hysteria over Bill Clinton in the ’90s.

(Impossible to resist parenthetical: That’s when Gingrich thumped Bible at Clinton over his sexual dalliances. That continued until Gingrich got caught with his pants down – just ask his third wife. She was “with” him. O’ the delicious irony!)

To give credit where it’s due, Righties expanded their vocabulary during the Obama administration by adding a new term of demonization. Their ubiquitous labeling of him and all Democrats was and still is, “feckless.” **

Be honest: had you even heard that word before the constant attacks on Obama and now Biden? And have you heard any credible examples of fecklessness from them that don’t deal with very complex situations using moronically simplistic notions? Neither have I.

feck·less| ˈfekləs | adjective – ineffective; incompetent; futile; having no sense of responsibility; indifferent; lazy.

Wait, now. No sense of responsibility? Incompetent and ineffective? – who does that describe?

That’s pretty scary, too.

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Required Viewing

Julia Ioffe did an interview on March 9 for a Frontline episode, Putin’s Road to War, which aired on March 15. I recommend watching both. Ioffe’s conclusions are stark and frightening.

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* That certainty and immobility is actually thicker than that and is bound up in the human reaction of disgust. Read Molly Young’s piece, How Disgust Explains Everything. Then read Jonathan Haidt’s book The Righteous Mind to better comprehend the implications of disgust to our politics. First see note 5 below.

** Isn’t it odd that Republicans are so facile at spewing the “feckless” label at Democrats, but when George W. Bush and his White House Halliburton cabal lied us into two unprovoked wars, that word was never uttered. And it could have been used accurately on every day of the Trump administration, too, but we never heard it then either. Odd, indeed.

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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.

Same Song, Next Verse


What Will We Do Then?

The largest invasion of a sovereign nation since WW II is occurring, It’s the current iteration of European wars ignited by a narcissist who thinks he’s going to rule the world. People have died and more will continue to die in urban warfare. Meanwhile, Putin has gone cynical and fully delusional.

He’s using the same blitzkrieg tactics against Ukraine that Hitler used to invade Czechoslovakia, Poland and France. He’s claimed this is to “de-Nazify” Ukraine.

Wait a second: Nazi tactics to de-Nazify Ukraine? That’s such miserable crap that I don’t have words to describe it.

What Putin has said he wants is as disingenuous as it is homicidal. Yes, he wants Ukraine, but not because it’s a traditional part of Russia. Yes, he wants Ukraine, but not for its wheat and industrial capacity. What this ex-Soviet KGB thug actually wants more than anything is a new world order with Russia and himself at the center. Crushing and owning the entirety of Ukraine is the next step on his megalomaniac rampage.

Putin believes that “the demise of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the [20th] century.” Not the 20 million killed in WW I or the 80 million killed in WW II or the 12 million killed in the Holocaust. All of those happened right where he could see them, but those catastrophes pale in comparison to the end of the Soviet Union, according to Putin. So, he wants it back. We make a strategic mistake if we think he wants anything less or that there is some hard stop in tactics or geography that he won’t exceed. That must be our clarity of what we must stop.

Look at a map (enlarge it to 100% for easier viewing) and it’s plain to see that Moldova and Belarus will be next in Putin’s incremental land grab plan. Belarus is already a Russian vassal state and Moldova is not a NATO member nation. Easy pickings for Putin. So will be nearly any of the -stans and he already has Georgia. How hard would it be for him to grab Azerbaijan and Armenia?

The international push back might be strong enough that Putin would pause before invading neighboring Finland, a non-NATO country. While he’s pausing he’ll contemplate how to “get back” the Baltic states, Romania, Hungary, and Poland, all of which are NATO member countries.

Here’s the key question: If NATO must face Putin and Russia on the battlefield, it will be the start of WW III. What will we do?

I hope the planning for that was done a long time ago. And I also hope that the plans are being updated right now by very smart, well informed, insightful people.

It Used To Be .  .  .

.  .  . that politics stopped at the water’s edge. When it came to international matters, we wouldn’t want any adversary to have any ambiguity about our national resolve, especially in the face of hostilities. Apparently, Republicans, opportunists, conspiracy wackos and self-promoting narcissists didn’t get the message. Apparently, their selfish little aspirations are more important than  our national security. Apparently, they aren’t patriots.

There is traitorous talk from Republican mouthpieces speaking in support of Putin. They are anti-democracy, anti-American useful idiots.

Would that I had a second version of this pic with Tucker Carlson’s face on the little brat. Many thanks to JN for the pic.

Trump has declared Putin a genius, that he’s smart and savvy and his words are being used in Russia to inflate support for Putin. And Trump is not alone in his submarining of American interests.

Margaret Carlson reports on Fox blabber Tucker Carson in The Washington Post:

“And, in a particularly obnoxious rant, he suggested that Putin is morally superior to “permanent Washington,” some vaguely malign force that Carlson claims is manufacturing a global pandemic, teaching children to embrace racial discrimination and trying to snuff out Christianity.”

