Courage

Taking Sides


Post 1,027

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Golda Meir, 1964

Golda Meir

As Israeli Prime Minister during the Yom Kippur war and so many other murderous events aimed at killing all Jews and wiping Israel from the globe, Meir said:

“When peace comes we will perhaps in time be able to forgive the Arabs for killing our sons, but it will be harder for us to forgive them for having forced us to kill their sons. Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.”

Golda Meir, A Land of Our Own: An Oral Autobiography

True and sad words, these. There has been progress, of course, but the Iranians, Qataris and Syrians continue to pour money and tools of murder into the hands of angry, violent men who are all too eager to kill and to force others to kill them, and causing the deaths of non-combatants by the thousands.
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There Is a Corollary To This In America Today
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It is the verbal and physical violence of right wing extremists who puff themselves up with claims of patriotism, yet are working every day to demolish our Constitution, to end our democracy and to inflict “retribution” (read: murder) on those they see as, not opponents, but enemies.
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Peace will come when these extremists
love the Constitution and our democracy
more than they hate the rest of us.
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The top line reads “During the arrests around the capitol attack, police seized .  .  .” From Every Town for Gun Safety – click me

We are facing an existential threat, a constitutional crisis in the form of extremists who are working every day to tear down what we have painstakingly built for our rights and our freedoms over the past 248 years. We taught the world that people can be free, that self-government can work, that it isn’t necessary to make war both within and without. We aren’t perfect at that, which is why we are tasked by our Founders to continually work to create a more perfect union.

But now we are beset by home grown terrorists, liars and cheats, as well as the cowardice of those who know better but knuckle under. They focus only on their own short term welfare, heedless of the harm they are allowing to be done to our people and to our nation. We are plagued by well armed haters acting out their meanness and cruelty, cowards who lash out in physical and verbal violence, whipped up by those who would be our overlords.
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Because of the brilliance and beauty of our Constitution we are being given one more chance to set ourselves back onto the path carved out of a wilderness of dominance from others. It will take our dedication and our blood, sweat and tears to set things right. Should we fail, it will lead to an enduring night of suffering.
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Elie Wiesel, recipient of The 1986 Nobel Peace Prize

Elie Wiesel survived Holocaust death camps, then spent the rest of his life in the role of teacher, hoping to help craft a better world and forcing us to remember, lest we forget. Here’s a little of what he had to say about hatred and suffering:

“In any society, fanatics who hate don’t hate only me – they hate you, too. They hate everybody.”
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Let that sink in. They hate everybody.
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“We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant.”

Are you seeing it? We must take sides, whether you or I are being persecuted or if it’s someone else. The side we must take is against the tormentors and in aid to the tormented. We must stand for and with those who need our help. And if that isn’t compelling in and of itself, driven solely by our empathy, it will become compelling when we realize that we are next to be tormented.
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We Must Take Sides

The next 10 months are all the time we have to stand and be counted, to take sides. Every one of us knows the difference between right and wrong, good and evil. Silence favors the wrong and the evil. Therefore, choose right and good. Stand for it and speak for it. Our silence will not do.

It means to talk to your friends and family members. Yes, I know it can be awkward to risk getting crosswise with close ones. And I also know it will be far worse than awkward if we allow our home grown haters and traitors to steal our democracy from us.

It means that we must take the action that our pathetic Congress won’t take.

They use the lives of Ukrainians as pawns for their own political advantage, leaving millions to suffer and die. That isn’t just cruel; it’s self-defeating, because the Ukrainians are fighting to preserve the same freedom that benefits us, too. Link through to Safe Skies and read what Professor Timothy Snyder has to say about how you can help to keep Russian-fired Iranian drones from killing Ukrainian civilians. We shouldn’t have to do this individually, but that’s what our spineless congressional Republicans have left us.

Hurry: People are dying.

Terrible things happen when we fail to take sides. You don’t have to be a Holocaust survivor or a history professor to know that’s true. You just have to see how we’ve normalized violent behavior and have refused to do anything to stop it. We’ve accepted lies and outrageous propaganda and allowed the theft of our majority rule. We’ve even allowed our children’s education to be taken from them and for hatred inspired terrorists to kill our children.

Elie Wiesel knew this lesson far too well and suffered terribly from its reality. His righteous call to us to take sides is to make sure such things don’t happen while we can still do something about it.

We – you and I – have to take a stand. Refusing to do so is effectively the same as standing for the wrong side. It’s tacitly helping the oppressor.

Start the new year right:

Take Sides! *
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The Side to Take Isn’t Republican

Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis each took questions at their town halls in Iowa last Wednesday. Each was asked why they don’t go after Trump. Each of them responded by attacking the press. Neither even mentioned Trump.

There is a word to describe this:

COWARDICE!

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Perhaps you can think of additional descriptors. They apply to all who fail to speak up, to take a side and make a stand.

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* From the New York Times, January 6, 2024, This Election Year Is Unlike Any Other:

Re-electing Mr. Trump would present serious dangers to our Republic and to the world. This is a time not to sit out but instead to re-engage. We appeal to Americans to set aside their political differences, grievances and party affiliations and to contemplate — as families, as parishes, as councils and clubs and as individuals — the real magnitude of the choice they will make in November.

Click the link and read the opinion piece. The danger we face isn’t just about Trump. It’s time to TAKE SIDES.


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

  • Did someone forward this post to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!) It’s going to take ALL OF US to get the job done.

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA


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

Prep for 2024: Existential


Post 1,024

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Definition
  • existential: [ eg-zi-sten-shuhl, ek-si- ]
  • adjective

    1. of or relating to existence:

    Does climate change pose an existential threat to humanity?

    2. of, relating to, or characteristic of philosophical existentialism; concerned with the nature of human existence as determined by the individual’s freely made choices.

___________________________________

So, it’s about existence. Being-ness. It’s a lot like life – your life. And it’s the same for our democracy.

Either you have it or you don’t.

And the existence of our democracy, of our republic, hangs in a critical balance and will tip to either continuing its existence or to death this November 5.

Steve Schmidt’s post on December 25 recalled the early days of our revolution and compared the existential threat of that moment to what we and our nation face today. About the many current day traitors to the core of the meaning of America, Schmidt wrote:

There are no great speeches from the racists, Confederates, Klansmen, know nothings, lynch mobs, Bund or any of a dozen other lesser totalitarian movements that have sprung to life in America during our history. They have left behind rivers of blood, pain, suffering and oppression, but no great ideas or monuments to achievement.

