Leadership

Cluelessness


Struggling to Understand

New York Times Senior Opinion Staff Editor Alexandra Sifferlin wrote a piece on Monday triggered by the Covid-19 death of sports journalist Grant Wahl while covering the World Cup in Qatar. Her story was not about his death. It was about the “anti-vaxxers [who] were quick to blame his death on the Covid-19 vaccine.”

Questions pop off the page, like why would people believe fact-free conspiracy rumors about the vaccines, canards that were spread by non-doctors and non-scientists and hateful rumor generators? Think: injecting bleach. And why would anyone invade the grief so many are feeling and dump cruelty on these innocents? Wait: this gets worse.

Sifferlin continues, “Céline Gounder is an infectious disease doctor and epidemiologist [i.e. a doctor and a scientist] and has been a prominent voice on the Covid-19 pandemic. She is also Wahl’s widow and has been sent numerous emails and voice mail messages blaming her for his death because of her support for vaccines.” Cruelty amplified.

Let this stand as a placeholder for so many forms of anti-social behavior that have become commonplace, like:

neighbors yelling vitriolic slurs at school board meetings

bullies making death threats to citizens doing patriotic things, like being poll workers

thugs committing murder – mass shootings or otherwise – that are encouraged by people broadcasting loathing in order to inflame anger and hatred

I’ve just begun reading Andy Borowitz’s new book, Profiles in Ignorance: How America’s Politicians Got Dumb and Dumber (see Fine Print #5 below). In his introduction he writes,

“We’ll retrace the steps of the vacuous pioneers who turned ignorance from a liability into a virtue. By relentlessly lowering the bar, they made it possible for today’s politicians to wear their dunce caps with pride. Gone are the days when leaders had to hide how much they didn’t know. Now cluelessness is an electoral asset and smart politicians must play dumb, or risk voters’ wrath. Welcome to the survival of the dimmest.”

The standout part of that is that cluelessness is mandatory or politicians will “risk voters’ wrath.” That means that the driving force of politicians’ proud ignorance is a public that wants them to be clueless. What’s going on with us that we rejoice in being uninformed and, worse, dumb? And why wouldn’t we want our leaders to be smart – smarter than the average bear – so they can make good choices for us?

We must want to be clueless and dumb in order to believe absurd conspiracy idiocy, like that there are giant Jewish space lasers igniting wild fires in California, that the moon landings were faked, that there is a Hillary Clinton sex trafficking operation in a non-existent basement of a DC pizza restaurant and all the rest.

Surely, there’s more to this than cluelessness. Ignorance doesn’t explain the ongoing undermining of our democracy by people proclaiming themselves to be patriots. (See: “oxymoron” with emphasis on the “moron.”) It doesn’t explain thousands trashing the Capitol Building and preparing to lynch the Vice President and Speaker of the House and defecating in the Rotunda. It doesn’t explain thugs in camo carrying AR-15s strutting around the entrances to polling places. Love of ignorance is a prerequisite for all of that, but it doesn’t explain the fear and rage and cruelty.

I’m a Boomer and distinctly recall President Kennedy declaring, “College is America’s best friend.” Of course, there were practical reasons for that, such as that we were in a cold war against a belligerent Russian bear and we needed smart, well educated people to be technical geniuses so we could defend our nation. Nobody argued for cluelessness. Nobody declared war on wisdom and learning, but that’s changed.

What’s going on that we cram theocracy into our public schools and steal public school tax money and give it to fund parochial schools? Why did we let George W. Bush get away with his attack on the First Amendment by shifting government education funds to “faith-based initiatives?” What’s going on that some opportunistic politicians are Big Brothering our schools to limit what children can learn and they’re burning books? How come some seem to want us to return to the massive ignorance that existed prior to the Age of Enlightenment?

Somehow a great deal has changed and we have a profound disdain for wisdom and learning. Far more dangerous is the anger toward people who think. We’re in an age of visceral primacy, where “Me getting what I want is all that matters and I’m pleased to stomp on anyone who sees things differently. Fie on education, learning and critical thinking!”

How did we elect pretty-face-empty-head Ronald Reagan? Why did we elect doofus frat boy George W. Bush? Why did we fall for an obvious con artist, Mr. 30,000 lies? Why don’t we want all of our presidents to be smart and well informed? Also, patriotic.

What has happened that we seem to prefer rage over everything else? Are we to return to some semblance of appreciation for learning and wisdom and of one another, or will we continue until the few of us left are living in caves? If we are to drop the primacy of cruelty that endangers us all, what has to happen? How will that come about?

I’m struggling to understand this.

