Domestic Policy

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.

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.

Something For Nothing


Post 1,053


Late Addition

.
NBC News Hires Former RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel
The GOP political veteran will become an on-air contributor to NBC News and MSNBC.
.

Yes, that Ronna Romney McDaniel. Be sure to click the headline and read the astonishing spin the networks put on this brainless move.

Here’s a piece of what Steve Schmidt said about this yesterday:

Ronna McDaniel is unfit to join any news organization because she is an inveterate liar. She is a chaos agent, who went fully along with Trump’s madness — right through the insurrection and beyond. She didn’t just show indifference towards Trump’s threats of violence, societal mayhem and revenge, she abetted them, aided them and raised money for them. A hard count of the documented lies she told during her tenure at the RNC would number in the tens of thousands.

I’m fine with MSNBC bringing former Republicans and traditional conservatives to their otherwise progressive team, people like Nicolle Wallace, Michael Steele, David Jolly, Joe Scarborough and more. I listen to what these honest Americans have to say because they are intelligent, insightful and worthy of my trust.

I’m very not fine with the total undermining of trust NBC News and MSNBC do by bringing in this Trump toady, this spineless coward. In it’s utter contempt for viewers and disdain for professional journalism, they present us this assassin of truth and reality, this election denier, this enemy of democracy and serial liar.

Can you imagine Rachel Maddow welcoming McDaniel as a guest analyst to her program, calling her a valued colleague? Neither can I.

To MSNBC and NBC News Management:
.

You just lost me.


Something For Nothing

If things are to get better, we’ll have to stop doing what makes things worse and start doing what makes things better. We’ll have to face up to the fact that there’s no such thing as something-for-nothing. We’ll have to invest in ourselves.

Here’s a starter list, in no particular order of importance. For most items there will be no immediate benefit, but we’ll have a beginning for the cultural shift needed to make things better for all of us.

  1. Teach 1 – 2 semesters of civics to every high school student (we used to do that), with a passing grade required for graduation, for entry into higher education and for the check box on job applications. In a few years, maybe a generation, most adults will be able to name the three branches of government and more than one president. We might even return to believing in a peaceful transfer of power.
  2. Teach American history in high school – including the parts that aren’t pretty. Two semesters minimum. Our kids are strong enough to deal with truth. It’s the parents who need an infusion of starch in their spines, the courage to look at reality and accept it. Maybe they should be required to take two semesters of American history, too – including the parts that aren’t pretty.
  3. Universal public service – 2 years minimum following high school graduation. That will throw people in with “others.” Maybe they’ll learn to get along. Plus, they’ll have a personally earned investment in our country.
  4. Enact strict firearms laws. I care far less for the tortured, twisted NRA version of the Second Amendment than I do for keeping people alive. So do you.
  5. Create policies that reward jobs and growth and eliminate policies that reward only narrow enrichment of the few, like supply side economics.
  6. Expel elected officials calling for what’s best for them and instead elect leaders who call for what’s best for our towns, our states and our country, like preparing for the next pandemic and standing up to tyrants. That election job is on all of us.
  7. Reverse all legislation and Supreme Court decisions that give non-sentient beings (e.g. corporations) the right to influence our elections in any way, like Citizens United. Severely limit the amount of money individuals can contribute to candidates. In short, eliminate the influence of big money on our politics so that only the voices of We The People are heard and represented. Mitt Romney was wrong: corporations are not people, my friend.

Add your notion of must-do items in the Comments section below.

The Big Long-Term Item

We have to stop pretending this is an 18th century agrarian society so that we can overhaul education. We continue to shoot ourselves in the foot with our shortsightedness, financing education primarily with property taxes. That works great in affluent areas, where tax collections are robust and provide what is necessary for a fine education for kids. But in poor towns and in poor neighborhoods the kids get a comparatively lousy education, which dramatically limits their lifelong opportunities and cheats all of us of the contributions they might have made.

