Fascism

The Best We Can Do


Disarming the Monterey Park shooter – Click me

Monterey Park, CA

After hearing an interview with Brandon Tsay, the man who disarmed the Monterrey Park shooter, Shannon Watts, Founder of Moms Demand Action, said,

“We are asking everyday civilians to stand up to gunmen because our lawmakers are too cowardly to stand up to gun makers.” *

You know in your bones that she’s right.

Here Are The Totals:  January 1 – 28**

Click me

.
  • All gun deaths                 3,244 – 116 per day
  • Mass shootings                   43 – 3 every 2 days
  • Children killed                    128***
  • Children injured                  297***

Those aren’t just numbers; they’re people. Like granny. Like your kids. Like you.

Is this the best we can do? Really?

Speaking of Violence

You know that Tyre Nichols was beaten by 5 Memphis cops and that he later died from that attack. You may have watched the videos that were released Friday evening. You may be tempted to share your horror with others by inviting them to watch the video.

Before you do, read this from Bear Bellinger of Indivisible. In part, he writes,

“Sharing the video is sensationalizing violence while minimizing the pain that it imparts on Black bodies. Share solutions. Share actions. Share outrage. Do. Not. Share. The. Video.

So, hold on to your horror, your sadness, your rage. Your feeling that way and more proves that you are a human being with empathy, but that’s not enough.

We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.”– MLK

Is this the best we can do? Really?

It Ain’t Over

Here’s a graph of total Covid deaths since the first, then-mysterious one in February 2020.

Click me

As you can see, we’re continuing to raise the death count, now at the rate of 543 dead bodies per day – and the rate is increasing. Weirdly, the pile up of bodies has faded into national background noise, as we seem to have forgotten the over 1.1 million already dead – roughly equivalent to everyone in Dallas, TX – the nearly 104 million total cases reported (likely, there are many more) and all the suffering. The point of showing you the graph is to help you realize that this isn’t over. The war isn’t won. Not all the boys are coming home.

  • I’m over 70 and my age alone makes me a pretty good target for any variant of this virus. And it found me. I hunkered down with Paxlovid and got better. Then it came back, laughing at me for my foolish belief that I had beaten it. I think it’s gone now.
  • I didn’t like having Covid, but the point is that I’m still here and able to say so.
  • Thank you, vaccine people!
  • Fie on vaccine conspiracy crazies!
  • The majority of us took one or two vaccines, but only about 16% of Americans have taken the bivalent vaccine for protection from the primary variants that are stalking us right now. You need to get it into your head that you need to get the updated booster into your arm. Not tomorrow; today, if you want to avoid being one of the 543 tomorrow.
  • Did I mention that only 16% of us have protection against the new viruses that are trying to take us down?
  • Is this the best we can do? Really?
  • Congress
  • Fifteenth ballot winner for Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy (R-Hypocrisy), is convening a new select committee, which means he gets to select its members. It is the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government (“HSS-WTF“).
  • Per Heather Cox Richardson,

“Yesterday in The Bulwark, Jill Lawrence explained that the true goal of the committee is ‘shoveling paranoia and distortion into the news stream’ to make right-wing voters distrust the government even more than they already do. David Jolly, a former Republican congressman from Florida who left the party in 2018, told Lawrence: ‘It’s a drug they’re going to put out on the street for conservative media and conservative voters.'”

No surprise there. No surprise, either, that Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Rabies) will chair the WTF committee to ensure it is a circus of hateful delusion. It’s just what he does.

Plus, McCarthy has evicted Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Eric Swalwell (D-CA) from the Intelligence Committee and plans to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) from the Foreign Affairs Committee. He falsely claimed that Schiff and Swalwell had lied to the American people and that allowing either of them on that committee would compromise national security. As for Omar, Republicans need to punish her because, as is quite obvious, she is a woman, is of color and is a Muslim. He didn’t say that part out loud.

So, he’s packing the Intelligence Committee with far right extremists who tried to overthrow our government on January 6. All this is a matter of integrity to McCarthy, he told us. Seriously, he said that.

