Manipulation

Campaign


Michelle Goldberg had an interesting piece in the New York Times last Sunday entitled “To Understand The Midterms, Meet Joe and Marie.” They are the Republican and Democratic candidates for Washington state’s 3rd congressional district seat and, as you likely suspect, they are quite different from one another.

Goldberg explains that Joe Kent has

.  .  . attempted a dance that’s become common in today’s G.O.P.: remaining in the good graces of the far right while putting some distance between himself and its most abhorrent avatars.

It’s like the now common, phony Republican candidate dance around abortion, attempting to mask how foamy-mouth wacko they’re against it. Then, having pulled a fast one on voters to get elected, they plan to let fly their true inner goggly-eye wacko.

In contrast, Marie Gluesenkamp Perez is running a straight campaign, saying what she believes and giving indication of how she will represent the voters, emphasizing abortion rights and protecting democracy.

Goldberg uses the entire center spread of the Opinion section of the Sunday paper to flesh out what’s happening in Washington’s 3rd . Not surprisingly, the fuller reality is freakier than the short paragraphs above suggest. Goldberg reports:

Here’s what Kent [said he] intends to do in his first two years in office:

“Impeachment, obstruction and oversight. The Biden agenda dies off in the crib.”

In his speeches Kent promised to impeach

“Biden on Day One, and then Vice President Kamala Harris (‘one of the lead fund-raisers for antifa and B.L.M. during the summer of 2020’), Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas.”

At [a] town hall, he emphasized his willingness to shut down the government: “I used to work in the federal government,” he said [he is a former Green Beret]. “It can shut down. It’s really not a big deal.”

Kent promised to hold Anthony Fauci “accountable” for the “scam that is Covid.” “Criminal charges,” said Kent. But what charges, I asked. “Murder,” he replied, as if it were the most obvious answer in the world.

It’s messy and awkward quoting someone who is quoting someone else, so apologies to Goldberg for my quotation mark clumsiness.

Meanwhile, you’ve just read a fine litany of the insanity and dishonesty that is today’s G.O.P. It’s a continuous loop of imagined and contrived grievances and absurd, tough guy payback. I mean, does Kent actually believe that Congress will impeach all those people? What are their high crimes or misdemeanors? Wait – scratch that last question. That was my mistake – I was being logical.

And Kent says he wants to go back to a full court press of obstruction so that nothing We The People want will come about. Welcome back to the Obama years dealing with the GOP Congress, the party of NO:

NO to all Democrats and Democratic policies, even if they’re identical to Republican ideas

NO to anything that will deal with our substantial national challenges

NO to everything that supports democracy

NO to kids being safe in school

NO to reproductive freedom for pregnant women and NO to anyone who wants to use any form of contraception other than the rhythm method

Old Joke:

Q. What do you call people who use the rhythm method of contraception?

A. Parents

Just get used to NO. If the Republicans gain control of even one house of Congress, NO is what we will have voted for.

And wait: Anthony Fauci is a murderer?

Just to be clear, having been a Green Beret doesn’t make Kent a congressional or budgetary genius or an expert on the price that is paid when the G.O.P. shuts down the government – AGAIN! – basically giving the finger to all 330 million of us.

But he’s right about one thing: Blathering this angry, baseless, stupid stuff in red and red-leaning areas, then being Jim-Jordan-Marjorie-Taylor-Green inflammatory is the way to get and stay elected. But that leaves us with having to deal with the Trump manipulation contrivance:

They spew a continuous fire hose of reality-free absurdity (commonly called bullshit) at a pace that prevents factual refutation – like the Kent idiocy listed above. Besides, their inflammatory lunacy appeals to voters driven by victim-hood.

So, how does one campaign against these Loony Tunes cartoon candidates? How can a reality-based candidate engage with voters poisoned by hateful G.O.P. fantasies? How can you even have a conversation or debate with people who believe the unreal and who wear a chip on their shoulder as though it’s a badge of honor?

These are the people vying to take control of our school boards, our library boards and our local, state and federal governments. They want to subjugate the rest of us in their puritanical, totalitarian horror show. That’s what’s at stake in the November midterm election and in every election for the next “who knows how many?” years. This is no sprint. This is a marathon of colossal duration and monumental consequences and we must win every race or everything you hold dear will be lost.

