Discrimination

It’s Complicated


POST 1071


It’s All So Complicated

Three religions each claim sole right to own the same little chunk of dirt.* Worse, there are few things as dangerous as a religious zealot, so conflict and violence are baked in. The 3-headed religious zealotry monster is actually a subset of the human need to feel right and powerful and dominant and a holy defender of the faith. It’s chest thumping self-certainty stuff along with the joy of belonging to the self-congratulatory tribe. We’re so right and they’re so wrong! Cheers for our team!

In addition, there’s a proud and vibrant hatred of Jews that goes back somewhere between 3,500 and 6,000 years. It’s the world’s oldest bigotry and hatred. Jews are just so blame-able, absurdly, for everything. Always. So, really, who cares about the atrocities committed by Hamas on Israelis on October 7? Those victims were just Jews.

Palestinians are suffering and dying and are getting no relief from anywhere, including from their Arab and Muslim brothers, but that’s always been true. They are the world’s longest standing refugees and their Arab brothers make sure they stay that way. Various fiefdoms need them to be victims for various reasons, chief among those being that they need Israel to be seen as the victimizing devil.

Anyone with even a scintilla of empathy sees the agony of Gazans and is beset by anguish for their suffering. It seems to be both random and inevitable and screams for redress.

This is the milieu of Israel and Gaza now and our 18 – 22 year old college students have plenty to say about all that. Unfortunately, they missed the part about this situation being hideously complicated, so they demand immediate and simple solutions to this very complex problem. Worse, they’ve been fed a grossly imbalanced diet of news, so they are semi-ignorant, even in their heartfelt certainty.

That brings us to today’s .  .  .

Must Reads

That’s “must” as in “required” if you want to understand at least some what is happening and what’s driving it.

First, read my friend David Houle’s essay explaining the gross hypocrisy driving college campus demonstrations and general public opinion, Blame Mainstream Media for the Demonstrations on College Campuses. You know what death and destruction in Gaza looks like because it’s shown to you every day, regardless of where you get your news. Your empathy is pulled there as though our mainstream media is supposed to be a propaganda tool for Hamas. How come you’ve never been shown the videos that Hamas terrorists posted online of their savagery, killing, maiming and raping Israelis?

I confess that I had failed to see the grotesque hypocrisy of our media, showing the results of Israeli attacks but refusing to show the Hamas atrocities. And that lopsidedness is driving public opinion and encouraging hatred.

American students have feted their passions in this insanity with their ignorance and uniformed certainties. They have taken to the quads of their elite universities. They brought their tents and they carry signs supporting Palestine and Palestinians. They proudly chant “From the river to the sea,” as though they are Hamas in Gaza calling for the murder of all Jews on Earth and they spew various anti-Semitic slogans. They act just as though the problems were simple and that they actually understood them. Too bad they’re clueless about Hamas infiltrating and igniting their own protests in the U.S. and that these students and agitators are self-identifying with this terrorist group, these murderers.

Art Friedson is a periodic guest writer to this series. Read his take about what’s going on. Be prepared for an even-handed, sensible post that challenges your cherished certainties. And follow his links.

These essays will not give you yet more simple answers to this complex problem. They don’t reply to those demanding an immediate ceasefire. The truth is that there was a formal ceasefire in effect on October 6, 2023, the day before the Hamas pogrom, its invasion and savagery. Since “ceasefire” doesn’t seem to mean the same thing to Hamas as it does to the rest of the world, there’s far less sense to a ceasefire now than there might seem to be.

These posts don’t deal with the certainty that failing to crush Hamas now means that two years from now there will be another Hamas atrocity visited upon Israelis. Then another barbarity will come two years after that. Then another attack two years later. Hamas will hide behind civilians and con the world into demonizing Israel, using the leverage of dead Palestinian bodies. And all the while there will be ongoing rocket attacks on Israeli cities. It takes no clairvoyance to see this future because it will be a repeat of the past and of today.

These posts don’t fully address the annoying fact that there cannot be peace because that would make Hamas obsolete and they can’t have that. Hamas needs war. They don’t touch on the fact that Gazans cannot be made safe, secure and prosperous because so many need Gazans to be victims. Plus, Hamas needs civilians, grannies and children to hide behind.

See what I mean about “complicated”? And this accounting barely scratches the surface of the complications in a place that has vexed smart people searching for peace for a very long time.

Inglorious Bastards

After being Donald Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley distanced herself from him to the point that she ran against him in the 2024 Republican primary. She said the same thing Hillary said in 2016, that he was unfit for office. Haley said Trump was “a disaster,” “too chaotic,” “too unhinged,” “too prone to temper tantrums” and “too old.” Plus, she said she felt “no need to kiss the ring.” Then last Wednesday she caved to her ambition and metaphorically kissed the ring of the grifter. She says she will vote for him.

She is in fine company with Sen. Lindsay Graham, who, following the insurrection, declared, “All I can say is count me out. Enough is enough.” Then two weeks later he made a pilgrimage to Mar-a-Lago to grovel and kiss the ring. Now he says he’ll vote for Trump.

Following the insurrection, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declared, “There is no question – none – that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day [January 6]. No question about it.” Click the link and listen to his full comments damning Trump – then weaseling out. He voted to acquit Trump in the second impeachment. Now he says he’ll vote for Trump this year.

Welcome, Nikki Haley, to this community of cowardice and blatant hypocrisy.

Fun Fact of the Week

Activist priest Frank Pavone said in 2022, “I can tell you that within the pro-life religious circles of pastors that I interact with, across denominational lines the awareness over recent years has greatly increased about how unbiblical contraception is.” His words are resurfacing now, as far right extremists, having now made abortion illegal in so many places, fix their sights on eliminating contraception.

Okay, Father Frank, I concede that the Bible carries no mention of contraception, so your claim that it is “unbiblical” is technically accurate. The Bible also carries no mention of penicillin, airplanes, the Chicago Cubs, the United Nations, the Taj Mahal or radio. Just guessing you think we should do away with all that, too, because all of it is “unbiblical.”

Now .  .  .

.  .  .  go. Read the Must Reads linked above.

___________________________________________________

* Israel is roughly the same size as Massachusetts.


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.
    6. Clicking on most pics will take you to the source information.

    Click me

    JA


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

Not That Giuliani


POST 1065


Giuliani Can Wait. First Crime, Anti-Social Behavior and Cookies

All the statistics tell us that our rate of crime is decreasing. Nevertheless, we rage at one another as though it’s a holy exercise against crime, as some may well feel that it is. What could better demonstrate our goodness and integrity than frothing at the mouth our declarations that we are right and those who disagree are agents of the devil? More important, what is it that drives us to distrust one another so vehemently?

