Leadership

Misplaced Referendum


POST 1064


First, A Solution to Campus Protest Violence

It’s simply intolerable that what we’re seeing on college campuses now looks just like the conflicts we faced in the 1960s. We should have learned something in all this time, like that when we send in people who only know force that violence is what we get. I think we can do better.

The Scene

Monday, April 29, 2024, 8:30PM

We know that the terrorists who started this war by murdering, dismembering, raping and terrorizing so many Israelis and taking hundreds of hostages are hiding within the civilian population in Gaza. They’ve left Israel nothing but bad choices for protecting itself and for punishing the bad guys.

As a consequence, we’re all seeing the unspeakable horror of innocents being injured and killed in Gaza. Grannies, children, babies – it’s gut wrenching and our students, empathic, idealistic and impassioned as they rightly are, are powerfully moved to act on their outrage and do something they hope will make things better.

In the midst of this disorienting angst on campus are Jewish students who are torn over the anguish and at the same time are the recipients of slurs, physical attacks and calls for them to die.

And those are just some of the complications.

Tensions are high and university presidents and state governors are calling in riot police and National Guardsmen carrying riot gear. That, of course, is what Mayor Daley did in Chicago in 1968. That didn’t work out too well then and there is no reason we should expect it to work better now.

A Solution

Instead of riot police advancing in an intimidating phalanx zeroed in on unarmed kids, how about they ditch the shields and the clubs and instead hand out bottles of water to the kids on all sides of this conflict. They could bring in porta-potties and recycle bins for empty water bottles.

How about setting out long tables and chairs and inviting kids to sit and talk with one another? In other words, how about the cops, instead of being Officer Thug, show up as Officer Friendly?

What if they were to invite these impassioned kids to talk with one another instead of yell at one another? What if these kids actually heard one another (you know: like listening) and learned that the person across the table isn’t the devil they imagined? What if university administration personnel (I’m looking at you, university presidents) took to the quads and listened to the kids instead of issuing orders and threats? What if the administration folks, the cops and the Guardsmen – even governors – were to model being constructive and respectful adults?

Crazy, right?

Many thanks to son Scott Altschuler for thinking through this with me.

UPDATE: Tuesday, April 30, 2024, 8:45PM

Negotiations broke down long ago at Columbia University. Protesters now occupy Hamilton Hall. It isn’t known how many are in there or whether these are students or outside agitators or just chaos loving, order hating anarchists.  It isn’t known if they want the university to divest its holdings from Israel or if they deeply care about the plight of Gazans or if they just want attention.

Police in riot gear are entering the building. It is certain that nothing good is going to happen for the protesters tonight.

This situation screams into the void,”We failed. Again.”

Now, About That Referendum

The Chicago Bears are angling for a new stadium. Soldier Field was remade for them just 22 years ago at a cost of $400 million and now, gosh, that stadium is so yesterday that they have to have new digs. They bought the old Arlington Race Track property, but apparently cannot work out a deal for someone else to pay for a glitzy new home for da Bears.

Mayor Johnson of Chicago is drooling over keeping the Bears in the city and having them in a showplace home in a showplace location. He’s promoting a referendum that will fund the project, leaving a financial burden for the city of roughly $4.7 billion. That will secure the land and build a state-of-the-art football stadium in a high profile location, perhaps on the lakefront. Cities across the nation have done that sort of thing, but wait just a second.

First, full disclosure: I’ve been against cities subsidizing privately owned sports businesses since that lunacy dramatically expanded in the 1970s. Note that the Green Bay Packers are an exception to the stadium building racket because the city owns the team. Besides, Lambeau Field is a much beloved venue.

I founded and ran my Illinois business for 25 years and no municipality ever tried to entice me to locate within its boundaries by offering a new manufacturing plant and first class offices. Like the Bears, I would have brought revenue to such a place. While my company’s contributions would have been minuscule compared to what the Bears could bring, the revenue point is important because tax revenue from sports teams and from all the ancillary services, like restaurants, hotels, taxis, entertainment venues and more is a primary argument for a municipality to pay for these overly extravagant facilities that benefit private companies. The other major argument for cities underwriting assets for private businesses is the prestige attendant to a professional sports team attached to the city.

But that’s stinkin’ thinkin’. I think it’s a severe case of mis-ordered priorities and a desperation for puff-up immediate gratification. I think the city should do something else.

Float that referendum for $4.7 billion, for sure, Mayor Johnson. But use that money to make Chicago the envy of the world for childhood education. Fix the broken schools, build more as needed, bring in an army of the best teachers (that means paying them well), feed the kids meals that will keep them healthy and mentally sharp, prepared to learn. Bring in the most effective technology and have books – all of the books – on the shelves of libraries. Educate our kids to thrive in and lead tomorrow’s world.

If we were to do that, people will come from everywhere to prepare their kids for success. Doubt that? What do you think caused the suburbs to grow and prosper as they have?

World leading education will cause families to begin to thrive, neighborhoods would experience a renaissance and kids would graduate and build their lives and their businesses where they started, producing a virtuous cycle of improvement. And the city would experience ever-increasing revenue from the urban renewal and financial growth.

Image that: An entire major city devoted to our kids and to tomorrow.

The payoff will take time – certainly longer than it would take to build a new stadium and the hot dog stands outside it – but it will grow and bless us with new technologies, medical breakthroughs, lower crime, mentally healthy kids with entrepreneurial spirit and a strong work ethic. It will reverberate for a hundred years and beyond.

Still need the prestige of a professional sports team, Mayor Johnson? Go wave a pennant.


Today is a good day to be the light

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

  • Did someone forward this post to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!) It’s going to take ALL OF US to get the job done.

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Law And Order: Special Hush Money Unit


POST 1062


Headline of the Month

From Politico of 4/14/2024

“A porn star, a president and a publisher named Pecker:

“The key potential witnesses at Trump’s criminal trial”


The Hoped For End of the Hush Money Trial

It’s the conclusion of jury deliberation in the Donald Trump hush money/criminal fraud/election interference, multiple count felonies case. The courtroom is silent in anxious anticipation, as the jury solemnly returns to Judge Merchan’s tense courtroom. The defendant has awakened from his courtroom nap and is focused on the jury with a sneering stare.

Judge Merchan: “The defendant will rise.”

Trump rises slowly, belligerent and hostile in rebellion against authority.

           Judge Merchan:   “Jury foreman, have you reached a verdict?”

Jury Foreman:     “We have, Your Honor.”

Judge Merchan:   “Regarding 34 counts of falsifying business records to cover up a crime, what is your verdict, guilty or not guilty?”

The jury foreman reaches into a pocket, pulls out a pitch pipe and blows a note. The entire jury turns menacingly toward defendant Trump. They furrow their brows in obvious distaste and snarl in unison,

“YOU’RE FIRED!”


