Guns

The Best We Can Do


Disarming the Monterey Park shooter – Click me

Monterey Park, CA

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

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

You know in your bones that she’s right.

Here Are The Totals:  January 1 – 28**

Click me

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

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

Is this the best we can do? Really?

Speaking of Violence

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

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

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

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

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

Is this the best we can do? Really?

It Ain’t Over

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

Click me

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is this the best we can do? Really?

Education

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

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

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

IGNORANCE R US

.

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

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

Is this the best we can do? Really?

Finally, a Chuckle

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

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

_______________________________

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

** Source: www.GunViolenceArchive.org

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

______________________________

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


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

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    JA


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

For The Hand Wringers


Note: No post on Sunday. We’ll reconnect in a week.


We have hand wringers on the right .  .  .

.  .  .  complaining that all Democrats are socialists, that Biden is a useless wimp, that a Congress controlled by Democrats hasn’t and can’t accomplish anything for real Americans and that Biden is a pitiful Lex Luthor who will be slain by some right wing Superman. Plus, he’s too old now, much less for a second term. Besides, he stutters.

We have hand wringers on the left .  .  .

.  .  .  complaining that Biden is timid, that he always falls short of the progressive desires of the majority of Americans, that he isn’t a strong leader, that he has accomplished a lamentable not much, that he’s an inept presenter and that he’s too old now, much less for a second term.

That’s just a small sample of the wailing. Doubtless, you can add to one or both of those recitations of hand wringing material. But there’s just one thing:

The record of Biden and the Democrats in Congress is shockingly, fantastically stellar.
.

Here’s a partial list of what’s been accomplished in just 23 months. This list is lifted directly from Biden-Harris Accomplishments:

  • Biden passed the Inflation Reduction Act – to bring down costs, reduce the deficit, and take aggressive action on climate – all paid for by making sure the largest corporations and billionaire tax cheats finally pay their fair share in taxes. Yippee! And no, your taxes won’t go up even a penny if you make less than $400,000 per year. Plus it lowers health care costs for millions of families and allows Medicare to negotiate drug prices for the first time*, caps seniors’ out-of-pocket spending for prescription drugs at $2,000 per year and ensures no senior on Medicare will pay over $35 per month for insulin. Thirteen million Americans, covered under the Affordable Care Act, will see their health insurance premiums reduced by $800, plus this act takes the first steps to fight global warming.
  • Biden passed the PACT Act – the largest single bill in American history to address our service members’ exposure to burn pits and other toxins. Can you believe that it took Biden’s leadership and an act of Congress to take care of our poisoned vets? Note that 11 Republican senators and 174 Republican representatives voted against this bill. Hey wait: that’s the same number of Republican extremists who tried to clog up the electoral college vote certification on January 6 after they and the Constitution had been threatened by the January 6 mob.
  • Biden passed The CHIPS and Science Act – this bill will accelerate semiconductor manufacturing in the United States. That means that we won’t have to count on a possibly hostile foreign government for the microchips that control our smart munitions. Plus it brings thousands of manufacturing jobs back home.  Biden did that.
  • Biden passed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act – breaks a 30-year streak of reprehensible federal inaction to deal with gun violence. Requires people under 21 to undergo enhanced background checks, closes the “boyfriend loophole,” provides funding to address youth mental health and takes a step to curb “ghost guns.” Plus Biden issued numerous executive orders to curb gun violence. Makes me wonder how many more Sandy Hook, Parkland and Club Q massacres we’ll need before we all rise up in furious demand for a crackdown on weapons of death. Still, this is a step in the right direction.
  • Biden has revitalized our alliances and restored America’s position of leadership on the world stage – Trump had undermined our alliances and our influence in world affairs. Biden has restored our relationships with allies to the point that they are all in supporting Ukraine in its battle for freedom and democracy against Russian oppression and the United States is the leader. Plus he’s gotten tough with China.
  • Biden ended our longest and arguably our dumbest war – Three presidents refused to take the dirty, messy, horrible but necessary step of ending that unwarranted 20-year war in Afghanistan. There was never a remote possibility of ending it cleanly, but Biden had the courage to do it. It will take years to meet our obligations and keep all of our promises there – that’s the dirty, messy part – but the plug needed to be pulled. American troops are no longer in harms way thanks to Biden’s leadership.
  • Biden passed an expanded version of the Violence Against Women Act, now reauthorized through 2027 – 172 Republican representatives and 22 Republican senators voted against this bill. How could it be controversial to protect women from domestic violence and sexual assault? Trump let the original act expire. Biden set it right again.
  • Biden got the American Rescue Plan through Congress – delivered 500 million shots in arms to protect Americans from COVID-19 and put a few bucks into citizens’ wallets, too, this at a time when people were hunkered down and income was constricted. Plus this act expanded the Child Tax Credit to put a few more bucks into the wallets of parents.
  • In 2021, the U.S. economy added over 6.5 million jobs – the greatest year of job growth under any President in history. At the same time, we saw the largest annual decline in unemployment ever recorded and the strongest year of GDP growth since 1984. Biden’s hands were in the reins for all that.
  • Biden passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law – It’s finally infrastructure week! We’ve been waiting for this for decades. Provides funding for critically needed repair of bridges and roads, replaces every lead pipe in America, upgrades our ports and airports and expands broadband access to all. It also includes the largest federal investment in public transit ever and the biggest investment in Amtrak since its creation.
  • Passed the Omnibus Spending Bill – keeps the government in business, funds support to Ukraine, reforms the Electoral Count Act to prevent another coup like January 6th and far more.
  • If you have a problem with any of that you are in the minority of people most likely to be dedicated to misery.
  • Key Rule: Misery is optional. So is happiness.

You get the point. And you get the benefits. So, please, America, stop wringing hands because things aren’t getting done or done fast enough to suit you or that they aren’t perfect. Lots of really good things are getting done, plus, “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” Thank you, Barack Obama for the reminder. He was right then and he’s still right.