Thom Hartmann explored this once again in a recent post. Here are some snippets to give you a clue.

Poverty doesn’t cause the societal disintegration that leads to most crime, it turns out: inequality does. And America is now, far and away, the most unequal developed country in the entire world.

So how does inequality provoke criminality? The research on the topic is pretty exhaustive, albeit poorly publicized, and the simplest explanation is among the most easily understood: humans are wired to rebel against unfairness. Unfairness thus destroys social trust.

Walk into a preschool class and give one child a pile of cookies while giving everybody else only one each and see what happens. In fact, it’s not just humans; this holds true across all mammalian species from rats to dogs to apes.

In just reading those words about cookies I bet you can feel the words forming on your lips: “THAT’S NOT FAIR!” You’ve rebelled against unfairness all your life because, well, unfairness is unfair. It’s offensive. It’s cruel. And you’ve seen a lot of unfairness.

As research across 33 nations published in Oxford’s European Journal of Public Health found, inequality devastates social trust among people, opening the door to antisocial crime, including violent crime .  .  .

While billionaires who pay less in federal income tax rates than you do blast themselves into space on giant penis-shaped rockets, the majority of Americans are struggling to get by. I say “the majority” because a decade ago the number of Americans who could call themselves “middle class” slipped below 50% for the first time since the Eisenhower era. [all emphasis original]

Billionaires now pay a lower rate than the bottom half of income earners. Click the pic for the story and  read Thom Hartmann’s comments here.

Little wonder that we are a nation of pissy people, some violently pissy, looking for others to blame. Just listen to the victim raging at Trump rallies and at White supremacist demonstrations, the bullying at school board meetings and the intimidation of voters. The ragers are brainlessly claiming voter fraud in the presence of exactly zero evidence of it, but they are disenfranchising millions nevertheless, leading to more power and wealth transferred to the rich and more dis-empowerment and impoverishing of everyone else.

We are four decades into the very intentional program of the transfer of massive wealth from our poor and middle class to our wealthy and ultra-wealthy. This has been incrementally baked into our economy and our psyches and we haven’t even noticed the shift because generally the individual changes have been small, except for the trillions of dollars of tax reductions for the rich, engineered by Bush II and Trump. Those led to $ trillions more national debt that you and I are paying for. Collectively they have undermined your prospects and your wallet massively. Somewhere in our innards is our scream, “THAT ISN’T FAIR!” And we are right.

Worse, we are wrongly taking it out on one another. The fair target of our anger over loss of trust in ourselves lies with self-serving politicians and ultra-wealthy manipulators. For a current view of how these people intend to take all the rest from you, see this. Don’t be bamboozled by the apparently patriotic claims in that document. It is a blatantly anti-American plan to destroy our country and hoard all the wealth and power for the already massively rich.

It’s no longer about cookies. But it’s still about unfairness. And, like Justice Potter Stewart commenting about pornography, you know unfairness when you see it.

Yeah, He’s a Creep, But .  .  .

.  .  .  for a moment, set aside the bad taste in your mouth caused by Rudy Giuliani’s behavior over the past two decades and try to remember this.

Click me – watch all 8 minutes of this video – and remember

In the aftermath of the 9/11 attack Rudy Giuliani, then Mayor of New York City, attended every funeral for the 343 first responders who died on that awful day. He spoke words of empathy and encouragement that the people of the city and across the nation, wounded as we were, needed to hear. They called him “America’s mayor.” He was what the nation needed in that moment, especially since Dubya had failed us so terribly and allowed that attack to happen.

Giuiliani went on SNL just 18 days after the catastrophe. With him and filling the stage were the fire chief, the police chief and as many NYFD and NYPD personnel as they could fit. Standing in the long and strong applause, he took no credit for himself, telling us that the first responders behind him and those not there that Saturday night were the heroes. His message was strong. He threw a humorous jibe at Lorne Michaels when he was asked if it was okay for the SNL cast to be funny. He told us that New York was open for business. We got the message. It was okay to smile again.

That clip brought to mind our present troubles. We are under attack from a large and sometimes violent portion of our countrymen, now properly labeled domestic terrorists. We have thousands of public servants who refuse to do the will of the people, making them a threat to our democracy, a roadblock to solving our problems and to forming a more perfect union. Indeed, these people are working to create a system of permanent minority rule, the very antithesis of democracy. Even our Supreme Court, once the most honored and trusted institution in the nation, is now distrusted by nearly 2 of every 3  of our citizens. Around 45% of voters intend to vote for a sexual attacker, defamer and likely to be convicted felon. These are very dark times indeed.

When the time is right, who will stand in leadership and tell us that we remain the most important democracy in the world, the place of We The People, the shining city on the hill?

Who will declare that we are the keepers of the flame of freedom and justice?

Who will tell us that we can once again talk with our neighbors and even strangers and that we are still America?

Who will tell us that it is okay to smile again?

We need to be thinking about that and deciding who we want to stand in that place of trust and of leadership on January 20, 2025. Our military professionals are taught “Mission first. People always.” What about the rest of us – what are our marching orders?

Our mission is clear. We need to be doing whatever it takes so that the right person is standing before us and announcing to the world and to ourselves, “We The People are America.”

And that it’s okay to smile again.

Remembrance

Tonight starts Yom HaShoah, the day we remember those caught in the betrayals, the cruelty and the death of the Holocaust. We remember for many reasons, including that genocides continue to occur. But mostly we remember the innocents who suffered and the ones who died – were murdered – then.

They were just like you. They worked hard, they loved their children and their children loved to play. Until they no longer could. Light a candle today in their honor.

We remember, lest they be forgotten. May their memory be for a blessing.


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.

Somebody Has To Tell Me . . .


POST 1063


.  .  .  why we are even talking about:

– whether doctors can be criminally prosecuted in Idaho for having made efforts to save the life of a pregnant woman in distress or if they have to wait until death is imminent before proceeding with life saving treatment and by then the woman might never again be able to carry a baby?

– Trump claiming that a president cannot be prosecuted for “official” criminal acts and that a former president cannot be prosecuted unless the House of Representatives has impeached him and the Senate convicted him. Clearly, “Equal justice under law” will no longer have any meaning.*

– that the Supreme Court of the United States has taken this immunity case, this violation of reason, this affront to the Constitution, this kick in the teeth of justice seriously? And they may well grant Trump such god-like power!** Read this excellent explainer.

