Leadership

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

What Should We Do About That? – v 1.0


Sun Tzu

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–  Who has the contents of those folders now?

 –  What have they done with the documents?

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

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

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

What do you think we should we do about that?

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

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

————————————

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Guest Essay: Elections Have Consequences


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

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

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


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

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

There are JUST 86 DAYS until the November midterm elections.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Click the pic for the WaPo story.

From the Onion:

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

—————————–

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

————————————

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Campaigning


Martha Coakley

Scott Brown

Sen. Edward “Ted” Kennedy died in 2009, leaving a vacant Senate seat, which triggered a special election in Massachusetts for someone to serve out his term. Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley became the Democratic nominee to face Republican Scott Brown. He had respectable credentials but – and I say this without snark – he won Cosmopolitan Magazine’s 1982 “America’s Sexiest Man” contest and it’s my belief that’s what put him over the top to win the Senate race. That, along with the nude photo and pretty face. Elections are nearly all about the visceral.

Plus Martha Coakley was a dreadfully bad campaigner. However capable she might have been on the job, she couldn’t inspire a fly to enter a dumpster behind a restaurant. That sounds a lot like Hillary.

It’s undeniably true that Hillary was unfairly and dishonestly pummeled by Republicans (the “vast right-wing conspiracy”) for decades. It’s also true that she has the intellect, skills and experience to have been a really good president. What she didn’t have were strong campaigning skills. She was a dreadful campaigner. Like Martha Coakley. And they both lost.

If you think most people vote based on logical reasoning you need to get out more. Our primary motivation is visceral and you can see that in any MAGA crowd. The Proud Boys and 3-Percenters don’t use logical argument to recruit. They recruit on emotion, stoking feelings of unfairness, betrayal and victimhood to turn their prospects into fanatical, prepared-to-murder extremists.

Kansas is another example. That huge turnout against the proposed abortion ban change to the state constitution wasn’t just about logical arguments. People were outraged over an abusive state legislature’s attempt to take rights from them. It was about anger over betrayal. That emotion gets people out to vote.

Those January 6 insurgents weren’t yelling, “I object to Biden’s domestic policy proposals.” They were all about primitive emotion. That’s why they get out to vote in primaries and that gets us their extremist candidates. And Democrats pounding out wonk is what loses elections.

Which gets us back to the quality of campaigning. Trump was terrific at that. He was all gut punches to his opposition and calls for frothy-mouthed hate. In contrast, Hillary put crowds into deep, dreamless slumber.

Her forced cackle of a laugh and stiff delivery, her terrible presentation timing and lack of visceral motivation made for enough obstacles to pull the rug out from under her quest for the presidency, with or without James Comey’s stabs in her back. That she got 3 million more votes than Trump is testament to how bad her campaigning was. She could have stomped him out of the country had she had only slightly better campaigning skills.

All of which is to say that we better hope we have strong Democratic campaigners with visceral appeal to beat the democracy stealing extremist Republicans in 2022 and 2024. If you hear Democrats stinking up the campaign stump, putting voters to sleep, tell them to get some presentation coaching so that we don’t inadvertently hand the nation over to Viktor Orbán wannabes.

Trumpy Corner

On Monday, August 8 the FBI executed a search warrant on Donald Trump’s residence and private club at Mar-a-Lago. Good start.

Here’s hoping the next stop is Trump Tower in New York to collect all phones and other electronic devices, boxes of stolen government documents and paper shreds from the plumbing.

————————————

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Hartmann Agrees


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

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

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

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

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

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

Read Hartmann’s piece and you’ll understand.

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

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

BTW

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

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

What are the communications people in the White House thinking?

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

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

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

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

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

Crappy communication won’t help.

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

Covid Corner – post-video late addition

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

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

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

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


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

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

Eugene Robinson, Washington Post, July 19, 2022

————————————

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

A Love Letter To Millennials and Gen-Zs


Ed. notes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not!

Here’s another example.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s the key:

Unless things change, nothing will change.

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

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

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

From a Millennial/Gen-Z reader:

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

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

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

So, it comes down to this:

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

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

Click me

Late Additions

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

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

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

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

Technical note: Science doesn’t care if we believe in it. It just is.
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This is the kind of idiocy we Boomers are leaving to you. Like I said at the beginning, buckle up. It’s time to get to work to make this what you want it to be.

