Money in politics

Ending the Tyrannical Minority


America has always lived with a minority, although we haven’t always been at its whim. The bad news is that it has taken great acts of hypocrisy, reality denial and blatant power grabs to bring us to where we are now, at the whim of a tyrannical minority. The good news is that we can do something to make this a democracy, as in: self-governing majority rule. To make that happen, we’ll have to do something different, because if we don’t, we’ll just get more of the same. Here’s a plan.

Insanity in the Senate
1. Reform the Filibuster

The Founders envisioned the Senate as a “great deliberative body,” which, I suppose, it has been for short periods and from time to time. However, that entire concept became impossible when the filibuster became a phone-in exercise. The Senate immediately became brain dead because majority rule was exterminated. Nothing controversial can get done because the filibuster makes it necessary to have a super-majority (60 votes) to break a filibuster and then to at last vote on something – anything.

The result of that is that the majority of Americans most commonly do not get what we want.

Example: 90% of Americans want universal background checks prior to the sale or transfer of any firearm, as well as a ban on the sale and the ownership of military style assault rifles.

Example: The majority of us favor pro-choice, universal healthcare and no corporate money in our politics.

All of that and far more are things We The People want, but which we don’t get because of an intransigent minority in the Senate with its finger always on the filibuster trigger.

I don’t think we should eliminate the filibuster, because that would inevitably accomplish nothing more than switching from minority tyranny to majority tyranny. Plus, it would enable extremists to cram through Constitution crushing legislation. All we have to do is to make the filibuster more difficult to initiate and more painful to sustain.

2. Make the Senate Proportional to Our Population.

It makes next to no sense for Rhode Island to have the same representation and power in the Senate as does California. The way it is now gives Rhode Islanders about 36 times more power than Californians. If you can find fairness or even a smidgen of sense in that, be sure to spell it out in the Comments section below and teach something to the rest of us.

Otherwise, it’s time to balance senatorial power. Here’s how.

There are roughly 331 million of us and 100 Senate seats. Do the math: we establish the rule of one senator per 3.3 million Americans. In this plan the Dakotas, Montana and Wyoming together will have 1 senator; California will have 13; Florida will have 9; Utah will have 1; Illinois will have 4; Kansas will have 1; Nebraska and Iowa together will have 2; Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont together will have 2. You get the picture.

You’ve seen the electoral map showing that the vast, non-coastal parts of this country are red. Those areas have far more head of livestock than people and entire counties that are home to just a few dozen citizens. The practical effect of that is that they punch way above their weight class in the Senate. Good for them. Not so good for high population states or our country as a whole. Change that to make representation fair to everyone by making Senate representation proportional.

Insanity in the House
1. End Gerrymandering

It’s just a legalized form of cheating. It’s power grabbing that is funded by disenfranchising citizens. It is a way to undermine the Constitution. It is a sleight of hand that permanently impoverishes millions. It is a slimy way to make sure that lots of us aren’t represented in Congress at all.

Former Attorney General Eric Holder has done some remarkable work on this as Chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee. He and the committee have clear, actionable plans to end this monstrously inequitable practice that empowers clever bad guys (the minority) and dis-empowers millions of us (the majority).

2. End Obstructions to Voting.

Yes, I’m talking about the practice of removing citizens from voting roles for idiotic reasons, like because they didn’t vote in the last two elections (Ohio and elsewhere) or because they’re Black and poor (North Carolina, Georgia and Florida) and more. The Constitution doesn’t say a thing about restricting such people from voting. In fact, it doesn’t suggest disenfranchising former felons, either. I’m looking at you, Florida Governor DeSantis.

Insanity in Campaigns and the Supreme Court
1. Reverse the 2010 Citizens United Decision

In an colossal act of larceny, the Supreme Court decided the Citizens United case in 2010 by deciding that inanimate, non-sensate corporations have all the same rights that you have. All of them. It’s larceny because that decision gave corporations and big money individuals way more impact on our elections than you have. That decision effectively stole elective power from you and gave it to big money interests to elect members of Congress who would do their bidding.

