Integrity

Integrity


You’re Not God, Mob Boy

Click me

So, you want this to be a Christian nationalist country, a Christian theocracy. Got it. You’re all about Jesus and have carefully picked Bible quotations, as well as excerpts from the Federalist Papers that you think justify your actions. Got it. You’re certain that some elite others are a cabal of Satanic and cannibalistic sex-trafficking pedophiles bent on world domination and you believe other conspiracy claims, too. Got it. You believe that the ends you desire justify whatever means you employ. Got that, too. But consider just a couple of things.

Like that your opinion doesn’t eclipse mine. That your fantasies about truth and reality don’t replace actual truth and reality. That your accusations in the absence of any evidence aren’t the same as conviction. There’s still that “prove it” thing, you know?

The unavoidable result of your certainties is you threatening violence and murder and brutalizing others. That is prima facie evidence that you believe that you have the right to end human lives if, gosh, someone doesn’t toe your line. But that right isn’t yours anywhere or under any circumstances. That belongs to a higher power and I’m absolutely certain that you are not God.

Honestly – and you can take this as gospel – your claims of being a Christian were demolished the moment you picked up your phone to threaten an election worker, or brought your AR-15 to the Michigan Capitol Building to intimidate government workers, or as you chanted, “Hang Mike Pence,” or when you climbed the Capitol steps and vandalized the building, or when you shouted hatred at a school board meeting or when you showed up for Trump rallies and cheered the abuse of protesters, or when you drove your pickup truck with its oversized hatred flags and tried to run President Biden’s campaign bus off the highway, and every time you repeated Trump’s lies. Really, now, would Jesus do any of that?

You have no right to threaten or harm anyone, no matter how pissy you become when you don’t get your way or how puffed up you feel when you fondle your assault rifle or inflict your cruelty on others. One honest look in the mirror will tell you that this isn’t 1776, you’re no Minuteman and vengeance isn’t yours. You’re not God, Mob Boy. You’re just a guy who put his integrity into long term storage.

And all of that goes for you seditious members of Congress who are trying to tear down our democracy. It goes to your shame for violating your oath of office. You remember that “protect and defend” stuff about the Constitution, right? The stuff to which you swore with your hand on a Bible? You remember integrity, don’t you? Perhaps not.

Like the Mob Boys, you can take one look in the mirror and you’ll know instantly that you’re no nation’s Founder, no “originalist.” You’re just a thug in a suit and you’ve abandoned your integrity.

“The fault, dear seditionist, is not in your stars, but in yourselves .  .  .  “

With apologies to William Shakespeare, Cassius and the entire ensemble of Julius Caesar.

The Important Part Is .  .  .

Elise Stefanik in June, with jellyfish Kevin McCarthy proudly looking on

Elise Stefanik, the No. 3 Republican in the House, Is all about getting Republican women elected to Congress. She’s raised over $4 million for her “Elevate PAC” to grease those wheels. In a most interesting piece in The New York Times she bragged,

“My own experience going through impeachment No. 1, where I played an outsized role on the House Intelligence Committee — we built up a national donor list,” Stefanik said Wednesday at a briefing at the Republican National Committee about the midterm elections. “We’ve been able to have that donor list support other women candidates across the country.”

Let’s see, there was an impeachment of the President of the United States going on and in her “outsized role on the House Intelligence Committee” Stefanik’s key accomplishment was building a donor list. Not dealing with the President’s extortion of the president of Ukraine. Not ensuring integrity in the highest office. Not solidifying of our democracy. Creating a donor list!

This is the woman who replaced Liz Cheney as the No. 3 Republican in the House.

One more time, Elise, and this is about your integrity: the most important part of what you do is .  .  .  what?

The Economy

In an effort to combat inflation, the Fed has raised the interest rate by 3/4 of a point in each of the past 3 months, which has caused interest rates on the street to more than double and investors to get a serious case of the heebie-jeebies. They’re fearing a recession, a nearly inevitable outcome when business investment drops off, which it does when money becomes too expensive to borrow.

The interest rate is the only tool in the Fed’s inflation fighting toolbox, but it is a bludgeon of a tool and is excruciatingly slow to combat inflation. What big interest rate hikes are exceedingly good at doing is stimulating recession and putting people out of work. The estimates are that about 1,000,000 people will lose their jobs due to the Fed’s recent wild swings. They figure we’ll stop buying as much stuff – that’s especially true for the newly unemployed, of course – and that will induce lower prices which will curb inflation.