A Final Thought – and It’s Optimistic

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

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

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

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

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

You can do this!
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Love and kisses,

The Boomers

PS – A Request

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

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

Thanks!

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

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

————————————

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

The Insurrection Report


Click the pic for the Washington Post story

The January 9 Hearing

“Tonight, I say this to my Republican colleagues who are defending the indefensible: There will come a day when Donald Trump is gone, but your dishonor will remain.” – Liz Cheney (R-WY)

Cheney is right, of course, and there are more steps to this.

  1. Some of the dishonorables will face the accountability they so richly deserve. That’s what will help to dissuade future bad guy wannabes to instead toe the line – the rule of law.
  2. The Republican Party has fully transformed into a personality cult. When the personality is gone, so, too, will a large number of people who followed and supported the personality; i.e. the herd will be culled. Those will be votes lost to dishonored Republican extremist politicians, the votes of the very people these cowards fear.
  3. Another dishonorable personality ready to end our democracy will come along. Then another. We have to learn to crush their assaults on democracy early.

It may take a generation or two, but there is a real possibility that the tsunami of Republican lies, cheating, hatred and cowardice will cause Republicans to take an enormous hit – if Democrats stand up and consistently tell the truth about how Americans have been duped and betrayed. We’ll see if they’re up to it.

What If  .  .  .

.  .  .  the January 6 insurrectionists and seditionists had started a large bonfire just a short way from the gallows intended to be used to hang Mike Pence?  What if they had brought with them a poster size version of the United States Constitution? What if they had ripped one page at a time from it and fed each into the flames of that bonfire? Would that have been worse than what they actually did?

Answer: No

They were bashing the Capitol Building, defecating on its marble floors and urinating on its walls, ransacking offices, bear spraying cops and viciously mauling every person and every thing that stood for our Constitution and our country. They tried to overturn the will of We The People. They tried to paralyze the very government that is outlined in the Constitution. They sought to establish mob rule and authoritarianism in place of democracy.

They were motivated and led by Republicans – lots of them – who lied them into hysteria. The Republicans have been working to overturn and end our democracy since at least 1960 and probably since FDR and they nearly succeeded this time. The Republican Party may as well have burned the Constitution themselves decades ago.

So, what if the insurrectionists and seditionists had lit a bonfire and burned the Constitution? They as much as did that, as they did their best to end America. And, moronically, the people of this hateful mob claim they are patriots.

“When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross.” – Sinclair Lewis, probably.

But the attackers weren’t patriots or Christians.

The Atlantic’s Jonathan V. Last Thinks Mike Pence Is an American Hero
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You read that right.

Pence was on the wrong side of nearly every issue, like reproductive rights, gay rights, making an Indiana HIV outbreak worse and more. His public religiosity didn’t extend to who got hurt. And he knowingly sucked up to Trump and his malfeasance for four years plus two campaigns.

All he did on January 6 was to obey the rules of the Constitution and do his clerical job. He at last did something right. For that he’s a hero?

We all know that he was under great pressure from Trump, who didn’t want to be Pence’s friend anymore unless he would lie and cheat Trump back into the White House. Pence didn’t knuckle under. That one time.

And we also know that Pence could have blown the whistle on Trump’s assault on our democracy at least a month sooner when the heavy machinations to corrupt the election were underway, as was the heavy pressure being dumped on Pence – but he didn’t. He could have short stopped a lot of pain and death – but he didn’t.

Sorry, Mr. Last, but this guy’s no hero. His tombstone might read, “At long least I got one right.” The sub-text will be all the things he got so terribly wrong for such a very long time.

One More Time

We’ve known all along that Trump knew he lost the election fairly. We know from testimony to the January 6 Committee that he was told that by an army of his own people. He was begged by his own people, including his own daughter, to tell the insurrectionists to stand down and he didn’t listen to any of them. He sat watching and enjoying the destruction being done in his name. And there is exactly one reason why.

Trump was desperate to remain president because he knew that as soon as he was an ordinary citizen once again he would lose the protection from prosecution every president enjoys. That would mean that prosecutions for election tampering, money laundering, suborning perjury, obstruction of justice and so much more would come down on his head. He knew that he would spend the rest of his life defending himself in courts and then in prison. That’s why he was and is willing to do any corrupt thing, mouth any stupid lie and do even more to stay in office.

