Democracy

Smart, Educated, Experienced and Skilled


POST 1058


Sheila Markin posted a fine explainer and updater of what has happened to Trump’s lawyers. Her piece caused a sociological question to bubble up to top of mind.

I’ve wondered many times about all those attorneys, every one smart, highly educated, experienced and with considerable skill at their craft. The wonder, of course, is why they allowed themselves to be lured to crash onto the rocks by the siren song of the Orange Siren.

Of course, Trump deserves legal representation, as any dirt ball con man would. He deserves the presumption of innocence, too, even in the face of overwhelming evidence of his guilt. But,

Why would these smart, educated, experienced and skilled people aid and abet Trump in breaking the law?

Why would they associate themselves with Trump’s defamatory statements and invitations to violence?

Why would they file idiotic motions, like an absurd claim of absolute and permanent presidential immunity and why would they in good conscience attempt an inversion of the Presidential Records Act?

Why would they risk their law licenses aiding or defending illegal actions, lying to authorities and saying the most obviously idiotic things?

Why would they do such abhorrent things, knowing that the stink of Trump will be all over them and it won’t wash off for the rest of their professional lives?

Indeed, why would they do anything for Trump, knowing that there is a better than even chance that they won’t get paid for their work?

These Trump lawyers paid a huge price in dollars, work effort, time, hopes and dreams to get JD appended to their names. Then they betrayed their integrity and threw it all away – but for what?.

In her courtroom statement regarding her Georgia RICO plea deal, Trump attorney Jenna Ellis declared with great contrition, “If I knew then what I know now . . .”
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Really? She didn’t know that Trump would do with her what he does with everyone, including all of his former lawyers? She didn’t know that loyalty with Trump is a one-way street leading only to Trump and that at the first sign of an advantage for himself he would discard her like a used motor oil rag? She hadn’t a clue that she was joining a team that was conspiring to violate the law and the Constitution, working to overthrow the will of the people? It never occurred to her that the infamous Green Bay sweep was nothing less than a traitorous conspiracy, a coup plot?
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I have the same questions for all the rest of the lawyers who schemed to replace electors chosen by the people with phony “alternate electors”; lawyers who cajoled Mike Pence to violate his duty and the Constitution; who demanded pointless vote recounts and filed over 60 evidence-free lawsuits. Eastman, Giuliani, Chesebro, Powell, Habba, Navarro and more – there just doesn’t exist a remote possibility that they didn’t know in advance what they were getting into and, once there, that they didn’t realize that they were violating the law. So please, Jenna Ellis and anyone else with an, “Oh golly, I really didn’t know” claim, just shut up.
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I think I’m right – that this legion is of lawyers who are are smart, educated, experienced and skilled. And I believe that they are also boundlessly foolish at best and perhaps far worse. That will be confirmed when we find more of them censured, some imprisoned and later, some selling insurance because they’re no longer allowed to practice law.
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Meanwhile, I suspect that I’m not the only one wondering why these smart, educated, experienced and skilled people would do what they’ve done. And I wonder why some of them are continuing to promote and defend Trump’s dishonesty, when the obvious truth is almost blinding. So please, if you have some insight, even just a flicker of light to shine in this dark cave of the undermining of everything we claim to value and believe in, please share it in the Comments section below to help all of us understand.


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.

Civil War


Post 1,052


A blogger friend recently posted, “A few years ago, CNN reported on a survey indicating that over 40% of Americans believed that a civil war was ‘somewhat likely’ in the next ten years.” He mentioned globalization as at least part of the cause. I assume that means that it has caused disruptions leading to angry citizens.

There are a lot of people who believe they remember better times, regardless of whether the “old days” actually were better. Think: false message MAGA hats.

To be fair, there is some truth to their grievances. There has been off-shoring of jobs, “right-sizing” (i.e. massive layoffs) and the rise of the big box stores that decimated whole towns and more. Their frustration is being amped up by those who would accrue power and money to themselves by keeping people enraged.

Today millions hate the “elites,” which I suppose means anyone wealthier or more educated than themselves. One or two generations ago big company CEOs made 35 times what a regular wage earner made. Now it’s 320 times. Corporations often demonstrated a sense of duty to their communities. Now most obligation has shifted to serve only shareholders and C-level officers, who are, by definition, elites. And thanks to creative legal manipulation we have ensured that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer through the magic of legalized bribery (see Citizens United). Roughly $50 trillion has shifted from the bottom 99% to the top 1% over the past 50 years. That carries enough power to infuriate a lot of people.

If there is to be a civil war, it will probably look like guerilla warfare, not cavalry on horseback or infantry in trenches. It will look like attacks on elected officials, churches (Blacks), synagogues (Jews), grannies in supermarkets and children in schools. Anyone who is vulnerable and perhaps blame-able will be a target. We already know what that looks like* and it may well get far worse. The fires are stoked every day to keep the angry people agitated, like Trump declaring at his rallies that if he doesn’t win the election that there will be “a blood bath” and “bedlam.” He specifically enourages his followers to commit violence. Just like January 6.

Bottom Line

We need leadership to grow this nation instead of fracture it. We need a new clarity of purpose, which is now looking like dealing with existential threat. It could be a foreign threat, but at the moment it appears to be more like home grown terrorism encouraged by self-serving extremists.

Coming together for such a challenge is the job of each of us, of course, but most of all it is the job of the leader to bring us together. Anyone listening to and following those seeking to divide us against ourselves** is willingly seeking to destroy America. Don’t fall for the hypocrisy or let those you love fall for it. Then maybe, just maybe, we won’t have a civil war.

Key Reads of the Week

See Note #5 below – then click the pic.

See Note #5 below – then click the pic.

Prof. Timothy Snyder teaches history at Yale and is the author of On Tyranny and other books. If you have not read this brilliant, pamphlet-sized book (rather like The American Crisis by Thomas Paine), do so immediately.

The idea of a strongman leader has become quite popular, having been promoted over and over by Donald Trump to his largely uninformed audience. Having lived in, studied and understood strongman leaders in many countries, Prof. Snyder offers a most helpful post to explain what having such a leader always means and what profound and terrible consequences would descend on Americans should we choose such a path. Read Snyder’s post here.