It isn’t just these two fools. The list includes Sen. Ted Cruz, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, SD Governor Kristi Noem and more. They’re in a race to criticize President Biden in order to burnish their extremist bona fides for their runs for President in 2024, So, they praise Putin and Putin uses their words to praise himself. They are quite clearly giving aid and comfort to our adversary and potential enemy.

It used to be that Republicans – conservatives – presented themselves as the iron-spined defenders of American values. They had a  permanently cocked fist ready to punch Russia in the nose. What would those Republicans have said about Trump, Tucker Carlson and the others? Where are the staunch Republicans lining up to support the President in opposing Putin now?

From USLegal.com:

“Treason is punishable by death if a traitor levies war against his state or country or supports its enemies, giving them aid and comfort.”

We aren’t in a shooting war against Russia, so the term “traitor” probably can’t be used accurately for today’s conniving Republicans and blabbers. If you have a better word, please post it in the Comments section to help us all.

And Now The Adolphs

Dan Rather’s post of February 18 included this very hard-to-look-at pic of an Elon Musk tweet.

Apparently, Musk was having a hissy fit over a Canadian regulation of financial institutions concerning crypto currencies. Clearly, this regulation must have been so heinous that Musk had to invoke the murder of millions of people and the laying waste of an entire continent. Musk has taken down the tweet, but his damage was done.

This is America and Musk is entitled to whatever crushingly cruel metaphors and hateful views he holds, just like Trump and Carlson. He has the right to see his billions of dollars as proof of his superiority and his entitlement to be rude, disrespectful and detestable. But there are limits, as he should have learned from the $137 million jury award to a former Tesla employee for racism at Musk’s San Francisco area factory. On the other hand, Musk’s hateful post was put up after that jury award. Maybe Musk didn’t learn anything at all from that lost lawsuit.

We have extremists coming out of the woodwork saying false, cruel and incendiary things. We have spine-free politicians and political candidates willing to say any stupid and false thing in order to benefit themselves.

Sometimes it works in reverse, as we’ve seen from the new governor of Virginia, Glenn Youngkin. During the campaign last year he steered clear of Trump and spoke in moderate terms, invoking moderate policies. Once elected he went full-on radical, claiming the awfulness of Critical Race Theory in K-12 classrooms that were damaging Virginia’s fragile White children. We can’t have that going on, he told Virginians, and he’s promoting a law to put a stop to the evil distortion of children’s brains done by CRT.

There’s just one thing about that: no K-12 school in that entire state was or is teaching CRT, nor was any school even contemplating teaching it. In fact, there isn’t a single K-12 school anywhere in the country teaching CRT. It isn’t even being taught in colleges or universities. It is strictly a law school discussion construct. So, invoking CRT as the evil of evils for Virginia’s delicate, can’t-handle-reality school children goes way past disingenuous; it’s hateful. And Governor Adolph DeSantis is doing the same thing in Florida, as is Governor Adolph Abbott in Texas.

The real issue is teaching the truth about race in America. Youngkin and all the other Republican politicians and far right hand wringers are playing to the White supremacists who don’t want to own any truth that doesn’t puff their chests in Confederate testosterone. It is exactly the same as stoking hatred.

Adolph Musk and the other Adolphs have the same right to free speech that you and I have. There isn’t much we can do to muzzle them and their hatred or to silence Putin’s useful idiots with their anti-American undermining of our country without muzzling ourselves. What we can do is to speak out.

We can do that with our voices, our votes and we can do that with our dollars. We can donate to the campaigns of political candidates whose feet are firmly planted on Earth 1. My love affair with daydreaming of buying a Tesla is over. My fascination with Musk’s Space X won’t thrill me again and I won’t send links to my geeky family members and friends to watch his launches. And I won’t vacation in Virginia, Florida or Texas.

I will do whatever I can to avoid supporting the haters and will actively oppose them. I’ll do that until our politics bears some resemblance to reality. Some kindness would be good, too.

Required Reading

Hillary Clinton co-wrote an essay (or here) with Dan Scherwin in The Atlantic last week that you must read if you care at all about our democracy, our global leadership and national security.

And read Thomas Friedman’s post about why the Russian invasion of Ukraine is different from any we’ve seen and unpredictable in dangerous ways.

————————————

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.

It’s a Free Country


The Jewish Democratic Council of America posted a list of what Congress must do if we are to preserve our democracy. These steps aren’t attached to any party or any religion. They are exclusively about keeping and protecting democracy – the real deal, not the cruel charade that Republicans are making of it by trying to limit voting to White Christian men.

Every one of these items must be done or we will knowingly, intentionally inscribe the name of our country on a plaque. It will hang on an obscure wall off The Great Hall in The Failures of Hope for Humanity Museum. Our failure will lead school children millennia from now to gaze at that plaque and shake their heads in sorrow and dismay. They will wonder how we could have been so petty, so lazy and so foolish as to squander this best hope.