Do Some Supporting

The mouse is now Speaker of the House and the legislative terrorists – the “Tear-Down Party” – are in control of him. Brace yourself, because this is going to be an extremely turbulent two years.

As those fifteen embarrassing elections were happening in the House of Representatives, I emailed my congressman, Brad Schneider (D-IL10), with a simple message:

Hang in there! Gotcher back as you fight the good fight.
.

He sent an appreciative reply.

There are a lot of people in Congress who do that every day – they fight the good fight. That’s in spite of the fact that they hear every day from people who are mad at government and mad at them. They get irrational demands thrown at them. They get hate mail. They get threats.

I figure that now and then they need to hear from the people who know they’re doing the right thing. They need to hear a thanks for standing tall in the face of cruelty and oppression and madness. They can use some validation that they’re on the right side, reassurance that they’re representing us properly.

So, I have a suggestion and a request: Call or text your senators and congressperson and let them know that you appreciate them fighting the good fight and that you have their back. https://www.house.gov/ and https://www.house.gov/

And if they’re on the wrong side, call or text them and say that you see them for what they are and what they’re doing and that you have the back of whoever opposes them.

Classified Documents Found in Biden’s Old Office

I’m shocked – SHOCKED!to learn that Fox-Never-Was-News is horrified by a revelation about a Democrat.

O’ the stupefaction of it all!

An Update On the Rotary of Northbrook Coat Drive

Ref: The last section of this post.

Text pasted from Rotary:

The Final Count.  831 winter coats plus around a dozen boxes of gloves/hats/scarves/boots.  In terms of winter coats, we are confident this is more than last year. Most have already been distributed to 9 charity organizations/locations, with the final boxes (pictured below) for World Relief Chicago, PADS, and a fifth dropoff at Connections for the Homeless all scheduled for next week.  Two Men and a Truck will donate transportation for these boxes for a fourth straight week. So far, five organizations have received at least a first installment of coats:  Refugee One, Stock the Shelves, Connections for the Homeless, Ethiopian Community Association (refugees), and Deerfield Free Store.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A bunch of people will be warmer now. Thanks and kudos to all who contributed!

  • ————————————
  • 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.

The Mouse in the House*


As I watched the spectacle in the Republican-controlled House of self-inflicted embarrassment, it became clear that we’re pretty much a country of Never Kevins.

Kevin McCarthy has no principles other than a mania to become Speaker of the House. He has given away anything and everything to get that title, even as doing so leaves the speakership impotent. That makes him completely unreliable, untrustworthy, and even unnecessary.

If McCarthy had any true leadership ability, sometime around his 5th election defeat last week he would have shown that he has a spine, saying he’s had enough humiliation and that he’s abandoning his long time quest to become Speaker. He would quit his job, put his personal things in a box and go back to California. Just before leaving he would stand at the podium in the well of the House and say,

“Madam clerk and my fellow representatives-elect, we have held many elections this week for Speaker of the House and it is now clear that I will not be able to win that post. The time has come to put aside both party and personal desires and act solely in the interest of our country. To that end, I am formally withdrawing my name from consideration to be speaker.

“All agreements I have made in negotiations for votes with reluctant members of my party are terminated immediately. They are null and void. We begin again, now with a clean slate.

“I ask that this body of representatives of We the People choose the best among us to lead this House for the next two years. I ask that party not be part of the calculation, but only what is best for our country. I ask everyone to stand behind that leader to move our nation forward.

“Madam clerk, I yield the floor for the last time.”

But of course, he didn’t say that and doing so would never happen because McCarthy does not have the spine or the vision or the selflessness to do such a thing.

Click the pic or the essay

Instead, he bought his way into the speakership on the fifteenth ballot by giving away all the power of the gavel. He put the power into the hands of the arsonists, the 10% of his party who are the very ones who aided and abetted the insurrection. These are the people who moved to overturn the 2020 presidential electoral vote count even after the mob had come to lynch the Vice President, the Speaker of the House and possibly more legislators. They now have the reins of power in the United States House of Representatives. They are legislative terrorists and that is going to have consequences.

There’s nothing conservative (much less ultra-conservative or far right) about supporting an insurrection, attempting to tear up the Constitution, threatening to shut down the government, refusing to pay our bills, denying the results of a free and fair election, threatening innocents with violence, preventing people from voting, remaining silent in the face of corruption, standing as obstacles to government functioning, stealing rights from We the People and all the rest of the abhorrent things Republicans rejoice in doing. And if Republicans are not conservatives, then the crazies, these legislative terrorists, can’t be “far right.” They are in a completely different category.

