Manipulation

Cluelessness


Struggling to Understand

New York Times Senior Opinion Staff Editor Alexandra Sifferlin wrote a piece on Monday triggered by the Covid-19 death of sports journalist Grant Wahl while covering the World Cup in Qatar. Her story was not about his death. It was about the “anti-vaxxers [who] were quick to blame his death on the Covid-19 vaccine.”

Questions pop off the page, like why would people believe fact-free conspiracy rumors about the vaccines, canards that were spread by non-doctors and non-scientists and hateful rumor generators? Think: injecting bleach. And why would anyone invade the grief so many are feeling and dump cruelty on these innocents? Wait: this gets worse.

Sifferlin continues, “Céline Gounder is an infectious disease doctor and epidemiologist [i.e. a doctor and a scientist] and has been a prominent voice on the Covid-19 pandemic. She is also Wahl’s widow and has been sent numerous emails and voice mail messages blaming her for his death because of her support for vaccines.” Cruelty amplified.

Let this stand as a placeholder for so many forms of anti-social behavior that have become commonplace, like:

neighbors yelling vitriolic slurs at school board meetings

bullies making death threats to citizens doing patriotic things, like being poll workers

thugs committing murder – mass shootings or otherwise – that are encouraged by people broadcasting loathing in order to inflame anger and hatred

I’ve just begun reading Andy Borowitz’s new book, Profiles in Ignorance: How America’s Politicians Got Dumb and Dumber (see Fine Print #5 below). In his introduction he writes,

“We’ll retrace the steps of the vacuous pioneers who turned ignorance from a liability into a virtue. By relentlessly lowering the bar, they made it possible for today’s politicians to wear their dunce caps with pride. Gone are the days when leaders had to hide how much they didn’t know. Now cluelessness is an electoral asset and smart politicians must play dumb, or risk voters’ wrath. Welcome to the survival of the dimmest.”

The standout part of that is that cluelessness is mandatory or politicians will “risk voters’ wrath.” That means that the driving force of politicians’ proud ignorance is a public that wants them to be clueless. What’s going on with us that we rejoice in being uninformed and, worse, dumb? And why wouldn’t we want our leaders to be smart – smarter than the average bear – so they can make good choices for us?

We must want to be clueless and dumb in order to believe absurd conspiracy idiocy, like that there are giant Jewish space lasers igniting wild fires in California, that the moon landings were faked, that there is a Hillary Clinton sex trafficking operation in a non-existent basement of a DC pizza restaurant and all the rest.

Surely, there’s more to this than cluelessness. Ignorance doesn’t explain the ongoing undermining of our democracy by people proclaiming themselves to be patriots. (See: “oxymoron” with emphasis on the “moron.”) It doesn’t explain thousands trashing the Capitol Building and preparing to lynch the Vice President and Speaker of the House and defecating in the Rotunda. It doesn’t explain thugs in camo carrying AR-15s strutting around the entrances to polling places. Love of ignorance is a prerequisite for all of that, but it doesn’t explain the fear and rage and cruelty.

I’m a Boomer and distinctly recall President Kennedy declaring, “College is America’s best friend.” Of course, there were practical reasons for that, such as that we were in a cold war against a belligerent Russian bear and we needed smart, well educated people to be technical geniuses so we could defend our nation. Nobody argued for cluelessness. Nobody declared war on wisdom and learning, but that’s changed.

What’s going on that we cram theocracy into our public schools and steal public school tax money and give it to fund parochial schools? Why did we let George W. Bush get away with his attack on the First Amendment by shifting government education funds to “faith-based initiatives?” What’s going on that some opportunistic politicians are Big Brothering our schools to limit what children can learn and they’re burning books? How come some seem to want us to return to the massive ignorance that existed prior to the Age of Enlightenment?

Somehow a great deal has changed and we have a profound disdain for wisdom and learning. Far more dangerous is the anger toward people who think. We’re in an age of visceral primacy, where “Me getting what I want is all that matters and I’m pleased to stomp on anyone who sees things differently. Fie on education, learning and critical thinking!”

How did we elect pretty-face-empty-head Ronald Reagan? Why did we elect doofus frat boy George W. Bush? Why did we fall for an obvious con artist, Mr. 30,000 lies? Why don’t we want all of our presidents to be smart and well informed? Also, patriotic.