The words that gave life to the Confederacy, Jim Crow and January 6 were poisonous and unworthy ones. They came from the lips and pens of America’s villains.

Think about that term: villains. You know what it means. You know one when you see one. And you see one every time you see anyone connected to MAGA, however intentional or duped-to-mindlessness they may be.

Thomas Paine

Schmidt called upon the words of Thomas Paine,* who challenged his countrymen as the Continental Army was struggling, writing,

“THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered;”

We are challenged today in much the same way as were our revolutionary patriots. We’re threatened by a powerful force using all of its cunning, all of its hatred and all of its might to crush what we hold dear. That force promises tyranny. That’s what villains always do.

The question for us in our time is the same as it was in that frigid winter of 1777: Will we be summer soldiers, sunshine patriots, or will we stand by our country and insist upon – fight for – the values we declare are ours?

Think of a value you hold dear. The MAGA mob is already trying to take it from you. Will you fight for it?

The choice is before us. If we succumb to the comfort of self-imposed immobility, wearing blinders to the in-plain-sight daggers at the throat of our freedoms, if we let the villains dominate us, we will be without freedom not only for our lifetimes, but for those of our children, our grandchildren and beyond.

More from Schmidt:

All Americans who love freedom should feel the deepest contempt for the hustlers, charlatans, cynics and opportunists who have attacked [our country] in recent years under the MAGA banner. All American patriots should have a special contempt for the weakness and cynicism of the politicians who so easily, effortlessly and willingly got on their knees to service Trump.

Schmidt calls for contempt, but a deep and potent contempt for these swindlers is not enough. Action is demanded of us right now to defeat the hustlers, the charlatans, the cynics and the opportunists who would steal our freedom from us by the cheap tricks of vitriolic lies and manipulation of our system of government.

We all know right from wrong and we know wrong when we see it. We cannot walk past this one, this existential battle calling our names, imagining someone else will stand and fight.

Here’s an example of standing and fighting for what’s right. Look at what Kirk Bangstad is doing in the battleground state of Wisconsin:

In case you can’t read this, these are the opening words of a filing with the circuit court of Wisconsin seeking a declaratory judgement to take Trump off Wisconsin election ballots and to disqualify him from serving as President. Trump earned that by inciting and supporting insurrection, a rebellion against our Constitution and an obvious violation of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.**

Bangstad is just a guy, a private citizen, a small businessman with a little local brewery. He’s taken up arms (metaphorically speaking) against a cruel and powerful enemy.

You can fight the good fight, too, and you don’t have to file a lawsuit to do it. There are plenty of things you can do, including,

Link to Sheila Markin’s post and you’ll find a terrific action list.

Join The Union (a Lincoln Project project) and they’ll connect you to organizations doing work that tickles your sense of democracy and makes a difference.

You can contribute to Kirk Bangstad’s efforts to make America America.

At root, making America America is what this is all about. It’s about stopping the thieves, the traitors, the turncoats who are using our bedrock values and sacred symbols and our heartfelt love of America to corupt all that we cherish. They have turned against our own country, perverting what generations of our countrymen and women have fought and died to protect and defend.

This is existential. This is our time to stand and be counted. This is our call to battle stations for our country and to have one another’s back.

The time to take action is now.
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“Every generation has a moment where they have to stand up for democracy. To stand up for their fundamental freedoms. I believe this is ours.” [emphasis original]

President Joe Biden

I believe that, too.

So do you..

Join the battle!

___________________________________

* Heather Cox Richardson wrote further of Paine’s Common Sense on December 29.

But how long it took to establish that new nation would depend on how much effort people put into success. “I call not upon a few, but upon all: not on this state or that state, but on every state: up and help us; lay your shoulders to the wheel; better have too much force than too little, when so great an object is at stake,” Paine wrote. “Let it be told to the future world, that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive, that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet and to repulse it.”

** Here is Section 3 of the 14th Amendment:

No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

Do you find any part of that to be unclear? Neither do I.


Today is a good day to be the light

_____________________________

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

  • Did someone forward this post to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!) It’s going to take ALL OF US to get the job done.

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA


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

The Speech You Never Heard


Post 1,020

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On the morning of November 22, 1963 everything changed. President John F. Kennedy was in Dallas, TX to deliver a speech at the Trade Mart that afternoon and, as is quite obvious, that speech was never delivered.

Back then we were ever vigilant against our sworn enemies, communism and the Soviet Union. In contrast, today only half of our Congress opposes Russia and many openly support murderous Vladimir Putin. Our wonderful Civil Rights and Voting Rights bills were still in the dream stage in 1963 and now they’re being incrementally dismantled. Back then social media was just the AM radio playing top 40s hits and 5 minutes of news per hour.

In some ways, the world of 1963 was quite like today, as we struggled to balance competing needs and overly aggressive people could be found behind many podiums spouting self-serving nonsense.

Kennedy’s intended comments on that dreadful day are still available and he has some valuable words for us yet today. You can find the complete speech here. Meanwhile, here is a sampling.

In a world of complex and continuing problems, in a world full of frustrations and irritations, America’s leadership must be guided by the lights of learning and reason or else those who confuse rhetoric with reality and the plausible with the possible will gain the popular ascendancy with their seemingly swift and simple solutions to every world problem.

There will always be dissident voices heard in the land, expressing opposition without alternatives, finding fault but never favor, perceiving gloom on every side and seeking influence without responsibility. Those voices are inevitable.

But today other voices are heard in the land – voices preaching doctrines wholly unrelated to reality, wholly unsuited to [today] . . .

We cannot expect that everyone, to use the phrase of a decade ago, will “talk sense to the American people.” But we can hope that fewer people will listen to nonsense. And the notion that this nation is headed for defeat through deficit, or that strength is but a matter of slogans, is nothing but just plain nonsense . . .

Our security and strength, in the last analysis, directly depend on the security and strength of others, and that is why our military and economic assistance plays such a key role in enabling those who live on the periphery of the Communist world to maintain their independence of choice . . .

But, in today’s world, freedom can be lost without a shot being fired, by ballots as well as bullets. The success of our leadership is dependent upon respect for our mission in the world as well as our missiles – on a clearer recognition of the virtues of freedom as well as the evils of tyranny . . .