Next, you must read Prof. Heather Cox Richardson’s clarification of the 2025 Project. Perhaps you already know that project is the product of the ultra-conservative (i.e anti-democracy) Heritage Foundation and is 1,000 pages of anti-American, dictatorial drivel. They think we should have a pharaoh or fuhrer, Stalinist, Viktor Orbán or Vladimir Putin, the far right’s BFF, to control our country and to control and minimize you. They believe that all power should go to the 1% wealthy minority and that there should be subservience and few rights for everyone else. They believe that all men are created equal except themselves, who are created superior and entitled.***

That’s what a civil war would bring us.

Take the pledge and internalize it deeply. Then click the pic.

Watch for the post this Sunday’s for some ideas of what we must do if things are to get better.

___________________________________________

We are less than 22% through the year and already have over 12,000 dead from guns.

** It isn’t just Trump. Aaron Rogers thinks that 9/11 and the Sandy Hook murders were both staged by actors. He believes dumb and potentially homicidal theories about vaccinations, too. That’s why Rogers is on Robert Kennedy, Jr.’s short list for a running mate for the presidency. So is former pro wrestler Jessie Ventura. They are all dividers. And delusional.

If you want our nation to follow people like them, it’s possible you’ve sustained as many traumatic, brain injury bashings as Rogers.

*** Psst! Do you think you’re “more equal” than others? Most important, do you love to hate? Boy, oh boy do we have a tip.

This may not be the best country for you. Give Russia, Hungary, Sudan and Uganda a look. Those guys know how to suppress and murder “others” – they’re your peeps! Pick one and go there soon. Please.


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 Are Two Kinds of People


Post 1,051


Comedians say that there are two kinds of people in the world. There are people who laugh and there are people who make people laugh.

I, too, say that there are two kinds of people in the world. There are people who see nuances, shades of gray as well as of color; and there are people who only see black-and-white.

The black-and-white vision people are most fond of absolutes. Something is either good or bad, black or white, up or down and there is only one way to see things – their way. There is something satisfying in such simplicity. It’s the absence of troublesome “yeah-buts” and a lack of discomfort from uncertainty. Plus, there is the ease of never having to expend the energy to understand others. These people haven’t the rods or cones or whatever it is that allows some to see complexities and other possibilities. For these folks, there is no need for others’ conflicting opinions because those opinions are wrong.

We have many people in positions of authority who are black and white absolutists, unable to see anything but their own certainties. We saw that in the in vitro fertilization decision from the Alabama Supreme Court recently. The judges’ decision was supported by absolutist biblical understandings and beliefs. They included biblical quotes and invoked God multiple times in their written opinion. Apparently, they believe that everyone should believe as they do. That’s the law. Just ask them.

The First Amendment begins, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion .  .  .  ” If that prohibition against establishment of religion is the real deal, then that Alabama Supreme Court just violated it with their religious justification for their decision.

The absolutist judge who wrote that opinion effectively mandates, “You have to follow my religion just as I see it.” He is both wrong and dangerous.

He’s a threat to our Constitution, our democracy, our freedoms and what the Revolution was all about. Whatever his personal feelings about in vitro fertilization or religion, none of that belongs in this legal issue.

This is compounded by a U.S. Supreme Court which likely will affirm that decision when a case is brought to it, because they seem to sing, “Gimme that old time religion.” Today’s Supreme Court seems to have difficulty understanding plain language and has made clear that settled law isn’t settled at all. Pay no attention to their having sworn fidelity to stare decisis (leaving settled law alone) in their confirmation hearings. Nothing to see here. Move along.

Which brings us to my favorite West Wing scene. Watch it here. But before watching it decide if you believe that learning stopped several millennia ago. Because if we are limited to what pre-science, largely ignorant people believed and the fanciful stories and rules they made up about their universe in a hopeful but vain effort to explain what they could not understand, you won’t like that clip. Otherwise, go ahead and enjoy a view of human foolishness.

You Need To

Last weekend the New York Times Opinion Today newsletter ran this headline:

Humanitarian aid should be a bipartisan issue. Congress needs to unlock the needed aid funds. There’s no time to lose.
.

It was linked to the author’s guest essay on famine.

We all should stand and applaud that, just as Mike Johnson and his fellow smug Republicans should have stood and applauded at the SOTU after Biden said there should be no violence in politics and that we should make sure every kid can read by the time they’re in the third grade. But, of course, they didn’t applaud or stand and the Republicans are proudly resisting aid to starving people.

Gotta hand it to Republicans for their consistency of doing anything and everything to ensure that no Democrat, especially one residing in the White House, is ever allowed to have even the smallest win. It doesn’t matter to Republicans who gets hurt by their intransigence.*

The Republicans cling to their small-mindedness and their lack of care for anyone other than themselves and their monomaniacal lust for power and money. With each mean spirited, foolishly proud event we learn more about their adherence to the Dark Side and these lemmings march ever closer to the cliff. One can hope.

Which brings me to the words above from the Times. The troublesome part is “Congress needs to.” Does that mean that all in Congress have that need? Because if the Times does mean that, I think they should double check their sources. I think rather that we’ve picked up the “need to” phrasing as a weenie, chickening out of what is really meant: “Millions of Suffering People Need Congress to Unlock the Relief Funds.

It’s much like the very popular phrase following a statement of opinion, “Just sayin’.” It’s a way of trying to avoid responsibility for taking a stand. Both phrases – “they need to” and “just sayin'” – chicken out of standing upright and making a clear declaration.

Here’s the thing: We don’t need any of that chickening out in Congress. Indeed, we need straight talk and sticking to what we know is right. Like ensuring that third graders can read.

So, in keeping with the theme, there are two kinds of people in the world: people who can think beyond themselves, who care about others and whose word means something. They say what they mean and they mean what they say. Then there are people who are weenies.

This is my shot across the bow of the USS Weenie. And no, I’m not just sayin’.

See Note #5 below

Today’s Quote

From Cassidy Hutchinson’s book Enough, page 354:

“I had seen how fragile democracy is, and my conscience recognized our duty as citizens to attend to it for its survival.”

There are two kinds of citizens in this country. There are people who believe in the Constitution, democracy and the rule of law. Then there are people who want to tear everything down and cause us to devolve into a brutal, feudal existence ruled by a despotic tyrant. On November 5 we get to vote on which we will be. Choose wisely.

Hint: You can do more than vote like a real American. You can encourage others to do the same. Click here.

__________________________________________

* Read Thom Hartmann’s post, How Come Everything the Republican Party Stands for Involves Other People Dying? The horrible part is that Hartmann is right.


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.

