Freedom

Hunting


P0ST 1077


No, not for game. Not for dinner. Not for sport.

I’m hunting for powerful, consistently muscular, banner-waving, truth telling, lie smashing, propaganda pummeling communication from any Democratic organization, any Democratic candidate or politician or any Democratic operative who is sick of Republican attacks, outrageous accusations and lies.* The game I’m hunting for is Democrats who broadcast powerful, motivating communication, words that light the passion we need to win. Most don’t seem able to find such stuff even with two hands and a flashlight.

I get email solicitations from the Biden campaign and every one of them (as in: all) is only about what they – campaign staffers – need. Not a word about what you and I want, what we believe, fear or hold to be true. One email last week carried six bullet point statements, each about what they need. You and I are nowhere to be found in their appeals except for the DONATE button. As of this writing I’ve received over 1,200 of these miserable solicitations since Biden announced. That’s a lot of crappy communication.

It would be unfair of me to just criticize and complain, so I have offered my observations and I’ve extended a hand, volunteering to help. Cue the crickets.

This pattern has not been limited to the Biden campaign. It’s exactly the same with the DNC – same inept, self-centered and insulting writing, same offers from me to help, same crickets. Did these guys all attend the School For The Communication Impaired? The University of Crappy Correspondence? The College of Who Cares About You?

To be fair, Adam Schiff’s campaign has sent me 137 solicitations. At least they are written with a respect for the intelligence of recipients and a hint of what’s important to we citizens, but his are the exceptions.

Attendant to this lousy Democratic Party communication is the Democrats’ absence of communication. I’m thinking about their near-silence as Republicans claim that there is a “weaponized” Justice Department, that Judge Juan Merchan is “compromised,” that there is a Biden crime family and all the Republican bogus claims of unfairness (poor little victims!) and their vaporous claims of some un-American something-or-other done to them by Democrats. I’m thinking about Trump and his fascist sycophants corrupting the truth in defense of the indefensible (phrase from Steve Schmidt). Where’s the smack down of these guys?

Where is the counter-attack stating the truth, that all of the indictments of Trump were made before Trump announced his candidacy, making Republicans’ claims about Justice Department election interference idiotic? Where the hell is the push-back?

More to the point, where is the counter-attack that challenges Americans with the reality that Republicans are lying to us, that they hate your freedom, that they think you’re stupid and that “others” are vermin poisoning our blood? Where is the expose´ showing that Republicans are cowards and hypocrites who want to be dictators over you? Where is the question, “How do you like being lied to and played for a fool?” I’ve posted such messages here, but of course I don’t have the reach of the DNC.

Why are they keeping mum as Republicans are stealing our freedom, our rights and our Democracy? Where is the outrage at the Republicans’ Big Brother Ministry of Truth** program of lies and attacks on education, safety, health and more? Pretty much all I hear from Democrats is limp-wristed, boring messages generated by atrophied communication muscles. I’m hunting for an indication that Democrats actually want to win.

Jeez, Democrats: GET A SPINE!

Because your lack of vigorous attacks and counter-attacks is allowing Republicans to poison the American people with their anti-America propaganda. If the only ones speaking are Republicans with their lies and hypocrisy, theirs are the only messages the American people will hear. People will believe them because they don’t hear an alternative.

So, I’m hunting for the communicators and the communication that will vanquish the minority thieves of our democracy, the ones who have already stolen your rights and who promise to steal more.

I’m hunting for messages that will win.

The choices are:

  1. We can be a doormat and lose everything, or
  2. We drop the namby-pamby, go at them bare knuckled and save our rights, our freedom and our country.

Pick one.

For the rest of us, it’s time to stop relying on others to do the messaging. It’s time for us to go on the attack.
.

Need a resource? Read Hit ‘Em Where It Hurts by Rachel BItecofer and Aaron Murphy. ***

Motivational Quote of the Week

“I don’t want anybody [dying] on me. We need every vote. I don’t care about you. I just want your vote. I don’t care.”

That outrage should motivate all Democrats, Independents and the leftover Republicans who still have courage. It’s yet another episode of Trump’s “verbal incontinence” (term: Eugene Robinson, June 10, 2024), when he blabbers and accidentally tells the truth.

Where is the fury from Democrats?


* Exception: Follow and support Ryan Bussee’s campaign to be Governor of Montana. He’s fierce and powerful, a fine model for other Democrats.