Some day.

But reduced inflation will come at the cost of misery to a great many people, especially to the 1,000,000.

Our inflation is like that of every other developed country. We’re suffering the enormous discombobulation of the logistics system for everything from raw materials to finished goods and that reduced supply is sustaining a glut of unmet demand. That raises prices. That’s largely due to Covid-19 throwing sand into the machinery of the commerce engine worldwide, as well as the huge disruptions caused by Putin’s adventure into AtrocityLand.*

There are other drivers of inflation, too, including the breathtaking profiteering by shipping monopolies, fossil fuel companies, retailers with margins 30% above normal and others who are charging more for a classic reason: because they can. Fossil fuel profiteering has caused soaring prices at the gas pump and that has contributed significantly to inflation. But that, like war and the disrupted supply chain, is unrelated to the Fed’s interest rate hikes.

We’re in for some very turbulent times, as the Fed attempts to club our economy back to 2 – 3% inflation. Bummer for newly unemployed people and for all who can’t get that first job. Look for a huge spike in the number of people living in Mom’s basement, as well as some world class politically stupid claims.

———————————

* The O.E.C.D. estimates the war’s toll on the global economy to be about $2.8 trillion for 2023.

————————————

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 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

We Can Make This Worse – Or Better


In 1974 Gerald Ford, the guy whose only professional ambition had been to one day be Speaker of the House, found himself to be President of the United States. That followed the crystal clarity of the breathtaking criminality of Richard Nixon that drove Nixon from office just ahead of a Senate impeachment posse. With Nixon’s disgrace on view across the globe and the passions in this country still white hot over Watergate, what would Ford do?

According to his public statement, Ford gave Nixon,

“a full, free, and absolute pardon…for all offenses against the United States which he, Richard Nixon .  .  . has committed or may have committed or taken part in”

Ford excused his accountability-killing action by saying that prosecution of the perp would,

“cause prolonged and divisive debate over the propriety of exposing to further punishment and degradation a man who has already paid the unprecedented penalty of relinquishing the highest elective office of the United States.”

And so Nixon avoided being held accountable. That left us wondering if the pardon was part of a shady deal that had made Ford Vice-President following former Vice President Spiro Agnew’s sordid bag man criminality and forced resignation.

In his third interview with David Frost, Nixon declared that, “Well, when the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.” That stunning Nixon moment of Through The Looking Glass lunacy left many of us dumbfounded and enraged. This is the man who abused his power by ordering the Watergate break-in, obstructing justice, illegally bombing Cambodia and using the apparatus of government (FBI, IRS, etc.) to persecute everyone on his “enemies list.”

According to Nixon’s idiotic declaration, all of those crimes he committed weren’t crimes because he was President when he committed them. He was a self-serving, counter-factual, inherently evil man making a statement that matched his derangement. Yet Ford had pardoned him even before he was indicted, much less convicted.

The Nixon get-out-of-jail-free card wasn’t the last one issued. In fact it was modern history’s bedrock upon which an expanding avoidance of accountability has been built.

From 1985 – 1987 Ronald Reagan’s administration committed multiple crimes captured under the banner of the Iran-Contra affair. The basic framework was that a team headed by Vice-President George H.W. Bush sold arms to Iran, then funneled the proceeds to the Contras in Nicaragua to help them overthrow the far left government ruling their country.

The problem was that only Congress has the power of the purse, not the Chief Executive. As well, Congress had made specific law that prohibited the actions of the Reagan-Bush cabal. Once the illegal activity was exposed, we got an “Oh, golly” from Reagan, as he took responsibility in scripted Hollywood fashion, playing nothing more than a pretend role. The significant part came later.

Eleven administration officials were indicted, convicted and sent to prison for their Iran-Contra crimes. Both Reagan and Vice-President Bush were implicated in the scandal, but not a thing was done about that. When Bush became President he pardoned all of the convicts – on advice from his attorney general, William Barr. Yeah, that William Barr. And all the criminals were freed. So much for accountability.

Barr was and is a strong proponent of the “unitary executive,” the main point of which is the belief that the President, as head of his own branch of the government, is not subject to oversight or check on his actions by Congress or the courts. That theory would make a President a dictator, completely above the law and any accountability. Hello Viktor Orbán.

