Healthcare

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.

Do You Remember?


In the beginning there were no tests. There was not even one single test for Covid in the entire world. There wasn’t even the name “Covid.”

A former president told us to inject bleach and Lysol and ultra-violet lights. When tests became available to healthcare professionals he told us that we should do fewer tests because that would make the reportable number of infections lower and he would look better that way. He attacked our experts and flagrantly lied to us about how dangerous this virus was and about how to protect ourselves. Do you remember?

Then bodies started swarming our ERs. They filled every room, every bed, every gurney in every hallway. Nurses, docs and techs were wearing space suits to protect themselves from a virulent disease for which they had no treatments. Some became sick and died while trying to save others.

They jammed respirator tubes down patients’ throats until they ran out of respirators. Some made a way to split the feed from a respirator so as to keep two patients breathing. Do you remember?

The healthcare professionals were working insane hours and failing every day because they couldn’t do much more for patients than hold their hands as they died. Later they held iPads so that families could say good-bye. And they wept every day for all their failing to help patients, and the bodies piled up in refrigerator trucks. Do you remember?

One day during the worst of it I heard car horns honking in my neighborhood. I don’t know how I knew, but I was certain that it was a parade past the house of a healthcare worker, so I jumped into my car and quickly found and joined the lineup of cars on the next street. At last I passed the house and a nurse or doc still in scrubs and a labcoat stood at her door waving to us, mouthing “Thank you.”

We honored our healthcare heroes with reception lines outside hospitals at shift changes. We sent pizzas. One fellow sang Nessum Dorma to those heroes. They were paying a terrible price to save our lives and we did what we could to say “Thank you.” Do you remember?

I recall during the worst of it, when the virus was spreading so terribly fast and we didn’t even know the methods of transmission, so plexiglass shields were installed at retail shops, hoping that would help to prevent us from infecting one another. I went to check out at the supermarket and there was a girl at the cash register wearing a mask and gloves and I realized that she was doing a death defying act just so that I could purchase groceries. Yet another hero. Do you remember?

We were constantly at the edge of running out of N95 masks and people sewed masks at home and gave them away so that the meager supply of N95s could go to our healthcare people. There were so many cloth masks made that it was nearly impossible to purchase elastic and nobody knew if cloth masks did any good. We did our best to stay at a distance from one another and didn’t know if that did any good, either. Do you remember?

Back in high school most kids avoided the nerdy kids. They weren’t cool. Many were socially awkward. Some kids even tormented them. But they persevered and took their nerdiness into science, where they invented magical vaccines in less than a tenth of the time it normally takes to do such a thing.

We gave them first to our healthcare workers, for obvious reasons. Then to the elderly, especially those trapped in the Petri dishes of nursing homes. Following that, the magical vaccines began to be available to all of us, and we scrambled to find a place where we could make an appointment and be vaccinated. Some of us drove long distances to get a shot in the arm. Do you remember?

And we gained some protection, all because those nerdy kids persevered and went into science – you know, the stuff our reality deniers deny? – and they made magic that has helped all of us, including the reality deniers.

Before those vaccines were available thousands of Americans were dying – not just getting sick, but dying – every day. We’re still losing around 400 per day and nearly all of those who die and nearly all of those who require hospitalization are people who have refused to take the magical vaccines.

Meanwhile, the rest of us are chugging along just fine and, no, Bill Gates can’t track us because there are no nanobots in the vaccines. And the vaccines don’t make anyone sterile or cause people to contract Covid.

We’ve reassured and coaxed and begged people to protect themselves and the people they love, but millions still hold out, some for religious reasons, some for doubt about efficacy of the vaccines and a huge number because they think their freedom is somehow being abridged. Do you remember?

The nerds did even more for us. They developed multiple types of at-home tests for Covid. When tests became available President Biden did an all-hands-on-deck distribution of them, as he had done with the vaccines, to get these healthcare tools into our hands and up our noses. Have you thanked a nerdy person lately? Have you thanked President Biden? You should, because they saved your life.

This has been a stroll down Covid Memory Lane and it’s for a reason.

Our news cycle can be measured in fractions of a second. There is breaking news breaking our attention constantly. There are horrid things that steal our attention, like our ever-present mass murders and elections that are existential threat events. All of that makes us move on from important things as though they’re unimportant. All of that moves us away so fast that we forget to say “Thank you.”

So, this is my reminder and, in this season of what should be gratitude, my humble request that we all thank our everyday heroes. They’re all around us, like the firefighters who run into burning buildings to save us. They’re all doing wondrous things for us every day.

Please, say “Thank you.”

  • ————————————
  • 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.

Hypocrisy Runs Deep


Click me

Did you reach out to help the United Way of Lee County Florida so they can help the people devastated by Hurricane Ian? The fine folks at Fifth Third Bank are stepping up big time, too. Read about it here.