** See 1984 by George Orwell.

*** Books: See Note #5 below.


Today is a good day to be the light

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

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

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA


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

Liars and Cheaters and Frauds, Oh My! and a Ghastly Contrast


POST 1076


CAUTION – Contains snark, which is known to trigger bouts of doing the right thing, as well as generating an occasional smirk.

In what should be an alien, other planet move, 10 Republicans wrote in a public letter that they would no longer pass legislation, fund the government, or vote to confirm the administration’s appointees because, they said,

“[t]he White House has made a mockery of the rule of law and fundamentally altered our politics in un-American ways. As a Senate Republican conference, [actually, there were only 10 of them, hardly a conference] we are unwilling to aid and abet this White House in its project to tear this country apart.”

Apparently, these kings and queen of mentally deranged projection are going on strike. They are betraying their constituents, their oath of office (which they clearly didn’t take freely and without mental reservation) and the entire nation in this performance of cowardice and servility to the orange convict.

Here are the on-strike, Senate Republican frauds:

Name and State             Re-election year

Mike Lee, UT                   2028 Vows to oppose raising the debt ceiling until there’s a balanced budget amendment. He doesn’t care who we cheat. Quite Trumpian of him.

J.D. Vance, OH                2028  Author of The Trump Suck-Up Elegies

Tommy Tuberville, AL      2026  Carpetbagger Alabama senator who doesn’t even live in Alabama.

Eric Schmitt, MO             2028

Marsha Blackburn, TN     2024  Bless her heart.

Rick Scott, FL                  2024  Net worth: $250 million. He says you should pay an extra $4,500 in taxes so you’ll “have skin in the game.”

Roger Marshall, KS.         2026

Marco Rubio, FL              2028  Doubts global warming, as FL is going underwater and as property insurance costs 4X the national average, if it’s even available to Floridians.

Josh Hawley, MO             2024  The model for double-crossing, traitorous insurrectionist fist pumps

Ron Johnson, WI              2028  Talks on a dead phone to avoid reporters’ questions.

Click the pic for a more readable view

As you can see, for most of these grand-standers there is plenty of time between now and their next election for the public to forget their infantile, performative temper tantrum. Regrets go to the folks in Florida and Missouri who now have no representation in the Senate. And don’t forget that several of these posers were key traitors in the attempt to steal the votes from 80 million Americans in 2020.

From Harlan Coben’s I Will Find You, in the context of making moral choices:

“She could have done the ‘right’ thing that night, but we only do the right thing when it doesn’t cost us.”

“We pay lip service to a vague greater good, but only when it serves our interest.”

That’s harsh, of course, but before you take umbrage, think of those statements in the context of Republican senators and representatives who know better but cave in to Trump and then say and do abhorrent fascist things. Here’s some of what that gets you.

– You get idiots in dark blue suits, white shirts and red ties showing up at the trial of the orange menace in Manhattan and saying patently stupid and flamingly false things attacking America. That’s very fascist of them.

– You get valueless, anti-American, fraudulent congressional hearings about “the Biden crime family,” a non-existent cabal fantasized by Rep, Jim Jordan (R – Alpha Centauri). “Mmm .  .  .  There is much dishonesty in this one.” – Yoda. This, too, is very fascist.

– You get the list of buffoon senators above and more, fully embracing the Republican “mass psychosis,” as Adam Kinzinger calls it. BTW: After reading this post, link through and listen to Kinzinger’s comments.

All of these Republican blabbers, these fascism promoters, these democracy killer authoritarians know what the “right” thing to do is. They all know about the greater good. But doing those “right” things would cost them just a bit of their immediate self-interest. They aren’t willing to pay the price for their integrity, much less do anything for the greater good, so they cave and they burnish their cowardice and hypocrisy skills. Very fascist – even brown shirt – of them.

Liars and cheaters and frauds, oh my!

What a ghastly contrast that is to those whom we honored last week.

D-Day

Lt. Richard L. Altschuler, 62nd & 61st Fighter Squadrons, 56th Fighter Group, 8th Army, USAAF. 69 combat missions. Photo: Boxted England, 1943

My father was in a lot of dogfights as he flew his fighter plane “escorting” our bombers over Europe to push back the Nazi terror in WW II and he flew sorties to provide cover for our ground troops, too. A lot of bad guys shot bullets, canon and anti-aircraft flak at him, but he, like 16 million fellow Americans, soldiered on, doing his duty.