– whether Texas women can travel to another state for an abortion or whether she can be given consult from others without any of them going to jail? That is to say, why is it necessary to question whether Texans have freedom of speech or freedom to travel? Or Floridians? Or Mississippians?

.  .  .  how it’s even possible that:

– the state of Tennessee has authorized school teachers to carry firearms, when everyone has known for a very long time that the real problem is not unarmed teachers, but over-armed citizens with a vigilante mania or some other mental derangement, like, “I feel like a weenie, and I know I’ll feel powerful if I kill a bunch of people.”

– Fuhrer Greg Abbot of Texas has his police and National Guard in riot gear on the campus of the University of Texas – Austin and they are arresting and are prepared to beat up kids who are in peaceful protest over suffering Palestinians? This looks like it can become like the 1968 police riot in Chicago all over again, with kids beaten, arrested and shot.

– hateful idiots on college campuses across the country are screaming pro-Hamas, anti-Semitic vitriol, hurling threats at and committing physical assaults on Jewish students? Someone taught them to hate. Someone taught them that they could beat up those who are somehow different from them. I wonder who that might be.

– we tolerate the cruelty heaped on Asians, Muslims, Blacks, Browns and Jews? Oh yeah: it’s that “Someone taught them” thing again.

– a large segment of the Republican Party favors Vladimir Putin and Russia over a democratic ally in Europe and even favors Russia over our own country?

– the majority of Republicans (about 70%) believe Trump’s Big Lie about the 2020 election? Didn’t these people receive an education? Do they understand concepts like evidence, reality and the rule of law? How is it that a jury of his peers found Trump liable for sexual abuse and for defamation – twice! – and they still plan to vote for him? And they’ll vote for him even if he is convicted of felonies – crimes – before the election?

– sitting senators (Tom Cotton and Josh Hawley) are calling for National Guard deployment against peaceful protesters? Cotton posted, “I encourage people who get stuck behind the pro-Hamas mobs blocking traffic: take matters into your own hands.”

– that Speaker Mike Johnson bellowed from the steps of Low Memorial Library, “Columbia has allowed these lawless agitators and radicals to take over. Anti-Israel encampments are popping up in universities all across this country. The madness has to stop.” Mother Jones How come today’s Republicans sound an awful lot like hateful, anti-civil rights creeps of the 1960s? Perhaps Johnson and his snarling Buddies On Repression Extremism Society (“BORES”) will bring Iranian Revolutionary Guards to shoot college campus protesters, just like they do in Tehran.

_____________________________________________

* This from Wikipedia:

OLC memoranda

In 1973, amid the Watergate scandal, the Department of Justice‘s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) issued a memorandum concluding that it is unconstitutional to prosecute a sitting president.[23] Its arguments include that the president “is the symbolic head of the Nation. To wound him by a criminal proceeding is to hamstring the operation of the whole governmental apparatus in both foreign and domestic affairs.”[24] It says that the statute of limitations should not be tolled while the president is in office, but suggests that Congress could extend the statute of limitations specifically for presidents.[25] After the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Clinton, the OLC issued a second memorandum in 2000, distinguishing civil and criminal presidential immunity and determining that it was still improper to prosecute a president due to the adverse affect it might have on his ability to govern.[26]

That is the rationale for the recommended prohibition against prosecuting a sitting president – but only while he or she is still president. My understanding is that there is nothing in either memorandum to indicate that there is a prohibition against prosecuting a president for crimes committed while in office once that president has left office.

More to the point, nowhere is it written that a president enjoys permanent protection from prosecution for criminal activity when no longer in office, as when Trump stole classified documents, brought them to Mar-a-Lago and then lied to the FBI and defied a subpoena. But, of course, Trump’s lawyers have claimed just such protection at the Supreme Court.

Required Reading – click here

Blindfolded Lady Justice – for now

.

The Court heard this case with Justice Clarence Thomas present. He did not recuse himself – again – in his obvious temper tantrum ignoring of his conflict of interest, as his wife Ginni participated in the insurrection at the heart of this case.

Someone has to tell me why the Supreme Court accepted this farcical and cruel excuse of a case. These Justices make it look like Lady Justice is peeking out from behind her blindfold, telling them that it’s okay for them to be political hacks and to undermine our justice system.

If you wish to dig into this further, here’s a link to the full OLC memos, along with pertinent commentary.

** If Trump succeeds with his case in the Supreme Court, President Biden could immediately have Trump assassinated by Seal Team 6, claiming him to be a clear and present danger to the United States. If Seal Team 6 were to refuse such an order, Biden could bring a pistol the the first presidential debate and kill Trump himself. Either way, Biden could never be prosecuted for the murder because the Supreme Court would have made it legal to be a presidential murderer.

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 Ultimate Con


POST 1056

CAUTION! Contains snark!

The content below touches on sensitive issues, willful ignorance and deeply held hypocrisies. It implies widespread gullibility and faith-free faith. Proceed if you dare, but follow the Surgeon General’s recommendation to wear an N95 mask while reading and to squint your eyes against the glare of nearly believable satire. Note that injections of bleach following reading are not recommended, but hydroxychloroquine injections are recommended, but only on a doctor’s orders and if you have malaria. Also recommended are to brush and floss daily and to hold hands when crossing the street.


The King Grifter Version – Click me

Donald, you’ve been a con all your life, including conning your father out of hundreds of millions of dollars and your relatives out of their inheritances. You’ve conned contractors and lawyers and even 1/3 of the American public. You’ve conned people by promising a university education and delivering nothing and by assuring them of vast riches by following your get-rich-quick scam. You’ve conned people with steaks and bottled water, vodka, a fraudulent charitable foundation, gold painted sneakers, perfume and now a Bible. Poor, easily influenced people have already been conned into buying a copy, as well as sending you donations for your ever-mounting legal bills to defend your felonies.

About that Bible. There is no American Bible. While we revere the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Pledge of Allegiance and the Bill of Rights, they are not holy documents and they were not inscribed by the finger of God – or even Lee Greenwood’s. Indeed, nowhere in any Bible other than your King Grifter Version is America mentioned. For effectiveness moving forward, we recommend that you not mention that you’ve broken most of the 10 Commandments repeatedly (Think: Access Hollywood tape), or that you don’t know anything that is between the covers of that book. And while most people don’t mind that you hoisted a Bible upside down in front of St. John’s Church after tear gassing peaceful protesters, it’s still not a good idea to mention that.

