Manipulation

A Different Take


The Atlantic’s Jonathan V. Last Thinks Mike Pence Is an American Hero
.

You read that right.

Pence was on the wrong side of nearly every issue, like reproductive rights, gay rights, failing to prevent an Indiana HIV outbreak from becoming far worse and more. His public religiosity didn’t extend to caring about those who got hurt by his policies. And he 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 to do his clerical job. He could have spoken up at least a month before the insurrection and that might have saved lives, but he refused to do that.

We all know that he was under great pressure from Trump, who didn’t “want to be Pence’s friend anymore” if Pence wouldn’t lie and cheat Trump back into the White House. Pence didn’t knuckle under. That one time. I guess they aren’t friends now.

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

Similarly, we learned from the June 23 public hearing of the January 6 House Select Committee proceedings that DOJ men of integrity had prevented Trump from invoking the Department in his efforts to steal the 2020 election. But, like Pence, they didn’t speak up when it could have prevented the injury, death and destruction of the January 6 insurrection.

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 it into the flames of that bonfire? Would that have been worse than what they actually did?

They were bashing the Capitol Building, defecating on its marble floor, 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 democratically determined will of We The People. They tried to paralyze the very government that is outlined in the Constitution. They sought to establish authoritarianism in place of democracy. They wanted and still want government by vigilante.

They were motivated and led by Republican officials, the likes of which have been working to overturn and end our democracy since at least 1960 and probably since FDR. The Republican Party may as well have burned the Constitution back then.

So, what if the insurrectionists, the seditionists, had lit a bonfire and burned the Constitution? They as much as did that, as they tried their best to end America. And vacuously, ignorantly, they claimed they are the patriots. That was no 1776 event. It was a Benedict Arnold betrayal.

One More Time

We’ve known all along that Trump knew he lost the election fairly and we’ve learned through testimony to the January 6 House Select Committee that he was told that by an army of his own people. They begged him to tell the insurrectionists to stand down, but he didn’t listen to any of them, not even his own daughter. He sat watching and enjoying the destruction. 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 that he would no longer have the protection against prosecution that accompanies that office. He knew that prosecutions for election tampering, money laundering, conspiracy to commit a dozen crimes and so much more would come down on his head and he would spend the rest of his life in prison. That’s why he was and is willing to do anything, bray any unpatriotic lie and more just to stay in office.

Plus, of course, he would have to admit publicly that he’s a loser.

“Desperate people do desperate things.” – Rachel Caine

Special from The Texas Republican Party

From the June 18, 2022 report by Professor Heather Cox Richardson:

.  .  . delegates to a convention of the Texas Republican Party today approved platform planks rejecting “the certified results of the 2020 Presidential election, and [holding] that acting President Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was not legitimately elected by the people of the United States”; requiring students “to learn about the dignity of the preborn human,” including that life begins at fertilization; treating homosexuality as “an abnormal lifestyle choice”; locking the number of Supreme Court justices at 9; getting rid of the constitutional power to levy income taxes; abolishing the Federal Reserve; rejecting the Equal Rights Amendment; returning Christianity to schools and government; ending all gun safety measures; abolishing the Department of Education; arming teachers; requiring colleges to teach “free-market liberty principles”; defending capital punishment; dictating the ways in which the events at the Alamo are remembered; protecting Confederate monuments; ending gay marriage; withdrawing from the United Nations and the World Health Organization; and calling for a vote “for the people of Texas to determine whether or not the State of Texas should reassert its status as an independent nation.”

That’s pretty much the horrific bleeding edge of the GOP today and what they want to do to America. So, right now, this minute, mark your calendar to vote – November 8, 2022 and November 5, 2024 – unless you want what’s in that paragraph above.

From reader and writer Steve Sheffey:

Democracy is not a friend of Republicans, and instead of changing their policies to win votes, they are fighting democracy so that they don’t have to change their policies.

A Republican Song Of Today

To the Tune of This Land Is Your Land

Chorus

This land is my land,

I don’t mean thy land.

It’s just for my clan,

Not for those we can’t stand.

So if you’re all woke

You’re sure not our folk.

This land was made for me and mine.

Verse 1

I schemed and hated

And I agitated.

And scammed and ripped-off

And l lied my ass off.

We won’t be lonely

‘Cause it’s White’s only.

This land was made for me and mine.

Chorus

Verse 2

We band together

To hate forever.

Stick it where it don’t shine,

‘Cus you just aren’t me’n mine.

We are the patriots,

Unlike you idiots.

This land was made for me and mine.

Chorus

Verse 3

So, send the Blacks back

To where they came from.

We don’t need Asians

Making us all feel dumb.

And adios to

Hispanics, all of you.

This land was made for me and mine.

Chorus

 

————————————

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.

Where The Plan Leads


Mark Zaboroski posted a commentary on Bring Back Democracy, which included this picture of mini-Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, blowing deceitful sunshine up the butts of MAGA maniacs.

He wrote, “I don’t know who the woman over his right shoulder in the photo is, but I did hear part of her little speech. She declared that there was ‘no such thing as an unplanned pregnancy because God had a plan for each of us . . .’”

Zaboroski went on to shred the stupidity of her statement, wondering how that plan works for women or girls pregnant from rape, incest or who have ectopic pregnancies and who will die from them, as well as for victims of our daily mass murders and the suffering from wars and cruelties of every sort. She’s just another deranged absolutist of the delusional American 30%.

To be fair, her brainlessness and DeSantis’ John Galt crap works well if you’re young, strong, healthy and don’t give a damn about anyone else. Then you can spout hollow God explanations and fierce independence platitudes at people who are suffering. It works according to our so-very-human insecurity plan – not God’s plan – of selfishness for power and money.

All that is oddly connected to Leon Trotsky, a leader in the Russian October Revolution in 1917 and commissar in various posts of the Soviet Union until he went into exile from Stalin. He wrote a piece for Foreign Affairs Magazine in 1934 entitled Nationalism and Economic Life, which was just re-posted because (and this is just my notion) we humans steadfastly refuse to learn and remember. In an introduction to the piece, magazine editor Daniel Kurtz-Phelan writes,

“Trotsky described an interwar Europe trapped by inward-looking capitalist systems that had failed to keep pace with the demands of a global economy. It was a short road from economic nationalism to fascism, he argued, and fascism would lead to ‘nothing except ruin.’ Although Trotsky would not live long past the outbreak of World War II—he was murdered in Mexico in 1940—the warning in his essay foreshadowed the devastation to come: the violence of the early twentieth century would ‘seem only an idyllic overture compared to the music of hell that is impending.’”