Hope


Post 1,049


Thomas Paine

248 years ago the slightly known young patriot and freedom zealot Thomas Paine* penned the first pamphlet of The American Crisis, a series of 13 pieces published periodically over 6 years. This first was written as Washington and his army were retreating across the Delaware River and was published in the Philadelphia Journal on December 19, 1776.** That dispirited army then had to endure a dreadful winter, with many freezing or dying of disease at Valley Forge.

Click me

Paine wrote Crisis because we in the Colonies were at a flex point of either knuckling under to a capricious and abusive king with his greatest army and navy in the world, or standing up and saying, “No more!” That decision looked to be anything but certain.

The American crisis was, indeed, most real. Paine sought to reach the masses with his pen, hoping to inform and inspire. He opened his work with words familiar to us even today.

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; yet we have this consolation with us that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.” [caps original]

Of course, Paine was right then – and he’s still right. Today we rebel against no unstable monarch across the sea, yet we are in danger of creating our own home-grown capricious despot, eager to steal our highly revered and celestial FREEDOM.

Here’s how Professor of History Heather Cox Richardson closes her 2023 perspective,  Democracy Awakening – Notes on the State of America:

Click me – and read Note #5 below.

“[Lincoln] called on his neighbors to defend equality before the law and the right of everyone to consent to government under which they live. They must reclaim the history of America so that it would have ‘a new birth of freedom.’

“When Lincoln said those words in 1863, it was not at all clear his vision would prevail. But he had hope because after decades in which they had not noticed what the powerful were doing to destroy democracy, Americans had woken up. They realized that the very nature of America was under attack. They were divided among themselves and at first they didn’t really know how to fight back, but ordinary people quickly came to pitch in however they could, using the tools they had. ‘We rose each fighting, grasping whatever he could first reach – a scythe – a pitchfork – a chopping axe, or a butcher’s cleaver,’ Lincoln recalled. Once awake, they found the strength of their majority.

“In Lincoln’s era, democracy appeared to have won. But the Americans of Lincoln’s time did not root out the hierarchical strand of our history, leaving it there for other rising autocrats in the future to exploit with their rhetoric and the fears of their followers.

“So far, the hopes of our Founders have never been proven fully right. And yet they have not been proven entirely wrong.

“Once again, we are at a time of testing.

“How it comes out rests, as it always has, in our own hands.”

I’m grateful for the optimism in Richardson’s title, Democracy Awakening, and hope beyond reason that her optimism is well founded. But, as many have said, hope is not a strategy. Hope by itself is allowing inertia or others take over direction and, ultimately, inertia concedes the battle. Hope needs action and awakening requires effort. That’s where we find ourselves today.

The current assault on our democracy isn’t a sudden event. It was concocted through decades of scheming and incremental undermining of our institutions and our culture to make it possible to take away our rights and FREEDOM. The schemers learned how to inflame Americans to fight against America with false claims unmoored to facts. Nevertheless, the usurpers didn’t just sit with their hope of conquest. They took action and oddly, in that way, they offer us a message, a road map for stopping them, for holding fast to our values and promoting our true American hopes and dreams.

Our task as patriots is to hear the call, that these are, indeed, the times that try men’s and women’s souls. Ours is not to grab “a scythe – a pitchfork – a chopping axe, or a butcher’s cleaver.” It is to awaken and to stand a post with a voter registration clipboard to register new voters. It is to canvass and make phone calls and send postcards to voters in battleground states, reminding them that their FREEDOM is on the line, that their American dream is at stake, that their children’s future is in peril of collapsing beneath them before they’ve even started. It is to show our people that they and we can win the days to come by standing for the America that Lincoln taught us we are meant to be.

As Richardson makes clear, “How it comes out rests, as it always has, in our own hands.” It’s time for us to put our hands to work, to stand and say to those who would crush our democracy, “No more!” Then we will have put hope to work and we will be worthy of it.

Speaking Of Hope

Photo credit: Al Jazeera

Hey Bibi!

We know that you feel like you can’t make peace in Gaza because there would immediately be an election in the Knesset which will throw you out of office and into court to stand trial. And we know there is validity to wanting to demolish Hamas before it demolishes Israel, as it has promised to do. But you cannot kill an idea.

Really, Bibi, does this little kid look like a threat to you? Or does the bubbe standing behind him? Or any of the people in any of the Al Jezeera photos here?

Shocking truth #1: Regardless of the destruction you rain down on Gaza, Hamas will not surrender. Ever. And they will only release the hostages when they feel they no longer need them. Bombs won’t set the hostages free or protect Israel for more than just a short time.

Shocking truth #2: This is not all about you. You’re not the center of the universe. You’re just a guy bombing helpless people. The world needs you to wake up. Step over to the right side. Call yourself a mensch if it helps you to do so. Regardless, turn off the attacks. You know: like a statesman. Or a mensch.

You liked Ronald Reagan, right? To paraphrase him,

Mr. Netanyahu, tear down your attacks.

______________________________________

* For a glimpse into the world in which Paine wrote his charged missives, read this fine piece on that history by Steve Schmidt.

** The first pamphlet of The American Crisis was, by order of the Commander – Washington – read to his troops at Valley Forge. It provided sufficient inspiration so that shortly thereafter Washington and his little army re-took Trenton.

The final pamphlet of The American Crisis was published on April 19, 1783 on the 8th anniversary of the first shot of the war, the one “heard ’round the world” from Lexington and Concord. I invite you to link through and read Emerson’s short poem out loud. In a surprising and metaphorical way, we today are required to be the embattled farmers standing by that stream.


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.

Elections


Post 1,044

Get Over It

Joe Biden is the Democratic Party nominee for President. Regardless of his age, his awkward gait, his historic gaffs, his verbally relocating various world leaders to other countries, his paltry number of press conferences, his refusal to be younger than he is and his inability to make everything in the universe just the way you like it, he is the nominee.

Click me

Sure, a younger, more vigorous candidate would be attractive, other things being equal, which they never are. Yes, we’d be inspired to see this candidate doing multiple campaign stops every day, kissing babies and thrilling us with speeches filled with patriotic fervor. We’d delight hearing Kennedy-like repartee, seeing Obama-like airplane boarding hops and shaming of the people who are blocking what we all know is the right thing to do. You’ll have to settle for just that last one.

Biden is going to continue to be the nominee. He’s going to make more gaffs and be older than you’d like. And he’s going to smile that 1,000 watt smile and wear aviator sunglasses and know the difference between right and wrong, good and evil, patriotism and sabotage. He’ll be a lousy candidate but a phenomenal President, doing what the vast majority of Americans want their President to do. He will protect our country, honor the Constitution and steadfastly advance old fashioned stuff like democracy and the rule of law. He’ll continue to return us to government of, by and for the people. You know – like Lincoln said.