You have used The Big Lie repeatedly, even before the 2016 election, then claiming that if you were to lose that election that it would only be because of Democratic fraud that stole victory from you. That was a fine con, Donald, and through diligent practice over the years you’ve perfected The Big Lie, making claims not just of stolen elections, but Big Lies about judicial decisions you didn’t like and fantabulous lies about people, even about the daughter of the judge presiding in one of your cases. Because you adhere to the Big Lie principles so well, you’ve conned millions.*

But facing the facts of actuarial tables, Donald, you’re near the end of your run. Given your sedentary lifestyle and your diet of fast food junk, it’s probable that the only thing holding your body together is a massive clod of cholesterol glue. You’ve always been certifiably crazy, but now you babble incoherently, so dementia is right around the corner. While you still have the capacity to con on a grand scale, Donald, it’s time for supreme action.

You’ve tickled around the edges of claiming to be sent by God, saying things to your followers like, “I am being indicted for you,” and talking about your “divine purpose,” hinting not very delicately that you are Jesus himself, but that isn’t enough. You have to boldly transcend to The Ultimate Con.

You must take to the stage at your next big rally, with thousands of adoring dupes carrying Trump signs and Trump flags, wearing red, white and blue shirts and MAGA hats. You will speak (even to “my Negro”) and you’ll raise your hands pontifically. You’ll strongly – because you are a strong man – and with absolute conviction declare that you are not just a god, but the God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit – all of them. You’ll tell your faithful that you sent yourself to save America, to make it a Christian Nationalist place the way it was intended to be.** You’ll say that you are God, which means you can smite your godless opponents. You are The Law and all power and vengeance are yours, thus sayeth The Donald.

The Via Delarosa – Jerusalem

They will play deep, moving organ music and a great chorus of angelic voices will rise to the heavens strongly, as you solemnly labor from one side of the stage to the other, your hands grasping for purchase, your face in self-reverence, as though you’re struggling painfully and victimly along the Via Dolarosa. You will absorb the adoration of your people and all will bow their heads in maximus supplicationus. Many will weep.

The pundits will declare that to be against you is blasphemy. Pastors will pound pulpits in theocratic fervor and no Republican elected official will dare to utter even a single discouraging word, although that’s nothing new.

Yours will be the kingdom, the power and the glory of the Ultimate Con.***

This Ultimate Con hasn’t been tried since the first century AD/BCE when the incestuous Roman emperor Caligula grabbed that turf. He was a deviant, but that might appeal to you. Note, though, that his grab for god status didn’t work well for him, as he was assassinated not long after making that claim. Still, it was a great con.

Who knows? You might get away with it. If you can make this work and get yourself elected, your self-serving truth may be known and it will set you free (from prison).***  As your truth is said in the Book of Donald, “I say unto you, and this is true, it’s a witch hunt, a hoax. I won bigly and strongly. Stop the steal!” These moving words are for monks to ponder by candlelight in dark, damp monasteries for centuries.

Donald, this will be your greatest con ever.****

This Next Is No Con

Many thanks to Sheila Markin for this:

Below is a [link to a] letter written by a concerned American who wants to pressure Justice Roberts to ask Justice Thomas to recuse himself in the upcoming case United States v Trump. Take a look and see if you want to sign on. You do not have to be a lawyer to sign it. Pressure on Roberts to try to get Thomas to do the right things is probably worthwhile even if it doesn’t keep Thomas from doing the wrong thing.
.

https://ldad.org/letters-briefs/justice-thomas

I signed the letter and urge you to sign it, too.

________________________________________

* In a fine post by Thom Hartmann, he offers an audio clip of President Roosevelt during the 1944 presidential campaign, with FDR explaining The Big Lie masterfully. Scan down to the bottom of Hartmann’s post to hear the short clip. Important for your understanding is that Republican Presidents Harding, Coolidge and Hoover had been in charge for the 12 years before Roosevelt won the 1932 election. Those Republican men brought us the Great Depression. So, it isn’t just today’s Republicans howling The Big Lie. There were Republican Big Liars in 1944, too.

** Regardless of the somewhat vague references to God in our founding documents, the Founding Fathers were adamant that this is not a theocracy, that this is not a Christian nation. CNN published a most accessible review of this. Better, albeit far more ambitious, would be a review of the Federalist Papers.

*** With apologies to The Lord’s Prayer and John 8:32.

**** Donald sent out a blizzard of 77 Truth Social ALL CAPS messages on Easter. His messages were about himself, attacking his opponents, attacks on judges and members of their families and comparing himself to Jesus. More specifically, his primary Easter message contained 7 words about Easter and 161 words attacking his enemies and whining about the legal system. Likely, his White Christian (in name only) minions ate it up. Great lead-in to The Ultimate Con.


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.

Fear Is A Terrible Thing


POST 1055


People Are Saying

There is frightful peril, we’re told by those with their eyeballs bulging, and they say there is great suffering to come. They  swear on oath that their terrible prognostications of grave danger and ghastly harm, of apocalyptic doom and deeply intense pain and suffering are before us. People are saying.

Except for the heinous acts of the godless elites, all of our problems are caused by those dark skinned immigrants, the non-Anglos, the non-Aryans who have slithered into our Christian nation to defile us, people are saying.

Our blood is being poisoned, they tell us. We are infested with vermin and the diseases that everyone knows these invaders carry and spread to we legitimate Americans. It’s time we rid ourselves of this threat to our pure America, people are saying.

The Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed on March 26 when a Singapore flagged ship crashed into a pylon supporting the bridge. The entire crew is foreign – Indians! Little wonder that happened, people are saying.

Similarly, the only deaths and injuries from this disaster were of workers fixing potholes. They were all foreign born and some were here illegally. Too bad – they shouldn’t have been here at all, people are saying.

Worse, it’s obvious that those injured or dead had taken jobs from good White Americans. They replaced our countrymen, taking food from the mouths of our children. This is yet another example of why we have to close our borders to seal out the vermin who would come here and steal from us, people are saying.

Okay, enough of the insane far right hysteria over immigration. The point is that such things really are being said, and said with great passion, with flashing angry eyes and with great spraying of spit. I can’t let this vicious stuff stand without a rebuttal of truth.

First, I haven’t a clue how anyone can poison our blood. Nobody else does, either. It’s just another vitriolic Trumpy hateful dog whistle to which the haters come running.

Getting past the absurdity of that, we’ve had waves of anti-immigrant lunacy over our history. Oddly, much of it has been aimed at various groups eventually identified as White and therefore welcome, like the Irish and the Italians. We’ve somehow managed to remain intact and haven’t suffered poisoning, making me wonder if the hate and rejection are actually based on Whiteness or even on Christianity.

