Democracy

The Through-Line


Last Sunday’s post dealt with the goal of extremist Republicans: destruction. They want to destroy democracy and replace it with autocracy – fascism. They want to destroy the Constitution and replace it with some tool of absolute power only for themselves. They want to destroy facts and truth and replace them with propaganda and self-serving fictions – “alternative facts” – which, as you know, are lies wearing an enemy uniform.

And they don’t care who gets hurt. That was perfectly captured by Trump’s soon-to-be-indicted lawyer, John Eastman, who, at the rally of insurrection on January 6, 2021, proudly declared, “We’re kicking ass and taking names!” I guess that works happily for the kickers, but not so much for the kick-ees. The bad news is that you are intended by the extremists to be one of the kick-ees.

This post is my promised through-line offering to help to explain this behavior, why the self-righteous extremists would want destruction.

I believe this is driven by a primitive, tribal fear of “others.” It is intentionally exclusionary of those not of “our clan.” It is a defense against anything different, anything that might upset what is familiar and feels safe. It is existential tribal warfare.

We pick up a major thread of this to use as example: our 400-year habit of persecuting Blacks. They are different, as White supremacists will have you know. We have bounced around hating many “others” over the centuries, too, including indigenous people (happily misnamed “Indians”), Asians, Irish, Italians, Jews, Catholics and more – really any group that isn’t Anglo-Saxon Protestant and even some who are. The problem now is that Whites are losing their place as our majority racial group and – gasp! – some of those other people have already secured some rights for themselves. Even women! If this is a zero sum game as so many believe, what’s a frightened White supremacist to do?

My stab at understanding this is aided by the pages of Andy Borowitz’s Profiles in Ignorance (see Fine Print #5 below):

“In 2020, Stuart Stevens, who worked on both of George W. Bush’s presidential campaigns, published It Was All a Lie: How the Republican Party Became Donald Trump. Stevens points out what few Republicans have acknowledged: the views that people find abhorrent in Trump make him not the antithesis of Reagan but his rightful successor. “What happens if you spend decades focused on appealing to whites and treating nonwhite voters with, at best, benign neglect?” Stevens asks.

“You get good at doing what it takes to appeal to white voters. That is the truth that led to what is famously called “the southern strategy.” That is the path that leads you to becoming what the Republican Party now proudly embraces: a white grievance party .  .  . Today, in the age of Donald Trump, the most openly racist president since Andrew Johnson or his hero Andrew Jackson (to the extent a know-nothing narcissist is capable of having a hero), many Republicans who find Trump repulsive or at least consider him abrasive and uncouth hark back to Reagan as the standard compared with whom Trump is woefully inadequate .  .  .

But in the area of race, there is a direct line from the more genteel prejudice of Ronald Reagan to the white nationalism of Donald Trump.”

“As for Reagan’s ‘civility and personal grace,’ as Peter Wehner put it, which Reagan, exactly, was he describing? The one who used racist dog whistles like ‘states’ rights’ and ‘welfare queen’? The one who said, of student protesters, ‘If it takes a bloodbath, let’s get it over with’? The one who wished that California’s hungry would contract botulism? The one who permitted his press secretary to turn AIDS into a joke? The one who called African leaders cannibals and monkeys? The Party of Reagan seems pretty recognizable to me [now].”

The through-line also picks up grievances against government. “Government is the problem,” declared Reagan at all campaign stops and at his first inaugural. It moves that line through Trump’s efforts to undermine all government, leading the way to today’s Republican Rabid Rabies Caucus. They amplify America’s original sin in order to appeal to White voters. They pick at the scabs of both real and imagined grievances, giving people something to use to justify their tribal fear-turned-to-anger-turned-to-hatred.

It didn’t start with Reagan. He was hundreds of years too late to have begun that. What he did do is to pick up the ball that Richard Nixon had carried (his “Southern Strategy”) and run way downfield with it. That was “Saint Ronny,” as the myopic, “O’ for the good old days” folks call him, but there was nothing saintly about him.

Pogo was right

Be clear that this post looks mostly at the issue of race being used to polarize our citizens. The important part is that this and more were used to lead to a violent attempt to end our democracy, commit murders and subjugate our people. Worse, some of our elected officials participated in this attempted coup to destroy our country. Here’s a list of the 147 Congressional dishonorables who violated their oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution. They instead chose to surrender their honor and integrity to a would-be tyrant in order to serve their petty selfishness. And they’re still doing that.

History is full of examples of self-serving dishonorables who stoke fear and hatred in order to seize power for themselves. Our challenge today is that many of our dishonorables are still in positions of power and influence. They stoke amygdala stimulated fear and hatred of “others” – that primitive tribal thing – and seek to crush E Pluribus Unum.

That is the through-line.

I’m not sure that John Lewis was right when he declared powerfully, “We’re better than this.”

But we could be.

Finally, this Great Trampling of Rights is well underway by these tribal terrorists. That’s what all the destruction is about. If a right is to endure, there must be a mechanism to ensure it against these assaults. So, here’s a question for us and for our rights:

What is a right without a remedy?

It seems to me that the remedy is up to us.

  • __________________________
  • 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 a lot 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, so don’t bug me about it.
    2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
    3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
    4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
    5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town or neighborhood vibrant.

    JA


Copyright 2023 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Destruction


It’s painfully obvious that the primary purpose of the debt ceiling is to provide a leverage point for Republican wackos to use to pretend to be deeply concerned about government spending. They know they’re unable to club government to death like a baby seal or put it in the dryer and shrink it like a cheap wool sweater until it’s small enough to flush down the bathtub drain. Instead, they pretend that refusing to allow the government to pay its bills and holding the economy of the world hostage until they get their way is powerful negotiating juju.

Just think: They can dramatically harm hundreds of millions of Americans due to the jobs that will be wiped out and interest rates will soar and impoverish everyone. Whole industries could be wiped out. If that weren’t good enough work by the extremists, submarining American trustworthiness around the world will spread financial ruin across the globe, causing a worldwide depression. Plus, our allies will see that we aren’t reliable, so they’ll run for cover, looking for something stable to align with. Maybe Vladimir Putin, who’s stable because he kills his opponents with poison in their underwear. Good thinking, Republican financial and national security geniuses!

That begs the question of why they would want to drive all that destruction. Hint: It isn’t because they don’t want granny to receive her Social Security checks. It’s for one related and one unrelated reason.