Caution: The font in the report is Lilliputian. Find your BIGGER button before attempting to read it.


Tweeting Republicans

This is adapted from the Buffalo Springfield song For What It’s Worth.

    • Hypocrisy sure strikes deep.
    • Into your life it will creep.
    • Starts when you’re always afraid.
    • Step out of line the man come and tweet you away.
  • .
    • Think it’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound?
    • Everybody knows what’s going down.

Here’s what’s going down – from Mother Jones Daily of October 10:

Referring to Black people as “the people who do the crime.” Yep, that’s straight from a sitting senator’s mouth. Vowing to put Donald Trump in the White House [regardless of the actual vote count] if he wins Nevada’s secretary of state race next month .  .  . Republican nominee Jim Marchant promised to do exactly that. Asserting that abortion decisions belong to “gentlemen” state lawmakers. Step right up, it’s New Hampshire’s Republican candidate for Senate, Don Bolduc.

And here’s what’s going down per The New York Times “The Morning” of October 11:

Doug Mastriano, the Republican nominee for governor of Pennsylvania, attacked the Jewish school that his opponent, Josh Shapiro, attended, alarming Jewish voters.

The Los Angeles City Council president resigned from her leadership post after leaked audio captured her making racist remarks.

These guys and the other 295 Big Lie Republican candidates running for office this year under the LIES R US flag know better, just as the Republican senators knew better when they voted not-guilty in both of Trump’s impeachment trials. Those poor dears were always afraid that the man would come and tweet them away. That would be bad for them, so they asked, “What oath of office?”

Don’t forget all the Republican lawmakers who voted to kill Biden’s bills and who are now hypocritically bragging about bringing home the bacon to their states and districts.

Hypocrisy runs deep – and all it takes is the threat of a tweet.

What About Rural Women?

Republicans love and honor women, they tell us, except when it comes to being in charge of their own bodies. And this story gets worse.

A recent STAT report detailed “maternity care deserts,” a March Of Dimes term, offering some startling information:

39% of all U.S. counties are “maternity care deserts,” defined as “any county without a hospital or birth center offering obstetric care and without any obstetric providers.” And that number is getting worse.

We have “the highest maternal mortality rate among comparable wealthy countries.”

” .  .  . states with strict abortion bans have a higher percentage of residents living in maternity care deserts.”

They go on to say,

“It seems ironic that you would both create a system where people were sometimes forced to remain pregnant and forced to give birth, and that in those very same places, there would be a disinvestment in the health care facilities to care for people having babies.”

Let’s see, Republicans want to completely eliminate abortion services regardless of rape, incest or health of the mother, and at the same time leave them with no maternal care. Plus, they’re continuing to try to pull the plug on the Affordable Care Act and leave many of these women unable to afford healthcare even if they were able to find it.

  • And most of these at-risk, under-served women are in
  • rural  red states.

So, the answer from Republicans to the question, “What about rural women?” is, “We Republicans don’t care about you at all.”

Hypocrisy runs deep.

Hypocrisy Becomes Scum

You hear the lies, distortions and grievances all the time, but righties have found a new way to bamboozle voters.

The pic to the right is of the North Cook (as in: Cook County IL) News. It is an 8-page rag that has shown up uninvited in my mailbox for a couple of weeks. Despite its appearance, it is not a newspaper and it is not news. It is far right propaganda disguised as journalism.

Here are the titles of some of the articles:

[Gov.] Pritzker family, Lurie Children’s Hospital promote ‘gender and sex development experiments’ to Illinois public schools

[53rd District State Representative candidate] Vrett says his upport [sic] of law enforcement key distinction from opponent

‘Kink,’ ‘BDSM,’ and ‘trans-friendly’ sex toys for Illinois school children?

Pritzker suffocates free speech (opinion)

This trash comports with MAGA lunacy claiming that Democrats are homicidal perverts and are against law enforcement. In its pimpiness it’s worthy of a Lee Atwater or Roger Stone* scumbag award.

Hypocrisy runs deep.

But It Isn’t Universal

Have a look at Rep. Adam Kinzinger’s (R-IL) “2022 Defenders of Democracy.” The people on his list are singled out and endorsed, not because of party or policy notions, but because they, “put country over party and will uphold their oaths to defend democracy — no matter what.”

There are others like them. Seek them out, support their candidacies and vote for them.

Hypocrisy Smack Down

From Heather Cox Richardson’s Letters From An American, October 12, 2022, responding to MAGA claims that the Alex Jones defamation case was about free speech and political persecution:

” .  .  .  the First Amendment to the Constitution protects us only from the government silencing us. It does not stop legal responsibility for damage our words cause, for which Jones has been found liable. A jury—not the government—has assigned the $965 million award to those whose lives Jones harmed.”