What has happened that we seem to prefer rage over everything else? Are we to return to some semblance of appreciation for learning and wisdom and of one another, or will we continue until the few of us left are living in caves? If we are to drop the primacy of cruelty that endangers us all, what has to happen? How will that come about?

I’m struggling to understand this.

Do Some Supporting

The mouse is now Speaker of the House and the legislative terrorists – the “Tear-Down Party” – are in control of him. Brace yourself, because this is going to be an extremely turbulent two years.

As those fifteen embarrassing elections were happening in the House of Representatives, I emailed my congressman, Brad Schneider (D-IL10), with a simple message:

Hang in there! Gotcher back as you fight the good fight.
.

He sent an appreciative reply.

There are a lot of people in Congress who do that every day – they fight the good fight. That’s in spite of the fact that they hear every day from people who are mad at government and mad at them. They get irrational demands thrown at them. They get hate mail. They get threats.

I figure that now and then they need to hear from the people who know they’re doing the right thing. They need to hear a thanks for standing tall in the face of cruelty and oppression and madness. They can use some validation that they’re on the right side, reassurance that they’re representing us properly.

So, I have a suggestion and a request: Call or text your senators and congressperson and let them know that you appreciate them fighting the good fight and that you have their back. https://www.house.gov/ and https://www.house.gov/

And if they’re on the wrong side, call or text them and say that you see them for what they are and what they’re doing and that you have the back of whoever opposes them.

Classified Documents Found in Biden’s Old Office

I’m shocked – SHOCKED!to learn that Fox-Never-Was-News is horrified by a revelation about a Democrat.

O’ the stupefaction of it all!

An Update On the Rotary of Northbrook Coat Drive

Ref: The last section of this post.

Text pasted from Rotary:

The Final Count.  831 winter coats plus around a dozen boxes of gloves/hats/scarves/boots.  In terms of winter coats, we are confident this is more than last year. Most have already been distributed to 9 charity organizations/locations, with the final boxes (pictured below) for World Relief Chicago, PADS, and a fifth dropoff at Connections for the Homeless all scheduled for next week.  Two Men and a Truck will donate transportation for these boxes for a fourth straight week. So far, five organizations have received at least a first installment of coats:  Refugee One, Stock the Shelves, Connections for the Homeless, Ethiopian Community Association (refugees), and Deerfield Free Store.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A bunch of people will be warmer now. Thanks and kudos to all who contributed!

  • ————————————
  • 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 or neighborhood vibrant.

JA

 


Copyright 2023 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

The Mouse in the House*


As I watched the spectacle in the Republican-controlled House of self-inflicted embarrassment, it became clear that we’re pretty much a country of Never Kevins.

Kevin McCarthy has no principles other than a mania to become Speaker of the House. He has given away anything and everything to get that title, even as doing so leaves the speakership impotent. That makes him completely unreliable, untrustworthy, and even unnecessary.

If McCarthy had any true leadership ability, sometime around his 5th election defeat last week he would have shown that he has a spine, saying he’s had enough humiliation and that he’s abandoning his long time quest to become Speaker. He would quit his job, put his personal things in a box and go back to California. Just before leaving he would stand at the podium in the well of the House and say,

“Madam clerk and my fellow representatives-elect, we have held many elections this week for Speaker of the House and it is now clear that I will not be able to win that post. The time has come to put aside both party and personal desires and act solely in the interest of our country. To that end, I am formally withdrawing my name from consideration to be speaker.

“All agreements I have made in negotiations for votes with reluctant members of my party are terminated immediately. They are null and void. We begin again, now with a clean slate.

“I ask that this body of representatives of We the People choose the best among us to lead this House for the next two years. I ask that party not be part of the calculation, but only what is best for our country. I ask everyone to stand behind that leader to move our nation forward.

“Madam clerk, I yield the floor for the last time.”

But of course, he didn’t say that and doing so would never happen because McCarthy does not have the spine or the vision or the selflessness to do such a thing.

Click the pic or the essay

Instead, he bought his way into the speakership on the fifteenth ballot by giving away all the power of the gavel. He put the power into the hands of the arsonists, the 10% of his party who are the very ones who aided and abetted the insurrection. These are the people who moved to overturn the 2020 presidential electoral vote count even after the mob had come to lynch the Vice President, the Speaker of the House and possibly more legislators. They now have the reins of power in the United States House of Representatives. They are legislative terrorists and that is going to have consequences.