In 2004 George W. Bush told us that he was a strong proponent of that cockamamie notion, which is handy for him, because he had lied us into two intractable wars. And he refused to accept intelligence warnings before the 9/11 attack, leaving us completely unguarded and unprepared. And he led us into the Great Recession of 2008. When a CV includes such things, it’s good to have a Get Out of Jail Free card in order to avoid accountability.

Look at the progression:

Nixon sent out thieves and then obstructed justice and the Congress.

Reagan flagrantly violated the law and covered it up.

H.W. Bush pardoned all the criminals of the Iran-Contra affair.

W. Bush’s lies led to wars that killed hundreds of thousands and his dereliction of duty led to 9/11 and the Great Recession.

Lack of accountability does exactly what you would expect: it leads to greater and more harmful wrongdoing, because the message is that if you’re high enough in government you’ll never pay a price for your criminality or incompetence.

Which brings us to today.

The doomsday predictions of far right violence if Trump is indicted and convicted might actually come about. But what we know with certainty will happen is that if he isn’t indicted for his alleged string of crimes, like incitement to riot and sedition, obstruction of justice, election interference, wire fraud, money laundering, extortion, violations of the Presidential Records Act, lying to federal agents, violations of the Espionage Act and more, we’re setting the stage for – wait for it – worse things to happen.

Because as horrid as Trump’s alleged crimes are, if Trump gets away with them, the next President will do far worse, because s/he will know in advance that there won’t be a price to pay for breaking the law. We’ve seen the continuing descent into ever worsening lawlessness, so we know how this works.

And the next guy may be – probably will be – way smarter, more manipulative and far more clever than Donald Trump. That will be the moment when everything is lost.

But we don’t have to wait for that and then cry “woe is us.” All we have to do is to establish solidly that nobody – not anyone – is above the law. All we have to do is to hold Trump and his operatives fully accountable for every one of their might be, could be, likely are crimes.

Hey, Merrick Garland: got a minute to chat?

————————————

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 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Gimme a Break


Caution: This post was made in a facility known to contain snark. Sensitive readers are advised to just get over it. Maybe eat some comfort food like chocolate chip cookies as they read.

Gimme a Break, Jim Jordan

Apologies, Jim. I’ve been meaning to write to you for a long time, but you know how it is, what with impeachments, insurrections, theft of national security documents and all the other annoying little stuff popping up all the time.

Things have changed since your days at the Ohio State University when you were an assistant wrestling coach. You remember back then when you failed to report all those abuses of student athletes by team doctor Richard Strauss, right? The sexual misconduct stuff? His hands on their genitals?

Just one question about that, Jim. You present yourself to the House and to the nation as a powerful, confrontational, absolutist, principled guy. To you, everything has the competitive urgency of an Olympic gold medal wrestling match, right? If that’s true, how come you didn’t take a stand to protect those young men at Ohio State who told you exactly what was going on? Where were you when it was time to confront the abuser and the enablers all the way up to the University administrators?

Are you just a paper tiger, Jim, or is it that everything is solely about what serves you best in the moment? I’m starting to worry that maybe those principles aren’t as absolute as you’d have us believe.

A word of caution about that reprehensible abuse business, Jim. If enough of the victims decide to make big noise about it, there is still the possibility of censure and even expulsion from the House for you. I don’t know much about the statute of limitations for such a wanton refusal to act rightly, but you might even face indictment. So here’s what to do, Jim.

First, be sure you have your cockamamie Nazi buffoon “I knew nothing” story all buttoned up. Then, on your next McDonald’s run for your fuhrer, put that yooge sack of Big Macs and fries in your car and head on over to Starbucks. Pick up a couple of hemlock lattes, one for you and one for him. Keep yours in the fridge. You’ll know when the time is right to slug it down.

Jim, you’re amazingly good at gumming up all progress on the critical issues facing our nation, using phony outrage and unrelated inanities. You’re really adept at overly aggressive speech and behavior, too, as though you think that the marble floors of the Capitol Building are a big wrestling mat. But, Jim, they aren’t. Think of them as unyielding bedrock. Sort of like democracy. You remember democracy, right?

Komodo dragon – Click me

I’m sure your alt-right colleagues see you as a fine trench warfare fighter and there’s no doubt that some of those guys wish they could pull off the kind of stuff that you do. You’re smart and you’re quick, but, Jim, you have the moral judgment of a Komodo dragon. So, while they are self-serving like you, they just don’t have the chops for your unique displays of lack of integrity. Well, okay, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert have chops, too, but they need their assault rifles to look tough.