The related reason is that they don’t want those freeloading Blacks to get any form of welfare. Not Social Security, not Medicare, not Medicaid, not food stamps – nothing. That’s because they know those people are welfare queens and young bucks up to no good. Ronald Reagan told them so, even though he was unable to point to a single person matching those descriptions that he repeated at every campaign stop in 1980 and again in 1984. The annoying fact that more Whites than any other racial group benefit from such programs doesn’t influence the calculus of these extremists about Blacks in the slightest.

The unrelated reason that’s driving all this “If I don’t get my way I’m gonna hold my breath until I turn blue!” behavior has nothing to do with debt, be it a ceiling or otherwise. These people are dedicated to tearing down our institutions, our government, our way of life and the stability of our society and our culture. They are chaos agents – anarchists – in a constant rage and without a care about who gets hurt. These are nihilists with a bottomless pit of negativity and a complete absence of moral conviction. Their goal is destruction.

Lest you think this description is overblown, listen to anything that comes out of the mouths of Jim Jordan, Marjorie Taylor-Greene, Paul Gosar, Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert, Louie Gohmert, Mo Brooks and the rest of the Rabid Rabies Caucus that just extorted control of the House from Kevin McCarthy. Listen to their incoherent rages and what you will hear is tear-it-down cruelty. Think: the stolen election fraud that they promoted. There is nothing they want to build. Their goal is destruction.

Who are you here for?

Democrats in the majority in the Senate and a Democrat in the White House won’t help a bit to staunch the flow of blood from school kids shot up by a mass murderer because the House extremists won’t lift a finger to make things better. Have a look at how Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) spoke to this in a House committee hearing last year. It’s clear that the Republicans on this committee had no interest in creating safety for our kids. They were just fine with the carnage – the chaos. They still are, because their goal is destruction.

DHA Secretary Alejandro Majorkas

Try this for chaos. The Republicans wail White supremacist tears about our broken immigration system (southern border only) and want to impeach Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Majorkas (a Cuban American) because it’s still broken and he’s an easy target. Yet they refuse every opportunity to take action to improve our immigration system. That’s “every” as in: every. So, the hits just keep on coming from our southern border, because

If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got.

And it’s funny how the chaos spawners never complain about immigration at any other port of entry. Gotta wonder what that’s about. Or not, because we already know that their White Supremacist goal is destruction.

They dislike democracy because of that pesky business of others having a voice about what happens. You know: that annoying majority rule thing. Besides, democracy is slow and messy, not like autocracy where all that’s needed comes from an absolute autocrat. No, a policy of “tear it all down and leave what’s left in the hands of thugs” suits them just fine because their goal is destruction.

It’s possible that a Senate controlled by Democrats will provide the necessary shield against some of the self-destructive insanity of these people. What it will not do is allow us to raise the debt ceiling and avoid national and international disaster.

  • What was formerly common decency is now under attack from malicious thugs nearly everywhere. You can see it every day in our lying, cheating politicians, in the violent actors, like the thugs who shot up the houses and offices of Democratic politicians in Albuquerque, and in the quiet refusal of school boards to declare heritage months because they “exclude people.” That’s really woke stuff coming from people who claim to abhor woke. Worse, they refuse to teach children the whole truth and they burn books. Want chaos? Just destroy education, take away learning and stoke fear. You’ll get more chaos and destruction than you can imagine.
  • Quotations of the Week
  • But when you talk about destruction
    Don’t you know that you can count me out
  •                 “Revolution,” Lennon/McCartney
  • .
  • What are the struggles that have your name on them?
  •                      Rev. Dr. Willie Dwayne Francois III
  • Note: Look for the through-line on this destruction business in Wednesday’s post.
  • __________________________
  • 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 a lot 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, so don’t bug me about it.
    2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
    3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
    4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
    5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town or neighborhood vibrant.

    JA


Copyright 2023 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Brutality


Reading time: 91 seconds

I’m thinking about the honoring of Dr. Martin Luther King, jr. earlier this week and doing something of an inventory.

For example, it’s striking – stunning even – to hear Dr. King’s hopes, indictments, demands and predictions in his I Have A Dream speech, as delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall, August 28, 1963 and to realize yet again that his words are timeless. They shouldn’t have to be.

He said, “We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.” That was in 1963, just 18 months before Bull Connor and his Selma Police thugs, along with Alabama State Trooper thugs, brutalized defenseless people doing nothing more than crossing a bridge in order to march to Montgomery, the state capitol, to demand their rights. I’m sure glad that couldn’t happen today.

Except that two weeks ago Keenan Anderson, a 31 year old Black teacher and father was repeatedly tasered by Los Angeles police. They brutalized him, even as he begged for help. Indeed, he was brutalized to death. By police.

To be fair, Anderson had committed the grievous crime of seeking help following a traffic accident while Black. Think: George Floyd treatment; and Breonna Taylor; Ahmad Aubrey; Trayvon Martin; Duante Wright; Philando Castile; Freddie Gray; Eric Garner; Laquan McDonald; and, and, and .  .  . It’s still a death defying act for a Black person to encounter police or a self-appointed White police helper, even if all s/he is doing is seeking help or walking away or walking home with a can of Coke and a package of Skittles. Brutal.

The Rabid Rabies Caucus of the Republican Party, the party of voter suppression and disenfranchisement, is waging a ferocious war on “others” to reestablish White Citizens Councils, jelly bean jars at voting places, Whites-only drinking fountains and minority rule in cities, states and in Congress. They are brutalizing our nation with their White supremacy. So are the Albuquerque thugs who shot up the homes and offices of Democrats.

We are told that there are some moderate Republicans who don’t support the mouth foamers, but they’ve been genetically modified so that they can neither stand tall nor speak. As useless, the primary job of the Republican Speaker of the House has degenerated into being a doormat for the foamers, as they rush us – brutalize us – headlong into Jim Crow v-2.0.

What do you suppose Dr. King would say about these people? Re-read his speech – better yet, listen to it and hear his voice. Then you’ll know what he would say. Do it, because those people are brutal.

Click to watch this Guardian report.

Questions:

    • 1. Do you have a dream today?
    • 2. What will you do to bring it into existence?
      • Hint: Hope is neither a strategy nor an action.
    • 3. Is today’s reality the best we can do?
  • __________________________
  • 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 a lot 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, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town or neighborhood vibrant.

JA


Copyright 2023 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Raison d’Être


An essay in The Washington Post arrived last Wednesday shortly after my post about Biden’s accomplishments was posted. The WaPo piece is penned by Marc Thiessen and bears the not-so-enlightened title The 10 Worst Things Joe Biden Did in 2022. To be fair, Thiessen also offered a day earlier what he calls The 10 Best Things Biden Did in 2022.

