Money in politics

Fixing It – and Another Thing


Fixing It

It’s likely going to take a new Supreme Court that isn’t beholden to extremist ideology and bad influencers to fix our corrupt Congress and state legislatures who refuse the will of We The People, because here is what will be required:

  1. Declare that companies and corporations are not people and do not have the rights of citizens.
  2. clarify that money is property, not speech. It is not protected by the First Amendment. #1 & #2 lead to:
  3. Establish that campaign contributions, whether made directly to candidates or to outside advocate organizations, may be made only by flesh and blood human beings. No company or corporation – no non-human entity – may participate directly or indirectly in electoral politics.
  4. Establish a maximum contribution to any candidate and a total aggregate contribution to all candidates that any individual may make in any election. I.e. fix McCutcheon.
  5. Establish term limits for all elective offices, bureaucracy appointments and for all judges. We have term limits for the president and many governors. I  can’t think of a single good reason not to have limits for all elective offices, appointments and judicial appointments – can you?
  6. Establish a long period following elective or appointed office during which elected and appointed officials are prohibited from lobbying activities on behalf of industries and companies they formerly regulated, adjudicated or affected in an way.
  7. Amend the quaint 18th century, fancifully imagined construct of the Senate as a deliberative body of unusually wise men, two per state. That construct gives added power to rural areas and weakens more populous states, making the Senate unrepresentative. Instead, construct the Senate to be proportional to population in order to represent We The People fairly. Wise people will still be welcome. Here’s an illustration of the why of this.
    1. Wyoming, Montana and the Dakotas all together have 3.3 million people. That’s a third the size of just the Chicagoland population. Give those states 2 senators total, not each.
    2. The same for Vermont, the District of Columbia, Rhode Island and Delaware.
    3. Give California and Texas more senators, because they have 39 and 29 million people, respectively.
  8. Make the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico states.
  9. Eliminate the Electoral College and decide presidential elections solely on the basis of the total popular vote, just as for senators and representatives – really, every other elective office.

Clearly, this needs work by people who will see the intricacies and unintended consequences and who can write precise legislation that will both achieve the desired outcomes and will avoid creating what we do not want. These points are some obvious things that come to mind – surely, there are more. And yes, some of this will require amendments to the Constitution.

To get that new Supreme Court will likely require a super-majority of Democrats in both the House and Senate and a president who is a Democrat, because getting this job will be anathema to Republicans and, to be honest, some Democrats. Plus, this may require packing the Court – four new centrist-to-progressive justices who recognize the primacy of We The People.

And Another Thing

Click the pic to watch the entire speech. Every American should see this.

Matthew McConaughey gave a brilliant and impassioned speech to the White House Press Corps on June 7. He made the tragedy in Uvalde clear for anyone listening, leaving no possibility for anyone to miss the reality of the great human suffering this has caused and will continue to cause for a very long time. And he implored Congress to take action to prevent these tragedies from continuing to happen, like common sense gun regulations that will help to keep firearms out of the hands of those who would do us harm.

When he finished speaking and was leaving the lectern, James Rosen from Newsmax, a far right organization, shouted a question: “Were you grandstanding just now, sir?” McConaughey just left the room, but I’ll answer Rosen for him.

“Thank you, sir, for your question. You have just made it clear to all of America, indeed to the world, why we have such difficulty making progress in dealing with our challenges. You have demonstrated that sensationalism, destructive reporting and self-serving cruelty guide your actions and the actions of so many more. These are the over-loud voices with a megaphone but no sense of responsibility – really, no common sense – who vie for attention by widening our national divide. They are a vicious minority doing harm to our people and to our nation and you’ve shown us that you are one of them.

“Shame on you, sir. You could and should know better, but it’s obvious that you refuse to know. Shame on you.”

Be sure to watch Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) shred Republicans’ deadly intransigence on gun safety. His words are clear, compelling, accurate and beautifully impassioned – and they aren’t enough. If we’re to save our kids – like the Uvalde and Parkland and Sandy Hook and Santa Fe and Columbine kids and more – We The People are going to have to make that happen.

Must Read

Read Sheila Markin’s post of June 13. You already know much of the shameful stuff the Rs are doing, but we seem to be living in a post-shame world. More important are her comments about what Dems need to do. Go to a rally or town hall and tell your rep and senators to stop the nice-nice and call things what they are. Tell them that they get points – and votes – for brutal honesty.