Here’s the list.

  1. Demand Congress pass the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which together represent a sweeping election reform agenda that would prevent gerrymandering, restrict dark money in politics, and strike down voter suppression laws;
  2. Urge Congress to pass the Protecting Our Democracy Act, which would establish crucial checks on executive power and prevent the presidential abuse we saw during the Trump administration;
  3. Support DC statehood and call on the Senate to pass the Washington, D.C. Admission Act and grant Washington D.C and Puerto Rico the opportunity to become states, which would give political representation to more than 4 million Americans, a majority of whom are people of color;
  4. Support the continued work of the January 6 commission, which aims to uncover the truth of what happened during the insurrection and hold its organizers responsible; and
  5. Call on all elected officials of all political parties to reject and publicly denounce the Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen. [emphasis original]

If anyone claiming to love democracy has a problem with any of this, just know that, like those school children so many years from now, I will shake my head in sorrow and dismay and I will wonder how any of us could be so petty, so lazy and so foolish.

We like being able to say what we want to say, do what we want to do and believe what we want to believe. We fortify ourselves with the simple declaration, “It’s a free country.” That’s “free” as in rights, not cost. That’s what the Founders intended, with very explicit clarity and direction for we who follow after them. No kings or autocrats or despots for us. No trampling of individual rights. The Founders’ choices and the reasons for their choices were and remain brilliantly clear.

If we fail our country now and let democracy perish, everything they risked their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to create, as well as all we hold dear today, will vanish, because this will no longer be a free country. Instead, all of that freedom will be replaced by the forcing on We The People the beliefs, lies and punitive laws orchestrated by autocrats. We will no longer be free to say, do and believe as we want. You know the historical and present day examples, so you know that this is how it always works when the strongman, the power hungry, the manipulators take over.

Be clear about what must be done to save and preserve our democracy. It’s listed above. And emblazon in your heart this quote borrowed from Gene Kranz, Mission Director of the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission to the moon:

“Failure is not an option.”
.

Apollo 13 Service Module showing catastrophic damage

It wasn’t an option for those three astronauts whom our scientists and engineers successfully brought back alive and unharmed. And it isn’t an option for us today.

Overcoming all the lies and distortions that are so effective at undermining our democracy is a daunting challenge. Millions of otherwise good Americans have been conned into believing that bad is good and that threats, violence and gaming the political system are fine and honest things. They think they’re the patriots. The constant stream of lies and distortions they’re fed convinces them of that, which is why they are so impassioned in their efforts to destroy our democracy.

Just when you thought that the extremist’s low couldn’t get any lower, read this from Common Cause:

“A Waukesha County Circuit Judge has banned absentee ballot drop boxes in the entire state. That forces all Wisconsinites to vote in person – even during a pandemic – or hope that their ballot arrives on time in the mail.” [emphasis original]

Clearly, we’re not doing a good job of stopping the radical right from its selfish pursuit of money and power. We’re this close to them tossing our democracy into a dumpster, lighting it on fire and replacing it with their minority rule. If we are to save our We The People democracy we need new thinking, new ideas and fresh, out-of-the-stodgy-old-box notions.

An anti-democracy Republican spouting anti-American rhetoric. Click the pic and be appalled.

Required Reading

Tom Friedman has offered just such a path. Read his piece on how to keep our democracy.

And read this, just in case you thought that Republicans aren’t out to eliminate our democracy. They’ve been working to do just that for decades. Recall the words of Paul Weyrich, Republican hate monger and cheat, these from 1980. Click the pic to the right to hear him promote the crushing of our rights that continues to be Republican dogma today. 42 years later the only thing that has changed is that Republicans are now much better at lying and undermining our rights and our values.

Cops

It’s an inherently dangerous job, but cops aren’t dying in the biggest numbers due to violent drug busts. Or due to cop killers or gang member drive-by’s or traffic stops gone bad. Not from heart attacks, strokes or cancer. Read the caption in this screenshot:

Rep. Val Demings (D-FL 10th) is a former cop and was Chief of Police in Orlando. She knows something about the dangers of the job. Turns out the biggest cop killer in 2021 was COVID. It was the biggest killer in 2020, too.

It’s a good thing this is a free country, where cops and the citizens they protect have the freedom to refuse to be vaccinated, then get sick, infect others and die.

Hospitals are overrun with COVID patients, about 97% of whom are there because they were unvaccinated and caught the virus. Likely, 95% of the unvaccinated COVID patients in hospital wouldn’t be there had they been exposed to the virus after being vaccinated. Things would be much different then.