Hooray for truth, justice and the American way!

Finally

I’ve said many times that I’m an Eisenhower Republican. Here’s why (pic courtesy of JN).

Note that this doesn’t mention Ike leading us to invest in our infrastructure, like building the Interstate Highway System. I like that stuff – so do you – but today’s Republican blabbers don’t.

My, how conservatism has changed!

——————————–

* From Robert Reich in a fund raiser email for MoveOn.Org October 16, 2022:

Last week, new video was leaked of Roger Stone in the weeks leading up to the 2020 election encouraging Donald Trump to declare victory no matter the results. He ended his speech by saying, “F*ck the voting. Let’s get right to the violence.” ª

Last month, Donald Trump threatened that there will be a revolt, “the likes of which perhaps we’ve never seen,” if he is indicted. º

Weeks before that, Senator Lindsey Graham made clear that there “will be riots in the streets,” if Trump is held accountable for stealing our country’s secrets. ¨

And all of these statements come on the heels of Republicans declaring, “When does the shooting start?” “Summertime was made for killing fields.” “We’re at war!” in the aftermath of the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago. ˜,*

Sources:

ª “‘Let’s get right to the violence:’ New documentary film footage shows Roger Stone pre-Election Day,” CNN, September 27, 2022
https://act.moveon.org/go/168969?t=8&akid=335815%2E56840332%2Evm4I3n

º “Trump warns of ‘big problems’ if indicted, says he’d still run for office,” The Washington Post, September 15, 2022
https://act.moveon.org/go/168028?t=10&akid=335815%2E56840332%2Evm4I3n

¨ “Graham Predicts ‘Riots in the Streets’ if Trump Is Prosecuted,” The New York Times, August 29, 2022
https://act.moveon.org/go/168029?t=12&akid=335815%2E56840332%2Evm4I3n

 ˜,* “The House G.O.P. is rallying around Trump after the F.B.I. search.” The New York Times, August 9, 2022
https://act.moveon.org/go/165489?t=14&akid=335815%2E56840332%2Evm4I3n

————————————

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 vibrant.

JA


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

What Should We Do About That? – v2.0


Source: Wikipedia – click the pic

Basic Human Decency

Naomi Judd died by suicide in April at the end of a long battle with mental illness. That’s bad enough, but this story gets worse.

Law enforcement did their investigative work following the suicide, creating a dossier of private, intimate conversations and information that may be released to the public. Daughter Ashley Judd and others of the family have filed a petition, asking the court to keep private what is so obviously private. She wrote that when such things are exposed to the public,

“The raw details are used only to feed a craven gossip economy, and as we cannot count on basic human decency, we need laws that will compel that restraint.”

The middle portion of that sentence grabbed me: “as we cannot count on basic human decency.” Of course, Judd is right. That plays out in millions feeding on prurient stuff, taking delight in public outrage and the raw hostility that besets our nation. We really cannot count on basic human decency. Just ask our polling place workers.

If you think decency – being respectful of one another – is a critical piece of a solid social structure, one you’d want to be a part of, and we cannot count on basic human decency, what should we do about that?

Fauci

There are millions of frustrated Americans, upset with the changing directions prescribed to us to deal with the Covid pandemic. Is it masks or no masks? Lockdowns or just go about your business? “Social distancing” or not? Vaccine? Second Vaccine? Booster shots? New booster shot with only an emergency use authorization?

The official story has changed numerous times and a lot of people lost confidence in the CDC and Dr. Anthony Fauci because of those many changes. Plus the lies and conspiracy theories peddled by the twice impeached, disgraced former President and know-nothing muckrakers expanded confusion and frustration exponentially and a lot of people died needlessly.

But wait just a second.

Regardless of the obsessive finger pointing about the origin of the never-before-seen virus, our medical establishment started with no knowledge, no base of information to find answers for how to deal with this disease. Our professionals didn’t know how the disease spread, had no tools to diagnose it (no tests, remember?), they didn’t know how to treat it except to swat at symptoms and they were woefully short of PPE to protect themselves so they could continue protecting us.

The President refused to trace cases, which could have limited spread, and did his best to stop testing so that the pandemic wouldn’t look as bad as it really was just to make himself look better. The scientists and docs didn’t know who was most susceptible or how to cure them and they didn’t even have a place to pile the bodies – and that’s just a short list of the knowledge holes and roadblocks our professionals faced.

And people were pissy because the scientists and docs couldn’t immediately give one absolute and unchanging answer from the very start!
.

So, the valuable questions have nothing to do with Covid. They have to do with the hyper-reactive “I want what I want even before I know what I want” people who prefer being pissy. They’re the people who seem to have forgotten about basic human decency. They are part of the reason why Dr. Anthony Fauci is ending his CDC career.

So, it’s the same question as in the first section of this post: If we cannot count on basic human decency, what should we do about that?

