Fascism

Finding Optimism


POST 1069

Third in a series (see Ignorance and Lies and The Underlying Disease)


Stand Up
I asked [my friend] what we would do if 150 crazy people — a mix of deranged narcissists, political extremists, weirdos, conspiracy theorists and other assorted friends of theirs — showed up suddenly on the perfect deck [where we sat overlooking the ocean]. I wanted to know if he thought we’d fight with them or leave.
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“Obviously,” I told him, “we would leave.” He agreed. Crazy people make normal people want to leave.

That’s exactly what we must not do if we hope to provide a cure for our terrible national disease and exit the craziness. Leaving would guarantee a ramping up of the crazy, the vitriol and the siege against the design of the Founders. They had lived under the thumb of despotic King George III and they knew the perils and the pain of autocracy. Our leaving would be capitulation to the forces seeking to undermine the very strength of our nation, our democracy.

So, don’t leave. Stand and fight back. Fight forward. Fight in every direction for your freedom, your rights and for everyone and everything you hold dear. That means standing up to the ignorants and the liars, like Ron Johnson, Jim Jordan, J.D. Vance, MTG, and all the rest of the extremist crazies. Stand up for equity and justice. Stand up to the 50-year-long war to disempower you, make rich guys richer and impoverish the rest of us. Stand up.

A Parallel

Today’s shrill voices and the violence, the threats and the chaos, the crazy and the stupid are all around us with propaganda and lies and visions of doom. Those voices aim to scare good people into capitulation. Those who give up – who leave, to use Steve Schmidt’s term – are today’s version of Neville Chamberlain and his capitulation to Hitler and tyranny.

Click me

Having given away the Sudetenland (then part of Czechoslovakia) to Hitler, Chamberlain came back to England from Munich in 1938 claiming, “Peace for our time.” Less than one year later Germany invaded and overran Poland and a year later began bombing London in the Battle of Britain. Here is the message, the learning:

  • Capitulation never works. It never brings peace. Never.
  • It only emboldens the bullies to do yet worse.

On October 29, 1941 things looked overwhelmingly dark for Britain. Prime Minister Winston Churchill visited The Harrow School, which he had attended years before. Here, in part, is what he told the boys that day:

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” .  .  .  this is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never — in nothing, great or small, large or petty — never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

Steve Schmidt is right: “Crazy people make normal people want to leave.”

But we aren’t going to do that. We’re going to stay and stand up to protect our democracy and our self-rule. We’re going to stay and stand up to the hatred and thwart the cruelty. We’re going to stay and stand and fight. We must not – we will not – leave.

We will never, never, never, never give in.

Optimism

I received a private reply from very long time friend Frank Levy to a recent Disambiguation, Ignorance and Lies. He’s given his permission to post some of his comment – many thanks to him for that..

My experience living among these American ethno-fascists [he lives in a deeply RED state], seeing their racism, watching them legislate for destructive and terrible policies for anyone that does not look, vote, pray, or love the way they do, watching them commit crimes of violence and hate against those very same people, watching them live out their misogyny and need to subjugate and humiliate women, and experiencing their virulent anti-Semitism leads me to two truths.
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One, these people are who they are and they do what they do because they have been taught by their mommies and daddies to hate all the people their relatives hate (thank you South Pacific), and who [they believe] their religion teaches them to hate (thank you Christian Bible and Quran).
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Two, they are who they are and they do what they do because they fear losing their privilege and power to the very people they despise and hate. And they hate democracy, while at the same time proclaiming themselves true patriots, because they know that they are a minority and that in a fair election they and their ideas are losers.
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So, here is why I think your optimism is misplaced: you can’t undo this kind of hate and fear through conversation and education.
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I believe Frank is right, that conversation and education won’t make a dent in the certainties of the fearful, the haters and the dispensers of cruelty, so I replied,
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Our national salvation doesn’t lie in conversions of the BillyBobs and the vitriol droolers – as you put it, the ethno-fascists. Rather, it lies in activating everyone else.
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We cannot wipe out the hatred and thuggishness in those who feel the imperative to hate and to be thugs. Their identities are wrapped up in that cruel package, making change for them impossible. What we can do is to overpower them at the ballot box and in legislatures, making their institutionalized bigotry and mania for domination of others a powerless thing, perhaps no more than an artifact.
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Maybe the more remote polling places and mail-in ballot drop boxes will be returned to North Carolina, Michigan, Wisconsin and Kentucky. Maybe millions will have their names restored to the voting roles in Georgia, Virginia, Arizona and Texas. Perhaps an overwhelming defeat will make Kari Lake shut up.
.