Finally, it should be clear by now that a nation can be no stronger abroad than she is at home. Only an America which practices what it preaches about equal rights and social justice will be respected by those whose choice affects our future. Only an America which has fully educated its citizens is fully capable of tackling the complex problems and perceiving the hidden dangers of the world in which we live. And only an America which is growing and prospering economically can sustain the worldwide defenses of freedom, while demonstrating to all concerned the opportunities of our system and society. [all emphasis mine]

Consider Kennedy’s intended words, as you contemplate the ongoing mania of some who call themselves Americans but who, it is plain, want to destroy us, to “tear it all down.” Think of these democracy destroyers’ abhorrent resistance to support an ally in its hour of need, as it struggles against a resurgent Russia modeled after the Soviet Union and fights the fight for freedom for all of us. Consider our struggle to maintain equanimity amidst those who are, “expressing opposition without alternatives, finding fault but never favor, perceiving gloom on every side and seeking influence without responsibility,” as well as the “voices preaching doctrines wholly unrelated to reality.”

It seems to me that Kennedy’s intended call to strength on that November day in Dallas was to be a call we must answer even today. We must be strong against the perfidy of those who plainly no longer believe in the America you believe in. For reasons that defy reason, they want our nation to emulate the cruel autocracies that have always led to war and suffering, the crushing of the human spirit and the loss of freedom for everyone.

I cannot help but wonder about the intellectual and moral principles of our time. So many seem to have embraced anti-intellectualism, denial of reality and have championed lying as though it is a virtue. This very vocal type is not a new species, as they have always been with us, but they are especially loud today.

This is not now nor was it ever a Boy Scout merit badge existence for all, but this is today a denial of such things with far greater passion and popularity than we have seen in a very long time, perhaps since the Civil War. That was not a war of northern aggression, nor was it a victim’s lost cause. It was a tremendous battle to determine if we would follow and even become our better angels, as Lincoln called them. It was an exclamation of our bold claim that we hold as self-evident that all men are created equal, as well as all the rest of our original intellectual and moral principles. It was a test of whether we mean what we say. We ultimately ratified those higher principles with blood.

Yet here we are 159 years later, still beset by liars, cheaters and selfish men and women who would burn books, lest we learn truth, who willingly defy their sacred oath and who take joy in ripping at the fabric of our society and of our nation. Millions listen to that corruption and they incrementally ratchet down our intellectual and moral principles.

We have a great deal of work to do.


 Today is a good day to be the light

_____________________________

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

  • Did someone forward this post to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!) It’s going to take ALL OF US to get the job done.

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA


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

There Is A Way


Post 1,018

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Last Sunday I brought you a celebration of our press at last speaking the truth out loud, that Donald Trump and his extremist angry/cowardly/sightless followers are bringing despotism to and killing democracy in America. It’s right there in plain sight for all to see, yet the alarm bells are only beginning to sound. The problem with the writings to which I directed you is that they offer very little hope or direction to staunch the bleeding of our democracy. That’s beginning to change, too.

Robert Kagan’s essay, A Trump dictatorship is increasingly inevitable. We should stop pretending, Is a seminal work of laying out the threat that we face. This week he posts a follow up, explaining that, “Some readers were unhappy that I did not offer a solution.” He does so now in, The Trump dictatorship: How to stop it. In case you don’t have access to the Washington Post, here’s the bottom line: Republicans have to speak out against Trump and his awful promises of doom and dystopia. Clearly, loudly and constantly.

Voters to the right of center have little to no interest in what Democrats have to say, so while Democrats must speak up loudly and often, they won’t change minds or votes of people on the right. What they can hope for is to motivate those center and left of center voters to show up and vote, this because if Trump wins, it will be our last opportunity to vote.

The far right voters are welded to Trump and against Biden and Democrats, so their votes to save democracy aren’t available. The people who are “persuadable” are those in the center right and some on the right. They haven’t confidence or trust in Democrats, which is why the message to save democracy has to come from Republicans.

It appears that most Republican elected officials who disapprove of Trump and extremism favor silence and cowardice. Then they quit. Ref: Bob Corker (R-TN) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ), two generally centrist and reasonable Republicans who quit the senate when they saw the obvious, that legislatively violent extremists had taken over what used to be called the GOP. Flake was replaced by the undependable and enigmatic obstructionist, Kyrsten Sinema. She was a Democrat who, after repeated in-your-face smashings of President Biden’s plans to solve our vexing problems and advance our freedoms and our democracy, at last switched to Independent. She can’t be counted on for much of anything to stop the authoritarian avalanche.

When Corker left he was replaced by Republican drone Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). She was just another spine-of-a-jellyfish, dead weight to our national progress in the Senate, an obstruction to everything to make things better.

We’ve just had a spate of otherwise reasonable congressmen announce their upcoming retirements. It’s what Republicans in Congress do, instead of standing up for what they know is right and against what they know is wrong.

It seems to me that Kagan is right, that we need people like Mitt Romney and Mitch McConnell to broadcast the truth and to urge voters to vote against the impending doom of Trumpism. Some, perhaps many legislators, might lose their jobs to extremists, but is their job more important than our country?

Some will get death threats to themselves or their families for having the temerity to speak the truth. That seems to go with the territory, now that Trump and other big mouths have normalized hatred, violence and “retribution”. Whether they are willing to face an important test of their integrity is the question.

Here’s a link to Heather Cox Richardson’s essay on Friday about some people who were up to the challenge and saved our democracy for us. We need far more like them right now.

It isn’t just elected officials whom we need to stand up and tell the truth. We need ordinary Americans to speak up, people who care whether their children will be free or if they will just be powerless, lackeys to the despot. We need them – us – to be brave at the school board meetings, at Starbucks, making phone calls, canvassing, stuffing envelopes, talking with neighbors and even with crazy Uncle Bob.

Looks like influence is all we have. We better use it. Many thanks to SL for the graphic.

We need to feel the spirit of the heroes who kept faith with our democracy and give ourselves over to something so much greater than ourselves.

We all know it’s easier to click the remote and watch a football game, the opiate of the masses in these times, than to get up and do something to make things better. Far more important is for us to stop things from crashing and devastating our lives and our future. That’s what your influence is for.