We’d have plenty of empty beds in hospitals for you when you get into that car crash, or for your spouse who slips, falls and breaks a leg, or for grandpa when he has a stroke and for your daughter when she needs an emergency appendectomy. Instead, today all of those folks can just go home and hope for the best, because not only are all the hospital beds full, but all of the gurneys in the hallways are full, too. And the nurses and docs attending to that overload of patients are exhausted and burned out, all because of our unvaccinated fools, including unvaccinated cops.

Q: Why are the right and the far right and the way-out far right fighting vaccines, masks, mandates and they’re promoting lies about vaccine dangers and COVID hoaxes?

A. Prolonging the pandemic slows economy recovery which makes Democrats look bad, which enhances Republican candidacies. Same for cutting all family support programs. Same for voting obstruction. Tell me again how righties love Americans, because I can’t remember.

That rugged individualism, that “You can’t tell me what to do” attitude works if you’re young, strong, healthy and have no sick family members needing expensive help. Otherwise, not so much. When it hits the fan for those folks, those same rugged individuals will be able sit homeless in their refrigerator boxes and hug their Ayn Rand books, recalling the good old days before they were no longer young, strong and healthy.

Finally,

Captain Louis Renault in Casablanca. He was shocked, too. Click the pic.

You have to listen to Mitch McConnell’s tantrum in response to President Biden’s blistering speech challenging those who are attacking our democracy. McConnell’s blathering is a tutorial in Republican snow jobs.

He does what Republicans, Trumpies, insurrectionists and hate mongers always do: instead of focusing on the issues, he made ad hominem attacks; he projected Republican failures and lies onto Biden; he was outraged over what is not outrageous; he misrepresented actual, Earth-based reality umpteen different ways; and he completely chickened out of dealing with the real issues. I’m shocked, shocked! to find obfuscation is going on by Republicans.

Go ahead. Listen to that duplicitous, manipulating zombie and learn.

Then read Eugene Robinson’s critique, McConnell’s defense of the filibuster is pure hypocrisy.

————————————

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.
  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


The End


Hanging from the rear view mirror of the car parked next to mine.

If you’ve never attended a soccer game played by six-year-olds then you’ve missed the practicing of cartwheels, playing of rock-paper-scissors and spacing out while twiddling hair, all while on the field. It’s something of an athletic and sociological miracle that goals are scored.

When our granddaughter’s game was over we headed back to the car and spotted this rear view mirror hanger in the car in the next space. At first I thought this little forward-vision-impairment item (in lieu of fuzzy dice) was a nice little feel-good.

It is, indeed, that, and its simplicity is appealing, but it has a major flaw. That’s because the end can be catastrophic if we allow that. The simple feel-good must not distract us from the important work we have to do if we’re to craft what must come about, the OK end.

For example, read this from a recent post by Dan Rather:

This idea of conservative and liberal becomes even more strained when we try to apply it to the courts, particularly the current Supreme Court. We talk about the “conservative” justices, as if they are holding back the mobs to protect the sanctity of the Constitution. In reality they are laying waste to settled Constitutional rights and condoning attacks on our democratic process. Doesn’t seem very conservative to me.

Me either. It’s really important that we do something to stop “conservative” justices from trashing the Constitution and our democracy. Complacency on our part just won’t do.

Here’s another example from a recent Paul Krugman essay focused on the Republicans voting not to raise the debt ceiling, this via filibuster. That’s pretty much like you refusing to pay your credit card bill. If you did that you wouldn’t be extended credit anywhere and even worse things would happen. Same for the United States. Here’s a good explainer for that. Now on to Krugman’s comments.

Make U.S. debt unsafe — make the U.S. government an unreliable counterparty [trading partner], because its ability to pay its bills is contingent on the whims of an irresponsible opposition party — and the disruption to world markets could be devastating.

He went on to say,

What is new is the complete ruthlessness of the modern Republican Party, which is single-mindedly focused on regaining power, never mind the consequences for the rest of the country. [emphasis mine]

So ask yourself: If a party doesn’t care about the state of the nation when the other party is in power, and it knows that its opposition suffers when bad things happen, what is its optimal political strategy? The answer, obviously, is that it should do what it can to make bad things happen. [emphasis Krugman’s]

That kind of behavior is now commonly done by Republicans. And similar to the point about Rather’s essay, that’s just not okay and complacency on our part just won’t do.

There are plenty of other examples where complacency won’t do, like the continuing Covid homicides in Red states, White supremacist hate and threats of violence, the efforts to steal elections, the foot dragging on dealing with the climate crisis and more. I think that little mirror hanger sign we discovered following the soccer game, the one that assures us that things will be okay in the end, is accurate, but that won’t – it can’t – happen through complacency. This is going to take a lot of work for a long time.

Final Question

It’s my belief that Mitt Romney, for all the disagreements I have with him over policy, is a sensible man with a clear moral compass. There are other Republicans in the Senate who can be described the same way. But if that’s true, how in the world could they filibuster against raising the debt ceiling, essentially threatening to severely harm the United States and even the the entire world? How would that be okay in the end?

————————————
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. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  3. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  4. 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.