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

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.

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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.

Murderers Welcome


Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action

Shannon Watts was a communications executive and is the mom of 5 kids. The day after 20 kindergartners and first graders (6- & 7-year-old little kids)* and 6 teachers and staff were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012 she started a FaceBook group. She urged all Americans to do whatever we can to reduce gun violence. Then she founded Moms Demand Action and has dedicated her life to ending gun violence in America.

Why is it necessary for this mom to dedicate her life to preventing school kids from being murdered in their classrooms? Or to stop grandmothers from being gunned down in the supermarket? Why does anyone have to do that?
.

Isn’t it obvious to everybody that, by definition, kids should be safe in school? Isn’t it plain that children being murdered isn’t something any of us should tolerate?

So, how come we tolerate it?

How come Shannon Watts has to dedicate her life to this work?

It is true insanity that we put up with this American carnage. It is mind boggling that we continue to elect legislators who promote the slaughter of our people by refusing to do anything to stop it. It’s like posting a sign at the edge of town like this:

HR8 is a universal background check bill that passed the House 2 years ago. It hasn’t been brought to the floor of the Senate for a vote because

50 Republican senators are dedicated to preventing this potentially life protecting bill from becoming law. They really don’t care that over 90% of We The People want that law passed.

I’m proud of our law enforcement people who respond quickly and decisively when there is danger. But,

Q. Why do we refuse to do the simple things that would reduce the need for police protection?

A. Because half of those who vote on laws to protect us are self-serving money and power grubbers who are beholden to big money interests, not our interests.

The only way we’ll get legislation to keep our kids from being killed by angry and deranged gunmen is to vote out of office those who thwart the will of We The People and for us to vote into office those who will act to protect us.

How many dead kids will it take for us to say NO MORE?
.

From The Onion. Click the pic for their story.

Follow this logic:

Most of those who post the metaphorical welcome signs for murderers are Republicans. If you think of yourself as a Republican and continue to vote Republican, we’ll keep getting what we’re getting – dead kids, dead grandmas and wailing, bereft families. You’re going to have to come face-to-face with the reality that this isn’t the Republican Party you signed up for and you’ll have to vote instead for people who will do what you want them to do.

Do you have what it takes to vote for Democrats who will take action to protect our kids, even when you don’t like some of the Democrats’ other ideas?

Do you?

Because if you don’t have what it takes you’re telling yourself and every kid in your town that you don’t care if they get gunned down while sitting at their desks in school. You’re telling me that my first grade granddaughter might not survive her next active shooter drill. Indeed, if you refuse to vote for the people who will protect our kids and the rest of us, you’re telling us and yourself that you don’t care who gets gunned down, even your own kids.

Brutal, I know. But that is the miserable hand that’s been dealt to us.

Just one more question.

President Biden requested $33 billion of aid for Ukraine to stop Putin’s murder spree. Our Congress said, “Nope. We’re going to make it $40 billion,” and 86 senators voted aye for that bill. Eleven idiots voted against it.

Putin’s army of thugs is bombing schools, maternity hospitals and residential properties where kids live. That means that our $40 billion is going to protect Ukrainian kids from Putin’s murderous insanity. If our legislators insist upon protecting Ukrainian kids, how come they won’t protect American kids in ways that don’t cost even a penny?

Hint: See the Q & A answer above.

I’ll say it again:

The only way we’ll get legislation to keep our kids from being killed by angry and deranged gunmen is to vote out of office those who thwart the will of We The People and for us to vote into office those who will act to protect us.

The carnage will not stop until we decide we love our kids more than we love guns.

Texas Testosterone

“Last year, Abbott signed at least seven new laws to make it easier to obtain guns . . . “ – Prof. Heather Cox Richardson Plus, he cut $21 million from state mental health services.

Here’s a great pic of smiling Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas proudly brandishing a killing machine. He assures us that our problem is mental health, but here’s the deal, this from Irv Leavitt:

“.  .  .  [Gov.] Abbott’s state has a long way to go to fix the heads of its citizens. Depending on whom you ask, Texas is 48th or 49th in the nation on funding [for] mental health.

“Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz suggests one hardened entrance for every school. This is an expensive solution for a state that ranks 41st in public school spending.”

Yeah, but Texas has low taxes, they brag. Lousy services, but low taxes. And lots of murders. Low taxes and 19 half-size coffins to bury. And Abbott is just one disingenuous, politician failing at leadership. We have lots more.

Must Reads of the Week

You. This is Your Fault, by Christina Emba in the WaPo.

And He Did Not Act Alone, by Clara Jeffery.

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* If they hadn’t been murdered, those Sandy Hook kids would be getting their drivers licenses this year. Some would go to prom. But of course, they won’t do either of those things and their moms and dads have to deal with that anguish every day. It didn’t have to be this way.

————————————

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.

This Isn’t The Time


Instructions

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

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Click me to view the Gun Violence Archive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Test

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

Questions

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

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

  4. Story Problem:

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

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

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

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

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

    Q. What are your answers for Victor Blackwell?

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Hint

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

Explainers

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

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

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

Many thanks to MA for this.

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Dunning-Krueger & SmackDown


The Dunning-Krueger Effect

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

It’s called the Dunning-Krueger Effect.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Smack Down

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

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

Well, wait no longer.

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

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

 


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

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

————————————

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

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The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

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.

Elections Have Consequences


April 7, 2022

On Thursday the Senate of The United States voted 53 – 47* to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court. Without Georgia having elected two Democrats to the Senate in 2020 and the country having elected a Democrat to the presidency at the same time, you likely wouldn’t even know Judge Jackson’s name. But you know it now.

Caroline Randall Williams, Writer-in-Residence at Vanderbilt University, said of Jackson’s confirmation that once again a Black woman had, “dragged democracy back into the light.” It’s good to hear from the poets in order to put things into proper perspective.

We’ve taken another small step toward a more perfect union.

Elections have consequences.

————————————

It was early 2000 and Governor Jeb Bush of Florida and his Secretary of State, Katherine Harris, had completed the enormous job of removing tens of thousands of Black people from the voting rolls. POOF! Voting rights were evaporated from people – citizens – to whom the right to vote was supposed to be guaranteed.

But these citizens were likely to vote for the Democrat in the upcoming presidential election, so the Republicans put their thumbs on the scale to prevent that from happening. Well done, Jeb, and a really in-the-family thing to do for your big, doofus brother. But even with Jeb’s cheating, the election was a nail biter and a recount was ordered.

With the recount proceeding and the vote count close but slightly in his favor, George W. Bush brought suit to stop the recounting of votes. The case went to the Supreme Court (Bush v. Gore) where Republican Chief Justice William Rehnquist presided and the Court declared that the vote recount must stop.

Instantly, that disenfranchised about 20,000 voters in the panhandle of Florida, because their votes had not yet been recounted. That’s a lot of voter disenfranchisement and it did the trick, because that area was slightly more Democratic than Republican. The state’s electoral college votes went to Bush and he became President. Later, full counts of the vote would show that Gore actually won by over 300 votes. Too bad for him and too bad for the nation. Here’s why.

Not long after that election I was having breakfast with a CEO I coached. The restaurant owner unexpectedly turned on the radio so that all could hear the breaking news of the disaster that came to be called “9/11.” Once we realized what was happening my friend said, “Good thing Bush won. Can you imagine what it would be like if Gore were President now?”

Actually, I could, but that’s for later.

Bush lied us into a war in Iraq, having preposterously told us that secular Saddam Hussein was in cahoots with radical Islamist Osama bin Laden. He made up the “yellow cake” and “aluminum tubes” lies and had his National Security Advisor, Condoleeza Rice, terrify the nation, warning us repeatedly that the the smoking gun could be a mushroom cloud.

So, we went off to war against a nation that had not harmed us in any way. Bush told us that the Iraqis would receive our military as liberators from the evil Saddam Hussein and would greet them with flowers. That didn’t happen. And he told us that the war would be paid for with Iraqi oil. But the Iraqi oil belonged to the Iraqis, not the U.S., so it wasn’t ours to take as payment for invading. Anyway, the oil money plunder didn’t happen, either.

And, of course, Bush sent our people after Osama bin Laden. They had him cornered in the caves at Tora Bora in Afghanistan and needed additional military muscle to seize him. Bush refused and instead invaded the entire country.

