Leadership

That Elusive More Perfect Union


There are always impassioned young men who are quick to anger, who instantly deliver a snarl and vitriol, are over-eager to dominate and impatient for violence. Some remain that way for a very long time. They love their hate and anger and the rush of power they get from that, as their spittle flies. Ignorance is no impediment and they are easy targets for manipulators. They are heedless of who gets hurt in their quest for power and vengeance. Indeed, hurting others is more than collateral damage; it’s their reason. *

Click me and discover our violent reality

It should come as no surprise to any of us that people nurture their grievances today much as the Southern traitors did in 1861. They justify their rebellion in their victimhood. They have the power rush and their absolute belief in their righteousness. They hunker down and plot ways to attack, to hit back. We’re seeing it today in a continuing assault on reality, on our democracy and in their cowardly, selfish retreat from integrity.

Our ongoing mass carnage is testament to our national belief in violent solutions to all problems. The Gun Violence Archive tracks our mass shootings (that means bullets ripping apart 3 or more people in a single incident). To understand the efficiency with which we execute violent solutions, there have been 25 mass shootings in just the past 12 days, with 18 killed and 96 wounded. Click on the pic above or the inline link in this paragraph in order to read the page. Then scroll through the other pages. It might come to you that our killing one another isn’t just horrible; it’s normal. It’s every day. And that’s just the gun violence.

Smug, arrogant Jefferson Davis and his ministers. Nine men, each with a metaphorical White supremacist, self-righteously raised middle finger. Sound familiar? Click the pic for Jamelle Bouie’s essay.

Timothy McVeigh thought he was a patriot and hero for bombing the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City and killing 168 people. Dylann Roof thought he was doing the right White supremacist thing by killing all nine people present at the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. And the January 6 insurrectionists are still sure they are the true patriots, having beaten, bear sprayed, stabbed, blinded and killed the very people they pretended to champion with their Blue Lives Matter flags. May the rivers of testosterone forever flow!

Here’s a short list of things standing in our way of making things better:

  1. The lack of courage to enforce our laws evenly and fairly.
  2. Politicians whose primary driver is their self-interest.
  3. As a subset of #2, politicians who are terrified of their constituents and are spineless to the point of complete refusal to lead.
  4. Politicians who know they can’t get reelected unless they lie, cheat, steal and undermine our democracy, so they do it all.
  5. A rapidly changing world that has left millions in terrible circumstances. That’s matched with a Congress and state legislatures that are bereft of solutions, are intransigent and useless for everything but stoking the fire of rage in their “base” in order to get reelected.
  6. Idiots promoting guns, encouraging “Second Amendment remedies” and the message that everyone should be packing heat.
  7. Our refusal to energetically teach and promote civics.
  8. Our lack of a requirement for service to our nation, leaving us ignorant of one another and unwilling to sacrifice for our common good.

Clearly, this list could go on for pages. Glad to have your important additions – use the Comments section below.

It’s satisfying to point fingers, especially at politicians, but the truth that we really don’t want to acknowledge is that Pogo was right – see the cartoon to the left.

We met US in Oklahoma City, Charleston, Ft. Hood, Parkland, the Pulse Night Club and the Las Vegas concert, at Sandy Hook, the Capitol Building and in so many other places. And in every case we were and are Americans committing violence on Americans.

It is still true that the behavior we tolerate is the behavior we get. And we have tolerated far too much.

Click me for the story from The Onion.

If becoming an actual United States in a more perfect union is the goal, then that begs the question of what we are willing to do make that happen. We have some congresspeople, mostly ex-military, who get the idea of protecting and defending the Constitution, who are wired for duty, honor, country and who understand integrity and accountability. One thing we can do is to elect more people like them, irrespective of party labels.

It’s painfully obvious that pointing fingers will not be useful. If we are to get better results, we’re going to have to do something different.

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  • The spoken words are often shouted by overheated individuals who evidently believe that the lungs are the seat of wisdom.” George Will
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The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up. Do something to make things better.

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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. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  3. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  4. 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 2021 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Empathy v2.0


Addendum to Can We Stop Wringing Hands?

Last Thursday President Biden borrowed portions of the speech I wrote for him and imposed a requirement for being vaccinated or tested at least weekly in most venues where the federal government has strong influence or control.

He doesn’t have the power to require teachers, staff and school children to be vaccinated or wear masks, because control of schools lies with the states, so he did the two things he could do there. First, he called out the governors who are doing so much to make things more dangerous. Second, he implored them to stop endangering the lives of children and make vaccinations and masks mandatory in schools. Note that vaccines for children under 12 won’t be available for a while, perhaps not for months.

As smack-downs go, the President’s last Thursday’s was mild, but it was a smack-down nonetheless.

While the right wing echo chamber is buzzing with hyperbolic idiocy over all of this, public sentiment is largely with President Biden and support will grow, as people see the infection, hospitalization and death rates plummet. The Biden approval rate will continue to climb as we become a healthier nation and the economy recovers.

Perhaps President Biden has made the time come sooner when we can stop wringing hands over this pandemic.

Empathy

I’ve moved quite a bit in my thinking about those who wear pandemic blinders, from their denial of the reality of the pandemic itself, to mask and vaccine refusal, to embracing conspiracies and to full-on temper tantrums on airplanes. I’ve struggled to understand the extreme right behavior that is to their significant detriment, but now I think I’ve found part of an explanation.

Tressie McMillan Cottom writes a new newsletter for the New York Times and in her first post she dug into what’s driving millions of Americans to refuse to do the simple things that will protect themselves and others. She included in her post part of her conversation with Martha M. Crawford, a psychotherapist and clinical social worker. Here are some of her comments.

Tressie: Still, I cannot deal with the Americans who are insane as it pertains to Covid denialism. What is up with them?

Martha: This is practically a Freudian notion of a kind of manic defense against death .  .  .  It is like the horror hasn’t hit them yet. They’re in an initial, almost ecstatic phase of grief where you’re just so relieved .  .  .  that you’re alive, you had your toes curled on the dip so you didn’t fall in. There’s a kind of manic response that is activated and grandiose and inflated by massive, collective crisis .  .  .

On this [denial] territory, there is no culture that is plugged into the radio, television, or reads books, that hasn’t been indoctrinated to believe in this kind of notion of pulling yourself up by your bootstraps.