I’m a WaPo subscriber, but I know nothing about Mr. Thiessen other than what I can conjure from his essays. I urge you to read his 10 Worst piece with an open yet critical mindset. He is a master of misdirection via implication.

For example, he starts by saying that Biden’s presidency is the worst in his (Thiessen’s) lifetime. Given the national disaster that were the Trump years, that should set the stage for you on what to expect. Here are a few specifics, numbered per Thiessen’s points.

10. Thiessen begins with, “On Biden’s watch this year” and goes on to list “disasters,” like inflation, gas prices and food prices, as though those are unrelated. But aren’t gas and food prices part of inflation? Besides, they’re out of any president’s control, so hanging them on Biden is senseless.

He goes on to include, “the worst crime wave in many cities since the 1990s. Not since Jimmy Carter has a president unleashed so many calamities at once.” Thiessen deftly ignores that Biden inherited the highest crime rate in 20 years and that crime rates went down in 2022. He implies Biden’s ineptitude with his “Biden’s watch” thing and the “unleashed” bit, as though Biden were attacking the country. Nonsense.

9. He slams Biden for his Jim Crow 2.0 accusation of Georgia’s voting restrictions, saying he owes Georgia an apology. What he fails to note is that Georgia’s governor managed to get over half a million Black and poor Georgians removed from the voter roles, this for major infractions, like being Black or poor. Sounds pretty Jim Crow-ish to me.

7. He criticizes Biden for discharging thousands of our military troops for their having refused an order to take a Covid-19 vaccination. This is forehead-slappingly absurd.

We were facing an assailant of monstrously debilitating power. Were it to sweep through our military we would be unable to defend our country. Do you remember the USS Theodore Roosevelt, on which a huge percentage of the crew went down with Covid? Do you want to have to count on that ship in that condition to protect the nation? Neither did Biden.

Besides, all military people get vaccinated for various illnesses when they report for duty for just such a reason. This is a really myopic and senseless criticism of Biden.

4. “He has failed to avenge the Kabul airport attack that killed 183 people, including 13 Americans.” That happened in August 2021. George W. Bush failed to get Osama bin Laden at all and it took until May 2011, nearly 10 years, for President Obama to get him and avenge 9-11. It took over 34 years to get the guy accused of making the bomb that brought down Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.

The ISIS-K bad guys in Kabul will get their day of reckoning for their murderous bombing. Criticizing Biden for not having captured or killed them yet is senseless.

1. “He slow-rolled military aid to Ukraine out of fear of provoking Vladimir Putin.” Thiessen cannot be so simple minded that he thinks that military aid to Ukraine is a single issue challenge, right? Maybe I’m wrong about that.

Maybe he thinks that poking Putin in the eye over and over would never have bad consequences for us. Nevertheless, we’ve been the biggest cheerleader for Ukraine and provided far more munitions than anyone else. Plus, we supplied the leadership for sanctions on Russia. So far Putin hasn’t been provoked into using nukes. Maybe Biden’s thoughtfulness and caution are the stuff of wisdom.

Oddly, Thiessen’s headline about “slow-rolled military aid to Ukraine” sounds like a positive to me, not one of Biden’s 10 worst.

Throughout our ongoing Constitutional crisis that is Donald Trump and his extremists, posts like Thiessen’s have come in a constant torrent and most are free of critical thought. Their raison d’être (literally, “reason for being;” their purpose) is to tear down, to be cruel.

I have described such people, most often in an effort to understand and explain their behavior. To be honest, sometimes it was just to hit back. But the report of the January 6 Committee is out, so I leave it to those patriotic people of the Committee and to bright, insightful observers like Tom Nichols and Peter Wehner to give further insight into the Cruellas.

I don’t know if Mr. Thiessen is an extremist, but his knuckle headed criticism of Joe Biden suggests a commitment to outrage and cruelty, rather than to reasonable thinking and solutions. I’ll read his offerings again someday, concurrent with welcoming other extremists – when they atone for their sins as fervently and as publicly as they committed them.

The New Year

My friend Mardy Grothe publishes a weekly post focused on literature, language and thinking. Suffice it to say that I read his post first every Sunday.*

Last Sunday he quoted Zora Neale Hurston from her 1937 book, Their Eyes Were Watching God, in which the narrator says, “There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” Then Mardy challenges us, asking, Will 2023 Answer Questions for You, or Ask Them?

Responding in the political arena, we face enormous challenges, most alarmingly from extremists who want to “tear it all down,” as Steve Bannon exclaimed. That positions those whose sole raison d’être is to grab power as little more than obstructionists at best and sideshow executioners at worst. Will their behavior answer or ask questions for/of us?

It seems to me that seeking answers must focus on the questions of how to deal with entrenched outrage and anger and still make progress on our national challenges. That makes me wonder where Democrats will focus. It’s very easy to simply be reactionary, but most commonly that’s only momentarily satisfying, while remaining unproductive of anything worthwhile.

2023: A year of questions or answers? What will be our raison d’être in this new year?

——————————-

* To subscribe, send an email to Mardy at: [email protected] with “Subscribe” in the Subject area.

————————————

  • 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 a lot 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, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town or neighborhood vibrant.

JA


Copyright 2023 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Science Fair Project, An Update, Hanukkah and the Weather


A Saturday post – because you might be busy tomorrow.

Voyager 1 – traveling for over 45 years, now 14.3 million miles from Earth in inter-stellar space, 22 light-hours away, traveling at over 36,000 mph – and still exploring.

Science Fair Project: The Search For Alien Life
Hypothesis:

There is detectable alien life in the universe.

Procedure:

Observe behavior.

Observation #1

I stumbled upon a short post from October 7, 2010 (edited here for brevity). Read it to observe behavior.

Lemmings and Leaders

It’s a common belief that those cute little lemmings follow one another over a cliff and are dashed on the rocks below to their instant demise. In point of fact, lemmings aren’t particularly smart, but they do have enough innate survival instinct not to follow their pals over a cliff.

Mark Kirk was a congressman (R-IL-10) for 10 years.  He did what he was told to do by Republican leadership, voting for every Republican spending bill. He helped to double the national debt, adding more to it than all previous administrations combined since George Washington, this because Kirk was a good little doobie follower. But we didn’t elect him to be a follower.

When the issue of war, any nation’s gravest question, came before him, Mark Kirk asked not a single question in session. He didn’t offer any skepticism or even appear to raise an eyebrow. He just voted as he was told, in lock step with the rest of the Republicans for Bush’s wrong war, taking us over the metaphorical cliff. He was a suicidal/homicidal follower.

We need our leaders to be bolder than that and, certainly, we need them to be at least as smart as lemmings and not follow anyone over a cliff.