The “This Didn’t Have To Happen” File – v2


Click me for the This Didn’t Have To Happen story from the CDC

The teacher did what teachers do: she stood in front of the class in 70%-vaccinated Marin County, CA and taught. She read something to her class of elementary school kids, as usual. The only problem was that she was unvaccinated.

Well, there was one other problem. She had been Covid symptomatic for two days before then. Oh, and she wasn’t wearing a mask.

She infected half her class, more kids at the front of the class – those within spit-spray distance – than at the back. Those infected kids brought the virus home to their siblings, who then became infected. Gotta wonder how many others were infected by those kids before their symptoms began and they tested positive.

Of course, elementary school kids can’t be vaccinated, which makes them unwitting targets of this disease, as it’s passed to them by infected people, whether or not those passers have symptoms, which this teacher did.

The CDC report on this episode of Pandemic Roulette is an easy read and I recommend it to you. Just click the graphic above, read the report and then say it with me: “This didn’t have to happen.”

Neither Did This

Florida is the place where over 23,000 people per day are testing positive. That’s over twice the national rate. They’re running out of oxygen for Covid patients. Over 260 people are dying every day and the rate is soaring. The hospital morgues are stockpiling corpses in refrigerator trucks out back.

Florida is where Gov. Ron DeSantis has effectively mandated escalating infections and deaths from Covid with his anti-mask temper tantrums. As he continues to thwart the efforts of those fighting this disease, he is idiotically criticizing President Biden for not having ended the pandemic. That’s right: DeSantis is doing all he can to encourage the spread of the disease and at the same time is criticizing Biden for not having eliminated it.

“Breathtaking” is an appropriate term for DeSantis, as he points a finger at Biden. “Breathtaking” also fits the victims of his pandemic who can’t breathe. Somebody please twist DeSantis’ hand 180° so that he points his finger at himself.

Click me

I highlight Florida because it is perhaps the most egregious example of “This Didn’t Have To Happen” in the nation, but anywhere the stupid stuff is going on deserves as much scorn.

We have more kids in hospitals with Covid right now than at any time since this pandemic began. These are little kids and Mom and Dad aren’t there to hold their hands because these sick kids are in quarantine.

I’m wondering how they became infected. Could mask and vaccine refusers have done this? Might the Freedom Fools have infected these kids? Are the self-important Freedom Fools’ rights more important than whether those kids live or die? Sadly, I know the answers to those questions and so do you.

To our Freedom Fools: Go ahead and refuse masks and vaccinations for yourself and your kids. I have just two requests. First, please pre-pay all of your medical costs. I don’t want them shifted onto me through the insurance labyrinth when you get sick and die because of your pig-headed refusal to do the simple things that would keep us all safe.

And second, keep the hell away from my kids and my grandkids because you don’t have to happen to us.

Afghanistan Didn’t Have To Happen, Either

It is vitally important that we be clear about the truth of what happened and why. Read this piece and cry for the This Didn’t Have To Happen, sad déjà vu story.

The years of deceit are related by perfidious blood to a Kevin McCarthy Lie-A-Thon last week. CNN’s headline reads,

Fact check: Republican House leader Kevin McCarthy makes at least 5 false claims in 7-minute Fox News interview

.

It seems we get lied to a lot by political leaders. Sometimes those political lies start wars and lots of people die. Sometimes those political lies accelerate pandemics and lots of people die. Sometimes those political lies savage the Constitution and large chunks of democracy die. In every case, This Didn’t Have To Happen.

“At this point, to be a conservative in good standing you have to pledge allegiance to blatant lies — Democrats are Marxists, the election was stolen, basic public health measures are sinister assaults on freedom.”   – Paul Krugman, August 31, 2021

Krugman is right. Check the Election Countdown below. We have work to do and a decreasing amount of time to do it. It’s time to dig in.

We Chant “USA! USA! USA!” And Break Records, But This Didn’t Have To Happen
.

The 1,180 dying daily are actually gone forever. This isn’t just a horror movie. This is horror reality.

————————————

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. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  3. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  4. 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.

Good-Bye, America


STATUS ALERT!

This is a proud JaxPolitix moment, as we have officially received our first vile, disgusting and politically inane troll message.

To the troll:  We wish you a full recovery from the multiple head traumas you obviously have sustained.


It started decades ago, but that was just laying the ground work for what has now happened. We pick up the story in the recent past.

When President Obama and his Justice Department decided not to prosecute for the torturing of prisoners done by the CIA or pursue the higher-ups who okayed and directed torture during the Bush II wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, something profound happened.

Obama avoided dispiriting and alienating the CIA. He avoided giving the far right lunatics an easy launch point for an all out assault on him. He prevented the law and order muscleheads from using their self-certain, righteous indignation to attack his administration. All that and more was true and accurate and it completely misses the most important and self-destructive point.