It’s true that the Dali is a Singapore flagged ship and none of its crew is American. But suggesting that foreign incompetence was the cause of the disaster infuses an extra dose of stupid into the inquiry, because the ship was being piloted by a licensed American Pilot, a White American.

The six men who died and the two who were injured, whether here legally or not, were doing jobs that Americans won’t do. Seriously, would you work all that long, cold night filling potholes on the roadway of that bridge? Do you know of any native born American who would do that? No, you don’t, and neither do I.

Those bridge worker immigrants didn’t take jobs from Americans. Neither do agricultural field workers or any immigrants doing hard manual labor at subsistence wages. They do work Americans won’t do but which must be done. So much for the hateful, cruel and idiotic replacement theory and fie on the fools who spread it. Substitute your own word for “fie,” if you’d like.

Today’s immigrants are here for the same reason your ancestors left “the old country,” leaving behind everyone and everything known to them. They departed on the fragile hope of making a better life in America. It’s captured by the comments of a Honduran nephew of one of those killed on the Key Bridge, as recorded by an Associated Press reporter:

“The kind of work he did is what people born in the U.S. won’t do. People like him travel there with a dream. They don’t want to break anything or take anything.”

Our immigrants, including the abused and suffering but still hopeful people at the Rio Grande River, the people sliced by Gov. Gregg Abbott’s razor wire, want what our great-grandparents wanted: a better life. Immigrants who come here aren’t looking for a handout; they’re ready to work for that better life. You know this story and you know it’s true. So do the hystericals who wail those awful and untrue things about immigrants. Why do they do that hateful demonizing?

Some measure of that is a crass and cruel grab for power accomplished by appealing to the fear in others.

Some measure of it, though, may be because people really do fear others, those not known to them, those who are in some way different from them. Fear of the unknown is a staple of human beings, whether it’s a child’s fear of dragons in the basement or fear of being on a dark street or fear of people with unfamiliar cultural ways.

The truth is that our fears about immigration are self-imposed barriers to our own growth and prosperity. Read Prof. Heather Cox Richardson’s piece about this – it’s where I got that quote from the nephew of the Key Bridge worker who died.

Two Key Points

First, there is a sensible middle ground between allowing completely open, un-monitored borders and completely closing our borders. It should not be required to say that, but this is an age of extremism, cowardice and unfettered idiocy, making it necessary to state the obvious.

Second, there are two kinds of fear. One is rational fear. The people of Ukraine live with that every day. Their fear is well founded, because Vladimir Putin’s army is trying to kill them.

The other is irrational fear. It is based on nothing tangible or real, like the fear of dragons in the basement or a fear of immigrants coming to take your job.

Our country is filled to overflowing with fear. The odd thing is that we are not threatened by any war or famine or anything tangible. The only threat we face, the only fear that hangs in the air is the one we ourselves create and it is driven solely by our diabolical, irrational fears stoked by those who profit from stoking them. It drives us to hate our neighbors, to do violence against our country and our countrymen and to look for a new but false god to hold back the imaginary dragons we fear.

That kind of fear – irrational fear – is a terrible thing.

Finally, A Note From AOC to Elon Musk .  .  .

.  .  .  after Musk shared a right-wing, anti-immigration article and accused Dems of ‘importing voters’ to influence elections:


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.

All You Need To Know


Post 1,045


It Only Hurts When We Laugh

 

You likely see the humor and perhaps appreciate the creativity in this cartoon, even as this is terribly cringe-worthy. It was sent to me by a dear friend and I’m working hard to forgive him. Here’s the problem.

This cartoon conflates two alt-right lunacies – fertilized egg personhood and extreme gun rights – as if some contest can be won by not being the most awful. But in reality, it doesn’t work that way.

We (both individuals and our country) are besieged everywhere in every way by alt-right extremists doing things like:

book banning/burning – there are over 1,000 books already banned in Florida alone,* many banned by people who don’t even have kids in the schools

patriarchal gender dominance (“Women belong in the home having and raising children” as well as limiting women to “my type” or “not my type”)

justice negation

election fraud through manipulating the system or baselessly denying results

tearing down our democracy

racist degradation (“Where’s my Negro? He’s gonna love these gold sneakers.”)

gun rights valued over human life

You know well that this list could go on for pages and still not cover all the fear- and anger-generated assaults on human rights, human dignity and democracy.

These MAGA anti-America phony patriots are actually after just one thing. They want all the power for themselves so that they can remake our country into something our Founders would say is exactly what they rebelled against.

The MAGAs not only want this country to be Christian nationalism (which is neither Christian nor nationalism), but they want it to be their own notion of Christian. There are two core problems with that: 1. What they want is something Jesus wouldn’t recognize or approve of; 2. That is exactly what the Founders did not want for our country – see the First Amendment.

Back to the cartoon.

It only hurts when we laugh. That’s why we don’t laugh much about our politics.

So, Here’s All You Need To Know

By 2018 Donald Trump had ramped up his vicious attacks on would-be immigrants, first with his rapists, murderers and drug dealers labels, his caravans scare tactic and his replacement idiocy. But nothing compares to his “zero tolerance” reign of terror. That was when he ordered that children be separated from parents at the border. You need to see the reality of this in your mind’s eye.

Picture a young mother with an infant on her hip and a toddler holding her hand on her other side. They wait in line for a long time and are eventually led into a room where they are seated across a table from a Border Patrol agent. She is told that she can’t enter our country legally and will be detained. The next thing that happens is that another Border Patrol agent rips her children from her and takes them away to be detained separately from her, on their own.

And this story gets worse.

The children were put into a cage with many other children and with no adult to care for them. There wasn’t even someone to change soiled diapers. Now for the worst parts.

  1. There was no plan to enable those children to be reunited with their mothers. No documentation. No identifications. Nothing. There were over 5,000 children detained/imprisoned this way and there was no system to ever to set things right. Those children were set adrift and their mothers made bereft and hopeless. Some of those mothers were deported – without their children.
  2. Trump and his brown shirt kidnapping mastermind Stephen Miller declared publicly that this cruelty was the point (and here). It was intentional. They wanted to discourage others from traveling to our border by letting them know in advance that we are and will continue to be barbarically cruel.

That was done in our names. Let’s make that more personal: Your name is attached to each separation. You and I allowed that to happen. Enough of us voted for this megalomaniac, wicked leader and we got what we elected.

The only good news is that immediately upon taking office President Biden stopped the Zero Tolerance policy and began reuniting mothers and babies. There are many sad stories that accompany those reunions, like kids who don’t remember or don’t recognize their parents; plus, there are still about 1,000 children who have not been reunited with their parents because of the daunting task of finding and matching families. Read this from Mother Jones.