I figure that removing Schiff and Swalwell and replacing them with brain-free extremists will significantly lower the overall intelligence of the Intelligence Committee. My recommendation is to have low expectations of it.

As for the Foreign Affairs Committee, clearly, we wouldn’t want anyone with foreign experience to have a seat there. Good thing they ditched Omar.

That’s where the Republican majority is focused, even as we face a debt ceiling debacle.

Is this the best we can do? Really?

Education

Ron DeSantis, the Republican governor of Florida and 2024 presidential wannabe, is doing his best to keep kids in his state ignorant and to polarize his citizens. He recently removed AP (Advanced Placement) African-American studies from the high school electives offerings, claiming it is not education, but “indoctrination.” That was his word choice.

It’s interesting that De Santis doesn’t consider AP French to be indoctrination. Neither does he claim AP European History or AP American History or AP World History or AP U.S. Government and Politics or AP Spanish or any other AP course to be indoctrination. It’s only indoctrination if it’s about Blacks. Stoking culture wars in a “one up, all others down” society: does it get any better than that for any self-serving extremist?

This is his latest move to promote ignorance in Florida, following his book banning and the threat of 3rd degree felony charges against teachers or librarians who so much as whisper words suggesting anyone or anything that is not straight – the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law. This has led to a new state motto flapping above the capitol building in Tallahassee:

IGNORANCE R US

.

In the long run, a hierarchical society was only possible on a basis of poverty and ignorance.

  • “1984”, George Orwell
  • Many thanks to my lifelong friend, Frank Levy, for the quote.

Is this the best we can do? Really?

Finally, a Chuckle

Of course you remember Hurricane Ian that devastated Ft. Myers, FL last September and threatened states all the way to North Carolina. I pinged friends there to see if they were OK – they were – and they sent the pic of Mar-a-Lago to the right.

Ian, was that the best you could do? Really?

_______________________________

  • * The only thing that stops a cowardly, bad lawmaker with a vote is a good lawmaker with a vote.
  • Elect good lawmakers.

** Source: www.GunViolenceArchive.org

*** Firearms are the Leading Cause of Death for Children in the United States, But Rank No Higher Than Fifth in Other Industrialized Nations – Kaiser Family Foundation

______________________________

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


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

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    JA


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

The Through-Line


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pogo was right

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

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

That is the through-line.

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

But we could be.

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

What is a right without a remedy?

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

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


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

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    JA


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

Destruction


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

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

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

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

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

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

Who are you here for?

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

DHA Secretary Alejandro Majorkas

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

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

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

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

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

  • What was formerly common decency is now under attack from malicious thugs nearly everywhere. You can see it every day in our lying, cheating politicians, in the violent actors, like the thugs who shot up the houses and offices of Democratic politicians in Albuquerque, and in the quiet refusal of school boards to declare heritage months because they “exclude people.” That’s really woke stuff coming from people who claim to abhor woke. Worse, they refuse to teach children the whole truth and they burn books. Want chaos? Just destroy education, take away learning and stoke fear. You’ll get more chaos and destruction than you can imagine.
  • Quotations of the Week
  • But when you talk about destruction
    Don’t you know that you can count me out
  •                 “Revolution,” Lennon/McCartney
  • .
  • What are the struggles that have your name on them?
  •                      Rev. Dr. Willie Dwayne Francois III
  • Note: Look for the through-line on this destruction business in Wednesday’s post.
  • __________________________
  • Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem with the same solution:
  • Fire the bastards!
  • The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.


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

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    JA


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

Raison d’Être


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The New Year

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

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

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

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

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

——————————-

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

————————————

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

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Science Fair Project, An Update, Hanukkah and the Weather


A Saturday post – because you might be busy tomorrow.

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

Science Fair Project: The Search For Alien Life
Hypothesis:

There is detectable alien life in the universe.

Procedure:

Observe behavior.

Observation #1

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

Lemmings and Leaders

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

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

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

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

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

Observation #2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hypothesis Proven True

Hypothesis: There is detectable alien life in the universe.

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

Recommendations

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

———————————-

An Update

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hanukkah

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

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

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

Weather

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

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

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

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

————————————

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

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

The Central Cause


“The central cause of January 6th was one man, former President Donald Trump, who many others followed. None of the events of January 6th would have happened without him.”