We are beset by leaders who don’t lead, who instead take a cowardly path. Because this is ultimately self-destructive to our nation and is in conflict with our natural drive for self-preservation (Ref: lemmings), this behavior must be caused by some non-native force and is likely the result of alien influence.

Observation #2

The First Amendment reads, “Congress shall make no law .  .  .  abridging the freedom of speech .  .  .”

That has nothing to do with whether any private company, including pre-Musk Twitter, may decide to blank out liars and hate speech.

Also, the First Amendment has nothing to do with Apple deciding to abandon Twitter and instead put their advertising dollars where the company won’t be associated with liars and hate speech. Musk’s whining about freedom of speech is factually empty and is highly indicative of aberrant behavior, possibly from an alien source.

The government won’t stop Musk from his senseless blabbing – that’s prohibited – but millions of exiting employees, users and advertisers may well stop him.

Oddly concurrent with his visionary, marvelous stuff, Musk wants to promote (or at least allow) extremism that harms people. This is solid evidence of a diabolical alien influence.

    • “Elon Musk is a geyser of gibberish, so it’s important not to make too much of anything he says.”
    • – Frank Bruni

With pasted on smirks, Lauren Boebert and Matt Gaetz sat, refusing to honor Ukrainian President Zelinskyy. Could they be aliens?

Hypothesis Proven True

Hypothesis: There is detectable alien life in the universe.

These observations of terrestrial life compromised by extraterrestrial afflictions should be enough to give us pause. We don’t need the new NASA moon program or the SETI Array or listening probes sailing beyond our solar system to establish that there are alien life forms about. They’re unmistakable, as they emit unstable, intelligence-impersonating signals that weaken us. We have Marjorie Taylor Greene, Paul Gosar, Donald Trump, Kevin McCarthy, Kari Lake and so many more proofs of alien life forms right here.

Most of the time they fiddled with their phones (texting one another?). That was after they had crashed security and refused screening. Yeah, they’re probably aliens.

Many alien forms are without skeletal support, spineless and weak. Others amass protection via insulation made of cash. Most babble fantasies constantly. They hide behind our laws and our protections, using our good will to attack and destroy us. They have infiltrated our planet, set us into tribal conflict and polluted our gene pool.

Conclusion

With such a mass of evidence, we are left without doubt of the existence of alien life. Even more significant, they walk among us!

Worst of all, they create deadly conflict among our people, putting us more at risk every day.

Recommendations

The key for us will be to minimize the influence of these aliens and to take steps to eradicate this infestation. We must be smart and clever, as we go about purifying our planet. Otherwise, Earth will become just another rock in the vastness of space that is absent of any intelligent life.

———————————-

An Update

In my December 14 post I listed many of the clinically crazy things far righties do. Among them was,

They project alt-right wrongdoing onto others. Whatever the far right is doing, they accuse the “socialist Democrats” of it, once again without any evidence.

As though to cast a bright light on such behavior, last weekend Trump posted on his Truth Social fantasy grievance platform:

“They say that the Unselect Committee of Democrats, Misfits, and Thugs, without any representation from Republicans in good standing, is getting ready to recommend Criminal Charges to the highly partisan, political, and Corrupt ‘Justice’ Department for the ‘PEACEFULLY & PATRIOTICLY’ speech I made on January 6th. This and my actions were mild & loving, especially when compared to Democrats wild spewing of HATE.” [Copied and pasted in full from Trump’s post. All emphasis, incorrect grammar, punctuation and spelling are his except the bold – that’s mine. JA]

It’s the “Democrats wild spewing of HATE” piece that is the projection. See how that works?

Now that the January 6th Committee report is out, expect continuous vomiting of such stupid stuff. Brace yourself.

Hanukkah

In addition to tomorrow being Christmas, it is also the eighth night of Hanukkah – all candles blazing. It is the celebration of the end of a long and brutal oppression, a victory for freedom and the restoration of justice.

Last week the members of the January 6 Committee gave our country the gift of a vital step in the same direction. They declared their referrals for criminal prosecution to the Department of Justice and referrals to the House for ethics violations.

The journey to freedom and justice is a hard and constant struggle. Light some candles tonight to celebrate our victory.

Weather

You don’t need to be told that it’s nasty, dangerous cold outside, but here’s the real deal.

You and I are inside heated dwellings and we stay comfy – and that’s great. It’s also true that right here on the North Shore we have homeless (“unhoused”) people trying to survive by staying inside a refrigerator box. It isn’t warm there and they most definitely are not comfy. But you and I can do something about that.

Rotary of Northbrook has a “Coat Off Your Back” project to collect and distribute “gently used” winter coats to people who need them. Here’s a link to find drop off points. If you aren’t near Northbrook, just check Rotary or other do-gooder organizations near you. The Rotary effort ends today, so hurry. People are cold.

On behalf of cold people, please pass along this message to family, friends, neighbors – even Trump voters. We’re in this together.

————————————

  • 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 a lot 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, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town or neighborhood vibrant.

JA


Copyright 2023 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Rationalizing Anything


I’ve done a little research in order to understand standard issue alt-right rationalizing behavior. Here’s a sampling from right wing politicians, pundits and the little folk on the far right (non-traditional Republicans – the ones whose sound bites make the news). See if this comports with your experience of your crazy Uncle Bob and now of the Mark Meadows texts just being made public.

They make sweeping accusations and assertions in the complete absence of evidence to support such claims. Usually done serially and at high speed in order to overwhelm challengers and not have to answer questions.

Asking for evidence to support their accusations and assertions elicits some version of, “Everybody knows” or a restatement of the accusation, but with amped up volume. The simple declaration of their claims is all they need for conviction and a subsequent hanging in the town square.

They project alt-right wrongdoing onto others. Whatever the far right is doing, they accuse the “socialist Democrats” of it, once again without any evidence. It’s always someone else who is the bad guy. Expect a world class performance every time.

Stand back, because they volcanically erupt focus-transferring what-about-isms. This is a bit like “throwing their voice” – ventriloquism – but they’re actually trying to throw reality.

Dismissing all news or evidence that counters their story is a requirement for membership in this club. For example, news stories they don’t like are eviscerated by calling them lies (“lame-stream media”) to make them go away. That seems to prove to themselves the truth and accuracy of their own counter-factual beliefs and reestablishes their power position.
.
They claim there is outrageous wrong being done to totally pure, patriotic righty extremists, like the horrible abuse being done to January 6 insurrectionists – oops, legitimate, peaceful protesters – by our illegitimate federal government.
.
They are adept at performance politics of any description done to “own the libs.” There’s really nothing quite as satisfying as demonizing others, especially if they are so weenie that they won’t march a Confederate battle flag through the Capitol Building or claim that an election was stolen.
.