Call them the Tear-Down Party, because they’re focused on “tearing it all down,” “deconstruction of the administrative state,” dismantling our government. They are out to prove that government doesn’t work by sabotaging government. They are anarchists, destroyers, the sowers of chaos, the opposition to nearly all you hold dear. They are lovers of hatred, fear mongering and domination of others. They insist on total victory all the time, leaving impossible any form of compromise, because they are all about themselves and about nobody else. They are a virulent and deadly invasion of “me-ism” that threatens our republic with destruction.

The Republican blaze of anger began with Reagan and was stoked into an inferno by Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, Grover Norquist and yet more self-inflating egomaniacs. They and today’s version of them, like Tucker Carlson, plus the people they manipulate into supporting them, are the members of the Tear-Down Party. And they are the obstacle to our common welfare and to our entire nation.

They are about tearing down our foundation as a country, so they cannot be considered conservatives. The Democrats are the true conservatives, because they stand for conserving our Constitution and our democracy.

The Tear-Down Party radicals are prepared to do nothing but destruction, including non-stop muckraking of Hunter Biden and his laptop, our exit from Afghanistan, the ongoing dysfunction at our southern border and more. We know that they won’t be searching for solutions or policy improvements, because they told us so. They just want to blame “others” and undermine our belief in ourselves.

They will refuse to authorize an increase in the debt ceiling this September. That means that the federal government won’t be able to pay its bills. We will officially be a deadbeat nation, unable to care for our people, meet our obligations at home or abroad, provide for our national defense or do anything else. There will be profound and destabilizing global economic and political consequences and all of them will be very bad.

These legislative terrorists of the Tear-Down Party wave the banner of red, white and blue right now, but they will wipe their dirty boots on that banner as they do everything in their power to tear down our government and put us all at risk.

I see only two sources of hope for the next two years. First is that the Presidency and the Senate are controlled by Democrats, so they can stop any legislative lunacy from the House legislative terrorists.

Second is the hope that our Department of Justice will prosecute and incarcerate the January 6 conspirators now in the House and that they will be replaced in Congress by non-radicals. You know: actual patriotic Americans.

———————————

  • * “[McCarthy’s] mistake was convincing himself that a party obsessed with dominance would reward submission.”
  • Leopards Eat Kevin McCarthy’s Face
  • by Michelle Goldberg,
  • New York Times, January 4, 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 or neighborhood vibrant.

JA


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

Raison d’Être


An essay in The Washington Post arrived last Wednesday shortly after my post about Biden’s accomplishments was posted. The WaPo piece is penned by Marc Thiessen and bears the not-so-enlightened title The 10 Worst Things Joe Biden Did in 2022. To be fair, Thiessen also offered a day earlier what he calls The 10 Best Things Biden Did in 2022.

I’m a WaPo subscriber, but I know nothing about Mr. Thiessen other than what I can conjure from his essays. I urge you to read his 10 Worst piece with an open yet critical mindset. He is a master of misdirection via implication.

For example, he starts by saying that Biden’s presidency is the worst in his (Thiessen’s) lifetime. Given the national disaster that were the Trump years, that should set the stage for you on what to expect. Here are a few specifics, numbered per Thiessen’s points.

10. Thiessen begins with, “On Biden’s watch this year” and goes on to list “disasters,” like inflation, gas prices and food prices, as though those are unrelated. But aren’t gas and food prices part of inflation? Besides, they’re out of any president’s control, so hanging them on Biden is senseless.

He goes on to include, “the worst crime wave in many cities since the 1990s. Not since Jimmy Carter has a president unleashed so many calamities at once.” Thiessen deftly ignores that Biden inherited the highest crime rate in 20 years and that crime rates went down in 2022. He implies Biden’s ineptitude with his “Biden’s watch” thing and the “unleashed” bit, as though Biden were attacking the country. Nonsense.

9. He slams Biden for his Jim Crow 2.0 accusation of Georgia’s voting restrictions, saying he owes Georgia an apology. What he fails to note is that Georgia’s governor managed to get over half a million Black and poor Georgians removed from the voter roles, this for major infractions, like being Black or poor. Sounds pretty Jim Crow-ish to me.

7. He criticizes Biden for discharging thousands of our military troops for their having refused an order to take a Covid-19 vaccination. This is forehead-slappingly absurd.

We were facing an assailant of monstrously debilitating power. Were it to sweep through our military we would be unable to defend our country. Do you remember the USS Theodore Roosevelt, on which a huge percentage of the crew went down with Covid? Do you want to have to count on that ship in that condition to protect the nation? Neither did Biden.

Besides, all military people get vaccinated for various illnesses when they report for duty for just such a reason. This is a really myopic and senseless criticism of Biden.