Think: When you are dying of cancer, how will you feel when you realize that the kid who would have grown up and developed a cure for your disease was instead left half-educated because we refused to fund his/her education? We’ve seen this craziness happening for most of the past century, leaving kids with poor or even destructive options. We don’t have to stay on this self-defeating path.

We can’t pay teachers a poverty wage and refuse necessary educational resources and also give our children the preparation they need to succeed in this century. There is no something-for-nothing.

Our kids need up-to-date text books; secure schools where the roofs don’t leak and the walls and ceilings aren’t mold and mildew breeding grounds. Kids need engaged, motivating teachers and proper nutrition to learn. And they need books in classrooms and on library shelves that are protected from the Nazi book banning/burning censors. If we fail at this we’ll have ignorant kids, clueless citizens and world class failure. Magical thinking won’t fix this.

Do you suppose we have a need for lots of educated people? I know the Chinese believe they do. Every year they graduate five times the number of students from 4-year universities than we do. We won’t be able to compete with them over the long term if things continue that way.

We have to stop acting as if we are both ignorant and dimwitted. We are neither. Rather, we are adherents of magical, wishful thinking or even no thinking – like the comments above about education. Here are some other examples.

  1. We can’t buy cheap consumer goods made in foreign countries and also have our living wage American jobs. Ref: Any town with a Walmart.
  2. We can’t ship our jobs overseas and also have the American Dream.
  3. We can’t allow legislators to undermine our democracy and prevent solutions to our challenges and at the same time keep our values and our way of life.

If we are to continue to be a version of America we believe in, we’re simply going to have to face up to reality.

A while back George Will said that Americans want about 1/3 of a billion dollars more in services from government than we’re willing to pay for. Adjusting for inflation, population growth and a rise in the “I want” factor, that number is probably well into the billions now. If we want better, we’ll have to pay for better.

What? You don’t like this message that there’s no something-for-nothing and we’ll have to pay to get what we want?

Of course you don’t like it! None of us does. That’s the first challenge to overcome.

Oops – I think I just disqualified myself from public office.

Coda to This Post

Kristi Noem, Republican governor of South Dakota, infamous for her dental infomercial (and here) recently, advanced her campaign to be Trump’s running mate with her declaration at CPAC saying:

“There are two kinds of people in this country right now. There are people who love America, and there are those who hate America.”

I am astonished that this airhead has at last said something to which I agree. Not in the way she means it, of course, as her notion of loving America is to renounce everything that is America and make this a Christo-Fascist theocracy. Still, she’s right – there really are two kinds of people in this country. It’s just that she’s the other, the hateful kind.

BTW: Kristi – Nice teeth!


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.

Seven Wonderings


Post 1,028

___________________________________

Wondering #1

Over 116 IDF troops have been killed and many injured in Israel’s efforts to silence Hamas in Gaza, in the West Bank and in fighting to hold back Hezbollah in Lebanon. Of course, these numbers are dwarfed by the number of Palestinian casualties. Still, where are the demonstrations of support for those brave men and women risking and some losing their lives to protect their country and their countrymen from terrorists? Same question regarding the Israelis being injured or killed by Hamas rockets that continue to rain down on Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and on other cities.*

Oh, right – the world has fallen for the Hamas trick of making victims of Palestinians in order to gain world sympathy. That allows Hamas to unleash terrorism on Israelis and effectively excuse it, or at least allows the world to ignore it. So, people demonstrate on college campuses in the U.S. and in European cities against Israel for the crime against humanity of Jews protecting themselves from murderous Hamas terrorists, the very people who set up civilian Palestinians for death.

Big surprise

There aren’t many protests against Hamas and the complicit Palestinians who are the true instigators of the death and destruction in Gaza.

The useful idiot demonstrators are demanding an Israeli ceasefire, as though they think that there would be no self-destructive consequences to Israel of that.

NOT SO BREAKING NEWS!
.

A ceasefire would allow Hamas to rearm, regroup and resume killing Israelis. They’ve promised repeatedly to do exactly that, to attack Israel over and over.

To the street protesters and to the appeasement spewing world leaders: Do you still think a ceasefire is a good idea? What would your answer be if you lived in Tel Aviv and every day you have to dodge incoming rockets?