All in all, it’s what you could call “aggressive ignorance” that seals off brain functioning from learning. Plus, there’s the anger attendant to these folks. Very dangerous.

Those things and more are what make it hard to have any conversation with a MAGA conspiracy theorist, alt-right extremist or pretty much anyone who self-identifies as a Republican. The question for the rest of us is, “How can we deal with people who rationalize and fervently believe their Through The Looking Glass alternate reality in order to prevent them from destroying our democracy?”

Ideas? Bueller? Bueller?

Here’s another example of rationalizing.

Prof. Heather Cox Richardson’s Letters From An American are always interesting and most often educational. After all, she is a teacher.

Her post of December 2 concerned the issue of treason and detailed John Brown’s attempt to launch a slave rebellion in 1859. He was captured and hanged, the first American to be executed for treason.

This behavior geek moment concerns the State of Virginia, which conducted the hanging.

Richardson wrote,

“The execution of John Brown for treason set a precedent.

“And in just over a year, Virginians themselves would take up arms against the federal government.”

Hmmm .  .  .

Humans are such a reliable source of entertainment, as we display our boundless ability to rationalize.

Indeed, here’s a 2024 pre-campaign tweet from Ron DeSantis’ wife, Casey:

Thanks go to Jim Nathan for this.

Nobody has a clue why she figures she’s speaking for millions of people. Really, that’s some impressive turf grabbing. Plus, the freedom to which she refers apparently only applies to those who are White, Christian, straight and probably male. How do they rationalize that? Click the tweet and read the comments.

And be sure to watch the black-and-white electioneering ad below the tweet. It mentions God 10 times in just 96 seconds, thus setting a new land speed record for attempted manipulation of the ignorant. Implied is, “A vote for ‘I love you, Ron’ is a vote for God.” That’s beyond rationalizing. It’s delusional and truly gag-able.

Worse is the rationalizing away of the cruelty DeSantis has inflicted on those who aren’t exactly like him and his bible thumping wife. Contrary to Casey DeSantis’ claim, “I love you Ron” actively and enthusiastically works to take away people’s freedom, like his “Don’t say gay” bill. That’s the opposite of “fighting for freedom” and is world class rationalizing.

I know nothing more about Casey DeSantis, but Ron DeSantis can be counted upon to rationalize all manner of extremist notions to penalize others in order to appeal to his extremist base and promote himself.

To Republican voters: Caveat emptor. What you see is what you get.

Sooner or later DeSantis will have you and your freedom in his sights. He’ll have a fabulous, rationalized justification for attacking you, but you won’t like it. Didn’t we learn this lesson when Trump failed to become “presidential?” Perhaps not.

Avoiding Rationalizing – Here’s How

Maureen Dowd’s column of December 3 is an appeal to support those combating child killing cancer and more. She details her friend, College Football Hall of Fame coach Lloyd Carr (University of Michigan) and the tragic story of his grandson. In her piece she offers a couple of Carr’s football mantras that apply to fighting cancer and, really, anything needing to be championed:

“You can’t do everything but you can do something.”

“Blame no one, expect nothing, do something.”

I strongly recommend that you write Carr’s directives in big, bold letters and post them where you see them every day.

  • ————————————

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 a lot 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, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town or neighborhood vibrant.

JA


Copyright 2023 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Special Tuesday Post – Read This First


The case is from North Carolina, Moore v. Harper, and it is perhaps the most threatening challenge to our freedom and to our way of life in our nation’s entire history. It will be heard in the Supreme Court oin December 7. We better hope that it doesn’t become a day of infamy.

This state bill is a brazen step to undermine the fundamental principle of checks and balances and to destroy election integrity by vesting all election power in state legislators, not We The People. It would prohibit all state court and executive review of legislative tampering with our rights, regardless of how outrageous and democracy crushing a legislature is.

This travesty of a bill would allow state legislators to:

– end early voting and vote-by-mail

– close polling places to make it difficult for opposition voters to vote

– rig voting maps to favor one party and keep them in power forever (gerrymandering)

– bring back Jim Crow voting laws

  • THIS BILL WOULD ALLOW STATE LEGISLATORS TO COMPLETELY IGNORE THE WILL OF THE VOTERS!

This is cheating-by-substitute-electors on steroids. In contrast to Trump’s lying, his  “stop the steal” fraud, these legislatures would actually have the power to steal elections. We know that’s true, because doing so is the entire intent of this heinous bill. It is an effort to make legal what Trump, John Eastman and their cult of thieves tried to do on January 6.

Follow this link to Vox’s description of this seditious North Carolina bill and read about it in Sheila Markin’s explainer.

It’s as clear as can be that this North Carolina perversion is an effort to end elections altogether and to vest all power in the legislators of one party – NOT WE THE PEOPLE. That’s how Russia, China, Hungary, Iran, North Korea and all authoritarian countries operate. If the Court enshrines this nuclear bomb into our democracy, all swing states (predominantly Republican) will pass identical laws and our experiment in self-rule will be over. Dead. Your voice will be silenced permanently.

I wrote “clear as can be,” but it may not be clear enough for six far right Supreme Court Justices, who have their religion and their extremist rationalizations blinding their eyes. Should they decide in favor of the petitioners (the North Carolina state legislators), they will claim their conservative bona fides, but there is nothing conservative about disenfranchising all voters in the state, nor of ending the safety of checks and balances.

What’s really odd and so deeply troubling is that the Supreme Court decided to hear this case at all. It’s so plainly anti-Constitution that they should have refused it immediately.

These justices have proven their immunity to public opinion (see Dobbs or ask that raped, 10-year-old Ohio girl), and I’m not at all clear what we can do to stop this Constitution killing machine, the Supreme Court.

During the Senate confirmation hearings on John Roberts, Neil Gorsuch, Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, they all assured us of their belief in stare decisis – to leave Supreme Court precedent unmolested – and that Roe was settled law.

So-called “moderate” Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) was the deciding vote on the Kavanaugh confirmation and she declared that in a private meeting he had given her his assurance about Roe. She believed him, too, just as the Senate believed all 6 extremist justices.

Where did Collins’ common sense go? How did she allow her BS detector to become inoperative? For that matter, how did senators fail to believe Anita Hill and instead they believed Clarence Thomas and his “high-tech lynching” deception?