There’s nothing conservative (much less ultra-conservative or far right) about supporting an insurrection, attempting to tear up the Constitution, threatening to shut down the government, refusing to pay our bills, denying the results of a free and fair election, threatening innocents with violence, preventing people from voting, remaining silent in the face of corruption, standing as obstacles to government functioning, stealing rights from We the People and all the rest of the abhorrent things Republicans rejoice in doing. And if Republicans are not conservatives, then the crazies, these legislative terrorists, can’t be “far right.” They are in a completely different category.

Call them the Tear-Down Party, because they’re focused on “tearing it all down,” “deconstruction of the administrative state,” dismantling our government. They are out to prove that government doesn’t work by sabotaging government. They are anarchists, destroyers, the sowers of chaos, the opposition to nearly all you hold dear. They are lovers of hatred, fear mongering and domination of others. They insist on total victory all the time, leaving impossible any form of compromise, because they are all about themselves and about nobody else. They are a virulent and deadly invasion of “me-ism” that threatens our republic with destruction.

The Republican blaze of anger began with Reagan and was stoked into an inferno by Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, Grover Norquist and yet more self-inflating egomaniacs. They and today’s version of them, like Tucker Carlson, plus the people they manipulate into supporting them, are the members of the Tear-Down Party. And they are the obstacle to our common welfare and to our entire nation.

They are about tearing down our foundation as a country, so they cannot be considered conservatives. The Democrats are the true conservatives, because they stand for conserving our Constitution and our democracy.

The Tear-Down Party radicals are prepared to do nothing but destruction, including non-stop muckraking of Hunter Biden and his laptop, our exit from Afghanistan, the ongoing dysfunction at our southern border and more. We know that they won’t be searching for solutions or policy improvements, because they told us so. They just want to blame “others” and undermine our belief in ourselves.

They will refuse to authorize an increase in the debt ceiling this September. That means that the federal government won’t be able to pay its bills. We will officially be a deadbeat nation, unable to care for our people, meet our obligations at home or abroad, provide for our national defense or do anything else. There will be profound and destabilizing global economic and political consequences and all of them will be very bad.

These legislative terrorists of the Tear-Down Party wave the banner of red, white and blue right now, but they will wipe their dirty boots on that banner as they do everything in their power to tear down our government and put us all at risk.

I see only two sources of hope for the next two years. First is that the Presidency and the Senate are controlled by Democrats, so they can stop any legislative lunacy from the House legislative terrorists.

Second is the hope that our Department of Justice will prosecute and incarcerate the January 6 conspirators now in the House and that they will be replaced in Congress by non-radicals. You know: actual patriotic Americans.

———————————

  • * “[McCarthy’s] mistake was convincing himself that a party obsessed with dominance would reward submission.”
  • Leopards Eat Kevin McCarthy’s Face
  • by Michelle Goldberg,
  • New York Times, January 4, 2023
  • ————————————
  • 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 or neighborhood vibrant.

JA


Copyright 2023 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Rationalizing Anything


I’ve done a little research in order to understand standard issue alt-right rationalizing behavior. Here’s a sampling from right wing politicians, pundits and the little folk on the far right (non-traditional Republicans – the ones whose sound bites make the news). See if this comports with your experience of your crazy Uncle Bob and now of the Mark Meadows texts just being made public.

They make sweeping accusations and assertions in the complete absence of evidence to support such claims. Usually done serially and at high speed in order to overwhelm challengers and not have to answer questions.

Asking for evidence to support their accusations and assertions elicits some version of, “Everybody knows” or a restatement of the accusation, but with amped up volume. The simple declaration of their claims is all they need for conviction and a subsequent hanging in the town square.

They project alt-right wrongdoing onto others. Whatever the far right is doing, they accuse the “socialist Democrats” of it, once again without any evidence. It’s always someone else who is the bad guy. Expect a world class performance every time.

Stand back, because they volcanically erupt focus-transferring what-about-isms. This is a bit like “throwing their voice” – ventriloquism – but they’re actually trying to throw reality.