Plus, there’s his narcissistic, sociopathic, disordered personality.

“Desperate people do desperate things.” – Rachel Caine

How Do We Start To Move Forward?

We have an enormous amount of work to do to glue this country back together. There is room for the disagreement and policy disputes that are a normal part of finding our way in a pluralistic society. We live in a great variety of circumstances and we order our values in different ways, so finding a way forward for all of us is a daunting challenge.

What there is not room for is insurrection and violence. We will need to convert or marginalize those who believe in such things. This is going to be messy and it is going to take a long time. And the public hearings of the House January 6 Committee telling the truth about what happened is a very good way to start.

Next step: Department of Justice indictments, because accountability matters.

————————————

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA

 


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

This Isn’t The Time


Instructions

Study this material. There is a test at the end.

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Click me to view the Gun Violence Archive

I know that this isn’t the time, because after each horrific mass shooting in America Mitch McConnell tells us that yet again. He said that after Sandy Hook. He said that after Parkland. He said that after the Pulse Nightclub and Sugar Land and Mother Emanuel AME Church and Aurora and Poway and Tree of Life Synagogue and El Paso and I’m pretty sure he’s going to say it now, after the Buffalo and Laguna Woods church shootings last weekend.

Yesterday, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), third-ranking Republican in the House, said, “It is not the time to politicize this tragedy,” yet she paid for ads pushing the replacement lie. Just another day in HypocrisyLand.

It seems that it’s never time to talk about doing anything to stop our American massacres. And it’s not because they happen infrequently. In fact, there have been 27 mass shootings this month alone and it’s only the 18th. Actually, we’re pretty good at murdering one another and we’re steadfast in doing nothing to make us safer.

For decades over 80% of Americans – that includes over 72% of NRA members – have wanted strict, universal background checks prior to the sale of any firearm. The vast majority of us want assault weapons to be prohibited. Same for large capacity magazines, bump stocks and both concealed and open carry. How’s that working out for We The Majority?

It was just a short time after those twenty little 6- and 7-year-old kids and their six teachers and staff were slaughtered at Sandy Hook Elementary School that Wayne LaPierre of the NRA began to insult this country with, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” I have to admit that was a most excellent, chest-thumping marketing ploy for selling more guns.

There are way more guns in this country than people, so there must be a lot of good guys with guns. But how many bad guy murderous rampages have been stopped by a good guy with a gun? Can you think of even one? Neither can I.

Can you imagine a good guy with a gun at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in a shoot out with the bad guy as the halls were full of kids between class periods?

I’m not running for office and I don’t care who I upset by saying this:

  1. I want universal background checks before the sale or transfer of any firearm. That includes Grandpa giving his favorite hunting rifle to his grandson. That grandson just might be named Dylann Roof or Nicholas Cruz or  Eric Harris or Dylan Klebold or Omar Mateen or Robert Gregory Bowers or Adam Lonza. He might be mentally ill or he might be a White Supremacist, hate-filled homicidal maniac like the Buffalo murderer. I don’t want that grandson to get his hands on any firearm.
  2. I want assault weapons to be illegal. These are so-called “man guns” with which our over-testosteroned, angry, under-educated, morally deficient people get their “man card reissued.” Yes, that was the advertising for the Bushmaster assault rifle, the murder machine used at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
  3. I want absolutely no large capacity magazines or bump stocks or automatic firearms of any kind to be allowed anywhere. Alternatively, Americans to have the right to own as many muskets and musket balls as they want, just as the Founders intended when they wrote the Second Amendment.
  4. I want all new firearms sold to have an interlock so that only the owner can fire it. That will help to stop the theft of guns and their subsequent use to kill you and me. If technology makes it possible, I want all existing firearms to be retrofitted with that same technology.
  5. I don’t want any civilian walking my streets carrying a firearm, whether concealed or open carried. And I don’t want anyone to have a gun in the passenger compartment of their vehicle, just like we don’t allow open containers of alcoholic beverages in cars. We don’t need homicidal road rage any more than we need drunk drivers.
  6. I want a full semester of civics taught to every 8th grade school kid, whether in public or private school. Then I want every high school senior to take two semesters of civics classes. Graduation should be contingent upon successfully completing those classes. Maybe that will help to establish a sense of responsibility in our young citizens. They might even grow up to be responsible older citizens. That would be a refreshing change for our country.