In refusing to prosecute obvious criminal behavior, Obama and his Justice Department became complicit in those crimes. Their hands were as dirty as those of the torturers and George W. Bush, his Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez and his law twisting accomplice, John Yoo, he of the “Torture Memo.” That memo gave cover for the U.S. to violate all the Geneva Conventions against torture of enemy combatants, the U.S. Constitution and our own Military Code of Conduct. That was a dozen years ago, but don’t imagine that kind of complicity is all in the past, because it’s happening right now.

Trump’s wrongdoing has been on public display for over four years and the list of his corruptions is so long that you may be forgiven for having forgotten most of it.

He started with various versions of his Muslim ban. Then he ripped babies from their mothers’ arms at our southern border. The Mueller Report lists at least 10 prosecutable instances of Trump’s obstruction of justice (see Section 2). He orchestrated his people to refuse subpoenas to testify at the impeachment hearings. He attempted bribery of the President of Ukraine. He led a conspiracy to defraud the United States in Post Office-gate. And there are all those campaign finance violations, multiple violations of the Hatch Act, federal tax fraud, violations of the Voting Rights Act and more. For a more comprehensive documentation of Trump’s horribles, click here.

And President Biden and his Justice Department are doing nothing about any of it. They are even defending Trump against the defamation lawsuit filed against him by E. Jean Carroll.

When we look to the Democrats to restore norms, to play by the written rules and the spirit of those rules we are fooling ourselves, because their refusal to hold Republicans’ feet to the fire makes them complicit in their crimes. They’re colluding with the perps because they don’t have the political courage to do what needs to be done. What is even more frightening is that today’s Republican crimes are focused on destroying our democracy. And this is set up to get worse.

Trump is a buffoon, a carnival sideshow barker who’s good at fooling the rubes. That’s us. That his blatantly phony “stop the steal” campaign still has breath only means that those who want to be angry and vent their rage with violence feel justified. “Trump sent me,” is what they told us on January 6. But Trump will at last go away. What will not go away are those who would continue the attack on our democracy, the dismantling of what we say we hold dear.

The next megalomaniac won’t be a buffoon. The next guy – it won’t be a woman because these people are all about white male supremacy – will be smart and smooth and won’t make Trump’s stupid mistakes. The next guy will end our democracy because we will have refused to hold people accountable. We will have failed to protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies, both foreign and domestic. The Republicans will end our republic. Read Dahlia Lithwick’s piece in Slate, The Price of No Consequences for Trump.

There’s another chapter to this story.

We fought the Korean War in the same way we fought WW II, which made sense, in that we fought against a nation state backed by another nation state, both with standing armies. It was our uniforms versus theirs. But then Viet Nam came along, a guerilla civil war, peasant-versus-peasant, and our WW II tactics were all wrong. We intervened completely unprepared to fight such a war and the result was a disaster. We fought the last war instead of the present war.

And that is what Democrats are doing in Congress.

The Republicans are fighting a guerilla war, ignoring precedent, norms, the intent of the Constitution and even basic morality in order to gain power. The Democrats are using quaint, gentlemanly tactics, singing paeans to bipartisanship and are somehow surprised when they get steamrolled yet again.

That’s going to continue to happen (thanks, JN for the link), as we experience what President Biden has called “Jim Crow on steroids” and Republicans – Americans, mind you – eliminate majority rule, wipe out free, fair elections and they disempower the electorate. They’re conspiring to determine election results by fiat – their fiat –  instead of by the will of the people. That’s subversion. And they continue their anti-democratic march without being held to account and with just a limp-wristed fight by Democrats.

As Charles Blow put it, I’m, “not consumed by romantic, hagiographic* illusions of yesteryear,” nor should any of us be. There are literally millions of Americans who would crush our democracy right now and that’s what we must deal with.

In a recent Pew Research Center survey, “Two-thirds of Republicans and Republican leaners say voting is a privilege that can be limited .  .  .  compared with about half as many (32%) who say it is a fundamental right.” Even 21% of Democrats think voting isn’t a right. That’s neither liberal nor conservative ideology. It’s fascist. Pay no attention to the words of the Constitution. Nothing to see there. Move along.

So, good-bye, America. We loved you dearly and believed in you for a long time, but it’s almost over now because we let it be over.

———————

* hagiographic – to idealize the subject

————————————

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

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. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  3. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  4. 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.

Proper Names


Ed Note: This post begins in a dark way, because there is substantial darkness over our democracy. But keep your hopes alive, because we may be at the start of a new day. Read to the end for the unmistakable rays of sunlight of the dawn.

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Trump has gotten away with an enormous dung heap of wrongdoing. One of the reasons for his constantly skating from accountability is that before anyone can pin up his picture in the post office he’s done something else outrageous and likely illegal, so our attention is thus diverted and “poof!” goes the prior malfeasance.