Dismissing all news or evidence that counters their story is a requirement for membership in this club. For example, news stories they don’t like are eviscerated by calling them lies (“lame-stream media”) to make them go away. That seems to prove to themselves the truth and accuracy of their own counter-factual beliefs and reestablishes their power position.
.
They claim there is outrageous wrong being done to totally pure, patriotic righty extremists, like the horrible abuse being done to January 6 insurrectionists – oops, legitimate, peaceful protesters – by our illegitimate federal government.
.
They are adept at performance politics of any description done to “own the libs.” There’s really nothing quite as satisfying as demonizing others, especially if they are so weenie that they won’t march a Confederate battle flag through the Capitol Building or claim that an election was stolen.
.

All in all, it’s what you could call “aggressive ignorance” that seals off brain functioning from learning. Plus, there’s the anger attendant to these folks. Very dangerous.

Those things and more are what make it hard to have any conversation with a MAGA conspiracy theorist, alt-right extremist or pretty much anyone who self-identifies as a Republican. The question for the rest of us is, “How can we deal with people who rationalize and fervently believe their Through The Looking Glass alternate reality in order to prevent them from destroying our democracy?”

Ideas? Bueller? Bueller?

Here’s another example of rationalizing.

Prof. Heather Cox Richardson’s Letters From An American are always interesting and most often educational. After all, she is a teacher.

Her post of December 2 concerned the issue of treason and detailed John Brown’s attempt to launch a slave rebellion in 1859. He was captured and hanged, the first American to be executed for treason.

This behavior geek moment concerns the State of Virginia, which conducted the hanging.

Richardson wrote,

“The execution of John Brown for treason set a precedent.

“And in just over a year, Virginians themselves would take up arms against the federal government.”

Hmmm .  .  .

Humans are such a reliable source of entertainment, as we display our boundless ability to rationalize.

Indeed, here’s a 2024 pre-campaign tweet from Ron DeSantis’ wife, Casey:

Thanks go to Jim Nathan for this.

Nobody has a clue why she figures she’s speaking for millions of people. Really, that’s some impressive turf grabbing. Plus, the freedom to which she refers apparently only applies to those who are White, Christian, straight and probably male. How do they rationalize that? Click the tweet and read the comments.

And be sure to watch the black-and-white electioneering ad below the tweet. It mentions God 10 times in just 96 seconds, thus setting a new land speed record for attempted manipulation of the ignorant. Implied is, “A vote for ‘I love you, Ron’ is a vote for God.” That’s beyond rationalizing. It’s delusional and truly gag-able.

Worse is the rationalizing away of the cruelty DeSantis has inflicted on those who aren’t exactly like him and his bible thumping wife. Contrary to Casey DeSantis’ claim, “I love you Ron” actively and enthusiastically works to take away people’s freedom, like his “Don’t say gay” bill. That’s the opposite of “fighting for freedom” and is world class rationalizing.

I know nothing more about Casey DeSantis, but Ron DeSantis can be counted upon to rationalize all manner of extremist notions to penalize others in order to appeal to his extremist base and promote himself.

To Republican voters: Caveat emptor. What you see is what you get.

Sooner or later DeSantis will have you and your freedom in his sights. He’ll have a fabulous, rationalized justification for attacking you, but you won’t like it. Didn’t we learn this lesson when Trump failed to become “presidential?” Perhaps not.

Avoiding Rationalizing – Here’s How

Maureen Dowd’s column of December 3 is an appeal to support those combating child killing cancer and more. She details her friend, College Football Hall of Fame coach Lloyd Carr (University of Michigan) and the tragic story of his grandson. In her piece she offers a couple of Carr’s football mantras that apply to fighting cancer and, really, anything needing to be championed:

“You can’t do everything but you can do something.”

“Blame no one, expect nothing, do something.”

I strongly recommend that you write Carr’s directives in big, bold letters and post them where you see them every day.

  • ————————————

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 or neighborhood vibrant.

JA


Copyright 2023 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

“This Is An Issue For All Of Us.”


First Thing

Congratulations to Sen. Rafael Warnock (D-GA), Georgia activists and the voting public on his election win for a full 6-year term. Well done! All it took to accomplish that was 4 elections for that seat over the course of 2 years. That’s a mind numbing amount of campaigning (and massive activism) while, by the way, doing his job in the Senate. This is a moment of joy.

And it has been interrupted by Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (now I-AZ). Yes, she bailed from Democrats as soon as there was a substantive impact on them in doing so.