4. “He has failed to avenge the Kabul airport attack that killed 183 people, including 13 Americans.” That happened in August 2021. George W. Bush failed to get Osama bin Laden at all and it took until May 2011, nearly 10 years, for President Obama to get him and avenge 9-11. It took over 34 years to get the guy accused of making the bomb that brought down Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.

The ISIS-K bad guys in Kabul will get their day of reckoning for their murderous bombing. Criticizing Biden for not having captured or killed them yet is senseless.

1. “He slow-rolled military aid to Ukraine out of fear of provoking Vladimir Putin.” Thiessen cannot be so simple minded that he thinks that military aid to Ukraine is a single issue challenge, right? Maybe I’m wrong about that.

Maybe he thinks that poking Putin in the eye over and over would never have bad consequences for us. Nevertheless, we’ve been the biggest cheerleader for Ukraine and provided far more munitions than anyone else. Plus, we supplied the leadership for sanctions on Russia. So far Putin hasn’t been provoked into using nukes. Maybe Biden’s thoughtfulness and caution are the stuff of wisdom.

Oddly, Thiessen’s headline about “slow-rolled military aid to Ukraine” sounds like a positive to me, not one of Biden’s 10 worst.

Throughout our ongoing Constitutional crisis that is Donald Trump and his extremists, posts like Thiessen’s have come in a constant torrent and most are free of critical thought. Their raison d’être (literally, “reason for being;” their purpose) is to tear down, to be cruel.

I have described such people, most often in an effort to understand and explain their behavior. To be honest, sometimes it was just to hit back. But the report of the January 6 Committee is out, so I leave it to those patriotic people of the Committee and to bright, insightful observers like Tom Nichols and Peter Wehner to give further insight into the Cruellas.

I don’t know if Mr. Thiessen is an extremist, but his knuckle headed criticism of Joe Biden suggests a commitment to outrage and cruelty, rather than to reasonable thinking and solutions. I’ll read his offerings again someday, concurrent with welcoming other extremists – when they atone for their sins as fervently and as publicly as they committed them.

The New Year

My friend Mardy Grothe publishes a weekly post focused on literature, language and thinking. Suffice it to say that I read his post first every Sunday.*

Last Sunday he quoted Zora Neale Hurston from her 1937 book, Their Eyes Were Watching God, in which the narrator says, “There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” Then Mardy challenges us, asking, Will 2023 Answer Questions for You, or Ask Them?

Responding in the political arena, we face enormous challenges, most alarmingly from extremists who want to “tear it all down,” as Steve Bannon exclaimed. That positions those whose sole raison d’être is to grab power as little more than obstructionists at best and sideshow executioners at worst. Will their behavior answer or ask questions for/of us?

It seems to me that seeking answers must focus on the questions of how to deal with entrenched outrage and anger and still make progress on our national challenges. That makes me wonder where Democrats will focus. It’s very easy to simply be reactionary, but most commonly that’s only momentarily satisfying, while remaining unproductive of anything worthwhile.

2023: A year of questions or answers? What will be our raison d’être in this new year?

——————————-

* To subscribe, send an email to Mardy at: [email protected] with “Subscribe” in the Subject area.

————————————

  • 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.

Rationalizing Anything


I’ve done a little research in order to understand standard issue alt-right rationalizing behavior. Here’s a sampling from right wing politicians, pundits and the little folk on the far right (non-traditional Republicans – the ones whose sound bites make the news). See if this comports with your experience of your crazy Uncle Bob and now of the Mark Meadows texts just being made public.

They make sweeping accusations and assertions in the complete absence of evidence to support such claims. Usually done serially and at high speed in order to overwhelm challengers and not have to answer questions.

Asking for evidence to support their accusations and assertions elicits some version of, “Everybody knows” or a restatement of the accusation, but with amped up volume. The simple declaration of their claims is all they need for conviction and a subsequent hanging in the town square.

They project alt-right wrongdoing onto others. Whatever the far right is doing, they accuse the “socialist Democrats” of it, once again without any evidence. It’s always someone else who is the bad guy. Expect a world class performance every time.

Stand back, because they volcanically erupt focus-transferring what-about-isms. This is a bit like “throwing their voice” – ventriloquism – but they’re actually trying to throw reality.

