Foreign Policy

What’s Most Important


Post 1,040


The President of the United States has a lot of responsibilities, including that ” . . . he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed . . .” as required by Article II of the Constitution. The to-do list is long and demanding to the point of being inhuman. There is significant long term impact from nearly everything the President does.

He has to manage:

immigration

the economy

safeguarding our democracy

transportation, like rail and air safety and highway

the health and welfare of the American people

Enough. You get the idea.

But which job of the President is most important? The sine qua non. The one for which all others can be made to take a number and stand in line. As critically important as it is, even in this age of grift, fraud, treason, insurrection and more, it isn’t justice. Even as the cost of groceries is frustratingly high, it isn’t the economy. Our immigration system has been universally pilloried for decades, as Congresses have steadfastly refused to do anything to make it better. That has left us with the chaos we see every day. But even fixing that isn’t the most important duty of the President.

The most critical task of the President of the United States is national security. Protecting us from bad guys who would do us harm must take precedence, because if we are at risk of foreign attack, none of the other issues will matter.

The task is never ending. There is no box to check and then say “next.” On December 8, 1941 it was obvious and easy to identify what must be done. Such clarity is exceedingly rare. National security is most often devilishly complicated.

For example, consider the Ukraine war. In 2004 when Putin’s Russia invaded Ukraine in an effort to destroy that country and to make it part of Russia, it wasn’t obvious that we had a dog in that fight. But it quickly became clear that Putin’s genocidal war crimes adventure has consequences that can impact us.

It’s plain to see that this former KGB tough is trying to reconstitute the Soviet Union. That puts our NATO allies at risk and that means that war would be at our doorstep if Putin succeeds in Ukraine and then starts after our friends. He’s already suggested that annexing the Baltic states might be next. Maybe eastern Poland, too.  Article V of the NATO charter would pull us into the conflict and our national security would be immediately compromised. That electric shock up your spine just now is you recognizing how close we may be to World War III. Prof. Heather Cox Richardson has more on this here.

That’s why national security is job one and why it is devilishly complicated. But let’s look at this situation just a bit more.

It’s well established that Putin kills his critics and political opponents, so it’s little surprise that he murdered Alexei Navalny. On the other hand, Putin had him tried and convicted on trumped up charges and sent him to a gulag in the Siberian Arctic and held there in solitary confinement. There was little Navalny could do to Putin from there. so why bother killing him? Here’s my theory.

Putin is an incrementalist. He pushes the envelope, finds that he can get away with something and then pushes some more. Ukraine is a perfect example.

After annexing the eastern section of Ukraine and the Crimea in 2014 he stopped there, waiting for world reaction. All he got were blabbers blabbing. No one came to the rescue of the Ukrainians to push Putin back, so in 2022 he went after the entire country. That’s incrementalism.

He didn’t get away with that recent invasion yet, but he may be in position to do so. Our spineless Republican Trump suck-ups have followed Trump’s demand to prevent Biden from having a win, so they refuse any further funding for Ukraine. These House cowards are leaving the Ukrainian fighters running out of munitions. They just ceded the bombed out city of Avdiivkak to the Russians, giving them a major win and a retreat for the Ukrainian forces.

That kind of battlefield advance made it time for Putin to push the envelope in a different direction, so he had Navalny murdered. Now Navalny is out of his way permanently.

Steve Schmidt wrote of Navalny:

One day, his name will be known in the same breath as Gandhi, Mandela, Churchill, Lafayette and Lincoln around the world. One day, when Russia is free, Alexei Navalny will be exalted. Today, he is simply dead, murdered for demanding that each individual human has a right to live in freedom.

Anne Applebaum wrote in The Atlantic:

Only minutes after his death was announced, I spoke with Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the Belarusian opposition leader. “We are worried for our people too,” she told me. If Putin can kill Navalny with impunity, then dictators elsewhere might feel empowered to kill other brave people.

More incrementalism.

Now the world is howling, including freedom loving Russians, but my guess is that the howling will slowly quiet and Putin will have gotten away with his crime. The envelope will have been permanently expanded.

That devilishly complicated national security task which comes above and before all others becomes not just more difficult, but more likely murderous when our own team is in constant conflict with itself, undermining our efforts and our options. It used to be that our political differences stopped at the water’s edge. We came together as one to protect and defend our country. Now that imperative has been betrayed, over-laid by petty self-interest and the infestation of cowards. Now the MAGA crowd sides with Putin.

We have elections coming up. Many candidates will thump their chests and proclaim what true Americans they are. They will tell you that their opponent is a weenie, soft on immigration, wanting open borders and willing to let our blood be poisoned by “others.” Those alt-right people are enemies of our country because they are spineless cowards, traitors to our Founders and our Constitution and violators of their oath of office, regardless of the holy verbiage they vomit.

Vote for the other candidates. The ones who have demonstrated that they will go to the Congress or their state capitol to fight for America, to honor their oath of office and to demand justice everywhere. Vote for the candidates who believe in this America, not some dreadful replica of the murderous nation led by Vladimir Putin.

That’s what’s most important for us 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.

Seven Wonderings


Post 1,028

___________________________________

Wondering #1

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

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

Big surprise

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

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

NOT SO BREAKING NEWS!
.

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

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

Important safety tip

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

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

Steve Sheffey offered this worthy challenge:

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

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

Just wondering.

Wondering #2

From The Tennessean:

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

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

Wondering #3

I’m wondering something else about our military people.

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

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

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

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

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

Just wondering.

Wondering #4

There is something similar going on in our schools.

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

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

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

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

Wonderings #5 & 6

Here’s another couple of wonderings.

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

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

Wondering #7

I’m wondering who we are.

________________________________

* From Haaretz:

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

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

Republican governors in 15 states reject summer food money for kids

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

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

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

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

Just wondering #6


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

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

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA

 


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

I’m Sorry


Post 1,021

___________________________________

I’m sorry that Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA) hates America.