156,000 soldiers and Marines stormed the beaches of Normandy 80 years ago doing their duty. 4,400 died just on D-Day. President Biden was at Normandy last week to honor all of those brave men and he did that in our name.

Click the pic for the original. Many thanks to Sheila Markin for sharing this tweet.

In ghastly contrast, during a November 2018 trip to France to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, President Trump refused to go the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris to honor the thousands of our troops from both World Wars who are buried there. Dad would have been horrified by Trump’s insult.

Trump said our military dead were “losers” and “suckers.” Those words would have made Dad and all who fought alongside him furious. We all should be furious at Trump’s disrespect for those men and his dishonoring of America.

So, it was gratifying – a reset of honor – when President Biden made the trip to Aisne-Marne American Cemetery last week to salute our fallen.

About 420,000 Americans paid for World War II with their lives. They were driven by their oath, by their love of their country and by their sense of duty.

  •                    “We must make the solemn vow to never let them down.”
  • President Joe Biden, Point du Hoc, Normandy France, June 7, 2024

We honor all our veterans on Veterans Day. When you do that later this year, say thanks to Dad and the over 16 million Americans of the Greatest Generation who did what it took to defeat fascism so that you could live in a democracy and sleep safely in the arms of freedom.

Don’t make us have to fight that fight again.
.

You know what to do. Take Dad’s picture with you as a reminder when you vote on November 5th or bring a picture of one of our military in your direct line. They would rest easy knowing that we are preserving their American values. They’d thank you if they could, knowing that we continue to honor them, what they fought for and what so many died for.

This message isn’t about the past, however brave, honorable and praiseworthy those heroes were. It is about our present and our future. It is about honor and duty to freedom and our absolute rejection of tyranny and authoritarianism. It is a dedication to democracy in our time and for our children and grandchildren and those who will come after them.

That is why we will never, never, never betray our heroes or their sacrifice or the democracy that they fought for.
Quote of the Week

“In their generation, in their hour of trial, the Allied forces of D-Day did their duty. Now the question for us is: In our hour of trial, will we do ours?” [emphasis mine-JA]

– President Joe Biden at Normandy American Cemetery, June 6, 2024

Click the pic for the video.


Today is a good day to be the light

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

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

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA


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

A Great America


POST 1074


The Two Greatest Days in Politics in the 2000s
  1. November 4, 2008: Barack Obama won the presidential election. We were with him in Grant Park. It was beyond glorious.
  2. May 30, 2024: Donald Trump was convicted of 34 criminal counts. Accountability is at last sinking its righteous claws into him. It is beyond glorious.
Camelot

Experts estimate that between 100,000 and 150,000 people were crucified by the Romans. Along a lovely 120 mile length of the highway between Rome and Capua, the Romans crucified 6,000 people in a single day. So, it wasn’t just Jesus and the two robbers hanging on crosses nearby. Crucifixion was the blood sport of the Romans for centuries. There is no point in denying this. It was chronicled and it happened just that way.

We could reasonably consider the Romans the inventors of industrialized murder and we know that such brutality became more efficient through the centuries. Those who have a need to refuse reality might not consider that at all. I’m looking at you, White Supremacist, and your boundless fears and cruelty and your joy of hatred. I have no notion that you will ever open your eyes and consider the reality of the brutality of humankind or your part in enabling it today.

See Note #5 below.

As long as we’re doing some considering, let’s consider the final paragraph of the introduction to political theorist and philosopher Hanna Arendt’s superb work, The Origins of Totalitarianism.

“We can no longer afford to take that which was good in the past and simply call it our heritage, to discard the bad and simply think of it as a dead load which by itself will bury in oblivion. The subterranean stream of Western history has finally come to the surface and usurped the dignity of our tradition. This is the reality in which we live. And this is why all efforts to escape from the grimness of the present into nostalgia for a still intact past, or into the anticipated oblivion of a better future, are in vain.”

Arendt wrote those words in the summer of 1950 amid the overwhelming deluge of the hideous truth, the soul shattering reality of the Holocaust, as the world was fighting for even just a foothold on a path to sanity.