Dismissing all news or evidence that counters their story is a requirement for membership in this club. For example, news stories they don’t like are eviscerated by calling them lies (“lame-stream media”) to make them go away. That seems to prove to themselves the truth and accuracy of their own counter-factual beliefs and reestablishes their power position.
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They claim there is outrageous wrong being done to totally pure, patriotic righty extremists, like the horrible abuse being done to January 6 insurrectionists – oops, legitimate, peaceful protesters – by our illegitimate federal government.
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They are adept at performance politics of any description done to “own the libs.” There’s really nothing quite as satisfying as demonizing others, especially if they are so weenie that they won’t march a Confederate battle flag through the Capitol Building or claim that an election was stolen.
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All in all, it’s what you could call “aggressive ignorance” that seals off brain functioning from learning. Plus, there’s the anger attendant to these folks. Very dangerous.

Those things and more are what make it hard to have any conversation with a MAGA conspiracy theorist, alt-right extremist or pretty much anyone who self-identifies as a Republican. The question for the rest of us is, “How can we deal with people who rationalize and fervently believe their Through The Looking Glass alternate reality in order to prevent them from destroying our democracy?”

Ideas? Bueller? Bueller?

Here’s another example of rationalizing.

Prof. Heather Cox Richardson’s Letters From An American are always interesting and most often educational. After all, she is a teacher.

Her post of December 2 concerned the issue of treason and detailed John Brown’s attempt to launch a slave rebellion in 1859. He was captured and hanged, the first American to be executed for treason.

This behavior geek moment concerns the State of Virginia, which conducted the hanging.

Richardson wrote,

“The execution of John Brown for treason set a precedent.

“And in just over a year, Virginians themselves would take up arms against the federal government.”

Hmmm .  .  .

Humans are such a reliable source of entertainment, as we display our boundless ability to rationalize.

Indeed, here’s a 2024 pre-campaign tweet from Ron DeSantis’ wife, Casey:

Thanks go to Jim Nathan for this.

Nobody has a clue why she figures she’s speaking for millions of people. Really, that’s some impressive turf grabbing. Plus, the freedom to which she refers apparently only applies to those who are White, Christian, straight and probably male. How do they rationalize that? Click the tweet and read the comments.

And be sure to watch the black-and-white electioneering ad below the tweet. It mentions God 10 times in just 96 seconds, thus setting a new land speed record for attempted manipulation of the ignorant. Implied is, “A vote for ‘I love you, Ron’ is a vote for God.” That’s beyond rationalizing. It’s delusional and truly gag-able.

Worse is the rationalizing away of the cruelty DeSantis has inflicted on those who aren’t exactly like him and his bible thumping wife. Contrary to Casey DeSantis’ claim, “I love you Ron” actively and enthusiastically works to take away people’s freedom, like his “Don’t say gay” bill. That’s the opposite of “fighting for freedom” and is world class rationalizing.

I know nothing more about Casey DeSantis, but Ron DeSantis can be counted upon to rationalize all manner of extremist notions to penalize others in order to appeal to his extremist base and promote himself.

To Republican voters: Caveat emptor. What you see is what you get.

Sooner or later DeSantis will have you and your freedom in his sights. He’ll have a fabulous, rationalized justification for attacking you, but you won’t like it. Didn’t we learn this lesson when Trump failed to become “presidential?” Perhaps not.

Avoiding Rationalizing – Here’s How

Maureen Dowd’s column of December 3 is an appeal to support those combating child killing cancer and more. She details her friend, College Football Hall of Fame coach Lloyd Carr (University of Michigan) and the tragic story of his grandson. In her piece she offers a couple of Carr’s football mantras that apply to fighting cancer and, really, anything needing to be championed:

“You can’t do everything but you can do something.”

“Blame no one, expect nothing, do something.”

I strongly recommend that you write Carr’s directives in big, bold letters and post them where you see them every day.

  • ————————————

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.

Bolts


The call and response could go this way:

What do we want?

Certainty!

When do we want it?

Now!

We humans prefer predictability. It makes us feel secure. We aren’t such frightened little bunnies when we know what we can count on today and tomorrow, too. Sadly, we live in a world that simply isn’t all that predictable, due in part to the ever-accelerating rate of change in our world of non-stop breaking news.

America has always had a share of its citizenry who mouthed the words of support for democracy but didn’t really like or support it. That majority rule thing means that sometimes some people don’t get what they want. Some people just can’t handle not getting what they want all the time.

Plus, everything takes so much longer to decide and to do when everything is effectively a function of a committee, which is what democracy implies. Besides, some people don’t like to share and want all the power for themselves. They operate under the assumption that the “others” are too lazy or ignorant or less worthy somehow, so power grabbing by them, the “more equals,” just makes sense to them. And it’s so very self-satisfying.

We tried that anti-democracy thing with King George III at the top of the power pyramid and didn’t like that too much. That led to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, saying that we’d rather do that ruling thing ourselves.