So declares the Executive Summary of The United States House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol. Yes, that’s the full name of the Committee and yes, the 161 pages of this Executive Summary, plus over 40 pages of footnotes, are an introduction to the full report. That will be released today and it will be a weight lifting appliance, over 1,000 pages long.

The good news is that this opening report is most readable and is remarkable for its clarity (here’s a link – see for yourself), giving the promise of similar accessibility of the full report. The bad news is the collection of despicable and dangerous people and actions it details, actions that caused the death of five people, injured 140 police officers, were a death threat to all in Congress and to the Vice President, vandalized the citadel of our democracy and nearly ended this brave experiment in self-government.

The Committee is referring the disgraced, twice-impeached former President, Donald J. Trump, to the United States Department of Justice – i.e. recommending indicting and prosecuting him – for:

  1. Obstructing an official proceeding
  2. Conspiring to defraud the United States
  3. Conspiring to make false statements
  4. Inciting insurrection

These charges are well fleshed out in the Executive Summary.

Any non-lawyer can compile a long list of Trump’s illegal actions over the past 6 horrendous years, but the Committee constrained its investigation to solely those related to his actions and those of his co-conspirators attendant to the events of January 6. Of course, these are forehead slappers for anyone who has paid attention and who is not in mindless thrall to this would-be authoritarian. pharaoh, king, monarch, fuhrer, emperor, god – choose your own label.

There are so many outrageous things detailed in this summary. Here’s just one.

John Eastman, Trump’s lawyer who crafted a multi-point, devious plan to subvert the will of the people and the Constitution, told Trump that his plan, if executed by Trump, would violate the law. Trump ignored that inconvenient fact. That surprises nobody.

Neither is anyone surprised by his cruelty toward Mike Pence or his reveling in the riot and its carnage for hours, watching it on TV from the White House dining room. Nor is anyone surprised at his ongoing lies and vitriol and grift.

As I watched the violence unfolding on that awful day I could not stop myself from yelling at the TV, “Where’s the National Guard? Where the hell is the National Guard?” Unsurprisingly, Trump never ordered them to deploy and come to the aid of the besieged Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police. Those officers were bravely trying to do the impossible and were getting severely beaten for their efforts. And they got no help.

There has been talk since the the attack that Trump ordered the DC National Guard to stand down. The preliminary report doesn’t speak to that. Perhaps the full report will.

Gov. Larry Hogan (R-MD) tried to get authorization to send the Maryland National Guard to reinforce those officers. He was refused. Perhaps the full report will speak to that, too. I assure you that the police officers who were there that day can speak to that.

When the committee comes to me for my recommendations to prevent another such episode of destruction I will have a ready answer: Install easily accessible fire hoses at strategic locations around the Capitol Building, including doors and first floor windows. Half a dozen fire hoses spraying the insurrectionists on that cold January day would have kept them out of the building and would have put down the riot.

There has been criticism claiming there were intelligence failures, but intelligence that predicted this attack was reported. Our agencies detected the planning for this attack, but they shared it – get this – with the White House and Secret Service. That’s where that kind of information is supposed to go, but this time the recipients of the information, especially the key recipient of the information, had no interest in taking action to prevent the attack. Indeed, he and they were all guns blazing to incite and expand the attack.

There is far more in this Executive Summary and I urge you to read it. You’ll learn much about so many bad guys and felons. These people are insurrectionists. They are traitors to the oath to which they swore and to our country. They are still in Congress and they walk free. So does Trump.

Outrageous, but fixable.

Meanwhile, great thanks goes to every member of the January 6th Committee for their courage, for their insistence upon finding truth, for speaking truth, for grace and clarity in their presentations, for their even-handedness, for their work to wade through over 1,100 interviews and over 1,000,000 pages of documents and for their uncompromised integrity. How very refreshing that is for all of us and o’ the joy of the beginning of a return to justice! That’s good news.