Until I’m in charge you better make your voice heard. Otherwise, you’ll once again hear McConnell tell us this is not the time to talk about ways to stop the bleeding and the dying. You’ll have to endure chorus after chorus of “thoughts and prayers” from our jellyfish elected officials. You can identify them as those occasionally somber looking people with special lapel pins and who haven’t the courage to sneeze without first getting permission from their Party leaders, from the hate spewers and from the gun crazies.

If you and I don’t stand up and speak up there will be lots more dead fellow citizens who did nothing worse than go to school or go to an outdoor concert or go to church or have the audacity to go grocery shopping while Black.

Test

Answer each question to the best of your ability. If you find yourself stuck on any question, go on to the next one. When you circle back to the unanswered questions, if you find you still need help, you may use the Hint and the Explainers below.

Questions

  1. Why isn’t this already fixed?
  2. How is it possible that our circumstances have become far worse?
  3. What have we become?

    Click for the video – but be prepared with some tissues.

  4. Story Problem:

    On Monday Victor Blackwell of CNN interviewed survivors of the slaughter rampage in Buffalo last weekend. Two women he talked with had been on their way to the Tops supermarket. Their aunt was already there and was killed by that White supremacist gunman. One of the women was entirely distraught and the other was, as she described herself, devastated. Their pain was so palpable that Blackwell could barely keep himself together.

    At last he turned to the camera and to his anchor in the studio and said,

    “I was counting in the car, talking with my producer  .  .  .  I’ve done 15 of these – at least the ones I can count. And we keep having the conversation about Democrats will say guns, Republicans will say mental health, and nothing will change.

    “And I’ll probably do another one this year. Family after family, having nowhere to go with their grief.

    “We’ll get into a political conversation later, but is this the way we’re supposed to live? Are we destined to just keep doing this, city after city? Have we just resigned that this is what we’re going to be?”

    Q. What are your answers for Victor Blackwell?

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Hint

   The answer to questions 1 – 3 (and maybe #4) can be found in one word: Apathy.

Explainers

  1. The behavior we tolerate is the behavior we get.
  2. If we always do what we’ve always done, we’ll always get what we always got.
  3. Unless something changes, nothing will change.
Joke of the Week

This is humorous, but it’s sadly related in style to our present reality, including our domestic terrorism.

Fox News anchors stole engines #3 & 4 from the right wing of several large airplanes, then blamed it on a left wing conspiracy.

Many thanks to MA for this.

————————————

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Here’s Why


Take a look at this downloadable PDF map of NATO countries – they’re the ones in BLUE and follow along.

Putin has made it clear that the greatest tragedy of the 20th century was not WW I, WW II or the 1918 influenza pandemic, each of which killed millions of people. No, he’s certain that the fall of the Soviet Union was the very worst thing that happened over those 100 years. He has dedicated his grandiosity to reconstructing that paragon of repression and cruelty or perhaps creating something even more dreadful. I’m sure that in his dreams he hears the sound of Soviet tanks crushing the pavement of the streets of downtown Budapest and has visions of Khrushchev pounding his peasant shoe on a lectern at the United Nations, where Putin hopes to pound his Gucci loafers.

He claimed there are lots of Russian speakers in Ukraine, which means, he says, that Ukraine isn’t a real country, but rather, it’s part of Russia. Using that logic, San Francisco should be ceded to the Chinese, Montreal should become the property of France and Texas, New Mexico and Arizona should surrender to Mexico.

In 2014 Putin grabbed the entire Crimean peninsula and large swaths of the Donbas, the southeastern part of Ukraine. That’s where you can find the rubble that was the city of Mariupol. That’s where you can still find Mariupol’s besieged steel plant, with its hundreds, perhaps thousands of wounded fighters and noncombatants who can’t get food or medical supplies, who can’t get out and who the Russians bomb every day.

When the brutalizing of Ukraine started I said that the Moldovans must be shaking in their shoes because surely they would be next. Sadly, Putin is proving me to have been right. He has announced that he will sweep up the entire east and south of Ukraine all the way to Moldova, where he’s already dropped bombs. Moldova has no army, although they do have a few traffic cops, so stopping Putin’s thugs will be more than difficult for them.