She’s spent the past two years flicking off Dems, blocking key legislation they championed and being the voice of unreason. Her behavior makes me desperate to explain what goes on inside such a person, but it would just be a guess that she didn’t get enough of daddy’s love and attention.

Aw, don’t get me started.

“This Is An Issue For All Of Us.

Because we’ve seen this before. This is how it started 70 years ago. So I don’t want it to feel normal.”

Those are the words of Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff, who was comparing anti-Semitism in America today to anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany in the 1930s and -40s.

It started there with Hitler’s election in 1933 shortly after the very suspicious Reichstag fire. He was appointed chancellor after garnering just 33% of the vote and he immediately began violence against communists, trade unionists and, of course, Jews. He blamed them for essentially all the ills the German people were suffering and many that didn’t even exist. He needed an enemy on whom to focus his nation’s anger, a scapegoat, and he found an easy target rooted in nearly two millennia of bigotry.

That sounds suspiciously like our time, as Trump vilified Mexicans, Muslims, and Blacks, but with ear splitting dog whistles, he targeted Jews. Surely, you remember his “good people on both sides” comment about the Neo-nazi rally in Charlottesville, where they chanted, “Jews will not replace us.” His recent attacks  blew another dog whistle, saying “Jewish people who live in the United States don’t love Israel enough,” while suggesting that they have compromised American loyalties.  Whatever his self-serving blabbery, clearly Trump needs scapegoats on whom to focus citizen anger – that of our grievance-stoked citizens. That’s the source of his power.

He claims that he couldn’t be anti-Semitic because his daughter converted to Judaism, which leaves us aghast at the hollowness of his denial. It’s just another example of the standard weaseling, “Some of my best friends are Jews” and his base, the grievance-stoked haters, metaphorically goose step behind him. Now, of course, he’s even more blatant in his discrimination, as he palls around with anti-Semites and Holocaust denial creeps at his Mar-a Lago Wolf’s Lair.  But that’s just Trump.

Except it isn’t.

His behavior gives tacit permission and even guidance to his millions of followers to hate Jews.

America has always had a virulent strain of anti-Semitism. It was so strong that President Roosevelt wouldn’t allow German Jews safe harbor in our parochial, self-protective country. Making room for Jews would have lost Roosevelt public support for what was coming. So, instead of providing asylum, he left those people on ships to be returned to Europe where they were murdered.

Anti-Semitism is a key force behind White supremacists and Christian Nationalists. And it is a trigger for murders – hate crimes.

On a personal note, it is the reason I was repeatedly attacked and got into fights during grade school and high school. Like Johnny Cash’s A Boy Named Sue, I had to get tough or die, so I learned to fight well. But of course, the victims at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh and those at the Chabad of Poway Synagogue in Poway, CA didn’t have a chance to fight. They were gunned down by murderers inflamed with hatred fed to them from an intentionally  polluted stream.

I was in high school during the Second  Vatican Council when Jews were officially cleared by the Pope of having murdered Jesus. I was acquitted of having personally committed the crime, but I felt no relief, as nothing in my life changed. The bad boys apparently didn’t get the message about my exoneration. I suspect that they still haven’t heard and, dangerously, that they’ve taught their children to hate. Some of them or their grandchildren could be mass murderers now.

Sadly, the words of Douglas Emhoff notwithstanding, this is normal in America. What was always smoldering is now a blazing fire in the open. It is trumpeted every day in social media, with all the old tropes and many new ones flung from that sewer. Republican elected officials and pundits, fearful of the reaction of “the base” – our grievance-stoked citizens – don’t dare to speak out against it and many encourage the bile.* All of that is triggering murder.

Humans have always been tribal and quick to reject “others.” We’re no different in this country. What we do exceedingly well – better than any other country – is to weaponize hatred and trot it out at the slightest provocation.

That’s especially dangerous in a country that has enough guns in private hands for 1.25 guns per person. That figure includes infants, children, terminally ill patients and the institutionalized, none of whom have guns. Separating them out, as well as those who have no firearms by choice, leaves a lot more guns per person for those who do have them in this national shooting gallery of a country.

All of which doesn’t make any of us safer. Those of us with a racial, ethnic or religious bulls eye on our back know that well. That’s our normal, Mr. Emhoff, and it is, indeed, an issue for all of us.