Okay, these refusers are denying death and invoking invulnerability, and all their experiences and exposure to ways of being are focused on bootstraps and individuality. That’s pretty psycho, but understandable.

Click for The Onion story.

My notion is that you can amplify this explanation with a thunderclap of attitude: “YOU CAN’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO!” turbocharged by, “I’LL SHOW YOU!” (Caps and italics added to indicate shouting/screaming, like crazy people on airplanes and at school board meetings.)

Let’s be sure to cut some slack for those who waited for full FDA approval of vaccines out of an intellectually honest concern. By now, though, all vaccines have been fully vetted for a while and these folks should be fully vaccinated. If any are not, their reluctance is driven by something else.

I began this section stating that I have moved in my thinking about these refusers. At first I was puzzled and looked for explanations for why people would do self-harming things. I was concerned for their health and safety, too. You know, empathy.

Then it dawned on me that they were harming others and I was angry about that. My empathy shifted to be mostly for those others, including our frontline healthcare folks.

My primary interest is that they don’t take others down with them. I don’t have inside information, but I’m betting they haven’t asked others if they’re willing to die with them as they have their tantrums. That puts these refusers into a bucket with homicidal maniacs.

There are vaccine mandates on the way and our refusers are going to be affected. I’d like to make their transition as easy as possible, so I offer this heartfelt freedom advice for those who refuse to be vaccinated:

You have the freedom to lose your job if you refuse to be vaccinated.

You have the freedom to be refused rail and air transportation.

You have the freedom to be refused entry into the supermarket, gym, movie theater, baseball or football game and even the next MAGA rally.

You have the freedom to continue to believe what you want, for example, that Covid vaccines are unproven, dangerous and that they contain tracking nanobots that will allow Bill Gates to know where you are at all times.

You have the freedom to believe that behind the vaccines is a socialist, child blood drinking, world domination bent cabal, and that vaccines will subject you to space lasers and will suck your precious bodily fluids (Dr. Strangelove).

You have the freedom to be infuriated by governmental interference in your absolute freedom and to proclaim your rights with your gasping, choking last breath.

There’s a long list of freedoms our refusers will enjoy if they continue to insist upon being a threat to our fellow citizens.

I want to be bigger than this, more loving, more equitable in my empathy. Right now, though, as refusers make war against medicine, science, learning, wisdom, the rule of law and any hint of sacrifice for others and for our common good, this is the best I can do.

Click me for the CDC report

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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. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  3. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  4. 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 2021 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Can We Stop Wringing Hands?


Economy Hand Wringing

The August jobs report said that we added a net of “only” 235,000 jobs. That’s a big decrease from the 962,000 added in June and 1.05 million added in July. That has caused innumerable hand wringers to wail, sob and bemoan a looming catastrophe in our economy.

The truth is that our economy is continuing to expand, albeit at a slower rate in August. Unemployment went down from 5.4% to 5.2% in August and – did I mention? – a net of 235,000 people found jobs and employers found 235,000 employees. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has regained all the losses due to the pandemic.

Of course, there are lots of factors related to the pandemic that affect our economy, including ever-more people working from home, which impacts lunch revenues at restaurants and gym memberships. It also includes the economic impact of all the people who are not traveling due to Covid, as well as the enormous supply chain disruptions of the past 18 months due to Covid. Still, our economy is expanding.

The slowdown follows perfectly the immense expansion of sickness and death due to the Delta variant. If we really want to keep the economy growing robustly, all we have to do is to follow the direction of the CDC to curb the pandemic. It’s as simple as that.

Take that, economy hand wringers!

Immigration Hand Wringing

You know where you were and who you were with when you learned what had happened on 9/11. The horrific images are burned into your brain and your heart and perhaps passion still rises in you when you see those painful pictures. Maybe you remember our senators and congressmen on the steps of the Capitol Building late that day, singing God Bless America in an impromptu, non-partisan, heartfelt song of solidarity. You can see that again here. In an odd contemporary way, that was a most peculiar moment.

Israel Bellin was born in Telochin, Russian Empire in 1888. He arrived in this country with his family at age five. Fourteen years later he published his first song and went on to become one of America’s most prolific and beloved songwriters. His name was misprinted on a piece of sheet music from one of his early works as “I. Berlin” and the name stuck. Irving Berlin wrote God Bless America in 1918 during WW I and it has been a national favorite ever since, with many believing it should be our national anthem.

The peculiarity is that Berlin was a Jewish immigrant raised in poverty. There was no job waiting for his father when the family arrived at Ellis Island and Berlin had to drop out of school at age eleven to help support the family. According to a large segment of our politicians and citizens today, the only thing that would make him an acceptable immigrant is that he was White.

What would happen to this poor, non-Christian immigrant under today’s discriminatory immigration laws?  And, more to the point, how many others, who could contribute so much to this country, are being kept out now? What would they build here?

Under today’s immigration paranoia would we have Sergey Brin from Russia to co-found Google? Or Hamdi Ulukaya who left Turkey and founded Chobani Yogurt? Would we have jeans to wear if Levi Strauss had been forced to stay in Germany? Would we have the microprocessors that power everything that uses electrons if Andy Grove hadn’t come from Hungary and remade Intel? Would you be able to sell that baby crib on eBay if Pierre Omidyar’s Iranian family had been forced to stay in France?

Would members of Congress have God Bless America to sing if Berlin’s family were to apply to immigrate today?

Take that, paranoid immigration hand wringers!

Afghanistan Exit Hand Wringing

Other than the permanent hard right Biden detractors, nearly everyone agrees that ending our war in Afghanistan and bringing home our troops and extracting the Afghans who helped us was and is the right thing to do. As the president said, the alternative was to continue to bleed people and money with no possibility of any gain. He was not willing to put yet another generation of our best into harms way for nothing.

The main criticism has been over the messy exit that left 100 – 200 Americans and thousands of Afghan helpers and their families in Afghanistan. That is truly awful and even some Democrats have been critical, while the hard line accusers and demonizers, the Trumpyist of Trumpists, want Biden impeached. Don’t bother looking for valid reasoning there.

There’s just one thing: Not a single one of the denigraters has an idea for how the extraction process could have worked better. Not one. All they have is fatuous, flamboyant criticism. That brings to mind the admonition to either lead, follow or get out of the way. Perhaps we should have a congressional rule like that.