Campaigning isn’t the same as actually doing the job. And in the end, the campaigning won’t mean a thing. What will matter is having the right values to be the commander of this ship of state. Only Biden checks that box.

He’s old. Get over it.

Need more help? Take a look at this fantastic list from Daily Kos.

Reality Denial – Reprise
  1. There are claims still being made by congressional Republican election deniers (over 140 of these cowards* are still in office). They are also being made by delusional Trump lawyers and temper tantrum dopes who lost their elections (I’m looking at you, Kari Lake.) Plus there are the frothing Trump supporters and those with a pathological need to be in community with like minded haters (the aggrieved victimhood addicts). Nevertheless, there is a total lack of evidence of voting fraud. Even Rudy Giuliani at last had to admit that. And Trump lost every lawsuit he filed in trying to steal the election for himself – every one for a total lack of evidence. BTW: “Everybody says” and “People are saying” are not evidence. They are not facts. They are circus barker lies.
  2. There is voluminous proof of the opposite, that the 2020 presidential election was free, fair and devoid of all but the most insignificant voting irregularities. This is supported by audits and recounts in many states, counties and cities. To be fair, there were a handful of guys in Ohio and Pennsylvania who tried to vote in the name of their dead mothers. All of their fraudulent votes were cast for Trump. Their votes were discarded and they were prosecuted.
  3. Still, millions of Americans continue to claim that the election was stolen from Trump. They make their claims entirely on the basis of “Yeah, but I want Trump.” They have their fallacious certainties and they voice them with passion, often with barely controlled anger and sometimes with firearms to prove their might and right. But their volume and guns don’t change a thing: they’re still wrong. Pathologically, factually wrong. And they are dedicated to their groundless, anti-American beliefs. Wanna change their minds and votes? Fugeddaboutit.

Of the non-MAGA Republicans (yes, there still are a few), David French writes in The New York Times,

“. . . in any clash between traditional Republicans and MAGA, traditional Republicans typically surrender.”

That’s called cowardice. Or dereliction of duty. Or violation of oath of office. Or all three and perhaps still more dreadful descriptors. They are members of the “I want to keep my job, so I’ll just cave in and shut up” club.

Unqualified

During the first utterly forgettable Republican primary non-debate, several of the candidates railed against abortions done just before a natural birth would occur. I think the walls of my family room are still echoing my involuntary shout, “WHAT?!?

What evidence is there of such a thing? I found out by reading Neil Steinberg’s 13 takeaways from that shameful Republican demonstration of dishonesty and unintended buffoonery. Here’s his #9 explainer:

Someone should tell these Republicans that the reason a woman needs the right to an abortion up to the time of birth is if the baby she is carrying is dead, or has such massive infirmities that it will die shortly after birth. Nobody has an abortion in the eighth month because they’re afraid their child will grow up to be like Ron DeSantis, although that seems a valid reason.

The point of mentioning this abortion nonsense is to use it as a placeholder for all the lies, distortions, hyperbolic propaganda and delusions that Republicans use to “flood the zone.” They vomit this crap (terminology from the DSM-5 reference book for psychological disorders**) so fast that there is no possibility to counter it in real time.

Biden is beginning to swing a club at Trump now, calling out some of his lies and anti-American – let’s call it crap. That’s a start, but we need more people calling out the liars. We need more people asking publicly whether these people spouting untrue things are liars or whether they’re willfully ignorant or just stupid. We need more people shaming the hypocrites when they do and say shameful things, because these candidates aren’t worthy of holding public office.

Nikki Haley’s speech to concede the New Hampshire primary election (here – start at 1:35) was full of attacks against Biden. Other than accurately stating his age, none of what she said was true. None!

But now she thinks that all she has to do is to spout hyperbolic, antagonistic lies and hold on until they perp walk Trump to the fitting room for an orange jumpsuit. Then she’ll beat Biden to become the next President by default. She might be right. Biden can beat Trump, but many have significant misgivings about whether he can beat Haley. She’s younger, you know. But still unqualified.

And she lies. Call her out.

Voters

Bob Dylan was right and continues to be right: The times they are a-changing. Have a look at this chart from Gallup:

Click me for the full report.

Now, if the moderate women – the black line – (defined as those who aren’t bat shit crazy) were to join the ascendant liberal women – the dotted blue line – they would constitute an enormous force for sanity. All they have to do to save our Republic is to show up and vote.

_______________________________

* Courage:

mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty – Merriam-Webster

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if those non-MAGA Republican dopes were suddenly able to find their courage and do what’s right? Have low expectations for this.

** Not actually true. Just a joke, although the DSM-5 is real. Nevertheless, we’re wishing for Republican mental health to re-appear. Once again, have low expectations.


  • 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.

What’s Most Important


Post 1,040


The President of the United States has a lot of responsibilities, including that ” . . . he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed . . .” as required by Article II of the Constitution. The to-do list is long and demanding to the point of being inhuman. There is significant long term impact from nearly everything the President does.

He has to manage:

immigration

the economy

safeguarding our democracy

transportation, like rail and air safety and highways

the health and welfare of the American people

Enough. You get the idea.

But which job of the President is most important? The sine qua non. The one for which all others can be made to take a number and stand in line. As critically important as it is, even in this age of grift, fraud, treason, insurrection and more, it isn’t justice. Even as the cost of groceries is frustratingly high, it isn’t the economy. Our immigration system has been universally pilloried for decades, as Congresses have steadfastly refused to do anything to make it better. That has left us with the chaos we see every day. But even fixing that isn’t the most important duty of the President.

The most critical task of the President of the United States is national security. Protecting us from bad guys who would do us harm must take precedence, because if we are at risk of foreign attack, none of the other issues will matter.

The task is never ending. There is no box to check and then say “next.” On December 8, 1941 it was obvious and easy to identify what must be done. Such clarity is exceedingly rare. National security is most often devilishly complicated.

For example, consider the Ukraine war. In 2022 when Putin’s Russia invaded Ukraine in an effort to destroy that country and to make it part of Russia, it wasn’t obvious that we had a dog in that fight. But it quickly became clear that Putin’s genocidal war crimes adventure has consequences that can impact us.