————————————–

* “The sooner we stop pretending that this is a “both sides” problem, the sooner we can start taking the fight against antisemitism seriously. Antisemitism exists on the left, but while the Democratic Party condemns and marginalizes antisemitism in its ranks, the GOP condones and supports it.”

  • ————————————

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 or neighborhood vibrant.

JA


Copyright 2023 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

SPECIAL SATURDAY EDITION: Aren’t You Tired of Being Lied To?


It’s your turn now.

Cuban-Americans in Miami-Dade county are particularly sensitive to anything that smacks of Communism. They and their lucky ancestors fled Castro’s cruel dictatorship and now these Americans will vote against anything that even sounds like “Communism.”

So, Republicans are blasting them with disinformation, saying that President Biden is a socialist and that he will foist socialism on them, which, factually, is absurd, since Biden is a centrist, a capitalist. But these Hispanics are being lied to over and over to scare them into voting against Democrats.

Hey Cuban-Americans: Aren’t you tired of being lied to?

Paul Pelosi was attacked by an intruder intent upon attacking his wife, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. She wasn’t at home in San Francisco, so the intruder beat Paul Pelosi with a hammer. He’s at last left the hospital and is recovering from his wounds and surgeries to his head and hands.

The new owner of Twitter, Chief Twit Elon Musk, wasted no time suggesting Pelosi and the attacker had a gay relationship. Then Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Green amplified that, essentially blaming the victim for the attack. Donald Trump, Jr. tweeted a picture of his underwear with a hammer sitting on it.

There are dozens (possibly hundreds) more Republican attacks on the Pelosis.  And there are the silent cowards who refuse to offer any statement of empathy or caring. They all lie and inflame violent extremists like the Pelosi attacker and at the same time tell you and me that they are the patriotic ones.

Hey Americans:  Aren’t you tired of being lied to?

Brian Kemp beat Stacy Abrams for the governorship of Georgia 4 years ago. He was the Secretary of State then, in charge of elections. I’m sure it was just a coincidental that while he was campaigning that he purged the voting rolls of 560,000 voters, 107,000 of whom should never have been “purged.” Guess what color most of them were?

This year Kemp doesn’t directly have a hand on voter registrations, so he only removed 90,000 voters. Guess what color most of them were?

He tells everyone what a patriotic guy he is.

Hey Georgians: Aren’t you tired of being lied to?

Kari Lake is having a time of it running for governor of Arizona, spewing multiple false statements in a single sentence. And she’s following the Trump skulduggery, recently telling an interviewer who asked if she will accept the results of the election that she’s going to win the contest to be governor of Arizona, so, yes, she will accept the result of the election.

Woe be to Arizonans if she doesn’t, because she will claim fraud, stolen election, locusts, frogs and fire. She will demand recount after recount and threaten a zombie apocalypse. She will claim that she’s seen headless corpses in the desert like her former deranged governor Jan Brewer and will threaten to make more of them.

The singing group the Zombies (the name is so appropriate for today’s liars) had a hit in the 1960s that anticipated Lake:

.

Now you’ve been told.

Hey Arizonans: Aren’t you tired of being lied to?

Regardless of the other worldly idiocy that will come from the Supreme Court over Affirmative Action and the majority opinion that will be written by Clarence Thomas (because he’s Black and is pleased to be a tool), Whites are not being discriminated against in our colleges and universities. Thomas’ opinion will be just as stupid as John  Roberts’ opinion that gutted the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Roberts said that discrimination of non-Whites was over and we no longer needed to stop racist voting suppression. North Carolina and several other states immediately expanded their gerrymandering to dis-empower Black voters, did gross purging of voter registrations and closed polling places in poor areas. Thomas’ opinion on affirmative action will be packed with just as many lies and reality denying stupid stuff that similarly hurts people who need protection from White supremacy.

Aren’t you tired of being lied to?

Now this from Common Cause:

Donald Trump’s disinformation machine is already preparing to call to overturn midterm election results in swing states… before most voters have even cast their ballots! [emphasis original]

You read that right – over the past few months, Trump has mobilized extremist attorneys and dark money groups – all towards a desperate attempt to reverse any results he doesn’t like.

I suppose you can call these the “pre-lies” or “there was no penalty for the 2020 election lies, so these are pile-on lies” or “our pants are already on fire, so why not lie?” or “we don’t care if our nose is as long as a telephone wire lies” or “paving the way for more grift lies” or “deflate you to keep you from voting lies.”*

Aren’t you tired of being lied to?