Now these extremists are in a position to end our democracy. Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever. There will never be a chance to vote it back. That’s why this is perhaps the most threatening challenge to our freedom and to our way of life in our nation’s entire history.

NOTE: For best clarity about this case you must read Sheila Markin’s post. She has the legal bona fides to analyze what’s at stake and she puts it in plain English for us.

Meanwhile, you can join Common Cause-Ohio’s listening party for the oral arguments in this case at 8:45 – 10:15 AM CST tomorrow, or listen on the Supreme Court web site.

————————————

  • 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 a lot 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, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town or neighborhood vibrant.

JA


Copyright 2023 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

For the Dreamers


    • “The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dream shall never die.”
    • – Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA), Democratic National Convention, August 12, 1980

The Republicans have taken  control of the House – barely – and the overall election outcome should trigger waves of consternation and gnashing of teeth over how so many screwed up for so long and in such creatively self-destructive ways in so many types of races.

Republicans fielded hateful, brain-free candidates and We The People didn’t like them. The geniuses at the RNC had to have been expert sleuths in order to find so many unqualified candidates. Herschel Walker? Seriously?

There were some impressive Democrat performances, too, for which there aren’t yet words to describe, like how Democrats managed to lose four House races in upstate New York.

How come the DNC couldn’t send the desperately needed funding to Tim Ryan in Ohio and Beto O’Rourke in Texas? Those guys are the ones who have the character and ability to be the fighters we’ll need over the next decades, the people with the moxie to defeat the authoritarians, but the DNC largely abandoned them.

There will be lots of time for licking wounds and I fervently hope there’s a lot of introspection and forehead slapping. And please, DNC, have the courage to admit what everyone knows: your communication and messaging sucks. Maybe there exists a self-help organization called Sucky-Talkers Anonymous.

Bob: “Hi. I’m Bob and I suck at messaging.”

Group: “Hi, Bob. Yes, you do.”

Of course, there were wins, some found even in losses, like Adam Frisch’s challenge to “bubble-headed woman who should never be allowed near any dangerous implement, like a microphone,” Lauren Boebert. They’re reporting that 99% of the votes are counted, with the candidates separated by just 554 votes. Kudos to Frisch in this deeply red district.

It’s odd human being stuff that people fall for a pretty face, like Boebert, Kari Lake, Sarah Palin and Scott Brown without investigating whether there’s any sign of intelligent life behind the face.

There are two obvious and significant things to expect over the next two years. In the Senate, President Biden will continue to be able to staff the 80-plus federal judiciary benches awaiting newbies. Invoking the words of Joe Biden when speaking to President Obama on the passage of the ACA – “Obamacare” – and while too close to an open microphone, “This is a big f***ing deal.”

Even better, if a vacancy or two should come about on the Supreme Court, Biden will provide nominees to the Senate and the Republicans will not be able to stymie the process with fabricated new rules of obstruction. It sure would be lovely if Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito were to suddenly contract cases of Incipient Mortality Awareness Despair Over Probable Ending (“IMADOPE”) and they decided to spend more time with their families. One could hope.

Thanks go to Jim Nathan for this piece

The other thing to expect will occur in the House, where the Republican circus will have all three rings set up, with nothing but sense-defying acts taking place.

For example, we can expect Jim “The Flame Throwing Ignoramus” Jordan (R-OH) to chair the judiciary committee and hold a protracted, pointless hearing into Hunter Biden. After that there will be more pointless hearings focused on Biden and his laptop. Following that will be hearings into Biden’s involvement in the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby and in the assassinations of Presidents Lincoln, Garfield and Kennedy.

In the end, we will have spent many millions of dollars investigating anything Hunter Biden has thought, done or could spell for the entire duration of his life. The hearings will be continuous until the 2024 election in order for the Republicans to make Democrats look dirty. The official report will be 800 pages long and will say nothing – just like the report from the Benghazi hearings Committee on Stupid, Darryl Issa (R-CA), Chairman.

And that kind of stupidity and cruelty by Republicans is what we can expect from this new Republican controlled House. Indeed, they’re already gathering firewood for the witch burning pits.

Republicans have declared that they intend to impeach President Biden, Vice President Harris, Anthony Fauci and Alejandro Mayorkas, Director of Homeland Security. They have no charges against any of them. There isn’t even a whiff of wrongdoing to investigate. Most Republicans in Congress don’t even know who Mayorkas is. No matter. These hearings leading to impeachment votes are solely to get back at Democrats for the two impeachments of the orange president. Yes, they’re as infantile as that.

And while those hearings and impeachments are going on there will be no people’s business conducted. There will be little to no problems solved, no solutions found. The only accomplishment will be the performance of a Republican temper tantrum.

You can also expect push-back from the Republican House against our support for Ukraine. The fascist extreme wouldn’t want to do anything to upset their role model, Vladimir Putin. And Ukraine as a sovereign nation, it’s people wanting democracy and freedom? “Who cares?” say the Republicans.

Because that’s what Republicans do. They are all about demonizing, hating and legalized cruelty. To see this clearly, all you need to examine are all the racist and antisemitic spewings by Republicans. Unlike Democrats, they never police their own.

Together, Republicans comprise a national version of White Citizens Councils. That “Make America Great Again” mantra refers to when America’s domestic power was bed sheet white and sub-humans of color were controlled by their White betters.

But such unconscionable domination is already beginning to come to a close, as our White majority is becoming the White minority. Indeed, that’s the driver of so much of the repression. People don’t give up power willingly.

MAGA rallies cannot push back the tide, which triggers fear in those who want to return to the early 1950s. You know: before Brown v Board of Education; the 1964 Civil Rights Act; the 1965 Voting Rights Act and the rest of what allows non-Whites to be full citizens.

What White supremacists are left with is fear, hatred, violence and pitiful attempts at appearing to be something they are not. Recall Trump saying at a 2016 rally, “There’s my African-American.” Singular. Pick that apart any way you like, including empathy for that guy for his being so dreadfully duped.

To be clear, there are victories from our multi-week election day, most notably for what did not happen: a red wave. Plus, there were both new and re-elected blue governors, secretaries of state and more. These are people who trust in the Constitution and the will of We The People, so they don’t threaten to reverse our elections in order to suit themselves and their extremist overlords.

Insane factoid: Isn’t it crazy that times are so upside down that we celebrate that no election workers or voters were harmed by vigilante idiots? Here’s to the judges who prohibited the vigilantes from vigilante-ing!

So, this election was a mixed bag. Read Thomas Friedman’s post, America Dodged An Arrow for more on that.

Hope still lives and the dream is still alive – and it will be so as long as we keep it alive. That opens the door to what we’ll do to make 2024 what we need it to be. The starter’s pistol for that race has already fired.