It’s plain to see that this former KGB tough is trying to reconstitute the Soviet Union. That puts our NATO allies at risk and that means that war would be at our doorstep if Putin succeeds in Ukraine and then starts after our NATO friends. He’s already suggested that annexing the Baltic states might be next. Maybe eastern Poland, too.  Article V of the NATO charter would pull us into the conflict and our national security would be immediately compromised. That electric shock up your spine just now is you recognizing how close we may be to World War III. Prof. Heather Cox Richardson has more on this here.

That’s why national security is job one and why it is devilishly complicated. Let’s look at this situation just a bit more.

It’s well established that Putin kills his critics and political opponents, so it’s little surprise that he murdered Alexei Navalny. Putin had him tried and convicted on trumped up charges and sent him to a gulag in the Siberian Arctic and held there in solitary confinement. There was little Navalny could do to Putin from there. so why bother killing him? Here’s my theory.

Putin is an incrementalist. He pushes the envelope, finds that he can get away with something and then pushes some more. Ukraine is a perfect example.

After annexing the eastern section of Ukraine and the Crimea in 2014 he stopped there, waiting for world reaction. All he got were blabbers blabbing. No one came to the rescue of the Ukrainians to push Putin back, so in 2022 he went after the entire country. That’s incrementalism.

He didn’t get away with that recent invasion yet, but he may be in position to do so. Our spineless Republican Trump suck-ups have followed Trump’s demand to prevent Biden from having a win, so they refuse any further funding for Ukraine. These House cowards are leaving the Ukrainian fighters running out of munitions. They just ceded the bombed out city of Avdiivkak to the Russians, giving them a major win and a retreat for the Ukrainian forces.

That kind of battlefield advance made it time for Putin to push the envelope in a different direction, so he had Navalny murdered. Now Navalny is out of his way permanently.

Steve Schmidt wrote of Navalny:

One day, his name will be known in the same breath as Gandhi, Mandela, Churchill, Lafayette and Lincoln around the world. One day, when Russia is free, Alexei Navalny will be exalted. Today, he is simply dead, murdered for demanding that each individual human has a right to live in freedom.

Anne Applebaum wrote in The Atlantic:

Only minutes after his death was announced, I spoke with Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the Belarusian opposition leader. “We are worried for our people too,” she told me. If Putin can kill Navalny with impunity, then dictators elsewhere might feel empowered to kill other brave people.

More incrementalism.

Now the world is howling, including freedom loving Russians, but my guess is that the howling will slowly quiet and Putin will have gotten away with his crime. The envelope will have been permanently expanded.

That devilishly complicated national security task which comes above and before all others becomes not just more difficult, but more likely murderous when our own team is in constant conflict with itself, undermining our efforts and our options. It used to be that our political differences stopped at the water’s edge. We came together as one to protect and defend our country. Now that imperative has been betrayed, over-laid by petty self-interest and the infestation of cowards. Now the MAGA crowd sides with Putin.

We have elections coming up. Many candidates will thump their chests and proclaim what true Americans they are. They will tell you that their opponent is a weenie, soft on immigration, wanting open borders and willing to let our blood be poisoned by “others.” Those alt-right people are enemies of our country because they are spineless cowards, traitors to our Founders and our Constitution and violators of their oath of office, regardless of the holy verbiage they vomit.

Vote for the other candidates. The ones who have demonstrated that they will go to the Congress or their state capitol to fight for America, to honor their oath of office and to demand justice everywhere. Vote for the candidates who believe in this America, not some dreadful replica of the murderous nation led by Vladimir Putin.

That’s what’s most important for us 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.

The Moronica Awards*


Post 1,036

WARNING! Contains Snark

Sensitive readers are advised to get over it.


The Moronica Awards are given to those who behave with the distinction of being obviously mentally unfit and who offer themselves without hesitation to display their true limitations publicly. The Awards are heavily weighted toward those who have made the greatest public impact to dumb down and compromise our world.

————————————-

First, a context setter from Steve Schmidt in his post of December 13, 2023:

“Where the original America First extremists were Hitler’s useful idiots, these [MAGA] America First-ers are those of Vladimir Putin. Each group disdains the US constitution and is easily manipulated by the siren song of their leader’s madness and lies. Their patriotism is hollow and cancerous. They are the scourge of Americanism because they disdain it and will destabilize the world until it starts burning again. America First was a threat in the 1930s, and it is a threat today.”

Thus, the first 2024 Moronica Award goes to the MAGA America First-ers. These are Trump’s impassioned, fawning followers, eager to seig heil their leader, to renounce their own principles and those of our country, to vent their fears and anger and to be useful idiots for people who hate America (see the Quote of the Week below). While these words might not register within them due to their mental limitations, we offer congratulations to all! You have earned this distinction moronically.

————————————-

The recipients of the second Moronica Award have worked tirelessly to perfect their voluntary ignorance and are most obviously deserving of recognition. The second 2024 Moronica Award goes to Republicans in Congress.

These brain damaged people practice their craft every day, cleverly finding new ways to do moronic things. Their major current project is to wail about the immigration situation at our southern border, decry what they call the President’s open borders policy, demand with eyes a-googling that our laws be improved and then declare that they will refuse every solution offered for improvement, even from bi-partisan coalitions. In other words, they demand change and steadfastly refuse all change. It’s moronic.

These Republican morons in Congress are now attempting to impeach Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. They have no evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors. so they are impeaching him for the complete failure of Congress to enact laws sufficient to the task of protecting our borders. Note that they wrote their articles of impeachment before holding hearings.

These actions and more are truly and deeply moronic, even as they are only the most current demonstrations of Republican moronica.

Congratulations are offered to Congressional Republicans, both for their moronic behavior and for the cowardice of those who know better but refuse to take a stand. Moronically done, one and all!

————————————-

These awards would be incomplete without recognition of all the enablers of the Orange Circus Master. So, the third 2024 Moronica Award goes to Donald Trump, Jr., Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, Steve Bannon, Paul Manafort, Roger Stone, Mark Meadows, Lindsay Graham, Mitch McConnell, Mike Johnson, Ron Johnson, Gini Thomas. Stephen Miller, Jeffrey Clark and the rest of the spineless suck-ups.

A dishonorable mention goes to all the ancestors of Republican cruelty, like Paul Weyrich, Richard Nixon, Christian provocateurs like Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and head Jesus quoting sneak Ralph Reed, plus all the progenitors of modern Republican absolutistism, like Barry Goldwater, George Wallace, Newt Gingrich and the slinkiest of all, Ronald Reagan.