Gang-Greene

You’ve known all along that Marjorie Taylor Greene is cruel and dishonest, vulgar and infantile and constantly inappropriate (ref: any Biden State Of The Union address). Her foaming-at-the-mouth refusal to help Ukraine leaves European nations and the U.S. at risk from the war mongering new iteration of megalomaniac Josef Stalin. That’s why she has earned a special title from Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-FL), who said, “that Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene . . . should be appointed as Vladimir Putin’s Special Envoy to the United States Congress.”

In one of her most desperately cloying, grabbing, begging, pleading for attention idiocies, Marjorie Taylor Greene threatened to call for Speaker Mike Johnson’s removal from his speakership for his impudence to bring to the floor a bill for support of Ukraine. Putin didn’t want that to happen, preferring the continuing depletion of Ukraine’s war matériel so he can succeed in his invasion. Greene and her extremist conspirators in un-American activities, the Gang-Greene, are brain-free suck-ups to Donald Trump, who is completely captivated by Putin and proudly wears the title Putin has given him: Useful Idiot. That title goes for Greene and her abominable Gang, too.


Boomer Corner

From a recent post by my friend Ed Gurowitz:

It is this thoughtlessness that worries me. I have many German friends and family, and I’ve asked some of them what their parents told them it was like during the rise of Nazism. Even allowing for a people providing exculpatory explanations, what I have heard overwhelmingly is that people just let it happen – whether through apathy, feelings of powerlessness, or secret sympathy, it doesn’t matter. As Edmund Burke famously said, “All that is needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

That is what I’m afraid of – good people doing nothing when the opportunity to vote is there.

Me, too. Which is why I offer the following.

From Wikipedia – Click the pic

We Boomers did some good work in the 60s when it was our asses on the line in a senseless war, our values were being assaulted by a continuation of centuries of cruelty that seemed like it would never stop. It was our time to respond to Abigail Adams, who expected her husband John to come home with a Constitution that guaranteed women the right to vote – he didn’t do that. And it was even time to (gasp!) guarantee non-Whites all the rights of citizenship. Crazy, right?

But those days are gone.  Our job was largely done, so we left the protests and went about our lives. The world moved on, only not always in a good way. Some of what we accomplished was tragically reversed and now we face a very bad threat.

We never thought we’d have to fight this fight again, but right now the forces of destruction are shaking our world, this time with an even greater threat to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The bad guys have been plotting this since we left the protests behind and they are organized and well funded by billionaires, who plan to be our fascist overlords.

You know what that means:

It’s time for us to saddle up again and fight for what is right.
.

It’s time for we Boomers to once again make our voices heard in a deafening thunder to say that we’re not going back. We will never back down. We will stop the forces of destruction. We will protect our sacred democracy.

READ THIS: An Urgent Call To All Boomers.
.

Then take action. You’ll know what to do.


Today is a good day to be the light

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

  • Did someone forward this post to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!) It’s going to take ALL OF US to get the job done.

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Horrible, Horribler, Horriblest


POST 1061


Horrible

Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire had been a Nikki Haley supporter making Never Trump sounds, this in his blowhard-y way, but that doesn’t work now that Haley’s candidacy is over. Now he’s backing Trump. He even says Trump shouldn’t drop out of the campaign even if he’s convicted of felonies. Here’s his exchange with George Stephanopoulos last Sunday, as reported by Heather Cox Richardson:

Just to sum up,” Stephanopoulos said, “You support [Trump] for president even if he’s convicted in [the] classified documents [case]. You support him for president even though you believe he contributed to an insurrection. You support him for president even though you believe he’s lying about the last election. You support him for president even if he’s convicted in the Manhattan case. I just want to say, the answer to that is yes, correct?”

Sununu answered: “Yeah. Me and 51% of America.” *

Aside from its overstatement of Trump’s national support, Sununu’s answer illustrated the triumph of politics over principle. Earlier in the interview, Sununu explained that he could swallow all of Trump’s negatives because he wanted a Republican administration. “This is about politics,” he said.

That exchange was on the eve of jury selection in the first trial of the only ex-president to be charged with felonies. It seems that Trump isn’t the only fraud and Republicans are in a cowards conga line, meekly peeing on Trump’s command. Don’t confuse Sununu’s bluster with strength or integrity. He’s nothing more than a wimpy Trump suck up.

Horribler

From a newsletter from AVOW, a Texas organization working to protect abortion rights:

Here are just a few of the policies Texas extremists are pushing:

Direct district attorneys to investigate and prosecute abortion support funds and their donors for helping people who travel out of state for care.

Censor and shut down websites with information about accessing abortion care — including educational websites like Avow’s NeedAbortion.org.

Expand the abortion bounty law out of state for medication abortion.

It wasn’t enough for them to ban abortion care in Texas — now they want to block free travel and information. [all emphasis original]

You’re reading that correctly. The state of Texas wants to end freedom of speech and the right to travel freely between states. Plus, of course, they want to eliminate everything related to pregnancy except waiting, regardless of the viability of the fetus or whether the mother will survive the ordeal or if she was raped by a thug or is the victim of incest by Uncle BillyBob. They want to eliminate all contraception but abstinence and, it seems, stop all sexual activity unless a government official observes and approves the act. Don’t even think of getting funky.

All that prohibition is very odd, in that Texas used to proclaim itself as having a starched spine over liberty and independence. “Don’t mess with Texas,” they proudly declare. Those folks used to believe in freedom. But now we see that they only want those things for people who agree with those in power, the freaks who want to control others’ lives. Looks like those guys have taken over the job of messing with Texas.

All of that is happening in extremist Gov. Greg Abbott’s Texas, he who proudly declares, “Slice ’em with razor wire and drown ’em in the river” cruelty; he of the defying of a Supreme Court ruling; he of the un-American way.

Horriblest

We wondered why a mean spirited creep snarling, “You’re fired!” was somehow entertainment for so many. And we lived in the frustration of millions accepting obvious fantasy, lies, cruelty, sideshow hucksterism and plain-to-see narcissism, resulting in all that and more being visited upon all of us. As bad as that was, it has become far more dangerous.

Trump’s mental decline is apparent to anyone paying any attention at all. As nonsensical, as vacuously performative as he has always been, things are far worse now and are becoming clinically perilous.

You must read Trump’s Brain Is Not Okay. This is not some updated Trump bashing or progressive leveraging. This is a serious examination by serious mental health professionals of what every one of us can observe any time Trump speaks or acts in public. He is becoming incompetent in ways that unmask his inability to operate on an executive level.

Dementia in various forms isn’t uncommon, but he is campaigning to be the next President of the United States. He has declared he will be a dictator, that he’ll be your “retribution,” that he will order Seal Team Six to assassinate his political opponents, that he will order our armed forces to take hostile action against lawful American citizens. He will babble like a toddler and

He will have the nuclear codes!
.

Don’t imagine that if he is elected that sane adults will be in the room to stop him all the time. Rather, imagine him as a tyrannical child having spontaneous and unpredictable temper tantrums with the world’s most destructive toys at his disposal.