President Biden has accomplished an astonishing list of great stuff for America and Americans in a very short time. As important is our sense of ourselves. Read David Brooks’ comments following President Zelinskyy’s address to Congress, Biden’s America Finds Its Voice. Many thanks to reader and friend David Lindgren for his pointer to Brooks’ piece.

We’re just starting to crawl out from under the oppression of unreality and intentional cruelty that has afflicted us for so long. At last we have an opportunity to feel proud once again. It’s time to recognize the reality of what President Biden has accomplished.

Not everything is fixed. We have much work yet to do and that will always be true. So, use those wringing hands to instead roll up your shirtsleeves and let’s get to work in this new year.

Here’s to a better America this year and every year – that “more perfect union” thing.

Most important
Happy Birthday Beautiful Marilyn!
.

———————————

Former Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-LA), income maximizing expert.

* “[Former Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-LA)] crafted a[n amendment to the] bill to provide prescription drug access to Medicare recipients [Part D], one that provided major concessions to the pharmaceutical industry. Medicare would not be able to negotiate for lower prescription drug costs and reimportation of drugs from first world countries would not be allowed. A few months after the bill passed, Tauzin announced that he was retiring from Congress and would be taking a job helming PhRMA for a salary of $2 million.”

PhRMA is the lobbying arm of the pharmaceutical industry. That $2 million salary was a 7,110% bump in pay for Tauzin. Now you know how he earned it. Yes really.

————————————

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

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

“This Is An Issue For All Of Us.”


First Thing

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

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

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

Aw, don’t get me started.

“This Is An Issue For All Of Us.

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

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

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

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

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

Except it isn’t.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

————————————–

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

  • ————————————

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

Fire the bastards!

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Guest Essay: Elections Have Consequences


Boyhood pal, smart person and activist Frank Levy cares about justice, fairness, inclusiveness, freedom, rights and more. Come to think of it, he’s a lot like you in that way. That’s why I asked his permission to share his recent FB post about what we must do to make sure all those good things we care about actually are ours.

Just to be clear, Frank’s message is motivated by the destructive fact that Republicans consistently vote against all those things you care about. For example, they had to be shamed into passing the PACT Act to help our veterans harmed by exposure to toxic burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan. And that happened after they first killed the bill. That’s a fact – the Republicans voted against our vets! That and so much more are why it’s mandatory to remove these anti-We-The-People politicians from public office.

Frank’s post follows. Read it slowly and let it sink in, because he’s right. And note his number “10”. He’s right about that, too.


Elections have consequences. Legal, untainted elections make a difference. If Hillary Clinton had won the presidency in 2016, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett would not be sitting on the Supreme Court and Roe would still be the law of the land. Elections have very real consequences.

If Joe Biden had not been elected, Merrick Garland would not be Attorney General and no one would be prosecuting the police officers who murdered Breonna Taylor.

There are JUST 86 DAYS until the November midterm elections.

If we are to have any chance of keeping our fragile and imperfect democracy alive, Republicans at all levels of government [the people who oppose what you support – ed.] must be soundly defeated in November.

If we are to have any hope of passing a national law allowing access to safe and legal abortion, Republicans must be defeated in November.

If we are to have any chance of passing meaningful and sensible national gun laws, Republicans must be defeated in November.

If we are to have any chance of expanding the Supreme Court, Republicans must be defeated in November.

If we are to have any hope of retaining the right to marriage equality, retaining legal protections for LGBTQ+ individuals, interracial marriage, access to birth control, the right to vote, and the right to free and fair elections, Republicans must be defeated at every level of government in November.

If we are to have any hope of living in a thriving, diverse, equitable, inclusive, and just America, each of us must do everything we can to ensure Democrats win state and local elections and increase their majority in the House and Senate.

Here are some things each of us can do to help ensure that Democrats defeat Republicans at every level of government on November 8, 2022:

  1. Make sure you are registered to vote.
  2. If you are not registered to vote, register to vote now.
  3. Make a specific plan to vote on November 8, 2022 or sooner depending on election laws where you live. [Now comes the “10” thing – Ed.]
  4. Convince 10 people you know who don’t normally vote to this time register to vote, to make a plan to vote, and to vote Democratic on November 8, 2022.
  5. Convince each of those 10 people to convince 10 of their friends who normally do not vote to, 1) register to vote; 2) to make a plan to vote; 3) and to vote Democratic on November 8, 2022. Easy as 1-2-3.
  6. Get involved with one or more of the national efforts listed below to get out the Democratic vote.

https://naacp.org/actions/power-your-vote
https://democrats.org/take-action/
https://www.rockthevote.org/get-involved/https://statesproject.org/
https://swingleft.org/


Ed. Notes
  1. Now that Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago hidey-hole and contraband warehouse have been searched by the FBI and sensitive government documents have been recovered and secured, the incitement to violence from elected Republicans and talking empty heads has exploded. So, too, have threats of violence from far right militants. Their self-righteous fantasies of 1776 won’t go away any time soon and their promises of savagery must be met with appropriate protections provided by the proper authorities. That means we need people who believe in the rule of law and who deploy those we count on, like the FBI and police. So that all of us will be safe, follow Frank’s advice and elect Democrats. Our children, grandchildren, our families and friends – we’re all counting on us.
  2. Extra Credit Questions: Some of the classified documents Trump stole are TS/SCI*, so critical to our national security, that neither the DOJ nor the National Archives is allowed to even catalog them. Like things that include the word “nuclear”. And Trump kept them in unlocked boxes in an unlocked, unguarded basement at unsecure Mar-a-Lago. What could possibly go wrong?  Here are some extra credit questions about that.
    1. In how many ways has Trump already imperiled our country by using these stolen documents as bargaining chips?
    2. What do you imagine he thinks he can get for them? To start your thinking, consider things like a Trump Tower in Moscow. Or Budapest. Or Pyongyang. Or Tehran. Or refuge for him and his crime family in a country with no extradition treaty with the U.S.
    3. Click me