More Good News

Today is the winter solstice, the day when the sun is in it’s southernmost location in our sky, resulting in our shortest hours of daylight and our longest hours of night. The reason that’s good news is because tomorrow is the day when daylight begins to grow longer by a few seconds per day, accelerating to 2.5 minutes more per day by March 20.

That’s good news, indeed!

Meanwhile, it will be nasty, potentially killing cold in most of the country. It started a couple of days ago in parts of the lower 48 and if it hasn’t visited your door yet, it’s going to soon. Give a warm coat and hat to a homeless person – they don’t have central heating – and practice safe winter.

————————————

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

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Rationalizing Anything


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ideas? Bueller? Bueller?

Here’s another example of rationalizing.

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

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

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

Richardson wrote,

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

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

Hmmm .  .  .

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

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

Thanks go to Jim Nathan for this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Avoiding Rationalizing – Here’s How

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

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

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

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

  • ————————————

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

Fire the bastards!

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

“This Is An Issue For All Of Us.”


First Thing

Congratulations to Sen. Rafael Warnock (D-GA), Georgia activists and the voting public on his election win for a full 6-year term. Well done! All it took to accomplish that was 4 elections for that seat over the course of 2 years. That’s a mind numbing amount of campaigning (and massive activism) while, by the way, doing his job in the Senate. This is a moment of joy.

And it has been interrupted by Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (now I-AZ). Yes, she bailed from Democrats as soon as there was a substantive impact on them in doing so.

She’s spent the past two years flicking off Dems, blocking key legislation they championed and being the voice of unreason. Her behavior makes me desperate to explain what goes on inside such a person, but it would just be a guess that she didn’t get enough of daddy’s love and attention.

Aw, don’t get me started.

“This Is An Issue For All Of Us.

Because we’ve seen this before. This is how it started 70 years ago. So I don’t want it to feel normal.”

Those are the words of Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff, who was comparing anti-Semitism in America today to anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany in the 1930s and -40s.

It started there with Hitler’s election in 1933 shortly after the very suspicious Reichstag fire. He was appointed chancellor after garnering just 33% of the vote and he immediately began violence against communists, trade unionists and, of course, Jews. He blamed them for essentially all the ills the German people were suffering and many that didn’t even exist. He needed an enemy on whom to focus his nation’s anger, a scapegoat, and he found an easy target rooted in nearly two millennia of bigotry.

That sounds suspiciously like our time, as Trump vilified Mexicans, Muslims, and Blacks, but with ear splitting dog whistles, he targeted Jews. Surely, you remember his “good people on both sides” comment about the Neo-nazi rally in Charlottesville, where they chanted, “Jews will not replace us.” His recent attacks  blew another dog whistle, saying “Jewish people who live in the United States don’t love Israel enough,” while suggesting that they have compromised American loyalties.  Whatever his self-serving blabbery, clearly Trump needs scapegoats on whom to focus citizen anger – that of our grievance-stoked citizens. That’s the source of his power.

He claims that he couldn’t be anti-Semitic because his daughter converted to Judaism, which leaves us aghast at the hollowness of his denial. It’s just another example of the standard weaseling, “Some of my best friends are Jews” and his base, the grievance-stoked haters, metaphorically goose step behind him. Now, of course, he’s even more blatant in his discrimination, as he palls around with anti-Semites and Holocaust denial creeps at his Mar-a Lago Wolf’s Lair.  But that’s just Trump.

Except it isn’t.

His behavior gives tacit permission and even guidance to his millions of followers to hate Jews.

America has always had a virulent strain of anti-Semitism. It was so strong that President Roosevelt wouldn’t allow German Jews safe harbor in our parochial, self-protective country. Making room for Jews would have lost Roosevelt public support for what was coming. So, instead of providing asylum, he left those people on ships to be returned to Europe where they were murdered.

Anti-Semitism is a key force behind White supremacists and Christian Nationalists. And it is a trigger for murders – hate crimes.

On a personal note, it is the reason I was repeatedly attacked and got into fights during grade school and high school. Like Johnny Cash’s A Boy Named Sue, I had to get tough or die, so I learned to fight well. But of course, the victims at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh and those at the Chabad of Poway Synagogue in Poway, CA didn’t have a chance to fight. They were gunned down by murderers inflamed with hatred fed to them from an intentionally  polluted stream.