His lies and ineptitude led us into 20 years of war there and seven years of war in Iraq. Over 6,700 Americans were killed, about three times that many were injured and an uncountable number of Iraqis and Afghanis were either dead, wounded or displaced. He squandered trillions of dollars and managed to destabilize the entire region.

Click the pic to see more. BUT: See Note 5 below.

Bush led Republicans on a new testosterone march, where “supporting our troops” meant no critical thinking was allowed about what we did as a nation. Any challenge to his divine word was unpatriotic, we were led to believe, because “You’re either with us or you’re against us.”

At the same time the NRA was glorifying weapons of war and much of the nation began to equate violence, bravado and bullying with patriotism. Indeed, in Ryan Busse’s frightening book Gunfight, My Battle Against the Industry that Radicalized America, he writes,

“By the time Bush left office, the US public bought nearly seven thousand AR-15s every single day [italics original]. The country embraced even larger numbers of the guns as symbols of freedom, symptoms of fear, and statements of patriotism.”

Elections have consequences.

So, yes, I can imagine what it would have been like if Gore had won. He wouldn’t have lied us into those two catastrophic wars, the region might be stable today, there would be a buffer on Iran’s western border and a bunch of people who died would still be alive.

Maybe we wouldn’t have enthusiastically embraced bullying as a main tool of our politics and even our interpersonal relationships. Maybe AR-15s and other weapons of war wouldn’t be so popular and we wouldn’t have far more guns in this country than people.

To be fair, had Gore been president we still would have our pathological daily mass shootings, assault rifles likely would still be the dream of couch commanders and testosterone junkies. The NRA and right wing extremists would still be blaming lefties for every problem in America and they would seek to divide us using their us-versus-them hate speech. But we might have some common sense restrictions on guns and gun ownership. And justice would have found Osama bin Laden in a Tora Bora cave about 10 years earlier.

Elections have consequences.

Next came an intelligent, even-tempered Black President who offered a welcome groundedness. He was obviously guilty of the felony of being President While Black and that lit the racist torches and brought us constant insane propaganda and power grabs. Opposing and making Barack Obama a one-term President became the Republicans’ “job number one” and they completely abandoned their job of dealing with America’s vexing challenges.

And, of course, there was the nonstop blizzard of lies, even about Obama’s birth. The lying was so common that it became a repugnant snowball of hatred rolling downhill. It grew and launched an unstoppable avalanche of cruel fictions and propaganda.

Elections have consequences.

40% of the public loved the lies and cruel fictions and the self-righteous power rush of hatred that brought them. And that brought us Trump.

When he announced his candidacy he let us know immediately what he was about by declaring that Mexicans are rapists and murderers and later told us that he could grab women .  .  . anywhere. You know the rest of the mental derangement, but his Russia-fueled election brought us a dismantling of our societal and constitutional norms that had been honed over the centuries, as well as his incitement to hatred.

What is most striking is the spinelessness of the people who could have prevented his worst. All it would have taken was for Republicans to speak out and act with integrity.

From Busse’s book, quoting a highly respected firearms editor at Field and Stream Magazine,

“A United States in which someone can be ruined for voicing an unpopular opinion is a dangerous place.” p. 195

Again quoting Busse, now writing about a revered writer on hunting and guns who spoke out against assault rifles:

“They’re crucifying the guy, and none of us [industry people] dare say anything, or we’ll end up like him!” p. 195

That’s what myopic self-interest looks like and our spineless Republican politicians know it well.

Opposing Trump might, indeed, be an unpopular thing to do in Red State America and doing so has proven disastrous for more than a few traditional Republican congressional careers. But what if all the Republicans had stood as one and opposed Trump’s hatred for others and for our Constitution? Perhaps Trump could have been contained.

The engine section of a Russian missile from Vladimir Putin. It exploded at the Kramatorsk train station, killing 50 and wounding over 100 Ukrainian women, children and old people on April 8. The hand-painted Russian words on it translate to “For the children.”

But they didn’t and he still isn’t. And that’s a key outcome of the 2016 election. It had huge consequences, to the point that our democracy itself is now at risk.