————————————

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Over Just The Past Few Days


Education

Ron DeSantis blasted President Biden’s student debt relief program – just another entrant in the “Nothing So Stupid That the Republicans Won’t Say It” contest.

We established publicly funded public schools 170 years ago to educate our people. From How Stuff Works:

“Massachusetts passed the first compulsory school laws in 1852. New York followed the next year, and by 1918, all American children were required to attend at least elementary school.”

From QuestionAnswer.IO:

“By 1918, all U.S. states had some sort of mandatory attendance law for [high] school.”

Each level of education became necessary for the welfare of our nation and for individuals to be ready for the challenges of our rapidly changing life and world. We funded schools publicly then, as now, because both we-the-public and our nation benefit. Ignorance just doesn’t work well for our country.

The world has progressed and much of what it takes now to succeed simply cannot be supplied solely by a K-12 education. Ever-finer, more advanced skills continue to be required. We’re late coming to the realization that we must publicly fund college just as we do public grade schools and high schools. Here’s an example of why that’s true.

We graduate about 70,000 engineers annually. China graduates about 600,000 and India graduates about 350,000. They are both dramatically out-educating their young compared to us.

We’re in a global competition and we will remain unprepared to compete and win as long as we continue to refuse to fully educate our citizens for today’s world and tomorrow’s. Keeping our people unprepared would be a huge economic and national security mistake.

Doubt that? Read this.

And recognize that student debt relief and public funding of colleges and universities necessarily mean a redistribution of wealth – the haves will be required to subsidize the education of both the haves and the have-nots. Everyone else will have to pitch in, too. That brings us to the never ending conflict over wealth redistribution, which traces its angry origin at least as far back a the Civil War, and that brings us to,

This Gallup Moment

Check the graph below from Gallup’s This Week In Charts and you’ll have no difficulty seeing the massive shift to public approval for heavy taxes on the rich to finance the commons, which importantly benefits our poor and middle class with schools, roads, etc.

I suspect this change in public attitude has been accelerated by the past 50 years of legislation favorable to the rich and which penalizes the rest of us. The change may also be traced to the lack of enforcement of laws to prohibit rich guy favoritism. Example: only one guy went to prison for the massive fraud and deceit of the George W. Bush financial meltdown of 2008, even though many violated SEC regulations and fraud statutes. Then there are all the massive “trickle down” tax breaks, about 85% of which benefited already rich people, not you and I.

You’re right: that isn’t fair.

So the rich have benefited enormously for decades – for generations, really – while the rest of us just muddled by. It seems that now over half of we Americans think that rich people should pony up their fair share for the benefit of all of us. Imagine that!

Click me for the story.

The IRS and (probably not) You

On August 26 German Lopez wrote in The Morning newsletter of the New York Times, opining on the Biden announcement about increasing the number of IRS agents and resources, “Kari Lake, the Republican candidate for Arizona governor, tied the increase in [IRS] agents to the F.B.I. search of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home and warned, ‘Not a single one of us is safe.’”

I sure hope she’s right, if by “safe” she means “protected from being audited and indicted for tax evasion.” I don’t want anyone to be safe from that.

While squatting in the Oval Office for four years, Trump dramatically reduced IRS resources in a stunning effort to protect himself and his rich buddies from scrutiny. That worked. Now Biden is working to restore the agency to a level where it can actually do its job. Got a problem with that, Kari Lake? We can fix your problem by defeating you in November. Go back to your hollow-head TV gig.

Covid Corner

Covid continues to rear its ugly head and promises to keep doing that until all the unvaccinated people either get vaccinated or die. It’s just that simple.

Below are the new cases chart and the death tally chart. These are cases per day averaged over 10 days. We’re still reporting nearly 100,000 new cases every day, and that number doesn’t include the cases identified via home test and those who never get diagnosed (the ones who just tough it out).

Nearly 500 of our fellows are dying every day from Covid. Almost every one of those 500 had refused to be vaccinated. Some have religious objections. Got that. But some just refuse as a demonstration of their stubbornness, masked in a mantle of self-identified freedom. And some refuse to be protected because they believe the cruel and evil lies about both the disease and the vaccine that have been crammed down their throats since Covid was identified and then vaccines became available.

Regardless of the why of their intransigence, our vaccine refusers are over-burdening our medical professionals and institutions and are walking super-spreaders who endanger the rest of us.