I was in high school during the Second  Vatican Council when Jews were officially cleared by the Pope of having murdered Jesus. I was acquitted of having personally committed the crime, but I felt no relief, as nothing in my life changed. The bad boys apparently didn’t get the message about my exoneration. I suspect that they still haven’t heard and, dangerously, that they’ve taught their children to hate. Some of them or their grandchildren could be mass murderers now.

Sadly, the words of Douglas Emhoff notwithstanding, this is normal in America. What was always smoldering is now a blazing fire in the open. It is trumpeted every day in social media, with all the old tropes and many new ones flung from that sewer. Republican elected officials and pundits, fearful of the reaction of “the base” – our grievance-stoked citizens – don’t dare to speak out against it and many encourage the bile.* All of that is triggering murder.

Humans have always been tribal and quick to reject “others.” We’re no different in this country. What we do exceedingly well – better than any other country – is to weaponize hatred and trot it out at the slightest provocation.

That’s especially dangerous in a country that has enough guns in private hands for 1.25 guns per person. That figure includes infants, children, terminally ill patients and the institutionalized, none of whom have guns. Separating them out, as well as those who have no firearms by choice, leaves a lot more guns per person for those who do have them in this national shooting gallery of a country.

All of which doesn’t make any of us safer. Those of us with a racial, ethnic or religious bulls eye on our back know that well. That’s our normal, Mr. Emhoff, and it is, indeed, an issue for all of us.

————————————–

* “The sooner we stop pretending that this is a “both sides” problem, the sooner we can start taking the fight against antisemitism seriously. Antisemitism exists on the left, but while the Democratic Party condemns and marginalizes antisemitism in its ranks, the GOP condones and supports it.”

  • ————————————

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

Fire the bastards!

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

From the Way-Back Machine


Cliven Bundy is a rancher in Nevada who rented grazing land for his cattle from the Federal Bureau of Land Management. By 2014 he had failed to pay his grazing fees for over two decades and owed over $1 million.

He claimed that his refusal to honor his agreement was because of federal government overreach – he’s a state and local government sort of fellow. In addition, he aligns with “the sovereign citizen movement (which holds that people are answerable only to their particular interpretation of the common law and are not subject to any government statutes or proceedings).” That must be a very self-satisfying worldview.

Following years of invoicing, cajoling and threatening Bundy to get him to pay his bill, all to no effect, people at the BLM had had enough of his deadbeat act and sought to collect up close and personal. That led to Bundy’s armed standoff against state and federal government personnel. Bundy and hundreds of supporters brought their full-chested puffery, their assault rifles and their children to be used as shields. I guess that’s what real men do.

President Obama, a thoughtful man, sought a non-violent solution to the standoff, not wanting a repeat of the debacles at Waco and Ruby Ridge. Government troops backed off and two years later Bundy was arrested by the FBI at the Portland International Airport. He had been on his way to support the standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. That was another middle finger demonstration against the federal government, this one led by Bundy’s son, Aamon. Unfortunately, Bundy’s court adventure for his freeloader fiasco ended in a mistrial and he was not re-tried.

The point of detailing this sad episode of “You can’t tell me what to do” is that there was no accountability for Bundy for his wrongdoing. Other than having to defend himself in court, Bundy paid no price for flaunting our laws. That is arguably a brick in the foundation underpinning the violence, lawlessness and profoundly anti-Constitutional beliefs and actions challenging law and order in this country right now.

For example, given Bundy’s having gotten away with his highly rationalized lawlessness, why wouldn’t Stewart Rhodes, leader of the treasonous Oath Keepers, imagine that he could get away with seditious conspiracy, obstructing an official proceeding and more? His self-certainties about his imagined patriotism were right in line with Bundy’s.

With our national bent for conflict avoidance, we had unintentionally told Rhodes and everyone like him that they could do as they pleased. We gave that same clear message to the thousands who showed up on January 6 to attack and deface our symbol of democracy and to overthrow our government – the government We The People elected.