Important safety tip

You don’t have to be Israeli or Jewish to be killed or gravely wounded by a Hamas rocket.

It’s so easy to manipulate people who want simple solutions to complex problems, people who cannot fathom that there is something other than whatever propaganda and manipulation has been put before their eyes. Hamas is very good at that manipulation.

Steve Sheffey offered this worthy challenge:

A New York Times investigation uncovered new details showing a pattern of rape, mutilation, and extreme brutality against women in the Hamas attacks on Israel. Read this article if you support a ceasefire that would allow Hamas to remain in power, armed and dangerous.

Many people have been duped into believing that Israel is some sort of devil, the bad guy perp, and that Palestinians are hapless good guy victims of Israeli cruelty. That simple binary view sells well. But what if things are not as as simple as you’ve been made to believe?

Just wondering.

Wondering #2

From The Tennessean:

“There are 1,582 Americans still unaccounted for [from the Vietnam War], according to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.”

I’m wondering if the words on the POW/MIA flag are still true: “You are not forgotten.”

Wondering #3

I’m wondering something else about our military people.

The Wounded Warrior Project provides support for our wounded and disabled veterans. It is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization that is sustained solely by donations. That’s what started my wondering.

We send our military people into harms way. They stand a post for us all over the world, protecting our nation and our national interests. They are volunteers – every one of them – who knew when they put on the uniform that they were putting their lives on the line for the rest of us.

Some of them return to us terribly damaged. These are the people who are served by that private organization. The thing I wonder about is why we send our people into harms way, perhaps to be killed or become wounded and beset with long term disabilities, but then we make them have to rely on private organizations and donations to get the treatment and support they need.

Why isn’t full support a standard that We The People provide as part of our obligation to those who protect us?

I assume the VA is helpful, but apparently what they do isn’t helpful enough. Said another way, we train our military men and women to fight and when they come back to us damaged we give them their first Band Aids and then abandon them. Are our military people no longer of value to us after they’re wounded, so we refuse to fund their rehabilitation?

Just wondering.

Wondering #4

There is something similar going on in our schools.

We always under-fund some of them. That isn’t a problem in affluent areas, where property taxes provide plenty of money for schools, teachers and various support services. But that doesn’t work so well on the other side of the tracks, where property taxes are small. That’s where our “under-performing” schools can be found. How come we abandon those kids to a mediocre education?

Oh, right – the parents on the poor side of town aren’t big donors to political campaigns and they aren’t reliable voters, so we leave kids in lousy buildings with half the number of teachers they need, learning from beat up, 20 year old textbooks. We abandon these kids just like we do our wounded military.

For the moment, never mind the injustice in that. Instead, be selfish. If given the schooling s/he needs, one of those kids on the other side of the tracks might find a cure for the cancer you’re going to get in a few years. Maybe we should provide him/her the same great education that the kids on the affluent side of town are afforded. Doing that would be good for your health.

I’m wondering if that might be a good idea.

Wonderings #5 & 6

Here’s another couple of wonderings.

I received an email call for help from Moms Demand Action for their Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Day of Service. The local MDA is soliciting donations of basic hygiene products and assembling them into kits to be “distributed to over 80 schools facing economic challenges in the Chicagoland area.”

I’m Wondering (#5) how it is that we have to hold metaphorical bake sales for these kids to have basic hygiene. And I’m Wondering (#6) why Jeff Bridges has to go on TV and beg for money to feed hungry kids. **

Wondering #7

I’m wondering who we are.

________________________________

* From Haaretz:

Instead of fireworks, air raid sirens inaugurated the new year for a swathe of central Israel. Launched one minute after midnight, the rockets from Gaza were a crude if salient reminder that Israel and Hamas are heading towards three months of war.

** From Annie Gowen of the Washington Post on January 10:

Republican governors in 15 states reject summer food money for kids

Republican governors in 15 states are rejecting a new federally funded program to give food assistance to hungry children during the summer months, denying benefits to 8 million children across the country.

Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont and Wyoming

States in RED also “.  .  .  have not fully extended Medicaid eligibility to low-income individuals.”

Do you suppose making kids go hungry is what people in those 15 states really want?

Just wondering #6


  • 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.

Blood Pressure


Post 1,019

___________________________________

To keep us at MAGA juiced-up blood pressure levels, read this from Heather Cox Richardson’s Letters From an American of Monday, December 11:

This [Republican congressional] unwillingness to fund a crucial partner [Ukraine] in its fight against Russia has resurrected concerns that the Trump-supporting MAGA Republicans are working not for the United States but for Russian president Vladimir Putin, who badly needs the U.S. to abandon Ukraine in order to help him win his war.

Media outlets in Moscow reinforced this sense when they celebrated the Senate vote, gloating that Ukraine is now in “agony” and that it was “difficult to imagine a bigger humiliation.” One analyst said: “The downfall of Ukraine means the downfall of Biden! Two birds with one stone!” Another: “Well done, Republicans! They’re standing firm! That’s good for us.”

Perhaps you can recall a time when Republicans were the red, white and blue flag wavers, the Goldwater “nuke the bastards” tough guys standing up to the Russians. Well, that time of stiff spines is long gone and what is left is a flaccid relic of a once patriotic, if over the top, party. Now they are nothing but Trump toadies willing to – indeed, enthusiastic to – sell out our friends, including NATO, and even our own nation.

All it takes is an exceptionally short memory to fail to recognize what Putin is doing.

This former KGB thug pledged to reconstitute the Soviet Union and has said that after he destroys and owns Ukraine that the Balkan states are next. Belarus is already a vassal state and a glance at a map will tell you that Poland will follow, then Moldova, Romania and inevitably Hungary, the country of Putin suck-up Viktor Orbán.

Can you already see the Russian tanks rumbling through downtown Budapest the way they did in 1956? Back then the Soviet Union brutally put down the revolution against its authoritarian savagery. Come to think of it, what Putin has done to Ukraine looks a lot like what Putin’s longed for Soviet Union did to dissident countries back then. But no worries. I’m sure he doesn’t intend to inflict the same destruction on other European nations. Do you?

All we have to do is to provide arms to Ukraine now and the Ukrainians will crush Putin’s megalomania. Instead, we have Republican jellyfish, brain-free supplicants to Trump The Terrible Tyrant, bottling up the legislation that would allow President Zelenskyy to put up the STOP sign.

Why is it that Republicans want to support and emulate Putin? Why do they want to crush everything here that is not straight, White, Christian, paternalistic and authoritarian?

Oh, wait: Most of the Republicans are (publicly) straight, White, Christian, paternalistic and authoritarian. They just don’t have what it takes to allow anyone different from themselves to have a voice in this country, or even a place in this country.

How’s your blood pressure now?

Just a Curiosity

By anyone’s calculation, what is happening to Gazans is awful. It’s a humanitarian catastrophe. No wonder people are protesting in the streets of cities across the globe. Not too surprisingly, I have some questions about that.

Where were the voices of protest when we and our allies were fire bombing the civilians in Dresden and other German cities during WW II? Where were those voices when we fire bombed Tokyo and other Japanese cities that had no military significance?

We pursued and kill those who killed our people, regardless of where the bad guys were; it was okay for us to defend our nation and do what needed to be done to ensure there wouldn’t be another attack on us; it was okay for us to do what we needed to do to protect ourselves. How come it was okay then to create a humanitarian catastrophe in those fire bombed cities in response to our being attacked and our citizens killed, yet it isn’t okay for Israel to do that same thing now?

Oh, right: Now it’s the Israelis fighting the aggressors, the murderers, not us, and the world has a different standard for them. They aren’t allowed to do what every other nation in the world is allowed to do. Why do you suppose that’s so?


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.

America Today


Post 1,013

—————————————

Put ‘Em Up

Markwayne Mullin is a brand new Republican Senator from Oklahoma. He stood vainly proud a couple of weeks ago for all Americans to see and emulate.