Read: Trump’s Brain Is Not Okay.
.
Actually Horriblest-er

In the House of Representatives of the United States, its Republican members brought forth an impeachment resolution and puffed with great thundering bombast and imperiousness over the managing of our southern border, effectively blaming Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas for the ongoing debacle. They presented no evidence of any high crimes or misdemeanors.

On Wednesday the full Senate of the United States took up the matter, with Republicans vying for an opportunity to get a video clip to use in their campaigns for reelection in November. After a few hours of pointless blathering, the impeachment was discarded.

The debacle that is our southern border is the result of exactly one thing: Congress has failed to deal with the problem for decades.

Two months ago the Senate passed a very tough bipartisan bill to deal with the problem, but the House Republicans were told by Donald Trump not to even bring it up for a vote. He prefers to use immigration problems as a campaign talking point. So, the Trump-owned Cowardice Caucus of Republicans sits on its hands as terrified immigrants wait and suffer. Plus at Trump’s insistence the cowards made sure that aid didn’t get to Ukraine, Taiwan or to Israel/Gaza for over 480 days.

Our Congress is doing all that in our name as people are dying.

Finally, Some Good News

The scene is a time worn courtroom in New York City. It is Friday, April 19 and all are tired from the now completed arduous task of jury selection. As the day is ending the defense is challenging yet another decision by the judge.

Justice Juan Merchan:

“The defense is targeting my decisions one by one by one. That has to end .  .  . There comes a point where you have to accept my rulings. There’s nothing else to clarify. Nothing else to argue. We are starting this trial Monday morning.”

Like it or not, Orangeman, Justice Merchan is in charge, you are not and there’s nothing you can do about it.

________________________________________
* Nope – sorry, Governor. It isn’t 51%. It’s 42%. Now, what are you going to do when that number plummets because, unlike you, Americans won’t tolerate a crook, a fraud, a traitor, a cheat, a rapist, a liar and a convicted felon in the White House?


Today is a good day to be the light

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

  • Did someone forward this post to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!) It’s going to take ALL OF US to get the job done.

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Consequences v2.0


POST 1057


A Baltimore Bridge Collapse Question

As you know, on March 26 a mammoth container ship, the Singapore flagged Dali, crashed into a pylon supporting the Francis Scott Key Bridge that spans Baltimore Harbor, the country’s 11th busiest port. The ship is 984 feet long (over 3 football fields in length), weighs over 116,000 tons and was traveling at 9.2 mph, so the force of the collision was enormous and it took out a huge portion of the bridge. Six people died, two were saved and both land and sea transportation in Baltimore are severely hampered. The loss of life would have been much greater had first responders not quickly blocked access to keep others off the bridge. And had this collision happened at 1:30PM instead of 1:30AM, losses would have been far worse because the bridge would have been full of cars and trucks.

I had Joan Esposito’s radio program* on for the first few minutes of her program the day after the disaster and she asked an intriguing question. First, some background on what happened.

The ship impacted the pylon around 1:30AM. By 2:00AM Maryland Governor Wes Moore had been alerted, briefed on what had happened and had declared a state of emergency. By 3:30AM Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg had called the governor pledging whatever support was needed.

From C-Span:

“NTSB investigators, who are leading the investigation, arrived at the bridge scene at 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday [just 4-1/2 hours after the collision]. Twenty-four NTSB staffers were on site, including several specializing in nautical operations, human performance and engineering.” – NTSB chairwoman Jennifer Homendy

All of that is a really fast whole-of-government response.

A little later that morning President Biden said, “This is going to take some time. The people of Baltimore can count on us, though, to stick with them, at every step of the way, ’til the port is reopened and the bridge is rebuilt,” and he vowed to send federal funds. Later that day Secretary Buttigieg was on site in Baltimore and reiterated President Biden’s commitment.

For now we can ignore the instantaneous Republican demonizing, finger pointing and vows to help only if they can get other unrelated things they want. So much for whether Republicans give a damn for the people of Baltimore, the people of Maryland or some guy in Alabama who won’t be able to get his new pickup truck because the ship carrying it was supposed to dock in Baltimore but now is stuck at sea.

Now on to Joan Esposito’s question.

Imagine that this exact event had instead happened four years ago on March 26, 2020. How would President Trump’s team have responded? Try this.

Trump didn’t trust Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao. After all, she’s married to Mitch McConnell, who by then had greatly distanced himself from Trump. Plus she’s Asian. He didn’t invest her with any significant power to take action, so she wouldn’t have responded to the governor at 3:30AM like Pete Buttigieg did. She would have been reduced to going to Trump for a “Oh leader, may I?” conversation much later in the morning because Trump always watched TV looking for coverage of himself until nearly noon every day.

Trump certainly would not have wanted Chao to get attention when there was an opportunity to snare it for himself. He likely would have called a press conference in the White House to declare how we were going to build the greatest bridge – greater than anyone has ever seen. After grandstanding for as long as he could, he would have left the podium. He wouldn’t conference with then-governor Larry Hogan, a Black man, and he would have promptly forgotten the people of Baltimore. After all, what would be in it for Trump to bother with them? They wouldn’t vote for him, so there was no upside for him. Besides, it wasn’t infrastructure week. It never was.

Esposito asked, “When did Trump ever do the right thing? When did he ever, despite all of his false words, do anything to help any part of the country that was in need?” You know the answers.

The main point of the answer to Esposito’s original question is that elections matter – there are consequences to them. Competence matters. Clarity and dedication to our nation and to our people matter. The present administration is packed with extremely competent people in whom the President vests great power, so they are wonderfully effective and quick to respond. It would devastate our nation to go back to the all-about-Trump unreality show.

Mifepristone

Dear ethically challenged Supreme Court justices,

There are just a few things for you to keep in mind in this case, now that you’ve heard oral arguments on the attempt to ban this FDA approved drug.

  1. The doctors and scientists of the Food and Drug Administration are qualified to determine if a medication is both safe to use and effective. They are slow in their approvals because they are very deliberate in their work. Justices who are neither doctors nor scientists are not qualified to make such determinations. Second guessing the FDA from a position of ignorance is foolish at best and dangerous at worst. As Ruth Marcus put it, “[Alito’s] job is to interpret the Constitution. Would he rather run the FDA?” Supreme Court, you should drop this case and never again enter the realm of judging executive branch agency actions.
  2. The plaintiffs in this case have experienced no harm from Mifepristone. They have no standing to be bringing this case. Supreme Court, you should drop this case and never again accept a case where the plaintiff has no standing.
  3. The district court judge decided to ban this drug based on, 1) nonsense written in random, non-medical blogs by people ignorant about the drug and the field of medicine, and, 2) discredited studies that were withdrawn because they were false. Supreme Court, you should drop this case and never again accept a case that is based on zero evidence and the religious beliefs of a district court judge.