It is that “impending hell” that the woman over DeSantis’ right shoulder is promising us – she and her 30 million fellow travelers in self-serving, self-satisfying lies, distortions, rationalizations, refusal of truth, cheating, manipulative, dishonest God references and the rest that they insist are their God-given rights and “God’s plan.” Mysterious ways, they tell us.

But it really isn’t a mystery. The road to impending hell is paved with well worn stones. We do this to ourselves through the willful ignorance of the 30%, their fear and their rage and our cherished national apathy and refusal to stand up to them.

Irv Leavitt posted a love note to our new graduates, The Burden of the Class of ’22: It was a brutal time to be in college. The brutality isn’t over. Surprisingly, his words resonate with Trotsky’s, as he ends his post with this:

“After World War I, lots of horrified people took a breather from lives of purpose. They trusted that such bad stuff would never be allowed again. So the young members of The Lost Generation wasted their time instead of getting to work fixing a broken planet.

“It turned out they only had a decade of their lives to throw away before all hell broke loose.

“It’ll be a shorter respite this time. Hell has better technology now.”

Back to Trotsky.

In his essay he paired a couple of words that caught my eye: vicious ignorance. Let those words trickle through your brain for a moment and I’m betting that you see 30 million election refusers, believers in absurd conspiracies, deniers of what’s in front of their faces, Bible thumping rationalizations and a cruelty you thought only happened in other places where the light never shines. Vicious ignorance. And it is this vicious ignorance that will bring fascism to America, the “music of hell that is impending” if we allow our delusional, cruel minority to overpower us.

Here’s George Santayana yet again: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

We are perfectly positioned to produce all the horrors of the past, including mass murders, fostered and ignited by those with no interest in learning. And, as Leavitt instructs, those horrors, that impending hell, has better technology now and will burn every one of us very soon – if we let it.

So, if there is a plan, it looks like we made that plan and it’s taking us in the wrong direction. We better be clear about our desired destination and adjust the plan so that we go there, instead of going to that overheated, everlasting furnace where the 30% would take us.

Must Read of the Week

Steve Sheffey posts weekly with great clarity and insight and I urge you to read his latest piece. The first section deals with our national mania to protect guns, not children. Read it. Memorize it. Pass it along to your friends and family who, by habit, zombie-vote Republican.

Must Watch of the Week

Watch this video. Warning: strong language. And the right message from someone who knows what he’s talking about. Read the comments below the video, too.

Think: Then Act

Do you remember 3rd and 4th grade? The most dangerous thing that could happen to you is that you’d skin your knee on the playground at recess. But today is a living hell for our kids, knowing that something far worse may be stalking them. Here’s something you can do about that.

Click here to connect with March For Our Lives, then RSVP to a local march to be held June 11. It’s time for us to show up and stand up for what we believe in, like kids being safe in school. That won’t happen until we make our voices heard both on the ballot and in the streets. So, be there.

Note: We won’t stop our death-by-gun butchery (310 shot daily; 111 killed daily) until we as a nation decide that we love our kids and our grannies more than we love our guns. It’s time to make the right decision and declare it publicly.

Hope

I know you remember Amanda Gorman, the woman in the long yellow coat who stunned you and the nation at the Biden inauguration on January 20, 2021, reciting her poem, The Hill We Climb. Read her new poem – out loud – Hymn For the Hurting.

————————————

Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem. 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.

Freedom and At Long Last


Freedom

Passover is nearly here. It offers many messages and one of the most important is the message of freedom.  It is the story of a people living without freedom for hundreds of years and they knew that bitterness. It is exactly that bitterness that the Ukrainian people are now fighting to prevent from overwhelming them.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Freedom loving people all over the world stand with Ukraine and its people. Now is a good time to help, because these days are desperate for the Ukrainian people.

—————————————

A Platform, At Long Last

It’s true. Really.

The Republicans at long last actually have a platform!

Pretty much.

Mitch McConnell has publicly declared that Republicans will not have a platform for the 2022 and 2024 elections, just like in 2018 and 2020 when they refused to take a stand on anything. No policies, no positions, no programs, no nuthin’. But opportunist, Medicare defrauder and presidential hopeful Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) has made his Look-At-Me! mark with his 11-Point Plan To Rescue America.

This crook (details below) is actually declaring he’s for something other than brain-free opposition to the opposition. And what a plan he’s proposing! Here’s a link to his self-serving, gag-on-the-flag explanation. I encourage you to link through to the details of his “points.” CNN had a look and made some comments of their own in their piece, Rick Scott’s ‘Plan to Rescue America’ will do anything but that. Here are some of Scott’s key points:

The Rick Scott 11-Point Plan To Rescue America
.
  1. First, we’ll raise $1 trillion in new taxes, almost entirely on the backs of the poorest Americans. And o’ joy! There won’t be any financial impact on Scott’s hedge fund buddies. We’ll tax the poor to ensure that “every American has skin in the game.” Yes, he said that.
  2. Next, we’ll end Social Security.
  3. And Medicare.
  4. And the Affordable Care Act.
  5. And Medicaid,
  6. We’ll end every social welfare/safety net program within five years. He calls it “sunsetting.” What that really means is a knife across the throat of all the programs that help people, so call it “murdering.”
  7. Trump stole $15 billion from the Defense Department and built only 80 miles of his wall in places where there wasn’t already a barrier. Rick Scott will finish the remaining 1,500+ miles of that wall and name it after Trump (“Felon’s Fortification”?). And no, Mexico won’t pay for it. You will.

I know you think I’m making this up, but I’m not. This is the Republican dream that they’ve dreamed for decades. It’s been their hearts’ fondest desire to kill FDR’s New Deal, the collection of programs that led this country and all Americans out of the Great Depression. Rick Scott wants to lead Republicans in stopping all the things that help people.

Did I mention fraud? Before he ran for office, Scott’s healthcare company committed the biggest Medicare fraud in U.S. history and had to pay an $840 million fine. Here’s the complete fact check.

So, let’s see, first Rick Scott defrauds you and me and the U.S. government – he’s the Big Kahuna of Medicare cheats. Now he wants to cheat some more by taking from working and poor people who are barely getting by and then he wants to eliminate all the the things that help them. What would you call that?

Now, at long last, we have a clear declaration of what Republicans will do if they get their hands on the reins of power again.

You good with that?

Must Read

“Democrats need to get back to a fundamental message: When in power, they make government work for ordinary people and defend American values (democracy, opportunity, fairness, playing by the rules). They solve real problems. When Republicans are in power, they create division, conflict and chaos. They are not on your side. That’s it. A simple dichotomy.”                                                                                 Jennifer Rubin, The Washington Post

Gotta add something.

It’s time – long past time, really – to take an axe to Republican lies and cruelties. Call these guys out ruthlessly with the truth.