And that’s what Congress does. Blame Chief Justice John Roberts for that.

Want to fix that and restore the system intended by the Founders?

  1. Write a law that allows money and money equivalents to be donated to any candidate or political party only by flesh-and-blood, actual human persons. To accomplish that,
  2. Establish by law that money is property, not speech.
  3. Establish by law that inanimate objects like corporations do not have all the same rights as human beings. Corporations are not people, Mitt Romney.
  4. Establish by law that corporations cannot do back door political influencing by means of Super PACs and the like.

This will be tricky and the process will be fraught with comically feigned and eagerly performed indignation and impassioned idiocy. Keep in mind, though, that our current system is a perfect machine to ensure sub-optimal results for We The People. It discourages good people from running for office. It ensures the continuing enrichment of already fabulously wealthy people and corporations and the impoverishing of everyone else. It underlines in blazing colors that we don’t care about the intent of the Founders or anything else other than power grabbing.

But we don’t have to be like that.

Clearly, if we want something better, we’ll have to do something better, like,

2. Reverse the 2012 McCutcheon v. FEC Decision

Prior to this case the McCain-Feingold bill limited the amount any individual could contribute to any candidate to $2,600 per-candidate, per-election, or $5,200 for a primary and general election. It also limited the aggregate any individual could contribute to all candidates in any one election to $123,200. Shaun McCutcheon sued to have those limits abolished.

The Supreme Court shot down his hope of eliminating the per-candidate limit, claiming that allowing more financial leverage would be seen as, or effectively would be legalized (gasp!) bribery.

But in a truly contorted and galactically illogical opinion the Court decided that eliminating the aggregate limit somehow didn’t amount to authorizing legalized bribery. The 5-4 “We don’ need no stinking stare decisis” conservatives struck it down, popping the top off the bribery equivalent.

Just image if Mr. McCutcheon were to give $5,200 to every Republican candidate in any one election cycle. Do you suppose that might give him oversized influence in our politics and amount to legalized (gasp!) bribery?

If we are to be a representative democracy, this decision has to be reversed by Congress.

The Point

The playing field must be level if We The People are to be in charge (as in: self-government majority rule). For that to happen we have to remove the unfair, inequitable influences on our politics. What’s above isn’t the complete medicine for what ails us, but it’s a start.

Are you feeling a glow of gratitude, what with Thanksgiving right over the horizon? That’s fine and that’s good, because in this country we still can do something to move us toward a more just nation, that more perfect union.

Wishing you a heartfelt Thanksgiving.

————————————

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.

Truly Nuts


Where the Hell Are You?

No, not you. The Democratic Party.

President Biden addressed the DNC on Monday and named Trump’s unpaid-for tax cuts for rich people a terrible thing. What percentage of voters do you suppose has a clue what “unpaid for” means in terms of how it impacts them or our country?

Where’s the message, “The Republicans are stealing your future, giving it to super rich guys and making everything you buy cost you more right now“?

Where’s, “These guys have fought against everything that could help you afford food, medications, gas for your car – everything”?

Where’s, “These guys have already stolen your reproductive freedom and are promising to steal  more rights and even your vote. Tell them to get the hell out of your way!”?

This really isn’t hard to do.

“Ohio needs an ass kicker not an ass kisser” Tim Ryan, referring to the proximity of Vance’s lips to Trump’s ass.

In the race for the Ohio Senate seat, Tim Ryan is being outspent about four to one by J.D. Vance and the Republican PACs, but Ryan is making this a race that’s within the polling margin of error. Here’s how he’s doing it: He’s beating the snot out of that Trump sucking weasel, Vance, and doing it all factually and accurately.

In contrast, Democratic candidate for governor of Arizona Katie Hobbs is as milquetoast as can be and is getting whomped by telegenic enemy of freedom and democracy, Kari Lake. Lake is a stop-the-steal conspiracy suck up and should be an easy target, but nobody’s shooting political arrows at her.