The points above were well known in advance of the Court agreeing to hear this case. The really important question now is why the Court would agree to hear this obvious loser of a complaint. I’m hoping it wasn’t to further advance the desire of 6 members of the Court to move us to become a terrifying 15th century theocracy. Think: both Dobbs and the comments of Thomas and Alito wanting to ban all birth control other than abstinence and the rhythm method. Like in the 1400s. And you know how well those work.

There remain significant consequences of Trump having won in 2016. His having seated three extremist Supreme Court justices is a crucial one. We continue to suffer from that and his other punitive actions, like $7 trillion in additional debt. On November 5, think about consequences.

One More Consequence

If you were a real enthusiastic Trump sucker and bought into his Trump Media merger scam, this past Friday was a nasty day.

Lets say you dug into your retirement money and bought $100,000 of stock at the offering price of  $79.38. Two days ago the stock was trading at $40.59, making your investment now worth $51,134. Congratulations: You lost $49,000 in just 12 days. You’re now just like Trump: a loser. And you’ve been conned – grifted – again. There are consequences to refusing to learn.

__________________________________________

* Click on the link and select the March 27 recording. Listen to the first 11 minutes.


Today is a good day to be the light

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

  • Did someone forward this post to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!) It’s going to take ALL OF US to get the job done.

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Something For Nothing


Post 1,053


Late Addition

.
NBC News Hires Former RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel
The GOP political veteran will become an on-air contributor to NBC News and MSNBC.
.

Yes, that Ronna Romney McDaniel. Be sure to click the headline and read the astonishing spin the networks put on this brainless move.

Here’s a piece of what Steve Schmidt said about this yesterday:

Ronna McDaniel is unfit to join any news organization because she is an inveterate liar. She is a chaos agent, who went fully along with Trump’s madness — right through the insurrection and beyond. She didn’t just show indifference towards Trump’s threats of violence, societal mayhem and revenge, she abetted them, aided them and raised money for them. A hard count of the documented lies she told during her tenure at the RNC would number in the tens of thousands.

I’m fine with MSNBC bringing former Republicans and traditional conservatives to their otherwise progressive team, people like Nicolle Wallace, Michael Steele, David Jolly, Joe Scarborough and more. I listen to what these honest Americans have to say because they are intelligent, insightful and worthy of my trust.

I’m very not fine with the total undermining of trust NBC News and MSNBC do by bringing in this Trump toady, this spineless coward. In it’s utter contempt for viewers and disdain for professional journalism, they present us this assassin of truth and reality, this election denier, this enemy of democracy and serial liar.

Can you imagine Rachel Maddow welcoming McDaniel as a guest analyst to her program, calling her a valued colleague? Neither can I.

To MSNBC and NBC News Management:
.

You just lost me.


Something For Nothing

If things are to get better, we’ll have to stop doing what makes things worse and start doing what makes things better. We’ll have to face up to the fact that there’s no such thing as something-for-nothing. We’ll have to invest in ourselves.

Here’s a starter list, in no particular order of importance. For most items there will be no immediate benefit, but we’ll have a beginning for the cultural shift needed to make things better for all of us.

  1. Teach 1 – 2 semesters of civics to every high school student (we used to do that), with a passing grade required for graduation, for entry into higher education and for the check box on job applications. In a few years, maybe a generation, most adults will be able to name the three branches of government and more than one president. We might even return to believing in a peaceful transfer of power.
  2. Teach American history in high school – including the parts that aren’t pretty. Two semesters minimum. Our kids are strong enough to deal with truth. It’s the parents who need an infusion of starch in their spines, the courage to look at reality and accept it. Maybe they should be required to take two semesters of American history, too – including the parts that aren’t pretty.
  3. Universal public service – 2 years minimum following high school graduation. That will throw people in with “others.” Maybe they’ll learn to get along. Plus, they’ll have a personally earned investment in our country.
  4. Enact strict firearms laws. I care far less for the tortured, twisted NRA version of the Second Amendment than I do for keeping people alive. So do you.
  5. Create policies that reward jobs and growth and eliminate policies that reward only narrow enrichment of the few, like supply side economics.
  6. Expel elected officials calling for what’s best for them and instead elect leaders who call for what’s best for our towns, our states and our country, like preparing for the next pandemic and standing up to tyrants. That election job is on all of us.
  7. Reverse all legislation and Supreme Court decisions that give non-sentient beings (e.g. corporations) the right to influence our elections in any way, like Citizens United. Severely limit the amount of money individuals can contribute to candidates. In short, eliminate the influence of big money on our politics so that only the voices of We The People are heard and represented. Mitt Romney was wrong: corporations are not people, my friend.

Add your notion of must-do items in the Comments section below.

The Big Long-Term Item

We have to stop pretending this is an 18th century agrarian society so that we can overhaul education. We continue to shoot ourselves in the foot with our shortsightedness, financing education primarily with property taxes. That works great in affluent areas, where tax collections are robust and provide what is necessary for a fine education for kids. But in poor towns and in poor neighborhoods the kids get a comparatively lousy education, which dramatically limits their lifelong opportunities and cheats all of us of the contributions they might have made.

Think: When you are dying of cancer, how will you feel when you realize that the kid who would have grown up and developed a cure for your disease was instead left half-educated because we refused to fund his/her education? We’ve seen this craziness happening for most of the past century, leaving kids with poor or even destructive options. We don’t have to stay on this self-defeating path.

We can’t pay teachers a poverty wage and refuse necessary educational resources and also give our children the preparation they need to succeed in this century. There is no something-for-nothing.

Our kids need up-to-date text books; secure schools where the roofs don’t leak and the walls and ceilings aren’t mold and mildew breeding grounds. Kids need engaged, motivating teachers and proper nutrition to learn. And they need books in classrooms and on library shelves that are protected from the Nazi book banning/burning censors. If we fail at this we’ll have ignorant kids, clueless citizens and world class failure. Magical thinking won’t fix this.

Do you suppose we have a need for lots of educated people? I know the Chinese believe they do. Every year they graduate five times the number of students from 4-year universities than we do. We won’t be able to compete with them over the long term if things continue that way.

We have to stop acting as if we are both ignorant and dimwitted. We are neither. Rather, we are adherents of magical, wishful thinking or even no thinking – like the comments above about education. Here are some other examples.

  1. We can’t buy cheap consumer goods made in foreign countries and also have our living wage American jobs. Ref: Any town with a Walmart.
  2. We can’t ship our jobs overseas and also have the American Dream.
  3. We can’t allow legislators to undermine our democracy and prevent solutions to our challenges and at the same time keep our values and our way of life.

If we are to continue to be a version of America we believe in, we’re simply going to have to face up to reality.

A while back George Will said that Americans want about 1/3 of a billion dollars more in services from government than we’re willing to pay for. Adjusting for inflation, population growth and a rise in the “I want” factor, that number is probably well into the billions now. If we want better, we’ll have to pay for better.