      Explain why Americans who consider themselves super patriots would froth at the mouth and threaten to kill FBI agents, Democrats and election workers to put this (at best) careless, cheating  moron back in the White House. Earn 5 extra points for each of the following included in your answer: narcissist; authoritarian; despot; over 30,000 lies; “very fine people on both sides”; double-down; criminal; the wall; con-man; unpatriotic; insurrection; sedition; martial law; Mexican “drug dealers, criminals, rapists”; fraud; election interference; jail; autocrat; liar; Muslim ban; babies ripped from mothers’ arms; “my Negro”; infantile; “acting” cabinet appointees; private phone for classified conversations; prison; racist; traitor; money laundering; Russia; suck up; toadies; golf; fake electors; sycophants; thief; tantrums; “do us a favor, though”; “Mexico will pay for it”; high chair; “very stable genius”; Lafayette Square; alternative facts; American Carnage; grab women by the p###y; “losers” buried in Arlington National Cemetery; stopped-up toilet – “toiletgate”; Ivermectin and bleach; Big Lie; “But her emails“. Use ’em all for 250 extra points!

  3. !KANSAS! Read Ed Gurowitz’s take on the message to us from !KANSAS!
    1. Ed’s message comports perfectly with Frank’s.
    2. Hint: This isn’t about Dorothy or Toto and it’s more powerful than a twister, Auntie Em.
    3. Attention: Here’s a special message about Republicans from Oz (no, not Mehmet, the New Jersey carpetbagger in Pennsylvania) – watch this 7-second clip. Couldn’t resist.
Finally,

Here are two pics of a reservoir in northern Mexico. You can find pics of Lake Meade and other reservoirs in the U.S. that look just like these – because the west is in a drought of Biblical proportions, this as Kentucky drowns, as California burns and as coastal waters inundate ever more land. Be sure to show the pic to your climate warming denial friends, especially if they like to visit the west and southwest.

This crisis has been made possible by decades of Republican reality denial and obeisance to the fossil fuel industries. Also look here.

Many fossil fuel captured Republicans simply don’t believe in the reality of global warming and the catastrophes it creates, like how unlivable areas are when there is no water or too much water or fires or hurricanes or tornadoes. Optimistic you, you’re hoping tomorrow will actually happen and that’s why you’re going to vote for Democrats at every level.

Click the pic for the WaPo story.

From the Onion:

“If Trump can get investigated, then by that logic, that implies our country has laws and when those laws are broken, there are consequences. What kind of hell are we living in?”

—————————–

* TS/SCI means “Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information.” Available only to those necessary to the project. Must be discussed, used, and stored only in secure locations. Its release to the public would cause “exceptionally grave” damage to our national security.

————————————

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!)

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

Any Representative Democracy . . .


Freshman wing of Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School – still a crime scene. Click to read the story

.  .  .  should be representative of the people.

Ours isn’t.

Well north of 80% of us want far greater regulation of guns than we got with the recent milquetoast bill. And even that weenie bill required accumulating hundreds of thousands of murdered people to sufficiently motivate legislators captured by the gun industry to find the courage to stand up for little school kids. Not representative.

Emma Gonzalez: “We call B.S.” Don’t you? Click the pic

BTW – Canada just banned the importation of handguns. They are taking substantive steps to make their country safer. Tell me again why we can’t take strong measures to stop, oh, say, school shootings. Note that the words “school shootings” is a sanitized version of what actually happens. The reality is children are ripped to pieces by bullets from assault weapons. Read the linked article.

Memo from the Supreme Court: “Did you remember to set your clocks back 400 years?”

Nearly 70% of us want abortion to be legal, but the Supreme Court killed that at the federal level, this in a Bible thumping tantrum. You can download the 15th century based majority opinion written by Justice Alito here, although I warn you that it is 79 pages of drivel.

At the same time, half the states are in the process of making abortion illegal at that level. Ref: Kansas, where the state legislators are thumping their Bibles to end abortion, but the people just deep-sixed the proposed amendment to their state constitution that would have done just that. But the self-righteous zealots in Topeka have promised to be back to thwart the will of the people. Not representative.

The vast majority of We the People want democracy. Nevertheless, the Republican Party is doing everything it can to destroy the democracy the majority of us want, as legislators raise fists, lie and pass laws to steal elections from – guess who? – We the People. Not representative.

It used to be unthinkable for a political candidate to declare before an election that if they win it was a free and fair election, but if they lose that the election was stolen by massive voter fraud. Heads I win; tails you cheated. There are a bunch of Republicans claiming that now, before the upcoming mid-term election. 26% of Americans actually believe that deceit, but the majority of We the People see the dishonesty and manipulation and say no. Still, that’s what the autocrat wannabees are saying to us. They’re unrepresentative.

Orbán the Terrible Beware the jaws that bite, the jaws that catch.

Viktor Orbán, the dictator of Hungary, was the keynoter of the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC). He spouted racist, anti-Semitic hatred and immigrant slurs, “a pure Nazi speech worthy of Goebbels”. The rabid attendees cheered him wildly. Why are Republicans celebrating dictators like Orbán and Putin?

All this and more would not have been possible just a short time ago. Can you imagine Republicans as autocrats trashing democracy during the Cold War? Or during Reagan’s presidency? Unthinkable. And it would have been unrepresentative.

To be fair, we’ve always had a minority population of Christian nationalism zealots who want the United States to be a theocracy. That’s an autocracy with a religious text as its constitution, full of sufficiently vaguely worded rules, ripe for interpretation in any way desired by the autocrats. The only theocracies these despot lovers criticize and even hate are Muslim theocracies in Iran, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Be clear, though, that the inevitable result of the “My theocracy is better than your theocracy” insanity is a new Crusades.