Historical note to the hateful and intentionally ignorant

Like the Roman crucifixions, the Holocaust was chronicled, even by its perpetrators. It happened.

But Arendt’s words weren’t just for that day, There are millions in America right now wearing MAGA hats and tee shirts, chanting epithets in the perplexing notion that there was once some longed for American Camelot. They demand that we “Make America Great Again.” Of course, it’s the “Again” part that is a vaporous Camelotian myth and a deeply troubling threat for the rest of us.

It seems that these MAGA folks think there really was a Camelot in America somewhere around the same time when Arendt wrote the paragraph above. O’ those were the days, when Whites, no matter their ignorance or poverty, towered over Blacks, no matter their education or financial station. It was a time when in their hearts, millions of White Americans felt they were like Bull Connor, free to dispense hatred, discrimination and brutality. That’s when America was great, they tell us. And that might have been true, if you were White and the word “great” meant power over others.

But then someone realized that segregation in our schools was inherently unequal and, therefore, unconstitutional, this in the face of the earlier, segregationist Plessy v. Ferguson decision. School integration was the end of American greatness for many, of course, and other laws and norms further distanced that Camelot dream. Backlash has been constant ever since.

Now the calls for White supremacy and Christian nationalism are mainstream. What a time it is for them to proclaim their hatreds and grievances because Camelot for haters and discriminators has largely slipped away, so they’re angry and they nurse their venom glands.

But the thing is that it isn’t Camelot if it isn’t Camelot for everyone. That is the key Constitutional point that MAGAs just don’t get – that they refuse to get. They are entirely about domination. Not too oddly, “others” don’t care to be dominated.

Arendt was and still is right. “We can no longer afford to take that which was good in the past and simply call it our heritage, to discard the bad and simply think of it as a dead load which by itself will bury in oblivion.” There was plenty of good in 1950, but it was in no way guaranteed for all, nor was it the full story. The bad wasn’t and isn’t a dead load and it has not and will not be buried in oblivion, unless we insist on forgetting the past. If we do that we will then repeat the horrors.

Perhaps the most virulent of the White Supremacists really mean it when they call for death to all Jews and, effectively, slavery or expulsion of Blacks, Asians and Hispanics. Maybe the less violent ones just want all of them put on transports and returned to wherever the exporters think they came from. Maybe we should scrub all the non-European names from the records at Ellis and Angel Islands.

Insanity like that is key to the totalitarian’s playbook. In fact, the rounding up like cattle of over 11 million people into concentration camps, then transporting them to who-knows-where is exactly what Trump has said he will do if he’s re-elected. And, like every totalitarian before him, he won’t stop there. The dissolving of freedom and rights won’t end until there are no more freedom and rights to eliminate. Should you have any doubts about that, take a quick look at today’s Russia, Hungary and so many other totalitarian states and even ancient Rome. The expansion of oppression is continuous.

“But Trump won’t do all that,” some say. During the 2016 campaign he vowed to prevent anyone from a Muslim majority country from entering the U.S. and, once elected, he tried to do just that in 3 failed attempts. Finally, a slightly watered down version went into effect. Get over your notion that Trump won’t do the abhorrent things he says he’ll do. He’s proven that he will and he’s sufficiently diabolical to try to do all of them. Ref: The 2025 Project of discrimination, cruelty and subjugation.

Some of the past surely was great. Some was miserable and cruel. What the future will be depends upon our insistence on recognizing the full reality of both the great and the grotesque and deciding to live into the great.

Best Phrase of the Week

Zanny Minton Beddoes, Editor-in-Chief of The Atlantic, wrote about the enormous backlash against the abortion bans triggered by the Dobbs decision. It has put reproductive healthcare out of the reach of one-third of American women. She called this backlash,

a revolt of the reasonable.

Gotta love that.

Fact Check of the Week

On Friday, May 31, Trump delivered his post-conviction comments to a Trump Tower lobby full of his employees and sycophants, this following his becoming a convict the day before. It was a reprise of his 2015 golden escalator announcement.

I say reprise because, like the 2015 event, not one accusation, not one statement about others, not one characterization was true. Not one. It was all abhorrent lies.

This is the standard extremist, authoritarian tactic, now used by most Republicans, of sweeping, grotesque accusations without even a hint of evidence or justification. These defamatory statements are not false facts or alternative facts. They are lies. And they come in a torrent, making fact checking almost impossible.