I know, I know – Democrats like to play nice and they don’t like to be mean.

GET OVER IT!

Because we can already smell the defeat that’s on the way.

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. 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.

Stop The Steal


What about We The People? When is it our turn? Here’s what’s going on.

—————————-

Elections

You already have some idea of the massive voter suppression being visited upon millions of our fellow citizens in Republican controlled states. Voters have been and are having their voter registrations removed without their knowledge for the heinous crimes of not returning a post card within 2 weeks or not having voted in the last several elections or not having a specific identification card or attempting to vote while Black, young or poor. And mail-in voting and even in-person voting are being made onerous, especially in areas of largely Democratic voters.

Every bit as bad is the distortion of who controls elections. Radicals are replacing nonpartisan election officials with Republican Party operatives. Some are double agents declaring their candidacies for secretaries of states.  They intend to ignore the will of the people and will instead declare Republican candidates winners even when they’ve decisively lost. So much for the will of the people, the rule of law and majority rule.

Schools

Public schooling continues to suffer assaults done by those who want to abolish it in favor of for-profit private schools. If they get their way your children’s education will be at best secondary to the maximizing of profit for school owners. And some bureaucrat with an attitude will determine what your kids will be taught and, more ominously, what will not be taught.

They’re banning and burning books in many of our states. They are preventing our children from getting an education that’s based in reality. These thought police want your kids taught only what they, in their supreme myopia, want taught. Children will be protected from the knowledge of actual history, and will be taught some manipulative revisionist history. It is setting up to be far worse than George Orwell imagined in his dystopian novel.

The old saying was, “Save your Confederate money, boys. The South will rise again!” Judging by the number of Confederate battle flags being waved by delusional pseudo-patriots it might be rising right now. So are the Nazi Germany book burning hate fests. Good luck getting your children a full, honest education.

Good luck, too, having a school board of civic minded, dedicated parents. Today’s school board meetings are fraught with hateful screamers yelling idiotic demands, accusations and only slightly veiled threats at board members. At home these school board volunteers are getting death threats.

Congress

Denial of what is plainly in front of them is standard for Republican senators and congresspeople, even when what is in front of them is a mob promising to murder them. Their only purpose is to be in power and deny anything and everything that Democrats propose. They have no policies other than that. Literally, no other policies.

Recall Mitch McConnell pledging that making both Obama and Biden one term presidents was job number 1. That makes preventing Supreme Court justice nominees from even getting a hearing justifiable to them. So does issuing a blanket rejection of any Black woman as a candidate before she’s been selected. So does voting to acquit a clearly law breaking, insurrection inciting, impeached president – twice. So does filibustering everything sent to the Senate by the House. There are no moderates. Only spineless people who long ago sold out their integrity and abandoned their oath of office.

Patriotism

How does it happen that Republican lawmakers and alt-right blabbers are siding with Vladimir Putin and Russia as they lay waste to a sovereign nation? It used to be that partisanship stopped at the water’s edge. Now, though, partisanship and the continual grubbing for minority control of our nation trumps everything for them. Patriotism is only important, it seems, if it serves the narrow, discriminatory purposes of Republicans.

How can Rick Scott (R-FL) resurrect and get away with Mitt Romney’s hateful “47%” rhetoric? How do Trump and the blabbers get away with their racism and antisemitism? This stuff is designed to divide us, to weaken our nation. These and so many other tropes used by Republicans are against both the intent and the letter of the Constitution.

I keep wondering where the bottom is, but we find once again that there is no bottom to which these radical people won’t sink.

Mobocracy

Our millions who threaten, attack and spew the lies do so because they’ve been convinced they’re doing the right thing. They believe that the end justifies the means and they get a fine power trip doing their bullying, too. So did Hitler’s millions and Stalin’s and Pol Pot’s and the followers of warlords everywhere. All of them thought they were doing the right things. As I’ve said often, it’s so easy to manipulate people into doing horrific things. All it takes is a lot of frustrated, angry people and a charismatic leader to stoke their anger and hatred and all can be lost.

And we’re losing.

We’re incrementally and very rapidly losing our democracy, our societal norms and the dream that is America.

The day will come, perhaps decades from now, when people will be recorded saying that they were just doing what they were told to do. Those who knuckled under will say that they feared for their lives in the face of a murderous mob. Some will say they didn’t know what was really going on. The excuses will be the same litany of self-justifications as always, but the harm they inflicted, condoned or hid from will have been done and many will have suffered terribly from our mobocracy.

There are so many attacks coming from so many sides that stopping the legalized insurrection via the courts is next to impossible. That’s why we need Congress to enact laws to stop the theft. The power to do that comes from protecting voting rights. With the passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the For the People Act we’ll be able to negate much of the election tampering now happening in many states. And that will give We The People the power to deal with the rest.

We cannot get that or anything else done when senators like Rand Paul will filibuster and 49 other Republican senators refuse to stand for what they know is right. That means only one thing.

Stop The Steal

We have to stop whining and declaring our helplessness over the coming 2022 election. We – that’s you and I, not some amorphous somebody else – have to get to work now to elect Democrats who will save our democracy.

That’s “now” as in:

NOW

P.S.

Wing nut Marjorie Taylor Green has announced articles of impeachment against President Biden. That’s going nowhere in this Democratic majority House. However, all she and her unhinged co-conspirators need to do to turn our Constitution into a bad joke is to win the House this November.

What are you going to do about that?

————————————

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.

Same Song, Next Verse


What Will We Do Then?

The largest invasion of a sovereign nation since WW II is occurring, It’s the current iteration of European wars ignited by a narcissist who thinks he’s going to rule the world. People have died and more will continue to die in urban warfare. Meanwhile, Putin has gone cynical and fully delusional.

He’s using the same blitzkrieg tactics against Ukraine that Hitler used to invade Czechoslovakia, Poland and France. He’s claimed this is to “de-Nazify” Ukraine.

Wait a second: Nazi tactics to de-Nazify Ukraine? That’s such miserable crap that I don’t have words to describe it.

What Putin has said he wants is as disingenuous as it is homicidal. Yes, he wants Ukraine, but not because it’s a traditional part of Russia. Yes, he wants Ukraine, but not for its wheat and industrial capacity. What this ex-Soviet KGB thug actually wants more than anything is a new world order with Russia and himself at the center. Crushing and owning the entirety of Ukraine is the next step on his megalomaniac rampage.

Putin believes that “the demise of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the [20th] century.” Not the 20 million killed in WW I or the 80 million killed in WW II or the 12 million killed in the Holocaust. All of those happened right where he could see them, but those catastrophes pale in comparison to the end of the Soviet Union, according to Putin. So, he wants it back. We make a strategic mistake if we think he wants anything less or that there is some hard stop in tactics or geography that he won’t exceed. That must be our clarity of what we must stop.