Covid Corner

Speaking of Covid and the CDC, here’s a chart showing “Covid positive hospitalizations per week (all ages)” since the pandemic began. This doesn’t include all cases. This reports only the cases that were so severe that hospitalization was required. Over a million of those people died and we know that the pandemic remains dangerous because almost 500 of our fellows are dying from it every day.

.

.

Given our obviously cyclical experience with Covid (reference: the chart above), what do you think will happen this January? What should we do about that?

Quotation Station

“Joe Biden’s “Soul of the Nation” address got at a cold and disquieting truth: the MAGA movement cannot be placated, reasoned with, or politically accommodated in any way. There is nothing its adherents want – and nothing anyone can give them – beyond chaos and political destruction.”

  • Tom Nichols, Staff Writer
  • The Atlantic Daily, September 6, 2022

“They promote authoritarian leaders, and they fan the flames of political violence that are a threat to our personal rights, to the pursuit of justice, to the rule of law, to the very soul of this country  .  .  .  MAGA Republicans have made their choice. They embrace anger. They thrive on chaos. They live not in the light of truth but in the shadow of lies.”

  • President Joe Biden,
  • Independence Hall, September 1, 2022
What should we do about that?
.

Also see David Frum’s short read, The Justification of Biden’s Speech – So Much of It Was True. 

————————————

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.

Over Just The Past Few Days


Education

Ron DeSantis blasted President Biden’s student debt relief program – just another entrant in the “Nothing So Stupid That the Republicans Won’t Say It” contest.

We established publicly funded public schools 170 years ago to educate our people. From How Stuff Works:

“Massachusetts passed the first compulsory school laws in 1852. New York followed the next year, and by 1918, all American children were required to attend at least elementary school.”

From QuestionAnswer.IO:

“By 1918, all U.S. states had some sort of mandatory attendance law for [high] school.”

Each level of education became necessary for the welfare of our nation and for individuals to be ready for the challenges of our rapidly changing life and world. We funded schools publicly then, as now, because both we-the-public and our nation benefit. Ignorance just doesn’t work well for our country.

The world has progressed and much of what it takes now to succeed simply cannot be supplied solely by a K-12 education. Ever-finer, more advanced skills continue to be required. We’re late coming to the realization that we must publicly fund college just as we do public grade schools and high schools. Here’s an example of why that’s true.

We graduate about 70,000 engineers annually. China graduates about 600,000 and India graduates about 350,000. They are both dramatically out-educating their young compared to us.

We’re in a global competition and we will remain unprepared to compete and win as long as we continue to refuse to fully educate our citizens for today’s world and tomorrow’s. Keeping our people unprepared would be a huge economic and national security mistake.

Doubt that? Read this.

And recognize that student debt relief and public funding of colleges and universities necessarily mean a redistribution of wealth – the haves will be required to subsidize the education of both the haves and the have-nots. Everyone else will have to pitch in, too. That brings us to the never ending conflict over wealth redistribution, which traces its angry origin at least as far back a the Civil War, and that brings us to,

This Gallup Moment

Check the graph below from Gallup’s This Week In Charts and you’ll have no difficulty seeing the massive shift to public approval for heavy taxes on the rich to finance the commons, which importantly benefits our poor and middle class with schools, roads, etc.

I suspect this change in public attitude has been accelerated by the past 50 years of legislation favorable to the rich and which penalizes the rest of us. The change may also be traced to the lack of enforcement of laws to prohibit rich guy favoritism. Example: only one guy went to prison for the massive fraud and deceit of the George W. Bush financial meltdown of 2008, even though many violated SEC regulations and fraud statutes. Then there are all the massive “trickle down” tax breaks, about 85% of which benefited already rich people, not you and I.

You’re right: that isn’t fair.

So the rich have benefited enormously for decades – for generations, really – while the rest of us just muddled by. It seems that now over half of we Americans think that rich people should pony up their fair share for the benefit of all of us. Imagine that!

Click me for the story.

The IRS and (probably not) You

On August 26 German Lopez wrote in The Morning newsletter of the New York Times, opining on the Biden announcement about increasing the number of IRS agents and resources, “Kari Lake, the Republican candidate for Arizona governor, tied the increase in [IRS] agents to the F.B.I. search of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home and warned, ‘Not a single one of us is safe.’”

I sure hope she’s right, if by “safe” she means “protected from being audited and indicted for tax evasion.” I don’t want anyone to be safe from that.

While squatting in the Oval Office for four years, Trump dramatically reduced IRS resources in a stunning effort to protect himself and his rich buddies from scrutiny. That worked. Now Biden is working to restore the agency to a level where it can actually do its job. Got a problem with that, Kari Lake? We can fix your problem by defeating you in November. Go back to your hollow-head TV gig.