What? You don’t like this message that there’s no something-for-nothing and we’ll have to pay to get what we want?

Of course you don’t like it! None of us does. That’s the first challenge to overcome.

Oops – I think I just disqualified myself from public office.

Coda to This Post

Kristi Noem, Republican governor of South Dakota, infamous for her dental infomercial (and here) recently, advanced her campaign to be Trump’s running mate with her declaration at CPAC saying:

“There are two kinds of people in this country right now. There are people who love America, and there are those who hate America.”

I am astonished that this airhead has at last said something to which I agree. Not in the way she means it, of course, as her notion of loving America is to renounce everything that is America and make this a Christo-Fascist theocracy. Still, she’s right – there really are two kinds of people in this country. It’s just that she’s the other, the hateful kind.

BTW: Kristi – Nice teeth!


Today is a good day to be the light

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

  • Did someone forward this post to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!) It’s going to take ALL OF US to get the job done.

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Civil War


Post 1,052


A blogger friend recently posted, “A few years ago, CNN reported on a survey indicating that over 40% of Americans believed that a civil war was ‘somewhat likely’ in the next ten years.” He mentioned globalization as at least part of the cause. I assume that means that it has caused disruptions leading to angry citizens.

There are a lot of people who believe they remember better times, regardless of whether the “old days” actually were better. Think: false message MAGA hats.

To be fair, there is some truth to their grievances. There has been off-shoring of jobs, “right-sizing” (i.e. massive layoffs) and the rise of the big box stores that decimated whole towns and more. Their frustration is being amped up by those who would accrue power and money to themselves by keeping people enraged.

Today millions hate the “elites,” which I suppose means anyone wealthier or more educated than themselves. One or two generations ago big company CEOs made 35 times what a regular wage earner made. Now it’s 320 times. Corporations often demonstrated a sense of duty to their communities. Now most obligation has shifted to serve only shareholders and C-level officers, who are, by definition, elites. And thanks to creative legal manipulation we have ensured that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer through the magic of legalized bribery (see Citizens United). Roughly $50 trillion has shifted from the bottom 99% to the top 1% over the past 50 years. That carries enough power to infuriate a lot of people.

If there is to be a civil war, it will probably look like guerilla warfare, not cavalry on horseback or infantry in trenches. It will look like attacks on elected officials, churches (Blacks), synagogues (Jews), grannies in supermarkets and children in schools. Anyone who is vulnerable and perhaps blame-able will be a target. We already know what that looks like* and it may well get far worse. The fires are stoked every day to keep the angry people agitated, like Trump declaring at his rallies that if he doesn’t win the election that there will be “a blood bath” and “bedlam.” He specifically enourages his followers to commit violence. Just like January 6.

Bottom Line

We need leadership to grow this nation instead of fracture it. We need a new clarity of purpose, which is now looking like dealing with existential threat. It could be a foreign threat, but at the moment it appears to be more like home grown terrorism encouraged by self-serving extremists.

Coming together for such a challenge is the job of each of us, of course, but most of all it is the job of the leader to bring us together. Anyone listening to and following those seeking to divide us against ourselves** is willingly seeking to destroy America. Don’t fall for the hypocrisy or let those you love fall for it. Then maybe, just maybe, we won’t have a civil war.

Key Reads of the Week

See Note #5 below – then click the pic.

See Note #5 below – then click the pic.

Prof. Timothy Snyder teaches history at Yale and is the author of On Tyranny and other books. If you have not read this brilliant, pamphlet-sized book (rather like The American Crisis by Thomas Paine), do so immediately.

The idea of a strongman leader has become quite popular, having been promoted over and over by Donald Trump to his largely uninformed audience. Having lived in, studied and understood strongman leaders in many countries, Prof. Snyder offers a most helpful post to explain what having such a leader always means and what profound and terrible consequences would descend on Americans should we choose such a path. Read Snyder’s post here.

Next, you must read Prof. Heather Cox Richardson’s clarification of the 2025 Project. Perhaps you already know that project is the product of the ultra-conservative (i.e anti-democracy) Heritage Foundation and is 1,000 pages of anti-American, dictatorial drivel. They think we should have a pharaoh or fuhrer, Stalinist, Viktor Orbán or Vladimir Putin, the far right’s BFF, to control our country and to control and minimize you. They believe that all power should go to the 1% wealthy minority and that there should be subservience and few rights for everyone else. They believe that all men are created equal except themselves, who are created superior and entitled.***

That’s what a civil war would bring us.

Take the pledge and internalize it deeply. Then click the pic.

Watch for the post this Sunday’s for some ideas of what we must do if things are to get better.

___________________________________________

We are less than 22% through the year and already have over 12,000 dead from guns.

** It isn’t just Trump. Aaron Rogers thinks that 9/11 and the Sandy Hook murders were both staged by actors. He believes dumb and potentially homicidal theories about vaccinations, too. That’s why Rogers is on Robert Kennedy, Jr.’s short list for a running mate for the presidency. So is former pro wrestler Jessie Ventura. They are all dividers. And delusional.

If you want our nation to follow people like them, it’s possible you’ve sustained as many traumatic, brain injury bashings as Rogers.

*** Psst! Do you think you’re “more equal” than others? Most important, do you love to hate? Boy, oh boy do we have a tip.

This may not be the best country for you. Give Russia, Hungary, Sudan and Uganda a look. Those guys know how to suppress and murder “others” – they’re your peeps! Pick one and go there soon. Please.


Today is a good day to be the light

  • _____________________________
  • Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem with the same solution:
  • Fire the bastards!
  • The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.
  • Did someone forward this post to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!) It’s going to take ALL OF US to get the job done.

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Biden & Bibi – Urgent


Post 1,046


Transcript of a Dream Sequence of a Private Video Conference Between President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu

.

Biden: Bibi, our countries have been rock solid allies – friends – through good times and bad since 1948. It’s not just mutually beneficial. It’s the right thing to do, right?

Bibi: That’s right, Joe, and nobody appreciates that more than I do, especially since October 7.

Biden: That’s what I want to talk about with you, my friend. Look, without pointing fingers about lack of preparedness, Israel got blindsided. We know the horrible numbers. And Israel, like every other country, has the right and the obligation to protect itself and its citizens. You had no choice but to go after the Hamas perps.

But now, 150 days later, some numbers have changed. Specifically, even though Hamas’ claims of the number of Palestinian casualties cannot be verified – and we know that they lie – there is no question that the Palestinians have suffered terribly. They no longer have a functioning hospital in Gaza and people are starving. Even as that’s terrible for Palestinians, that’s not a good look for you, Bibi.

Bibi: C’mon, Joe, You know that’s what happens when Hamas embeds itself in the civilian population. There is no way to go after the attackers and eliminate their ability to attack us again without also harming civilians.