Look at a map (enlarge it to 100% for easier viewing) and it’s plain to see that Moldova and Belarus will be next in Putin’s incremental land grab plan. Belarus is already a Russian vassal state and Moldova is not a NATO member nation. Easy pickings for Putin. So will be nearly any of the -stans and he already has Georgia. How hard would it be for him to grab Azerbaijan and Armenia?

The international push back might be strong enough that Putin would pause before invading neighboring Finland, a non-NATO country. While he’s pausing he’ll contemplate how to “get back” the Baltic states, Romania, Hungary, and Poland, all of which are NATO member countries.

Here’s the key question: If NATO must face Putin and Russia on the battlefield, it will be the start of WW III. What will we do?

I hope the planning for that was done a long time ago. And I also hope that the plans are being updated right now by very smart, well informed, insightful people.

It Used To Be .  .  .

.  .  . that politics stopped at the water’s edge. When it came to international matters, we wouldn’t want any adversary to have any ambiguity about our national resolve, especially in the face of hostilities. Apparently, Republicans, opportunists, conspiracy wackos and self-promoting narcissists didn’t get the message. Apparently, their selfish little aspirations are more important than  our national security. Apparently, they aren’t patriots.

There is traitorous talk from Republican mouthpieces speaking in support of Putin. They are anti-democracy, anti-American useful idiots.

Would that I had a second version of this pic with Tucker Carlson’s face on the little brat. Many thanks to JN for the pic.

Trump has declared Putin a genius, that he’s smart and savvy and his words are being used in Russia to inflate support for Putin. And Trump is not alone in his submarining of American interests.

Margaret Carlson reports on Fox blabber Tucker Carson in The Washington Post:

“And, in a particularly obnoxious rant, he suggested that Putin is morally superior to “permanent Washington,” some vaguely malign force that Carlson claims is manufacturing a global pandemic, teaching children to embrace racial discrimination and trying to snuff out Christianity.”

It isn’t just these two fools. The list includes Sen. Ted Cruz, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, SD Governor Kristi Noem and more. They’re in a race to criticize President Biden in order to burnish their extremist bona fides for their runs for President in 2024, So, they praise Putin and Putin uses their words to praise himself. They are quite clearly giving aid and comfort to our adversary and potential enemy.

It used to be that Republicans – conservatives – presented themselves as the iron-spined defenders of American values. They had a  permanently cocked fist ready to punch Russia in the nose. What would those Republicans have said about Trump, Tucker Carlson and the others? Where are the staunch Republicans lining up to support the President in opposing Putin now?

From USLegal.com:

“Treason is punishable by death if a traitor levies war against his state or country or supports its enemies, giving them aid and comfort.”

We aren’t in a shooting war against Russia, so the term “traitor” probably can’t be used accurately for today’s conniving Republicans and blabbers. If you have a better word, please post it in the Comments section to help us all.

And Now The Adolphs

Dan Rather’s post of February 18 included this very hard-to-look-at pic of an Elon Musk tweet.

Apparently, Musk was having a hissy fit over a Canadian regulation of financial institutions concerning crypto currencies. Clearly, this regulation must have been so heinous that Musk had to invoke the murder of millions of people and the laying waste of an entire continent. Musk has taken down the tweet, but his damage was done.

This is America and Musk is entitled to whatever crushingly cruel metaphors and hateful views he holds, just like Trump and Carlson. He has the right to see his billions of dollars as proof of his superiority and his entitlement to be rude, disrespectful and detestable. But there are limits, as he should have learned from the $137 million jury award to a former Tesla employee for racism at Musk’s San Francisco area factory. On the other hand, Musk’s hateful post was put up after that jury award. Maybe Musk didn’t learn anything at all from that lost lawsuit.

We have extremists coming out of the woodwork saying false, cruel and incendiary things. We have spine-free politicians and political candidates willing to say any stupid and false thing in order to benefit themselves.

Sometimes it works in reverse, as we’ve seen from the new governor of Virginia, Glenn Youngkin. During the campaign last year he steered clear of Trump and spoke in moderate terms, invoking moderate policies. Once elected he went full-on radical, claiming the awfulness of Critical Race Theory in K-12 classrooms that were damaging Virginia’s fragile White children. We can’t have that going on, he told Virginians, and he’s promoting a law to put a stop to the evil distortion of children’s brains done by CRT.

There’s just one thing about that: no K-12 school in that entire state was or is teaching CRT, nor was any school even contemplating teaching it. In fact, there isn’t a single K-12 school anywhere in the country teaching CRT. It isn’t even being taught in colleges or universities. It is strictly a law school discussion construct. So, invoking CRT as the evil of evils for Virginia’s delicate, can’t-handle-reality school children goes way past disingenuous; it’s hateful. And Governor Adolph DeSantis is doing the same thing in Florida, as is Governor Adolph Abbott in Texas.

The real issue is teaching the truth about race in America. Youngkin and all the other Republican politicians and far right hand wringers are playing to the White supremacists who don’t want to own any truth that doesn’t puff their chests in Confederate testosterone. It is exactly the same as stoking hatred.

Adolph Musk and the other Adolphs have the same right to free speech that you and I have. There isn’t much we can do to muzzle them and their hatred or to silence Putin’s useful idiots with their anti-American undermining of our country without muzzling ourselves. What we can do is to speak out.

We can do that with our voices, our votes and we can do that with our dollars. We can donate to the campaigns of political candidates whose feet are firmly planted on Earth 1. My love affair with daydreaming of buying a Tesla is over. My fascination with Musk’s Space X won’t thrill me again and I won’t send links to my geeky family members and friends to watch his launches. And I won’t vacation in Virginia, Florida or Texas.

I will do whatever I can to avoid supporting the haters and will actively oppose them. I’ll do that until our politics bears some resemblance to reality. Some kindness would be good, too.

Required Reading

Hillary Clinton co-wrote an essay (or here) with Dan Scherwin in The Atlantic last week that you must read if you care at all about our democracy, our global leadership and national security.

And read Thomas Friedman’s post about why the Russian invasion of Ukraine is different from any we’ve seen and unpredictable in dangerous ways.

————————————

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.

True North, Immigration and Cwazy


During my keynotes and workshops on leadership I frequently offer attendees an exercise in self-clarity called True North. The goal is for each person to craft a simple statement of who they are at their core, a declaration of what’s most deeply important to them. The responses are often moving and self-revelatory, and it is nearly universal that attendees’ statements include a component of service to others.

The value of having such a statement in hand lies in the help it provides to make the best decisions to avoid crazy side trips and instead go our own “right way” – our True North.