So, Jim, harbor no illusions of ever being the focus of a chapter in any book about political courage or patriotism. American voters who might possibly admire you or think fondly of you come with dysfunctional rage and a mania for destruction which you and your fellow provocateurs incite. You fight dirty, Jim, rutting in the leavings of the Great Orange Pig. Hey – that’s “GOP”!

I have to advise you to dramatically pare back your maniacally rabid support for the disgraced, twice impeached, former president. He’s going down, Jim, under multiple indictments. And you’re in danger, too, because of all your January 6 phone calls and texts with various subversives in the White House in those heady, anti-democracy days.

You could have been great for America, Jim, but instead you chose to be an extremist terrier, always biting at the heels and ankles of progress. You know that’s true, so it kinda sucks to be you, doesn’t it, Jim?

Please be sure to recommend to your dysfunctional MAGA family that they listen to President Biden’s speech from Independence Hall on September 1. You and they will have to watch it on YouTube (here), since Fox didn’t bother to give listeners the audio in real time. Instead, they showed a tiny frame of the President in the corner of the screen, while Tucker Carlson blabbered his stupiditudes. Tell your homies to answer the President’s question and declare which side they’re on: Trump’s or America’s. And be sure to tell them and all of us which side you’re on, too, Jim.

Oh, never mind. We already know.

Gimme a Break, R-Dudes

I confess that I was stunned when Trump began to dominate the news in 2015, as he wailed every grievance he could make up and blamed opponents of doing every psychopathic thing he himself did. In the mental health field that’s called projection. On the street it’s called lying.

Republicans are adept copy cats and opportunists, so both Republican politicians and every day citizens learned to mimic the Sociopath-in-Chief, to the point that the Republican Party is now organized around victim-hood. And the default sound they make is a perpetual, disingenuous whine.

I’ll let Paul Waldman of the The Washington Post be my Explainer-in-Chief. As you read his essay, which includes comments from “#whine-o Republicans”, keep in mind this fact-check: none of the grievances the Republicans blubber about is real. It’s all made up stuff, commonly called “lies.” All of it.

Click here to access Waldman’s piece. Then watch the Politics Girl video here. Many thanks to Steve Sheffey for the pointers. Check out his insightful posts here.

————————————

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

Did someone forward this post to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!)

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 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Divine? Not So Much


Hey – it’s September 11. 9/11. That date rings a bell, right?

In this constant blizzard of the absurd, where everything is BREAKING NEWS! our attention is easily diverted. Nevertheless, it’s important that we hold on to the truth of it – the horror, the political ineptitude, the generosity of strangers, the selfless courage of our first responders and the determination of the warriors on Flight 93.

This is a good day to remember that day.


The Divine Right of Trump

From Wikipedia:

“In European Christianity, the divine right of kings, divine right, or God’s mandation is a political and religious doctrine of political legitimacy of a monarchy.”

That’s very legitimizing if you’re the king.

King George III, who in 1776 was on the throne by means of just such a right, was considered by many to be a mad king. Ref: the Declaration of Independence for an astonishing and awful list of things he did. The word “mad” just might come to mind.

He manipulated rules and events to enrich himself and his wealthy aristocrats, including the notorious tax on tea that gave the East India Trading Company a virtual monopoly and triggered the Boston Tea Party. Divine source of power or not, sometimes We The People get to the point where, as Bernie Sanders likes to say, enough is enough, although I’ve never cared for that phrase when any at all is way too much.

Meanwhile, you can substitute the disgraced, twice-impeached, former president’s name for King George III in the Declaration of Independence. Then substitute Trump’s egregious wrongdoing, including his illegal, unconstitutional and immoral actions into an updated version and it’s now the Declaration of Expulsion. You’ll understand immediately that he is totally mad and why he was the loser in the 2020 election. Any of him is way too much.

Plus, there’s nothing divine about Trump. So, notwithstanding the mindless and odious Christian theocracy zealots and the “self-defining as patriots” insurrectionists, we turned him out decisively for all those mad reasons. And we’ll do so again via the voting booth, should he beat all the legal raps coming his way.

Click me

All of which is to announce to Trump and to all of his angry, frothing (some just deluded) voter base and to his vile legislative sycophants that there is no Divine Right of Trump. To paraphrase Obi Wan Kenobi, “These aren’t the leaders we’re looking for. We can go about our business of replacing them.” Here I’m working a Jedi mind trick on you.