Covid Corner

Covid continues to rear its ugly head and promises to keep doing that until all the unvaccinated people either get vaccinated or die. It’s just that simple.

Below are the new cases chart and the death tally chart. These are cases per day averaged over 10 days. We’re still reporting nearly 100,000 new cases every day, and that number doesn’t include the cases identified via home test and those who never get diagnosed (the ones who just tough it out).

Nearly 500 of our fellows are dying every day from Covid. Almost every one of those 500 had refused to be vaccinated. Some have religious objections. Got that. But some just refuse as a demonstration of their stubbornness, masked in a mantle of self-identified freedom. And some refuse to be protected because they believe the cruel and evil lies about both the disease and the vaccine that have been crammed down their throats since Covid was identified and then vaccines became available.

Regardless of the why of their intransigence, our vaccine refusers are over-burdening our medical professionals and institutions and are walking super-spreaders who endanger the rest of us.

Whatever happened to “promote the general welfare” and concern for others and our freedom to not be infected by stubborn people?

Source: STAT, 8-29-22 – click me

Everything’s Okay Now

Following the virulent Republican anti-abortion campaign of fear and moral outrage over the past 49 years, the extremist Supreme Court killed Roe and now everything is just great for Republicans.

Wait – it’s not?

The national outrage over Republicans ending rights and promising to end still more has caused Democratic voter registrations to double those of Republicans and has caused Kansas to declare there’s nothing wrong with it. They defeated the extremist minority, killing the anti-choice state constitution amendment by 18 points.

The mid-term election is just 69 days away and proclaiming an anti-abortion position is threatening to be an anti-get-elected certainty for Republicans. What’s an extremist, hair-on-fire, Trumpy-MAGA candidate to do? Well, they figured it out.

Republican candidates are removing anti-abortion everything from their websites, their campaign literature and their campaign stops, hoping you won’t remember it was there. They haven’t changed their toxic minority position and they still want to force their medieval ways onto the majority of us and they’re just as authoritarian as before. But they think you’re dumb enough to forget who they are and what they stand for, now that they ditched the evidence.

See? Everything’s okay now.

Finally,

All of this happened over just the past few days. This list doesn’t include the Donald Documents crimes and his threat to our national security, extremist violence, mass shootings or stupid Ted “Cancun” Cruz or Lindsay “Weather Vane” Graham statements. It omits Doug Mastriano, Hershel Walker and Dr. Oz inanities, billionaire Barre Said’s $1.6 billion gift to an ultraconservative PAC that avoided taxes, and, and, and.

We didn’t used to have so many unforced domestic errors.

 

————————————

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.

Are You Seeing The Pattern Yet?


The people at the not-for-profit Citizens United were on a mission. They hated Hillary Clinton. A lot. They filmed what they called a documentary, Hillary: The Movie, and planned to release it in 2008 in an effort to submarine her candidacy for the Democratic Party nomination for the presidency. They wanted to air their hit job film just prior to primary elections in the various states. But they had a problem.

One of the provisions of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (commonly called McCain-Feingold) banned the airing of corporate funded “electioneering communication” for the 30 days before a primary election and for 60 days prior to a general election. The Citizens United people wanted to blanket the airways with their electioneering communication attack piece all the way through the primaries, so in December 2007 they filed suit to challenge that provision of McCain-Feingold. If they won, they would be able to run their electioneering film in the then-upcoming campaign season of 2008.

The district court refused their application for injunctive relief. In the appeals court Citizens United claimed their 90-minute film was a documentary, not electioneering. The court easily saw through that smoke screen and refused that argument, stating what was perfectly clear to everyone, that it was not a documentary film, but a 30-minute attack ad. It was an attempt to affect the election (the very definition of electioneering). Further, the court saw that their intended use of the movie was expressly at odds with established law.

On the case went to the Supreme Court (Citizens United v. FEC), which decided in favor of Citizens United in January 2010, overturning the lower court’s ruling. The court declared that the corporate electioneering communications restrictions of McCain-Feingold were unconstitutional and Citizens United could air their film as they wished. That should have been the end of the case, but it wasn’t.

Chief Justice John Roberts directed the attorneys to return to the court and re-litigate the case, this time specifically testing the rights of corporations and speech equivalency. It’s important to note that those issues were not part of the case brought by Citizens United.

—->  In other words, the court fabricated an entirely new case focused on issues that were not in contest in the Citizens United case.
That is not supposed to happen.
.

And in this fabricated case, the Supreme Court decided in a 5-4 vote that corporations have full First Amendment rights.

Let me be clear about this:

—-> The Court majority effectively declared that non-sentient, non-human corporations have all the rights of flesh and blood human beings.
Like you
.

Making things worse, Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, reaffirmed that money was effectively the same as speech. He declared that the First Amendment doesn’t allow prohibitions of speech even if the speaker is a corporation.