Whatever happened to “promote the general welfare” and concern for others and our freedom to not be infected by stubborn people?

Source: STAT, 8-29-22 – click me

Everything’s Okay Now

Following the virulent Republican anti-abortion campaign of fear and moral outrage over the past 49 years, the extremist Supreme Court killed Roe and now everything is just great for Republicans.

Wait – it’s not?

The national outrage over Republicans ending rights and promising to end still more has caused Democratic voter registrations to double those of Republicans and has caused Kansas to declare there’s nothing wrong with it. They defeated the extremist minority, killing the anti-choice state constitution amendment by 18 points.

The mid-term election is just 69 days away and proclaiming an anti-abortion position is threatening to be an anti-get-elected certainty for Republicans. What’s an extremist, hair-on-fire, Trumpy-MAGA candidate to do? Well, they figured it out.

Republican candidates are removing anti-abortion everything from their websites, their campaign literature and their campaign stops, hoping you won’t remember it was there. They haven’t changed their toxic minority position and they still want to force their medieval ways onto the majority of us and they’re just as authoritarian as before. But they think you’re dumb enough to forget who they are and what they stand for, now that they ditched the evidence.

See? Everything’s okay now.

Finally,

All of this happened over just the past few days. This list doesn’t include the Donald Documents crimes and his threat to our national security, extremist violence, mass shootings or stupid Ted “Cancun” Cruz or Lindsay “Weather Vane” Graham statements. It omits Doug Mastriano, Hershel Walker and Dr. Oz inanities, billionaire Barre Said’s $1.6 billion gift to an ultraconservative PAC that avoided taxes, and, and, and.

We didn’t used to have so many unforced domestic errors.

 

————————————

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

I Admit It – Plus Abusing My TV


I have bashed Trump supporters.

(Parenthetical: Isn’t that backward? Aren’t our elected officials supposed to support us?)

I’ve called them names. I’ve accused. I’ve assumed and projected. And I stand by all of that for the violent crazies. But for millions of them who voted for Trump I’ve been wrong because I’ve largely missed the facts that animate them, although I’ve periodically mentioned those facts.

Every one of these people sees him/herself as a patriot. And their anger is based in the reality of the betrayals that stab them in the back to this day. They really have been taken for granted and left behind.

They lost jobs because of the “offshoring” of jobs, the closing of the factories, the hollowing out of whole towns and the rest of the destruction of abandonment. They lost jobs because of the “right-sizing” of businesses (which means to layoff people, most of them permanently), all condoned by Congresspeople more focused on themselves than on We the People. They never lifted a finger to help those who were losing their jobs.

Former House Speaker John Boehner proclaimed over and over that jobs, jobs, jobs was the number one issue. Then he proceeded to kill every attempt at creating, protecting and enhancing jobs and wages with only one exception: jobs for vets. These were vets coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan and Boehner had to be shamed into putting the bill on the floor of the House twice before anything good happened for those vets.

These people suffered while the fat cats grew multiples richer, as three huge “tax reform bills” were promised to increase jobs and wages, but they never did. They just stuffed the pockets of the rich elites.

They suffered because Reagan introduced what became known as “Reaganomics,” which has been an over 4 decades long theft of wealth from 99% of us that has been treansfered to the super wealthy. Nothing “trickled down” to the rest of us.

They watched us slip into a gigantic recession driven by bank bigwigs, some of whom broke laws. Only one went to jail. Then We the People were forced to bail out the banks, the people who sold us fraud.

These people were lied to over and over and fed the red meat of blame wrapped in cultural issues that came rapid fire and were shoved down their throats.

All of that was done by “the elite” of our country. It was done by Congress, the President and the ultra rich corporate titans interested only in their own welfare. Can you guess why Trump voters might hold a grudge against anyone who can be labeled as an elite?

By this point it’s so easy to blame “coastal elites” for anything and everything, as they promote cultural issues that just don’t resonate in the lives of people in the middle of the country. That made it easy for Trump to snatch their loyalty and get them to support candidates whose sole position is a constantly raised middle finger. And all that pent up rage made it easy for them to ignore Trump’s horribles.

Read Bret Stevens’ piece, I Was Wrong About Trump Voters. That essay got me restarted thinking about this issue.

And that rethinking brought back to mind that most of the betrayal of middle Americans has been done by Republicans. That makes it more than curious why anyone would vote for a Republican.