If you’re not seeing it, click here to last Sunday’s post and then on the links to the essays by people who are laying out the truth for you, in living color – while they still can.

The trailer below accompanies all of my posts. It exhorts us in magenta font to rid ourselves of the democracy murderers:

  • Fire the bastards!
  • It’s in our power to do that. We’ll need help from Republicans, those with both integrity and a spine, so contact your representative and your senators, be they an R or a D. They know the difference between right and wrong. They speak the truth in the cloakrooms. Tell them you demand that they say it out loud and in public. Tell them to do so often and loudly.
  • Okay For Genocide on Campus
  • Since capturing the #3 slot in the House Republican Caucus, Rep. Elise Stefanic (R-NY) has distinguished herself with some impressively stupid, hateful and divisive comments. Many are the times that I have wondered if there is anything going on inside her head. Indeed, in the words of Rabbi David Wolpe, formerly of the Harvard University antisemitism advisory committee, “We are at a moment when the toxicity of intellectual slovenliness has been laid bare for all to see.” I like that phrase: “toxicity of intellectual slovenliness.” That’s the cadre of We the People who dismiss science, critical thinking and who lazily and brainlessly accept what some know-nothing loudmouth says. Including lawmakers.
  • But kudos are in order to Elise Stefanik for her questioning of university presidents from MIT, Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania. She asked them simply if students calling for genocide would be acting in violation of the schools’ codes of conduct. She slammed them for their mealy-mouthed “It depends on context” replies. Elise finally got one right.
  • I’m just wondering when the context would be such that it would be okay to call for genocide and harassment based on religion, race or anything else. When would such spewing of hatred be considered within a university’s code of conduct? I’m sure the presidents of these elite universities can explain it to me.

Today is a good day to be the light

_____________________________

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

  • Did someone forward this post to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!) It’s going to take ALL OF US to get the job done.

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA


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

EXTRA! EXTRA! – v2.0


Post 1,017

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Yesterday there was a mass shooting at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas (UNLV). It is reported that a lone gunman shot and killed 3 people and wounded 1. The police and FBI killed the perp are working to find accomplices (if any), where the weapon(s) used were obtained, whether they were purchased legally and, most important, the shooter’s motives.

There are two pieces of recurring news that accompany this shooting.

  1. Children of school age have lived with a looming sense of danger all their lives. They are accustomed to active shooter drills to the point that the mass shooting at a school yesterday produces just another shoulder shrug by them, although some wonder if they’re next. They don’t want to talk about it and they go on with their lives with yet another wound to their mental health and to their hearts. Nobody knows what the long term effect of such ongoing trauma will be.
  2. Congress will likely offer nothing at all. The members were called out by the Parkland kids for their “thoughts and prayers” hypocrisy a few years ago, so what can they say? A few well meaning legislators will stand and call for reform and exactly nothing will change to create better safety for our citizens. The good news is that neither anyone in Congress nor anyone in any state legislature will have to find his or her spine. None will have to stand up to the gun lobby or understand the Second Amendment for what it actually says, instead of believing the perverse story told by the gun lobby.

Be clear that it takes courage to face reality and stand up for what’s right. Sadly, that commodity – courage – is in very short supply in the ranks of our lawmakers.

Doing the Math
  1. This was the 631st mass shooting this year on the 340th day of the year. The math says that we’ve averaged 1.85 mass shootings per day since the first of the year.
  2. There were 2,408 people killed in the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor 82 years ago today. In 2023 we lose that number of our people to mass shootings every 16.6 days.* In 1941 we went to war over those deaths. Today we do nothing.

So, no big deal about this shooting at UNLV.

————————————————

* For the purists, there have been 40,086 gun deaths since the first of the year. That includes homicides, suicides, accidents and mass shootings. Our world leading average is 118 gun deaths per day. Every day.

We’re number 1 in this shame game and we intend to stay number 1. You can’t stop us because, hey, we got guns.


Today is a good day to be the light

_____________________________

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

  • Did someone forward this post to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!) It’s going to take ALL OF US to get the job done.

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA


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

Just Say No To Metastasizing


Post 1,008

—————————————

O’ Those Crazy Republicans

1. As Karoun Demirjian outlined in the New York Times, Jim Jordan and his allies deployed a pressure campaign – meaning threats of violence and death – against those Republicans opposed to him. As she puts it, they’re “working to unleash the rage of the party’s base voters against any lawmaker standing in his way.”

Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) said,

“So far I’ve had four death threats. I’ve been evicted from my office in Colorado…because the landlord is mad with my voting record on the Speaker issue. And everybody in the conference is getting this …. Family members have been approached and threatened, all kinds of things are going on ….”

2. From Heather Cox Richardson on October 16:

Last week, Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH) called for shutting down the government in November unless Democrats agree to cutting all spending for processing or releasing into the country any new migrants. He says the demand is “non-negotiable.” But U.S. and international law require the U.S. to process asylum requests, even if a migrant arrives in between legal points of entry.

Former senior Department of Homeland Security lawyer Tom Jawetz told Greg Sargent of the Washington Post that Jordan’s plan “would be both illegal and a practical impossibility.” Administration officials “are legally obligated to process people for asylum on request,” he said. “It’s not a choice.”

But therein lies the heart of today’s Republican Party: its extremist leaders no longer believe that rules apply to them.

3. Ohio has a ballot initiative on the ticket to enshrine women’s healthcare, including the right to abortion, into the state constitution. The Republican Secretary of State of Ohio has rewritten the ballot initiative from the clear, simple language of the original to something confusing, unclear and unattractive to voters. It’s a Nixon-worthy, Roger Stone-worthy dirty trick. Its like the Republican sponsored billboards in largely minority areas that remind people to vote, but they advertise the day after the actual election.

4. 147 Republican members of congress voted to stop the counting of the Electoral College votes. They tried to keep your vote from being counted. That’s against the Constitution They supported Trump’s entirely fraudulent, dishonest, anti-American claim of a stolen election. Most of the traitors are still in congress.

5.  From Haaretz on October 20:

Republicans Compare Jewish Protesters Calling for Gaza Cease-fire to January 6 Insurrectionists
.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is among the pro-Trump supporters calling for hundreds of American-Jewish protesters who staged a sit-down in a congressional office on Wednesday to be ‘held in the DC gulag,’ equating their actions with the treatment meted out to those who stormed the Capitol in 2021.