At least he hates the Capitol Police and the DC cops who saved his miserable ass on January 6, 2021. He wants to protect not the cops, but the mob that attacked, injured and killed cops. And he clearly wants to protect the traitors who sacked the Capitol Building, carried a traitorous Confederate battle flag through it and pissed and defecated in the halls.

He still challenges the 2020 decision of We The People and tried to have us all stripped of our votes and our voices. He’s promoting a presidential candidate who has called for the “termination” of our Constitution, who says he’ll be a dictator if elected and who encourages Americans to commit violence against fellow Americans. No, I don’t think Mike Johnson loves America at all. I think he hates America.

I’m sorry, too, that his principles shift like a weather vane as the winds change.

He repeatedly wailed crocodile tears over the awful, unfair, partisan impeachment of Donald Trump. You likely recall that in one impeachment Trump was caught trying to extort Ukrainian President Zelenskyy, this for a Trump political advantage over Joe Biden in 2020. In the other impeachment he was caught leading an insurrection, a traitorous act. In both cases the evidence was and still is in plain sight. Nevertheless, Johnson’s croc tears.

The impeachments were largely decided on party line votes only because Republicans hadn’t the courage of the Republicans who told Richard Nixon that they would vote to impeach and convict him for his crimes because he was, in fact, a crook. Just like Trump.

So, Mike Johnson shed his aforementioned crocodile tears over and over for the unfairness of one-party impeachments, never mentioning the cowardice of his party and its denial of the obvious high crimes and misdemeanors of their orange fuhrer.

Then the wind shifted to Republican control of the House and a Democrat in the White House.

As Speaker Johnson has seen his party spend over 11 months digging for evidence of any Joe Biden high crime or misdemeanor, this in order to impeach him for something – anything – jaywalking – whatever. Literally, the only thing they’ve come up with is to invent the label “Biden crime family.” They have unearthed no facts to support that or their other dishonest accusations. Meanwhile, they have nothing – as in: NO THING! – that so much as hints of anything untoward done by the President.

To be clear, the Republicans have launched an entirely baseless political proctoscopic examination of anything that might possibly appear to be attached to Biden, but probably isn’t. And Mike Johnson, he of the “awful, unfair, partisan impeachment” crocodile tears for Trump, has waved his magic wand and “Abracadabra, WHOOSH!” Partisan impeachment is okay now! Who woulda guessed it? And Johnson isn’t shedding crocodile tears over this awful, unfair one-party thing now.

It’s that weather vane thing. I’m wondering if Johnson is good buds with Lindsay Graham.

Here’s why they’re doing this:

  1. The Democrats impeached Trump. Now that they have control of the House, they want to eliminate that election advantage for Biden. They want Biden tarred and kicked in the Constitution, however much fraud and hypocrisy that might require.
  2. The Republicans held eleven (11!) different hearings on Benghazi in 2016 looking for wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton. They found nothing, NO THING! But they kept digging anyway, wasting millions of dollars and thousands of brain-free political hours, when instead they might have actually done something to benefit the country.* What they accomplished was to keep a false appearance of Clinton wrongdoing in the public eye until the 2016 election in order to disadvantage Clinton. They are trying to do the same thing to Joe Biden with their “impeachment inquiry” ahead of the 2024 election.

Meanwhile, I’m sorry that the Republican controlled House:

hasn’t passed an emergency supplemental bill

hasn’t passed a regular Appropriations bill – that’s going to crash and burn again in just a few weeks

hasn’t passed a funding bill for aid to Ukraine or Israel **

hasn’t passed a bill to enhance border security (although they’ve whined a lot and pointed fingers at Biden)

hasn’t passed a bill for humanitarian aid for Gaza

hasn’t passed the Farm Bill

With Mike Johnson’s partisan hand on the gavel they haven’t even been able to name a post office.

To be fair, last Thursday they managed to pass an $886 billion military spending bill. There’s much to scrutinize there, including that some of our lavishly paid military contractors design, build and deliver weapons that the Pentagon doesn’t want.

Meanwhile, I’m wondering if Biden can legally redirect some of that defense overspend to support Ukraine, as they fight to protect western democracy, and to support Israel, as they fight to stay in existence.

Ah, what was I thinking? If Biden were to ignore this mean-spirited, do-nothing Republican House and instead do what needs to be done for our country and for our allies, Mike Johnson wouldn’t stand for that. Biden would be impeached for protecting our national security without employing extortion or retribution.

I’m sorry, but I really don’t think Mike Johnson loves America.

LATE ADDITION

Yesterday the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that Donald Trump could not be on the Colorado primary ballot nor be elected President from that state – something like that. The word “disqualified” is prominent in the court’s ruling. Details are still being sorted out. The expectation is that the case will be appealed to the US Supreme Court. Meanwhile, Trump just lost again.

I’m not sorry about that. At all.

_______________________________

* Fun fact: The last Benghazi hearing closed on December 12, 2016, oddly, just a short time after the November election. Just a coincidence, I’m sure.

** As the House went on vacation for 3 weeks, Speaker Mike Johnson tweeted his explanation for sitting on their hands regarding aid to Ukraine. He tweeted, “we must secure our own border before we secure another country’s.“ Apparently, he thinks our having done nothing to improve our immigration system for decades means that we must remedy that before we help to stop Russia from killing, raping and kidnapping Ukrainians. Apparently, he doesn’t just hate America. He hates Ukraine, too.


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 Speech You Never Heard


Post 1,020

___________________________________

On the morning of November 22, 1963 everything changed. President John F. Kennedy was in Dallas, TX to deliver a speech at the Trade Mart that afternoon and, as is quite obvious, that speech was never delivered.

Back then we were ever vigilant against our sworn enemies, communism and the Soviet Union. In contrast, today only half of our Congress opposes Russia and many openly support murderous Vladimir Putin. Our wonderful Civil Rights and Voting Rights bills were still in the dream stage in 1963 and now they’re being incrementally dismantled. Back then social media was just the AM radio playing top 40s hits and 5 minutes of news per hour.