Some have said that we should have started the evacuation sooner, but that would only have generated the chaos at an earlier date. Some have said that we should have stayed there to prop up the charade of an Afghan government, but that would just prolong the bleeding and dying and deepen the bottomless money pit. Some say Trump should have included the Afghan government in the negotiations with the Taliban to underscore its legitimacy. They’re right, but that wouldn’t have prevented the chaos.

Got a better idea? Glad to hear it. Post it below. But let’s stop this national hand wringing over a war that we should have exited many years ago. Better yet: We should not have invaded that country at all. There were other ways to get bin Laden. In fact, George W. Bush turned down two of them before starting that war.

Take that, Afghanistan exit hand wringers!

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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. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  3. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  4. 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 2021 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

From The Resolute Desk . . .


.  .  .  in the Oval Office, The President of the United States
.

Folks, I’m here tonight to focus on patriotism, because we have some terrible things going on. it’s time for some straight talk.

Our people are becoming infected with Covid-19 at a horrific and worsening rate. Over 1,500 of our fellow citizens are dying every day and the number keeps going up.

We’ve done everything we can from the White House to encourage the basic things that we know will protect our people, but it isn’t and cannot be enough. We need everyone pulling in the right direction and that just isn’t happening. This is a fight we absolutely have to win, so, as we used to say in Scranton, the gloves are coming off. It’s time for bare knuckles.

We knew at the beginning of this pandemic that the basics to beating it are to wear a mask, to socially distance and to wash hands well and often. A year later we had safe, highly effective vaccines and they became our big guns to beat this virus. If all those things are done, we can stop this virus in its tracks. But that isn’t happening and we know why.

The problem is that some governors and legislators are actively opposing those things that can save us. So are talking heads on cable, on TV, radio and online who are spewing lies, absurd, impossible conspiracies and who are spreading disinformation about phony cures for Covid. They’re hurting my people. They’re hurting you.

These state officials have enacted legislation to make it illegal to make kids and teachers wear masks in schools. That spreads the disease. They’ve terminated promotions for vaccines, closed vaccine delivery locations and opposed vaccine requirements. They’ve ridiculed those who wear masks in order to whip up voter outrage and, by extension, they’ve incited others to ridicule, threaten and even attack our citizens who are doing the right things.

These governors and legislators have effectively encouraged the spread of the virus to you and the people you love and it might kill you all. I see these officials as complicit in homicide and you should, too. After all, they’re gunning for you.

There is plenty of speculation about why these officials would intentionally put Americans at risk. Some have speculated that they’re trying to be seen as tough guys in order to appeal to their “base.” They want to be thought of as anti-establishment guys, even as they’re leaders in the establishment. Others have offered that they don’t want to slow the virus, because an expanding pandemic harms our economy and they can then attack me for leading a sluggish economy during the next two election cycles. What we know for sure is that they are intentionally putting Americans at risk.

They have their phony patriotism excuses to justify their treachery. They tell you that having to wear a mask is an abridgement of their freedom. So, too, they tell us, is having to be vaccinated. Well, here’s the truth.

The freedom of every one of us is abridged. it’s what has to happen if we are to live together in safety and security. Here are some examples.

We all have to stop for stop lights and stop signs. We don’t have the freedom to just blast through every intersection when we want to, because if we did that we would kill one another.

All of our kids have to be vaccinated against measles, because if they weren’t we would have a deadly epidemic. We know that’s true, because that’s what used to happen before we had a vaccine. We don’t have the freedom to refuse those vaccines and get kids killed.

None of us has the freedom to wantonly attack others or steal their property.

I could list a lot more examples, but it’s clear that we must have limits to individual freedom and the reasons for those limits are obvious.

That’s why it’s so repugnant that these governors and legislators who know the truth are hiding behind some imagined Constitutional right to do whatever we want, whenever we want. And they’re encouraging others to claim the absolute freedom defense for their behavior, but that’s killing our friends and neighbors and our kids.

We used to have something called shame. It used to be in the United States that we would call out someone who did something shameful, saying “Shame on you!” Sadly, we’ve had so much lying and cheating for so many years that the concept of shame seems to have been overwhelmed and the word itself can seem to be just some old, outdated thing. But I tell you it is not.

We have people in power doing shameful things. They are personally responsible for their despicable words and actions that hurt Americans and I’m calling them out. To those governors and legislators: Shame on you!

And to those talking heads on cable, on TV, radio and online who are lying to you with their preposterous claims and dishonest accusations, “Shame on you, too!

To We the People: You know when you’re being lied to and you know that those threatening your health are lying when they dump phony excuses on you that put you at risk.

We have an election in 14 months. Vote out of office those liars who imperil you and your kids. They’ve already proven that they aren’t worthy of your trust. And stop listening to the blabbers in the media who are lying to you and advising you to do things that will imperil your life and lead you to hate your neighbors.

To those leaders who threaten my people: You have time to do some honest things before you’re given the boot. Doing so won’t right the wrongs you’ve done and we won’t forget, but at least you can begin to treat people with dignity, respect and caring. A little contrition will go a long way. It will be good for your soul.

So, start now. No more lies. No more hiding behind a false version of our flag. Get out and promote vaccinations and the wearing of masks. Do it every day in every venue. Tell people the truth, that they’re too important to refuse these basics and that it’s their patriotic duty to be vaccinated and masked in order to protect all of us. Tell my people to do it for their kids, for all of our kids and for Granny. Tell them our national security depends on us being healthy.

Then tell your constituents you’re sorry for having lied to them and put them at risk, and you’re especially sorry for all those who suffered and died due to your malfeasance.

Folks, our troops are stationed all over the globe, doing their duty to protect us and our way of life. They never let us down and we must not let them down. We must do our duty. Get vaccinated and wear a mask. That’s what patriots do. That’s what patriotism looks like.

May God bless America and may God protect our troops.

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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. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  3. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  4. 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 2021 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

It’s Very Personal


From the “This Didn’t Have To Happen” File

There are lots of Covid statistics. There are infection numbers and rates by state, by region, by country, by continent and worldwide. We get the same kind of breakdown for total deaths and for deaths based on whether the deceased were vaccinated. We get vaccination rates with all the same geographic breakdowns.

We get a tally by state of how many ICU beds we’re lacking. We get charts like the one below that shows what’s going on in Covid-infested Florida due to state governmental pigheadedness, intentional ignorance and leadership immorality.