It’s entirely up to us to make that happen. That’s the reason for optimism.

Obstacles to Optimism

Last Thursday a chunk of the MAGA extremism cult (please forgive the redundancy) came to Manhattan to parade themselves as brainless suck ups to Trump. They violated the gag order that

Judge Merchan placed on Trump and, in effect declared that they renounce justice.

Matt Gaetz (R-Young Girls) announced that he’s with the Proud Boy felons, saying, “Standing back and standing by, Mr. President.” Having already created chaos, these cheaters are attacking our justice system for being chaotic and broken. That’s what the extremists do: they break government, then blame Democrats for the ensuing chaos.

Also on Thursday, the news of Justice Sam “The Insurrection Man” Alito and his upside-down distress flag crashed into our Constitution. Is there nothing that is below him and Justice Clarence “Free Vacations Man” Thomas? Oh wait .  .  .  never mind.

The Republican pollution of the Supreme Court by insurrectionist sympathizers has driven disapproval of the Court to well over half of Americans. A few decades ago being a Supreme Court justice was the most highly respected profession. Now it doesn’t even make the top 20. It’s pretty hard to be optimistic about that.

Since impeachment isn’t going to happen and the Court’s newly drafted ethics guidelines have no teeth, perhaps now it’s time for Biden to pack the court with four additional justices, each of whom, refreshingly, has a moral compass. That would give us something to be optimistic 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.

The Underlying Disease


POST 1068


Second in a series (see Ignorance and Lies).

The Diagnosis

The slavish devotion of so many to worshiping ignorance and lies is baffling and the translation of that into violence is fraught with grave danger. It has been easy to criticize, saying those people are voting against their own interests, which is a high-minded way of pointing fingers and ridiculing. That’s only useful until the reality of the true danger lands with the force of an asteroid.

So I continue to try to understand the appeal of absurd and hateful conspiracy theories, the popularity of a con man with people who used to follow their common sense, and the anger and hatred that infect so many in our nation. At root it is all about trying to understand what seems, on the surface, to be both self-righteous and self-destructive. It is an existential challenge of our time.

It was in this quest that I came upon an interview in The Atlantic of Walter Kirn, my first brush with an outspoken and successful author, thought leader and iconoclast. The title of the piece is The Blindness of Elites: Walter Kirn and the empty politics of defiance, by Thomas Chatterton Williams. Kirn seems to speak for the people in “flyover country” who feel betrayed by, blown off by our “elites.” Note that even our use of the term “flyover country” declares our contempt for those who live there and demonstrates our elitist attitude.

I’ve written about the drivers of this sense of betrayal and have come to believe that there’s something there that, even after so many years of knee-jerk anger, we’ve hardly done more than knee-jerk right back. That’s not helpful to anyone, other than for momentary self-satisfaction. In other words, and to mix metaphors, all we’ve done is to repeatedly kick the hornets nest, never dealing with the the reasons for the swarm of angry hornets. Little wonder that we keep getting stung.

Try these short, non-sequential quotes from the essay:

Today [Kirn] regards Trump’s supporters not as the proverbial basket of deplorables but as more or less reasonable citizens with valid concerns. The movement around Trump, Kirn told me, is “an expression of American frustration on the part of people who feel like they got a really raw deal.” [i.e. betrayal]

.  .  .  his resentment against the tastemakers and gatekeepers is so unrelenting because it’s fueled not simply by dislike but also by real affection—a sympathy for Americans in unimportant places, people without power or influence, whose opinions and lifestyles he believes are often dismissed as retrograde or irrelevant.

.  .  .  the government’s attempts to manage the pandemic were a “behavioral-engineering enterprise, no longer having much to do with the truth, no longer having much to do with your right to desire what you wish or not desire what you don’t wish.”

Everyone, he suggested, was in on the game. “This group of legacy media institutions, along with a whole array of academic—what is called ‘civil-society organizations’—and frankly, Homeland Security, clerks of the government, got together and … ganged up to preserve this preferential cartel status for those [elite] groups and start shooting down the rebel ships.” [a reference to Kirn’s “Star Wars” metaphor}

You get the idea.

And even if at times Kirn seems to be contrarian only for the purpose of being a contrarian, he provides an insight into what America looks like and feels like from a non-elite perspective. The danger is that makes for easy pickings for a charlatan huckster promising to be the “retribution” for people who feel aggrieved.