Wait! That’s it! Let’s send drones and a bunch of Navy Seals dressed as palmers and knights to all those Muslim countries to force them to change to our pure Christian nationalism ways. Forced conversion always works so well.

“There be monsters here!”

And we can apply that same technique to our coastal elites to change their colors to bloody red. This is shaping up to be a joyous global spectacle of outrage and murder on an exponential scale that might satisfy even the apocalyptic world enders. Of course, we’ll need world maps to be redrawn showing both that the Earth ia flat and that there be monsters off the edges. O’ the glory of the age of darkness we’ll create with our country run by unrepresentative autocrats!

Or we can come to our senses and vote out of office the traitors to democracy, the unrepresentative ones, and once again be that shining city on the hill, holding the lamp for all the world to see. And we’ll tell Viktor Orbán to go away and never come back.

————————————

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!)

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

Fun In Far-Right Lunacy


How ’bout a Little Murder?

Right wing crazies continue to be out in force in North Carolina, a state that joyously stole voting rights from tens of thousands of its citizens. That’s a state that does precision, targeted gerrymandering to deliver the majority of Congressional seats to White Republicans, even though they garner only a minority of the votes.

NC Bill 158 was intended by its sponsor, state Rep. Larry Pittman, to be a ballot initiative this November. His bill would make it legal to murder a pregnant woman who intends to get an abortion if you are “defending the life of a baby.”

No, of course you don’t believe that. How crazy would someone have to be to propose such a thing? Well, now we know.

Download that stupid, barbaric, death-dealing proposed legislation here and read that seriously hollow-skull death warrant by a seriously hollow-skull legislator who would authorize murder. It was drafted and submitted to the NC legislature in 2021, but, surprisingly, even in North Carolina most of the state representatives aren’t quite that crazy. Too few of them supported that homicidal maniac law, so it bogged down in committee.

The point is that Rep. Larry Pittman’s insane, legalized murder scheme was proposed at all. For now, the good news is that Pittman is not seeking reelection. The bad news is that Pittman isn’t alone in his dangerous and wacko notions.

Consider Texas SB8, enlisting vigilantes to spy on and bust neighbors for even thinking about getting an abortion. They can then collect a $10,000 reward (that’s the minimum) for doing the dirty work of the state, this to immunize the state and thus allow it to circumvent the law.

Click for the story

Our Murder Industry Good News

We massively cull our human herd via suicides at the rate of one every 21.5 minutes, mostly accomplished using pistols. Easy-peezy, trigger squeezy. That’s testament to something – I don’t know what. While that’s been happening, we’ve had an ever-increasing series of mass murders and now the firearms industry has set a new record.

Those mass murders have largely been done with assault rifles. Here’s what’s noteworthy about that: our firearms industry has sold over $1.7 billion of assault rifles in just the past 10 years. What a success story! I’m sure they’re cheering in Buffalo, Uvalde, Highland Park, Newtown, Parkland, Aurora, Littleton, Blacksburg, Stockton, and Santa Fe. And in Las Vegas, Squirrel Hill, Loveland and more. The mass murder list grows at the rate of 1.5 shootings per day, nearly all by assault rifles.

That billion dollars doesn’t count the money spent to accessorize those battlefield killers, like extended capacity magazines, bump stocks, sniper sights and huge volumes of ammunition. Be clear that the (literally) breathtaking billion bucks doesn’t count any of the other things that go “bang” and which aren’t assault rifles, like hunting rifles, shotguns, pistols and the rest. $1 billion. It’s a true American commercial victory.

It’s great to see that we Americans still have “it”. Indeed, you may have thought that we’re first only in Covid deaths. Not so, because we’re also number one in death by firearms, yesterday, today and tomorrow. Cue the proud, real man music.

This is the country we have created with our intentional injustices, our overt embrace of  dishonesty, our never ending claims of grievance and our bottomless insecurities masquerading in bravado. Is there a way to send an entire country into psycho-therapy? Should we supplement fluoride with mood elevators added to our water supplies? Think of it: we’ll stop tooth decay and rage crimes all at the same time.

Dear Clarence,

The Federalist Society Six – The Rights Bandits – They’re Wrong

You killed our rights as if we weren’t right there seeing what you were doing. You’ve promised to do yet worse, as you metaphorically play your pre-Enlightenment instrument and declare that only 2,000-year-old music may be played. You’ve made it clear to everyone that you want to restore ignorance and fear and you want to hobble our minds, relegating us to a new Dark Ages. But bad news is on the horizon for you, Clarence, because our turn is coming.

Clarence, you’re just not seeing it. We will out-last you. We will out-live you. We will negate you.

Your band of self-righteous rights assassins is having its day and a tiny percentage of Americans who are big mouthed zealots is cheering all of you. But the vast majority of We The People (remember us?) are preparing to supersede you. We will out-smash your smashing of stare decisis and we will revisit and restore everything you crushed. We will overwhelm and reverse your attempt to take us to some fantasy of Biblical purity, your far right lunacy. We’ll do that because:

Far right is far wrong.
.

Clarence. Your day of basking in the glow of your puffed, self-righteous ego and your imagined high tech victimhood will be over and you will be a mere footnote in the history of world cruelty. We will replace you. We will not miss you.

Begone, Clarence.

Many thanks to JN for this

WAKE UP, AMERICANS!

Smell the coffee and see what is really happening right in front of you, because it’s all going to play out in the duplicity of this far-right court. Your pocket will be picked clean of your rights. It will take generations to repair the damage. So, watch this video. It will give you clarity about what the Court is really doing.

And just in case you’re still a smidgen unclear about your important choices, read Ira Leavit’s explainer featuring your favorite Marvel Cinematic Universe superhero. I superrecommend it.