Our national lack of accountability didn’t start with Bundy. Reagan got away with his Iran-Contra lawbreaking. Ford pardoned Nixon for the entire line up of his crimes against the Constitution. George W. Bush lied us into two wars, where tens of thousands died and he paid no price. Our message of impunity for committing crimes has encouraged wrongdoing for a very long time.

And that is why it’s imperative that the Department of Justice nails every one of the January 6 perps, especially those at the top. It’s critical that we demonstrate that our words and our laws mean something.

We need the insurrectionists, the seditionists, to experience the consequences of their actions. We need them to understand down to their bones and at the price of their freedom that our words and our laws mean something.

So, cheer for DOJ Special Counsel Jack Smith, Fulton County District Attorney Fani T. Willis, New York County District Attorney Alvin Bragg and New York Attorney General Letitia James. We’re counting on them to drive an immovable stake into the sand. The Stewart Rhodes conviction is a really good start.

Time to take a stand, America. Here’s why.

Trump calls for the overthrow – the subversion – of our Constitution. The fantastic thing is that no Republicans are speaking out against this traitorous man.

Just In Time

The case is from North Carolina: Moore v. Harper. It will be heard by the Supreme Court this Wednesday. You can join Common Cause-Ohio’s listening party for oral arguments at 8:45- 10:15 AM CST this Wednesday, December 7, or listen on the Supreme Court web site. Look for a fuller description of what’s at stake – free and fair elections by We The People – in my post this Wednesday morning.

Link Of The Week

‘Tis the season and there really is a war on Christmas. I know you want to be on the right side in this fight, so read John Pavlovitz’s insightful explainer here.

  • ————————————

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

Fire the bastards!

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Potpourri v17.0


Leadership

It’s nearly a week since attention addicted Donald Trump hosted attention addicted Ye (formerly named Kanye West by his mother) and extremist hate monger, attention addicted Nick Fuentes,* all chummy at dinner at Trump’s conspiracy and stolen documents clubhouse. Very few Republicans have expressed objection that a former President of the United States would be “palling around” with these haters, these racists, these antisemites, these homophobes.

Indeed, nobody in Republican leadership has uttered a word in public about this newest Trump heinous outrage. Nothing from House Speaker Wannabee Kevin “The Weenie” McCarthy. Nothing from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Nothing from presidential candidate wannabee Ron DeSantis. No nuthin’ from nobody in leadership.

This is clearly a moment to stand and be counted doing and saying the right thing. But Republican leadership is clearly too intimidated to do that. They’re choosing the coward’s way, because doing the courageous thing – the right thing – would lose them some votes from extremist voters.

So, once again we see these Republicans caving to extremists, sacrificing the nation and what’s right and instead they’re doing what’s wrong. That has the perverse effect of putting extremists in charge and moving us yet closer to thugocracy.**

We aren’t experiencing a lack of Republican leadership. Rather, these people are leading in plain sight, howling out loud with their silence or limp-wristed whining that they cower before the crazies. They implore us to follow them suicidally over that cliff. We’re being led by profound cowardice and dereliction of duty.