Self-styled American faux-patriots with big mouths and even bigger egos are siding with Vladimir Putin, as he rampages through Ukraine, intentionally killing civilians and committing other war crimes. At the same time, the big mouths are castigating President Biden for doing too much to support Ukraine or too little, anything at all, as long as they are criticizing and belittling the President. There isn’t anything remotely patriotic about siding with Putin or baselessly attacking the President, yet millions listen to these blowhards.

All of that and more are consequences of the Bush stolen election, the racist reactions to the Obama election and Trump’s Russia-fueled election.

Elections have consequences.

They have repercussions that reverberate for decades and can be ruinous if we allow it.

But we don’t have to do that.

We can vote to silence the haters and the demonizers. We can vote to stop the bullying and find ways to actually live with one another peacefully. We can vote so that elections help us move toward that more perfect union envisioned by the Founders. It’s time to vote to move in that direction – while we still can.

Elections have consequences. Choose yours wisely.

———————————–

* Senators Collins, Murkowski and Romney are the Republicans who voted to confirm Jackson. Doing so should not have required courage. All the rest of the Republicans voted against her confirmation. When the count was announced, Democrats and the gallery enthusiastically cheered the Justice-to-be. The 47 rudely stormed out of the Senate chamber. Sadly, that’s America today.

————————————

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.

Symphonietta in the Key of Sarcasm


COVID is OVER!

That’s what they tell us. You know these experts, the screamers at our school board meetings, the politicians sucking up to extremists, the puffed up people crashing maskless into shops having signs on their doors reading, “Masks required,” the temper tantrum idiots at 35,000 feet attacking flight attendants, the fools filing fraudulent lawsuits against our schools and those hundreds of thousands of our unvaccinated with breathing tubes down their throats, yet still in denial. Those people.

They’re sure it’s over. And thank goodness that’s so, because they’re tired of the terrible burden of doing their part. There is no end to their suffering from a little mask.

They really do have challenges with their kids having had to Zoom school or wear a mask all day – that part is real. But these moms and dads are just fine if their kids’ teachers get infected by their unmasked, little Petri dish darlings. At least those moms and dads don’t have the terrible, crushing burdens of both parenthood and citizenship at the same time anymore, because Covid is over. *

On this wonderful end to the pandemic,

No doubt the 31,830 Americans who were diagnosed today will be thrilled to learn that Covid is over. So will the 1,126 people who died from Covid today and all 997,933 who have died since this pandemic began. Oh, wait: they can’t be thrilled to learn that because they’re dead.

Our long Covid sufferers who can’t put together 2 hours of feeling strong will rejoice to discover that their Covid is over.

And, of course, our millions of immunocompromised and high-risk folks can now dance on tippy-toes in the grocery store, because buying a sack of groceries is no longer a death-defying act because Covid can no longer touch them.

And those new variants in Europe and elsewhere, I’m sure there won’t be yet another spike in the graphs when they show up on our doorstep – or in our lungs, right?

Yup, Covid is over. Pass the word.

Best Congressional News!

Our proudly dysfunctional Senate has done something amazing: they passed a bill on just a voice vote to make daylight savings time permanent. It is not currently known how many senators actually knew that a vote was being taken.

So, soon we’ll have no more onerous changing of the clocks twice a year and having to fumble with the one on the microwave. Nosiree, not for us. These courageous senators proudly stood for the right of every patriotic American to live in the Founding Fathers’ vision of freedom from clock setting.

We have only to wait for this bill to zip through the House and then we’ll be free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty we’ll be free at last from the tyranny of setting clocks twice a year.

Similarly, Congress, in a bold bipartisan act, has bravely marched our country forward with the full-throated renaming of some unknown number of post offices. And isn’t that what we really want Congress to tackle – new names for old post offices?

Never mind that the Senate refuses to deal with gun safety issues, even as more blood baths happen almost daily in our way-too-heavily-armed nation. Not gonna do anything about climate change, either, even as it kills thousands of people every year and which may well drown our coastal cities and much of the Florida peninsula and which will make much of the world uninhabitable.

And with this evenly divided Senate that just loves its filibusters and dithering at the edges of loyalty, we don’t have to worry about any social programs being so much as considered, much less passed. Take that, you food stamp takers! You early childhood education freeloaders! You daycare dabblers! You medical cost moaners!