The point is that what seems to be devilishly absurd actually has a sound footing in the realty of millions of Americans. It led to a first Trump presidency and over 74 million votes cast for him in the 2020 election. That’s bad news for democracy, but our collective ignoring of real grievances is leading to the possibility of a second Trump presidency and our continuing threat of dysfunction and violence.

If grievances based in reality are the underlying driver of otherwise sensible Americans electing a megalomaniac sociopath, what else are those grievances causing? Thom Hartmann put his finger on that recently, identifying inequity and inequality as the drivers.

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.

Inequality causes crime because it destroys social trust, the core fabric of any society. It essentially makes us crazy. Without social trust, empathy and shared values weaken and culture begins to disintegrate. [emphasis original]

So, inequality provokes our social unrest, often called our “political divide” or “cultural divide” and that drives criminality. It drives our us-them animosity and makes us distrust our neighbors, demonize and attack all the “others” we can identify and in all ways rip apart our social fabric such that people are outright warning against and even promising a civil war.

Bernie Sanders is flamboyant and has crazy hair and a crazy manner, but,

He’s right about the inequity and unfairness baked into our American cake for decades.

For at least 50 years our poor and middle classes have been sending their wealth to the very rich via tax schemes that make golden promises for everyone but only benefit the rich. In 2010 our Supreme Court, rife with billionaire backed justices outright wrote legislation – they made it up themselves. Citizens United has allowed billions of big money bucks to buy our government and enrich already rich people. And that exacerbates our outrage over unfairness.

That is the diagnosis. Wealth inequity. Unfairness. Legalized cheating.

That is the betrayal, the rot. That is the primary source of so much of our social unrest. And that betrayal leads to anger and cruelty. From Mother Jones:

The relentless rot is exactly why huge swaths of the electorate do want [Trump] back. As it’s been said, the cruelty is the point.

The inequity and unfairness is tearing our country apart – that’s our national sickness.

Trump has already told us that if he wins the election he will further enrich the already fabulously wealthy. He will do this at the expense of everyone else and of our future generations.

We better get about moving past our swatting at symptoms – those angry hornets – and deal with the underlying disease. Our present abdication of that is what is driving this existential moment.

Your mandatory assignment: Read Hartmann’s post.


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.

Mom First – Then Ignorance And Lies


POST 1067


Mom

Today is the official day we celebrate mothers. I had one and it’s likely you did, too. So, today, in addition to all the “Happy Mothers Day” wishes, give Mom a special thanks for raising you to think critically and to have integrity. As we’ll see, those can be in short supply.

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Ignorance And Lies

We have an ongoing attack of political falsehoods that is biblical in scale. Like the trillions of locusts on their way to eat plants, terrorize small animals and you, these assaults on truth aim to eat away at our trust and make us afraid of one another.

You may recall that I have explained the causes of political falsity as being of no more than two possible origins:

  1. The person releasing such gas is ignorant. S/he does not know the truth, whether through willful witlessness, laziness or through some mental impairment. Such people are clueless, dangerous and without the sense to keep their mouths shut.
  2. The person spewing false statements is a liar. To qualify for this disappointingly not-so-rare distinction one must know the truth and speak contrary to it.

I recently saw Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH) on CNN spewing a string of idiotic, untrue things that host Kaitlan Collins would not have. She challenged them as false and without merit. Vance did the Trump two-step, doubling down on his false statements. Was he ignorant of the facts and too stupid to shut up, or was he lying? Turns out it doesn’t matter.

The people of Ohio are poorly served by someone peddling such fabrications and all of us are worse off for having it fogged in our faces. Our trust in one another and of our nation gets damaged yet further by each such falsification.

But what did Vance expect to get from vapidly flapping his mouth? A “look at me!” moment? Stature in the Insane Caucus of the Republican Party? Hope that Trump would notice how similar Vance is to himself and think him worthy of being Trump’s VP pick? Good for Vance. What’s in it for us?

Which leads us to the companion question: Why do people believe such trash? What’s in it for ordinary Americans to abandon Mom’s teachings and to integrate political bovine excrement into their beliefs and even to bellow those fictions as though they’re verified truth? What makes them blather gibberish and dance in the ecstasy of self-righteousness, victimhood, anger and the delirium of hatred of others?

The answer is that it’s about feeling. Their abdication of their common sense and their absorption of lies makes them feel good and powerful. They feel seen and understood. They have a sense of belonging to the true and right tribe and are at last hitting back. Plus they’re sticking it to the elites whom they believe have blown them off all their lives. (See my post this Wednesday for more on this.)