Biden: You’re right. The question now is what’s the number of Palestinian casualties that the world finds tolerable. The voices are clear that whatever the number is, you passed it a long time ago and the world is enraged over the deaths of children. Let me say this to you another way – and you’re not going to like it.

Hamas made a horrific attack on Israel and the world has seen that its fighters are guilty of barbarous crimes against humanity. We know, because they videoed their barbarity and posted their videos online. Jews and Israel itself had the sympathy of the world. Everyone outside terrorist parts of the world completely understood and supported IDF attacks against the aggressors. The Hamas fighters were the bad guys and you were the good guys.

But now that this has gone on for so long and the Palestinian deaths continue to mount, you’ve lost the support of the world. Israel is now seen as the bad guy.

Think about that: Hamas did horrific things to your people and your country and now, due to your excessive bombardments, Hamas has the sympathy of the world and Israel doesn’t. Bibi, they played you. They set a trap and you fell right into it. You got rope-a-doped.

Bibi: Easy for you to say that from the West Wing, Joe. Try living with rockets hitting your cities every day. Try knowing that your women and girls were raped and mutilated. Try knowing your people were burned alive. Try living with your babies having been murdered for fun, for the entertainment of the terrorists.

Biden: Nobody knows all that better than you and your people, Bibi. It hurts my heart to hear those truths. There is no question about how bad that is. But, Bibi, you’ve allowed Hamas to make you a chump. You’ve been acting like you can kill an idea, but you can’t. Something has to change and I’ll tell you what that looks like.

Bibi: Oh, boy – here it comes.

Biden: Bibi, first, we can’t continue to send you bombs and other offensive war matériel. The one thing we can do is to continue to support Iron Dome so you can shoot down Hamas rockets. If you need humanitarian assistance, like medical supplies or food, just give me a shopping list. But no bombs, artillery shells or rockets.

Bibi: Well, that’s just great. How do you recommend we prevent Hamas from continuing to attack us the way they’ve promised to do, “over and over”?

Biden: I don’t know, Bibi. I wish I did. That’s something you’ll have to figure out with your intelligence and military people. But you need to get this: We won’t help you to kill innocent people.

Next, you have to be more strategic and less reactionary. In fact, you need to become a statesman instead of the leader of a goon squad, which is how it looks to the world right now. There are three things you have to do:

  1. You have to declare and implement a complete and unconditional ceasefire. Announce that in the interest of protecting innocent people who Hamas is using as human shields, you are stopping all offensive military actions. And there is no limit to how long that will remain in place. You’ll give the world a starting point for once again seeing Israel as the good guys.
  2. You will negotiate with Hamas for the return of all hostages. You will go into those negotiations with clarity about which Palestinians you have in your prisons and which among them you will be willing to release in exchange for the hostages. In short, you’ll be prepared to do business. If Hamas refuses to negotiate or refuses to negotiate in good faith, you will parade their faithlessness before the world. This will be a few more steps up the ladder from the public relations hole you’re currently in.
  3. You will stop preventing humanitarian aid from reaching Gazans. Yes, I know that Hamas will grab as much as they can for themselves. Yes, I know that you have to stop weapons and ammunition from reaching Hamas. You’ll have to be selective in what you do and how you do it. But you can’t just freeze out those millions of starving people.

Bibi: You know we’ve tried to negotiate this already and Hamas drags feet and finds idiotic reasons not to come to agreement.

Biden: Well, Bibi, that’s where I disagree. You have not unilaterally stopped your bombing or enabled aid to get to the people. So far any change in your military adventure has been dependent on getting something back.

I’m talking about just stopping your attacks. No conditions. Like I said: Be the statesman. The man of peace. Your hard-ass routine has endangered your people, killed noncombatant Palestinians and created thousands of new recruits for Hamas. You have to get past thinking and acting like a mob boss because you cannot gun down all the bad guys without unacceptable consequences. You know: collateral damage.

Bibi: I really don’t like this, Joe, and I don’t like being talked to this way.

Biden: Of course you don’t, Bibi, but here’s the thing. My unconditional support for Israel is in the process of being shot down in Congress because of all the Palestinian death and that’s undermining my chances of staying in office. Now, I know you like Trump because he talks tough and makes it look like he’s on your side, but he is the snake you know him to be. He will sell you out the moment Putin tells him to abandon you, and Putin will do that. So, here’s how this is going to work.

I have directed my people to supply no war matériel to Israel except for Iron Dome supplies. I will be announcing that tomorrow at a presser and will be looking forward to quiet European and American city downtown areas and quiet college campuses without “From the river to the sea” chants. I’ll be looking forward to a reduction in anti-Semitic actions everywhere, especially in the U.S. In short, I need the killing of Palestinians to stop for the sake of Palestinians and Israelis and for the sake of my country. I won’t let your tough guy routine drag down the United States.

Look, Bibi, we’ll present all of this in the best way possible for you to save face. But, Bibi, you need to hear this: I’d rather you lost face than for my country to lose face. We are out of the unconditional support business.

I hope you take this seriously and do so quickly. I know that this will require great courage on your part and I trust that you have what that will take.

And I hope you and I will still be friends. But this is the way it will be, regardless.


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

  • Did someone forward this post to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!) It’s going to take ALL OF US to get the job done.

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

All You Need To Know


Post 1,045


It Only Hurts When We Laugh

 

You likely see the humor and perhaps appreciate the creativity in this cartoon, even as this is terribly cringe-worthy. It was sent to me by a dear friend and I’m working hard to forgive him. Here’s the problem.

This cartoon conflates two alt-right lunacies – fertilized egg personhood and extreme gun rights – as if some contest can be won by not being the most awful. But in reality, it doesn’t work that way.

We (both individuals and our country) are besieged everywhere in every way by alt-right extremists doing things like:

book banning/burning – there are over 1,000 books already banned in Florida alone,* many banned by people who don’t even have kids in the schools

patriarchal gender dominance (“Women belong in the home having and raising children” as well as limiting women to “my type” or “not my type”)

justice negation

election fraud through manipulating the system or baselessly denying results

tearing down our democracy

racist degradation (“Where’s my Negro? He’s gonna love these gold sneakers.”)

gun rights valued over human life

You know well that this list could go on for pages and still not cover all the fear- and anger-generated assaults on human rights, human dignity and democracy.

These MAGA anti-America phony patriots are actually after just one thing. They want all the power for themselves so that they can remake our country into something our Founders would say is exactly what they rebelled against.

The MAGAs not only want this country to be Christian nationalism (which is neither Christian nor nationalism), but they want it to be their own notion of Christian. There are two core problems with that: 1. What they want is something Jesus wouldn’t recognize or approve of; 2. That is exactly what the Founders did not want for our country – see the First Amendment.

Back to the cartoon.

It only hurts when we laugh. That’s why we don’t laugh much about our politics.