Other than Tim Ryan, Eric Swalwell, John Fetterman and Val Demings (credit to Evan McMullin in Utah, but he’s an Independent), the Ds don’t seem to have the street fighters it needs to win. Worse, their national party seems to be empty of compelling messages. They always bring an organic banana to an AR-15 fight.

I get solicitations from dozens of Democratic candidates and from the DNC, DSCC and DCCC, all with a hand out. Few of these guys have a compelling message to influence me to contribute or support them in any way. Pretty much all they say is, “We can’t let the other guys win,” or, “I need your help.”

That’s your best shot, Democrats? Really? You can’t deliver a compelling message about why I should support you, and all you offer is self-serving grubbing for money? Isn’t there somebody at headquarters who’s a street fighter? Can’t you ask James Carville to pretty please come help you?

It’s the economy, stupid. It always is. And now it’s about crime, Roe and democracy, too.

Everybody knows that, but not everybody knows that the Republicans have done all they could to make things worse for the people. Hint to DNC: You could tell that to the people!

Back in the John Boehner as Speaker of the House days the Republicans filed lawsuit after lawsuit to get rid of Obamacare, vowing to replace it with their own plan. The problem was that the Republicans didn’t have a plan and they still don’t. All they really intended to do was to get rid of the Affordable Care Act that has helped so many millions of Americans. “We can’t have legislation that actually helps people,” Republicans claimed, although they used different words. Finally, someone told the American people the truth about the Republicans and their healthcare plan.

Alan Grayson, former Democratic congressman from Florida, is the one who outlined the real Republican healthcare plan. He presented their plan on the floor of the House, explaining that there were three provisions to it:

  1. Don’t get sick.
  2. If you get sick,
  3. Die quickly.

That’s it. That’s the Republican plan. It still is. And Grayson beat the snot out of Republicans with that accurate depiction of what they really would do to Americans. Where are the people like Grayson now?

Come to think of it, hey DNC: What’s Alan Grayson up to? You really could use his help. Pick up the damn phone. Call him NOW!

Meanwhile, DNC, wake up to reality. Everything is on the line, including the very existence of the Democratic Party. This is a war for America and you can’t win it by holding up your new iPhone and displaying your Whole Foods discount app.

Here’s a crazy idea: Attack Republicans and their stop-the-steal, voter fraud claims. Challenge them to produce evidence – they can’t. Here’s a simple 3-step appeal to voters.

  1. “How do you like being lied to?”
  2. Maya Angelou instructed us “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” The Republican Big Lie people are showing you every day who and what they are and what you can expect from them.
  3. If you want to stop being lied to, vote for the people who tell you the truth.
Congratulations, Arizona!

In Recognition of Arizona’s Groundbreaking Disdain for both Education and the Constitution

It isn’t often that a trophy can be retired due to complete and unassailable ignorance and deviousness, but the great state of Arizona will have that trophy in it’s display case in the state capitol building forever.

The extremist legislature of the Grand Canyon State has passed a universal school voucher bill that will award $7,000 of taxpayer money for every child whose parents take them out of public school and plunk them into private school, even religious school. Apparently, Arizona don’ need no stinking separation of church and state.

Extremist Governor Doug Ducey is expect to sign the bill into law, thus making Arizona the very first state to officially begin to dismantle its public school system.

You may recall Betsy DeVos, Trump’s head of the Department of Education. She was the director in charge of overseeing and improving our public schools, but – and this is true – she had never so much as come close enough to a public school to touch the floor with the bottom of her Prada shoes. She did, however, champion eliminating public schools and privatizing all education, just as though she knew what she was doing. Regarding the trophy winning bill, one of her former assistants said that Arizona “just took first place” when it comes to school choice.

“School choice” is a happy sounding name for destroying public education, cheating taxpayers and stuffing undeserved money into rich guys’ pockets. Now the formerly traveling Trophy for Education and Constitution Disdain will forever reside in Phoenix.