Yoda

To be fair, Trump has one inherent right, albeit constitutional rather than divine. He has the right to be held accountable and to pay the price for his wrongdoing. It’s going to be a rocky, uncertain and dangerous road, but, quoting Yoda, “Make that happen we must. On this everything depends.”

Yoda is very wise.

Can’t Catch a Break

King Charles III

The recent anniversary and media saturation coverage of Princess Diana’s death were noteworthy for an unexpected reason.

As their marriage was devolving, both Diana and Prince Charles had extramarital affairs. She was understood and continued to be adored by the public. He was castigated. He never stood a chance, as the public took the side of the pretty princess.

Now Queen Elizabeth II has died after 16 years as a princess and 70 years as queen. She endeared herself to the public, first at age 14, as she spoke via radio to the terrified children of the empire during the blitz of WW II. She brought words of comfort, hope and strength to them. Later she greeted the troops coming home and did so much more over the decades that won over the public. And she reigned for such a long time that few can remember any other monarch.

Immediately upon her death her 73 year old son became King Charles III. It really won’t matter what he does or how well he does it. His mother was and will remain so enormously popular that he will be regarded as little more than a caretaker until his son becomes king and renewal begins.

This guy just can’t catch a break.

Here’s Maureen Dowd’s take on this.

————————————

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 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

What Should We Do About That? – v 1.0


Sun Tzu

The great soldier, leader and philosopher Sun Tzu offers wisdom from 5th century BC China that is valuable even today. Here’s a case in point.

Donald Trump has shown repeatedly that he doesn’t care a bit about America, democracy, the law, truth, reality – this list could be quite long. All he cares about is enhancing his power and wealth and he doesn’t care what he has to destroy to get it. Here’s Sun Tzu on this:

.
.

We have millions of our fellow citizens behaving badly. They weren’t always hostile and ready to believe the unbelievable, but with charismatic leadership from a sociopath, they’ve gone reptilian. They want nothing less than to vent their rage in destruction and in dangerous and anti-American ways. And they take their direction from Donald Trump.

What do you think we should do about that? I mean before Donald Trump and his mobs burn our own nation to the ground.

“Let me say this to my MAGA Republican friends in Congress:
Don’t tell me you support law enforcement if you won’t
condemn what happened on [January] 6th.
For God’s sake, whose side are you on?”
President Joe Biden, August 30, 2022, Wilkes Barre, PA
.

Yes, there are sides. You know the right side to be on and it surely is NOT the “burn it to the ground” side.

What Do You Think We Should Do About This?
.

Trump is the brat who threw the board game all over the room when it was clear that he was going to lose. He broke pieces and stomped on the board. If he couldn’t win he was going to make sure that nobody else could win, either. He’s still behaving that way, but today the game is a dire one, because the stakes are life and death.

There were more than 11,000 documents or photographs found at insecure Mar-a-Lago that were not classified. There were also 31 documents marked CONFIDENTIAL, 54 marked SECRET, and 18 marked TOP SECRET.

Among the materials stolen by Trump and recovered by the FBI are 48 folders marked at some level of classification like those in the picture above, but the folders are empty. The secret documents are gone.

Some folders are labeled TOP SECRET; some are SECRET/SCI, the most closely guarded information. That designation means that the information in such a folder is critical to our national security. And the super secret information in the documents those folders used to contain is missing.

This isn’t about some love note from a malicious despot. It isn’t a picture of Trump with some dignitaries. What’s missing is likely information concerning our nuclear arms, strategic plans, secret agreements with allies and more. That information may well no longer be secret.

The documents and information that belong in those folders were where they belonged, in those folders, on January 20, 2021. That’s when Trump metaphorically sneaked out of the White House and smuggled the classified documents out with him by hiding them under his overcoat. And now that we know those super secret folders are empty, we are faced with some existential questions:

–  Who has the contents of those folders now?

 –  What have they done with the documents?

–  Who and what are now imperiled because Trump has released the information to unknown persons and nations who may well be our enemies?

Trump lost the game of President and, because of that, has repeatedly tried to prevent Joe Biden from winning and keeping it. But this isn’t a board game. This is the most serious game in the world. It’s the game where informants are killed when they’re found out. It’s the game that, when nations lose, the worst happens.

We cannot afford to let Trump break alliances, out the very people who feed us critical intelligence and throw the moving pieces of this game all over the world, but he may well have already done just that. To mix metaphors, this time it may not be ketchup on the wall. This time it might be blood.