He was challenged by Teamsters boss Sean O’Brien, himself not an exemplar of gentlemanly conduct. Not one to let a stupid challenge go, Mullin challenged back, stood and took off his ring, daring O’Brien to a fist fight right there in the Senate hearing room. It took all the power committee chairman Sen. Bernie Sanders could muster to stop the idiocy.

Mullin exemplifies much of our national leadership, where differences are worked out with fists, just as they were on the playground in 7th grade. These are the people setting an example for the rest of us. These are the people telling Americans that physical violence is not just appropriate, but that it’s good.

These are the people leading the way to thugocracy, where elbows to the kidneys rule in the Rotunda, where laws mean nothing, where shouting down neighbors in a school board meeting proves that you can out-volume everyone else to get your way. They pave the path to where death threats and mass shootings are the stuff of real Americans, the currency of the realm. They make sure that the biggest bully gets to be President.

Mothers and fathers, teach your children well so that they have the sense not to follow these thugs. Our nation is counting on you.

The Supreme Court

After multiple exposés of big money from extremely wealthy Republican donors falling into the laps of 2 or 3 Supreme Court Justices and the public outrage these scandals caused, the Court has bravely issued its own ethics guidelines. It is a code of conduct much like that which applies to lower courts, but it differs in one key respect: The Supreme Court ethics rules offer absolutely no method of enforcement. It’s essentially a statement of, “Here’s how we should behave, but we don’t have to and you can’t make us. Nya-nya.”

Court watcher Dahlia Lithwick said that this new code appears to have been “principally drafted with the intention of instructing us that they still can’t be made to do anything.”

So, enjoy the Court’s disingenuous “there, there” pat on the back of your hand over their scandalous behavior. They are saying that their ethics rules mean nothing more than that you should ignore their possibly illegal behavior and just shut up about Court scandals.

Should we allow them their continuous self-pardon, the Court, the final arbiter of the law, will officially be the only place in all of America that is formally allowed to ignore the rule of law.

Oh, wait – that’s how it’s always been. What have we done?

The Rule of Law

Last Wednesday was the 60th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. That caused me to remember various events of his foreshortened presidency, including the much resisted admission of James Meredith to the University of Mississippi in 1962.

Governor Ross Barnett did everything he could to prevent the integration of Ole Miss, including appointing himself registrar of the university so that he could personally reject Meredith’s application. At last President Kennedy federalized the Mississippi National Guard to enforce the Supreme Court decision that Meredith must be admitted to the university. Not long after that Kennedy addressed the nation. Here is part of what he had to say.

For our nation is founded on the principle that observance of the law is the eternal safeguard of liberty – – and defiance of the law is the surest path to tyranny. The law which we obey includes the final rulings of our courts as well as the enactments of our legislative bodies. Even among law-abiding men, few laws are universally loved – – but they are uniformly respected and not resisted.

Americans are free, in short, to disagree with the law – – but not to disobey it. For in a government of laws, and not of men, no man – – however prominent or powerful – – and no mob – – however unruly or boisterous – – is entitled to defy a court of law. If this country should ever reach the point where any man or group of men, by force or threat of force, could long defy the commands of our courts and Constitution, then no law would stand free from doubt, no judge would be sure of his writ and no citizen would be safe from his neighbors.

That was 60 years ago and Kennedy is still right.

We have plenty of people breaking the law right now as flagrantly as Gov. Barnett did back then, although they’re often sneakier and more destructive of our democracy and the Constitution today. Think:

– January 6: Both the riot and all the criminal machinations to steal the election to keep Trump in power. You can add in Kari Lake in Arizona and all the other lying, self-centered, election denying defrauders.

– Trump’s promise that if elected in 2024 he will take all federal power for himself and remove all  public servants who aren’t loyal solely to him.

Project 2025, a lofty language guide from the starch-in-their-underwear Heritage Foundation to dismantle the Constitution and all traditional American values and to give all power to a small cabal of rich people.

– The promised return of Trump’s Muslim ban and cruelty to dark skin people at our southern border, including the theft of their babies.