And that started a deluge of corporate money – dark money – into our politics that persists today.

To be sure there were earlier cases that chipped away at our protection from big money influence in our politics, including Buckley v. Valeo, which effectively declared that money is the same as speech. That assertion, of course, is ridiculous.

While money used for a campaign contribution certainly enables speech, that doesn’t make it the same as speech. Indeed, if you follow the Court’s Buckley logic, they’d have you believe that if I use money to buy a car, that money is the same as a car. Utter nonsense.

Money is property that is used in exchange for other things. That doesn’t make it the same as those other things. Nevertheless, the Roberts court wasn’t able to or refused to see the difference and the Citizens United case became the back breaker of integrity in our elections.

Key Point: That decision was driven by John Roberts legislating from the bench in a case that was not even brought before the court by a plaintiff! One has to wonder if this was a predetermined decision he wanted to reach. Otherwise, where did that secondary case come from?

Put a bookmark here.

Professor Heather Cox Richardson reported this in her July 6 edition of Letters From an American:

“Both the Organization of American Historians and the American Historical Association, the flagship organizations of professional historians in the U.S., along with eight other U.S. historical associations (so far), yesterday issued a joint statement expressing dismay that the six Supreme Court justices in the majority in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision that overturned Roe v. Wade ignored the actual history those organizations provided the court and instead ‘adopted a flawed interpretation of abortion criminalization  .  .  . ‘ “

” ‘[t]hese misrepresentations are now enshrined in a text that becomes authoritative for legal reference and citation in the future, ‘an undermining of the imperative that historical evidence and argument be presented according to high standards of historical scholarship. The Court’s majority opinion…does not meet those standards.’ ” [emphasis mine]

Translation: the Supreme Court ignored evidence that was inconvenient to the decision the justices wanted to make (i.e. overturn Roe). As in the manufactured case derived from the Citizens United law suit, the court clearly had its mind made up to push the doctrines it wanted, irrespective of precedent, facts and even without having a case before it.

And that radicalization is the true danger of this gerrymandered Supreme Court. It appears these justices want to roll back rights and progress 90 – maybe 150 – years.

Are you seeing the pattern yet?

You better see it, because this Court has already invited yet more cases to give them the opportunity to end yet more rights of the people.

For further reading, review Harry Littman’s troubling forecast of Supreme Court malfeasance.

—————————————–

Special Note: According to an ongoing Gallup survey, public confidence of the Supreme Court has plummeted down to 25%. And this study update was conducted before any of the end-of-term Court decisions were announced, including Dobbs. A fresh study will almost certainly show a sharp drop from the already historically low public confidence in the Court.

A similar drop in confidence is what Justice John Paul Stevens predicted in his blistering dissenting opinion in the Citizens United decision in 2010. As you can see, that is what happened.

Click me for the story

For Nerd Readers

You must read Jeffery Toobin’s explanation of this sordid story in The New Yorker. For a sampling, here’s a section of Toobin’s comments on Justice John Paul Stevens’ dissent in the Citizens United case:

So it was especially galling that the Court converted Citizens United from a narrow dispute about the application of a single provision in McCain-Feingold to an assault on a century of federal laws and precedents. To Stevens, it was the purest kind of judicial activism.

Or, as he put it in his dissenting opinion, “Five Justices were unhappy with the limited nature of the case before us, so they changed the case to give themselves an opportunity to change the law.” [emphasis mine] The case should have been resolved by simply ruling on whether McCain-Feingold applied to “Hillary: The Movie,” or at least to nonprofit corporations like Citizens United.

Stevens was just warming up. His dissent was ninety pages, the longest of his career. He questioned every premise of Kennedy’s opinion, starting with its contempt for stare decisis, the rule of precedent. He went on to refute Kennedy’s repeated invocations of “censorship” and the “banning” of free speech. The case was merely about corporate-funded commercials shortly before elections. Corporations could run as many commercials as they liked during other periods, and employees of the corporations (by forming a political-action committee) could run ads at any time.

Stevens was especially offended by Kennedy’s blithe assertion that corporations and human beings had identical rights under the First Amendment. “The Framers thus took it as a given that corporations could be comprehensively regulated in the service of the public welfare,” Stevens wrote. “Unlike our colleagues, they had little trouble distinguishing corporations from human beings, and when they constitutionalized the right to free speech in the First Amendment, it was the free speech of individual Americans that they had in mind.” Congress and the courts had drawn distinctions between corporations and people for decades, Stevens wrote, noting that, “at the federal level, the express distinction between corporate and individual political spending on elections stretches back to 1907, when Congress passed the Tillman Act.”