That’s how people who claim they enthusiastically support our police rationalized viciously attacking, maiming and killing cops on January 6 and desecrating our Capitol Building.
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For those happily led astray, the mean spirited lies carry no need for verification or even good sense. And by absorbing and believing the untrue, they make themselves ready to believe yet more lies and distortions, oblivious of the destruction they bring upon not just those they hate, but upon themselves as well.

From First Ignorancians:

7. Verily I say unto thee, thou art putty in the hands of the liars, condemned to the hell of cluelessness and the coming curses. Thy ignorance shall keep ye enslaved and ye shall live with the Scarlet Letter “I” upon thy breast.

There is nothing we can do to save those self-selecting to be enslaved. They will live in the dark oppressive land of Dunno for all their lives and may well pass along their chains of enslavement to their children.

The rest of us must move onward toward that more perfect Union, that shining city on the hill, that promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
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And so we vote for those we hope and believe don’t worship ignorance and lies. We talk with others about reality, like that the Earth is round, not flat; that democracy is best; that minority cruelty and minority rule are awful; that legalized stealing of rights like healthcare and voting is un-American; that insurrection is traitorous and deserving of great punishment; that vigilantes are domestic terrorists and deserve great punishment; and that willful ignorance and lies are inexcusable.

From Second Ignorancians:

18. Tremble ye builders of mountains of mendacity, for the vote is well-nigh upon thee.

19. Followers of liars take notice while ye can. Leave thy willful and hateful ignorance and enter the land of truth, justice and the actual, verifiable, real American way. The truth shall set ye free from a life of Duh! and Huh?

26. Celebrate the faithful who believe in the Constitution and democracy and who have the clarity not to worship a sociopath and con artist. Abandon thy toxic gruel while ye still can, lest karma rise up and smite thee.

Because what goes around really does come around.

Instructional Music Selection

Listen to the words of Revolution 1 from the Beatles‘ White Album. John Lennon has something for us, all these years later.

“If you talk about destruction, don’t you know that you can count me out.”

“If you want money for people with minds that hate, all I can tell you is brother you’ll have to wait.”

“You tell me it’s the institution, well you know, you better free your mind instead.”

You’re Planning To Do What!?!

From Heather Cox Richardson’s post of May 9:

Former House speaker Paul Ryan told Yahoo Finance that he would write in another Republican rather than vote for Trump. “Character is too important to me,” he said.

If character is so important to Ryan, somebody please explain to Mr. Social Security Vouchers (that he claimed weren’t vouchers) that a vote for anybody but Biden is essentially a vote for Trump, especially in a close election. Third party votes are un-American and are evidence of poor character.


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.

May You Not Live In Interesting Times


POST 1066

Read all the way to the bottom for some good stuff.


About Those Interesting Times

Of course, that expression, often claimed to be a Chinese curse (but without verified attribution), didn’t include the word “not” in the original. Decide for yourself if it was intended to hope for something other than bland life circumstances or for stimulating ones; whether it was meant as a tease or perhaps it really was meant as a curse. Regardless, the word “interesting” makes the phrase an analytical thing and distances us from passion and motivation and simply misses the point of humanness.

But if we are to identify with the original phrase we would certainly find things interesting. Our news media has been full of it since 2015 when the Grim Celebrity Phony slid down his golden escalator and announced that Mexican robbers, drug lords and murderers were coming to imperil us. Worse, millions believed him. That could be interesting on many levels, as could over 30,000 lies and thousands of racist dog whistles. Fine, we found it interesting, if not acceptable.

But now we find ourselves faced with a convict with the impulse control of a bratty 6-year-old, having rapidly waning mental faculties and spewing an increasing blathering of gibberish. He’s vying to have the nuclear codes. He’s promising that he will be a dictator and is free to commit murder.

Sure, that’s all intellectual food to digest, but he’s promising to be an existential threat. He might get us all killed. That’s no longer just interesting. It is a life-or-death threat. Sword of Damocles stuff. Pray you won’t have just moments to kiss your ass good-bye, all because that brat had a tantrum.

I have neither need nor desire for such interesting times. I want the chaos and insanity to go away, I want to live in boring times when my existence isn’t threatened. I’ll find my own way to get intellectual stimulation and I wish the same for you. May you not live in interesting times.

But you do and there is no getting around that. In fact, you can change “interesting” to “dangerous” and those are the times we live in.

Many people of influence are working every day to turn this nation into a dictatorship.

They call it “the unitary executive,” unaccountable to Congress or to the courts. Morally slippery Bill Barr is an enthusiastic proponent of this dictatorship.