Lawlessness is not new, but we are at a point of dis-integration, where elected leaders gaslight us and incite us to break the law and where destruction fails to raise many eyebrows. The history books tell us what will happen if this progresses. Indeed, with the violence that happens every day, we are already at the point where “no citizen would be safe from his neighbors.” Ask any of the survivors or loved ones of the slain from our daily mass shootings how they’re feeling about their neighbors.

From Steve Schmidt:

We are accustomed to think of sociopaths as violent criminals, but in The Sociopath Next Door, Harvard psychologist Martha Stout reveals that a shocking 4 percent of ordinary people—one in twenty-five—has an often undetected mental disorder, the chief symptom of which is that that person possesses no conscience. He or she has no ability whatsoever to feel shame, guilt, or remorse. One in twenty-five everyday Americans, therefore, is secretly a sociopath. They could be your colleague, your neighbor, even family. And they can do literally anything at all and feel absolutely no guilt.

Given the constant presence of those who would demolish the rule of law, perhaps it’s time to reinvigorate our dedication to it. That will most certainly mean that we elect people who think the rule of law, democracy and majority rule are pretty good things. We’ll need people who have a conscience and possess the ability to feel guilt and shame. Perhaps it’s time that we refuse and eject from office all who think power for themselves is all that matters.


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.

Forget About Finding the Why – We Already Know – Part 2


Post 1,012

—————————————

First, an Update to Part 1

It’s maddening, deeply sad and quite astonishing that so much of the world is waving Palestinian flags, cheering terrorists, and demanding a suicidal Israeli ceasefire. As of this writing it appears there will be a temporary halt of hostilities to exchange prisoners for hostages. No one knows what will happen after that or the likely fate of the remaining roughly 190 hostages.

Meanwhile, in the cacophony of demands for an Israeli ceasefire, I have not heard anyone demanding that Hamas cease firing its rockets into Israeli cities. So many seem to have lost their powers of critical thinking and even of simple observation. What was and remains predictable is virulent or useful idiot anti-Semitism.

I highly recommend that you watch this discussion between Piers Morgan and British journalist Douglas Murray. You may want to put your fingers in your ears whenever Piers Morgan’s lips are moving, but it’s worth the bother to hear what Douglas Murray has to say. For example:

  1. Israel is the only country in the world that is never allowed to win a war. The world always jawbones Israelis into moderating their actions, much as it now demands a ceasefire, which will inexorably lead to a faster replenishment of arms by Hamas and an earlier next attack on Israel.
  2. Upon viewing the videos they posted online, there is no mistaking the joy, the glee, the rapture of Hamas terrorists celebrating their raping, mutilating and burning to death their Israeli victims. There is no such thing done by IDF soldiers when Palestinians die.

Watch the interview. Then come back and post your comments. I assure you that you will have some.

And watch this video. Scratch your head, if you must, as she reveals the near-complete lack of any Arab support for Palestinians – ever. Then wonder in amazement over how angry so many are at Israel for the plight of Palestinians.

.

Key question for protesters: “Where were you when  .  .  . ?”

Many thanks to MZ for this.

Now, Part 2

It’s hard to understand, but in the face of Trump’s painfully obvious racist and misogynist statements and behavior that there are Blacks for Trump and Women for Trump. They wear the tee shirts and wave Trump flags. They are placed behind Trump at rallies so that everyone sees them. Their self-defeating beliefs appear to be as mindless as they are impassioned and we are left to wonder why they would be so masochistic and so mindlessly ignorant and reactionary.

For a clear explanation of at least some of the reasons for that and to explain the general scrambling of minds, read Sheila Markin’s report. Short version: change is happening and people fear loss of their privilege and status, so they rage.

Perhaps you’ve seen Jordan Klepper’s interviews of Trump supporters. It’s a marvel how these people contradict themselves and then brush that off as meaning nothing. They hold firm to their idiocies. Listen to their rationalizations and their denial of reality, mimicking Trump in his grift and his lies. He’s taught an entire nation that being gaslighted is normal. That’s very dangerous, as now 43% of Americans believe there will be a civil war in the next 10 years. And many are okay with that! They just want to rage and be violent.