They told people that up is down, that whatever terrible things the Rs did wrong was actually what the Ds did. You know: “alternative facts.” Back in the old days we used to call them lies. And there was shame on the liars when they were caught, but, of course, this is now a shame-free world. Gotta give credit for the stunningly well done Republican propaganda, the Big Lies and the rest that made victims love their victimizers.

I don’t take back any of the things I’ve said about the haters, the violence practitioners or the spineless politicians. They deserve every scathing word.

But the millions who appear to be voting for anti-democracy and against their own best interests believe fervently that they are voting against elites who have stolen America and their American Dream. For the most part it appears that their passion has run too far ahead of their otherwise good sense, but these are not fundamentally flawed people, nor are all of their grievances baseless.

Their anger has roots in a reality that has hurt them. They have been ignored by leaders with policies and ideologies that have  left them far behind, but which has been pedaled to them by disingenuous opportunists.

We cannot abide the destruction done by or promised by angry people. What we can do is to look at the realities that have stolen the American Dream from Americans and take action to restore it for everyone.

Christopher C. Miller official portrait.jpg

Christopher C. Miller, Acting Secretary of Defense stooge for Trump, November 9, 2020 – January 20, 2021

Abusing My TV

As I watched the January 6 insurrection become worse, bloodier, more violent, more destructive, I was screaming at my TV, “WHERE THE HELL IS THE NATIONAL GUARD?” Not long after that I heard rumors that Trump had frozen all of our military so that they could not respond to the crisis. That turned out to be true.

According to Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher C. Miller’s own testimony, on January 3 he was ordered by Trump to “do whatever was necessary to protect the demonstrators” on January 6. The next day, January 4, Miller issued a one page edict that buried the feet of the DC National Guard in cement. They were ordered not to act. They were prevented from stopping the carnage and restoring the peace, jobs that they are trained to do. Here’s a download of Miller’s order to the DC National Guard. Read it sitting down, because it is stunningly evil. Watch Miller’s testimony to the January 6 Committee here.

At Trump’s explicit order, the Capitol Police, the DC Metro Police, the Vice President, every member of Congress, every Secret Service agent, every news crew and every worker in the Capitol Building that awful day were all left bare to the violence of Trump’s murderous mob.

That’s why I was screaming at my TV.

————————————

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Killing Bubba, a Thought Experiment & Key Moments


Malcolm Nance is warning us yet again and his message couldn’t be clearer. He spelled it out in an online session with the Washington Postwatch it here.

He worked in intelligence for many years and is a terrorism expert. Now he’s laying out plainly what you likely know and what you probably try not to think about: They Want To Kill Americans. The “they” he’s talking about is not some foreign terrorist organization; he’s talking about fellow Americans.

There are a lot of Americans who love violence. You saw tens of thousands of them at the Capitol Building on January 6. About 70 million Americans think violence is okay – even patriotic. That affects some very important legal decisions – like what to do about Trump.

There’s a lot of discussion about whether to charge the disgraced, twice-impeached former president for the various crimes he is alleged to have committed. The concern, some say, is that if Merrick Garland comes forth with indictments, that will catapult us into a lot of violence.

The fear is that the thugs, the delusional patriots, the angry Americans who want to kill Americans will come out of the woodwork, out from under rocks and from Congress and state houses. They’ll bring their 20 million assault rifles that we’ve allowed them to stockpile. They’ll come with their handguns and their large capacity magazines, their mortars and their hand grenades, their bump stocks and their RPGs and all the rest. They will wave their Gadsden flags and shout false claims about a present day 1776 and they will kill Americans. They will crush our 250 year old institutions. They will destroy democracy and with it our rights and our safety. They will make a deadly mess before our military puts a stop to them. That’s what some fear will happen if Merrick Garland does his job.

The counter argument is that we already have violence and more will be visited upon us no matter what we do, so we should prosecute the perp.

Either way, we’re living among American killer wannabees. Yet without accountability for committing crimes we are inviting far worse from the next populist, who will certainly be better at all the deception and manipulation of the system than Trump. That leaves us with the challenge of figuring out how to deal with our violent ones.

And that brings us to a history lesson.