They bring bizarre cases to the Supreme Court, one of which seriously contemplates whether a president may defy our laws, even to the point of committing murder and then be immune from prosecution. That would be a dictatorship.

The Supreme Court heard a case about electioneering and then bizarrely ruled to allow unlimited money to buy our elections, an issue not even part of the original case. That destroys faith in our judicial system and promotes authoritarian wannabees into dictators.

Presidents ignore laws passed by Congress and then defy those laws with “signing statements.” That’s dictator stuff started by Ronald Reagan.

Many declare that the Founders intended the United States to be a Christian nation, which is both factually untrue (ref: The First Amendment and various Federalist Papers) and which gives rise to dangerous Christian nationalism, which is actually a despotic Brown Shirt thug-ocracy.

They sent riot police to attack and arrest peaceful protesters on college campuses and, most profanely, they say that’s the right thing to do, this in the name of non-discrimination. That’s your kid they’re beating up in a mini dictatorship.

In case you aren’t already, you need to immediately become clear that there are millions who want to take away your rights. This is not an academic thought experiment. They are in action every day, taking the vote away from our citizens, thwarting accountability, cheating our election system, terrorizing immigrants, banning books in a Fahrenheit 451 orgy, siccing riot police on peaceful protesters and so much more. This is not just happening to others. These despots are coming for you.

So, you do live in interesting times. It’s just that these times are going to eat you alive.

Unless we do something about it.

Required Reading

Here’s how the far right (read: fascist pretenders to a despotic throne) see things, this from Heather Cox Richardson.

And here’s how this plot against America is getting funded, thanks to the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court scheming. Read this from Mother Jones.

For Our Moral Purist Voters

From Frank Bruni, May 3, 2024:

.  .  .  the smart way to bar someone “wholly unfit” from the White House [that’s Chris Christie’s descriptor of Trump] is to vote for that person’s opponent. That’s how elections work. “None of the above” isn’t a principled stand. It’s a moral cop-out — and its own dereliction of duty. [emphasis mine – JA]

The same goes for those who intend to vote for Robert Kennedy, Jr., Jill Stein or any other 3rd party candidate. Likely those intending to vote 3rd party think that they are making a statement of integrity or a principled stand against two unacceptable old guys. What they are really doing is abandoning their responsibility to guard our democracy and to protect and defend our Constitution.

You may not like the options. A vote for whoever you think is least bad may be onerous, yet it may be as good as it can get now. But a vote for anyone but Biden is a vote to attack and kill our democracy.

Print this section of this Disambiguation and bring it with you to the voting booth on November 5 as a reminder.

Something To Make You Proud

Our modern Foreign Service is 100 years old and it is staffed by amazing people doing the heroic as an every day thing.

I urge you to link here and read some of these short recollections from these amazing people who “were there when” and who stood a post every day to say, “This is who We The People are.” Reading these stories will make you proud both of our Foreign Service people and proud to be an American.


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.

Law And Order: Special Hush Money Unit


POST 1062


Headline of the Month

From Politico of 4/14/2024

“A porn star, a president and a publisher named Pecker:

“The key potential witnesses at Trump’s criminal trial”


The Hoped For End of the Hush Money Trial

It’s the conclusion of jury deliberation in the Donald Trump hush money/criminal fraud/election interference, multiple count felonies case. The courtroom is silent in anxious anticipation, as the jury solemnly returns to Judge Merchan’s tense courtroom. The defendant has awakened from his courtroom nap and is focused on the jury with a sneering stare.

Judge Merchan: “The defendant will rise.”

Trump rises slowly, belligerent and hostile in rebellion against authority.

           Judge Merchan:   “Jury foreman, have you reached a verdict?”

Jury Foreman:     “We have, Your Honor.”

Judge Merchan:   “Regarding 34 counts of falsifying business records to cover up a crime, what is your verdict, guilty or not guilty?”

The jury foreman reaches into a pocket, pulls out a pitch pipe and blows a note. The entire jury turns menacingly toward defendant Trump. They furrow their brows in obvious distaste and snarl in unison,

“YOU’RE FIRED!”


Gang-Greene

You’ve known all along that Marjorie Taylor Greene is cruel and dishonest, vulgar and infantile and constantly inappropriate (ref: any Biden State Of The Union address). Her foaming-at-the-mouth refusal to help Ukraine leaves European nations and the U.S. at risk from the war mongering new iteration of megalomaniac Josef Stalin. That’s why she has earned a special title from Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-FL), who said, “that Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene . . . should be appointed as Vladimir Putin’s Special Envoy to the United States Congress.”