So, Here’s All You Need To Know

By 2018 Donald Trump had ramped up his vicious attacks on would-be immigrants, first with his rapists, murderers and drug dealers labels, his caravans scare tactic and his replacement idiocy. But nothing compares to his “zero tolerance” reign of terror. That was when he ordered that children be separated from parents at the border. You need to see the reality of this in your mind’s eye.

Picture a young mother with an infant on her hip and a toddler holding her hand on her other side. They wait in line for a long time and are eventually led into a room where they are seated across a table from a Border Patrol agent. She is told that she can’t enter our country legally and will be detained. The next thing that happens is that another Border Patrol agent rips her children from her and takes them away to be detained separately from her, on their own.

And this story gets worse.

The children were put into a cage with many other children and with no adult to care for them. There wasn’t even someone to change soiled diapers. Now for the worst parts.

  1. There was no plan to enable those children to be reunited with their mothers. No documentation. No identifications. Nothing. There were over 5,000 children detained/imprisoned this way and there was no system to ever to set things right. Those children were set adrift and their mothers made bereft and hopeless. Some of those mothers were deported – without their children.
  2. Trump and his brown shirt kidnapping mastermind Stephen Miller declared publicly that this cruelty was the point (and here). It was intentional. They wanted to discourage others from traveling to our border by letting them know in advance that we are and will continue to be barbarically cruel.

That was done in our names. Let’s make that more personal: Your name is attached to each separation. You and I allowed that to happen. Enough of us voted for this megalomaniac, wicked leader and we got what we elected.

The only good news is that immediately upon taking office President Biden stopped the Zero Tolerance policy and began reuniting mothers and babies. There are many sad stories that accompany those reunions, like kids who don’t remember or don’t recognize their parents; plus, there are still about 1,000 children who have not been reunited with their parents because of the daunting task of finding and matching families. Read this from Mother Jones.

You know all about Trump’s racism, detachment from reality, 30,000 lies, intention to be a dictator and use Seal Team 6 to murder his opponents and all the rest. Any one of his sociopathic failings should be enough to tell you that you never want this savage to have any power at all – ever.

There’s more.

It isn’t just his sycophantic followers, like Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Mike Johnson, Josh Hawley and Ron Johnson who we need to remove from the halls of power. We need to prevent every MAGA follower from having any position of authority because they will slavishly follow the slightest word from their deranged leader. We’re seeing this right now, with Speaker Mike Johnson refusing to bring bills up for a vote for time-critical things, like support for Ukraine to continue its battle for freedom, for humanitarian aid for Gaza and for our border security. This is being done by MAGA extremists at Trump’s direction while he is not even in office.

If we fail to stop the goose stepping MAGA horde, Trump will once again be able to inflict his cruelty on innocents.

There’s so much craziness that’s so very outrageous that it can make your head spin, so let’s make this simple. Always remember Trump and the MAGAs proudly ripping babies from their mother’s arms. That’s why you’re rightly certain that you do not want Trump or any MAGA to have any power anywhere, in any way, at any time. Remember what MAGA always does. That’s what Trump and his goose steppers will do again if we let them.

There is no court of justice or cavalry coming over the hill to save us. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for and we cannot wait any longer. We have to mobilize ourselves to not only vote, but to encourage others to vote and stop the MAGA cruel insanity.

Do it in remembrance of all those mothers and babies.

That’s all you need to know.

.

———————————————————–

* For a clear view of what is in store for this nation if Republicans gain control as they have in Florida, review this PowerPoint presentation focused on book banning in Florida. This fascist mind control is the canary in the coal mine for the rest of us.

Click the link, then click or double-click the listing in your download folder.


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

  • Did someone forward this post to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!) It’s going to take ALL OF US to get the job done.

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

You’re Not Going To Like This


Post 1,039


There was a glorious victory parade yesterday in Kansas City in celebration of the Chiefs’ Superbowl LVIII win. The crowd was estimated at a million people, twice the population of the city. There were waves and smiles and cheers and then people began to be shot and they dropped to the ground. As of the time of this writing there were at least 22 reported injured and one dead. Three people have been arrested. All this happened in the presence of over 800 law enforcement people.

Another day in America, another mass shooting. It’s 45 days into the year, we’ve already had 49 mass shootings and a total of 4,925 people are dead from gun violence. We commonly know who the bad guys are soon after a mass shooting, but I think we need to expand our definition.

I wrote here (in the “Innocents” section) about non-Hamas Gazans, commonly referred to as innocent Palestinian civilians. Since Hamas took over government in Gaza in 2006 the innocent Palestinians have stood by watching those hundreds of miles of tunnels be excavated and production equipment, computers and war matériel be loaded into those subterranean factories of death. Out of them have come tens of thousands of rockets that have been unleashed on Israeli civilians. While that carnage has been ongoing, what did those innocent Palestinian civilians do to prevent or stop the killing?

If, as it seems obvious, they did nothing, then they simply cannot be called innocent civilians. At very least they are complicit in those murders, those rapes, those atrocities because of their passivity. Now, here comes the part you’re not going to like.

If that logic holds, then we are not innocent in the shooting of those people in Kansas City, nor of the murders at Sandy Hook or Parkland or Uvalde or Tree of Life or anywhere else. We have allowed our system to be compromised, bastardized, politicized, weaponized and monetized so that any fool, any angry dirt bag, any paranoid or any Rambo wannabee can get his hands on combat weapons and ammunition. He can pick any day when the spirit of murder moves him and then blast away until he runs out of ammunition or the police shoot him down.

WE INNOCENT AMERICANS ALLOWED OUR SYSTEM TO DEVOLVE INTO THIS.

I foolishly thought that 20 little first graders and 7 teachers blasted and butchered into bloody puddles on the floor of Sandy Hook Elementary School would be the event that would bring us to our senses. That shows how naive I am, because as our nation wept and we held our little ones closer, the next mass murderer was on his way, locked and loaded and looking for blood.

AND WE DID NOTHING TO PREVENT HIM FROM MURDERING INNOCENTS.

Yesterday Everytown for Gun Safety opened their email this way:

Six years ago today at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, 17 students and school staff were shot and killed, and 17 more were wounded.

And yesterday marks one year since the deadly mass shooting at Michigan State University, where three students were shot and killed and five others wounded.

And today in Atlanta, four students were shot and wounded after school in the parking lot.

And just hours ago, another community was terrorized by gun violence: At the Super Bowl Championship parade in Kansas City, where at least one person was killed and many wounded.

Once again, everyday moments and celebrations have turned into tragedy.

And once again, entire communities are picking up the pieces from preventable acts of gun violence.

We sit in stupefied silence as the gun lobby threatens, cajoles and bribes our lawmakers and these politicians cower before them. They tell us about the Constitutional right of red blooded Americans to have guns and no tree hugging liberal weenie is going to take their guns from them. And then we reelect those cowardly lawmakers and afterward wring our hands at each of the next massacres, wondering how that could have happened. “Nothing anyone could have done about that,” they tell us with phony, mopey faces.