I was thinking of that concept the other day in the context of our fellow citizens who quite often believe the preposterous, like physically impossible conspiracy theories or political propaganda. Are they following their True North? It seems to me that they are. To a person they declare that they want every vote counted, that they are defending democracy, that stealing elections is bad and wrong and that they’re against Democrats killing babies and drinking their blood. Who wouldn’t be against that?

The point is that these millions of people may be factually wrong about what has happened, but they are sincere and believe they are doing the right things. Even the January 6 insurrectionists believed that. Every one of them believed they were following their patriotic True North. On the other hand, as motivational speaker Les Brown says, “You have to know what you stand for, or you’ll fall for anything.” Perhaps these millions aren’t as clear about their True North as they and we need them to be. But there’s something else that’s more important and it lies elsewhere.

It lies in the bellies of the liars, the crank politicians, the book burners, the homophobes, the cruel internet trolls, the haters of all stripes who lie for self-aggrandizement or to fuel their rage and sense of power. It belongs to those who long ago sold out, who surrendered their integrity for a pittance. They can’t even remember when they deserted all concern for others. If they were to craft a True North statement it wouldn’t include even a ghost of a component of service to something or someone other than themselves. They lie, cheat and steal without so much as a first thought, much less a second. They promote impossible conspiracies and Big Lies and our millions have fallen for their self-serving fictions.

That’s the power of a lie told over and over: it becomes the reality of others. History shows us plainly and clearly that we humans are easily manipulated into such beliefs and our individual True North quickly gets bastardized into something gone south and terribly wrong. So, spare a little sympathy for our rowdy crowds of citizens who have been psychologically abused by the liars and cheats, even as they are still accountable for the harm they do to others and to our nation.

This is an invitation to ask and answer for yourself what your True North is. Where is it? What does service to others look like on your compass? What will it take to get there? What obstacles must be cleared from your path for that to happen and how does that connect with the dangers all around us right now?

I submit to you that any of us can wait too long. Today is a good day to take action.

Start by reading this.

And Another Thing

Presidents since Reagan have promised comprehensive immigration reform. Reagan’s meager efforts in 1986 were limited to only two issues; one made it a crime to hire “illegal immigrants”; the second legalized most undocumented immigrants who had arrived in the country prior to January 1, 1982. Not exactly comprehensive immigration reform.

Obama took a stab at this in 2012 by stopping the deportation of those who had arrived in this country as babies of undocumented immigrants – the “Dreamers”. That was done by executive order, so naturally it was ended in Trump’s pathological effort to erase everything Obama.

Mark Felt, associate director of the FBI 1972 – 1973; aka “Deep Throat”

Bush I, Clinton, Bush II, Obama, Trump and Biden all promised comprehensive immigration reform and failed to deliver it.

Common sense tells us that if we wanted this fixed, we would have fixed it. That, then, suggests that someone is benefiting from our not creating comprehensive immigration reform, so they don’t want it fixed. Who do you suppose that might be? Try our White Supremacists, who don’t want any more brown people in this country. Who else benefits?

It seems to me that it’s time to follow the direction of “Deep Throat” of Watergate fame, Mark Felt, who told Woodward and Bernstein to “follow the money.” Apply that instruction to our immigration mess. Who benefits financially from keeping our immigration laws and practices so terribly dysfunctional? Please offer your thoughts in the Comments section below.

Meanwhile, contrary to the googly-eye Republican screamers, Biden’s Border Policy is Not “Open Borders”. It’s an interesting short read from the extremely conservative – but not googly-eyed – Cato Institute.

Us Cwazy Amewicans

Yes, we truly are crazy. And we manage to find the craziest things to be crazy about.

I’m not talking about being crazy about the Cubs (you remember them, right?) or crazy about Chunky Monkey. I’m talking crazy about things like saving our own lives. Why would we push back against the very things that can keep us from an early and ugly death?

But we fight vaccines, we fight boosters, we fight masks and we fight each other. Of course, we have our reasons, like our individual freedom (“You can’t tell ME what to do!”) and our love of extending our middle fingers to demonstrate how strong and powerful we are, and our love of conspiracy nonsense run amok. And, of course, we love our nit-picking to find fault in information and logic that doesn’t comport with our made-up minds in order to justify our craziness. And that’s really crazy.

As I wrote that last paragraph it occurred to me that those reasons are the same reasons we’ve used to throw a national hissy fit against seat belts, motorcycle helmets, OSHA, efforts to fight global warming, the stop sign you didn’t want at the end of your street and pretty much every sensible governmental regulation. At least we’re consistent in our craziness. *

So, are you brave enough to drop the crazy for a  moment and have a look at reality?

– like that we lag far behind every other first world nation but one at getting boosted.

– and that we have a 50 – 100% greater death rate per capita during Omicron than the people in all those other first world nations and many second world nations.

– and that our governors are lifting mask mandates, caving to the whiners and putting us all at greater risk.

– and that we comprise 4% of the world’s population but have over 20% of global COVID cases and deaths. We’re still losing over 2,400 of our fellow Americans to COVID every day, contributing to our

OVER 921,000 ALREADY DEAD**

.

We have everything we need to be the world leader in protection against COVID, but instead we lead the world in deaths. These are not just statistics. These are – or were – people. So, say it with me: We’re Number One!

Read David Leonhardt’s clear explanation and his guesses as to why we prefer to gamble against death.

Hint: It’s because we’re vewy, vewy cwazy.

To be fair, Leonhardt didn’t say that, but I quite confidently do.

—————————–

* There is some lack of consistency. In the 1950s kids were dying, becoming crippled or left to the prison of an iron lung due to polio. When a vaccine became available parents rushed their kids to get it. That vaccine was okay. So were the vaccines that eradicated smallpox and the one stopping measles and more. Somehow, those vaccines, back then, were good. We trusted our government. There was very little push back.

Today is different. Perhaps it’s because mostly old people are dying from COVID-19, rather than children. Or maybe it’s because of how fractious our times are now and the enormous anger toward “elites” or anyone in charge that’s built up over the decades, as we broke trust over and over. It’s all too easy to lash out against mandates when you believe the ones creating them are just trying to bring you down – again.

** It took the Nazis about a year to kill the first million holocaust victims. By the time we hit one million deaths from COVID it will have taken us about 2.5 years.

34.5% of our population refuses to take easy precautions to prevent the spread of the disease. They put everyone else at risk with their complete indifference to the suffering and death of others. That’s hauntingly familiar human behavior.

————————————

.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.

It’s Almost 1972 – Again


If we assume for the moment that people who promote fantastical and dangerous lies aren’t willfully ignorant or intelligence challenged, we’re left with some unattractive explanations. Why, for example, would Kelli Ward, Arizona GOP Chair, perpetuate the “Biden is an illegitimate president” crazy?