We report things in statistics when the numbers get too big for us to take in any other way, but it’s hard to make full sense of the data. It all remains just numbers, unless one of those people is someone you know or love. Or it’s you.

If the EMTs have to show up at your house to slap an oxygen mask on your face, and if those brave, dedicated front-liners have no place to take the gasping body in their vehicle because the ERs, ICUs, all the patient room beds and even the gurneys in the hallways of the local hospital are occupied, then the numbers aren’t just statistics.

And your body isn’t just a statistic to the docs, nurses and techs who eventually will get to you. Instead, it’s yet more workload dumped onto their exhausted bodies, emotions and souls. That’s personal for all those people and that’s definitely personal for you, as you struggle to breathe.

For everyone directly involved, it’s always personal. It’s as personal as it gets.

A former colleague used to rail against any form of, “Don’t take this personally.” She would say that if you are a person, everything is personal. It’s pretty hard to argue with that. And all of the Covid cases – every single one of them – is personal to someone.

Over the past 547 days there have been over a million cases of Covid-19 and over 13,000 deaths from Covid just in Tennessee. The state has made the news repeatedly since the Delta variant became the predominant strain of this wildfire of a virus.

Tennessee’s doo-doo brain governor, Bill Lee, led the fight against vaccines and masks for kids. He even fired his State Department of Health expert on pandemics in the midst of a pandemic. Now thousands of Tennessee kids are quarantined and over 400 public school children have tested positive for Covid right there in The Volunteer State. I bet none of them volunteered for Covid. Nobody anywhere volunteers for Covid, but people get it anyway.

Worse, those sick kids have very little ability to avoid infecting others. But even with so many kids sick and having to stay home, Tennesseans somehow still aren’t getting the message.

That’s what a fully vaccinated couple discovered last weekend on a trip to Nashville. They had a fine time and were careful to be masked wherever they went. They dined in an elegant restaurant. And this was Nashville, so of course there was live music everywhere, but venues were packed with unmasked people, so they didn’t go in.

Nevertheless, they tested positive for Covid last Wednesday and feel like crap.

Covid got personal real fast and you wouldn’t believe the fear such a diagnosis can ignite instantly. Now it’s not about statistics or rates or numbers. Now it’s about themselves.

That’s how it is for every infected person and for their loved ones.

I’m furious about this and have been thinking about how and where to express my anger. It’s aimed at the governor, the state legislature and the people of Tennessee who refuse to deal with the lethal reality facing all of us. It’s aimed at the mask and vaccine refusers who think their right to absolute freedom is more important than whether others, like this couple, get sick from them or even die.

And my anger is aimed at Trump and his slimy, sycophantic suck-ups (yes, I know that’s redundant) who lied so terribly about this disease and caused it to spread when it could have been  contained. And I have suspicions aimed at people in airports and on airplanes who are sloppy in their Covid hygiene or who were knowingly sick but traveled anyway and perhaps sat next to others and coughed next to their faces.

And I’m mad as hell at the refusers who spread this awful disease.

You’re damn right that this didn’t have to happen. And you’re damn right that it’s personal.

Covid isn’t a statistic. It’s about people like you and your parents and siblings and your kids and their kids. It’s very personal.

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I couldn’t find this kind of chart for Nashville, but the Nashville story and chart would look pretty much the same and for the very same reasons. Be sure to read the text and especially the last sentence.

Click me for the full story

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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. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  3. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  4. 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 2021 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Misplaced Political Power


Ghastly Governors

To the right is a graphic that helps to explain the Florida section of my post last week. The key is to understand that Gov. DeSantis is just the loudest horrible governor; there are many more horribles, some nearly as loud and destructive, although Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has been a bit quieter since being diagnosed with Covid-19.

You can include any governor on a of horribles who does not actively promote vaccines and mask wearing. Also, if they refuse additional Medicaid money and expansion of services,* leaving poor people to continue to be without healthcare, those governors go on the list, too. And if they say anything that includes the word “bootstraps” when speaking to or about people who have no boots, put them on the list. Plus, if they encourage, promote or sign legislation that undermines our democracy in any way, especially with regard to voting rights, those names go on the top of the list of horribles.

“I see soon-to-be-dead people.”**

With his ban on face mask and vaccine mandates DeSantis is an accessory to the death of thousands of Floridians and he vows to prevent private businesses from requiring vaccines of employees and patrons, too. Obviously, his view is that your dying is better than your avoiding disease. He seems to think that it’s his choice as the Florida Hiyu Muck-a-muck to make that decision for you.

Gov. Abbott is similarly an accessory to the death of thousands of Texans. Gov. Noem in South Dakota is just like those guys and there are yet more governors just as sure they should dictate your safety on the perilous side. (Why is it that Republican governors don’t care about our school children, our teachers  and the rest of us?)

Invoking the attitude of the MAGA “love-to-intimidate-others” crowd, “Governor DeSantis, we know who you are and we know where you live. We’re coming for you – in your next election. That will be fitting, because, clearly, you are a case of misplaced political power.”

What People Love

Governors who maliciously prevent mask mandates in schools and vaccine requirements for teachers love their political power more than they love our kids and teachers.

The Senators who block voting rights legislation love their white supremacy and minority rule more than they love the Constitution and our democracy.

White supremacists who spew racial hatred love their power rush more than they love America and Americans.

The people who wail about their individual freedom from mask wearing and vaccines love their temper tantrums more than they love their friends and families.

The state legislators who voted for themselves the right to overturn the will of We The People love their power more than they love their integrity or the Constitution or the people.

Bible thumpers who support White supremacy, cheating, lying and stealing love their hypocrisy more than they love Jesus.

The Covid and climate deniers love their ignorance and their arrogance-of-denial more than they love survival – anyone’s.

If you want to know what people love, pay no attention to their words. Watch what they do, because that will tell you what they truly value – and what they don’t value. Sadly, we have a lot of misplaced political power.

An Afghanistan Chat With a Trumpy Blabber
.

Click me for the story

Trumpy Blabber

Biden is completely incompetent. He agreed to run from the Taliban with his tail between his legs. He’s a coward and he’s embarrassed us before the world and is teaching our kids to be weenies.