It was intended to include all of us (eventually). But anti-democracy is really attractive to some, especially in the face of change and uncertainty.

Last September 11 the New York Times published an opinion piece by Elizabeth Rush entitled What Antarctica’s Disintegration Asks Of Us. She calls for having a different attitude toward this aspect of climate warming, yet my big takeaway was just one sentence in her piece:

“How do we go on living when the very things we once depended upon have become undependable?”

We are decades past the time when it became clear that we are killing ourselves and our planet on the installment plan, one tank of gas at a time, yet practically nothing has been done to ameliorate the problem. Not long ago there were the Paris Climate Accords and we earthlings have a perfect record. Of the 195 nations pledging specific action to deal with global warming, not even one country has kept its promise and most haven’t done a thing.

The Anasazi cliff dwellers lived for over 1,000 years in what is now southwest Colorado. It was a very dry climate, yet they managed to grow crops and scratch out their existence. It had always worked for them.

Right up until it didn’t.

One day between 1275 and 1300 A.D. they left. They didn’t leave a note about why they were departing or where they were going.

Something had become undependable. Best guess: years of drought forced them to leave in order to find a place where there could be a dependable supply of food and water.

The Anasazi liked dependability and predictability just as much as we do today. But they had an existential problem, so they made a decision and all of them left. Nobody knows how they came to their decision, but if drought was the impetus, what they had to do probably looked fairly obvious. Other times, solutions don’t look as obvious and decisions are difficult and slow to be made.

Now we’re facing a challenge every bit as dire as that of the Anasazi and increasingly as obvious. The Antarctica glacier that Elizabeth Rush and the scientific and journalistic team investigated is melting and has the volume to raise sea levels 10 feet. Say good-bye to all coastal cities on the globe. Nobody knows what other climate changes that much sea level rise could trigger.

The question we are going to have to answer is whether we will allow our democracy to solve this riddle. Doing so will be much slower than by authoritarian dictum. Also, it will likely be better reasoned and actually workable. That’s what happens when extra wisdom is applied.

You’ve watched would-be authoritarians over the past years and even now, as they work tirelessly to undermine democracy in order to grab power for themselves. They want to solve problems by fiat.

As of this writing Kari Lake is continuing to say that she will refuse the election results in the Arizona gubernatorial election if she doesn’t win. That’s the very stuff of authoritarianism. Would you trust Kari Lake or anyone like her to make life and death decisions for you or for our nation?

Now, for a collision of muddled metaphors.
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We don’t have certainty and we will never have it. The people trying to sell you their authoritarian bucket of bolts are calling it dependability and predictability and saying theirs is the best answer. They are singing a siren song to lure you to crash on the slippery rocks of authoritarianism. They claim theirs is the patriotic way and that all you have to do to secure their promise for yourself, to have the predictability you crave, is to surrender your freedom and your voice.

They will be trying to get you to bite into their poison apple two years from now. If there is any certainty anywhere, some of them will be doing that every two years for the rest of your life. So, always be prepared with your decision.

Otherwise, you’ll be left clutching slimy authoritarian rocks and holding a bucket of worthless bolts.

Covid Update

No, it hasn’t gone away. Here’s an updated chart of daily Covid deaths:

We endured thousands of daily Covid deaths for over two years. Then magical vaccines came along, rationed first to healthcare workers, then to the elderly entrapped in nursing facilities and at last to the general public and there was a drastic reduction in Covid deaths. We still lost over 400 of our fellow citizens every day to this pandemic for a long time. As you can see from the chart, the daily death count began to decline in late October and is now below 300.

The fact remains that over 95% of the people who die from Covid every day are or were vaccine refusers. The same percentage applies to those sick enough to be hospitalized but who don’t die. Meanwhile, you do the math on how very few would die from Covid if vaccine refusal went away.

295 people dead from Covid every day is better than before, but hardly something to celebrate.

Oh, wait – we’ve already moved on and are now paying no attention to Covid at all. There are too many fresh distractions every day in this hyped up, always-breaking-news environment for us to stay focused on any one thing for very long. So, no celebration.

Ukraine Update

Ukrainian troops have recaptured the city of Kherson in the southeast of Ukraine along the Dnipro River where it empties into the Black Sea. Russian troops ran away from the advance of liberating Ukrainian troops and the Ukrainian flag flies in that city once again. It appears we’re coming closer to the day when President Zelenskyy can demand Putin’s surrender, as outlined last March.

Ukrainian flag is raised in Kherson with President Zelenskyy attending – 14 Nov 2022. Click the pic.

————————————

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.