There are two true things to say about the lies and about Trump and his followers.

  1. Lying is almost the same as breathing for Trump and his acolytes.
  2. MAGA supporters believe all of it, unable to think critically about their leader. They will send money.

Today is a good day to be the light

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

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

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA


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

Duty


POST 1070


First: The Prediction – Drum Roll, Please

The tarnished gold con artist drama is all but over. Donald J. Trump’s pick for Vice President will be his son, Donald J. Trump, Jr. The rest of the bootlickers can pack it up and slink back to their standard positions of general sucking up. Nothing more will be needed from them.

Duty

January 6 was an awful day in American History. We each know where we were, likely staring at a TV screen, our mouths agape in horror. I was yelling over and over, “Where the hell is the National Guard?” Of course, at the time I didn’t know that Trump had prevented them from intervening to stop the murderous, treasonous attack on our country.

See Note #5 below.

See Note #5 below.

For some people the event was far more personal, including members of Congress, staff, workers at the Capitol Building and the Vice President of the United States. However, it was most personal for the Capitol Police and the DC Metro cops who battled to defend that symbol of our nation and all the people inside it. Their injuries led to deaths and every one of these officers carries scars, some physical, but all have mental and emotional scars.

Officer Michael Fanone wrote a book. It’s excellent. So did Officer Harry Dunn. He’s running for Congress now. Kick in a few bucks because we need his honorable voice in Congress.

Another January 6 defender of America is Daniel Hodges. The attacks on him were gruesome, including some thug trying to gouge out his eye. You need to hear Hodges himself, so,

Here’s a link to his March 21 opinion piece in The Hill.

Here’s a link to Tom Dreisbach’s interview of Hodges for NPR.

Fanone, Dunn, Hodges and all their brothers and sisters in blue are national heroes, at least to those who think insurrection is a very bad thing and that honoring one’s oath of office means something inviolable. They fought an overwhelming mob of angry, violent, treasonous Americans that day. They did their duty and more for all of us. Now, in this election year, it’s our turn to show up for duty.

Biggest Election Fear

First, Trump will either convicted and jailed in New York or he will plead to a misdemeanor and will lose so much support that he cannot win the election.

Next, the Republicans will scramble for a candidate and settle on Nikki Haley, who continues to grab about 20% of the votes in primaries even though she dropped out of the race in March.

Haley is younger, vital, smart, carries none of Trump’s negatives and attracts millions of voters eager for a fresh face. She will easily beat Biden.

Even worse, excitement for Haley will infect down ballot races and Republicans will also control Congress and the majority of state houses. Yet more of our civil rights, our freedom and our healthcare will hemorrhage away.

Biggest fear. Well, actually it’s the stand-by fear. You know the worst one.

So, Who Will Save Us?

How is it that the Surgeon General of Florida is a vaccine denier/refuser? There’s a measles outbreak there now and this DeSantis suck-up fool both opposes vaccines and won’t even recommend that unvaccinated children stay home from school in order to avoid being measels-infected by sick kids and teachers. How did we come to this?

Or to the willfully ignorant book bans? Or to have a presidential candidate who thinks that as president he can order Seal Team Six to murder his opponents and he actually has a serious chance of winning the election? You know the list of outrages. How come so many people think this stuff is good and patriotic?

As you can see from the Supreme Court acquiescing to Trump’s delays – even aiding and abetting them – we cannot count on the courts to save us. There is nobody coming over the hill to protect us from ourselves. We are the only defense of democracy that exists.

Imploring people to vote is spot on for saving what we think of as our freedom, our rights, democracy and a few other things we take for granted. That’s important, because if the MAGAs gain full control, nothing will be granted. The barbarians are at the gates threatening to crash through and take everything you care about.

If we are to be saved, we’re going to have to save ourselves. It’s our at-bat. Time for us to stand a post. It’s our time. Like it was for our Capitol Police and DC cops on January 6.

This is our duty.
.
Biggest Hush M0ney Trial Fear

The evidence against Trump is enormous. It’s unlikely his semi-inept lawyers will be able to pull a rabbit out of a hat for him.

I’m picturing a conversation with Trump and his attorneys as they are about to prepare their closing argument. The attorneys are telling him that it’s hopeless, that he’s going to prison. There is no chance that the jury will hang or acquit.