————————————-

The Grand Prize Gold Star 2004 Moronica Award goes to Donald Trump for his outrageous and bafflingly stupid claim of immunity from prosecution for all his criminal behavior while President. On Tuesday a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit handed Trump a devastating defeat for him in his federal elections interference case. It is a magnificent victory for justice and the rule of law.

The unanimous decision (download the text of the court’s decision here) was quite aggressive in it’s smack down of Trump’s “I’m above the law” claims and we can only hope that his lawyers get an appropriate smack down from the American Bar Association for their absurd and insulting claims. Meanwhile, we can cheer that the big bully got punched in the nose once again.

He will appeal to the Supreme Court, but don’t be surprised if they refuse to review the case. Trump’s argument really is that stupid.

To all Moronica Award recipients, sadly, your 2024 Moronica Awards are well-earned.

————————————-

The Cure for Moronica

There is good news and there is bad news.

Yoda

The bad news is that there is no cure for moronica. It is a persistent, progressive disease for which there is no penicillin. There have been reports of a few cases of spontaneous remission, but these are only anecdotal. No scientific study has been possible because nearly all carriers of this disease cling to their extremist views as though they are lifelines in a violent sea.

While there is no known cure for moronica, there is still good news: We can overpower it.

I recently consulted with Master Yoda about this. He explained the path to me and directed that I share his wisdom with you.

“A great and terrible disturbance there is in The Force. Happened this has many times before and evil is once again coming to destroy the Republic and enslave the people.

“If free people you are to remain, The Way of The Vote you must learn. A luminous path it is to what is right and what is good. To refuse The Vote is a path to the dark side.

“Not enough is it for you to do this noble task. Influence others to Vote, you must. You will do this with the The Force that is within you. Feel it connecting you to others and between you and the stacks of prepared ballots awaiting voters. Then guide others, you must, and follow you to the polls they will on the wave of The Force. Then will you feel the crushing of the disturbance in The Force, the moronica will be defeated and triumphant will be democracy.

“Go now. Much work there is to do. If your job you do well, The Vote will be with you, always.”

The final battle will be on November 5. Meanwhile, there is much preparation for us to do, including donating to those who are on the proper path of truth, justice and the American way, plus supporting and promoting the candidates who are the true defenders of our republic. We are the Army Of Democracy!

May The Vote be with us!

Quote of the Week

From Steve Schmidt’s post of February 5,

Tucker Carlson is an internet-era Father Coughlin, a domestic enemy of the US Constitution, a friend of tyrants, and a disloyal American.

It just tickles my confirmation bias to read that. Yes, really.

________________________________

* From Wikipedia:

Moron is a term once used in psychology and psychiatry to denote mild intellectual disability.[1] The term was closely tied with the American eugenics movement.[2] Once the term became popularized, it fell out of use by the psychological community, as it was used more commonly as an insult than as a psychological term. It is similar to imbecile and idiot.[3]

In using the word “moron” in this post, no disparagement is intended toward most persons suffering this mental limitation. The disparagement is solely and intentionally focused on those persons specifically named herein.


  • 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.

Our Young, Our Poor and Our Indicted


Post 1,035


Our Young

No Republican candidate for the presidency has captured the majority of voters under the age of 30 for decades. Hmmm . . . now why would that be?

Could it be that they explicitly court and favor old rich guys and old rich guy wannabees? They say that all we have to do is to crush the evil fascist/communist/socialist/whatever, baby blood drinking Democrats. Not too attractive.

For reasons that seem to be opaque to Republicans, young people today, our best educated generations, people who actually have critical thinking skills, don’t buy that crap. Seems like they actually learned something and can smell a scam all the way from DC.

They’ve learned that those very same Republican liars are the ones making their future prospects so very bleak that most young people figure they’re screwed and won’t be able to afford marriage, children, a house, a car – you know, the American Dream. Plus they’ll always be saddled with their forever student loans, like living in a recurring nightmare. And, of course, global warming is coming to kill them.

Here’s the problem: Our disaffected young don’t vote in great numbers. That leaves them and the rest of us at risk. But Trump may be fixing that for us.

That idiot has picked a fight with Taylor Swift. She endorsed Biden in 2020 and is likely to endorse him this year, but it will be different this time. Now young voters will show up to vote in big numbers because they’re angry about his attacks on their favorite entertainer – it’ll be personal this time. They’ll be angry about Republican attacks on abortion rights, too, and the Republican cruelty toward immigrants. So, in the interest of our democracy, let’s hope Trump cranks up his attacks on Swift. That will make him a useful idiot for democracy. Whooda thunk it?

Our Poor

From STAT:

FIRST OPINION
A prescription against poverty

Pediatricians around the U.S. are having to deal with a stubborn condition: poverty. Parents who can’t afford diapers, stable housing, or even clean clothes are increasingly more common, and children’s health simply can’t thrive when the most basic needs are not taken care of, writes Ben Hoffman, the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, in First Opinion

“Although I can’t write my patients prescriptions to address poverty, Congress can take action right now and enact a proposal that can,” he writes, urging representatives to pass a bipartisan proposal that would help the child tax credit reach more families, and could lift as many as 400,000 above the poverty line in a year. Read more.

But there’s help on the way. I’m sure that the Republicans in the Senate and House are eager to help poor kids.

Oh, wait – they’re the ones who let SNAP benefits lapse and let millions of kids go hungry. They’re the ones who fought the American Rescue Plan that cut our poverty rate for children from over 12% down to 5.2%.  Then they let that program lapse and now another 7% of kids are back in poverty. Looks like we’re going to have to do something about children’s health some other way, because Republicans aren’t going to help. Indeed, under Trump and his Black Shirt leader Stephen Miller, the cruelty was and likely still is the point.

Our Indicted

Reading #1 –  Explaining the 14th Amendment Case

Trump’s reply brief in the 14th Amendment case is due tomorrow, Feb. 5. On Thursday the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in that case.

You need some context for what is about to happen, so read the very readable amicus brief (kind of an FYI to the court to assist in deciding a case) submitted by three eminent scholars of history. It’s just 34 pages (double spaced and with huge margins – i.e., it’s short and easy to read). Find it here. Learn some fascinating history so that you will be able to understand the true meaning of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment and be ready for the upcoming blockbuster decision.

For a somewhat shorter explanation, read the essay from The Atlantic of August 19, 2023 penned by Prof. Laurence Tribe and Judge Michael Luttig, entitled The Constitution Prohibits Trump From Ever Being President Again. Their clarity and their logic are impeccable. You can also watch an interview with the authors here.