“I want to see arrests. I want to see perp walks. I want to see people in jail for stealing this election,” she demanded.

Is she following orders as a proud soldier in the Army of the Delusional? Does she expect some personal benefit from her performance of reality denial? Has she been bamboozled by the lies, distortions, conspiracy claims and manipulations that have been fogged out for years? Does she think she’s a patriot as she promotes GOP insanity?

Does destroying democracy to save democracy actually make sense to her?

I’m betting all of that is the answer for her and thousands of Republicans. I’m betting that they will keep pounding away until they get their way, and that’s why this spouting of insanity is a serious threat. This kind of thing has happened before.

Coming into the 1972 Olympic Games the USA basketball teams had never lost an Olympic game. They had collected seven gold medals over the years and this team was the odds-on favorite to win an eighth.

They played the team from the Soviet Union in the gold medal game and were behind through most of it. With just one second left the Americans sank two free throws to go ahead 50-49. The Soviets in-bounded the ball but didn’t score. Game over, Americans win. But a judge had the clock reset to three seconds and the Soviets had another chance. Again, they failed to score. Game over, Americans win. But that’s not what happened.

The referee had given the ball to the Soviets for the in-bound pass before the official clock was reset, so the judge ruled that what had happened didn’t count and the Soviets were given a third chance to play the last seconds of the game. This time the Soviets scored and won the game 51-50. You can hear Bob Costas explain all of this.

I remember watching the end of that game and, like most Americans, was screaming at my TV set. How many chances do they get? Do we just keep doing it over until the other guys win?

And those are the same questions I’m asking today, but they’re no longer about a basketball game. They’re about a past election and all future elections. The fraudulent claims and the demand for do-overs continue, and the indignant ones howl for prosecutions of people who actually played by the rules. I’m afraid that this dangerous insistance could bear poison fruit.

Trump started the bogus whining about fraud in 2016, claiming that there was no way he could lose and that if he didn’t win that the election was rigged. That should sound frighteningly familiar, because not only did he claim that same thing in 2020, but other Republican candidates for various offices are now making that claim. They’re insisting that if they don’t win that they were cheated. They’re refusing to concede. They want do-overs. They only accept their desired outcomes as the legitimate ones.

It doesn’t matter that their claims are entirely false. They are inflaming millions with their hateful, fraudulent declarations and the anger is growing. What’s going to prevent rigged do-overs in Republican controlled states until the outcomes are in favor of Republicans? Surely, not today’s United States Senate, where all 50 Republicans and two Democrats voted against allowing a vote on the two voting rights acts that would prevent such thievery. These politicians are today’s version of the 1972 Olympic basketball judge.

There is more

The 1972 Olympics were held in Munich, where Palestinian extremists – terrorists – kidnapped and murdered 11 Israeli athletes. Violence is what extremists do – like on January 6 at the Capitol Building. People were murdered. More will die unless we – that’s you and I – put a stop to this. All we have left are just 289 more days to do what must be done.

We’re on the road to 1972 again unless we stop the thieves – the extremists – right now.

What I wanted President Biden to say

The problems we’re having with inflation, the economy and sickness and death from the pandemic are ALL a function of right wing obstruction to fighting the pandemic.

North of 90% of our COVID sickness and death is of unvaccinated people, causing massive spread of the disease. And these people are being instructed, coaxed, mandated and directed to refuse our common sense solutions by self-serving Republican governors and legislatures prohibiting protection of our citizens. Our people are being influenced by Republicans and blatherers who spread lies and disinformation.

One more time: Other than trying to ensure this administration fails (that’s the only thing Mitch McConnell declared he’s for), “What are Republicans for?”

Q. Who is paying the price for Republican self-serving obstruction?

A. The American people. And democracy.

The Supreme Court smack down

Trump’s legal team made such a joke of an argument to prevent the House January 6 Select Commission from having access to records from Trump’s presidency that the Supreme Court didn’t even bother to hear oral arguments. That decision came down to two things:

  1. Executive privilege belongs to the executive while in office. After that there is little executive privilege and none with regard to materials relevant to Congressional inquiry.
  2. Once out of office, all of a former president’s records go to the National Archives. The former president doesn’t own them, nor has control of them. They belong to We the People.

Smack down.

————————————

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.

Root Causes


Regular readers will likely recognize that over the years I have tried to understand why citizens on the far right portion of our politics consistently vote against their own interests. I’ve dabbled in guessing why they’re willing to believe fantastical fantasies and why they are so violent in spirit and in actions. Perhaps most important, I’ve scrambled for a foothold of understanding of why they gladly do unpatriotic things, yet consider themselves patriots. I think I’m coming to a more complete answer. Let’s start with a little walk through history.

Seattle Hooverville, 1932

Republican Herbert Hoover was elected in 1928. He had been a mining engineer, a business oriented fellow. Eight months after he took office the economy began its greatest crash and Hoover sat on his hands and watched as the savings from lifetimes of work evaporated and 25% of Americans wanting work were out of work. Their families were in terrible distress. Hoover told Americans to carry on, that things would get better, but in his complete absence of vision he did nothing to help, which led to Hoovervilles all across the country. By 1932 things had become far worse. That’s when ordinary Americans decided that a wealthy patrician understood them and their challenges better than the Republicans did and they elected Democrat FDR to be president. It turned out that they were right.

FDR invented the WPA and the CCC and mounted massive infrastructure projects like the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Hoover Dam that brought electricity to millions of people. More important than that, those projects brought honest work and good pay to Americans, which brought with it the dignity of being able to care for one’s family and oneself. FDR was so popular that he was elected to the presidency four times, with his last victory coming even as the nation knew he was dying. He was that popular.

And that’s why Republicans hated him and his projects that put Americans back to work. They have been trying to kill all social and commons programs since then. And preventing that kind of success for Americans is exactly why today’s Republicans want Joe Biden to fail.

Several Republican presidents wanted to get Social Security privatized to benefit fat cats, like the ones who brought us the Great Depression and the Great Recession. When President Johnson created Medicare, Medicaid and his Great Society Program, Republicans were apoplectic and they have tried to kill all of those programs, too. I don’t know what they want to do about President Eisenhower’s Interstate Highway System – maybe they want to privatize them and let the fat cats charge tolls. Here’s the thing:

Republicans hate anything that smacks of work done in the commons and things that directly benefit the people. But the people love that stuff. And people become very angry and feel betrayed when things they’ve counted on are taken away. Think about what Republicans have to do, then, to get elected.

That’s right: they lie.