Then pass this message along to 3 people, because it’s going to take a massive number of us to prevent a far-right lunacy disaster.

We must do that, because in all ways, there is no fun in far-right lunacy.

————————————

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!)

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

Highland Park Strong


Ed note: The last section of this post – The Community – was added after the video recording was completed. Scroll down and check it out. It was a most moving ceremony.


Last Wednesday evening, the 6th of July, I attended a vigil. It was just 2 days after the Highland Park massacre. Sitting next to me in the over-crowded sanctuary was a woman who had traveled from West Rogers Park in Chicago to be with her daughter who lives in Highland Park. She had a thick Eastern European accent and fear in her eyes.

She made it clear that she feels the weight of the danger and the evil that assaulted all of us on July 4th and she asked me, “Who will save us?” I thought about her profound question for a few moments and then realized the answer. I told her, “We will.”

That isn’t new or insightful. It’s simply the way it’s always been. The cavalry isn’t going to come over the hill, so we have to save ourselves.

I wrote last Wednesday about what I believe the shooter hoped to accomplish and that topic deserves more attention. It’s reasonable to assume that he saw himself as having been victimized by people in his town. We don’t know who he imagined were his victimizers, but judging by the random nature of his shooting, it didn’t matter to him. He was quite content to shoot anybody in sight. And that makes fine pathological sense, because one of the things we know about victims is that most often they victimize others, often randomly.

He wanted to stop hearts and injure people. He accomplished that. And he wanted to break your heart so that you would suffer pain as payback for whatever grievances he holds so tightly. He accomplished that, too.

And that’s the point upon which everything turns: We have it in our power to heal our hearts and take action and thereby ensure he remains the loser.

I wrote that we must never let the bad guys win and I believe that way deep down inside. The way to make sure the bad guys don’t win is to save ourselves, to hold one another in love and community. And it’s to take action. The way for us to win and make the bad guys lose is to be what the signs and T-shirts say:

Highland Park Strong

just like

Boston Strong

just like

Waukesha Strong

and Uvalde Strong

and Buffalo Strong

and Parkland Strong

and Sandy Hook Strong

and all the rest.

I’m not at a point where I can entertain forgiveness. The hurt is too close and too strong and I’m just not that evolved. But I am definitely committed to being strong in the face of this and every mass horror – strong for myself and others, strong for our community and strong for our country. I will not let the bad guys win.

From Lee Goodman, head of Peaceful Communities, Inc:

We will seek comfort and healing, and we will support one another and our communities.

The one thing we cannot do is give up.

We are in this together. We will stand strong together and we will find safety together, including for that frightened woman from West Rogers Park. We will hold vigils and we will hold hands. And we will find the way to save ourselves from those who would hurt us. Here’s how.

Activist Nancy Kohn makes it clear that our safety will come as a result of electing people who will do the will of We The People – things like enacting laws with teeth to protect us from those who would do us harm. She wrote,

Congressman Eric Swalwell reminds us that the NRA, which he rightly calls an evil terrorist organization, doesn’t cast any votes in Congress. Senators and Representatives cast votes, and they can only do that [cast the right votes] if we elect them. In the end, our votes are the most powerful weapon we can yield. We have taken small, but important steps toward sensible gun safety laws. It’s time to elect people who will do much, much more.
.
Click here for a must watch explainer.
.
If you want a list of the key Senate races that need your support, contact Nancy. To read her current post and to subscribe to her NKC Occasional Update (highly recommended), click here.
.

We will not give up, we will not give in. We will not let the bad guys harden our hearts or continue to use our communities as shooting galleries. And we won’t let them chip away at our country. We will vote and we will encourage others to vote and we’ll support the right candidates so that we come to be represented by people who stand for America, not the gun lobby.

The Community

Just a fraction of the community who came out – for the community

Yesterday, July 9, I attended another vigil, this one in a park in Highland Park. Maybe it was a healing. Maybe it was a grieving. For sure it was a community come together to face truth. Make no mistake, there was a lot of anger over the wrong done to so many people.

Rep.Brad Schneider (D-IL 10) called out the names of the murdered and told a bit about each of them so that we would know and remember that these weren’t statistics. These were real people who lived and loved, who were unjustly killed and who continue to live in the hearts of so many.

Rep. Schneider in the black shirt

The youngest of the injured is an 8-year-old boy, now with a severed spine. This is brutal and cruel and real stuff. So, keep the injured in your heart, too.

And keep in your heart the first responders, the police and fire, the ambulance folks, the county professionals, the Chicago specialists, and the FBI and ATF people. because they were face-to-face with the horrible truth lying in blood on the street and sidewalks. I doubt if any of those folks is sleeping well. Next time you see one of them, thank them for what they did and for what they do every day.

There are so many pieces to this ongoing threat to all of us. Most of these horrific shootings are done by 18 – 21 year olds. I don’t have any idea how to deal with this, but once again I ask, “Where the hell have the killer’s parents been for the past two decades?”

Beyond that we have so much to deal with. This is not a single solution problem. The parts include over 20 million assault weapons in America and that they are easier for an 18-year-old to buy than a pack of cigarettes; the total, undeserved protection from liability of the gun industry; our sieve-like system of background checks; the red flag laws that don’t red flag much of anything; the almost nonexistent requirement for proper firearms training and so much more.

That’s why you’re going to contact your state representative and senator and your congressional representative and senators and demand action. Contact Moms Demand Action and ask what you can do to help.

One more time: We will vote and we will encourage others to vote and we’ll support the right candidates so that we come to be represented by people who stand for America, not the gun lobby.

WE STAND HIGHLAND PARK STRONG!
.

————————————

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

This Is OUR Country


In the aftermath of the shooting at the 4th of July parade in Highland Park, IL the reports are that 7 people are dead and 47 have serious injuries. Please explain to me what an un-serious gunshot injury is. If the hole is in you, believe me, you’ll be certain that it’s serious.