10 Predictions
  1. Rev. Rafael Warnock will win the Georgia senatorial run-off election because:
    • A. Rev. Warnock is a good and wise man.
    • B. Herschel Walker was a great football player with a concussion-damaged head and a hollow heart. Besides, he lives in Texas.
  2. Joe Biden will announce next year that he will not run for office in the 2024 election. Next-gen Dems will rejoice. Republicans won’t.
  3. Trump will have to defend himself against indefensible charges from Georgia, New York and multiple indictments from the Department of Justice. He will be able to string out much of that with delaying tactics; however, he will not be the Republican nominee. That will cause him to claim that he is the victim of election fraud. He will hold rallies where they chant, “Stop The Steal!” except this time he’ll be claiming that Republicans did the stealing. Plus, he will brag that he is morally superior to the election stealing, loser Democrats.
  4. Kevin McCarthy will be elected Speaker of the House. He will resign within one year in the face of the incessant insanity of the so-called “Freedom Caucus,” which doesn’t stand for freedom. It is solely about grabbing power for its members and dominating all others, including McCarthy, thus proving that they are morally superior to the godless, socialist Democrats.
  5. Hunter Biden will be hounded, investigated and the subject of continuous House hearings beginning in January 2023 and running through November 2024. There will be bulgy-eyed indignation, preposterous claims and record setting bluster by Republicans, who will announce that they are morally superior to the George Soros, Jewish controlled Democrats.
  6. The Hunter Biden hearings will establish a new world record. Throughout the entire history of human beings no inanimate object will have been the subject of more scrutiny than will be Biden’s laptop. Not the German enigma machine; not Galileo’s telescope; not the Higgs boson: Hunter Biden’s laptop. It’s the laptop that was forgotten in a repair shop and for which there is no recorded chain of custody.
  7. The result of all of this investigation of Hunter Biden will be: NOTHING! Guilt will be powerfully assumed but no wrongdoing will be found. The Republicans’ final report will announce that the hearings proved definitively that they are morally superior to the cannibalistic Democrats.
  8. Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of Homeland Security, will be impeached for failing to overhaul the immigration system that Congress has steadfastly chickened out of even glancing at for many decades. Mayorkas will be vilified, too, for Trump’s treatment of asylum seekers, as well as for the presence of millions of hopeful brown people at the Rio Grande. The Republicans will show conclusive proof that they are patriotically and morally superior to the sex trafficking Democrats.
  9. In an over-puffed statement of standing for the rule of law, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Nazi Germany) will bravely tackle head-on what spineless ones have staunchly refused to confront. He will submit legislation to arrest parking meter violators and banish them to forced labor camps. The entire Freedom Caucus will cheer him raucously. The Senate will filibuster the bill and it will die. The Freedom Caucus will tearfully claim victim-hood, once again crying that they are a casualty of the morally inferior, world dominating cabal of George Soros-led Democrats.
  10. The 2024 Presidential and Congressional election will be an existential moment for democracy and, because of that, the most important election in your lifetime. Again. The election stealing, morally inferior, godless, cannibalistic, sex trafficking, world dominating cabal led by George Soros and socialist Democrats will work hard to defeat the forces of evil. DNC messaging will still suck.
Club Q

Club Q. Click the pic.

We have yet another obvious hate crime. Five dead, dozens wounded and hundreds traumatized. Same evil as the Pulse nightclub in Orlando and the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh and the Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo and the Walmart in El Paso and the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston and so many more. They’re all crimes of hate committed by fearful, angry, well-armed haters.

We have simmering, smoldering fires of fear and hatred in this country and we have always had them. The difference now is that national leaders are telling people that violence is good, violence is justified. We’re being told to act out our hostilities and people on the edge are doing exactly that.

And innocents are dying. Please click this link to put the price of our craziness into perspective.

Timely Quotations

This from my long time friend, written following the mid-term election. See if you agree.

    • ” .  .  .  thank god the election is finally over! I couldn’t stand one more day of those shamefully negative campaign TV ads. All those ads do is make me dislike both candidates. And how many people could be fed, housed, or educated for the hundreds of millions wasted on those TV ads?”
    • – Edmund Sass, Professor Emeritus of Education
    • College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University

And from Elie Wiesel. Consider this in the context of Thanksgiving, just past.

    • “When a person doesn’t have gratitude, something is missing in his or her humanity. A person can almost be defined by his or her attitude toward gratitude.”
    • – Elie Wiesel,
    • Holocaust Survivor – yeah, it really happened –  and Nobel Peace Prize Winner

——————————

* Credit goes to that smirking little fascist Fuentes for putting a face on the most extreme, vile, anti-Constitutional hatred and violence in America. Pin his face to the dart board.

Also, given that all three attendees at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Wolf’s Lair are attention addicts, do you suppose any of them was listening – at all? We made inquiries to find out, but Der Führer was not available for comment.

  • **  Government by a corrupt group of thugs.

” .  .  .  projects of sophisticated state capture, through organized crime networks at every level of scale, and utilizing complex arrays of mafia tactics, personnel, and practices.”

If you like violence, you’re going to love thugocracy.

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

Fire the bastards!

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

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Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

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