“Mr. Trump, you have only one chance to stay out of prison. You agree to plead guilty to misdemeanor fraud, accept a punishment of a fine and a year of probation and you’ll never set foot in a prison. Refuse that and you’ll be wearing orange by Thursday.”

Trump has to stay out of state prison so that he can win the election and then kill the two federal cases against him (the Mar-A-Lago documents case and the January 6 case). Plus, if Trump is in office, the Georgia RICO case gets pushed back four years.

So, Trump will cop a plea and we’ll never see his fat ass in an orange jumpsuit. That is my biggest fear about this fraud case and this fraudulent sleaze ball. Pray I’m wrong.


Today is a good day to be the light

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

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

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA


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

The Underlying Disease


POST 1068


Second in a series (see Ignorance and Lies).

The Diagnosis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You get the idea.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your mandatory assignment: Read Hartmann’s post.


Today is a good day to be the light

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

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

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA


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

Mom First – Then Ignorance And Lies


POST 1067


Mom

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

__________________________________________

Ignorance And Lies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s how people who claim they enthusiastically support our police rationalized viciously attacking, maiming and killing cops on January 6 and desecrating our Capitol Building.
.

For those happily led astray, the mean spirited lies carry no need for verification or even good sense. And by absorbing and believing the untrue, they make themselves ready to believe yet more lies and distortions, oblivious of the destruction they bring upon not just those they hate, but upon themselves as well.

From First Ignorancians:

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

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

The rest of us must move onward toward that more perfect Union, that shining city on the hill, that promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
.

And so we vote for those we hope and believe don’t worship ignorance and lies. We talk with others about reality, like that the Earth is round, not flat; that democracy is best; that minority cruelty and minority rule are awful; that legalized stealing of rights like healthcare and voting is un-American; that insurrection is traitorous and deserving of great punishment; that vigilantes are domestic terrorists and deserve great punishment; and that willful ignorance and lies are inexcusable.

From Second Ignorancians:

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

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

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

Because what goes around really does come around.

Instructional Music Selection

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

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

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

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

You’re Planning To Do What!?!

From Heather Cox Richardson’s post of May 9:

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

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


Today is a good day to be the light

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

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

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA


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

Law And Order: Special Hush Money Unit


POST 1062


Headline of the Month

From Politico of 4/14/2024

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

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


The Hoped For End of the Hush Money Trial

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

Judge Merchan: “The defendant will rise.”

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

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

Jury Foreman:     “We have, Your Honor.”

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

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

“YOU’RE FIRED!”


Gang-Greene

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

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


Boomer Corner

From a recent post by my friend Ed Gurowitz:

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

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

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

From Wikipedia – Click the pic

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

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

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

You know what that means:

It’s time for us to saddle up again and fight for what is right.
.

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

READ THIS: An Urgent Call To All Boomers.
.

Then take action. You’ll know what to do.


Today is a good day to be the light

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

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

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA


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

Civil War


Post 1,052


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

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

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

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

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

Bottom Line

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

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

Key Reads of the Week

See Note #5 below – then click the pic.

See Note #5 below – then click the pic.

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

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

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

That’s what a civil war would bring us.

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

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

___________________________________________

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

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

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

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

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


Today is a good day to be the light

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

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA


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

Hope


Post 1,049


Thomas Paine

248 years ago the slightly known young patriot and freedom zealot Thomas Paine* penned the first pamphlet of The American Crisis, a series of 13 pieces published periodically over 6 years. This first was written as Washington and his army were retreating across the Delaware River and was published in the Philadelphia Journal on December 19, 1776.** That dispirited army then had to endure a dreadful winter, with many freezing or dying of disease at Valley Forge.

Click me

Paine wrote Crisis because we in the Colonies were at a flex point of either knuckling under to a capricious and abusive king with his greatest army and navy in the world, or standing up and saying, “No more!” That decision looked to be anything but certain.

The American crisis was, indeed, most real. Paine sought to reach the masses with his pen, hoping to inform and inspire. He opened his work with words familiar to us even today.

These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.” [caps original]

Of course, Paine was right then – and he’s still right. Today we rebel against no unstable monarch across the sea, yet we are in danger of creating our own home-grown capricious despot, eager to steal our highly revered and celestial FREEDOM.