The 2022 Pond Scum Awards


Pond Scum Award #1

The 2022 Pond Scum Awards

Elon Musk put in a bid to buy Twitter some months ago. Then he tried to slime out of the deal when it didn’t look too good for him anymore. However, even in the face of right wing extremists constantly vaporizing integrity, good sense and reality, a contract is still a contract (for the moment). Musk and his co-investors ponied up the cash and Musk has already started the corporate executions. He did that right after his bathroom sink “look at me” stunt, apparently as if to say, “I bought it – let that sink in.” Turns out that does sink in – in a really personal way.

I have a day job delivering leadership keynotes and workshops. I do those in the lofty hope of ending the motivation for any employee to ever again utter that horrible, life sucking sentence, “My boss is a jerk.” If I keep this up long enough perhaps I’ll have made a modest dent with my Fully Alive Leadership offerings. Here’s the connection of that to the change in Twitter ownership.

David Hogg is a survivor of the horrific mass murders at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL and a spokesperson for Never Again.

I have Twitter accounts for both my leadership work and for these posts, both in the pursuit of reaching more people. Nobody knows if Twitter is useful in that way, but I do know that I don’t want to contribute in any way to Elon Musk inviting extremists to spew hatred, lies and vitriol. I want nothing to do with a platform that invites Donald Trump to further radicalize violent people and move us to abandon democracy and to embrace authoritarianism.

So, this is my last post to be linked to Twitter, as I will be closing my accounts there permanently.

Will Musk lose sleep over my exit from Twitter? Of course not. But I would lose sleep if I thought I were helping to enable evil that is unscrupulously masked as free speech.

CRITICAL DIFFERENTIATOR: The first amendment guarantee of free speech has to do only with preventing government from restricting our speech. It has nothing to do with Twitter or any other non-government public platform and the speech they allow or disallow. Those decisions are no more than company policies. None of us has a free speech right to publish on any of those platforms.

A boy and his sink enter Twitter HQ in San Francisco. It’s a proud moment for all plumbing.

So, Musk can make all the self-serving, self-congratulatory claims he likes about Twitter and free speech. That’s just a disguise for appealing to extremists in order to maximize his return on his dubious investment. And if his new Twitter handle is “Chief Twit” – he picked that – well, I agree. And he gets this 2022 Pond Scum Award.

Anyway, that’s what I sink.

Adios, Elon.

Pond Scum Award #2

My pal Jim Nathan is nothing if not an excellent unearth-er of great political commentary in the form of cartoons, pictures and clever statements. Here’s one he just sent to me:

Here you see a group of self-satisfied, ego-puffed Republicans congratulating themselves like a bunch of bratty high school juniors having successfully towel snapped all the freshmen boys in the locker room. These congressional embarrassments are so very proud that the only thing they accomplished (other than all the destruction, like trashing high speed mail sorting machines in order to slow down your mail service) was to give rich guys a huge tax cut and to stiff you.

Somebody has to explain to me why middle-class Americans would want to give power to these selfish dopes. These guys are so very worthy of their very own 2022 Pond Scum Awards.

Pond Scum Award #3

Here’s another pic from Jim:

First, that’s right. Second, a generation later your grandmother didn’t fight to be in charge of her own body just so you could sit at home in November, either.

The Pond Scummers shown in the pic in section #2 above are threatening to take away your freedoms, even all forms of birth control. There’s no telling how many more freedoms they will take away from you if they get their scummy hands on power. There is only one way to stop them, to prevent them from making you powerless:

You have to vote for people who will protect your freedom and your rights.
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You cannot count on any Republican to do that. They are unpatriotic and they are insane for power. They’re still lying about the 2020 election. They’re promoting idiotic child trafficking and cannibalistic child eating conspiracies. They are stupid-claiming that the only possible outcome in any election is that either they win or that Democrats cheated and stole the election.

These people are unpatriotic and they are insane. You must not vote for any Republican. Those guys are 2022 Pond Scum Award winners, all. Here’s why:

  1. Republicans have no ideas and no policies to tackle inflation or any other challenge. They have admitted this. They have abandoned you to struggle in the face of national challenges entirely on your own. This is literally true.
  2. Republicans are spineless sycophants of Trump who chicken out of speaking truth. They want to take away your freedom and your rights just so they can grab more power. And they spew hatred, racism and antisemitism every day. This is literally true.
  3. Republicans want to end our democracy and make this country a dictatorship – Seig Heil, Trump! That would make you a powerless peon. This is literally true.

And you don’t want any of that!