In one of her most desperately cloying, grabbing, begging, pleading for attention idiocies, Marjorie Taylor Greene threatened to call for Speaker Mike Johnson’s removal from his speakership for his impudence to bring to the floor a bill for support of Ukraine. Putin didn’t want that to happen, preferring the continuing depletion of Ukraine’s war matériel so he can succeed in his invasion. Greene and her extremist conspirators in un-American activities, the Gang-Greene, are brain-free suck-ups to Donald Trump, who is completely captivated by Putin and proudly wears the title Putin has given him: Useful Idiot. That title goes for Greene and her abominable Gang, too.


Boomer Corner

From a recent post by my friend Ed Gurowitz:

It is this thoughtlessness that worries me. I have many German friends and family, and I’ve asked some of them what their parents told them it was like during the rise of Nazism. Even allowing for a people providing exculpatory explanations, what I have heard overwhelmingly is that people just let it happen – whether through apathy, feelings of powerlessness, or secret sympathy, it doesn’t matter. As Edmund Burke famously said, “All that is needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

That is what I’m afraid of – good people doing nothing when the opportunity to vote is there.

Me, too. Which is why I offer the following.

From Wikipedia – Click the pic

We Boomers did some good work in the 60s when it was our asses on the line in a senseless war, our values were being assaulted by a continuation of centuries of cruelty that seemed like it would never stop. It was our time to respond to Abigail Adams, who expected her husband John to come home with a Constitution that guaranteed women the right to vote – he didn’t do that. And it was even time to (gasp!) guarantee non-Whites all the rights of citizenship. Crazy, right?

But those days are gone.  Our job was largely done, so we left the protests and went about our lives. The world moved on, only not always in a good way. Some of what we accomplished was tragically reversed and now we face a very bad threat.

We never thought we’d have to fight this fight again, but right now the forces of destruction are shaking our world, this time with an even greater threat to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The bad guys have been plotting this since we left the protests behind and they are organized and well funded by billionaires, who plan to be our fascist overlords.

You know what that means:

It’s time for us to saddle up again and fight for what is right.
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It’s time for we Boomers to once again make our voices heard in a deafening thunder to say that we’re not going back. We will never back down. We will stop the forces of destruction. We will protect our sacred democracy.

READ THIS: An Urgent Call To All Boomers.
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Then take action. You’ll know what to do.


Today is a good day to be the light

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

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

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA


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

Horrible, Horribler, Horriblest


POST 1061


Horrible

Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire had been a Nikki Haley supporter making Never Trump sounds, this in his blowhard-y way, but that doesn’t work now that Haley’s candidacy is over. Now he’s backing Trump. He even says Trump shouldn’t drop out of the campaign even if he’s convicted of felonies. Here’s his exchange with George Stephanopoulos last Sunday, as reported by Heather Cox Richardson:

Just to sum up,” Stephanopoulos said, “You support [Trump] for president even if he’s convicted in [the] classified documents [case]. You support him for president even though you believe he contributed to an insurrection. You support him for president even though you believe he’s lying about the last election. You support him for president even if he’s convicted in the Manhattan case. I just want to say, the answer to that is yes, correct?”

Sununu answered: “Yeah. Me and 51% of America.” *

Aside from its overstatement of Trump’s national support, Sununu’s answer illustrated the triumph of politics over principle. Earlier in the interview, Sununu explained that he could swallow all of Trump’s negatives because he wanted a Republican administration. “This is about politics,” he said.

That exchange was on the eve of jury selection in the first trial of the only ex-president to be charged with felonies. It seems that Trump isn’t the only fraud and Republicans are in a cowards conga line, meekly peeing on Trump’s command. Don’t confuse Sununu’s bluster with strength or integrity. He’s nothing more than a wimpy Trump suck up.

Horribler

From a newsletter from AVOW, a Texas organization working to protect abortion rights:

Here are just a few of the policies Texas extremists are pushing:

Direct district attorneys to investigate and prosecute abortion support funds and their donors for helping people who travel out of state for care.

Censor and shut down websites with information about accessing abortion care — including educational websites like Avow’s NeedAbortion.org.

Expand the abortion bounty law out of state for medication abortion.