PS

Merrick, there is a difference between: 1. Doing things right while doing the right things, as well as sweating the details; and, 2. Refusing to make a decision.

We’re 22 months down the road. It’s time to make a decision based on the painfully obvious evidence. Tell Jack Smith I said so.

————————————

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 a lot 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, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town or neighborhood vibrant.

JA


Copyright 2023 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Bolts


The call and response could go this way:

What do we want?

Certainty!

When do we want it?

Now!

We humans prefer predictability. It makes us feel secure. We aren’t such frightened little bunnies when we know what we can count on today and tomorrow, too. Sadly, we live in a world that simply isn’t all that predictable, due in part to the ever-accelerating rate of change in our world of non-stop breaking news.

America has always had a share of its citizenry who mouthed the words of support for democracy but didn’t really like or support it. That majority rule thing means that sometimes some people don’t get what they want. Some people just can’t handle not getting what they want all the time.

Plus, everything takes so much longer to decide and to do when everything is effectively a function of a committee, which is what democracy implies. Besides, some people don’t like to share and want all the power for themselves. They operate under the assumption that the “others” are too lazy or ignorant or less worthy somehow, so power grabbing by them, the “more equals,” just makes sense to them. And it’s so very self-satisfying.

We tried that anti-democracy thing with King George III at the top of the power pyramid and didn’t like that too much. That led to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, saying that we’d rather do that ruling thing ourselves.

It was intended to include all of us (eventually). But anti-democracy is really attractive to some, especially in the face of change and uncertainty.

Last September 11 the New York Times published an opinion piece by Elizabeth Rush entitled What Antarctica’s Disintegration Asks Of Us. She calls for having a different attitude toward this aspect of climate warming, yet my big takeaway was just one sentence in her piece:

“How do we go on living when the very things we once depended upon have become undependable?”

We are decades past the time when it became clear that we are killing ourselves and our planet on the installment plan, one tank of gas at a time, yet practically nothing has been done to ameliorate the problem. Not long ago there were the Paris Climate Accords and we earthlings have a perfect record. Of the 195 nations pledging specific action to deal with global warming, not even one country has kept its promise and most haven’t done a thing.

The Anasazi cliff dwellers lived for over 1,000 years in what is now southwest Colorado. It was a very dry climate, yet they managed to grow crops and scratch out their existence. It had always worked for them.

Right up until it didn’t.

One day between 1275 and 1300 A.D. they left. They didn’t leave a note about why they were departing or where they were going.

Something had become undependable. Best guess: years of drought forced them to leave in order to find a place where there could be a dependable supply of food and water.

The Anasazi liked dependability and predictability just as much as we do today. But they had an existential problem, so they made a decision and all of them left. Nobody knows how they came to their decision, but if drought was the impetus, what they had to do probably looked fairly obvious. Other times, solutions don’t look as obvious and decisions are difficult and slow to be made.

Now we’re facing a challenge every bit as dire as that of the Anasazi and increasingly as obvious. The Antarctica glacier that Elizabeth Rush and the scientific and journalistic team investigated is melting and has the volume to raise sea levels 10 feet. Say good-bye to all coastal cities on the globe. Nobody knows what other climate changes that much sea level rise could trigger.

The question we are going to have to answer is whether we will allow our democracy to solve this riddle. Doing so will be much slower than by authoritarian dictum. Also, it will likely be better reasoned and actually workable. That’s what happens when extra wisdom is applied.

You’ve watched would-be authoritarians over the past years and even now, as they work tirelessly to undermine democracy in order to grab power for themselves. They want to solve problems by fiat.

As of this writing Kari Lake is continuing to say that she will refuse the election results in the Arizona gubernatorial election if she doesn’t win. That’s the very stuff of authoritarianism. Would you trust Kari Lake or anyone like her to make life and death decisions for you or for our nation?

Now, for a collision of muddled metaphors.
.

We don’t have certainty and we will never have it. The people trying to sell you their authoritarian bucket of bolts are calling it dependability and predictability and saying theirs is the best answer. They are singing a siren song to lure you to crash on the slippery rocks of authoritarianism. They claim theirs is the patriotic way and that all you have to do to secure their promise for yourself, to have the predictability you crave, is to surrender your freedom and your voice.

They will be trying to get you to bite into their poison apple two years from now. If there is any certainty anywhere, some of them will be doing that every two years for the rest of your life. So, always be prepared with your decision.

Otherwise, you’ll be left clutching slimy authoritarian rocks and holding a bucket of worthless bolts.

Covid Update

No, it hasn’t gone away. Here’s an updated chart of daily Covid deaths:

We endured thousands of daily Covid deaths for over two years. Then magical vaccines came along, rationed first to healthcare workers, then to the elderly entrapped in nursing facilities and at last to the general public and there was a drastic reduction in Covid deaths. We still lost over 400 of our fellow citizens every day to this pandemic for a long time. As you can see from the chart, the daily death count began to decline in late October and is now below 300.

The fact remains that over 95% of the people who die from Covid every day are or were vaccine refusers. The same percentage applies to those sick enough to be hospitalized but who don’t die. Meanwhile, you do the math on how very few would die from Covid if vaccine refusal went away.

295 people dead from Covid every day is better than before, but hardly something to celebrate.

Oh, wait – we’ve already moved on and are now paying no attention to Covid at all. There are too many fresh distractions every day in this hyped up, always-breaking-news environment for us to stay focused on any one thing for very long. So, no celebration.

Ukraine Update

Ukrainian troops have recaptured the city of Kherson in the southeast of Ukraine along the Dnipro River where it empties into the Black Sea. Russian troops ran away from the advance of liberating Ukrainian troops and the Ukrainian flag flies in that city once again. It appears we’re coming closer to the day when President Zelenskyy can demand Putin’s surrender, as outlined last March.

Ukrainian flag is raised in Kherson with President Zelenskyy attending – 14 Nov 2022. Click the pic.

————————————

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 a lot 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, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town or neighborhood vibrant.

JA


Copyright 2023 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Potpourri v16.0


Very late edition – Dateline: America
.

EXTRA! EXTRA!

EXTRA!

Republican Red Wave Just a Little Splash!

Dems Retain Control of Senate!

Control of House Still Too Close To Call

In a stunning surprise on Saturday night the Senate race in Nevada was called in favor of Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, giving Dems 50 votes plus the vote of the VIce-President in the upper chamber. Control of the Senate will remain with Dems. That will assure that Republicans cannot universally block President Biden, including in the ability to place judges onto federal benches, all the way up to the Supreme Court if such a replacement comes to be needed.