Now we’ve found that he directed OUR Justice Department to snoop on Democrats and major news organizations. Under both of his Attorneys General, Sessions and Barr, investigations were conducted on those whom Trump saw as opponents. Emails and phone records were snatched and gag orders were issued so that Trump could dig for dirt on Eric Swalwell, Adam Schiff, their staffs, their families, The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, their reporters, someone’s underage kid and whoever else the Tantrum Tyrant wanted investigated. All are Democrats. Except for the president’s own lawyer, Don McGahn and his wife, on whom he also snooped.

Tweeted Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post, “[G]ood God, they were running a police state. Barr needs to be hauled in and at the very least disbarred.” She’s right, and it shouldn’t stop with Bad Boy Barr.

Something to hope for. Image by LORRAINE DAY from Pixabay

This is truly horrible stuff, typical of Trump’s moral bankruptcy. It breaks yet more norms that are fundamental to a democracy. But what I have not heard yet are words like “illegal” or “felony” or even “misdemeanor.” Is anyone going to dig into these corrupt actions and bring charges?

So far we’ve seen nothing from Biden’s Attorney General Merrick Garland to indicate that he’s willing to bring wrongdoers to justice if they were a part of the prior administration. And what will happen  to the focus of the public, our news organizations and Congress when the next bright, shiny object of Trump’s unscrupulous weaseling is dangled before our eyes? How many prior wrongdoings will we forget?

The Biden administration is a mixed bag of resetting our values. It is blocking Congress in its efforts to unearth Trump’s manipulations to enrich himself at the Trump International Hotel, the DC facility he leased from the federal government. Biden’s Justice Department is asking the judge to dismiss lawsuits against Trump for violently clearing Lafayette Park of peaceful protesters. AG Garland is continuing what the former AG did to block the defamation lawsuit brought by E. Jean Carroll. One has to wonder why Biden would want to protect Trump from litigation.

This has huge implications for the future of our country. Allowing people in high office – like the President – to “get away with shooting someone on 5th Avenue,” like Nixon getting pardoned by Ford, like Reagan getting a pass on Iran-Contra, like Trump getting away with breathing while in office, which meant that he was doing something illegal, assures that future presidents will commit crimes, knowing that they will get away with them. They’ll leave office, skate free and recast themselves as statesmen, while We the People remain betrayed.

Do you want this to be a democracy? If so, then there’s a lot of bad news for you now, like this from Jewish Dems:

American democracy is in danger. Over half of Republicans believe the 2020 election was stolen because GOP leaders continue to exploit Donald Trump’s Big Lie, and they are now using it as an excuse to suppress the right to vote. Fourteen states have already enacted 22 voter suppression laws making it harder to vote, and hundreds more have been proposed. New data shows that voter suppression laws enacted in Georgia will have a disproportionate impact on Black voters.

Today’s Republicans have no interest in facts, truth, reality or integrity. They are solely interested in power and money. So, they recast the January 6 insurrection, the assault on our democracy, on the Capitol Police and on that symbolic building as (take your pick):

– a normal gathering of tourists

– a peaceful protest

– justifiable actions because the election had been stolen by (impossible to find) fraudulent votes

– something in the past – we should move on

And the lack of Republicans’ interest in facts, truth, reality or integrity allows them to claim they are protecting our national honor and the integrity of our elections, even as they viciously attack both.

Just be clear that your eyes tell you what you need to know and that “alternative facts” are just a rebranding of lying. But those who wallow in the pig slop of alternative facts have legislative power in two-thirds of the states and they are engineering voter suppression of such magnitude that they may well achieve anti-democracy minority rule that will last for decades. That’s insurrection without the street mobs.

From Confucius:

“The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name.”

Mobs in the streets, mobs in the state legislatures and the elected Republican mob in the Capitol Building are all insurrectionists. Call them by their proper name.

Our democracy is already compromised and so far there hasn’t been even a hint of a light at the end of our long, dark insurrection tunnel. It’s time for Merrick Garland to break from the cowardly Justice Department he inherited and file five indictments against Trump for obstruction of justice. The details and the prosecutorial roadmap are all in Mueller’s report. Click here for a copy and focus on Section 2.

Now here are those promised rays of sunshine.

Last Friday Attorney General Merrick Garland addressed the entire Justice Department Civil Rights Division to drive a stake in the ground for voting rights. Here is some of what he declared:

  1. Because this is a huge battle, he will double the number of lawyers in the Civil Rights Division specifically in order to protect voting rights.
  2. The Criminal Division will prosecute all violations of civil rights laws.
  3. All lawful citizens will have the right to vote, will have equal access to the polls, their votes will be counted, they will have access to voting registration and they will be protected from voter intimidation.
  4. Early voting and voting by mail will be protected, as will the post-election integrity of ballots. (Arizona Republicans, brace yourselves.)
  5. Voting officials, poll workers and volunteers will be protected from efforts to intimidate them.

Just brave words so far, but it’s a good start. At last we have a warrior for democracy with the muscle to do something about it. And we have to hold him to his word.