JA

70% of Americans have wanted that awful, unwinnable war to end for over 10 years. Trump wanted to end that war, so he negotiated with the Taliban and dissed the Afghan government completely. That guaranteed a rapid disappearance of the government and the unavoidable Taliban take over of the country.

Biden had only two options: to honor the withdrawal agreement or commit more troops to more years of war. He chose for us to keep our word. You agree that keeping our word so that others trust us and so that we have integrity is the right thing to do, right? And that’s what we should be teaching our kids, right?

TB

Biden dragged feet on arranging safe passage for the Afghan allies to whom we promised protection and evacuation. Plus, he made our troops leave a gazillion dollars worth of our military hardware behind – planes, tanks and all sorts of stuff. He just gave it to the Taliban.

JA

That military hardware was left for the Afghan government to use to maintain control of their country. It appears that nobody envisioned the Afghan government dissolving in just days, leaving the weapons for the Taliban to just walk up and grab. We’re going to need an explanation for why the likelihood of that governmental collapse wasn’t foreseen. If it was seen as a strong possibility, we’ll need to know why those weapons weren’t removed from Afghanistan before they could fall into the hands of the Taliban.

That same speed thing accounts for our bumbling the job of getting our friends out of that country. We need to know why Trump didn’t begin doing that a year-and-a-half ago, immediately after his capitulation to the Taliban. And we need to know why the Biden administration didn’t get planes loaded with Americans and Afghans moving out of that country months ago.

TB

I’m still eyeballing our betrayal of our allies.

We need to get over 100,000 Afghan helpers and their families – maybe twice that number – plus all Americans out of Afghanistan. We’ve moved about 70,000, but a lot of people can’t even get to Kabul from the provinces because of Taliban check points and now the Taliban refuses to let Afghans get into the Kabul airport. Are we waiting for the Taliban to start the killings?

JA

The evacuation began on August 14. In the time since then, just 11 days, roughly 1,100 Americans have died of gunshot wounds and about 7,000 Americans have died from Covid-19, 95% of whom had refused to be vaccinated. All of those deaths happened right here in the USA. Do you have the same concern for them?

Meanwhile, not even one American has died in Afghanistan in over 18 months. One or two Afghans have been killed trying to get into the Kabul airport and we don’t know the circumstances, other than that there was gunfire by the shooter, the Taliban and some Marines.

The airlift is moving thousands of people every day on a scale never seen before. And U.S. air carriers have been pressed into service to enable us to move even more evacuees. It isn’t pretty, but it’s getting better.

This is the big, stinking pile of dog poo that the Great Negotiator
Only he could do this! –
left us.
.

I strongly suggest waiting until we know the facts. When you feel up to it, check the news from other than Fox. OAN, NewsMax and online alt-right feeds. And completely avoid FaceBook’s news feed that’s poisoned by the Russians and QAnon.

There will be plenty of opportunities for finger pointing and armchair quarterbacking when the Afghanistan dust clears.

———————–

* From Paul Krugman’s column, How Not to Create Jobs (or download the PDF here):

” .  . . what’s clear is that some politicians just dislike helping the poor and near-poor, never mind the economics.”

** From Thom Hartmann’s post, It’s Time For Our Freedom Passports!

“Those of us who did the right thing and got vaccinated are sick and tired of living a half-life because of all the covidiots out there who refuse to get vaccinated. Let them ‘stand on the outside’ of American business and society ‘looking in’ for a change.

“No shoes, no shirt, no vaccine passport, no service.”

“Covidiots.” Has a nice ring to it.

————————————

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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. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  3. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  4. 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 2021 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Justice


Merrick Garland’s Justice Department

In an interesting and even-handed essay in the Washington Post Magazine, author David Montgomery lays out his view of the Merrick Garland Justice Department in Merrick Garland Won’t Deliver Your Catharsis. Montgomery reports that Garland’s view is that a return to norms and consistently doing the right things is the path to lead the public to regain a sense of trust in the department, a trust that was lost due to the Trump/Barr years of stomping on our trust. That seems sensible, but I don’t think that’s enough.

I’ve argued many times for the need for accountability, in large measure because a lack of it invites more egregious violations in the future, as history has taught us. Here’s a list of posts about that important point. Yet, Garland has said more than once, “I am not going to look backward.” That’s a problem.

Garland was the real time, on-site Justice Department guy following the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995. He was in a similar position chasing down Ted Kaczynski, the Unibomber. In both cases he and the Justice Department looked backward. They had to, because they were investigating and prosecuting what had already been done. That’s what legal actions and law enforcement do. That’s how the law is upheld. That’s how justice is done.

And that’s why, “I am not going to look backward” regarding the prior administration doesn’t make sense.

Click the pic above to read Montgomery’s essay or download a PDF of it here. See if you agree that looking backward and holding wrongdoers accountable is possibly the most important duty of the Garland Justice Department.

Also about justice, and crucially so: If Congress doesn’t pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the For the People Act, it really won’t matter what Merrick Garland’s Justice Department does, because democracy will soon be gone.

Special Section:

Gifts For Our Freedom-Of-Choice Mask & Vaccine Refusers

Many people have refused to be vaccinated because the vaccines do not yet have full FDA approval. They’re waiting for the completion of all the analyses in order to feel safe; only then will they agree to be vaccinated. You may not agree with their calculation, but at least they’re rational in their thinking.

In contrast are the millions who think that having to wear a mask or be vaccinated is an unpatriotic infringement of their freedoms and liberties. In the face of a worldwide pandemic that continues to morph into ever more dangerous forms, that position is worthy of proud, mindless chest thumping, but not much more. It is not rational in the face of the unavoidable spread of the disease and the certainty of it causing many more deaths, absent action to stop it.

All of these people are causing our hospital and our National Disaster Medical System personnel to live in a nightmare world of death and despair. How proud our freedom frenzied must be to know they’re creating so much suffering for others.

So, special for our freedom-of-choice mask and vaccine refusers, we offer:

This from Charles Blow:

Americans who are refusing to get — and are taking a stand against — the coronavirus vaccine are “determined to prove that they are right even if it puts them on the wrong side of a eulogy.”

And this address from John Pavlovitz:

Generations of Americans sacrificed family and future and body and breath, so that you could be pulled from the birth canal nestled in the warm embrace of the easy liberty you’ve come to believe you deserve.