There’s more, of course, but for now just bask in the comfort of knowing that nothing important is getting done, but – good news! – you won’t have to deal with that microwave clock, thanks to our hard working Congress.

—————————–

* “You must never so much as think whether you like it or not, whether it is bearable or not; you must never think of anything except the need, and how to meet it.”

Clara Barton, 1821-1912

Founder of the American Red Cross

————————————

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.

Potpourri-v14.0


What are we handing to the next generation? Attribution unknown

Does It Feel Hot In Here To You?

A short time ago I posted a piece about global warming. In case you are a denier, you need to know a few more things, so, in no particular order,

  1. Any discussion about global warming needs to be grounded in facts. Not fantasies. Not wishes. Not conspiracy theories fed to you by blabbers on a power trip or from any of the mealy-mouthed liars.
  2. Politicians who deny or weasel about global warming (I’m looking at you, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ron DeSantis, Rand Paul and more) are nothing more than short-term thinking, self-serving pocket lint to the fossil fuel industries. What do you suppose it’s like living in Charles Koch’s trouser pocket? Or living life as an asterisk on the balance sheet of Exxon? That’s where our elected deniers live.
  3. Data comes out in a steady drumbeat of messages telling us our time is running out for maintaining this planet as capable of sustaining 7.75 billion human lives.
    1. See the teaser to the right and click through to read the story. What do you suppose this means to the millions of Americans who live there? If you call that area home, how will it work for you to be without water?
    2. There is danger that deniers will say that this report proves that global warming is natural and that mankind has not grossly distorted this into an existential threat. These people are categorized as reality morons. Ignore them because they are incapable of learning. And don’t be one of them.
    3. That worst drought in 12 centuries story is just one example. Think: the increasing frequency and intensity of hurricanes that cause billions of dollars of damage every year to our Gulf Coast; the 200 mile long path of devastation from one tornado – in winter; over 100° F. north of the Arctic Circle; melting of permafrost and the consequential gassing out of methane, an atmosphere warmer 84 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. There are plenty more examples of atmospheric messages of doom that we deny at our own peril. This stuff is happening and it’s getting worse really fast, regardless of any denial of the facts.
  4. My friend David Houle is a futurist and is deeply involved in dealing with global warming issues, so,
    1. Read this to get an idea of what we are facing. It’s about what we must do to anticipate coming disasters, like sea level rise that will make our coastal cities uninhabitable in less that 20 years. Yes, really.
    2. Read this and study the chart – it will make your eyes pop. And pay attention to what has caused that hockey stick graph.
    3. Subscribe to David’s posts and figure out how you’re going to help. We all will saddle up when the question of our very survival is in our faces. The question now is whether we will be as smart as a squirrel. Instead of waiting for disaster to strike, will we take action to limit the threat that we know is coming – like what squirrels do before winter arrives?
  5. Tell your children what you’re doing right now to ensure their future safety and even their survival. They’re already clear about what’s coming and they’re furious over the intransigence of so many who are putting their lives in danger – see the pic top-right above. So, check their reaction when you tell them you’re a denier. And brace yourself, because their reaction won’t be pretty. Perhaps after they’ve explained things to you, you’ll be willing to reconsider. That would be nice.

From the 2012 World Economic Forum in Davos:

“We are using 50 percent more resources than the earth can support. Today we are living as if we had 1 1/2 planets,” Leape said.

“If we continue like this, by 2050 we will need three planets. Our pattern of consumption is unsustainable.”

And things have become worse since then.

Our problem, of course, is that we only have one planet. Do you think we should do something about that math imbalance?

How Come?

There are reasons why some don’t trust the COVID vaccines. And there are reasons why some feel disrespected in general and are ripe for the picking by liars and conspiracy spinners. Read this from STAT:

Perhaps lack of respect has something to do with our severe cultural conflict and why you and Uncle Bob can’t talk with one another any more.

What If We Help Ourselves?

I’ve been wondering for over 20 years why there isn’t a robust and sustained “Buy American” campaign. The truth is that we can’t buy cheap stuff at Walmart and also have our good paying American jobs, because the math of having both just doesn’t work. So, how come that campaign isn’t happening?

We all know that the manufacturing jobs went away a long time ago – millions of them. That brought us those cheap goods. It also shuttered our factories and delivered massive un- and underemployment and disillusionment. It killed factory towns, undermined trust and amped up anger.