I had believed since Reagan’s rantings about things like “welfare queens” and “young bucks” and “trickle down” economics that understanding why people believe the unbelievable, the stupid, the false and the lies was important. Then we could figure out what to do to counter the gleeful acceptance of gaslighting and self-imposed destruction.

Now, honestly, I don’t care about the why of the MAGA insanity, the reality deniers, the willingly gaslighted. I don’t care about the why of the people who go to extraordinary lengths to avoid critical thinking or who love to hate. I don’t care about the reasons behind the fervor of cult members or the people who hate what this country was intended to be and yet claim to be patriots. I don’t care about the why of empty-headed demonstrators or the insane chants of anarchists or the hatreds promoted by Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, Mike Johnson or any of the others.

We know what’s behind our self-destructive tailspin to authoritarianism:
We love to hate and we love our rage.
.

We have a crisis of confidence in our democracy and our Constitution. It’s driven diabolically and cruelly by far right extremist nihilists, chaos lovers, hatred stokers – add any negative moniker you prefer. These people have lied and cheated their way into power and they use their positions to tear down what we hold dear, the rights and freedoms we cherish. That’s why preserving and protecting our democracy from these thieves is the number one job for us right now.

To that end I’m recommending a webinar on November 30 at 8:00PM EST from The Union: Project Democracy Town Hall. Here’s the program description:

Join us and Senior Advisor to the Lincoln Project, Trygve [Olson], as we delve into the issues surrounding the extreme party and the vital choices we face in the coming years for a crucial discussion on the upcoming 2024 election. The importance cannot be overstated, as there are significant concerns about preserving democracy and the sanctity of the constitution. This goes beyond any individual, including Trump.

Use this link to register. No need to be shy about it – invite friends and family to this freebie event. We all need to learn about this.

For motivation, watch this video from The Lincoln Project. This is serious business.

Rights and Freedoms

Roughly 50 years ago then-Rep. Gerald R. Ford (R-MI) used a bit of House legerdemain to dislodge the Equal Rights Amendment of 1972 from committee in order to bring it to a vote. Two years later as president (shortly before he pardoned Richard Nixon and thereby weakened the rule of law) he put his support to that amendment, urging congress to pass it.

It has been a rocky road since then and it still isn’t formally ratified. The resistance has come nearly entirely from those bearing the label “Republican” or “conservative.” The conservative term may be accurate, as describing the continuation – the conserving – of patriarchy. Clearly, we wouldn’t want women to have all the rights and protections that men have. What might happen then?

Chief Justice John Roberts was the driver in the Shelby County case that gutted the power of the Voting Rights Act. Roberts wrote for the 5-4 majority, saying that the need for voting rights protections in the former slave states is long gone. It’s a cruel irony that immediately following that fateful decision that North Carolina and a number of other southern states enacted laws to protect Republicans from the pesky votes of non-White people.

Now the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has decided that ordinary citizens cannot file suit challenging gerrymandering. And, of course, our presently torqued to the extreme right court killed the rights established by Roe. The Republican rights killing hits just keep on coming.

The steady march of the destruction of American rights and freedoms goes on, with fearful and angry citizens on the gerbil wheel that propels our nation backward. They are all Republican gerbils.


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.

National Defense


Guest Essay

Regular reader, sometimes commenter and boyhood pal Frank Levy has supplied some guest essays for this column. He has a keen insight, so I asked his permission to share one of his recent FaceBook posts with you.

Give some thought to what he describes, as we stumble forward in our self-imposed Through the Looking Glass national reality. You can apply the principle message to a lot more than U.S. Space Command.


Why Would the United States Move USSPACECOM to Alabama?

I have to admit I am enjoying watching Alabama’s Republican elite, Tommy Tuberville, Tommy Battle, Katie Brit, Rep. Dale Strong, Rep Mike Rogers and others twist themselves into apoplectic knots to express their outrage over the decision to keep USSPACECOM in Colorado and not move it to Huntsville, AL.