Which makes it all the more tragic and shameful how little regard you have for that freedom now, how much you’re squandering it over and over because you’ve decided the simplest of requests are too much for you to bear and constitute an assault on your personal liberty.

How sad it is that our freedom frenzied refusers don’t seem to have what it takes to sacrifice for those who will come after them in the way their forebears did for them.

And finally, this from The Onion.

From The Onion. Click the pic for the important story

Covid Update

Now trending at 141,000 new cases every day, it’s clear that the messages still haven’t gotten through to those we most need to hear them.

New Covid cases, 8-20-21

————————————

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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. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  3. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  4. 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 2021 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

The No Surprises Taliban


It didn’t start with imaginary WMDs (weapons of mass destruction). Our national war of insanity began years earlier.

The Supreme Court decision following the 2000 election was led by Republican Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who stopped the vote count in Florida. He disenfranchised tens of thousands of voters and gave the election and the presidency to the candidate who actually lost the state by 537 votes and who would have come in second in the Electoral College vote had all Florida votes been counted.

That got us the silver spoon cowboy, an illegitimate president. He was the same guy who managed to avoid service in Viet Nam by joining the Texas Air National Guard. He spent his active duty having a good time flying jets around Texas. Nobody ever shot at him, so he didn’t know the first thing about the horrors of combat. He later declare that he wanted “to be a wartime president,” as though war s just a toy for his self-aggrandizement.

I don’t recall Bush ever expressing a believable concern for those who would prosecute his wars, leaving us to speculate that he saw it like a movie, where everyone goes home after a day’s shoot or like a video game and it’s just pretend. But it doesn’t work that way in real wars.

He went on to ignore warnings of 9/11 and then, having failed that national security test, declared he’d get the varmint what done us wrong.

After 9/11 the CIA had Osama bin Laden bottled up in the caves at Tora Bora and asked for additional resources to smoke him out, but Bush refused. The Taliban offered to arrest bin Laden and turn him over to the U.S., but once again Bush refused. Instead, he lied to Congress and the American people. He asked for and received the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), which amounted to Congress ducking its Constitutional responsibility regarding declaring war. They chickened out and gave that power to Bush, exactly as the Founders DID NOT intend, because they knew full well what such power could lead to.

Bush got his authority and sent American troops to invade Afghanistan to capture or kill bin Laden and his band of terrorists. He managed to disrupt al Qaeda, but never got bin Laden. Bush could have ended the invasion then, but, of course, he didn’t.

The goal in Afghanistan was changed to eliminating the Taliban, not bin Laden. Bush failed at that, too. Later the goal of that war was to set up a central government and modern democracy – nation building – something we had failed at again and again elsewhere. We used to say that the goalposts kept getting moved, but it’s probably more likely that there never were any goalposts.

A strong central government and democracy are things the Afghans had never had, didn’t understand and were culturally unable to accept, so there was never even a remote possibility of creating a modern democracy in that place where empires go to die. All the world knew that except Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld. But the failure of that unwinnable war is what all the lies about that war and the one in Iraq, the hypocritical Mission Accomplished banner and all the pseudo-patriotic chest thumping got us. There was just war so that a cowboy could be a wartime president.

The one positive outcome of the Viet Nam war was Colin Powell’s Powell Doctrine. According to the doctrine, all of these questions must be answered in the affirmative before going off to war.

  1. Is a vital national security interest threatened?
  2. Do we have a clear attainable objective?
  3. Have the risks and costs been fully and frankly analyzed?
  4. Have all other non-violent policy means been fully exhausted?
  5. Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement?
  6. Have the consequences of our action been fully considered?
  7. Is the action supported by the American people?
  8. Do we have genuine broad international support?

Click me for the story

Decide for yourself whether any thought was given to any of those questions before sending our military into harm’s way.

We spent 20 years, thousands of American lives, trillions of American dollars and an unknowable number of Afghan lives pursuing that no-goalpost war. We were lied to for 20 years about what was really going on there, as we refused to heed the obvious and painful lessons from our debacle in Viet Nam.

To be clear, we got bin Laden, but that had nothing to do with our war in Afghanistan.

A year and a half ago Trump cut a deal with the Taliban that said that we would leave Afghanistan. All the Taliban had to do was to promise to not attack U.S. troops as they depart and not allow al Qaeda or other extremist groups to operate in Taliban controlled territory.

Trump left the Afghan government completely out of the discussions and kept them out of the deal. The message to the Afghan security forces was clear: the Taliban now had tacit approval from the U.S. government to take over the country. Plus the Taliban almost immediately began to assassinate Afghan provincial leaders.

As bad, we have absolutely no way to ensure the Taliban won’t let al Qaeda ramp up again in Afghanistan, leaving us exactly where we were on September 10, 2001. The common notion among our talking heads and many politicians seems to be that this end was unforeseeable.

Nonsense!
.

We saw this exact thing happen in Viet Nam, another unwinnable war and failed nation building, and there was yet more foreseeable evidence.

The speed that the Taliban would retake that country was clear from the moment Trump announced we’d be out by May 2021. Were you in the Afghan military, what would you do, as leaders of province after province cut deals with the Taliban or just cut and ran? The central government dissolved in hours and fighters trained by us shed their military garb, hoping to look like civilians. The Taliban overran what was left of the Afghan security forces and secured all the major cities in that country in just days.

As of this writing the process of evacuation continues. We can hope that we didn’t manage to drag feet long enough to avoid keeping our word to those to whom we pledged our undying loyalty and our sacred promise of protection. The fate of any Afghan who collaborated in any way with western forces, be they interpreters, workers with NGO agencies or anything else will be death. The fate of women who had the audacity to become educated or who educated their daughters will be cruel, dehumanizing and eventually lethal.

Survivors will be relegated to a medieval life in the tribal feudalism the area has always known. Its main export will still be opium. In the end our efforts will have accomplished nothing but death and destruction. We knew all of this because that is what the Taliban did in the 1990s before we showed up to make war under false pretenses.

So, you can stop listening to anyone who says that the disaster at the end of our 20-year invasion and occupation of that country was unforeseeable. Anyone with two eyes and a memory has known all along that this is exactly what would happen. The Taliban holds no surprises

Once again, the only surprise is our boundless and willful ignorance.