Reading #2 – Explaining what’s at stake

Read Prof. Timothy Snyder’s short essay. Don’t let the words of the title, Constitutional Self-Defense, cause your eyes to un-focus. This is no academic sleep inducer. Because you’re a card carrying American, you need to read this. You’ll see why.

Also strongly recommended is Prof. Snyder’s explainer, Bad Arguments and Good Historians – The History of Section 3 and the Future of the Republic. As he writes, “Anyone who can read the Constitution knows that Donald Trump cannot hold office.”

He lists Trump’s arguments to the Court of why the Amendment doesn’t apply to him, then proceeds to explain why these arguments are a total load of bovine excrement. Read his post here.

Reading #3 – Explaining the inexplicable

Art Friedson is an insightful commenter on our political insanity and he’s allowed me to post some of his writings as guest essays in these offerings. Read his recent post (here) about what’s really going on and why, because, 1. It can happen here, and 2. We can do things to stop that from happening, even as Gov. Greg Abbott is taking secession sounding, anti-American actions and Trump has strong-armed Republicans to refuse to do anything to improve our chaotic and sometimes lethal immigration mess.


  • 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.

Now You Know


Post 1,032


Maybe you remember the early days of the Republican War Against America, like during the reign of Saint Ronny I, when he bamboozled the nation with his “trickle-down” voodoo economics scheme to send your money to the 1%. We used to wonder why otherwise sensible people would vote against their own interests. Since Trump came on the scene they have not only voted against their own interests, but they  appear to have abandoned their claimed bedrock values. They follow like sheep. Or lemmings.

There are many reasons for this, some explored in these posts, like striking out at “The Man,” and fear/hatred of others. A part that had eluded me was why evangelicals, people who see themselves as Christians (as in: following Jesus) would flock to an amoral, non-religious violator of pretty much everything they declare they believe in. A recent Sheila Markin post provides clarity.

“In his recent Apple podcast interview with Shumita Basu [Tim Alberta] talks about the two word phrase you hear over and over again from evangelicals today that helps us to understand their shift to the extreme right.

“The two words are ‘under siege.’

“Evangelicals believe they are under siege and ‘the barbarians are at the gates.’ A wicked, godless, hostile culture connected to secular government is coming to get them. This persecution, which they really believe is coming for them, is predicted to intensify. Evangelical pastors are also getting into the act by pushing this “replacement” idea and proclaiming Trump as their savior. Literally. Evangelicals are told they must vote for Trump because he will save them from the barbarians. As Tim Alberta points out, if you feel your culture and faith are about to be obliterated you are more willing to bend your beliefs to accommodate someone as morally bereft as Trump and think of him as your savior. It is remarkable that Trump, a man without religious faith or ethics, a man who is more of an antichrist than a second coming of Christ, has been anointed as the blessed savior of a culture that Trump could not care less about. Trump is simply using the evangelical base as his get out of jail free pass. He needs them to vote for him so he can avoid going to prison.”

Now you know why evangelical extremists do what they do. I’m referring to extremists like:

self-professed uber-Christians

the “Believe as I believe or there’s no God for you” absolutists*

the self-deluded moral high ground grabbers

the Jesus freaks who don’t follow Jesus

the people who want the Ten Commandments posted and recited in schools and courthouses but who don’t believe Trump has to follow them and maybe they don’t have to follow them either

the Fahrenheit 451 mob

the ones who so quickly believe violent lies and embrace racist taunts

the people who wrongly believe this nation was intended by the Founders to be a Christian nation and that non-believers should be expelled from our shores

the ones who so easily sell out themselves and are eager to sell out you and our country, too, all in the name of some imagined purity

These people actually believe they are “under siege” and so, too, is their White privilege. They are frightened and they let the Great Manipulators turn them to hatred.

That’s why Iowa voted for Trump. That plus only 110,298 out of 2,083,979 registered voters (5.3%) bothered to show up at the caucuses.

The evangelicals and the other deluded ignorants are very much afraid, so they are reliable voters who will check the boxes next to the names of the BS spouters.

Many millions of Americans are clamoring for autocracy. Some think they’re in the special, favored group and will gain vast power for themselves by stealing it from you. They want to control what people can say and even what they are allowed to think.

They want a strongman leading an autocracy to fix all the ills that they imagine rain down on them like the plagues on Egypt. It’s that “under siege” thing. They imagine under the leadership of a strongman they will be protected from those unwashed, unwelcome “others,” the “vermin” who are “poisoning our blood” and that at last life will be made right. There’s just one thing.

Autocracy doesn’t work that way. However they begin, they always become brutal and oppressive and they create massive suffering.

The Axis powers of WW II are too easy to name as examples. How about the ancient Roman autocracy? How’d that work out for early Christians or for the people of any of the conquered lands or for their own Plebeians and slaves?

How’d that work out in the Spanish Inquisition, which tortured and murdered tens of thousands of people? Or Pol Pot’s Cambodia (over 2 million killed) or the Balkan Wars (over 120,000 Albanians killed) or Milosevic’s Czechoslovakia (200,000 dead in Bosnia, 2 million homeless and 800,000 Albanians ethnically cleansed). How’d that work out in Stalin’s Russia (over 6 million murdered – over 28 million by the communists 1917 – 1987) or for the Uyghurs in China right now or in any of the ethnic cleansing atrocities like Darfur (over 400,000 dead).

The hoped-for nirvana via strongman/autocracy never appeared for people on those murderous trips into autocracy. They never will.

It’s often said by Americans needing validation that the United States is exceptional and it surely is in some respects. But there is no reason we should expect autocracy in the U.S. to be better in any way than it has been anywhere else throughout history. Indeed, we are already exceptionally good at anger, violence, discrimination and at fooling ourselves.

Dan Rather wrote a piece about Trump in his post of January 23, 2024 and how he has changed us.

“He has changed what was until recently considered unacceptable behavior for our leaders. He has normalized bigotry, misogyny, racism, ageism, ableism, sexism.”

“He has changed our relationships with facts. Now there are phony “alternative facts.” .  .  .  Rational discourse is a thing of the past, because how can you argue with someone who, in effect, refuses to accept that two plus two makes four. [sic]”

“He has changed how we show our discontent, unleashing long-held furies and granting permission to behave badly.”