Go back to that NATO map and look at the countries in GREEN that border Russia. These are nations that are not NATO member countries. Looking north from Ukraine and you’ll find:

Belarus

Finland

Sweden

Counter-clockwise from Ukraine there are:

Georgia

Armenia

Azerbaijan

Kazakhstan

The southern “-stans” of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan,Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan

Left off this list are Mongolia, China and Afghanistan. Surely, not even Putin is dumb enough to invade China or Mongolia. Or Afghanistan – again.

Finland and Sweden are likely to become NATO members by June. But the rest of the GREEN countries would be easy pickings for Putin. Belarus is already a vassal state and he can gobble up the rest without fear of a direct confrontation with NATO.

If you were the leader of any of these GREEN countries, what might you be thinking about NATO membership right now? Maybe that you’ve waited a bit too long to request membership?

Putin thinks that Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are legitimate parts of Russia, just like his claim about Ukraine, but they are NATO member countries. I suspect that it’s in these Baltic states where the inevitable Russian confrontation with NATO will occur. Putin and the world will quickly learn whether Article 5 of the NATO Charter means anything. Meanwhile, here’s the reason for this geography lesson.

The U.S. is in the process of authorizing another $33 billion of aid to Ukraine and some are asking why we would spend our treasure this way. After all, they say, this is Ukraine’s war, not ours. That’s where I and many others disagree.

Set aside the humanitarian imperative to help people who are suffering or the important need to right a wrong. It’s more solidly connected to self-interest than that.

Putin’s actions threaten the entire world. He’s upsetting the carefully crafted and tended political peace and economic order that have lasted since 1945. That threatens America.

The Ukrainians are fighting for their country, their democracy, their freedom and their independence. Those are the same reasons every one of those GREEN countries will resist. But they can be picked off one at a time by Putin’s inept but numerically overwhelming forces and his threats of chemical and nuclear war. So, the world either stops Putin in Ukraine or we will have to fight him in the next country and then the next and the next. There will be no appeasement of this monster. Reference: Neville Chamberlain’s Munich appeasement of Hitler in 1938. That didn’t work out too well for the Brits or for the world and attempting to appease Putin would be a similar disaster.

The Ukrainians’ struggle is an existential fight for all democracy and freedom in the world and if Putin isn’t stopped there this will eventually become our own fight. We can either help to stop Putin in Ukraine or we’ll have to stop him later as he directly threatens our own shores.

That’s why.
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And that begs the question of why Representatives Biggs (AZ), Taylor Greene (GA), Bishop (NC), Gaetz (FL), Gosar (AZ), Norman (SC), Massie (KY), Perry (PA), Tiffany (WI) and Davidson (OH), all Republicans, voted against the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022. They and others also voted against the resolution of support for Moldova. Just guessing that they’ll vote against the additional $33 billion of aid for Ukraine requested by President Biden. And they’ll do so with the enthusiastic support of the supreme, authoritarian loving, Putin and Viktor Orbán suck up, Tucker Carlson.

Here’s the key question:

If all those Ukrainians are doing the fighting and dying so we don’t have to, why would these elected officials oppose supporting them?
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President Biden’s Call To Action
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“We’re calling on all Americans to pony up all the necessary military and humanitarian support for the Ukrainian people, who are fighting for all freedom loving people. That’s good, and it isn’t enough.

“Because of Putin’s war, there will be precious little agricultural output from Ukraine this year. That country was formerly the supplier of 10% of the world’s wheat, and that’s just a placeholder for all the disruption of food supplies the world will see this year. That’s why I’m calling on all of US agriculture to maximize production. No fields lying fallow. Find ways to produce more. This is your patriotic duty.

“European nations are already moving to get off the Russian gas and oil umbilical cord and move to renewables. We need to make similar changes here to maximize pressure on Putin.

“I’m calling on our fossil fuel companies to stop drilling and start building a carbon-free power infrastructure. I’m calling on Prime Minister Modi of India to do the same.

“And I’m calling on all Americans to support the switch to electric transportation, with all the infrastructure implications that means. This is war and we must lead the way for the world to end its dependence on fossil fuels.”