There were more than 80 shots fired in 22 seconds, so while you’re in explaining mode, tell me why private citizens should be allowed to possess weapons capable of such carnage.

Highland Park shooter captured. Click for more.

The local fire & police, the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force, the Chicago Police aerial unit, the staties, the ATF and the FBI were all over this massacre almost instantly. They sifted through eyewitness reports, surveillance videos, every tip and every bit of information they could find and they got the 21-year-old bad guy in about 7 hours. Massive kudos to all of these professionals. My frightened family and neighbors all over the area very much appreciate the massive, instantaneous response of these dedicated folks.

We don’t know the motivation of the shooter yet. We can reasonably guess that he is angry. And we can reasonably guess that he believes he’s been victimized and thinks that lashing out at those he hates is justified. He wants to disrupt our lives, to punish us for whatever it is that he thinks is wrong. He wants to take from us our sense of safety and our trust in one another. He wants to take away our country and replace it with some macho, wild west cartoon. How else to explain his killing innocents on the 4th of July?

This shooting, while horrid, is not surprising. We are a country that quickly goes to violence when we feel wronged. Think: 9/11.

John Lewis had a lifetime of working for Americans and America and he refused to succumb to hatred for those who attacked him. He was a force for good in a world that wished him anything but. When terrible things were done by Americans to Americans he would rail, “This is not who we are. We’re better than this.”

As much as I honor and appreciate John Lewis, I disagree.

The January 6 insurrectionists and seditionists were absolutely certain that they were true patriots. They believed they had been wronged and were carrying the spirit of 1776 in their veins. They hysterically shouted The Lord’s Prayer in the Senate Chamber, letting the world know that they were certain that their Christian God was on their side as they did their violence, intending to kill yet more Americans.

Click for the Onion story

They came with spears and brass knuckles, AR-15s and Glocks, body armor and sharpened flagpoles and inspiration and intel from the Oval Office itself. There was little difference between them and Bull Connor, the Selma police and the Alabama National Guard, the people who proudly cracked open John Lewis’ head.

Something like 30% of the citizens of this country think violence like that of the insurrectionists is justified. So, it should come as no surprise that our extreme haters do things like hunkering down on a roof in a suburban  town, snuggling with a high power rifle and shooting people in a 4th of July parade.

THIS IS EXACTLY WHO WE ARE.

With all of our mass murders, so many of us are feeling hopeless, frustrated, furious and even ashamed  of our country. That’s understandable. We may feel like quitting and succumbing to distrusting others, but that lets the bad guys win. That lets the bad guys claim to have made more Americans give up and drop out. That hurts all of us.

That’s why we must not allow distrust of one another to creep into our lives. We must not let any bad guy take away our courage and our sense of patriotism. We must not let bad guys divide us into hate camps.

WE MUST NEVER LET THE BAD GUYS WIN

.

Our violence dates back to before we were a nation, so I have no illusion that we can make that go away any time soon. What must happen instead is to overpower the violence junkies and the haters – not with guns and brass knuckles, but with votes. Last election 110 million people didn’t vote. Never again.

Do not give up.

Do not give in.

Do not let that Highland Park son of a bitch or any other bad guy win.

This is OUR country.

Final Comment

The Highland Park shooter lived 20 minutes from my house. His killing spree happened 12 minutes from my house. And there’s more.

Trump rally, Northbrook, IL – 2020. The Highland Park shooter is in the Where’s Waldo striped shirt. Yet another angry teen preparing for violence.*

In 2020 there was a Trump rally in my town. They came from as far away as the Carolinas in oversized pickup trucks with oversized engines and oversize tires and oversized American and Trump flags. I was unable to not think the words “over-compensating” and “temper tantrums.” They circled through town over and over, honking horns, blocking traffic, being disruptive and eliciting cheers from the Trumpies on the sidewalk.

I had organized a counter protest across the street from the Trumpies. My family was there. What I learned today is that the Highland Park shooter was at that rally, too, across the street from us, spewing hate (see the pic above). Very freaky.

Our national bullying and mobocracy shootings are personal whether they’re in Uvalde or Buffalo or in Chicago’s affluent, very low crime rate North Shore. If you’re a person, this is personal.

From Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s address to Harrow School on October 29, 1941:

“Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty–never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

This is OUR country.
.
Never, never, never, never give in.
.

———————————–

*  Many thanks to super-sleuth Maureen McCabe Nowak for the pic of the shooter at the Trump rally and for the Twitter link.

————————————

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

A Love Letter To Millennials and Gen-Zs


Ed. notes:

  1. In these dispiriting times it can be easy to let our sense of love and awe for this country be dampened. But this Fourth of July weekend is exactly the right time to face that challenge, to find our inner red, white and blue and to cheer for the country we’ll make. Set out your flag and blast Stars and Stripes Forever for the more perfect union we are all tasked to create.
  2. If you’re not a Millennial or Gen-Z (and even if you are), please pass this along to all you know. Their future is at stake.

Dear Millennials and Gen-Zs,
.
Warning: This is not a 3-minute TikTok video. This requires critical thinking. You know how to do this. Buckle up.
.
Plus, what you think matters. Put it out there in the Comments section below to help we clueless Boomers understand how you see things.
.
Now on to your love letter.

————————————-

Do you like what Boomers have done to things you care about? I mean things like not being safe in school; like that tens of thousands of American citizens have been prevented from voting; like that women have lost the right to choose what happens to their bodies; like that babies were ripped from their mothers’ arms at our southern border; like that nobody in charge seems to give a damn if we cook this planet and suffer the terrible consequences. Just guessing you’re not okay with any of that.