Something Special For Our Partisan Critics

This is from Professor Heather Cox Richardson:

Some of the same people worrying about the slowness of our evacuation of our Afghan allies voted just last month against providing more visas for them, and others seemed to worry very little about our utter abandonment of our Kurdish allies when we withdrew from northern Syria in 2019. And those worrying about democracy in Afghanistan seem to be largely unconcerned about protecting voting rights here at home.

Most notably to me, some of the same people who are now focusing on keeping troops in Afghanistan to protect Americans seem uninterested in stopping the spread of a disease that has already killed more than 620,000 of us and that is, once again, raging.

————————————

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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. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  3. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  4. 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 2021 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

It Begs the Question


From Thom Hartmann’s rant on August 6

The first real test of the [National Voter Rights Act of 1993] came in 2018, when Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State, John Husted, went on a voter-purge binge (that hit Black, student and elderly neighborhoods particularly hard) and was sued by the A. Phillip Randolph Institute for violating Ohio citizens’ right to vote.

In a bitter 5-4 decision, the conservative majority ruled in Husted v Randolph that purging voters because they failed to return a junk-mail-like postcard was entirely legal.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito

It’s a practice once called “caging” back when Karl Rove’s guy [George W. Bush] was allegedly doing it and it was illegal but that has, since that Court ruling, spread to pretty much every Republican-controlled state in the nation.

Justice Alito’s decision was particularly biting, asserting that the arguments made by the citizens who’d lost their right to vote were “worse than superfluous” and their argument that they shouldn’t have to regularly check  in with the Secretary of State’s office to stay on the voter rolls represented logic “no sensible person” could agree with.

Justice Alito’s comments fly in the face of the multiple declarations of the right to vote prominently displayed in the Constitution. That document doesn’t say anything about the need to send in a post card or “check in” with any government or agency in order to retain the right to vote. We just have to be citizens.

If Alito wants autocracy, minority rule and race and class oppression, he might consider moving to another country with just such a foundation. Maybe I missed something, but I thought that all justices took an oath to the Constitution of this country.

In acting to suppress the right of citizens to vote, Alito pushed back on democracy itself. Given that Alito’s Supreme Court vote and his comments are in opposition to both the Constitution and democracy, it begs the question of why he’s on the Supreme Court.

It Says Hope, But It Isn’t

The State of Florida continues on its path to become the place most intentionally disinterested in the welfare of its citizens. In the face of stiff competition from Texas, Arizona and several other states, Florida has codified its refusal to allow schools to protect students from Covid-19 and its variants by issuing an Emergency Rule.* Please download it. You’ll be amazed at the lengths to which the Florida Board of Education goes and the tortured un-reason it uses to attempt to make their prohibition of mask mandates sound like they’re delivering safety from this deadly virus.

Their logic is forehead-slappingly illogical, sort of like saying they are promoting good by ensuring bad.

Almost as shocking is that the state’s Board of Education offers an alternative to mask mandates. It invites students and public money to go to private schools. This smells very bad, like the public schools in the south in the 1950s and 60s that suffered because white students left for private, expensive (read: segregated) schools, as did the public money for education, leaving nearly nothing for Black kids.

And the Florida Board of Education is doing this under the banner “Hope.”

Here’s a startling headline from the Tallahassee Democrat on August 9 showing DeSantis’ disregard for Floridians:

Florida Gov. DeSantis to school officials: Enforce mask mandate, get your salaries withheld
.

I have no clue how that could be legal. It’s much like Texas Governor Greg Abbott declaring that he’s going to arrest the Democratic legislators who left the state to prevent horrid voter suppression laws from being enacted. He proudly boasted that he would arrest and hold these Democrats in the state capitol building In Austin for the duration of the special legislative session. That’s quite a statement from the Texas Governor, in that the Democrats have broken no laws and he has no power to incarcerate them in the capitol building or anywhere else.

Note that both of these governors are threatening opponents with exactly the same kind of king-of-the-hill bravado as despots and cruel dictators who imprison political opponents (think: Putin in Russia; Orbán in Hungary; Xi in China). The same goes for all the rest of the “I’ll show you!” tough guy governors and legislators. Tough guy stuff plays well with the alt-right, the MAGA hat wearers. Normally, that’s a “who-cares?” but in the face of Covid and civil unrest, it’s deadly.

Expect stupid litigation to follow DeSantis’ tough guy announcement. The reason that’s important is that we have an epidemic of people in power doing similarly anti-welfare-of-the-people things, as well as taking anti-democracy shots.

This Florida Board of Education Emergency Rule and DeSantis’ threat of withholding educators’ salaries are just the most recent actions that beg the question of why Gov. Ron DeSantis has been allowed to be anywhere near public office.

While DeSantis is the poster boy for selfishly bad governing, for our purposes he is a placeholder for all the governors, legislators and bloviators who chest thump and try to position themselves for more MAGA votes, even at the cost of the health and the lives of our fellow citizens. Future generations will look at our time with puzzlement and derision, because we voted for this. And that begs yet more questions.

Actual Hope

Dr. Chad Gestson, Supt. Phoenix Union High School District

A refreshing contrast to knuckle dragging governors like DeSantis and Abbott is Dr. Chad Gestson, Superintendent of the Phoenix Union High School District in Phoenix, AZ, with 32,000 students. He is a profile in courage, defying Gov. Doug Ducey’s “no mask mandates” order by requiring masks for students, teachers and staff in his schools. Apparently, the superintendent thinks the health of everyone in his schools is really important, a concept not comprehensible by certain elected officials.

What’s truly, self-destructively weird is that a teacher in his district is suing Gestson over his mask mandate, claiming it’s an infringement of his freedom to become infected, then infect others and finally to gasp and die (the sarcasm is mine – JA). Nevertheless, Gestson is standing strong. I bet he’d appreciate a note of support from you. [email protected]

Meanwhile, the Florida Board Of Education Emergency Rule, the various governors’ no-mask-mandate orders and the teacher’s lawsuit all beg the question of when self-serving temper tantrums replaced good sense.

Covid Corner

Please click the graph above and read the full thread.

The United States of America has

– 4.25% of the world’s population

– 18% of the world’s total Covid-19 cases – 36.8M/204.3M

– 14.7% of the world’s deaths from Covid-19 – 633K/4.3M. Before the vaccines that number was closer to 25%, but 71.9% of seniors are now fully vaccinated. Nevertheless, we have over 633,000 total deaths and the two week moving average is now 480 per day – and rising. See the STAT chart below.