Reagan told lies about non-existent Black welfare queens living like actual queens. He told of “young bucks” – his term – meaning young Black men scamming the welfare system. His doing that makes sense, because it appealed to White fear, which brought him support. Bear in mind that Reagan opposed not just welfare, but also the Brown v. Board of Education decision. How convenient it was for him to latch onto welfare lies and appeal to White supremacy, not bothering to mention that the majority of welfare recipients were White. He just threw out hateful dog whistles that appealed to the fearful and the haters.

Then he stoked distrust and hatred of government itself, even as he was leading the government. He told Americans that, “Government isn’t the solution to the problem; government is the problem.” It was a new verbalization of opposition to all social programs. Surely, we wouldn’t want to support anything that helps those lazy, shiftless “others,” right?

As I said: lies.

Bush II was a lie spewing machine, corrupting the Constitution every day and calling it patriotism. And the patriotic thing played well. He told us, “You’re either with us or you’re against us,” and Americans lined up, not wanting to be left behind and thought of as unpatriotic. Republicans are still playing that card. They do that even as they ended programs that would help Americans.

Manufacturing jobs were shipped overseas and citizens were left with nothing. They were betrayed by their own government. (Full disclosure: Clinton was complicit in that.) They call that patriotism and rugged individualism, “right sizing” and freedom and a lot of other fine sounding names. They use their superb propaganda machine to get people to believe their fantasy, just like a circus sideshow barker. It turn out they really can fool some of the people all of the time, even as they are being betrayed.

All the propaganda and all the betrayal has stoked the anger of the people. Plus, it’s plain that Whites will no longer be a majority in this country in just a couple of decades, so Whites fear their hands will slip from the reins of power. The knowledge of that has brought more levers for Republicans to manipulate the people, like gerrymandering, the filibuster and voter suppression.

People are left in quite a confusing and simplistic mess.

Their anger is so great that they’d rather infect and kill their loved ones and die themselves, than follow simple government health guidelines crafted by doctors and scientists.

They’re so blinded by their distrust of government that they believe conspiracies too loony even for a cartoon and they agitate for autocracy that would make them serfs to the ultra-wealthy.

Their sense of betrayal is so overpowering that they refuse simple and obvious realities and reject as cheating anything that doesn’t go their way.

Their fear and anger are so great that they metaphorically have a middle finger extended at all times just to feel powerful.

All of that is orchestrated and overheated by big money puppet masters who manipulate fears and anger, so that the people blindly follow leaders and a party that literally have no policies other than to obstruct and disempower everyone but themselves.

So, the people cheer and send contributions to politicians who stand against the very things that would help the people, like the infrastructure bill and the good jobs that will bring; like voting rights, gun safety, reasonable cost pharmaceuticals, child care, medical insurance and broadband. With every vote or obstruction to voting on those issues and with every manufactured barrier to voting and with every appeal to fear and anger, the manipulators appeal for donations to Trump-fearing GOP sycophants in congress and in the states and municipalities. Those dollars are then used to further diminish the future of the voters and the voters’ children.

But the people don’t see that, because they are so angry. Worse, they don’t realize they’ve been hoodwinked for generations. And that is why our citizens on the far right of the political spectrum consistently and unknowingly vote against their own interests, leaving them nothing but their rage and whatever weapons they own in order to feel powerful and in control of themselves.

It’s all about anger, fear and hopelessness and how easy it is to manipulate people who feel that way.
.

Do you doubt that? Watch Adam Kinzinger’s short video and his appeal for Country First.

A Tale of 4s In 2021

Unemployment dropped from 6.2% to 4.2%.

– Wages rose approximately 4% – the final annual numbers aren’t in yet.

– The economy is so strong that there are 4 million more job openings than Americans seeking employment.

– We added 4.6 million jobs. Or is it 6.2 million? Not sure, but it’s a good number.

Republicans, please stop telling Americans how awful our economy is and how the Democrats are ruining it, because that’s just another Republican lie.

————————————

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.

Existential


Steve Bannon told us long before the 2016 election that he wants to “tear it all down,” meaning the administrative state. That includes our Constitution, democracy, learning and wisdom and the institutions that uphold our moral foundation. He wants it all blown up.

He is a nihilist, a hater of authority and a manufacturer of chaos and hatred. I have no interest in understanding his deep and profoundly debilitating daddy issues that drive him to create destruction, because doing so is useless to the critical task at hand. What is important is to recognize how impactful Bannon is and has been to Trump becoming the first American dictator and what that means to us.

Trump used Bannon first to get himself elected, then to convert the presidency into a money machine for Trump. Neither of them has even a consciousness, much less a concern for all who get crushed by their maniacal, mentally ill lust for ever more power and money. And, of course, Trump has used hundreds of sycophantic goons to subvert every agency of all three branches of government, demonstrating just how easy it is to get people to sell out and be manipulated for what they think are self-serving reasons. Even with regular examples dangled in their faces they just can’t seem to get it into their heads that they themselves will be next to be fed into Trump’s guillotine.

Many of us want to preserve our democracy and don’t agree with the 20% of Americans who are both Trump followers and who think violence is justified in order for them to get their way. That leaves us with critical challenges, chief among which is to answer the question, “What are you going to do about it?”

One option is to give in to the threats. History is teeming with examples of people cowed into submission by the threat or use of force. That means that they willfully made themselves serfs without rights, just pawns to be played and sacrificed for the benefit of the bullies. It’s understandable how fear could make people allow that, but if we do that we invite the despotism the bullies seek to create and which you and I don’t want.

In a recent webinar presented by The Atlantic one of the topics discussed was how to deal with millions of our fellow citizens who accept accusations that are completely untethered to any facts and who reject out of hand any observable evidence that counters their beliefs. The point made by the experts is that we don’t have an option of changing such peoples’ minds because they are set in concrete. They are impervious to all information that doesn’t support their predetermined certainties, so we must do things to appeal to those who have at least one foot on real ground if we are to protect our democracy.

I don’t have confidence in the Democrats’ willingness to face reality and do what needs to be done. Test my lack of confidence by listing all the times in a week you hear or see any Democrat directly and specifically unmasking the insurgents, the liars, the cheats and the haters. Include the times that you see the bad guys get punished for doing things like Lauren Bobert’s attack on Muslims and the White supremacist, anti-Semitic statements of Paul Gosar and Marjorie Taylor Greene and the homicidal representatives with their AR-15 Christmas cards. Where are the smack downs of Jim Jordan and Matt Gaetz? Add up all the incidents of push back to the crazies that you find in a week. I’m betting that the number on your list will be zero or very close to it. I’m afraid that we just can’t count on the Dems to do the right and necessary things – yet.

But what if we can turn up the heat on them?