What do you think we should we do about that?

Related: For a clear and valuable take on “the soul of our nation,” have a look/listen to this. Many thanks to JA for the pointer.

Watch for What Should We Do About That? – v2.0 on Wednesday, September 7.

————————————

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 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Killing Bubba, a Thought Experiment & Key Moments


Malcolm Nance is warning us yet again and his message couldn’t be clearer. He spelled it out in an online session with the Washington Postwatch it here.

He worked in intelligence for many years and is a terrorism expert. Now he’s laying out plainly what you likely know and what you probably try not to think about: They Want To Kill Americans. The “they” he’s talking about is not some foreign terrorist organization; he’s talking about fellow Americans.

There are a lot of Americans who love violence. You saw tens of thousands of them at the Capitol Building on January 6. About 70 million Americans think violence is okay – even patriotic. That affects some very important legal decisions – like what to do about Trump.

There’s a lot of discussion about whether to charge the disgraced, twice-impeached former president for the various crimes he is alleged to have committed. The concern, some say, is that if Merrick Garland comes forth with indictments, that will catapult us into a lot of violence.

The fear is that the thugs, the delusional patriots, the angry Americans who want to kill Americans will come out of the woodwork, out from under rocks and from Congress and state houses. They’ll bring their 20 million assault rifles that we’ve allowed them to stockpile. They’ll come with their handguns and their large capacity magazines, their mortars and their hand grenades, their bump stocks and their RPGs and all the rest. They will wave their Gadsden flags and shout false claims about a present day 1776 and they will kill Americans. They will crush our 250 year old institutions. They will destroy democracy and with it our rights and our safety. They will make a deadly mess before our military puts a stop to them. That’s what some fear will happen if Merrick Garland does his job.

The counter argument is that we already have violence and more will be visited upon us no matter what we do, so we should prosecute the perp.

Either way, we’re living among American killer wannabees. Yet without accountability for committing crimes we are inviting far worse from the next populist, who will certainly be better at all the deception and manipulation of the system than Trump. That leaves us with the challenge of figuring out how to deal with our violent ones.

And that brings us to a history lesson.

When Europeans began to arrive in what became known as North, Central and South America they brought new things. They brought the European moral and legal attitude of “You have it, I want it, so I’ll take it.” They brought guns and they brought draft animals never before seen by the indigenous peoples. All of that made conquest relatively easy. But the biggest force for overpowering natives was the rich assortment of European diseases like measles and smallpox that infected the virally defenseless indigenous people. Those diseases eventually wiped out roughly 95% of the natives.

Forward to today.

Lots of Americans have gotten vaccinated, while 22% still believe stories about people dying from the vaccine, that there are nanobots in the juice, that the vaccine will make you sterile, that vaccines are an abridgement of their freedom and yet more non-sense from people with no sense. Not surprisingly, these people are dying of Covid. Over 460 per day and trending upward.

The data is as plain and dreadful as ever:

If you are not vaccinated you are 17 times more likely to need to be hospitalized and 20 times more likely to die from Covid.

98 – 99% of present day Covid deaths are of the unvaccinated.

So, stand fast in refusing to be vaccinated, cowboys, Proud Boys, 3-Percenters, freedom hallucinators, and the rest. You’ll stay at the top of the international Covid death curve. You’re Number 1!

Going full Machiavellian, a way out of both the pandemic and our incipient violence is for our fiercely-independent-to-the-point-of-self-destruction people to die of Covid.

Yeah, I know that’s brutal, but that is what these people are doing. Americans just keep getting infected and some live because they’re vaccinated and have antibody protection, while the unvaccinated die. Those of us remaining will dust ourselves off and carry on, but without those who died fiercely independent and without a care in the world for the others they infected.

Regardless, in the end, the White supremacists in Charlottesville chanting, “You will not replace us” and, “Jews will not replace us,” will be proven wrong. The hate spewers will be replaced because they will have chosen to die with tubes down their throats. They will have been (past tense) the Americans who wanted to kill Americans. Instead, Bubba is killing himself.

Thought Experiment

Imagine that you had been one of the January 6 rioters. You were violent. You attacked Capitol Police and DC Metro cops. You entered the Capitol Building through a broken window and vandalized things inside. You did all of that because Trump asked you to come to DC, he told to march to the Capitol Building and told you to “fight like hell.” You followed the orders of your leader.