– The distinction of being the only country in the world where mask mandates can be prohibited.

20% of new U.S. Covid cases are children – see here and here. Babies and young children are dying.

A new case of Covid-19 in the U.S. is reported every 0.7 seconds. The two-week moving average is a new case every 1.2 seconds. See the STAT chart below.

The U.S. has the largest supply of Covid vaccines in the world, but

– Only 58.1% of vaccine-eligible citizens in the U.S. is fully vaccinated.

– The U.S. is the only country where citizens have to be bribed to be vaccinated, even as citizens of other countries beg for vaccines.

Covid Cases as of 8-10-21

All of this Covid information begs so many questions, like,

What has happened to us and why did we let this craziness happen?

Where did our sense of civic duty go?

What happened to our caring for one another?

How did so many of us become so shockingly angry that our good sense has left us?

Why are we rationalizing so much avoidable suffering and death?

Why aren’t we shocked by a Covid death equivalent of the crash of a jumbo jet every day?

It begs these questions and so many more.

  • ————————

* Thanks go to JN for forwarding the Florida DOE Emergency Rule.

————————————

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. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  3. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  4. 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 2021 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Good-Bye, America


STATUS ALERT!

This is a proud JaxPolitix moment, as we have officially received our first vile, disgusting and politically inane troll message.

To the troll:  We wish you a full recovery from the multiple head traumas you obviously have sustained.


It started decades ago, but that was just laying the ground work for what has now happened. We pick up the story in the recent past.

When President Obama and his Justice Department decided not to prosecute for the torturing of prisoners done by the CIA or pursue the higher-ups who okayed and directed torture during the Bush II wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, something profound happened.

Obama avoided dispiriting and alienating the CIA. He avoided giving the far right lunatics an easy launch point for an all out assault on him. He prevented the law and order muscleheads from using their self-certain, righteous indignation to attack his administration. All that and more was true and accurate and it completely misses the most important and self-destructive point.

In refusing to prosecute obvious criminal behavior, Obama and his Justice Department became complicit in those crimes. Their hands were as dirty as those of the torturers and George W. Bush, his Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez and his law twisting accomplice, John Yoo, he of the “Torture Memo.” That memo gave cover for the U.S. to violate all the Geneva Conventions against torture of enemy combatants, the U.S. Constitution and our own Military Code of Conduct. That was a dozen years ago, but don’t imagine that kind of complicity is all in the past, because it’s happening right now.

Trump’s wrongdoing has been on public display for over four years and the list of his corruptions is so long that you may be forgiven for having forgotten most of it.

He started with various versions of his Muslim ban. Then he ripped babies from their mothers’ arms at our southern border. The Mueller Report lists at least 10 prosecutable instances of Trump’s obstruction of justice (see Section 2). He orchestrated his people to refuse subpoenas to testify at the impeachment hearings. He attempted bribery of the President of Ukraine. He led a conspiracy to defraud the United States in Post Office-gate. And there are all those campaign finance violations, multiple violations of the Hatch Act, federal tax fraud, violations of the Voting Rights Act and more. For a more comprehensive documentation of Trump’s horribles, click here.

And President Biden and his Justice Department are doing nothing about any of it. They are even defending Trump against the defamation lawsuit filed against him by E. Jean Carroll.

When we look to the Democrats to restore norms, to play by the written rules and the spirit of those rules we are fooling ourselves, because their refusal to hold Republicans’ feet to the fire makes them complicit in their crimes. They’re colluding with the perps because they don’t have the political courage to do what needs to be done. What is even more frightening is that today’s Republican crimes are focused on destroying our democracy. And this is set up to get worse.

Trump is a buffoon, a carnival sideshow barker who’s good at fooling the rubes. That’s us. That his blatantly phony “stop the steal” campaign still has breath only means that those who want to be angry and vent their rage with violence feel justified. “Trump sent me,” is what they told us on January 6. But Trump will at last go away. What will not go away are those who would continue the attack on our democracy, the dismantling of what we say we hold dear.

The next megalomaniac won’t be a buffoon. The next guy – it won’t be a woman because these people are all about white male supremacy – will be smart and smooth and won’t make Trump’s stupid mistakes. The next guy will end our democracy because we will have refused to hold people accountable. We will have failed to protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies, both foreign and domestic. The Republicans will end our republic. Read Dahlia Lithwick’s piece in Slate, The Price of No Consequences for Trump.

There’s another chapter to this story.

We fought the Korean War in the same way we fought WW II, which made sense, in that we fought against a nation state backed by another nation state, both with standing armies. It was our uniforms versus theirs. But then Viet Nam came along, a guerilla civil war, peasant-versus-peasant, and our WW II tactics were all wrong. We intervened completely unprepared to fight such a war and the result was a disaster. We fought the last war instead of the present war.

And that is what Democrats are doing in Congress.

The Republicans are fighting a guerilla war, ignoring precedent, norms, the intent of the Constitution and even basic morality in order to gain power. The Democrats are using quaint, gentlemanly tactics, singing paeans to bipartisanship and are somehow surprised when they get steamrolled yet again.

That’s going to continue to happen (thanks, JN for the link), as we experience what President Biden has called “Jim Crow on steroids” and Republicans – Americans, mind you – eliminate majority rule, wipe out free, fair elections and they disempower the electorate. They’re conspiring to determine election results by fiat – their fiat –  instead of by the will of the people. That’s subversion. And they continue their anti-democratic march without being held to account and with just a limp-wristed fight by Democrats.

As Charles Blow put it, I’m, “not consumed by romantic, hagiographic* illusions of yesteryear,” nor should any of us be. There are literally millions of Americans who would crush our democracy right now and that’s what we must deal with.

In a recent Pew Research Center survey, “Two-thirds of Republicans and Republican leaners say voting is a privilege that can be limited .  .  .  compared with about half as many (32%) who say it is a fundamental right.” Even 21% of Democrats think voting isn’t a right. That’s neither liberal nor conservative ideology. It’s fascist. Pay no attention to the words of the Constitution. Nothing to see there. Move along.

So, good-bye, America. We loved you dearly and believed in you for a long time, but it’s almost over now because we let it be over.

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* hagiographic – to idealize the subject

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Copyright 2021 by Jack Altschuler
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