In some ways, the world of 1963 was quite like today, as we struggled to balance competing needs and overly aggressive people could be found behind many podiums spouting self-serving nonsense.

Kennedy’s intended comments on that dreadful day are still available and he has some valuable words for us yet today. You can find the complete speech here. Meanwhile, here is a sampling.

In a world of complex and continuing problems, in a world full of frustrations and irritations, America’s leadership must be guided by the lights of learning and reason or else those who confuse rhetoric with reality and the plausible with the possible will gain the popular ascendancy with their seemingly swift and simple solutions to every world problem.

There will always be dissident voices heard in the land, expressing opposition without alternatives, finding fault but never favor, perceiving gloom on every side and seeking influence without responsibility. Those voices are inevitable.

But today other voices are heard in the land – voices preaching doctrines wholly unrelated to reality, wholly unsuited to [today] . . .

We cannot expect that everyone, to use the phrase of a decade ago, will “talk sense to the American people.” But we can hope that fewer people will listen to nonsense. And the notion that this nation is headed for defeat through deficit, or that strength is but a matter of slogans, is nothing but just plain nonsense . . .

Our security and strength, in the last analysis, directly depend on the security and strength of others, and that is why our military and economic assistance plays such a key role in enabling those who live on the periphery of the Communist world to maintain their independence of choice . . .

But, in today’s world, freedom can be lost without a shot being fired, by ballots as well as bullets. The success of our leadership is dependent upon respect for our mission in the world as well as our missiles – on a clearer recognition of the virtues of freedom as well as the evils of tyranny . . .

Finally, it should be clear by now that a nation can be no stronger abroad than she is at home. Only an America which practices what it preaches about equal rights and social justice will be respected by those whose choice affects our future. Only an America which has fully educated its citizens is fully capable of tackling the complex problems and perceiving the hidden dangers of the world in which we live. And only an America which is growing and prospering economically can sustain the worldwide defenses of freedom, while demonstrating to all concerned the opportunities of our system and society. [all emphasis mine]

Consider Kennedy’s intended words, as you contemplate the ongoing mania of some who call themselves Americans but who, it is plain, want to destroy us, to “tear it all down.” Think of these democracy destroyers’ abhorrent resistance to support an ally in its hour of need, as it struggles against a resurgent Russia modeled after the Soviet Union and fights the fight for freedom for all of us. Consider our struggle to maintain equanimity amidst those who are, “expressing opposition without alternatives, finding fault but never favor, perceiving gloom on every side and seeking influence without responsibility,” as well as the “voices preaching doctrines wholly unrelated to reality.”

It seems to me that Kennedy’s intended call to strength on that November day in Dallas was to be a call we must answer even today. We must be strong against the perfidy of those who plainly no longer believe in the America you believe in. For reasons that defy reason, they want our nation to emulate the cruel autocracies that have always led to war and suffering, the crushing of the human spirit and the loss of freedom for everyone.

I cannot help but wonder about the intellectual and moral principles of our time. So many seem to have embraced anti-intellectualism, denial of reality and have championed lying as though it is a virtue. This very vocal type is not a new species, as they have always been with us, but they are especially loud today.

This is not now nor was it ever a Boy Scout merit badge existence for all, but this is today a denial of such things with far greater passion and popularity than we have seen in a very long time, perhaps since the Civil War. That was not a war of northern aggression, nor was it a victim’s lost cause. It was a tremendous battle to determine if we would follow and even become our better angels, as Lincoln called them. It was an exclamation of our bold claim that we hold as self-evident that all men are created equal, as well as all the rest of our original intellectual and moral principles. It was a test of whether we mean what we say. We ultimately ratified those higher principles with blood.

Yet here we are 159 years later, still beset by liars, cheaters and selfish men and women who would burn books, lest we learn truth, who willingly defy their sacred oath and who take joy in ripping at the fabric of our society and of our nation. Millions listen to that corruption and they incrementally ratchet down our intellectual and moral principles.

We have a great deal of work 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.

Blood Pressure


Post 1,019

___________________________________

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How’s your blood pressure now?

Just a Curiosity

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

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

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

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


Today is a good day to be the light

_____________________________

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

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

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA


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

Forget About Finding the Why – We Already Know – Part 1


Post 1,011

—————————————

Hamas terrorists brutally wounded and killed thousands of Israelis on October 7. Most of the world was aghast at the massacre – right until the Israelis began doing what every other nation on Earth would do in such a situation: They hit back.

They set out to make it so that the terrorists could not attack them again. That’s a lot like the U.S. going after ISIS – you know: the be-headers of journalist Danny Pearl and many others. Most thought clobbering those terrorists was a pretty good idea. The IDF got into full motion on October 8 to do the same sort of thing. That’s when world opinion began to shift.

One of Hamas’ war crimes is that it embeds itself in civilian Palestinian infrastructure. Their doing so means that for Israel to protect itself by going after the terrorists, civilians will die. So, do a thought experiment with me.

Imagine that you’re the Prime Minister of Israel and you’re making decisions from among only terrible choices. What would you do?

Hint: A ceasefire is not an option while Hamas is still armed and prepared to kill your people; indeed, is still killing your people.

What’s your decision, Prime Minister?

Israel chose to protect its people and has been condemned internationally for doing so.

Hamas provides video and claims to have statistics of injured and killed Palestinians, especially of children and babies. They claimed that 4,737 children had been killed by the IDF by November 7. Our human empathy insists that we care. But there is no way to verify Hamas’ spectacular claims. They commonly lie for propaganda purposes and the world oddly and dumbly accepts their claims as true.

So, upon hearing these questionable claims, the world became shockingly outraged over Israelis “killing Palestinian babies” and began calling for a ceasefire. This is a stunningly effective PR campaign by Hamas. And it’s a stunningly effective counter to the Hamas killings of Israeli children and babies that Hamas videoed and posted online on October 7.