Your anger was stoked even higher when you learned of Trump’s tweet at 2:24PM accusing V.P. Pence of cowardice for having refused Trump’s illegal order. With that incitement, passion to hang Pence was fire in your blood. And at 6:01PM Trump tweeted that you and your fellow rioters were “great patriots.”

The next day Trump issued a video, saying he was “outraged by the violence” and declaring that anyone who broke the law would be prosecuted.

Question: How did you feel then about Trump having double-crossed you?

Answer: Stabbed in the back? Betrayed? Did you no longer trust him? That would be reasonable, but you don’t feel any of those things. You as a Trump person long ago became a world class rationalizer, so that when facts arise that are contradictory to what you want to believe you simply whisk them away as false or explain them away as an example of Trump’s genius.

End of experiment.

Watch Adam Kinzinger explain about our violent ones (begin at 2:30:03) in his commentary at the January 21 presentation, as the committee focused on Trump’s 187 minutes of dereliction of duty.

” .  .  .  the forces Donald Trump ignited that day have not gone away. The militant, intolerant ideologies; the militias; the alienation and the disaffection; the weird fantasies and disinformation. They’re all still out there, ready to go.”

“Trump’s people” are hoarders and vigilantes of grievance, bonded to their self-justifying victimhood and rage. They are irredeemable. Our discussions have to be with others who aren’t going through life with a cocked fist and a loaded assault rifle and who instead engage in realities. They and we are who will save us from ourselves.

Key Moments From Session 8 of the January 6 Select Committee
  1. Secret Service people guarding V.P. Pence sending good-bye messages to their families.
  2. An insurgent yelling, “This is what we trained for!”
  3. Wormy witnesses parsing words to avoid saying anything.
  4. Liz Cheney skewering the bad guys – again.
  5. Trump never made even a single call to law enforcement or national security for reinforcements to protect the Capitol Building or its occupants because the insurgents were doing his bidding.
  6. “We, as Americans, must all agree on this: Donald Trump’s conduct on January 6th was a supreme violation of his oath of office and his complete dereliction of his duty to our nation. It is a stain on our history. It is a dishonor to all those who have sacrificed and died in service of our democracy.” Adam Kinzinger

————————————

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 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Cpl. Hershel Williams


Special post – 21 July 2022

I was struck speechless and motionless when I saw the picture in the New York Times Newsletter of July 16. Goose bumps ran from the back of my neck all the way down my left leg.

Click for the detail of Cpl. Williams’ action.

The awful Battle of Iwo Jima* in February 1945 killed or wounded over 27,000 Americans. Cpl. Hershel Williams’ actions there saved countless lives and later that year he was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Harry Truman.

So many of the recipients of that honor have said something similar to what Cpl. Williams said.

“I claim to be only the caretaker of the medal. There were 27 medals awarded [for heroism during that battle], but there were countless others who did as much, if not more.”

Cpl. Hershel Williams was the last living recipient of the Medal of Honor from World War II and he was among the very best of us.

The photo below is of the recent Congressional ceremony in Cpl. Williams’ honor in the Rotunda of the Capitol Building. Study it: the flag draped coffin; the Army sentinels standing guard; “The Landing of Columbus” painting; the polished brass stanchions; the ghost-like guard passing by; and the reflection of all of it on the polished marble floor. You’ll gain new perspective on why we must get to the bottom of the January 6 desecration of that place.

Hershel Williams, the last living Medal of Honor recipient from World War II, recently died at the age of 98. He was honored at the Capitol. Haiyun Jiang/The New York Times (Click the pic for the full story.)

Published on the morning of the January 6 Select Committee step-by-step presentation to the nation of the actions of the former President of the United States in the insurrection. It is the story of those who insulted true patriots like Cpl. Williams and those who spawned the disgraceful and traitorous carnage.


See footnote 5 below

Click for the Wikipedia article

* I learned of James Bradley’s stunning book, Flags of Our Fathers, while sitting next to his sister on a cross country flight in 2000 as the book was being released. It is the story of the six men who raised the flag atop Mt. Suribachi on Iwo Jima. Their father, Navy Corpsman John Bradley, was one of those men.

If you prefer, watch the Clint Eastwood film of the same name. Either way, this is a story you need to know. You’ll appreciate Cpl. Hershel Williams and the honoring of him in the Capitol Rotunda all the more.

Click for the Wikipedia article

————————————

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 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Hartmann Agrees


I think that it isn’t the system that needs reform. It’s the people who are undermining the system who need reform – or replacement. Click for the story – see Item #3.