And they’re right about that because we let it happen. You and I. We sit motionless and inertia wins. That murderous body in motion stays in motion because it isn’t acted upon by an outside force, which should be us.

If we haven’t done anything to make things better to protect our people, if we haven’t put our right to stay alive over the right of gun ownership, then we are about as innocent as those Palestinian civilians who stand by and let Hamas do its murdering.

We seem to have shamed politicians enough that they have abandoned their despicable thoughts and prayers nonsense, but our efforts to make things better have been pitiful. Life isn’t safer for our little kids at their desks in school, wondering if they’re next, or for high schoolers in the halls between classes or for partiers dancing in Las Vegas, or for worshipers in churches and synagogues or for grannies in supermarkets buying milk and bread.

Go ahead – push back if you like – but I think we’re complicit in these murders because, like the Palestinian civilians, we’ve allowed the murders to happen. Those “preventable acts of gun violence,” as Everytown calls them, weren’t prevented because we didn’t prevent them from happening.

Of course, my accusation does not go to the Moms Demand Action folks, the Every Town for Gun Safety people, the March For Our Lives kids from Parkland and the others who are speaking up and demanding the reform that the rest of us are allowing to not happen. We keep voting for those who will not make the laws we all know we need in order to protect little kids sitting at their desks and parade attendees in Kansas City. That’s on us.


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

  • Did someone forward this post to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!) It’s going to take ALL OF US to get the job done.

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Keeping Score


Post 1,031

___________________________________

Keeping Score of Republican Voters

In a recent ABC News/Ipsos poll we learned that 45% of Republican-aligned adults responded that Trump “Best represents [my] values.” That’s more than double such identification with the next nearest Republican candidate.

Click me to make it easier to read this chart.

They’re talking values here. Not policies, not patriotism, not democracy, not America. Values.

AND THEY IDENTIFY WITH TRUMP!

Something has gone terribly wrong when nearly half of Republicans think Trump even has values (other than for himself) and they think he best represents their own values.

MAGAs, thoughtless sheep that they are, are followers without consciousness or conscience, excusers of verbal and physical violence. Those are values. So is hatred. And they most identify with Trump.

I have a question for all of them:

What is it that makes you need to hate people so much?

Okay, another question:

What happened to the values Mom & Dad taught you and that you learned in Sunday School or at the 4-H, or in the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts or even in kindergarten? What in the world made you sell yourself out?

Hint: Watch for answers in my post on Wednesday, January 24.

These people and their hatred have moved the needle not to the right, but to the wrong. All those self-righteous Evangelicals, for example, certain of their holiness, believe they’re doing God’s work and they’re are encouraged by their extremist political overlords and their pastors. That they support and promote vileness that is entirely anti-Christian makes no difference to them. They are bonded in a brotherhood of other-ing everyone not exactly like them. That is the America they insist upon. Those are quite odd values for bible thumping Americans to hold. But they do hold them, just the way Trump spouts them.

I don’t know how to create the counter to that, to stop the march to oblivion. Worse, it appears that Democrats don’t know either.

However imperfect, the America we used to have (or at least were working toward) is, in reality, the America we believed in not so long ago. Now those notions are at best quaint to many and at worst they are the enemy of the angry millions.

So, Republican voters’ score: D-
.
Keeping Score On The Supreme Court

We suffer under six extremist justices because in order to get through the Senate vetting process they lied or misled about their beliefs:

including their intent to honor stare decisis (leave prior Court decisions alone)

including Roe v. Wade being settled law

including opposition to legislating from the bench – nevertheless, they made up cases so they could make new, extreme partisan law

That’s how they got on the Court: dishonesty. There’s lots more, but we’ll save that for another day.

Don’t expect Clarence Thomas, whose wife was a key supporter of the insurrection, to do the right thing and recuse himself from cases concerning January 6. He’s just not into doing the right thing.

Trump lawyer Alina Habba, speaking on Fox News (begin at 6:00) about the Supreme Court case regarding Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, said the most un-American thing. She said,

“I think it should be a slam dunk in the Supreme Court. I have faith in them. You know, people like Cavanaugh, who the president fought for, who the president went through hell to get into place, he’ll step up. Those people [the other Trump appointed justices] will step up .  .  .  “

She finished, saying that their stepping up will be because of the law and fairness. But everyone can see that her intent was to declare that they owe Trump, so they’ll pull his butt out of the fire.

She might be right.

So, Supreme Court score: D-

Trump attorneys’ score: F

Keeping Score Of Begs

It isn’t surprising that no Republicans hit me up for campaign solicitations. I think I got hit on once by Trump and possibly many times, as I’m sure I tagged that first email as spam, so I don’t see those exercises in victimhood, retribution and grift.

Meanwhile, many Democrats have found me. I mean many. Here are a noteworthy few.

Elizabeth Warren contacted me once and Gavin Newsome a few times.

Independent Krysten Sinema has written to me with her hand out six times. Good luck with that, Krysten.

Adam Schiff gets the award for the most interesting, thoughtful and well written begs. He’s knocked on my door 79 times.

AOC writes the most friendly, caring and grass roots informative solicitations. She’s hit me up 183 times.

The winner is Joe Biden and all those who write solicitations for him. They have reached out to touch my wallet over 594 times since he announced last April. That’s an average of two per day. Even if the rate of his solicitations doesn’t increase, given the number of days until the election, I’m looking at about 558 more hits just from Biden. I’ll help him, but woe be unto my Delete key.

Stand by for the final count in my post of November 10, 2024.

So, political donation begging score: Don’t get me started.
.
Keeping Score on Speakers of the House

On February 23, 2023 I sent a request to the then-Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy. He had given 41,000 hours of video recordings of the January 6 riot and insurrection to Tucker Carlson – and only to Tucker Carlson. Carlson then cherry picked the recordings and put together an impressively dishonest and misleading piece of propaganda, suggesting that the insurrectionists were ordinary peaceful tourists. That’s why I asked McCarthy to send the videos to me, too. Oddly, I never heard from McCarthy, despite repeated requests.

The new speaker is a bible-thumping extremist, so I don’t expect him to do the right thing, either. In fact, he posted footage of the insurrection on his website and blanked out faces to protect the villainous perps. Odd, since we’ve seen the videos of these perps many times and many have already been convicted of their crimes, so their faces are known.

Consequently, this is your final update about those videos. They aren’t going to show up in my Inbox unredacted, so you’ll just have to live with what your own eyes have toldl you – no gaslighting. What a concept!

So, Speakers of the House: F
.
Keeping Score of Republican Legislators
    • “The GOP is more interested in nursing grievances and stoking anger than actually solving problems. That’s exactly what Donald Trump has trained them to do.”
  • Eugene Robinson
So, GOP legislators: F

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

  • Did someone forward this post to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!) It’s going to take ALL OF US to get the job done.

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

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