There is not now, nor has there ever been, a way to overpower the always instantaneous Arab claims of victimhood. Just a few weeks ago Hamas used its errant missile fired into a Gaza hospital parking lot to blame Israel. The world Pavlovian dog salivated.

You may also recall how expertly Yassir Arafat of the Palestine Liberation Army used this same blaming technique to point a damning finger at Israel for killing innocents. He garnered huge world support for Palestinians and condemnation of Israel. The technique is simple: “Hit and run, leave civilians in the center of the bulls eye and claim victimhood when Israel hits back.” Rope-a-dope. It worked then just as well as it does for Hamas today.

Strangely, other than on October 7 (and only on October 7) there hasn’t been world indignation about Hamas’ terrorism unleashed upon Israelis. There’s no hint of recognition of or sympathy for the thousands of Israelis killed and maimed. There’s no world outrage over Hamas continuing to fire rockets into Israeli cities to injure and kill civilians. World outrage is aimed only at Israel.

Since 2006 Palestinians have at least tolerated and sometimes supported Hamas and the cruelty it does. They allowed Hamas to embed their command centers, their weapons caches and their rocket launchers in the midst of Palestinian civilians, knowing full well that many would die if Israel chased into Gaza after the Hamas terrorists.

At this point, though, I don’t care why Palestinians agreed to risk their lives in that way or why people around the world march in mindless solidarity with terrorists. I’m out of patience with seeking to understand people who only want paroxysms of rage and violence and murder.

I don’t care about the why of the fools and the gaslighted millions who are demanding a ceasefire in Gaza, an action that would allow Hamas to rearm and attack Israelis again, exactly as they have promised to do. And I certainly don’t care about the why of protesters worldwide and their abhorrence of Israel’s actions to protect its citizens but who don’t give a damn about the terrorism done to Jews and Israelis by Hamas.

Their protests make it clear that they don’t care about the mass murders, the bombings and rocket attacks, the parents and children burned alive, the concert attendees gunned down in the desert, the babies beheaded in front of their parents, the hundreds held hostage, including Holocaust survivors. They just rage.

The death and destruction visited upon Israel really doesn’t matter to the world’s ignorant and gaslighted protesters. Here’s the quiet part said out loud:

They don’t care because the threatened and the dead Israelis are just Jews.
.

As well, that explains the indifference of so many.

Forget wondering about the why of this. The world already knows. It has always known.

For a gentler form of this message, read this short essay/poem. If you’re feeling quite brave, read it out loud.

Many thanks to SL for providing the link. And many thanks for KL for caring.

Note: To be fair, there are some rallies in support of Israel. Not many, but some.


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.

Here’s Why


Take a look at this downloadable PDF map of NATO countries – they’re the ones in BLUE and follow along.

Putin has made it clear that the greatest tragedy of the 20th century was not WW I, WW II or the 1918 influenza pandemic, each of which killed millions of people. No, he’s certain that the fall of the Soviet Union was the very worst thing that happened over those 100 years. He has dedicated his grandiosity to reconstructing that paragon of repression and cruelty or perhaps creating something even more dreadful. I’m sure that in his dreams he hears the sound of Soviet tanks crushing the pavement of the streets of downtown Budapest and has visions of Khrushchev pounding his peasant shoe on a lectern at the United Nations, where Putin hopes to pound his Gucci loafers.

He claimed there are lots of Russian speakers in Ukraine, which means, he says, that Ukraine isn’t a real country, but rather, it’s part of Russia. Using that logic, San Francisco should be ceded to the Chinese, Montreal should become the property of France and Texas, New Mexico and Arizona should surrender to Mexico.

In 2014 Putin grabbed the entire Crimean peninsula and large swaths of the Donbas, the southeastern part of Ukraine. That’s where you can find the rubble that was the city of Mariupol. That’s where you can still find Mariupol’s besieged steel plant, with its hundreds, perhaps thousands of wounded fighters and noncombatants who can’t get food or medical supplies, who can’t get out and who the Russians bomb every day.

When the brutalizing of Ukraine started I said that the Moldovans must be shaking in their shoes because surely they would be next. Sadly, Putin is proving me to have been right. He has announced that he will sweep up the entire east and south of Ukraine all the way to Moldova, where he’s already dropped bombs. Moldova has no army, although they do have a few traffic cops, so stopping Putin’s thugs will be more than difficult for them.

Go back to that NATO map and look at the countries in GREEN that border Russia. These are nations that are not NATO member countries. Looking north from Ukraine and you’ll find:

Belarus

Finland

Sweden

Counter-clockwise from Ukraine there are:

Georgia

Armenia

Azerbaijan

Kazakhstan

The southern “-stans” of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan,Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan

Left off this list are Mongolia, China and Afghanistan. Surely, not even Putin is dumb enough to invade China or Mongolia. Or Afghanistan – again.

Finland and Sweden are likely to become NATO members by June. But the rest of the GREEN countries would be easy pickings for Putin. Belarus is already a vassal state and he can gobble up the rest without fear of a direct confrontation with NATO.

If you were the leader of any of these GREEN countries, what might you be thinking about NATO membership right now? Maybe that you’ve waited a bit too long to request membership?

Putin thinks that Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are legitimate parts of Russia, just like his claim about Ukraine, but they are NATO member countries. I suspect that it’s in these Baltic states where the inevitable Russian confrontation with NATO will occur. Putin and the world will quickly learn whether Article 5 of the NATO Charter means anything. Meanwhile, here’s the reason for this geography lesson.

Some are asking why.
.

The U.S. is in the process of authorizing another $33 billion of aid to Ukraine and some are asking why we would spend our treasure this way. After all, they say, this is Ukraine’s war, not ours. That’s where I and many others disagree.

Set aside the humanitarian imperative to help people who are suffering or the important need to right a wrong. It’s more solidly connected to self-interest than that.

Putin’s actions threaten the entire world. He’s upsetting the carefully crafted and tended political peace and economic order that have lasted since 1945. That threatens America.