First, of course, there is no “DC gulag.” Second, while I don’t agree with the demonstrators, all they were doing was demonstrating. They didn’t try to kill police. They didn’t vandalize the building. They didn’t try to overturn the Constitution of the United States. They didn’t  .  .  .  oh wait. I’m being logical in opposition to Marjorie Taylor Greene, the logic and reason arsonist. What was I thinking?

That is thugocracy from the likes of Jim Jordan and other far right extremists. Indeed, that’s MAGA style democracy, which is to say, no democracy.

All this and far more are what the Republican Party is today.

“But,” you might say, “traditional Republicans aren’t like that.”

Perhaps 20% of Republicans, every now and then, might be described as “traditional.” But any of them who cave in to MAGA thugocracy or who don’t publicly oppose the slimy and violent tactics and the destruction the thugs are doing are letting their cowardice drive their actions. They’re selling out our country. Which of them will stand up for what is right if doing so costs them something?

It doesn’t matter if they disagree in private with the wrong that they see. Their public silence is tacit support for the Republican path to destruction. Effectively, duty means nothing to them. So, don’t bother to wave the Yeah-But flag, because it’s meaningless. The Republican Party is irredeemable from its criminal march to destroy our democracy.

This is not the first time when power obsessed, virulent autocrats have tried to murder our democracy. They tried it in the 1850s, the 1930s and the 1950s. If you know our history you realize that each time they were traitors to the values we believe in. They actually perverted the words of the Declaration of Independence for their ends. They did the same with the Preamble to the Constitution and even the Federalist Papers. Some waved our red, white and blue next to Nazi swastika flags in the 30s and 40s. They’re doing it again today.

They and their cause are a cancer metastasizing inside our nation. Theirs is a grand larceny of what protects our nation from those intent upon stealing our birthright as a nation and as individuals. They are metastasizing the disease against which our Revolutionaries fought.

So we persevere in the fight for our democracy. We never give in. We join the battle because that is what we must do. We will not allow dishonesty and breach of oath and faith to stain our nation or to go unpunished. We will not allow our democracy to be destroyed.

This is from The Union, the activist arm of The Lincoln Project:

Scared, sad, worried, heartsick, jittery and jaded about our democracy? Put all of that on the shelf right now. Step up and join The Union. The Action Center is a direct line to volunteer actions you can take every day through more than 100 partner organizations dedicated to electing pro-democracy candidates. We’re an activist coalition 65,000+ strong, with members from across the political spectrum. And while we don’t agree on every issue, we’re in complete agreement about the one that counts: Defending American democracy now and strengthening it for generations to come. [emphasis mine]

Update

Hamas continues to rain rockets on Israeli civilians. 31 days after the October 7 massacre there are still over 3,300 injured Israelis, 249 are still being held hostage and 1,400 are still dead.


Today is a good day to be the light

______________________________

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

  • Did someone forward this post to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!) It’s going to take ALL OF US to get the job done.

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA


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

An Unavoidable Parallel


Post 1,000

—————————————

The Shutdown

We were at the edge of a cliff. It wasn’t just U.S. bankruptcy and the end of the authority for economic bedrock that were at risk. With our failure to honor our debts we would lead the entire economic world over that cliff.

At the 11th hour Speaker of the House McCarthy and President Biden shook hands on a deal to raise the debt ceiling and honor our debts, plus they agreed to pass a budget in a timely manner to avoid even the threat of yet another government shutdown. McCarthy gave his word as leader of the House Republicans, as Speaker of the House and presumably as a man.

Then McCarthy reneged. He broke his word and led our government to the edge of shutdown, with all the international, national and personal harm to Americans that threatened. Sadly, that wasn’t the worst part.

McCarthy broke his word In plain sight, but so did nearly every Republican in the House when it came to funding our government. On the first go around 90 Republicans voted against their own budget plan. Then, with only a few hours left, the continuing resolution was placed on the floor for a vote as a last chance to avoid a shutdown. 21 Republicans voted against it. They voted to shut down your government. They voted to not pay our troops, our air traffic controllers, our security personnel and so many others.

So, bad as it was, the worst part wasn’t McCarthy breaking his word and violating the deal he struck with the President. The worst was that the Republicans violated the sacred oath they swore – most on their own Bibles – to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

They made themselves liars. They proudly declared their disloyalty. They voted not to pay our sailors who are now headed for the Middle East to rescue our countrymen being held hostage by Hamas. The liars voted to undermine our nation.

Would you make a deal with such people? Their voters did.

Here’s a useful descriptor of Kevin McCarthy from Mother JonesInae Oh:

.  .  .  a man whose entire career is owed to soulless ambitions for power.

That fits the 21 Republican extremists and the hundreds of spineless ones who cower under their desks when they’re called upon to stand up for our country.

Now they’re proposing to replace McCarthy as speaker with the repugnant Jim “Who cares about sexual abuse of student athletes?” Jordan or Steve “David Duke without the baggage” Scalise.

To date I have not heard a consistent excoriation of Republican dis-loyalists that should come from the mouths of Democrats and loyal Republicans alike. The sound of crickets is exactly why I wrote this post.

The Why

As people are suffering, the radical Republicans in Congress are doing nothing but firing up culture wars and starting a fraudulent, lie-filled impeachment inquiry, where even their own witnesses testified that there is not even a hint of anything impeachable about President Biden.

If you want to know why these Republican terrorists attack our government and weaken our country instead of doing things to help Americans, there is only one thing you need to know:

They don’t want to improve government.
They want to tear it down.
.

That sounds a lot like Hamas.

And that alone explains the looming government shut down, the impeachment “inquiry,” the perfidious attacks on the DOJ and FBI and more. These extremists will hobble the House to powerlessness and then point fingers, saying, “See? Government doesn’t work.”

We live with destruction always lapping at our shores and we must decide what we will do to protect this noble experiment in self-rule and the rights and freedoms that accompany it.

From MacBeth by William Shakespeare:

    • Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
    • That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
    • And then is heard no more: it is a tale
    • Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
    • Signifying nothing.

In time, these MAGA traitors, these falsely self-defined patriots, will be unmasked and stopped. They are, in fact, nothing but idiots with guns, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing but a shouted “F”*K YOU!” Just like Hamas.