You know all about Trump’s racism, detachment from reality, 30,000 lies, intention to be a dictator and use Seal Team 6 to murder his opponents and all the rest. Any one of his sociopathic failings should be enough to tell you that you never want this savage to have any power at all – ever.

There’s more.

It isn’t just his sycophantic followers, like Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Mike Johnson, Josh Hawley and Ron Johnson who we need to remove from the halls of power. We need to prevent every MAGA follower from having any position of authority because they will slavishly follow the slightest word from their deranged leader. We’re seeing this right now, with Speaker Mike Johnson refusing to bring bills up for a vote for time-critical things, like support for Ukraine to continue its battle for freedom, for humanitarian aid for Gaza and for our border security. This is being done by MAGA extremists at Trump’s direction while he is not even in office.

If we fail to stop the goose stepping MAGA horde, Trump will once again be able to inflict his cruelty on innocents.

There’s so much craziness that’s so very outrageous that it can make your head spin, so let’s make this simple. Always remember Trump and the MAGAs proudly ripping babies from their mother’s arms. That’s why you’re rightly certain that you do not want Trump or any MAGA to have any power anywhere, in any way, at any time. Remember what MAGA always does. That’s what Trump and his goose steppers will do again if we let them.

There is no court of justice or cavalry coming over the hill to save us. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for and we cannot wait any longer. We have to mobilize ourselves to not only vote, but to encourage others to vote and stop the MAGA cruel insanity.

Do it in remembrance of all those mothers and babies.

That’s all you need to know.

.

———————————————————–

* For a clear view of what is in store for this nation if Republicans gain control as they have in Florida, review this PowerPoint presentation focused on book banning in Florida. This fascist mind control is the canary in the coal mine for the rest of us.

Click the link, then click or double-click the listing in your download folder.


  • 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.

Is It Time to Surrender?


Post 1,043


CAUTION!

Contains both snark and sarcasm. Sensitive readers are advised to be holding both Teddy and blanket prior to reading further.


It’s time to give up. Wave the white flag. Throw in the towel. Nothing left to do but for Trump to kneel before Putin and surrender the ceremonial Presidential Sword.

MAGAs keep saying how they love Putin; how America is a failed state; how democracy is over; how a strongman American ruler allied with murderous international despots should be our future. They show their muscle by refusing aid to Ukraine, allowing Putin to continue his megalomaniac genocide in that country.

We know MAGAs will let him rampage through eastern Europe because Trump has already invited him to do so. Putin plans to invade and annex Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Moldova and all of Eastern Poland. Belarus is already a vassal state. Viktor Orbán in Hungary would immediately prostrate himself before Putin, as would Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Turkey. Go look at a map and you’ll see that at that point Putin will have effectively reconstituted the Soviet Union, the long term goal of his KGB thug heart. Why shouldn’t we let him do that? Like, who cares?

The MAGAs align with brutal leaders in many ways, like by refusing aid to Taiwan, leaving those people to wonder when Xi’s communist hoard will cross the Taiwan Strait and crush them. They cheer as Seyyed Ali Hosseini Khamenei of Iran further emboldens Hamas, Hezbollah, the Houthis in Yemen and more. He threatens to invade Iraq and he murders Iran’s citizen protesters. Not our fights – why shouldn’t we let these dictators do what they want to do?

The MAGAs in the House are once again holding up aid to Israel, just as Sen. Rand Paul likes to do in the Senate. Their delay, of course, emboldens and supports Hamas and Hezbollah, which in turn strengthens the tyrants running Iran.

So, MAGA supports what Pres. George W. Bush called the Axis of Evil and they denigrate America. So what? Even though these might-makes-right people once declared themselves to be the tough guy party, ready at a moment’s notice to stand up against what Reagan called the Evil Empire, that was so yesterday. Instead, their leader has vowed to take actions that will end NATO and the peace and economic welfare it has promoted and guarded for 75 years. Perhaps that is what we need to do. Maybe we should get out of the way. Besides, the MAGAs can more easily roll over non-MAGAs if we just sit in the stands instead of getting onto the field of play. No bloody noses that way.

Our American love affair with macho men is long standing. The toughs in our own South went to war against our nation in the 1860s, quite happy to demonstrate their love of domination of others, to the point that 620,000 soldiers died. No problem, they say. Even these 159 years later they still mourn their “lost cause” of cruelty and subjugation and they even threaten another civil war if they don’t get their way. We don’t want a war, so maybe we should hear their saber rattling and let them have their way.

Nearly 1,000 Americans in Nazi uniforms marching in New Jersey in 1937. Click me.

There were the toughs of the German American Bund of the 1930s, when red, white and blue Americans, their goose bumps a-popping, seig heiled swastikas and the likeness of Adolph Hitler. Clearly, a lot of us really like tough guys. It would be a shame if something were to happen to our nice little country, they tell us, like another Civil War, so we ought to just give in to their demands.

In fact, we have a sizable portion of Americans who long for a strongman ruler, who have little regard for the rule of law or for the lives of people they see as “others.” They love democracy only when they win. Shouldn’t we just let them have their way?

Some guys think everything is theirs to piss on. Original photo credit Pixabay.

The MAGAs suck up to Trump, Putin and absolutist, fundamentalist preachers and politicians who worship only power. Millions of sheeple are prepared to follow their every word. It seems many of us have already surrendered, so why shouldn’t the rest of us? These MAGAs are in charge with their minority rule because we don’t vote them out of office, so maybe we don’t care and should turn everything over to them.

The MAGAs in the Alabama state Supreme Court recently took a bold step toward Christian Nationalism – MAGA rule – by declaring that frozen human embryos from Invitro Fertilization efforts are children with all the rights of anyone. They declared that such embryos cannot be destroyed, as that would be murder.

Standard IVF practice is to fertilize many more eggs than necessary for one successful pregnancy in order to allow for various difficulties that might occur. The effect of the Bible-thumping ruling of the Alabama Supreme Court, with its imaginary, God-declared ruling, means that a couple who supplied the eggs and sperm for as many as 34 frozen embryos* would have to carry all 34 to term or suffer multiple counts of homicide. Clearly, our best move will be to let over-certain religious zealots dictate our every move, lest we face felony charges.

Finally, we now have the clarity we need, stated by Jack Posobiec at the 2024 CPAC convention. He said (begin at 0:50) that MAGAs are here to overthrow our democracy. More to the point, the crowd cheered his declaration.