In a piece examining a possible post pax-Americana, Bret Stephens of the New York Times wrote,

“Instead of depending on China for low-cost manufacturing and labor, we reinvest in American workers and factories and become independent in everything from energy to microchips.”

Indeed, what if we did that? What if we told the ultra-wealthy and the big corporations that they will re-shore their manufacturing or pay a huge penalty? What if we were to take care of our poor and middle class citizens by enabling them/us to live in dignity and security?

What if we were to Buy American and thereby help Americans?

Winning Elections
I called the Wisconsin Democrats twice offering to volunteer to help by using my writing and public speaking skills. Two staffers took my messages and I never heard from anyone. That’s strange, because Ben Wikler, the head of the organization, is begging for volunteer help. How will they win elections if they ignore offers of help?
.
Perhaps President Biden can set Democrats on a useful course. He can do that by following the advice and direction of David Axelrod. He lays it out clearly in this piece. It has to do with respect, humility and empathy, things Biden is usually pretty good at delivering.
.
Further, here’s my suggested battle plan:
.
PRESIDENT BIDEN AND ALL DEMOCRATS MUST NAME WHAT AMERICANS WANT * AND THEN BLAME REPUBLICANS FOR THEIR NOT HAVING IT.
.
You know – like they’re in a street fight and are throwing their best punches by telling the truth.
.

Plus, somebody should return my phone calls. ***

Just In Case You Want Us To Keep Our Democracy

Lots to be said about this and many books have been written about it in just the past few years, like How Democracies Die, On Tyranny, How Fascism Works and more. It’s critical that we be clear-headed about where the power lies that is undermining our democracy and that we learn how to defeat it. That is the point of David Pepper’s book Laboratories of Autocracy.** Spoiler alert: It’s in the states.

Sheila Markin posted a guest essay from Pepper and I encourage you to read it and then buy and read his book. Learn what we can and must do.

But only in case you want us to keep our democracy.

And read Gail Collins’ Opinion piece, Should We Blame Mitch McConnell or Brad Pitt?

——————————

* Read Thom Hartmann’s post which includes a short list of those things we want but are denied. To the issues he lists you can add gun safety laws, stopping global warming, universal healthcare, clean, lead-free water, cheaper rugs, universal low cost, high speed internet access, debt-free public education, high speed mass transit and more. We don’t want brain-free, simple, non-solutions to complex problems from con artists. We want real solutions from adults.

I’ll say it again: This is not a center-right nation. We the People want those progressive things.

** See Fine Print #5 below.

*** Late addition: I made the same offer of help to Adam Kinzinger’s Country First organization and just heard back from them. Dunno yet where this goes.

————————————

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.

Domestic Terrorism and Your Ancestors


Likely, the first part of the title of this post makes you think of the kid who killed 4 classmates in Michigan’s Oxford High School last week. Maybe you also remember the Las Vegas shooter, the Tree of Life Synagogue and Mother Emanuel AME Church shooters and the murderer in Charlottesville and the insurrectionist murderers at the Capitol Building. You’d be right using that title for all those murderers. But I’m thinking about our terrorist elected officials.

Like the terrorists who made it a felony to give a bottle of water to someone waiting in line to vote. And the ones who made it legal for thugs carrying Glocks and assault rifles to patrol the grounds right outside polling places. What could possibly go wrong there?

And like the terrorist legislators who use minority rule to make second class, powerless citizens of those who likely wouldn’t vote for them.*

And the terrorists in Congress who regularly threaten to shut down the U.S. government whenever a Democrat is in the White House. They’re the same terrorists who threaten to cause our country to default on its debts. They do that every year a Democrat is in the White House, too.

“Hey, world, we just decided we won’t pay you what we owe you. Too bad for you and goodie for those of us who refuse to pay our national credit card bill, ‘cus we just stuck it to the President and our opponents in Congress. That’s how you know that we’re very tough guys. You’re just collateral damage and honestly, we really don’t care what happens to you or our standing among nations, as long as we get our way now.”