Here’s how Professor of History Heather Cox Richardson closes her 2023 perspective,  Democracy Awakening – Notes on the State of America:

Click me – and read Note #5 below.

“[Lincoln] called on his neighbors to defend equality before the law and the right of everyone to consent to government under which they live. They must reclaim the history of America so that it would have ‘a new birth of freedom.’

“When Lincoln said those words in 1863, it was not at all clear his vision would prevail. But he had hope because after decades in which they had not noticed what the powerful were doing to destroy democracy, Americans had woken up. They realized that the very nature of America was under attack. They were divided among themselves and at first they didn’t really know how to fight back, but ordinary people quickly came to pitch in however they could, using the tools they had. ‘We rose each fighting, grasping whatever he could first reach – a scythe – a pitchfork – a chopping axe, or a butcher’s cleaver,’ Lincoln recalled. Once awake, they found the strength of their majority.

“In Lincoln’s era, democracy appeared to have won. But the Americans of Lincoln’s time did not root out the hierarchical strand of our history, leaving it there for other rising autocrats in the future to exploit with their rhetoric and the fears of their followers.

“So far, the hopes of our Founders have never been proven fully right. And yet they have not been proven entirely wrong.

“Once again, we are at a time of testing.

“How it comes out rests, as it always has, in our own hands.”

I’m grateful for the optimism in Richardson’s title, Democracy Awakening, and hope beyond reason that her optimism is well founded. But, as many have said, hope is not a strategy. Hope by itself is allowing inertia or others take over direction and, ultimately, inertia concedes the battle. Hope needs action and awakening requires effort. That’s where we find ourselves today.

The current assault on our democracy isn’t a sudden event. It was concocted through decades of scheming and incremental undermining of our institutions and our culture to make it possible to take away our rights and FREEDOM. The schemers learned how to inflame Americans to fight against America with false claims unmoored to facts. Nevertheless, the usurpers didn’t just sit with their hope of conquest. They took action and oddly, in that way, they offer us a message, a road map for stopping them, for holding fast to our values and promoting our true American hopes and dreams.

Our task as patriots is to hear the call, that these are, indeed, the times that try men’s and women’s souls. Ours is not to grab “a scythe – a pitchfork – a chopping axe, or a butcher’s cleaver.” It is to awaken and to stand a post with a voter registration clipboard to register new voters. It is to canvass and make phone calls and send postcards to voters in battleground states, reminding them that their FREEDOM is on the line, that their American dream is at stake, that their children’s future is in peril of collapsing beneath them before they’ve even started. It is to show our people that they and we can win the days to come by standing for the America that Lincoln taught us we are meant to be.

As Richardson makes clear, “How it comes out rests, as it always has, in our own hands.” It’s time for us to put our hands to work, to stand and say to those who would crush our democracy, “No more!” Then we will have put hope to work and we will be worthy of it.

Speaking Of Hope

Photo credit: Al Jazeera

Hey Bibi!

We know that you feel like you can’t make peace in Gaza because there would immediately be an election in the Knesset which will throw you out of office and into court to stand trial. And we know there is validity to wanting to demolish Hamas before it demolishes Israel, as it has promised to do. But you cannot kill an idea.

Really, Bibi, does this little kid look like a threat to you? Or does the bubbe standing behind him? Or any of the people in any of the Al Jezeera photos here?

Shocking truth #1: Regardless of the destruction you rain down on Gaza, Hamas will not surrender. Ever. And they will only release the hostages when they feel they no longer need them. Bombs won’t set the hostages free or protect Israel for more than just a short time.

Shocking truth #2: This is not all about you. You’re not the center of the universe. You’re just a guy bombing helpless people. The world needs you to wake up. Step over to the right side. Call yourself a mensch if it helps you to do so. Regardless, turn off the attacks. You know: like a statesman. Or a mensch.

You liked Ronald Reagan, right? To paraphrase him,

Mr. Netanyahu, tear down your attacks.

______________________________________

* For a glimpse into the world in which Paine wrote his charged missives, read this fine piece on that history by Steve Schmidt.

** The first pamphlet of The American Crisis was, by order of the Commander – Washington – read to his troops at Valley Forge. It provided sufficient inspiration so that shortly thereafter Washington and his little army re-took Trenton.