They have fooled themselves into believing that they stand for honor. That’s their idiot’s tale. In fact, they stand only for domination and destruction. One day they will go, leaving behind mountains of rubble. It will be their shameful mark on our national history, much like the wreckage that the Civil War traitors left and like the debris fields Hamas has left in Israel.

The Unavoidable Parallel

The Hamas leaders and fighters knew that they could not defeat Israel and push all the Israelis into the sea. They knew that any attack would trigger retaliation, likely with far greater intensity than anything Hamas could summon. They knew that their own people – Palestinians – would be killed or injured in the process. So, what do they hope to accomplish?

It’s posited that Hamas hopes that Hizbullah in Lebanon, West Bank militarists, Iran and other Arab states would join in the attacks and together they would destroy Israel. Perhaps. And what else?

In times past they used the suffering of Palestinians from Israeli counter attacks as proof of how Palestinians were victimized by Israel. Oddly, the world largely bought that cartoon explanation, delivering many anti-Israel resolutions before the United Nations. Maybe Hamas’ ferocious intensity this time could deliver such loss and humiliation that Israel would do far worse to Palestinians now, generating even greater international condemnation of Israel. We don’t yet know, but that is monstrously cynical and cruel.

What we do know is that Hamas has said that when Palestinian civilians are killed by Israeli attacks that Hamas will murder hostages. Their only goals are death and destruction. That’s what terrorists do.

What should Israel do? What should the United States do?

Here at home the Republican destroyers are attacking our political and cultural foundations at all levels of government, much like Hamas is doing to Israeli society with their rockets and their invasion. Destruction is what terrorists do. They have no plan for a better future. They just want to tear everything down.

It’s up to us to stop the destruction here at home, to quiet the idiot’s tale full of sound and fury, signifying nothing but destruction.


Today is a good day to be the light

______________________________

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

  • Did someone forward this post to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!) It’s going to take ALL OF US to get the job done.

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA


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

Boxing and The Danger We Face


Don’t Ask the MAGA Crazies to Come To Their Senses.

Chaos and Destruction ARE Their Senses.

.

“These are the times that try men’s [and women’s] souls.” – Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776. Click, read, think, act.

The Republican Party has published its 1,000 page plan called “Project 2025.” It is a plan to completely dismantle the American government in just six months. They intend to destroy our democratic republic and establish a dictatorship with a Republican despot as absolute ruler. They promise to end your rights and freedom. They promise to destroy everything you hold dear about our country.

All they need to be able to betray us in these ways is to win the presidency, to have a compliant Supreme Court and to have a cowardly congress. That doesn’t sound too hard, does it?

And now, what better way to light the fuse to blow up our country than to shut down the government? Over 20 Republican flamers voted down their own budget plan. They did that to show what tough guys they are, to have their infantile temper tantrum, to puff up their egos, to show the Speaker who’s boss AND TO TEAR DOWN OUR DEMOCRACY, instead of honoring their oath of office to protect and defend it. They are solely about themselves, chaos and destruction.

WHERE IS THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY’S OUTRAGE AND COUNTER-ATTACK AGAINST THESE TREASONOUS, POISONOUS PEOPLE AND THEIR ANTI-AMERICAN SCHEME?

Do the geniuses at the DNC think this monster will go away if they just close their eyes and think pretty thoughts? Maybe that’s what John Kerry thought when the Swift Boaters attacked him in 2004 with their cowardly lies. He didn’t want to dignify their filth with a reply, he told us, which is a lovely patrician idea. But his lack of pushing back only emboldened them and they poisoned enough of the American voting public that by the time Kerry at last spoke up, it was too late.

We know what has happened to the courage and patriotism of the Republicans. Those were devoured by their cowardice and hypocrisy. But where did the courage and patriotic passion of Democrats go? The bell for the 15th round has rung. There is only one boxer in the ring and his name is Fascism.

DEMOCRATS: WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU?

We don’t have the luxury of patrician patience to wait for the chaos and the evil of these traitors to disappear.

Polite debate never works with bullies. The only way to stop a bully is to punch him/her in the nose.
.

The cult followers make themselves functional morons because they refuse to learn and they goose step along, happy to tear down our democracy and use violence – even inciting murder – to please their cult leader. We need to see immediate and sustained blows to the traitors to knock them out of power and to make sure they never get their hands on it again.

John Kerry refused to take such action for too long and he lost the presidency. We stand to lose our entire country if we remain quiet and passive.

“These are the times that try men’s and women’s souls.”
.

We are on trial right now.

It’s time for a bare knuckle fight for our democracy, a fight for what you know is right. The ring stands before us. Who will enter it to fight the good fight, the patriotic fight, the fight for America?

DNC: GET IN THE RING!

DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSIONAL AND STATE LEGISLATORS: GET IN THE RING!

AMERICANS WHO LOVE AND BELIEVE IN AMERICA: GET IN THE RING!

From Steve Schmidt’s The Warning on September 26:

The American people face a great test, a great reckoning. The practice of citizenship can be avoided no longer. We stand at an hour where every inch of progress that has accumulated over 250 years of time, that has lifted the human being from a condition of servitude and economic misery to prosperity and freedom, stands to be erased .  .  .

.  .  .  The American people look at Washington D.C. and they see one of the most corrupt congresses in history. They see the most corrupt Supreme Court in history, They see a fascist movement on the march. [emphasis mine]

The practice of citizenship can be avoided no longer because you yourself see the corruption and the fascist march and you know in your bones that something must be done to stop this or terrible things will happen. Here’s an example of why this is important to you.

One of the things authoritarians do is to ignore the wants and needs of the people. They do that because they can. They focus simply and exclusively on what serves themselves. The Founders rebelled against just such an authoritarian.

You know quite well that 80 – 90% of Americans want stronger gun safety laws and regulations. We want Medicare for all, lower cost access to higher education and action to stop and then reverse global warming. We want our hungry children to be fed and we want racial and immigration justice. We want the insane haters to shut up and for the stupid to stop. Plus, as a placeholder for all government functions, we want a budget to be passed without the lunacy and without threats of harm to our people and the undermining of our national defense.

We want these things and consistently we do not have our way. That’s because of a terrorist minority and the cowardice of so many who refuse to stand up to the bullies.

If the fascists get their way, you will never get what you want. The minority will rule for their own benefit, not yours, and your voice will be stilled forever. Look at any authoritarian regime in history and you’ll see that it is always this way. It will be that way here, too  .  .  .  unless we fight and win and keep our democracy.