MAGAs are a mutually reinforcing, self-generating engine of anger and destruction – and there are so many millions of them. Besides, there really is no need for us to stand up for what we know is right because there are no principles worth fighting for anymore. America is done. It’s over. it’s time to get on our knees and surrender.

Unless .  .  .

Unless we are willing to listen to our Founders, who knew so much about the cruelty of living under the thumb of a totalitarian.

Unless we still believe in liberty and justice for all.

Unless we know in our bones that once again Thomas Paine is right, that these are the times that try men’s souls and we hear his call to service.

Unless we are willing to give America what it needs – what it always needs – us.

If we make the decision, we can stand strong to make sure that we are and continue to be the shining city on a hill, the beacon of hope to the world. To keep our light shining will take all of us – all of we freedom and democracy loving people. Nobody left behind.

Do we still have the right stuff for the continuing battle? Does it still burn within us?

—————————————-

* From The average number of eggs retrieved during IVF:

“Generally, retrieving between five and 14 eggs is considered adequate for women under 35. For a woman who is 38, this number increases to between 10 and 34.”

I’m not at all clear how a 38 year old woman would deal with 34 pregnancies.


  • 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.

O. J. and Today


Post 1,029

___________________________________

The verdict came down from the jury at the O.J. Simpson murder trial.

NOT GUILTY

Not only I but most people I knew were incredulous. With all that evidence against him, how could anyone believe he was innocent of that double murder? Yet millions applauded the verdict.

The many comments aired publicly were often polarized by race, which seemed nonsensical. Blacks saw the same evidence that Whites saw. Then at last one Black fellow spelled it out in terms I could understand. This is pretty close to exactly what he said:

“You White people think Black people are stupid. We know he did it. We know he’s guilty. We just wanted to see a Black guy beat the system this once.” *

That’s when I got it.

After being beaten down by “the system” for centuries, beating that system meant more to them than Simpson getting the justice he quite obviously deserved. Sometimes long held feelings of injustice, disrespect and marginalization are what is most powerful.

Which brings us to our current national psychosis. **

MAGA people know that Trump is crooked, a liar, a criminal, un-American, someone they would hate in different circumstances. But over and over he gives a middle finger to “the man,” to so-called elites, to those powerful people who have blown off so many of We The People for longer than any can remember. He flips off whatever is proper and MAGAs cheer.

When he’s caught lying, he repeats his lie and even exaggerates it. That is intoxicating to those who feel wronged. It’s more powerful than any rational analysis of Trump’s obvious guilt and reprehensible behavior. Flicking off “the man” and behaving the way Mom said to never behave brings ultimate satisfaction, an orgasm of vitriol unleashed.

They are so enamored of the flick-off that they are unmoved by Trump telling Iowans following the mass shooting in Perry, IA on January 4 that, “.  .  . [they] just have to get over it.” To be fair, we have to question whether that was worse or not as bad as his calling our fallen military heroes losers and suckers, which MAGAs ignored. Somehow that wasn’t enough to disqualify Trump in the minds of MAGAs who think of themselves as the true red, white and blue.

Neither were his claims of grabbing women by the pu**y or “fine people on both sides” at the racist Charlottesville hate rally in 2017, or any other Trump outrage. Favoring Vladimir Putin over our own intelligence services should have told even MAGA people that they cannot trust Trump with our foreign affairs or our national defense. But, of course, there was that compelling extended middle finger seduction to help them forget Trump’s appeasement of a despot and to have them actually applaud his sucking up to the Russian murderer.

The MAGAs fancy themselves patriots, which makes it curious that they would be incurious about Trump wanting the “termination of the Constitution” and declaring he’ll be a dictator. It’s so very satisfying to scream over and over, “F**K YOU!” or to wallow in the mire of someone else doing the screaming. That makes it easy to abandon any requirement of our leaders to protect and defend. Besides, it’s so old fashioned to insist that they honor their oath. It’s so swampy.

O.J. was clearly and plainly guilty of murder and Trump is clearly and plainly guilty of an uncountable number of felonies and impeachable offenses. O.J. got away with it. We must not let Trump get away with it.

From Steve Sheffey on January 7, 2024:

No matter what your issues are, no matter which side of the political spectrum you’re on, if democracy is not your litmus test, you need to question your instincts for self-preservation.

Speaking of Democracy

Have a look at this Gallup survey chart:

Click me for the full story.

Apparently, we aren’t too happy with the way our democracy is working. There is little wonder about that, as we are tormented by minority rule. Our laws and our Constitution have been bastardized to serve a minority and especially the very rich, this at the expense of the rest of us. And all the while big mouth, would-be usurpers continuously vomit a barrage of lies and propaganda assaulting our democracy and our values.

Maybe we ought to do something to make ourselves satisfied with our democracy.

For reinforcement of what commitment to democracy looks like, read Steve Schmidt’s essay that includes Gen. Mark Milley’s letter of resignation from his post as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It wasn’t delivered, but it remains a piece of clarity about patriotism. The old fashioned kind.

For the Hand Wringers

This from Mother Jones:

A bunch of places—22 states and 43 cities and counties, to be precise—enacted new minimum wage increases [as of January 1], according to a report from the National Employment Law Project. Six of those states—California, Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Washington—now have a minimum wage that reaches or surpasses $15, which has been the goal of the decade-long “Fight for $15” movement. The increases should disproportionately benefit Black, Hispanic, and female workers, who make up more than half of the workers receiving pay bumps, according to an analysis from the Economic Policy Institute.

Another three states and 22 jurisdictions will also raise their minimum wages this year. Twenty of these increases will be to $15 or more for some or all employers; 15 places will reach or exceed $17, according to NELP data.

So, if you know a cynic who loves to bemoan what they imagine is our falling sky, feel free to pass along this win for We The People. And it’s okay to mention Joe Biden, who knows that our minimum wage hasn’t made sense for decades. He’s been a champion for workers and now wages are beginning to be made right. This is a victory for democracy.

__________________________________

* Many thanks to that anonymous fellow who made those days make more sense.

 ** Definition:

psychosis | sīˈ KŌ səs | noun (plural psychoses | sīˈ sēz |)

a severe mental condition in which thought and emotions are so affected that contact is lost with external reality.

– Apple dictionary


  • 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.

Immigration, Healthcare and Disappearing Spine Disease


Post 1,026

___________________________________

The Real Immigration Issue – Said Out Loud

With a noteworthy and continuing firmness, Congress has steadfastly stood tall for doing nothing to reform of our immigration system. That has left our proud Republican congresspeople free to whine, point fingers of blame, complain and demonize.