As for Kennedy’s fear that the government might regulate speech based on “the speaker’s identity,” Stevens wrote, “We have held that speech can be regulated differentially on account of the speaker’s identity, when identity is understood in categorical or institutional terms. The Government routinely places special restrictions on the speech rights of students, prisoners, members of the Armed Forces, foreigners, and its own employees.” And Stevens, a former Navy man, could not resist a generational allusion: he said that Kennedy’s opinion “would have accorded the propaganda broadcasts to our troops by ‘Tokyo Rose’ during World War II the same protection as speech by Allied commanders.” (Stevens’s law clerks didn’t like the dated reference to Tokyo Rose, who made propaganda broadcasts for the Japanese, but he insisted on keeping it.)

Stevens’s conclusion was despairing. “At bottom, the Court’s opinion is thus a rejection of the common sense of the American people, who have recognized a need to prevent corporations from undermining self-government since the founding, and who have fought against the distinctive corrupting potential of corporate electioneering since the days of Theodore Roosevelt,” he wrote. “It is a strange time to repudiate that common sense. While American democracy is imperfect, few outside the majority of this Court would have thought its flaws included a dearth of corporate money in politics.” It was an impressive dissent, but that was all it was. Anthony Kennedy, on the other hand, was reshaping American politics.

————————————

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.

Emergency: The Assault on Stare Decisis


Click me

You already know about the Supreme Court decision striking down Roe and it’s important to put that decision into context.

Be clear that this decision will result in Daisy, raped at age 13 by her father, having to take that incest-caused pregnancy to term. It means that Maryanne, raped in a laundromat by an unknown thug, will have to carry that baby, too. And 53 year old, diabetic Lucy will have to carry her surprise  pregnancy all the way to the point that it kills her. None of these women or any other woman is in charge of her own body any longer. The Supreme Court has established government mandated pregnancy, putting politicians in control women’s bodies.

Clearly, women no longer have autonomy of themselves or full citizenship.

At least since John Roberts was being vetted by the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2003, he and all subsequent candidates have been questioned about their views regarding Supreme Court precedent. Every candidate has declared their belief in stare decisis – to stand by things decided – which directs that settled law should not be re-litigated. And every candidate has given clear enough indication that they believed that Roe is settled law. But it turns out that their most serious declarations of fidelity to settled Supreme Court decisions just weren’t true.

And the Republican controlled Senate has consistently allowed that dishonesty.

Roe was decided in 1973 by a 7-2 vote and was unsuccessfully challenged many times (see this ACLU Timeline). The Court repeatedly upheld Roe. That’s a lot of settled law, a lot of precedent, but that was of no consequence to the liars now on the court. Roe is gone.

Also this week, the Supreme Court overturned a 109 year old law that prohibits carrying guns in public in the State of New York. It’s yet another example of extremist Justices ignoring precedent – violating stare decisis, which they claimed they adhered to – and moving us backward to a far more dangerous time.

Keep monitoring your shock response, as more decisions come down criminalizing all aspects of abortion. That includes criminal penalties for an Uber driver who brings a woman to a clinic; against friends who lend her money for an abortion; and against supportive husbands and boyfriends. Expect criminal penalties heaped upon women who live in states banning abortion and who travel to a state that allows abortion. Bear in mind that Texas has already empowered vigilantes to spy on neighbors – really, on anyone – and report them to the Texas Gestapo to collect bounties and for the state to levy fines and pile on criminal prosecution.

Expect challenges to Griswold, which will result in the outlawing of birth control. Justice Clarence Thomas, he of the “high-tech lynching,” has already invited such challenges. And don’t be the least bit surprised as this extremist Supreme Court attacks same-sex marriage by overturning Obergefell; or bans inter-racial marriage by overturning Loving; or even bans private consensual sexual activities; encourages more gun violence; and incrementally inserts religion into yet more government arenas.

One exception to that: Loving probably won’t be overturned, because Thomas is in an inter-racial marriage. He wouldn’t want to penalize himself. Penalties are for other people, so expect to hear a proud shout out for stare decisis on that one, as that expected primitive attack on freedom is defeated. Just that one shout out to precedent. It’s personal to Clarence.

Bear in mind that roughly 80% of Americans did not want Roe reversed. This Court is all about minority-enabled bullying of the rest of us, so don’t be surprised at the loss of yet more rights.

The true context and diabolical meaning of the overturning of Roe is the elimination of stare decisis, which opens the floodgates to Republican Party extremist and Supreme Court attack on our freedoms, protections and traditions. Credit for that goes to the decades-long efforts of Republicans to return us to the very worst of American Puritanical, “insecure male” tyranny, accompanied by the continuous drone of self-righteous Bible thumping and the strutting of loud, little men.

The Chicago Protest

Rage was in the air. The fury driven by the theft of rights and a very personal betrayal dominated the Federal Plaza in Chicago on Friday, June 24. It was a day that will be remembered for a very long time, with a permanent distrust of the Supreme Court its lasting legacy. The perfidy of the Republican Party, the cheats who crafted this vehicle for betrayal, will be long remembered as well.