We need people who will primary our confrontation avoiding senators and representatives. We need those people to be on the fiery point of the arrow aimed at the Trump conspiracy to end our nation. We need people who will organize giant protest marches in the streets of our towns and cities. We need people to show up at the protests and demand justice be visited on the law breakers and that democracy be assured for We The People. We need people to canvas door to door and encourage the non-voters to show up because that’s in their own best interests and because they’re screwed if they don’t.

We need you and I to get up off our BarcaLoungers and make noise. Lots of noise. We need for us to show up at protests and put lawn signs out front where the neighbors will see them. We need to write opinion pieces online and in local and regional newspapers (where they still exist). We need us to call into online talk shows and blast back against the hypocrites and haters so that other listeners might have their eyes cracked open just a bit. We need to go to town hall meetings and smack down the smack of the violent ones.

We need people who will challenge every calm and reasonable approach to our crisis of democracy, because those calm and reasonable tactics are powerless to stop an authoritarian coup backed by 20 million armed people who believe violence is okay. Doubt that? Grab your history book and read about Nazi Germany in the 1930s – and no, that isn’t hyperbolic and yes, it’s an apt comparison. We are in that kind of danger.

This is no thought experiment. This is existential – an actual life and death battle for democracy. Steve Bannon and the rest of the bad guys say they want to tear it down. I say, “Not on my watch.”

What do you say?

475

That’s the number the Associated Press published in an illuminating examination of our bemoaned, hallucinatory plague of voting fraud.

They looked at the 2020 election votes in the six so-called battleground states – Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – where 25.5 million votes were cast. The total of all suspicious votes (like people voting for dead relatives) reported by those states was just 475. That’s 0.00186% of the total vote.

President Biden’s cumulative margin of victory in those states was 311,257, which places the suspicious votes at 0.15% of the margin. Even if all those sketchy votes actually were fraudulent and even if all of them were added to Trump’s vote count in just one battleground state (pick one, any one), they still wouldn’t come close to making a difference in the outcome.

Some of us think that there is a firm reality that can be counted upon, like gravity, verifiable facts and counting. The rest aren’t interested in reality. For them, it’s evidence, schmevidence. So, sadly, nobody’s views will be modified even a little by the AP reporting. Such is the state of our political trench warfare and the failures of education to overcome primitive beliefs. Turns out we really aren’t much beyond beating drums in the jungle.

And Just For Fun

Thanks go to SS for the pointer.

————————————

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!)

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The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. 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.

Little


Note: This is the promised follow up to last Sunday’s post. JA

——————————–

Anyone who is watching can see the naked assaults and the unscrupulous dismantling of American democracy. Everywhere, the angry little people are attacking our institutions, taking away our rights and freedoms, keeping power for themselves and replacing all that we hold dear with rule by an anti-democratic minority.

This frightened savagery of little men and little women with little intellect and little vision, club their way through democracy, beating primitive drums to frighten the people and destroying all that is in their path to ever-more power and money for themselves.

Truth has no place in their little world. It has been completely replaced by propaganda, by projections of their own failings onto others and by yet more cruel lies layered upon the carcasses of prior lies. They do this with their faux patriotism and their shams about freedom and independence. The smallness of these little people leads them to constantly scheme to create control over others’ bodies, minds and lives in their conspiracy mania to control We The People.

From Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises:

“How did you go bankrupt?” Bill asked. “Two ways,” Mike said. “Gradually, then suddenly.”

And that is exactly how democracies die: gradually, then suddenly. In case you have difficulty seeing the assaults on our own democracy, just look to the recent histories of other countries like Hungary, Russia, Turkey, the Philippines and elsewhere. They’re just a little further down the road to despotism. Here’s the really bad news about that:

Right now we are at a moment of inflection, a tipping point, between gradually and suddenly.

We suffer from a good but distracted populace, too myopic and stressed to notice much of what is beyond their daily lives. If we are to prevent the sudden fall, the crash that breaks everything, we must open the eyes of everyone to the truth and reality of the danger before us and we must then marshal our forces to push back the little people who would bring us tyranny.

Truly, this is a Thomas Paine moment.
.
“These are the times that try men’s souls; the summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”
.

The bugle has sounded. It’s time for us to stand by our country and by We The People.

You know what to do to stop the little men and the little women of little intellect and little vision from destroying our democracy.* Look at the graphic below and you’ll realize that the countdown is relentless and that there is no time to waste. It’s time to grab your metaphorical musket, report for duty and stand a post for democracy.

Required
A photo of a crowd with a MAGA hat in the foreground and people standing on scaffolding with a Second Amendment flag and Trump banner in front of the smoke-obscured U.S. Capitol

January 6, 2021 – A day which will live in infamy

A lot of people are investigating threats to our democracy, most notably the members of the House January 6 Commission. They’re interviewing, issuing subpoenas and referring refusers for criminal prosecution. Likely, their report is almost a year away.

Other well informed people have plenty to say and you’re in luck, because some experts are convening on the 13th and you can watch this must-see event. From The Atlantic:

The January/February issue of The Atlantic is devoted to examining the crisis of American democracy.

Join Jeffrey Goldberg, along with Pulitzer-winning staff writers Barton Gellman and Anne Applebaum, on Monday, December 13 at 11 a.m. ET for a virtual event revisiting the Capitol riot, one year later. Register for free.

Here’s a link to the cover story of the January/February issue, Trump’s Coup Has Already Begun, and here’s a link to another piece, The Election That Could Break America. Like the virtual event, both of these pieces are a must.

Many thanks to LP for the heads up.

Finally

This can all feel overwhelming and unstoppable, but just in time the right message has arrived.

“December 7, 1941 – A day which will live in infamy” – FDR

Yesterday was the 80th anniversary of the Japanese attack on our naval and air forces at Pearl Harbor and Hickam Field in Hawaii. 90-year-old Dan Rather has some things to say about that. He was 10 years old then and today passes to us some wisdom from his father and from his own experiences. He concludes his piece, writing,

“I call upon those memories many times to return me to equilibrium. Especially on this day. December 7. A day that not only lives in infamy, but a day that also spawned a repudiation of despair.”

So, step off the ledge. Come back inside. We’ll roll up our shirtsleeves and do what Americans did then, what we always do. And we’ll repudiate the despair we’ve felt so deeply.

———————–

* I’m researching the best things for us to do to make sure those who would stab democracy in the heart are defeated. It’s often a confusing and even frustrating fight, because every cause seems to have a story and a hand extended toward your wallet. You want to do what will be most effective so that democracy wins, but you don’t know where to put your support. It’s just plain hard to divine where that is or what to do. If you have a suggestion, please pass it along. Meanwhile, expect a report soon. After all, the mid-terms will determine control of Congress and that election is just 335 days away.

————————————

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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