The Ukrainians are fighting for their country, their democracy, their freedom and their independence. Those are the same reasons every one of those GREEN countries will resist. But they can be picked off one at a time by Putin’s inept but numerically overwhelming forces and his threats of chemical and nuclear war. So, the world either stops Putin in Ukraine or we will have to fight him in the next country and then the next and the next. There will be no appeasement of this monster. Reference: Neville Chamberlain’s Munich appeasement of Hitler in 1938. That didn’t work out too well for the Brits or for the world and attempting to appease Putin would be a similar disaster.

The Ukrainians’ struggle is an existential fight for all democracy and freedom in the world and if Putin isn’t stopped there this will eventually become our own fight. We can either help to stop Putin in Ukraine or we’ll have to stop him later as he directly threatens our own shores.

That’s why.
.

And that begs the question of why Representatives Biggs (AZ), Taylor Greene (GA), Bishop (NC), Gaetz (FL), Gosar (AZ), Norman (SC), Massie (KY), Perry (PA), Tiffany (WI) and Davidson (OH), all Republicans, voted against the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022. They and others also voted against the resolution of support for Moldova. Just guessing that they’ll vote against the additional $33 billion of aid for Ukraine requested by President Biden. And they’ll do so with the enthusiastic support of the supreme, authoritarian loving, Putin and Viktor Orbán suck up, Tucker Carlson.

Here’s the key question:

If all those Ukrainians are doing the fighting and dying so we don’t have to, why would these elected officials oppose supporting them?
.
President Biden’s Call To Action, by speech writer JA
.

“We’re calling on all Americans to pony up all the necessary military and humanitarian support for the Ukrainian people, who are fighting for all freedom loving people. That’s good, and it isn’t enough.

“Because of Putin’s war, there will be precious little agricultural output from Ukraine this year. That country was formerly the supplier of 10% of the world’s wheat, and that’s just a placeholder for all the disruption of food supplies the world will see this year. That’s why I’m calling on all of US agriculture to maximize production. No fields lying fallow. Find ways to produce more. This is your patriotic duty.

“European nations are already moving to get off the Russian gas and oil umbilical cord and move to renewables. We need to make similar changes here to maximize pressure on Putin.

“I’m calling on our fossil fuel companies to stop drilling and start building a carbon-free power infrastructure. I’m calling on Prime Minister Modi of India to do the same.

“And I’m calling on all Americans to support the switch to electric transportation, with all the infrastructure implications that means. This is war and we must lead the way for the world to end its dependence on fossil fuels.”

Hey, It’s Just a Draft

Yeah, but if its provisions become law, as it appears likely they will, we’ll take a giant leap back to women dying from complications of back alley abortions, women dying in childbirth, women delivering their rapist’s child – or their father’s incest child – ruined lives and more. It takes us back to brain-free, iron fisted patriarchy. It opens the door to making birth control measures – even within a marriage – illegal. Having a miscarriage could result in murder charges. And this draft opinion opens to door to reversing marriage rights and more. The Republicans in Congress and the Supreme Court stand steadfastly in their Dark Ages ignorance and will use their legal spears to kill everything they fear.

All of this is the proud result of the extremist, control freak Republican minority and of Supreme Court justices lying, dissembling and snow jobbing through their confirmation processes, falsely claiming that they believe that Roe v. Wade is settled law. Plus, there’s Mitch McConnell’s cheating, refusing to even hold a hearing for Obama’s SC nominee following the death of Antonin Scalia. The depth of their dishonesty is breathtaking.

So, congratulations to the many people who have worked so hard for so long to force their misogynistic way to control others. They think they should be in charge of making decisions for we lesser people, much like the result of the Dred Scott decision that said that Blacks had no rights and which put all power into the hands of White supremacists. Those 1850s guys really liked being in control of others, just like today’s Republicans.

But, hey, it’s just a draft. Who knows? Maybe between now and June one or two of the justices who now favor witch burning will relent. But don’t count on it. Instead, get to work making sure that all the people who otherwise would stay at home on November 8 learn what is being done to them. Inspire them to get off their butts and vote for Democrats, unless, of course, they want some primitive, rich old White guys controlling their lives.

————————————

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

Did someone forward this 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!)

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 vibrant.

JA


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

Elections Have Consequences


April 7, 2022

On Thursday the Senate of The United States voted 53 – 47* to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court. Without Georgia having elected two Democrats to the Senate in 2020 and the country having elected a Democrat to the presidency at the same time, you likely wouldn’t even know Judge Jackson’s name. But you know it now.

Caroline Randall Williams, Writer-in-Residence at Vanderbilt University, said of Jackson’s confirmation that once again a Black woman had, “dragged democracy back into the light.” It’s good to hear from the poets in order to put things into proper perspective.

We’ve taken another small step toward a more perfect union.

Elections have consequences.

————————————

It was early 2000 and Governor Jeb Bush of Florida and his Secretary of State, Katherine Harris, had completed the enormous job of removing tens of thousands of Black people from the voting rolls. POOF! Voting rights were evaporated from people – citizens – to whom the right to vote was supposed to be guaranteed.

But these citizens were likely to vote for the Democrat in the upcoming presidential election, so the Republicans put their thumbs on the scale to prevent that from happening. Well done, Jeb, and a really in-the-family thing to do for your big, doofus brother. But even with Jeb’s cheating, the election was a nail biter and a recount was ordered.

With the recount proceeding and the vote count close but slightly in his favor, George W. Bush brought suit to stop the recounting of votes. The case went to the Supreme Court (Bush v. Gore) where Republican Chief Justice William Rehnquist presided and the Court declared that the vote recount must stop.

Instantly, that disenfranchised about 20,000 voters in the panhandle of Florida, because their votes had not yet been recounted. That’s a lot of voter disenfranchisement and it did the trick, because that area was slightly more Democratic than Republican. The state’s electoral college votes went to Bush and he became President. Later, full counts of the vote would show that Gore actually won by over 300 votes. Too bad for him and too bad for the nation. Here’s why.