The final pamphlet of The American Crisis was published on April 19, 1783 on the 8th anniversary of the first shot of the war, the one “heard ’round the world” from Lexington and Concord. I invite you to link through and read Emerson’s short poem out loud. In a surprising and metaphorical way, we today are required to be the embattled farmers standing by that stream.


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.

Joe, Ya Gotta Listen To This Guy


Post 1,047


The Message

Joe, here’s former Republican, former Rep. David Jolly (R-FL) on Nicolle Wallace’s program, March 5, Super Tuesday (lightly edited). He has a message for you.

“There’s a healthy suspicion that the Biden camp has been relying on Donald Trump as a [flawed] candidate to do a little bit of the work for them, to help close the gap. And Joe Biden has to do a couple things at the same time.

“He has to defend democracy, whether or not that informs voters’ opinions. I don’t think that informs a lot of voters’ opinions today.

“But then he also has to take the role of a traditional president and candidate to say, ‘This is what I’ve been doing for the country all along.’

“And I think what ties those together is:

“Only in a healthy democracy are your fundamental rights protected.

“Only in a healthy democracy does an economy work for all people and reproductive freedoms are protected.

“Only in a healthy democracy can we give equity to communities that Republicans want to punish.

“And I think part of that is Joe Biden and the Biden administration has to take control of the narratives that they’re losing on. Don’t avoid issues like the economy and the border. Own them and re-frame them.

“It is morning in America again. More people will go to work tomorrow than ever before. Home ownership is at historic highs. The stock market is breaking records. Retirement accounts are at an all time high. Inflation is coming down and real wages are going up. Joe Biden has led a bipartisan border security package and families have better access to healthcare and to education than they have ever had before.

“The threat and danger is Republicans.

‘Instead of rooting against the economy and instead of rooting for chaos at the border, join us and try to fix it and try to move America forward.’

And you saw Joe Biden do that at the border last week. He said to Donald Trump, “Come help me.” And I suspect at the State Of The Union address we will see that again.

“This is a guy who played rope-a-dope on Rick Scott on Medicare last year [and won]. If Republicans think they can just walk into this election making it about the economy and the border, it’s up to Joe Biden to say, “Okay, let’s talk about those issues, because I’ve got something to say on them, too.”

Joe, this sounds a lot like Ronald Reagan’s re-election campaign in 1984. And Reagan won.

Give this to your campaign people, Joe. Tell them to stop moping and find a new attitude – like this from David Jolly. Then distribute this to all your surrogates and make sure We The People hear this message of success and hope over and over.  Start at the SOTU tomorrow.

The Vote And You

This is from Steve Schmidt’s post of March 5:

“The hour of crisis imagined by Alexander Hamilton and James Madison has fully arrived. The simple truth is that a man like Trump could never have risen when the World War II generation was here. They would have been collectively revolted and [would have] discharged him from public life in a manner appropriate for a dime store Mussolini, who can’t speak in coherent sentences, yet somehow captivates his cult with flourishes of inanities and slurred non-sequiturs. He would have been laughed out of the room, but now they are all gone.

“It is up to us. The question at hand is very simple: do you see what is looking back at us through the night from the edge of the woods? It is a malevolence, and it is coming. Thankfully, the generation that recognized it left us monuments and museums to memorialize it so we wouldn’t forget.

“2024 will be a year during which the proverbial hand will be called.

“It will be time for America to show the world our cards. The deficiency of the choice at hand is not what will be remembered. The choice of Trump will be. It will change everything. Forever. Nothing good will come from it. When fascists take power societies get poisoned. It is exactly what will happen to America.”

And THAT, my fellow American, is the reality of what is going on. It is existential. It is why you and I are going to vote and encourage others to vote in November. Check the clock below, counting down our opportunity to keep the dream alive.

And that’s the thing about clocks: They keep on counting down until there is no time left.

And just in case you need more clarity about how dire things have become, read this Times editorial.

I Support Donald Trump

– for incarceration in the Attica Correctional Facility in New York for criminal fraud and election interference

– next for imprisonment in a Georgia State Penitentiary for election interference, racketeering and conspiracy

– then for federal imprisonment for the theft of classified and other government documents, lying to the FBI and for defiance of a subpoena

– then, if he’s still alive, I support him going to another federal prison for his blizzard of crimes surrounding the insurrection

All sentences to run sequentially. He should be eligible for parole by the time he’s 167 years old.


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

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

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA


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

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