It wasn’t enough for them to ban abortion care in Texas — now they want to block free travel and information. [all emphasis original]

You’re reading that correctly. The state of Texas wants to end freedom of speech and the right to travel freely between states. Plus, of course, they want to eliminate everything related to pregnancy except waiting, regardless of the viability of the fetus or whether the mother will survive the ordeal or if she was raped by a thug or is the victim of incest by Uncle BillyBob. They want to eliminate all contraception but abstinence and, it seems, stop all sexual activity unless a government official observes and approves the act. Don’t even think of getting funky.

All that prohibition is very odd, in that Texas used to proclaim itself as having a starched spine over liberty and independence. “Don’t mess with Texas,” they proudly declare. Those folks used to believe in freedom. But now we see that they only want those things for people who agree with those in power, the freaks who want to control others’ lives. Looks like those guys have taken over the job of messing with Texas.

All of that is happening in extremist Gov. Greg Abbott’s Texas, he who proudly declares, “Slice ’em with razor wire and drown ’em in the river” cruelty; he of the defying of a Supreme Court ruling; he of the un-American way.

Horriblest

We wondered why a mean spirited creep snarling, “You’re fired!” was somehow entertainment for so many. And we lived in the frustration of millions accepting obvious fantasy, lies, cruelty, sideshow hucksterism and plain-to-see narcissism, resulting in all that and more being visited upon all of us. As bad as that was, it has become far more dangerous.

Trump’s mental decline is apparent to anyone paying any attention at all. As nonsensical, as vacuously performative as he has always been, things are far worse now and are becoming clinically perilous.

You must read Trump’s Brain Is Not Okay. This is not some updated Trump bashing or progressive leveraging. This is a serious examination by serious mental health professionals of what every one of us can observe any time Trump speaks or acts in public. He is becoming incompetent in ways that unmask his inability to operate on an executive level.

Dementia in various forms isn’t uncommon, but he is campaigning to be the next President of the United States. He has declared he will be a dictator, that he’ll be your “retribution,” that he will order Seal Team Six to assassinate his political opponents, that he will order our armed forces to take hostile action against lawful American citizens. He will babble like a toddler and

He will have the nuclear codes!
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Don’t imagine that if he is elected that sane adults will be in the room to stop him all the time. Rather, imagine him as a tyrannical child having spontaneous and unpredictable temper tantrums with the world’s most destructive toys at his disposal.

Read: Trump’s Brain Is Not Okay.
.
Actually Horriblest-er

In the House of Representatives of the United States, its Republican members brought forth an impeachment resolution and puffed with great thundering bombast and imperiousness over the managing of our southern border, effectively blaming Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas for the ongoing debacle. They presented no evidence of any high crimes or misdemeanors.

On Wednesday the full Senate of the United States took up the matter, with Republicans vying for an opportunity to get a video clip to use in their campaigns for reelection in November. After a few hours of pointless blathering, the impeachment was discarded.

The debacle that is our southern border is the result of exactly one thing: Congress has failed to deal with the problem for decades.

Two months ago the Senate passed a very tough bipartisan bill to deal with the problem, but the House Republicans were told by Donald Trump not to even bring it up for a vote. He prefers to use immigration problems as a campaign talking point. So, the Trump-owned Cowardice Caucus of Republicans sits on its hands as terrified immigrants wait and suffer. Plus at Trump’s insistence the cowards made sure that aid didn’t get to Ukraine, Taiwan or to Israel/Gaza for over 480 days.

Our Congress is doing all that in our name as people are dying.

Finally, Some Good News

The scene is a time worn courtroom in New York City. It is Friday, April 19 and all are tired from the now completed arduous task of jury selection. As the day is ending the defense is challenging yet another decision by the judge.

Justice Juan Merchan:

“The defense is targeting my decisions one by one by one. That has to end .  .  . There comes a point where you have to accept my rulings. There’s nothing else to clarify. Nothing else to argue. We are starting this trial Monday morning.”

Like it or not, Orangeman, Justice Merchan is in charge, you are not and there’s nothing you can do about it.

________________________________________
* Nope – sorry, Governor. It isn’t 51%. It’s 42%. Now, what are you going to do when that number plummets because, unlike you, Americans won’t tolerate a crook, a fraud, a traitor, a cheat, a rapist, a liar and a convicted felon in the White House?


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.

Useful Idiot


POST 1059


From a Salon interview of Dr. John Gartner:

We have becrumb a nation.” “All comp-ply-ments”. “I know Poten.” “He can’t cam-pay.”  “We will expel the wald-mongers.”