Not long after that election I was having breakfast with a CEO I coached. The restaurant owner unexpectedly turned on the radio so that all could hear the breaking news of the disaster that came to be called “9/11.” Once we realized what was happening my friend said, “Good thing Bush won. Can you imagine what it would be like if Gore were President now?”

Actually, I could, but that’s for later.

Bush lied us into a war in Iraq, having preposterously told us that secular Saddam Hussein was in cahoots with radical Islamist Osama bin Laden. He made up the “yellow cake” and “aluminum tubes” lies and had his National Security Advisor, Condoleeza Rice, terrify the nation, warning us repeatedly that the the smoking gun could be a mushroom cloud.

So, we went off to war against a nation that had not harmed us in any way. Bush told us that the Iraqis would receive our military as liberators from the evil Saddam Hussein and would greet them with flowers. That didn’t happen. And he told us that the war would be paid for with Iraqi oil. But the Iraqi oil belonged to the Iraqis, not the U.S., so it wasn’t ours to take as payment for invading. Anyway, the oil money plunder didn’t happen, either.

And, of course, Bush sent our people after Osama bin Laden. They had him cornered in the caves at Tora Bora in Afghanistan and needed additional military muscle to seize him. Bush refused and instead invaded the entire country.

His lies and ineptitude led us into 20 years of war there and seven years of war in Iraq. Over 6,700 Americans were killed, about three times that many were injured and an uncountable number of Iraqis and Afghanis were either dead, wounded or displaced. He squandered trillions of dollars and managed to destabilize the entire region.

Click the pic to see more. BUT: See Note 5 below.

Bush led Republicans on a new testosterone march, where “supporting our troops” meant no critical thinking was allowed about what we did as a nation. Any challenge to his divine word was unpatriotic, we were led to believe, because “You’re either with us or you’re against us.”

At the same time the NRA was glorifying weapons of war and much of the nation began to equate violence, bravado and bullying with patriotism. Indeed, in Ryan Busse’s frightening book Gunfight, My Battle Against the Industry that Radicalized America, he writes,

“By the time Bush left office, the US public bought nearly seven thousand AR-15s every single day [italics original]. The country embraced even larger numbers of the guns as symbols of freedom, symptoms of fear, and statements of patriotism.”

Elections have consequences.

So, yes, I can imagine what it would have been like if Gore had won. He wouldn’t have lied us into those two catastrophic wars, the region might be stable today, there would be a buffer on Iran’s western border and a bunch of people who died would still be alive.

Maybe we wouldn’t have enthusiastically embraced bullying as a main tool of our politics and even our interpersonal relationships. Maybe AR-15s and other weapons of war wouldn’t be so popular and we wouldn’t have far more guns in this country than people.

To be fair, had Gore been president we still would have our pathological daily mass shootings, assault rifles likely would still be the dream of couch commanders and testosterone junkies. The NRA and right wing extremists would still be blaming lefties for every problem in America and they would seek to divide us using their us-versus-them hate speech. But we might have some common sense restrictions on guns and gun ownership. And justice would have found Osama bin Laden in a Tora Bora cave about 10 years earlier.

Elections have consequences.

Next came an intelligent, even-tempered Black President who offered a welcome groundedness. He was obviously guilty of the felony of being President While Black and that lit the racist torches and brought us constant insane propaganda and power grabs. Opposing and making Barack Obama a one-term President became the Republicans’ “job number one” and they completely abandoned their job of dealing with America’s vexing challenges.

And, of course, there was the nonstop blizzard of lies, even about Obama’s birth. The lying was so common that it became a repugnant snowball of hatred rolling downhill. It grew and launched an unstoppable avalanche of cruel fictions and propaganda.

Elections have consequences.

40% of the public loved the lies and cruel fictions and the self-righteous power rush of hatred that brought them. And that brought us Trump.

When he announced his candidacy he let us know immediately what he was about by declaring that Mexicans are rapists and murderers and later told us that he could grab women .  .  . anywhere. You know the rest of the mental derangement, but his Russia-fueled election brought us a dismantling of our societal and constitutional norms that had been honed over the centuries, as well as his incitement to hatred.

What is most striking is the spinelessness of the people who could have prevented his worst. All it would have taken was for Republicans to speak out and act with integrity.

From Busse’s book, quoting a highly respected firearms editor at Field and Stream Magazine,

“A United States in which someone can be ruined for voicing an unpopular opinion is a dangerous place.” p. 195

Again quoting Busse, now writing about a revered writer on hunting and guns who spoke out against assault rifles:

“They’re crucifying the guy, and none of us [industry people] dare say anything, or we’ll end up like him!” p. 195

That’s what myopic self-interest looks like and our spineless Republican politicians know it well.

Opposing Trump might, indeed, be an unpopular thing to do in Red State America and doing so has proven disastrous for more than a few traditional Republican congressional careers. But what if all the Republicans had stood as one and opposed Trump’s hatred for others and for our Constitution? Perhaps Trump could have been contained.

The engine section of a Russian missile from Vladimir Putin. It exploded at the Kramatorsk train station, killing 50 and wounding over 100 Ukrainian women, children and old people on April 8. The hand-painted Russian words on it translate to “For the children.”

But they didn’t and he still isn’t. And that’s a key outcome of the 2016 election. It had huge consequences, to the point that our democracy itself is now at risk.

Self-styled American faux-patriots with big mouths and even bigger egos are siding with Vladimir Putin, as he rampages through Ukraine, intentionally killing civilians and committing other war crimes. At the same time, the big mouths are castigating President Biden for doing too much to support Ukraine or too little, anything at all, as long as they are criticizing and belittling the President. There isn’t anything remotely patriotic about siding with Putin or baselessly attacking the President, yet millions listen to these blowhards.

All of that and more are consequences of the Bush stolen election, the racist reactions to the Obama election and Trump’s Russia-fueled election.

Elections have consequences.

They have repercussions that reverberate for decades and can be ruinous if we allow it.

But we don’t have to do that.