Here are pics of some of the signs from that demonstration. The more foul messages have been excluded, but don’t imagine even for a moment that anger didn’t dominate the event. So did the commitment to vote and to support others in abortion ban states.

This isn’t over.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

Excess Deaths


Excess death is what happens when a virulent killer arrives at civilization’s door. It’s the number of people who have died over and above the number who would have died in the absence of, say, bubonic plague, the Spanish Flu or Covid-19.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently announced that there were 15 million excess deaths worldwide over the first two years of Covid. The Economist has done an exacting study of this issue and concludes the number is 18 million additional dead people.

We just passed the dreadful mark of 1 million Americans dead from Covid in just two years and we know that’s a low number for reasons identified below. For now, let’s put that into perspective by comparing that number to our battlefield war dead.

Here’s a chart from Statista – you can click the chart for details and to read the labels more easily.

For a more thorough comparison, have a look at this WaPo analysis.

Simple addition tells us that our total battlefield war dead from all major conflicts since 1775 is 1,284,702. In all cases the deaths from our wars were horrific and a tragedy and we were shocked by the losses.

It’s crazy that we’re well on our way to surpassing that number solely due to Covid and in just two years. In fact, we could surpass that number this year; certainly by next year. How strange that we continue to mourn our war dead but seem to have accommodated the ongoing massacre of our countrymen from Covid and have relegated their deaths to background noise.

One of the fascinating denials in the early days of our pandemic was the claim that Covid was far less of a threat than the flu, so what’s the big deal? I heard claims that the flu kills “only” 65,000 Americans every year and that Covid’s reach was far less, Eat, drink and be merry.

Turns out it hasn’t been that merry.

The CDC shows us that, depending on the flu variant, between 12,000 and 52,000 Americans die each year from influenza. That’s between 39 and 142 deaths from flu per day.

Here’s a chart of new daily Covid deaths through May 12:

 

As you can see, we’re now at 445 deaths from Covid per day – that’s a rate of 162,425 for the year. That’s more death from Covid than from the flu this year or in any recent year – at least 3 times more. And that math doesn’t take into consideration the escalating number of deaths from Covid expected as this year progresses.

Here’s a STAT chart of our 1 million Covid deaths through March:

Click the chart for the story of wonderful scientific achievement and horrible systemic failures, some willful. Indeed, read Politico’s assessment of the ongoing, conscientious Republican insanity to promote the death of Americans. Key point: “It was a deliberate effort by members of the House Freedom Caucus, in the House, some U.S. senators, amplified nightly on Fox News.”

Yes, it’s true that vaccinated people can contract Covid and a few can die – see the blue lines at the bottom of the chart. The difference is that most don’t die from it. They just need medical help for a while and then they go home and resume their normal lives.

This chart only reflects the officially reported Covid deaths since vaccines became available. They don’t count the people who died without a diagnosis or who died away from a medical facility that tallies the numbers, two of the reasons that the total Covid death count is almost certainly much higher than 1 million.

This chart also doesn’t count those who died because they couldn’t get help for an unrelated affliction, and if the present trend continues we are going to have lots more excess deaths like that. These people will be, for example, heart attack, stroke, cancer and car crash victims who were unable to access the medical care they needed in time to save them because their medical facility was overrun by Covid patients.

Think: Dad died from a heart attack while waiting in his car in the Emergency Room parking lot. He was there because unvaccinated Uncle Bubba had Covid and was in the bed that dad needed and was taking the time, attention and energy of the doctors and nurses who could have saved Dad.

So, don’t imagine that you’re safe from Covid because you’re vaccinated and boosted and you’re a good little mask wearer. You might one day require medical help that you can’t get because of all the unvaccinated people who are sure that Covid isn’t as bad as the flu, or because they think that vaccines cause all manner of imaginary symptoms or are loaded with Bill Gates’ nanobots or because their freedom is more important than anything, including your life – and who are in hospital beds needed by others.

These are the numbers. Factual, empirical data. Again, the current daily Covid corpse count is 445 and that number is expected to rise. Making that worse is that we don’t know how many more people will die because the unvaccinated are clogging hospitals. I sure don’t want the people I love or me to be among those excess deaths. Just guessing you feel the same.

Video of the Week

If you paid attention during the Democratic primary season of 2020 you learned that Pete Buttigieg is a really smart fellow. He’s clear, articulate and is a no drama presenter. Take a listen to his discussion of the implications of the Supreme Court’s likely smack down of Roe during his visit to the Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago last week. Note especially his metaphor that now might be the last high water mark for rights and freedom in America. Brian Tyler Cohen’s commentary following Buttigieg is well worth the watch, too.

For the full Buttigieg session, click here.

————————————

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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