There was a time when terrorists putting a gun to the nation’s head to get their way wouldn’t have been tolerated. Back then the idea of claiming that an election was stolen, this in the total absence of any evidence to support the claim, would have earned censure, rebuke and ridicule. Storming the Capitol to stop the peaceful transfer of power wouldn’t even have occurred to anyone. But all of that and more have gone on and much is still going on right now, energized by a constant fire hose of lies. We’ve always had politicians who lie, but there are few if any other examples of a coordinated, extremist attack on reality.

If we’re to deal with this domestic terrorism we’ll have to figure out some things, like:

How is it that ignoring the will of the people is standard and lying to the public every day is both commonplace and smart politics?

How is it that we wring hands and then move on as though nothing has happened every time some whack job guns down kids, shoppers, concert goers and worshipers? Then we refuse to do anything to prevent the next murderer wannabe from getting his hands on a gun.

And how is it that the extremists, the radical terrorists, have manipulated the Supreme Court into a being a mob of partisan hacks that,

– invites huge money into our politics so the rich can buy their legislators (Citizens United). Worse, they exaggerated that harm with an issue unrelated to that case (“legislating from the bench”) that gave full human rights to corporations

– blocks gun safety legislation at every opportunity (Heller) and snuffs countless other attempts to obey the will of We The People – NOTE: a minimum of 80% of us want those gun safety laws.

– is now almost certain to ignore established law, decisions and the precedent of generations (no more stare decisis), leading to mistrust of the rule of law and making Supreme Court justices nothing more than political hacks**

– is now almost certain to tell women that they are not full citizens with the right to make decisions for themselves and that the government will be their daddy for life**

– is now almost certain to stimulate huge growth in the back alley abortion business, leading to otherwise preventable sterilizations, sickness and death – we’ve seen this movie before**

How is it that we tolerate such wanton disregard of decency and responsibility and we abandon the most fundamental rule of democracy, majority rule?

What has happened to us such that we allow all of this to go on?

Those aren’t idle or rhetorical questions. I want your insight on how we came to allow our values to be desecrated, because I surely don’t have answers. Here’s something to stimulate your thinking.

About your ancestors

Imagine for a moment that you could talk to your grandparents or great-grandparents for an hour or two, people of the Greatest Generation and perhaps the generation before them, born in the late 19th or the earliest part of the 20th century. You’d tell them what is happening in today’s America. What do you suppose they’d say? Here’s my guess.

It would take most of that time for them to begin to believe you, because they’d be shocked and horrified. Your report would be of an America that is unimaginable to them. Much of the story you’d have told them would describe some of the very reasons we went to war against countries that did the things we’re doing right now.

That’s how far we’ve strayed.

Look for a clear call to action on Wednesday, December 8.

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* From Prof. Heather Cox Richardson:

“After 19 Republican-dominated states have passed election laws suppressing the vote and gerrymandering districts, a reactionary minority controls them. Although Biden won Wisconsin, for example, the state supreme court today left in place districts that likely will enable Republicans to control 60% of the legislative seats in the state (and 75% of the state’s seats in the U.S. House of Representatives). Ending federal protections for civil rights means handing to these reactionaries power over the majority of us.”

**  From Dan Rather:

“The issue of abortion is one on which fair minded people, honest to their own beliefs and moral codes, can disagree. But today was not about personal choice. It was about the law of the land that will make no exceptions other than those carved out by the states. And if the history of a time before legal abortions is any guide, and there is no reason to suspect otherwise, today will beget many personal tragedies, ruined lives, hardship, and despair.

“What transpired in the marbled halls of the Supreme Court was not genteel, even if it was wrapped in the ceremony and vocabulary of polite legal discourse. It was a traumatic reckoning. First and foremost for the rights of women to have control of their bodies and their lives. And secondly for a nation of laws, where precedent is supposed to matter. Instead, we saw a fixed legal right, enshrined in jurisprudence for half a century, likely shredded by a handful of unelected and unaccountable arbiters of what our nation of more than 300 million souls can and cannot do.”

“There are many subplots to this drama. We can talk about how a majority of the justices on the reactionary side of the ledger were appointed by presidents who lost the popular vote, and what that means for the health of our democracy. We can talk about how many of the justices were less than truthful, or outright lied, in their confirmation hearings when they acted like they would judge an abortion case on precedent and the law instead of having their minds made up. We can talk about the politics of the court and whether Democratic voters slept-walked on the issue for too long.”

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

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Copyright 2022 by Jack Altschuler
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