In the face of thousands of hopeful immigrants arriving daily, our courageous Speaker of the House, He Who Hates America, sent all representatives home for 3 weeks. The Republicans don’t want our immigration system fixed because they’d rather use our dysfunction to stoke their base against Biden and Democrats, even though it’s a challenge that is actually the responsibility of Congress, so they leave asylum seekers hanging. “The cruelty is the point.”

We do have a real and serious immigration problem, but it isn’t the one that is commonly talked about. Here’s the real immigration issue, said out loud:

Republicans don’t want any Hispanic, Black, Brown,
Asian or Muslim people in our country. *
.

After all, those people are so very inconvenient to straight, Christian nationalist, White Supremacist suburban and rural patriarchal posers.

Let’s be precise: This describes Republican extremists and Republican “moderates” (read: cowards). It certainly describes some others, too, especially the true believers of the wholly made up, hateful, bigoted, racist Replacement Theory.

Republicans still talk about people seeking asylum coming from the south, but nobody is complaining about White, European applicants seeking to immigrate – unless they’re from Ukraine and seeking asylum. They don’t want those people because allowing them in our country would help Ukraine in its fight for survival against Putin and Republicans are in the tank for Putin.

  • Side note: I remember a time when Republicans
  • were in the tank for America.

Our immigration problem isn’t about immigration. It’s about racism and White supremacy and delusional, hateful Christianity. Nothing more.

The Healthcare Ripoff

Read this from STAT, the healthcare newsletter from the Boston Globe:

INSURANCE
American taxpayers pay as much for health care as other countries do for universal coverage

The U.S. government spent more on health care last year than the combined governments of Germany, the U.K., Italy, Spain, Austria, and France did on universal health care coverage, according new CMS data. Their populations add up to a total of 335 million people, compared to the U.S. population of 331 million.

The $1.8 trillion in federal and state health care expenditures in 2022 funded by taxpayers last year — about 41% of the nearly $4.5 trillion in both public and private health care spending — calls to mind an argument made by economists Amy Finkelstein and Liran Einav. “We’re already paying as taxpayers for universal basic automatic coverage, we’re just not getting it,” Finkelstein said at the STAT Summit in October. Read more from STAT’s Annalisa Merelli.

Wait, what? We’re paying full price for universal healthcare – actually, many times what other countries with universal healthcare pay – but “we’re just not getting it”? Are we really allowing ourselves to be ripped off like that?

Well, yeah, we are.

And our politicians, in the pockets of Big Pharma, insurance, big hospitals and more, don’t want to change a thing.

Please open your hymnal to page 2024 as we sing together all the verses of “That Sucks.”

Disappearing Spine Disease, or,
“What Do You Want Me To Say About Slavery?”
Definition

psycho-emetic [SI-ko-e-MET-ik] – noun

1. so stupid that it makes you puke

  • Jax Dictionary

At a town hall in New Hampshire last Wednesday Nikki Haley was asked what the cause of the Civil War was. She went on a tear about states rights, limited government and more and never mentioned slavery!

When she was done windbagging, the questioner pointed out her astonishing exclusion of the obvious historical fact of slavery. This pretender to the throne responded by asking, “What do you want me to say about slavery?

Yes, Nikki Haley really did ask that stupid question. That’s psycho-emetic.

We don’t want to keep her hanging, so to answer her question, what we wanted her to say about slavery is that it was THE cause of the Civil War. We wanted her to say how unfathomably horrible slavery was, how wrong it was and that millions of people still suffer from its consequences 159 years later. But she didn’t say that. Instead, she asked what color the questioner wanted her Republican chameleon outfit to be.

I just wish she had had the courage to say her truth: “I’m not going to say the obvious, that our Civil War was about slavery, the greed that slavery supported and the enormous cruelty it spawned, because if I did that I’d lose MAGA votes.” But she didn’t say that.

What she did do was to instantly disqualify herself for any job that calls for intellectual honesty, moral courage and the ability to speak truth. What she did do was to support the banning and burning of books that mention anything about race, discrimination and our horrifying history of slavery. What she did do was to tell us that she’s such a suck up that she would be unable to confront either foreign or domestic enemies.

No, Nikki, even if you’re from the South, you may not own human beings. That was the cause of the Civil War. It wasn’t about northern aggression. It wasn’t about states rights. It wasn’t about limited government. It was about slavery, you coward!

Poor Nikki Haley is just another carrier of Republican Disappearing Spine Disease. Have low expectations of her, because like the hymn about universal healthcare that we pay for but don’t get, this sucks.

And the hits just keep on comin’.

One Last Thing
  • Definition:

re·ces·sion /rəˈseSH(ə)n/ – noun

  • 1. a period of temporary economic decline during which trade and industrial activity are reduced, generally identified by a fall in GDP in two successive quarters.
    – Oxford English Dictionary

    For our math challenged, “two successive quarters” means 6 months in a row.
    .
    Republicans continue to say that a recession is less than a heartbeat away or that we are in a recession right now. Here are the facts (as in: observable reality):
    .
    1. We have had nothing but growth in GDP, month after month, quarter after quarter for a really long time. The rate of growth slowed during the Trump-ignored pandemic in 2020.
    2. The S & P 500 returned 26% last year and the DJIA is at an all time high. Doesn’t sound very recession-y to me.
    3. Because there are business cycles, saying that a recession is coming is like saying that the sky will be dark. Sooner or later you’ll be right. Meanwhile, there is no recession.
    4. We keep making more jobs month-after-month, wages are higher for everyone who depends on a paycheck, insulin is just $35 a month instead of hundreds, they’re almost ready to replace the I-75 bridge over the Ohio River, and, and, and .  .  .
    5. If you’re one of the moaners saying that your economic situation is good, but that our national economy sucks, get over your slavish following of phony righty propaganda. They’re just feeding you mind crap, hoping for political advantage.

    Which sucks.

    Okay, This is the Real Last Thing

    For a wonderful list of places/causes/ways to take action and make a difference to protect our unfathomably precious democracy – that task you’re going to focus on and contribute yourself to this year – check in with Mobilize.us. Consider this an addition to the list on this post.

  • ________________________________________
  • *  Trump in Waterloo, IA on December 19:

“They’re poisoning the blood of our country. All over the world they are pouring into our country. They come from Africa, they come from Asia, they come from South America.”

He called it a “border catastrophe.” He said, “They’re poisoning the blood of our country.”

  • That’s it plain and simple: Racist, xenophobic fear and hatred is what immigration reform – and Trump and MAGA – are all about.

  • 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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