Still to be decided is the 100th seat in the Senate, as the Georgia seat presently held by Rafael Warnock will be contested in a runoff election on December 6 against former football star and Word Salad Party candidate, Herschel Walker. The outcome of that race will not influence control in the Senate.

This happened in a week that began filled with dread and ended with the most powerful of statements. The Republicans had said that they stood for ignoring the will of the majority, lying, stealing, stripping rights from Americans and ending our democracy.

The American people stood up and said, “Not on my watch.”

Reports are coming in that the flag atop the Capitol Building is flying just a bit higher today and one witness noticed a tear of joy in the eye of Lady Liberty in New York Harbor. The Founders are said to be resting undisturbed in the presence of this important news.


Russians and Republicans

From Prof. Heather Cox Richardson on November 7:

Today, Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Russian oligarch and the leader of the private military company the Wagner Group, who is close to Russian president Vladimir Putin, boasted that Russians had interfered in U.S. elections and continue to do so. “We have interfered, we are interfering and we will continue to interfere. Carefully, accurately, surgically and in our own way, as we know how to do.” He added: “During our pinpoint operations, we will remove both kidneys and the liver at once.”

Prigozhin is apparently behind the Russia-based “troll farms” that try to affect U.S. elections. Steven Lee Myers of the New York Times writes that Russians did indeed target the 2022 elections to make right-wing voters angry so they would vote to undermine our own national security interests and also to undermine trust in U.S. elections. Their hope is to erode American support for Ukraine’s struggle to repel the Russian invasion by getting us to elect Republicans who side with – even love – Putin.

Did it occur to you before now that Republicans would side with a Russian dictator in his invasion of a sovereign nation? These guys used to be the commie haters, the Red baiters, the muscular bashers of everything east of Poland. How did they go so far right that they now sound more like fictional ultra-extremist wacko lefties from the 50s that Sen. Joe McCarthy (R-Hades) invented and lied about?

Militia Letter

Thanks go to the Founders for the Second Amendment that guarantees that anyone can have a gun. This is because we still need a militia at the ready and for the original reasons: just in case the Brits invade for a third try to reverse the revolution and to put down an uprising if southern slaves try to rebel yet again.

The Amendment specifically states,

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

It’s recognized not just in common sense but also in the writing of our foundational document that we need a well regulated Militia. So, here’s an open letter to our many tough guys in our many so-called militias.

Guys (plus Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene), you aren’t a Militia unless the state you’re in declares you to be so – in writing. And you have to be under the direction and limitations prescribed by your state government – certainly not as prescribed by yourselves. That’s just how we roll in this country.

Indeed, our Militias are now called the National Guard, like the Michigan National Guard and the Kentucky National Guard. You guys aren’t any state’s National Guard. You get that, right?

You aren’t well regulated, as required by the Second Amendment. In fact, you aren’t regulated at all. Being regulated would require civilian government oversight, regulation and a clear chain of command to the governor, and you don’t have any of that.

In fact, you are a perfect example of what is not patriotic. The New York Times is publishing a series of essays on “The Danger Within,” as in: domestic terrorism. That’s you. The first essay is Political Violence Is Threatening Our Democracy. Click the title and read the post and learn how un-American your actions actually are.

Look, just face the fact that your veneer of freedom loving patriotism has been scratched off. We know who you are and what you do and no amount of self-puffing is going to turn you into what the Second Amendment requires. Intimidating voters and pedestrians with your weapons and black ski masks and camo pants and boots and marching in military columns won’t make you a militia or a patriot. You’re just a bunch of pissed off guys skulking around in the woods pretending to be Rambo.

Doing your pretend Special Forces playacting will make you and keep you an enemy of the state, of the red, white and blue. It will make you a threat to innocent people who have done you no harm, nor have they done harm to anyone else or to our nation. Yours is the very stuff of bullying.

It never occurred to the Founding Fathers that any citizen would take up semi-automatic firearms and threaten our state capitols, our polling places and the Capitol Building itself in DC in an act of insurrection. They couldn’t have envisioned a bunch of huffing and puffing thugs making death threats to grannies counting votes or to any elected official who doesn’t toe your line. You’re an embarrassment to the Constitution you pretend to be protecting and defending.

But you don’t have to be that.

Fellow Kari Lake vote denialists displaying their gullibility and their complete lack of evidence.

You can stand down. You can take meaning from the 2022 election and its repudiation of extremist candidates and extremism itself. You can join the tens of millions of Americans who voted for our rights to be restored and protected, including the right not to be intimidated or harmed by you. If you were to do that, you could be – you just might become – a patriot. Red, white and blue all over.

Come to think of it, here’s a note for the 170 members of Congress who cheered on and were apologists for the January 6 insurrectionists:

Each of you could become a patriot, too. All you’ll need is a spinal implant (so you’ll actually be able to stand for something constitutional and decent) and a brain transplant (you know why).

From the most unlikely source on integrity:

“One of the most indelible lessons of human history is that those who adopt the doctrine that the end justifies the means inevitably find the means become the end.” –  Richard Nixon

Speaking of Integrity

As of this writing it is not clear which party will be in the majority in the House of Representatives and it matters who’s in charge. Here’s why.

If the House comes to be Republican controlled, Republicans will enthusiastically revert to being the Party of No. They have said publicly that they have no policies and no positions other than to accuse and criticize. They propose no solutions to our very real problems. They offer only their intransigence to anything even remotely associated with any Democrat, so they will proudly stymie all progress.

If Republicans are in the majority in the House beginning in January, set your expectations to literally nothing getting done for the next two years. Then expect Republicans to criticize the President and all Democrats for nothing having gotten better.

Integrity. It’s just so confusing for some people.

Just Sayin’

I’ve had this perverse notion that all Democrats who lost an election for any office this cycle should band together in a Stop the Steal Movement. They’ll claim there was massive voter fraud and declare themselves the winners of their elections. Each will file a lawsuit against their Republican opponent and their election officials. They’ll demand a recount, an apology from the law-flouting vote counters and a mea culpa from the phony Republican winners, along with a nice box of chocolates and a hand written note of contrition.

One more thing. We’ll send a nya-nya Hallmark card to Trump for his infantile blaming of Melania for telling him to endorse New Jersey candidate hoping to be a senator from Pennsylvania, Mehmet Oz. What a weenie!

Just sayin’.

PS

I closed my Twitter accounts, as promised. What message have you sent to extremist promoting Elon Musk?

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Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem with the same solution:

Fire the bastards!

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

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Copyright 2023 by Jack Altschuler
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