For me, the decision makes complete sense. Common sense and concerns over national security dictate that USSPACECOM NOT be moved to Alabama. After all, why would US Military leadership and the White House move an extremely important military facility to a state where the White Republican power structure and the MAGA crowd that elects them over and over again don’t believe in anything that America believes in, like

  • – The Voting Rights Act
  • – The Civil Rights Act
  • – marriage equality
  • – Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  • – Affirmative Action
  • – a woman’s right to a safe and legal abortion
  • – science education that does not include creationism
  • – The Constitution of the United States of America (except the Second Amendment) [They believe in that absolutely]
  • – the rule of law
  • – that Biden won the 2020 election

Add to that list the fact that the Republican super-majority in the Alabama legislature chose to defy SCOTUS with its newest Congressional redistricting plan because it simply didn’t like the decision and because Kevin McCarthy wants to keep his MAGA majority in Congress.

Why would the United States of America build a huge, expensive military facility, spend billions of dollars to post military personnel there and improve the economy of a state that officially celebrates Confederate Memorial Day and the birthdays of [traitors] Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis, the leaders of the Confederate States that attacked the United States to preserve its power to enslave Black people for profit?

Why would the United States build what it believes to be a facility necessary to its national security in a state that once seceded from the Union, attacked it and might just do it again?

I get why Alabama’s Republican leaders and the MAGA crew that elected them would be angry at not getting USSPACECOM. It is all about the money.

As an American citizen and resident of Alabama I would have been furious if President Biden, Secretary of Defense Austin and Gen. James Dickinson, Head of USSPACECOM, had moved USSPACECOM to Alabama. In my not at all humble opinion, [the decision to keep it in Colorado] was the only decision that could be made. [all brackets mine – JA]

———————————

Commenting of Levy’s post, smart person and also boyhood pal Kirk Landers wrote:

I believe the space command should be based in a state where the majority of people believe the earth is round and revolves around the sun. It’s also best if most people don’t believe that [the advance of] all knowledge stopped with the writing of the Christian bible.

I had to weigh in with:

There should not be a reward for anti-American behavior like MAGA and Confederate treachery and that alone should keep USSPACECOM out of Alabama. I don’t know anything about the national defense aspects of the geography choice of the agency, but Lander’s comments pretty well outline the requirement for a science based organization to be located where people believe in science.

Taking this one step further, read this from Steve Schmidt, August 18:

It is important to understand the desecration and chaos Trump and his mob have wrought with their attack against America. They have normalized conspiracy. They have made the truth and lie equal in a public square contaminated by the toxic sewage of division, propaganda and misinformation. They have assaulted the essence of America through a conspiracy to seize [the] power that was bestowed by the American people on Joe Biden. The treachery is historic, unprecedented and ongoing. The days ahead will test America’s spirit, resolve and democracy.

That test for us is to turn the voices of “division, propaganda and misinformation” and even treachery into voices of patriotism. If those voices are instead determined to destroy, then our test will be to stand stronger for the principles we claim to hold dear and to overwhelm the voices of destruction. Our typical national yawn of apathy toward elections will have to be replaced by a renewed dedication to democracy.

Here’s another angle on this.

Last Thursday Schmidt’s post put fresh perspective to something you may have thought about but perhaps without a full perspective.

“Boomers” refers to our fleet of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines. The absolute nature of their purpose is difficult to comprehend fully. The sailors aboard these vessels are stunningly smart, dedicated, well trained, prepared and young. We invest our collective future in their hands, extending even beyond time that is foreseeable.

Click here and read Schmidt’s piece. Watch the embedded videos, then sit back in your chair and think about what he’s shown you.

The graphic in the notes section following all of my posts (see below) is correct:

It seems pretty clear that all of the previous “Most Important Elections of Our Lifetime” pale in comparison to what’s at stake next November.

My hope for every next election is that it is the last one for which we’ll need that reminder in order to protect all aspects of national security.


  • 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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