So, it’s simple:

GET IN THE RING!
GET IN THE FIGHT!
PROTECT AND DEFEND OUR CONSTITUTION AND OUR DEMOCRACY!
.

Oh, and DNC:

GET IN THE RING AND LEAD THE FIGHT FOR OUR COUNTRY,
– or –
BE OBSOLETE AND INSIGNIFICANT.
.

You pick.

One more time:

Polite debate never works with bullies. The only way to stop a bully is to punch him/her in the nose.
.

If you’re unsure about that, check with both Neville Chamberlain and Mallory McMorrow for a shocking comparison.

Most Important
Here’s how you can get into the ring and land some punches – CLICK ME.

Today is a good day to be the light

______________________________

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

  • Did someone forward this post to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!) It’s going to take ALL OF US to get the job done.

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA


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

Idiotica – Part 2


“You Never Thought This Could Happen” Idiotica

You already know that lots of Republicans champion autocrats (read: dictators) Putin, Erdoğan and Orbán. These Americans wildly cheer these strongmen who have killed democracy in their countries. It’s shocking to recall that just a few short years ago Republicans were the hardliners against such despots and their brutal regimes. Consider that we invaded Iraq using various fictions as rationale, but the best was that Saddam Hussein was a bad guy and had to be deposed. I guess we no longer disfavor bad guys.

You also know that Republicans are wailing about what they are calling the “weaponization of the Department of Justice and the FBI.” According to them, if justice is served, it’s really Democrats that are misusing the power of our Constitution and our laws to victimize “true Americans” (read: Republicans).

Question: Will will they sing that same stupid song now that Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) has been indicted?

The ones making this idiotic, un-American claim used to demand tough enforcement of our laws. Republicans were the ones who claimed theirs to be the party of law and order, always advocating that we lock up bad guys. Not so much today. Now, they coddle Republican bad guys.

A while back Trump announced that after he wins the 2024 election that he will pardon the convicted January 6 insurrectionists. Two other Republican candidates have weighed in on the sentences given to the poor, mistreated insurrectionists and have suggested that they, too, if elected, will pardon the traitors who killed cops and tried to end our democracy.

The thumping of chests, neck veins throbbing and fingers in the air in patriotic fervor that these guys do is just performative patriotism. They’ve abandoned any real patriotism for this country.

Just a few years ago you couldn’t have imagined that these turncoats would betray the red, white and blue and embrace the Confederate flag of treason and the Trump flag of the middle finger but they have. They are strong, disgusting and contemptuous. They have infected 25 – 40% of our fellow countrymen and are festering in the party that used to be for law and order and was tough on crime.

That’s what a constant torrent of lies and cowardice can do. That’s why this is

You Never Thought This Could Happen Idiotica
.
Authoritarian Idiotica

Writes Prof. Heather Cox Richardson,

Today’s Republicans have abandoned the Reagan-era Republican plan to gut the federal government and are instead determined to capture it, replacing nonpartisan civil servants with Republican extremists who will carry out the ideals of Trump or any candidate like him who can defeat Biden in 2024. Their nearly 1,000-page plan, called “Project 2025,” calls for politicizing the Department of Justice and law enforcement officers and giving far more power to the president.

If it matters to you to prevent such a thing, read this from Sheila Markin:

There is only one way to burn out the MAGA movement and using a process argument such as the disqualification clause of the 14th Amendment will not do the trick. Voters need to rise up and vote in large numbers to reject the movement .  .  .

Trump and Trumpism has to be repelled over and over and over again by voters, by the legal system and by voices from rational respected GOP leaders until the fever breaks.

Breaking that fever won’t happen because we have at last infused our angry, mistreated-by-lies citizens with something connected to reality. We need to understand thoroughly that breaking that fever won’t happen even if Democrats sweep the 2024 election or the 2026 or 2028 elections.

The MAGAs are so invested in anger and distrust of government, they’re so desperate to retain their White Christian hegemony and afraid of anything not familiar to them that breaking that fever won’t take just years, but generations. So, we must saddle up for the long campaign, the battles to inculcate reality and democracy as core tenets of our nation. Expect glacially slow progress. Expect the struggle to never end, because it won’t.

Expect to hand off this struggle for America to your children and be glad to do that. This is a worthy, if never ending, task that we in America are privileged to do. Thank your lucky stars, if you believe in such things, that you can.

Blatant Lies Idiotica

From Thom Hartman:

One particularly egregious tweet says: “Joe Biden and his party shuttered schools, forced masks on their faces, and put vaccines in their arms, all while holding our children back in ways that will have long-lasting impacts on their educational future. Joe Biden and the Democrats put power over our kids.” The only problem is that all of those things happened in 2020 and were done by Trump.

The RNC has gone so far as to use pictures and video from 2020 to attack Biden. Kevin McCarthy and Iowa Congressman Feenstra have both tweeted that, “President Biden not only paid people to stay home at the expense of American taxpayers, but under his watch $191 BILLION in unemployment benefits were also misspent and wasted.” Again, that was Trump. But their tweets are still up: clearly, they believe Republican voters are mindbogglingly stupid. [emphasis mine]

Meanwhile, Republicans in the House have decided they’re going to try to impeach President Biden for “accepting bribes.” The only problem they have is that there’s absolutely no evidence — not a shred or even a hint of a shred [of evidence] — to back up that claim. That said, there was also no evidence that after Republicans in Congress refused the CIA’s funding request to harden Benghazi and the station was attacked that Hillary Clinton had anything to do with it. That didn’t stop them from spending two years and tens of millions of dollars trying to convince Americans she was responsible.

Republican Fascism Idiotica

No, that isn’t hyperbole. It is exactly what the Republican extremists have been working to create for five decades. It’s only in the past two decades and, more blatantly, in the past few years that this has become both obvious and an immediate threat to our democracy. A lot of super rich guys longing to be oligarchs like such things.

I don’t expect you to blindly accept the messages on these pages, so instead listen to what Robert Reich has to say about this. He worked for four presidents, is a former Secretary of Labor and now is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley. His 6-minute video will properly educate you on the fascism threat we are facing.

Fascism threatens America: Quod erat demonstrandum.

They’re trying to force Republican-led fascism onto you and onto America. Our challenge as always is the BarcaLounger thing: gotta get off it. We have to vote and we must encourage others to vote for democracy. See the graphic below for the timeline.