Not long ago I posted a love note to Millennials and Gen-Zs. It was something of an apology for what we  Boomers have done that threatens them and for the huge pile of political poo we’re piling at their feet. It isn’t pretty and it won’t be easy. But it’s critical that they grab hold of this mess, shackle it in irons and imprison it for the life of this planet.

I laid out some of the key challenges and let our Ms and Zs know that we believe in them, that they can do this. They can restore what has been stolen, they can take the critically important steps to save our planet and themselves and they have the power to replace our national dishonesty, denial and mindless rage with truth and reality.

It turns out that Thom Hartmann agrees with me and he’s laid out far more clearly the reasons that Ms and Zs are so screwed – his word. I encourage everyone to read his message and see it as a laying out of the challenges that must be met.

These challenges should not be partisan or political, but the sad truth is that they are. There is only one party that tolerates and promotes hatred. There is only one party that fights against the advancement of gun safety.* There is only one party that rejoices in taking away our rights. There is only one party that consistently takes from the poor and middle class and gives to the super rich. There is only one party taking away your vote and working to destroy our democracy and replace it with a fascist autocracy.

There is more bad stuff that they do, of course, but the point is that the Republican Party, the one that used to be conservative, standing up for the values you believe in, no longer exists. They stand solely for enhancing their own power and wealth at our expense.

Read Hartmann’s piece and you’ll understand.

While you’re at it, read The Democrats Need to Wake Up and Stop Pandering to Their Extremes, a forehead slapper from The Economist. You’ll understand that one, too.

See? It just doesn’t take that many words. This took 30 seconds to think of and about 15 minutes to construct.

BTW

I’ve pummeled Democrats repeatedly for their astonishingly poor communication skills. They’re nearly always way too wordy, taking what would be said by Republicans in under two dozen words and instead expanding them into unintelligible paragraphs that not even the author can remember and which put readers to sleep.

President Biden’s July 9 essay in the Washington Post explaining/defending his trip to Saudi Arabia was just such a communication disaster. It demonstrates that in 1,387 words. Yes, over 2 pages of dense text!

What are the communications people in the White House thinking?

I did muscle through it on my second attempt. It is boring. It is W-A-A-A-A-A-Y too long. And it feels like an old prize fighter recounting a win from years ago.

“Joe, I want  to hear about how what you’re doing today will help me tomorrow. And I want to hear about it in a maximum of 60 seconds.”

I think Biden is doing a really good job of doing his job. But he and the Ds are so dreadfully, painfully, self-destructively lousy at communication that even Democrats can’t see the good stuff that’s happening right in front of them. Look at this from the New York Times:

Sixty-four percent of Democratic voters prefer a candidate other than President Biden in 2024, a Times/Siena College poll shows.
.

That’s happening as we are in an existential battle to save democracy from the Rs who would crush it. If we’re to win that battle and succeed in saving our nation, voters will have to feel good about voting for Democrats.

Crappy communication won’t help.

NOTE: I reached out to the DNC with an offer to help. So far no reply.

Covid Corner – post-video late addition

In an interview with Politico and discussing his retirement, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the lightning rod and target of extremist right wing paranoia, said, “If somebody says, ‘You’ll leave when we don’t have Covid anymore,’ then I will be 105. I think we’re going to be living with this.”

A STAT report commenting on Fauci’s interview response reported, “That statement is a concession that we never flattened the curve of cases and we’re instead living with the virus and its variants.”

I’m left gobsmacked by the profound impact 22% of the U.S. population has had by refusing to be vaccinated and by having temper tantrums over masks. “Living with the virus and its variants” is the price we all pay when the fierce independents and the power and money opportunists hold sway over the common good. Read the charts.

Just a couple of weeks ago we were losing 327 Americans per day to Covid. Now it’s up to 417 per day. And 98 – 99% of those who die are unvaccinated. Have a fiercely independent day, Bubba – while you still can.


* “And I believe it is insane that Republicans in the U.S. Senate — who accept the Second Amendment as a death warrant for tens of thousands of Americans each year — will not even agree to legislation raising the minimum age to purchase such weapons of war [AR-15 style assault weapons] to 21.”

“Shame on this country for refusing to take those guns out of the shooters’ hands — or to prevent them from buying those guns in the first place.”

Eugene Robinson, Washington Post, July 19, 2022

————————————

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 2022 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 2022 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 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

1 2 3 46  Scroll to top