When Europeans began to arrive in what became known as North, Central and South America they brought new things. They brought the European moral and legal attitude of “You have it, I want it, so I’ll take it.” They brought guns and they brought draft animals never before seen by the indigenous peoples. All of that made conquest relatively easy. But the biggest force for overpowering natives was the rich assortment of European diseases like measles and smallpox that infected the virally defenseless indigenous people. Those diseases eventually wiped out roughly 95% of the natives.

Forward to today.

Lots of Americans have gotten vaccinated, while 22% still believe stories about people dying from the vaccine, that there are nanobots in the juice, that the vaccine will make you sterile, that vaccines are an abridgement of their freedom and yet more non-sense from people with no sense. Not surprisingly, these people are dying of Covid. Over 460 per day and trending upward.

The data is as plain and dreadful as ever:

If you are not vaccinated you are 17 times more likely to need to be hospitalized and 20 times more likely to die from Covid.

98 – 99% of present day Covid deaths are of the unvaccinated.

So, stand fast in refusing to be vaccinated, cowboys, Proud Boys, 3-Percenters, freedom hallucinators, and the rest. You’ll stay at the top of the international Covid death curve. You’re Number 1!

Going full Machiavellian, a way out of both the pandemic and our incipient violence is for our fiercely-independent-to-the-point-of-self-destruction people to die of Covid.

Yeah, I know that’s brutal, but that is what these people are doing. Americans just keep getting infected and some live because they’re vaccinated and have antibody protection, while the unvaccinated die. Those of us remaining will dust ourselves off and carry on, but without those who died fiercely independent and without a care in the world for the others they infected.

Regardless, in the end, the White supremacists in Charlottesville chanting, “You will not replace us” and, “Jews will not replace us,” will be proven wrong. The hate spewers will be replaced because they will have chosen to die with tubes down their throats. They will have been (past tense) the Americans who wanted to kill Americans. Instead, Bubba is killing himself.

Thought Experiment

Imagine that you had been one of the January 6 rioters. You were violent. You attacked Capitol Police and DC Metro cops. You entered the Capitol Building through a broken window and vandalized things inside. You did all of that because Trump asked you to come to DC, he told to march to the Capitol Building and told you to “fight like hell.” You followed the orders of your leader.

Your anger was stoked even higher when you learned of Trump’s tweet at 2:24PM accusing V.P. Pence of cowardice for having refused Trump’s illegal order. With that incitement, passion to hang Pence was fire in your blood. And at 6:01PM Trump tweeted that you and your fellow rioters were “great patriots.”

The next day Trump issued a video, saying he was “outraged by the violence” and declaring that anyone who broke the law would be prosecuted.

Question: How did you feel then about Trump having double-crossed you?

Answer: Stabbed in the back? Betrayed? Did you no longer trust him? That would be reasonable, but you don’t feel any of those things. You as a Trump person long ago became a world class rationalizer, so that when facts arise that are contradictory to what you want to believe you simply whisk them away as false or explain them away as an example of Trump’s genius.

End of experiment.

Watch Adam Kinzinger explain about our violent ones (begin at 2:30:03) in his commentary at the January 21 presentation, as the committee focused on Trump’s 187 minutes of dereliction of duty.

” .  .  .  the forces Donald Trump ignited that day have not gone away. The militant, intolerant ideologies; the militias; the alienation and the disaffection; the weird fantasies and disinformation. They’re all still out there, ready to go.”

“Trump’s people” are hoarders and vigilantes of grievance, bonded to their self-justifying victimhood and rage. They are irredeemable. Our discussions have to be with others who aren’t going through life with a cocked fist and a loaded assault rifle and who instead engage in realities. They and we are who will save us from ourselves.

Key Moments From Session 8 of the January 6 Select Committee
  1. Secret Service people guarding V.P. Pence sending good-bye messages to their families.
  2. An insurgent yelling, “This is what we trained for!”
  3. Wormy witnesses parsing words to avoid saying anything.
  4. Liz Cheney skewering the bad guys – again.
  5. Trump never made even a single call to law enforcement or national security for reinforcements to protect the Capitol Building or its occupants because the insurgents were doing his bidding.
  6. “We, as Americans, must all agree on this: Donald Trump’s conduct on January 6th was a supreme violation of his oath of office and his complete dereliction of his duty to our nation. It is a stain on our history. It is a dishonor to all those who have sacrificed and died in service of our democracy.” Adam Kinzinger

————————————

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

A 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.

————————————

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.

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* 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.

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