For specificity on Republican Idiotica, see the list at the bottom of this post.

Quote of the Week

“Democracy is not restricted to voting for someone for president once every four years,” UAW organizer Victor Reuther told [Documentarian Greg] Mitchell. “It is something that you can utilize and participate in where you work eight hours or 10 hours a day.”

  • Nia T. Evans
  • Mother Jones Daily
  • September 20, 2023
Must Read of the Week

Jeffrey Goldberg has penned a sizzling page turner in The Atlantic entitled The Patriot. He details the efforts of Gen. Mark Milley in the post of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff working to restrain President Trump from his vilest, unconstitutional and cruel intentions during the insane last year of his presidency. However bad you imagine things might have been, however close to losing our democracy you have feared we were, I assure you that it was worse. Here’s a link to the article.

_______________________________

You can find Idiotica – Part 1 here.


Today is a good day to be the light

______________________________

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

  • Did someone forward this post to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!) It’s going to take ALL OF US to get the job done.

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA


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

Heroes


9/11 happened. It wasn’t a few paragraphs in a history book or a script for a bombastic political speech. It was exactly what it was, a terrorist attack on our nation twenty-two years ago tomorrow.

I learned long ago that what we see on TV of disasters like floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and fires doesn’t and can’t come close to conveying the reality, the true depth of the destruction and suffering that lands so heavily on people and places. The reality is orders of magnitude worse than can be conveyed on TV. Ten times worse. One hundred times worse. So, six weeks after the 9/11 attack when I was in New York City for business I went to Ground Zero so that I could understand the reality of what had happened.

There was a ten-foot fence around the entire area, but by standing on a perch I could see over the fence into the carnage. I saw the massive cloud of choking dust that was like a smothering blanket over and around the workers. They were breathing it, learning only later that what President George W. Bush’s people called safe, was actually carcinogenic. Then later congresses would cut benefits for the 9/11 workers.

Rescue workers at Ground Zero

There were big front end loaders dumping debris into huge trucks which drove off to dump their loads onto barges which would then convey them across the Hudson River to New Jersey. The people there were doing the grisly job of sorting by hand through the mountains of concrete, glass and rubble looking for anything to identify those who had died. They found jewelry, wallets – and body parts.

The side of one of the remaining buildings was blown out. It had a huge, heavy orange drape hanging down its entire side. It was there to protect the workers below from falling debris. Nobody knew if or when other structures would collapse. This was a terribly dangerous place.

On the streetlight posts and traffic sign posts outside the fence and all around the surrounding area hundreds of people – maybe thousands – had posted signs with pictures of missing people. They bore notes imploring someone – anyone – to call if they saw their lost loved one. Perhaps they hoped their missing were wandering around the city in a state of profound amnesia. The desperation for finding the missing was palpable. There were candles burning on the ground all around as memorials in what was now a sacred place.

Later that evening I was walking through Times Square, where the huge, over-done screens still showed their advertisements. My New York friends told me that those garish screens are required by city ordinance. But this night the Square was very different from its ordinary raucousness. It was quiet.

There were thousands of people on the sidewalks and streets, perhaps still in something of a state of shock over the reality of what had happened six weeks earlier. They were just milling about, going nowhere and throughout the area were first responders. The patches on the arms of their uniform shirts said they were from all across the country and even Canada. They had come to the aid of their brothers and sisters in the city, using their vacation time or even sacrificing their pay to lend themselves to a cause much greater than themselves.

I had flown many missions for AirLifeLine, an organization that pairs people in medical and financial need with private pilots to help the patients get to critical medical treatments. The organization had called me days after the attack asking if I could fly six Chicago firemen to New York. All planes had been grounded then, so I wasn’t able to help. So, the firemen loaded themselves and their gear into a van and drove to New York. That same thing was happening all around the country.

These first responders were being treated like heroes by those in Times Square that October evening, as well they should be. I’m confident not a single one of them would have called themselves a hero, but what they were doing at Ground Zero, day after arduous day, was the stuff of heroism.

Today that word has been cheapened, sometimes used frivolously, even to describe a ball player who hits a winning home run. We toss out the title of hero so freely, but here’s the true meaning.

Our first responders are people who rush into burning buildings to save people. They run toward gunfire to stop killers. They risk their own deaths plucking people out of horrendous floods. They stop speeders on dark highways in the dead of night not knowing if they will survive just asking for a driver license. They risk doing things most of us wouldn’t dream of doing, all this and more to protect us.

That’s the stuff of heroes and heroism.

Toxic dust clouds at Ground Zero

9/11 happened 22 years ago tomorrow and so much has happened since then to distract us from the reality of it. But the courage and dedication of the men and women who showed up and served, many of whom died trying to rescue others, lives on.

The Engine 54/Ladder 4/Battalion 9 Midtown Firehouse is just blocks from Ground Zero and they lost 15 firefighters that day, the most of any firehouse. I assure you that those now serving haven’t forgotten those heroes.

Shanksville, PA

Neither have the families, colleagues and friends of the 23 NYPD police officers, the 37 Port Authority police officers or the 343 NYFD firefighters and paramedics who died that day. Many of these first responders were rushing up the stairs of the towers hoping to save people dozens of stories above them when the buildings collapsed, killing everyone inside and some outside them.

The Pentagon, 9/11/01

So, too, do the families, colleagues and friends of those who died in the crash of American Flight 77 into the Pentagon remember them. It’s the same for those connected to the passengers on United Flight 93 who can still hear the haunting last words of passenger Todd Beamer, “Let’s roll” just before he and fellow passengers rushed the cockpit and made that airplane crash in a field near Shanksville, PA instead of crashing into the Capitol Building.

The survivors remember all of them and so, too, must the rest of us remember. And we must remember the hundreds – maybe thousands – who came from all over North America, as well as the construction workers. They all breathed that toxic air day and night to rescue survivors, then to recover the dead and sort through and clean up the devastation. It took eight months, 24 hours a day.

I went to Ground Zero that late October day to better understand what had happened. It turned out I was really there to stand humbly and pay my respects and to honor those honorable people.

Profound gratitude goes to our first responders who volunteer to do what they do to protect all of us. They are the ones standing a post to protect us every day. They are the true heroes.


Today is a good day to be the light

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

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