It’s all they have. Republicans, MAGA, alt-right – they don’t have any policies, concern for your welfare, any notion of honoring of values except grubbing for power like pigs at a trough and backroom deals to get them money.

Seriously now, aren’t you tired of being lied to?

Because there’s something you can do to stop the right wing lying attack on America:

VOTE!

Vote for any candidate who opposes the liars. Vote against the insanity. Vote as if our way of life – yours and mine –  is at stake.

Because it is.

Doubt that? Read this.

———————————

* As Sen. Joe McCarthy was defaming a quite innocent young attorney, Army lawyer Joseph Nye Welch intoned, “Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator. You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?”

Of course, the answer to Welch’s question was a firm and resounding “NO!” McCarthy had no sense of decency and neither does Trump, nor does any of his spineless followers, like Kari Lake. Their only interest is more power and more money. But you already knew that.

Note that the Mr. Cohn referred to in the recorded exchange is Roy Cohn, Donald Trump’s father’s hydrophobic lawyer and Trump’s rabid model for his decades of chicanery.

Vladimir Lenin is quoted as saying, “When it comes time to hang the capitalists, they will vie with each other for the rope contract.” It seems that now as then we can be bought for a relative pittance, this at our grave peril.

The cheap lies will kill us just as dead as Lenin’s rope if we let them.

————————————

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 – just 3 days left. Get up! Do something to make things better – VOTE!

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 or neighborhood vibrant.

JA


Copyright 2023 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Hypocrisy Runs Deep


Click me

Did you reach out to help the United Way of Lee County Florida so they can help the people devastated by Hurricane Ian? The fine folks at Fifth Third Bank are stepping up big time, too. Read about it here.

Caution: The font in the report is Lilliputian. Find your BIGGER button before attempting to read it.


Tweeting Republicans

This is adapted from the Buffalo Springfield song For What It’s Worth.

    • Hypocrisy sure strikes deep.
    • Into your life it will creep.
    • Starts when you’re always afraid.
    • Step out of line the man come and tweet you away.
  • .
    • Think it’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound?
    • Everybody knows what’s going down.

Here’s what’s going down – from Mother Jones Daily of October 10:

Referring to Black people as “the people who do the crime.” Yep, that’s straight from a sitting senator’s mouth. Vowing to put Donald Trump in the White House [regardless of the actual vote count] if he wins Nevada’s secretary of state race next month .  .  . Republican nominee Jim Marchant promised to do exactly that. Asserting that abortion decisions belong to “gentlemen” state lawmakers. Step right up, it’s New Hampshire’s Republican candidate for Senate, Don Bolduc.

And here’s what’s going down per The New York Times “The Morning” of October 11:

Doug Mastriano, the Republican nominee for governor of Pennsylvania, attacked the Jewish school that his opponent, Josh Shapiro, attended, alarming Jewish voters.

The Los Angeles City Council president resigned from her leadership post after leaked audio captured her making racist remarks.

These guys and the other 295 Big Lie Republican candidates running for office this year under the LIES R US flag know better, just as the Republican senators knew better when they voted not-guilty in both of Trump’s impeachment trials. Those poor dears were always afraid that the man would come and tweet them away. That would be bad for them, so they asked, “What oath of office?”

Don’t forget all the Republican lawmakers who voted to kill Biden’s bills and who are now hypocritically bragging about bringing home the bacon to their states and districts.

Hypocrisy runs deep – and all it takes is the threat of a tweet.

What About Rural Women?

Republicans love and honor women, they tell us, except when it comes to being in charge of their own bodies. And this story gets worse.

A recent STAT report detailed “maternity care deserts,” a March Of Dimes term, offering some startling information:

39% of all U.S. counties are “maternity care deserts,” defined as “any county without a hospital or birth center offering obstetric care and without any obstetric providers.” And that number is getting worse.

We have “the highest maternal mortality rate among comparable wealthy countries.”

” .  .  . states with strict abortion bans have a higher percentage of residents living in maternity care deserts.”

They go on to say,

“It seems ironic that you would both create a system where people were sometimes forced to remain pregnant and forced to give birth, and that in those very same places, there would be a disinvestment in the health care facilities to care for people having babies.”