Garland ended his presentation by quoting from John Lewis’ final address published just after his death.

“[Dr. King] said each of us has a moral obligation to stand up, speak up and speak out. When you see something that is not right, you must say something. You must do something. Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part to help build what we called the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself.”

Our country is calling on you and me to do that, to help clean house, hold accountable and name names. So, you and I must do more than just hope and vote. Obey the dictum of the bumper sticker:

Be the person your dog thinks you are.

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Said John Maynard Keynes, “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” So, 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. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  3. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.

JA


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

What? Sane Republicans?


Yes, really. I’ll prove it with just a few clicks.

There is little policy on which Liz Cheney and I agree. I cannot call her a hero when the bar is so low that simply honoring her oath of office and telling the obvious truth is all she’s done. On the other hand, she’s told the truth at a time when the red side of Congress is in sore need of truth telling.

Have a look at this video narrated mostly by her. Further, in her Washington Post op-ed she wrote:

“The Republican Party is at a turning point, and Republicans must decide whether we are going to choose truth and fidelity to the Constitution.”

She’s right, of course.

Now have a look at the GOP Report Card crafted by Bill Kristol, Olivia Troye and Sarah Longwell at Accountability.GOP. These are sane Republicans calling for a sane GOP and calling out – holding accountable – crazy and dishonest Republicans. What a concept! 

They’re right, of course.

Steve Schmidt said, “To be successful within the Republican Party today comes down to one question: Will you side with truth and democracy or will you side with Trump?

He’s right, of course.

The Arizona Secretary of State, a Republican, has been tweeting about how insane and dishonest the election so-called audit is.

He’s right, of course.

100 former Republicans are siding with truth and democracy and have issued A Call For American Renewal. It is a plain declaration that if the current Republican Party doesn’t break from Trump and embrace democracy they will form a new political party fashioned on traditional conservative principles. Click through and read both links. Be sure to note the names associated with this effort. These are people you respect.

They’re right, of course.

Let’s be clear about a key point: The radicals, the truth deniers, the liars and the cowards in Congress and in our state houses are not conservatives.

Conservatives wouldn’t encourage and support an insurrectionist mob to attack the Capitol Building and then deny it happened.

Conservatives wouldn’t make wild, false allegations about voting fraud or challenge certified electoral college votes. That’s because attempting to overthrow our democracy is not a core conservative value.

Conservatives wouldn’t put 100% of their effort into opposing anything Democrats propose.

Note that this is just a short list and it doesn’t even look at policies. This is about fundamental dishonesty masquerading as conservatism. That has been expanding for the past several decades and has brought us today’s extremist, radical, fraudulent, unscrupulous, unethical, perfidious Republican Party, which is not conservative. Just forget the “conservative movement.” There isn’t one and there never was. It was just a bumper sticker slogan.

Here’s a message from the traditional Republicans to the radical Republicans in Congress:

Side against democracy and with Trump at your peril, because the sane people are coming for you and they will stand on your neck. It will hurt and there will be nothing you can do to stop the pain but to shut up and resign.

You already know that what goes around, comes around. It often doesn’t come around on our preferred schedule; nevertheless, it shows up and it’s looking for radical, truth-vacant Republicans now. They have broken the laws of the universe and justice will be swift and fierce.*

If you’re a Bible thumper, here’s the same message in a format that may be more familiar to you:

“Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Galatians VI (King James Version)

Read it and weep, Thumper.

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  • Late Addition
  • The Arizona Board of Supervisors, the people who are responsible for elections in that state, have had enough of the Big Lie insanity that has been foisted on Arizona. The four Republicans and one Democrat are furious with Karen Fann, president of the Arizona Senate, for engineering the so-called ballot audit being conducted by a totally incompetent company, the leadership of which (and likely its workers) hold strongly biased partisan views. Clearly, that’s way too much for the supervisors, as it should be.
  • So, they sent Fann an email which ripped her and the “grifters and con-artists” who made this sham audit happen and who are continuing the boundless dishonesty.
  • Grab your morning cup o’ joe, download and read the letter and bask in the satisfaction that in contrast to the manipulators and schemers who have embarrassed the state, there are good Republicans in Arizona.
  • ————————
  • * For justice to be applied will require more muscle than simply hoping for it to be enforced by traditional Republicans. We have to help. The most powerful things we can do are:
  1. Contact your senators and demand that they pass the For The People Act so that our next elections will actually be exercises in democracy. And won’t that be refreshing?
  2. Volunteer to help a Democrat win his/her election. Do that by contributing a few bucks and getting active in canvassing, phone banking, envelope stuffing, etc. NOTE: It’s easier than you may think and it’s actually fun – plus it’s non-confrontational. You really can do this.
  3. Vote in every election and bring with you someone who otherwise wouldn’t vote.

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

Said John Maynard Keynes, “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” So, 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. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  3. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.

JA


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

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