Hey, It’s Just a Draft

Yeah, but if its provisions become law, as it appears likely they will, we’ll take a giant leap back to women dying from complications of back alley abortions, women dying in childbirth, women delivering their rapist’s child – or their father’s incest child – ruined lives and more. It takes us back to brain-free, iron fisted patriarchy. It opens the door to making birth control measures – even within a marriage – illegal. Having a miscarriage could result in murder charges. And this draft opinion opens to door to reversing marriage rights and more. The Republicans in Congress and the Supreme Court stand steadfastly in their Dark Ages ignorance and will use their legal spears to kill everything they fear.

All of this is the proud result of the extremist, control freak Republican minority and of Supreme Court justices lying, dissembling and snow jobbing through their confirmation processes, falsely claiming that they believe that Roe v. Wade is settled law. Plus, there’s Mitch McConnell’s cheating, refusing to even hold a hearing for Obama’s SC nominee following the death of Antonin Scalia. The depth of their dishonesty is breathtaking.

So, congratulations to the many people who have worked so hard for so long to force their misogynistic way to control others. They think they should be in charge of making decisions for we lesser people, much like the result of the Dred Scott decision that said that Blacks had no rights and which put all power into the hands of White supremacists. Those 1850s guys really liked being in control of others, just like today’s Republicans.

But, hey, it’s just a draft. Who knows? Maybe between now and June one or two of the justices who now favor witch burning will relent. But don’t count on it. Instead, get to work making sure that all the people who otherwise would stay at home on November 8 learn what is being done to them. Inspire them to get off their butts and vote for Democrats, unless, of course, they want some primitive, rich old White guys controlling their lives.

————————————

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Dunning-Krueger & SmackDown


The Dunning-Krueger Effect

We suffer – oh yes, we suffer greatly! – from people who proclaim they have wisdom, brilliance, expertise and, worst, announce “truth” as if they actually know something. They act as though their appearance of confidence is all that is required. The sad news is that some reasonable level of competence really is required for most endeavors, especially for leading a nation. Absent that, we get into a lot of trouble.

It’s called the Dunning-Krueger Effect.

“The Dunning-Kruger effect is the phenomenon whereby people with little knowledge tend to overestimate their abilities, precisely because they ignore how much knowledge is necessary .  .  .

That may seem rather benign, but it leads people to say and do the most outrageous and harmful things, like accuse others of horrific deeds (see the next section of this post). Here’s a graph of this phenomenon.

In the snap of your fingers you can name ten people immobilized at step one on Child’s Hill. Examples: Reps. Kevin McCarthy and Marjorie Taylor Green, as well as Sen. Bill Lee. And that’s just from last week’s cavalcade of deceit.

Here’s another graph of Dunning-Krueger with labels you may find more useful.

We have far too many politicians stuck on the peak of Mt. Stupid. Being there leaves them with nothing to do but sell out to whoever brings them more power and money. They are rendered paralyzed by fear of falling into disfavor with whoever is dispensing what they want (their “puppet master”). They will say and do the most inane and destructive things just to stay in the good graces of he who pulls their strings.

They will cheat and lie and when caught they will double down on their lies. They will sell others down the river without another thought. The problem is that you and I are on that boat headed south and we’re on board solely because of the permanent residence of our self-deluded politicians on Mt. Stupid.

If you want to know more about the Dunning-Krueger effect, click on the charts above. If you want to get rid of politicians stuck on the peak of Mt. Stupid, vote them off the mountain this November and in 2024 and recruit others to do the same.*

Smack Down

I know you hear the outrageous, hateful, bigoted rants of haters who seek to marginalize us, to create divisions to weaken us, to give power to the minority at the expense of the majority. Maybe your blood boils when you hear leaders spew lies and fear and your eyes go googly when some otherwise ordinary citizen recites the crap s/he has been fed by the hate mongers.

And just maybe you wish that somebody – anybody – would hit back hard. You need right and wrong to be restored to something having moral fiber.

Well, wait no longer.

The video below is of Michigan State Senator Mallory McMorrow on April 19 offering “words” for another senator who had trashed her with accusations of pedophilia in an emailed fund raiser the night before. Even if you’ve seen it, watch it again.

This is the kind of sterner stuff we need in this country. This is the kind of impassioned smack down of hatred that we need to see in every venue where hateful idiots are spewing vile lies. Sen. McMorrow may be exactly who we’ve been waiting for to shine a light that leads us all back onto the right path.

 


* Here’s a comment from one of the D-K pieces, addressed to those on the peak of Mt. Stupid:

“Please move out now while you still know it all.”

————————————

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

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