We can vote to silence the haters and the demonizers. We can vote to stop the bullying and find ways to actually live with one another peacefully. We can vote so that elections help us move toward that more perfect union envisioned by the Founders. It’s time to vote to move in that direction – while we still can.

Elections have consequences. Choose yours wisely.

———————————–

* Senators Collins, Murkowski and Romney are the Republicans who voted to confirm Jackson. Doing so should not have required courage. All the rest of the Republicans voted against her confirmation. When the count was announced, Democrats and the gallery enthusiastically cheered the Justice-to-be. The 47 rudely stormed out of the Senate chamber. Sadly, that’s America today.

————————————

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

Did someone forward this 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!)

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 vibrant.

JA


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

You Were Taught This


Whatever your holy book, somewhere in those pages you can find some directives – perhaps they’re instructions, possibly Commandments – that tell us how to behave.

For example, the Exodus story is a stunning message about freedom. The story is retold every year at the Passover Seder. It’s like all traditions, in that it’s reinforced through repetition so that we both remember its lessons and educate new generations.

At the Seder we are admonished to, “Remember, you were slaves in the land of Egypt.” That’s “you” as in: each of us today. The message isn’t about some quaint, obscure people who had 430 horrible years as slaves those thousands of years ago. Those people were just like us and they craved and loved freedom as much as we do. That’s why retelling the story is critical for us today, lest we forget and recreate those horrible years for ourselves or others. That’s why we are admonished to welcome the stranger, because once we were strangers. Think: Immigration reform.

We are also directed not to curse the deaf, nor place a stumbling block before the blind. I’m confident you can see through the metaphors about refusing to be cruel to others or influencing others to do harm. Think: Rage at school board meetings; death threats; and conspiracy theory hatred. Seriously, we’re not supposed to do that stuff.

Are you seeing a pattern yet? Try this.

Some years ago my friend Tom was going through a difficult period and was facing it head-on. He came across the term “loving kindness” and explained some of what he learned about it.

It’s a solitary term, he said; nothing else quite captures the essence of its meaning. My best guess is that somewhere in your past you were taught the concept and the sweetness, generosity and purity of its meaning. Somebody told you that this is something important, something we’re supposed to do. Perhaps you remember.

Maybe it was offered this way.

“Love thy neighbor as thyself.” For those of us who have difficulty getting beyond ourselves, that makes the recommended treatment of others easier to understand. Just love them, the directive says, and we understand, because we, too, want to be loved.

The word “loved” might cause some confusion, given that our definition today may vary from what it meant thousands of years ago. And the message has been filtered through multiple language translations, too. So, try “care about” instead, or “care for.” Regardless, we have clarity about how we want to be treated as the benchmark, a True North for how we are directed to treat others. It’s about caring. *

The problem is that we moderns aren’t doing a great job of following those simple, clear directions from our Human Being Manuals. We haven’t managed to stop enslaving one another. We still refuse freedom to others and refuse to welcome strangers and we inflict cruelty or we condone it. The concept of loving kindness enters our consciousness far too infrequently and we’re afraid of our neighbors, so it’s really hard to care about them.

Click me for the story.

You’re seeing horrific pictures from Ukraine every day. All of its cities are being reduced to rubble. People are being murdered, and yes, it’s first degree murder, because it’s premeditated. There are people there who spend their days dodging missiles and bombs, who are sleeping in the cold and have little or nothing to eat. There is no fresh water, so they’re drinking pond water and melting snow. Your internal meter that monitors your sense of right, of justice and of humanity has been pegged out and flashing red for weeks and you know you have to do something. But what?

I looked into getting a flight to Warsaw, figuring to find ground transport to the Ukrainian border to help refugees there somehow, but I’m afraid I’m past my sell-by date for such things. There must be another way to help.

In a short presentation to our local village board, a senior in high school offered a couple of simple ideas.  And really, this doesn’t have to be complicated.

Her family came from Ukraine and, as you will surely understand, she has strong feelings about what is happening to her ancestral homeland and its people. She named a couple of agencies doing relief work for Ukrainian refugees. Have a look at UMANA and Razom.

Look at what World Central Kitchen is doing. They are providing hundreds of thousands of hot meals for those very cold refugees. Kick in something so that stomachs get warmed and filled.

You can go here and see what AirBnB is doing to provide housing, or here or here or here or scroll through the slides on this New York Times page to find various agencies helping these suffering people. Check them all for veracity here.

At very least we can support the do-gooders so that they can do the good that so desperately needs to be done.
.

If donating money isn’t how you want to do it, that’s okay. Find another way. Here’s some creative thinking from my friend, futurist David Houle.

He has committed to buying 10% less gasoline. He can do that and so can you and I with just a little brain work, like combining trips instead of being wasteful. That 10% reduction in consumption by lots of us will take pressure off gas prices, our climate crisis and the pressure to import Russian fossil fuels, which we don’t want to do ever again. Read David’s post. Then commit and tell others about it.

You know well the messages about freedom, welcoming the stranger, loving thy neighbor and loving kindness. That’s why your internal meter is flashing red and screaming for your action. You were made to right this wrong and you know in your bones that you have to do something.

You were taught this.

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* Tucker Carlson doesn’t care, nor do millions who listen to that anti-American fool. Mother Jones revealed how Putin is using the drivel that comes from Carlson’s mouth. He’s stuffing it into his propaganda to control the Russian people and continue his Ukrainian genocide.

Tucker Carlson is helping Putin to murder Ukrainians right now.
.

I don’t think his Human Being Manual instructed him to do that. His is free lance apostasy.

Be sure to read that Mother Jones piece, as well as John Pavlovitz’s explainer, I’m Sick of Pretend Patriots and the Phony Faithful. This is the time for real patriots and lovers of liberty to stand and be counted.

————————————

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

Did someone forward this 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!)

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 vibrant.

JA


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

Accountability & The Questions


Regular readers of these disambiguations know that I have strong views about accountability. There are two reasons.