There are more examples where Trump couldn’t complete a sentence and strung the fragments together incoherently. It’s worth noting that his demeanor changes dramatically at these moments. At one point, Trump was making nonsense sounds, struggling to form even a single word. At one of his events, he said “We’ll re-ve-du. Ohhhh..” At that moment, Trump took a long-defeated sigh, and looked up at the ceiling blankly, looking confused and de-energized. Finally, Trump is sometimes reduced to simply vocalizing nonsense sounds that are not words at all like an infant. For example, at a recent rally Trump said “Gang, boom. This is me. I hear bing”. Trump is, at times, literally babbling nonsensically.

From an updated version of an article originally published on September 7, 2018 in The Conversation/Reuters:

At least several thousands of mental health professionals who are members of the National Coalition of Concerned Mental Health Experts share the view that the nuclear launch codes should not be in the hands of someone who exhibits such levels of mental instability.

Trump is dangerously messed up, at times detached from reality, narcissistic, paranoid, sociopathic and a few more descriptors that we most certainly must not tolerate in a President of the United States. Let’s connect that to another piece of critical information.

From the Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute:

Treason refers to the betrayal of one’s own country by attempting to overthrow the government through waging war against the state or materially aiding its enemies.

According to the United States Constitution, Article III, Section 3, “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.”

Furthermore, 18 U.S.C § 2381, states that a person guilty of treason against the United States “shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.”

By that definition, along with various of Trump’s other felonies, including inciting an insurrection against our country, his over 35,000 lies, promises to pardon the January 6 traitors and his ever-expanding pile of gibberish, Trump is both demented and a traitor.

It has been plain for at least 7 years that Trump is Putin’s useful idiot, which is why Putin expended so much online effort and invested so much money to get Trump elected. We shouldn’t care a bit whether the idiot is useful to Putin because he’s hoping to get permission to build Trump Tower Moscow or to become an authoritarian tyrant himself or for any other reason. He’s a useful idiot for Putin whether through greed or loss of mental function. As a result, Trump is an idiotic enemy of the United States. And this gets worse.

The 2025 Project is an effort by extremely rich authoritarian wannabees to take complete control of the United States. These guys can see the same thing you see – that Trump is deteriorating before our eyes and they don’t care. Trump is their guy because they will be able to control him for their own purposes. In other words, Trump is a useful idiot for our hateful, anti-America far right extremists, too.

These are the guys who want to take away your rights, your freedom, your ownership of anything and your fundamental right to safety and security. They want to brainwash your children and make everyone scared all the time. So, one more time:

TRUMP IS A USEFUL IDIOT FOR BOTH PUTIN AND FOR OUR OWN FAR RIGHT EXTREMISTS!.

Click the pic. Thanks to JN for it.

I don’t have any idea whether Trump understands that he’s a tool for the 2025 Project despot wannabees, any more than whether he understands that he is Putin’s useful idiot. But your crazy cousin Buddy, wearing his MAGA hat, donates over and over to Trump’s legal defense costs, even as that deprives his family of what they need. He is happily succumbing to his confirmation bias and, in the process, promoting the overlords who will savagely repress him. And poor, severely duped Buddy will wonder what happened.

For Your Use

Here’s Steve Schmidt’s description of MAGA. Feel free to quote him.

” .  .  .  a political movement that breathes victimization, resentment, grievance, contempt and anger as air .  .  .”

And here are my questions about MAGA politicians and their followers:

What does it say about MAGAs that they believe known liars, cheaters, murderers and propagandists like Putin, Orbán, Erdoğan, Trump, Greene, Comer. Johnson and Jordan and refuse the reality that is in front of their eyes? What does it say about them that they refuse funding for arms that Ukrainians desperately need, allowing Putin’s army to continue to bomb apartment buildings and hospitals, killing children and grannies?

Note for our Gaza protesters: You cannot be in integrity while protesting the plight of Gazans and at the same time support the withholding of aid to Ukraine.


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.
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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.

Civil War


Post 1,052


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

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

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

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

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

Bottom Line

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

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

Key Reads of the Week

See Note #5 below – then click the pic.

See Note #5 below – then click the pic.

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

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

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

That’s what a civil war would bring us.

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

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

___________________________________________

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

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

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

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

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


Today is a good day to be the light

  • _____________________________
  • Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem with the same solution:
  • Fire the bastards!
  • The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.
  • Did someone forward this post to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!) It’s going to take ALL OF US to get the job done.

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA


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

There Are Two Kinds of People


Post 1,051


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You Need To

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See Note #5 below

Today’s Quote

From Cassidy Hutchinson’s book Enough, page 354:

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

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

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

__________________________________________

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


Today is a good day to be the light

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

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

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA


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

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