Be clear that Trump didn’t do that change thing by himself. Millions of Americans cheered for his 2 + 2 = 5 nonsense because the anger made them feel powerful or they felt like Crusader champions or like delusional super patriots or even holy.

Go. Read Rather’s post. Bring with you the understanding that Trump and his lies, his brutish cruelty and his hatred has given permission for people who consider themselves to be good Christians to unleash their long-held furies and to behave badly. He does it, so they do it, too.

Regardless of rants by evangelicals or anyone else, Trump wasn’t sent by God.** Watch this from The Lincoln Project.

Now you know.

ACTION STEP:

Send this to 5 people so that they know, too.

Our existential charge is to Stop Hateful Idiocy Today. You work out the acronym.

________________________________

* From a quote by C.S. Lewis, declaring that he wasn’t of that crowd.

** Said by a woman being interviewed by a reporter outside a polling place in New Hampshire on primary election day:

“Trump is a divine intervention from God. I really believe that.”

I wonder how she justifies her belief, knowing that Trump thinks he can grab women by their private parts; that he can rape them, then defame them; and that he can do all that to her.


  • 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.

Common Sense Is So Uncommon


Post 1,030

___________________________________

It’s been decades of a continuous onslaught of outrages, lies and disinformation, but not just from Trump. It’s also from the toadies, the suck-ups, the cowards, the opportunists, the angry, the power larcenists, the religiously impaired and the intentionally ignorant. They grab megaphones and microphones and aim them straight at our faces and at our democracy.

They’ve told us that the world is flat, that Trump is the new Jesus (or the old one who’s returned to run the Trump hotels), that Covid doesn’t exist, that the Holocaust didn’t happen, that the moon landings were faked and that any election that Trump or any republican lost was stolen. They bray googly-eyed that vaccines don’t work and that they cause autism, sickness and death, and, gasp!, that history books that teach actual history are permanently damaging our children.

The list of inanities is very long and should be embarrassing to everyone. Now they’re telling you that the Constitution doesn’t apply to Trump. That may be comforting to people who are “.  .  .  easy prey of a clever con man, or for normal people unfamiliar with their conscious minds, or for those suffering from a dissociative psychiatric disorder.”* There should be some common sense to inoculate them and us from this crazy.

This madness has been going on for a long time, if you include Trump’s birther idiocy, the Tea Party stupid stuff and Ronald Reagan’s trickle down, voodoo economics lunacy that put your money on the express train to the top 1%. All of it is of a piece with Chico Marx’s character in Duck Soup, saying, “Who ya gonna believe, me or your own eyes?

Millions of Americans refuse to believe their own eyes and instead believe the liars with the megaphones and microphones.

One way to switch from the craziness is to actually enforce the requirements of the Constitution.

You remember that “rule of law” thing, right? It’s the thing that says we all have to obey the law or face the consequences of violating it. But we have to get past the conspiracy zombies and truth murderers to make that work, because the crazies see that laws were broken, but believe that Trump is an suffering victim of the Justice Department and that the rule of law shouldn’t apply to him.

Frightening Fact:

These people walk among us.

That madness why there is so much discussion about attempts to enforce Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. Here it is:

Section 3 Disqualification from Holding Office

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.

No advanced academic degree or legal training is required to understand what that says in plain English, even if you have to read it slowly or more than once. An average 7th grader gets it. It says:

Nobody can be a traitor to his/her oath to our country and then hold office.

That ought to be common sense. It was when Section 3 was written.

Nevertheless, some legal fiction writers today (e.g. Trump’s lawyers and some TV blabbers) are challenging the application of Section 3 to Donald Trump. They’re doing so with fatuous (read: brainless) arguments, like that a president is not an officer of the United States, or that there was no insurrection on January 6, 2021, or that Trump had no part in the insurrection, or that he didn’t give aid and comfort to the insurrectionists.

It’s stupid stuff, we know, but those are some of the arguments Trump’s lawyers have presented to lower courts, some of which endorsed their idiocy, like the Colorado District Court judge who decided the president isn’t an officer of the U.S.

Trump’s lawyers will present that same brain rot to the Supreme Court. The justices will sit with due seriousness listening to the drivel from Trump’s lawyers, giving thoughtful, furrowed-eyebrow consideration to what deserves none of that.

Before that we’ll find out if Clarence Thomas has sufficient integrity to recuse himself from this case that is so obviously connected to his wife, an enthusiastic supporter of the insurrection. Low expectations are recommended.

We will be left to worry whether the extremist justices will once again defy the reality we see with our own eyes and will wantonly ignore common sense.

The six extremist Justices might create some fictitious reason why Section 3 of the 14th Amendment doesn’t apply to the biggest insurrectionist of them all. But we have common sense and we know that it does.

From the abstract of The Sweep and Force of Section Three by William Baude and Michael Stokes Paulsen, published in The University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Vol. 172: **

First, Section Three remains an enforceable part of the Constitution, not limited to the Civil War, and not effectively repealed by nineteenth century amnesty legislation.

Second, Section Three is self-executing, operating as an immediate disqualification from office, without the need for additional action by Congress. It can and should be enforced by every official, state or federal, who judges qualifications.

Third, to the extent of any conflict with prior constitutional rules, Section Three repeals, supersedes, or simply satisfies them. This includes the rules against bills of attainder or ex post facto laws, the Due Process Clause, and even the free speech principles of the First Amendment.

Fourth, Section Three covers a broad range of conduct against the authority of the constitutional order, including many instances of indirect participation or support as “aid or comfort.” It covers a broad range of former offices, including the Presidency. And in particular, it disqualifies former President Donald Trump, and potentially many others, because of their participation in the attempted overthrow of the 2020 presidential election. [edited with paragraph breaks for easier readability]

Once again, there is no need for an advanced academic degree to understand the plain meaning of this explainer. You know what it says. So do the Justices of the Supreme Court. This is common sense stuff.

The scary question for us is whether the Supreme Court Justices have sufficient backbone to refuse pressure from the extremist, power hungry mob and from the Justices’ rich and financially generous friends and influencers. We will learn if common sense is common to them and if it is sufficiently compelling to them to refuse insurrectionists the opportunity for office, as they are so plainly required to do by Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.

  • “This isn’t a crime scene.
  • “It’s a crime in progress.”
  • – Jeff Sharlet

________________________________

* Adapted from Carl Sagan’s The Fine Art of Baloney Detection. This is a great and entertaining essay from a fine wordsmith.

** If you are sufficiently nerdy you can download the full 126-page paper from this link.


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

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

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA


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

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