One is that we’ve known since childhood that wrongdoing should be punished. The absence of punishment is an affront to our sense of right and wrong and it leads to the second reason.

In the absence of punishment for wrongdoing, the wrongdoer will do more wrong. Often, the bad acts become worse because there is no impediment to bad behavior.

Vladimir Putin got away with crushing Chechnya, Georgia, the eastern section of Ukraine and the Crimea and he used chemical weapons on Syrians. The world did almost nothing to stop him.

World War II comparisons are fraught with the danger of mistaken causalities and correlations, but this one fits. Hitler rolled over Czechoslovakia, Poland and more and the world did nothing but ignore or try to appease him for far too long. With 80 million killed, that didn’t work out too well for the world.

Putin has now invaded all of Ukraine, perhaps expecting a similar non-reaction from the world. He’s laying waste to all of Ukraine’s cities and endangering the world by bombing its nuclear power plants. Our human reactions include sadness, grief, anger and the desire to step in and stop the atrocities and step on Putin’s neck. The constraint is that engaging with Russia militarily will likely have unintended and disastrous consequences.

Consider this question: If the world had stepped up to stop this megalomaniac from one of his other outrageous assaults on life, liberty and sanity – i.e. had we held him accountable – would we be facing today’s dire circumstances?

This is why Putin cannot win.

This time, in this globally connected world, we’re not letting him get away with it entirely and he, his cronies and all the Russian people are paying the price. We’re strangling Putin and Russia economically by governmental action, by private businesses bailing from Russia and even through the actions of international hackers, yet there is danger in that.

Putin appears to be unhinged and is becoming forced into an ever-tightening corner. We all know what cornered animals do. Even a rabbit will attack if sufficiently threatened. The problem is that this rabbit has nuclear weapons and is threatening to use them. That makes accountability really tricky, but it is nevertheless necessary. We all must hope that our VSPs (very smart people) are working day and night to figure out how to avoid global annihilation.

What About Here?

We can and must extend the issue of accountability to our domestic challenges. Trump has gotten away with wrongdoing for decades, largely because he has not been held accountable. He was impeached twice for his wrongdoing, but our polarized Senate failed to make it stick and – guess what? – he then did worse by inciting an insurrection. He is still working to end our democracy, all because he has not been held accountable.

There is a hint of the cavalry coming over the hill in the forms of the Secretary of State of Georgia, the State of New York, the SDNY, the Justice Department in DC and maybe more. The hope for accountability lies with them and their courage do to what we all know must be done if we are to both punish the wrongdoer and make a statement to the next miscreant wannabe, who may be smarter and more cunning than this convict-in-waiting.

And we must hold accountable all the sycophants, dupes, spineless ones and selfish villains who have done so much to allow all the wrongdoing. No amount of their back pedaling should be allowed to exonerate them.

From Thom Hartmann:

You may remember [Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL)] as the guy who ran the company convicted of the largest Medicare fraud in the history of America, who then took his money and ran for Governor of Florida, where he prevented the state from expanding Medicaid for low-income Floridians for all the years he ran the state.

Now he’s the second-richest guy in the senate and, IMHO, the leading candidate for the GOP nomination for president in 2024. [emphasis original]

And he wants to:

.  .  .  raise taxes on poor and working-class Americans, end Social Security and Medicare, jack up pollution and corporate profits, all while continuing to pamper their billionaire donor base.

No worries about Scott back pedaling, because he needs to appeal to his basest base, but he must be held to account for being a selfish villain, fundamentally dishonest and probably a lot more nefarious things.

We The People must punish these – let’s call them “bad guys” –  in their next elections. If we fail to do that, we will have told them and future sycophants, dupes, spineless ones and selfish villains that they can get away with their dishonesty. *

It’s long past the time when we should have been holding people accountable and punishing them for their wrongs. Think of it in either (or both) of these easy questions.

Trump and these Republican officials are your employees; they work or worked for you. It says so in the Constitution. If you have ever had a job working for someone else, what do you suppose your employer would do if s/he learned that you had been working to destroy the company? Now, what do you think we should do to our employees in government who are working to destroy our democracy?

Here’s a second take on this: What would Mom and Dad have done to you had you behaved as dishonestly as these “bad guys”?

Accountability. It’s a good thing.

The Ukraine Questions For The Moment

Russia and Putin’s standard M.O. is to pound cities and people into submission and there is no limit to the methods of brutality, including chemical weapons, they will use. Putin first raises a false flag (lies claiming awful things the other guys did) which he then uses as justification for his barbarity. Count on hearing about phony Ukrainian awfulness from Putin in the days to come.

Infants, babies, children, mothers, grandmas, grandpas and young, fit men are being killed by Putin’s army of murderers. President Zelenskyy is begging for an enforced no-fly zone to help his fighters battle the invaders. Everyone understands his insistence.

The west has assaulted Russia with massive economic penalties, but refuses to become physically engaged in a conflict with Russia to stop Putin’s murder spree. We all understand that, too. Here are the questions.

  1. When will Putin’s madness and cruelty be too much for us to tolerate and to counter only indirectly?
  2. If Putin uses chemical weapons on the people of Ukraine – or biological warfare agents or tactical nuclear weapons – what will we do?
  3. If the answer to question #2 is that we will intervene to stop Putin from committing such horrid acts, why would we wait for him to kill millions of people before taking action?

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* From friend and CWP (Certified Wise Person) Mardy Grothe:

“If politicians can’t condemn Putin as a war criminal,

what does that say about them?

And if those politicians still get your vote,

what does that say about you?”

Click here for Mardy’s recent newsletter, which concludes with his lines above. If you’d like to subscribe, just send him an email at [email protected] and write “Subscribe” in the subject line.

And read Paul Krugman’s piece, America’s Right Has a Putin Problem. Then think about what we should do to our anti-democracy officials.

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1,476 more dead from Covid on Friday. Q. Can we spike the ball in the end zone now? A. Ask a Red state governor.

————————————

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

Did someone forward this 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!)

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 vibrant.

JA


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

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