That’s why you have to vote for sanity. Vote for Democrats because:

  1. They aren’t hateful, hypocritical thieves and liars. They won’t pick your pocket and give your money to rich people and they won’t make your kids ignorant and stupid. This is literally true.
  2. They believe in democracy and will protect and defend it and the Constitution – just like you would. This is literally true.
  3. They have ideas and policies in place to make your life better. E.g. gas prices are already falling, major new job opportunities are on the way and your bridges and roads are already being repaired. Every Republican voted against all of this. This is literally true.

Go vote for Democrats, just as your great-grandmother, your grandmother and your mother want you to. Make their work and their sacrifices mean something enduring.

And the answer is YES! Pass this along to every voter you know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

————————————

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.

Inside President Biden’s Head


Page 1: Conjuring

He has not invited me into his head, nor has he shared his inner politician or inner President with me. He and I have had no Vulcan mind meld, nor any spooky transmissions. But there’s stuff going on in President Biden’s brain and, blurt-prone though he may be, not everything he thinks gets spewed publicly. We’re left to conjure his intentions.

And conjure, I do! About things like our blatantly political and extremist (did I mention radical?) Supreme Court as an arm of the Republican Party, exactly what the Founders thought they were protecting us from.

People were calling for Biden to expand the Court with centrists and center-leftists even before he was inaugurated, afraid that the things we feared would come about – things like yet more voter disenfranchisement, the end of Roe, more onerous gerrymandering, preventing the EPA from regulating the emission of greenhouse gases, defeating efforts to keep guns out of public places, tearing more bricks from the wall separating church and state and the flood of corporate cash into our politics (what did I miss?). Our fears have been realized, as all of these things have come about.

The bad news from the Court may not be done. On the docket now is a case to decide if state legislatures can take away your vote – literally negate your citizenship (Harper v. Moore). That’s exactly what Republican controlled state legislatures are attempting to do. If they get their way via this radical Supreme Court, it will be a time stamped event that will mark the moment when democracy was permanently crushed and died. The decision is now in the hands of the Court, with oral arguments having been presented on October 4. If this doesn’t scare you, re-read this paragraph.

So, how come President Biden has been silent, not even speaking to something as simple and non-aggressive as imposing ethics rules on our Supreme Court justices – rules like those on judges in other courts? Or establishing term limits so that we can shed grumpy and radical old men? And how come he has refused comment on expanding the court to 13? Two reasons.

First, attempting any of that before the mid-term election would likely produce an overwhelming wave of Republicans in Congress, at which point all progress would grind to a halt and a Republican would win the White House in 2024. Trying to do any reform would be a near-perfect strategy for losing.

That could change following the mid-term election because Biden has Captain Kangaroo pockets full of major legislative wins. But that’s not likely, which leads us to the second reason Biden has been silent.

He doesn’t like any of those ideas. His refusal to so much as have a conversation about any effort to moderate this radical Court tells you all you need to know about what’s in his head. Expect reform of the Supreme Court in about half a century. Maybe a full century. If we still have courts and if we still have a democracy.

That’s what I conjure about Biden’s conjuring about the Supreme Court. I really want to be wrong about this and fear that I won’t be.

Page 2: Hurricane Ian and President Biden

From former colleague Nora Paller:

Community In Action

Watching the scary, dangerous, horribly damaging Hurricane Ian devastate Florida and beyond was tragic. Many people will never be able to come back financially [or] from the emotional trauma of this event. The only good thing was to see all the people who reached out to help – to see community in action. Pulling together to face a larger threat can bring people at odds with each other to let it go and work together. All of sudden, DeSantis wants to talk to Biden. Instead of wasting Florida’s money sending asylum seekers to Massachusetts [link is mine], he is doing something direct[ly] for the people of Florida. Could we stop all this nonsense and work together? Turns out they could and we can.

President Biden, you can lead a Community In Action parade with just your words. Here’s hoping that’s in your head, because the people of Puerto Rico, Florida and the Carolinas need a parade right now.

Page 3: What Is In President Biden’s Head

Securing solid majorities in both houses of Congress is in the front of President Biden’s frontal lobe, because all progress depends on that. Absent those majorities, hateful fools like Republican Joe Kent will get their way and obstruction is all that will happen.

We had eight years of The Party Of No when President Obama was in office and people like Speaker of the House John Boehner and Tea Party Republicans were pledged to Mitch McConnell’s hateful commitment to “Make Obama a one-term president.” True to their word, that’s all – that’s everything – they attempted to do. The Republicans opposed everything Obama proposed in goose-stepping, moronic uniformity. They were and are The Party Of No.

And that’s what we’ll get again unless there are solid BLUE majorities elected next month. That’s in President Biden’s head for sure. He knows that. You know that, too.

————————————

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!
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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.

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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.

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

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