The cruel irony of this situation is that Boomers are the ones who caused civil and voting rights to expand and who made that awful war in Viet Nam end. We’re the ones who fought segregation and made assault weapons illegal (for a little while – more on that later). We’re the ones who spoke truth to power, so you might have expected better from us, but here’s where it gets dark.

Majority rule simply doesn’t exist in much of America. Playing by the rules has become optional. And we Boomers did this.

For example, the conservative Boomer majority on the Supreme Court recently decided a case from Maine that effectively says that government must provide financial assistance to students even when the school they want to attend is a so called “faith-based” school. “Faith-based” means that their curriculum is based in religion.

But wait: isn’t religious freedom and freedom from religion a key reason the Pilgrims came here? Isn’t that a tenet of our Constitution, as in the First Amendment? Didn’t the Founders demand that there be no connection between government and religious institutions?

Yes, yes and yes, but that’s no bother to these justices. They’re just 6 Boomers cramming their minority held personal preferences into our lives. This is yet another step in the direction of churches controlling our government, which is just fine if you want a theocracy. It’s what they have in Iran. Go there. You’ll love it.

Not!

Here’s another example.

A cowboy Boomer president lied us into two wars that killed thousands and displaced millions of people. He also ended the assault weapons ban, which is handy if you’re 18 years old and want to kill little kids and Black people. He actively promoted deregulation that plunged the world into financial crisis and none of the fat cats were held accountable.

But I’ll argue that the very worst thing that has happened is that the Republican Party, now a fully Boomer asylum, has turned into a lying, cheating cult and the majority of Americans don’t want that. So, how come they hold power in so many places? Maybe we should do something about that.

Republicans have been claiming voter fraud when they lose elections at least since 1994, this without so much as a shred of evidence to support their wild claims – ever. Don’t imagine that Boomer Trump started this, although he certainly has perfected the lying and cheating parts. So have his sycophants who perpetuate his lies, as well as the Boomer radio and cable talkers who make lots of money spewing lies. Think: accusations of Democrats as pedophiles, operators of an evil, world-wide cabal and igniters of wild fires via space lasers.

Now the Boomer Republicans are stoking violence to crush democracy and replace it with fascism. Doubt that? Click here and read Thom Hartmann’s frightening chronicle of it. If all that truth doesn’t scare you, something’s wrong. But I promise you that it will scare you.

In their fight to destroy democracy, Republican Boomers have trained ordinary citizens to make death threats to fellow citizens – it’s mobocracy. And in their decades-long quest to upend government, they’ve turned their backs on fundamental service to our countrymen. That has allowed and encouraged our mass shootings and expanded death and suffering from disease. You must read the interview of Dr. Peter Hotez, 1 Million Deaths Was a Choice and you’ll understand immediately.

I tell you without hesitation or doubt that the choice of death was made by our first fascist wannabe president. He threw tank car loads of gasoline on the anti-science fire in this country and a million people paid the ultimate price for that.

The point is that we idealistic 60s Boomers don’t have a good track record of adhering to our professed ideals. The dishonesty and corruption against which we railed in the 60s has been dramatically expanded. The Republicans are thugs and the Democrats don’t seem to have the cojones necessary to stop the carnage. And rules just don’t seem to matter any more.

This is about deciding whether we are our brothers’ keeper or whether we’re just in it for our selfish selves. This is about whether we keep our word and are true to the values we espouse or whether cheating, lying and violent attacks on others and our cherished institutions should be our code of conduct.

I’m guessing that you don’t want the crazy stuff and you cannot count on Boomers to fix this because we created this mess.

Here’s the key:

Unless things change, nothing will change.

The good news is that you’re the ones who can and will make real change happen.

Pearl S. Buck, a recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature, unknowingly wrote this note for you in her 1967 novel, To My Daughters, With Love:

“Upon the profound discontent of the young…do I set my faith.
I beg you, the young, to be discontented.
I pray that you may rebel against what is wrong, not with feeble
negative complaining but with strong positive assertion.” *

From a Millennial/Gen-Z reader:

Past young generations have led groundbreaking movements that have shaken the system for the better. Through petitions, walkouts, and other disobedience, we’ve brought about change in the past.

So, Millennial/Gen-Z person, we Boomers are dumping a gigantic pile of political crap in your lap. This is completely unfair, but,

  1. You have enormous, perhaps not yet recognized power.
  2. The old guys who made the mess will be gone, no longer an obstacle.
  3. Did I mention that you have gigantic power and can outsmart and out-muscle the people who selfishly want to make things worse?

So, it comes down to this:

All the things you care about, like our country and our future survival are in your capable hands.
.

Here is the same message from the 1980 movie Airplane! It’s ancient history to you, of course, but one scene captures well your grim circumstances and the unreasonable tasks before you. Click the pic below.

Click me

Late Additions

The Senate, composed almost entirely of old Boomers, passed a “gun safety bill.” That’s an odd descriptor for legislation regarding killing machines. The good news is that 15 Republicans voted for the bill. The bad news is that 33 Republicans voted against it. Apparently, these 33 prefer dead grannies and dead school kids over a little inconvenience for gun owners. It’s absolutely astonishing that senators have to be shamed into protecting little kids.

Still, this bill is a first step to help to prevent your younger brothers and sisters from being gunned down while sitting at their school desks.

But don’t get too happy, because the twisted, far right Supreme Court 6 struck down a 109 year old New York law prohibiting carrying guns in public. That will be a huge boost to road rage shootings and bar fights in the Big Apple.

And stunningly, the Court ruled to dramatically limit the ability of the EPA to regulate climate warming emissions from power plants, which are responsible for about 30% of our carbon dioxide emissions. What could possibly go wrong?

Technical note: Science doesn’t care if we believe in it. It just is.
.

This is the kind of idiocy we Boomers are leaving to you. Like I said at the beginning, buckle up. It’s time to get to work to make this what you want it to be.