Let’s see, Republicans want to completely eliminate abortion services regardless of rape, incest or health of the mother, and at the same time leave them with no maternal care. Plus, they’re continuing to try to pull the plug on the Affordable Care Act and leave many of these women unable to afford healthcare even if they were able to find it.

  • And most of these at-risk, under-served women are in
  • rural  red states.

So, the answer from Republicans to the question, “What about rural women?” is, “We Republicans don’t care about you at all.”

Hypocrisy runs deep.

Hypocrisy Becomes Scum

You hear the lies, distortions and grievances all the time, but righties have found a new way to bamboozle voters.

The pic to the right is of the North Cook (as in: Cook County IL) News. It is an 8-page rag that has shown up uninvited in my mailbox for a couple of weeks. Despite its appearance, it is not a newspaper and it is not news. It is far right propaganda disguised as journalism.

Here are the titles of some of the articles:

[Gov.] Pritzker family, Lurie Children’s Hospital promote ‘gender and sex development experiments’ to Illinois public schools

[53rd District State Representative candidate] Vrett says his upport [sic] of law enforcement key distinction from opponent

‘Kink,’ ‘BDSM,’ and ‘trans-friendly’ sex toys for Illinois school children?

Pritzker suffocates free speech (opinion)

This trash comports with MAGA lunacy claiming that Democrats are homicidal perverts and are against law enforcement. In its pimpiness it’s worthy of a Lee Atwater or Roger Stone* scumbag award.

Hypocrisy runs deep.

But It Isn’t Universal

Have a look at Rep. Adam Kinzinger’s (R-IL) “2022 Defenders of Democracy.” The people on his list are singled out and endorsed, not because of party or policy notions, but because they, “put country over party and will uphold their oaths to defend democracy — no matter what.”

There are others like them. Seek them out, support their candidacies and vote for them.

Hypocrisy Smack Down

From Heather Cox Richardson’s Letters From An American, October 12, 2022, responding to MAGA claims that the Alex Jones defamation case was about free speech and political persecution:

” .  .  .  the First Amendment to the Constitution protects us only from the government silencing us. It does not stop legal responsibility for damage our words cause, for which Jones has been found liable. A jury—not the government—has assigned the $965 million award to those whose lives Jones harmed.”

Hooray for truth, justice and the American way!

Finally

I’ve said many times that I’m an Eisenhower Republican. Here’s why (pic courtesy of JN).

Note that this doesn’t mention Ike leading us to invest in our infrastructure, like building the Interstate Highway System. I like that stuff – so do you – but today’s Republican blabbers don’t.

My, how conservatism has changed!

——————————–

* From Robert Reich in a fund raiser email for MoveOn.Org October 16, 2022:

Last week, new video was leaked of Roger Stone in the weeks leading up to the 2020 election encouraging Donald Trump to declare victory no matter the results. He ended his speech by saying, “F*ck the voting. Let’s get right to the violence.” ª

Last month, Donald Trump threatened that there will be a revolt, “the likes of which perhaps we’ve never seen,” if he is indicted. º

Weeks before that, Senator Lindsey Graham made clear that there “will be riots in the streets,” if Trump is held accountable for stealing our country’s secrets. ¨

And all of these statements come on the heels of Republicans declaring, “When does the shooting start?” “Summertime was made for killing fields.” “We’re at war!” in the aftermath of the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago. ˜,*

Sources:

ª “‘Let’s get right to the violence:’ New documentary film footage shows Roger Stone pre-Election Day,” CNN, September 27, 2022
https://act.moveon.org/go/168969?t=8&akid=335815%2E56840332%2Evm4I3n

º “Trump warns of ‘big problems’ if indicted, says he’d still run for office,” The Washington Post, September 15, 2022
https://act.moveon.org/go/168028?t=10&akid=335815%2E56840332%2Evm4I3n

¨ “Graham Predicts ‘Riots in the Streets’ if Trump Is Prosecuted,” The New York Times, August 29, 2022
https://act.moveon.org/go/168029?t=12&akid=335815%2E56840332%2Evm4I3n

 ˜,* “The House G.O.P. is rallying around Trump after the F.B.I. search.” The New York Times, August 9, 2022
https://act.moveon.org/go/165489?t=14&akid=335815%2E56840332%2Evm4I3n

————————————

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 2023 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

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 2023 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 2023 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 2023 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 2023 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

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