A Final Thought – and It’s Optimistic

If you feel despondent and, perhaps, mired in apathy, it’s because you care, yet are tired of feeling frustrated and hopeless. Understandable.

We are back to the beginning, when Thomas Paine** wrote, “These are the times that try men’s souls.” He was right then and he’s right again now.

What Paine knew was that democracy is a participation sport. That’s the only way it works. We Boomers have had our time at the plate and we punched out some singles and doubles and even a few home runs. We also struck out a lot. Now, it’s your turn at bat.

You are the ones who can do this. You are the ones who are the best educated and most open both in your attitude and in your acceptance of others. You’re the ones thinking beyond the stimulus du jour and you have the energy to take action. And you know that you are the ones who will live with whatever consequences you create, so you have huge skin in this game. And millions of  you are united in all of that. That’s a lot of power. It’s why so many of us believe in you.

So, to torture the baseball metaphor one last time, grab a bat, because you’re up.

You can do this!
.

Love and kisses,

The Boomers

PS – A Request

What’s your reaction to this in-your-face dose of reality? What is it that Boomers just don’t get and need to understand? How do you see things? What are you willing to do to make things better?

There’s a Comments section below for the purpose of answering those questions and others and for airing your views. If there’s anything we need now it’s open discussion to bridge the I Don’t Get It Gap. So, please put it out there to help us all to understand how you see things.

Thanks!

——————————-

* Many thanks to friend and quotemeister Mardy Grothe for the Buck quotation.

** Interesting factoid: Paine was 39 when he wrote Common Sense, which would make him the equivalent of a Millennial.

————————————

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

For Six Justices: Imagine That


Click the pic to hear what they said about Roe and stare decisis during their confirmation hearings. Then decide if they lied to us.

If you see your picture to the right, this is for you.
.

Did you ever have little kids? Were you yourself ever a little kid?

I want you to think back to when you were 9 years old, sitting in your third grade classroom. See it in your mind’s eye. You’re at your desk watching your teacher at the front of the room as she is explaining something. You hear a sound and momentarily glance toward the door. It suddenly flies open and a guy in full body armor, carrying an assault rifle and a handgun charges in and shoots your teacher. There’s blood on the wall behind where she was standing and she’s motionless on the floor. Then he starts shooting your friends. He’s firing multiple bullets into each of their bodies and there is blood everywhere. Then he sees you and aims his AR-15 directly at your face. Now tell me how you feel about really strict gun laws.

Front page of the New York Times Sunday Review, May 29, 2022. Cites multiple mass shootings, each with the same lede: “Authorities said the gunman was able to obtain the weapons legally.” Click the pic – read it and weep.

That’s no horror movie scene. Other than the grade level, that is exactly what happened in Uvalde, Santa Fe, Sandy Hook, Columbine, Parkland and more. That’s effectively what happened in Buffalo and El Paso and Aurora and Charleston and Milwaukee and Las Vegas and Pittsburgh and  .  .  .

Nothing in the just-passed gun safety bill would have prevented any of those massacres. To be fair, the safe storage provision might have kept that Bushmaster assault rifle out of the hands of that 19-year-old Sandy Hook murderer. Maybe.

New scenario.

Imagine your child is with you, holding your hand as you’re crossing the street. You look up and realize that there’s a shooter on the sidewalk in front of you and he’s aiming his military style assault rifle directly at you. You’re instantly certain that you’ll be dead in a fraction of a second, that you cannot protect your child and that your little one will be dead a second after you. Now tell me how you feel about really strict gun laws.

Different situation.

You live in the ghetto, the poorest, grimiest part of the city. On a good day there is just enough to eat for your three kids and you. There are a lot of days that aren’t nearly that good. Two months ago a vagrant broke in and raped you and now you’re pregnant with what will be a fourth child. Now tell me how you feel about the right to an abortion.

From The Onion, of course. Click the pic.

I suspect that the self-certain Bible thumpers living in comfortable means are sincere in their beliefs about abortion. That isn’t the problem. The problem is that they want to impose their beliefs on you. They want to take away your rights and they’ve succeeded at that, yet they haven’t even a ghost of a clue about you and how their certainties are completely alien and absurd in your existence. Once again, tell me now, as you sit in misery in the ghetto, pregnant with a rapist’s child and with three hungry kids, how you feel about the right to an abortion.

The comfortable moralizers also don’t haven’t a clue what it’s like to have an AR-15 pointed at their faces. They don’t know what it’s like to see their friends’ bodies ripped to shreds or to know they can’t protect their little ones. Doesn’t matter. They’re certain that they know what’s best for you and the rules you have to follow.

It’s easy to spout platitudes and holy proclamations when you yourself are not impacted by their consequences. But when you’re at the receiving end of extremist policies, it looks and feels quite different. Funny how that works.

Many thanks to KL for this.

So, to you six Supreme Court justices, appointed by Presidents, all but one of whom lost the popular vote, you are administering the tyranny of the minority. To you, who justify your pitiless convictions by invoking obscure 13th century English law and who are supremely extremist and supremely certain that your views are not just right, but that they’re supremely right and mandatory for everyone else: Just imagine.

Imagine that you’re that kid in that third grade classroom seeing your friends being killed, or you’re that parent crossing the street holding your little child’s hand, knowing you’re both about to be murdered, or that you’re that pregnant woman in the ghetto.

One more time: All of your extremist yelping about the Second Amendment and your moralizing about abortion look a bit different now that all that yelping and moralizing affects you. Imagine that.

The same goes for you extremist Republicans both in Congress and in state legislatures. What you’re doing hurts people. What you’re doing kills some people. What you do is cruel and it’s long past time for you to find something better to do with your time than to rile up others with your holier-than-thou and self-serving certainties that harm people. Go home. Don’t come back. When you disappear, that’s when things will begin to get better for the rest of us.

And the rest of us can easily imagine that.

————————————

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

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