This is exactly the kind of thing authoritarian Republicans are doing all across the nation. So, you better vote for Democrats. They’re the only sane, Constitutional choices for you and your kids.

“If we continue in this direction, we already know how it turns out: with a corrupt one-party government that favors an elite few and mires the rest of us in a world without recourse to legal equality or economic security.” – Prof. Heeather Cox Richardson.

————————————

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.

Potpourri-v15.0


You’ve Heard Of ALEC

Right:  the American Legislative Exchange Council. What do you suppose they exchange?

Here’s a maddening investigative piece from Atlanta’s NBC-11, The Back Room: Where Georgia Bills Are Made to help you understand. It does a nice job exposing what ALEC and its funding lobbyist buddies are about. Here’s another piece from the Center For Media and Democracy. This stuff goes on in every state and at the national level, all out of sight – out of your sight.

ALEC is the high court of pay-to-play. It’s where bills are written by industrial giants for the benefit of legislators and – guess what? – industrial giants; but not for you. It’s where big business tithes millions to get back billions and where politicians are on the take. It’s where you get sold out.

Now that you’ve had a look, let’s revisit that question about ALEC: What do you suppose they exchange? Right. They exchange money for massive influence and control. Is that okay with you?

A Little Kindness

Herschel Walker with his participation trophy

Poor Herschel Walker has said many times that he’s transparent. For example,

    • – He said he was a member of law enforcement. He even showed a police badge given to him by the sheriff of Johnson County. It was for community support, not for law enforcement.
    • – He said he was in a police shoot out. He wasn’t.
    • – He said that he graduated from the University of Georgia. He never graduated.
    • – There are multiple credible domestic violence claims against him.
    • – And, of course, he is categorically against abortions no matter what, even as the mother of one of his four illegitimate children provided proof that he paid for her to have an abortion.

Herschel is transparent, all right, but it’s only because of fact checkers who show him to be, let’s say, a few slices short of a loaf. Yet, let’s cut him some slack for his over-abundant truth transgressions and his inability to speak any language but Paleolithic Word Salad. He took some vicious hits to the head playing football and there’s no telling how scrambled he is intra-cranially. We don’t know if he’s lying or if he’s so permanently injured that he doesn’t know the truth.

So, instead of sending Herschel to the U.S. Senate, let’s send him to a facility capable of doing brain scans. Forgive him, voter, for he knows not what he says.

But don’t forgive the Machiavellian Republicans supporting and promoting him in order to gain power for themselves. They know what they’re doing and that he’s terribly damaged goods. They know he hasn’t the ability to meet even minimal standards of performance in the Senate. These Republicans don’t care about Herschel Walker, Georgia or the United States of America. All they care about is power for themselves.

So, let’s extend a little kindness and help Herschel to help himself by sending Rafael Warnock back to the Senate.

Important to Remember

William Barr seems to have conveniently discovered a small whiff of integrity by not lying to protect Trump from the January 6 Committee. That was at least a tiny bit refreshing, coming from this guy who wants to make the Commander-in-Chief an Imperial President, a monarch. Barr’s anti-democracy values made him a perfect pick to serve Trump (not the nation) to aid the Great Deceiver in:

    • – ripping migrant children from their parents
    • – distorting the findings (okay, lying about the findings) of Robert Mueller’s investigation in order to manipulate public opinion for the benefit of Trump
    • – allegedly bringing DOJ cases in order to settle Trump’s political scores
    • – hamstringing the prosecutions and the sentencing of Trump’s felonious goons

See note 5 below

The reason for calling out the Imperial Presidency Whisperer is because he and Stephen “Goebbels” Miller and Louis “stop the mail” DeJoy and many more sycophantic, pathological extremists are who we’ll get if today’s Republicans get their hands on power. Spineless, “Gosh, I sure hope I get to be Speaker of the House” Kevin McCarthy has announced that he will appoint election denier, conspiracy lunatic and stalker of Parkland shooting survivors Marjorie Taylor-Green to be number 2 in the House. “This is the democratic emergency that is Donald Trump.” Many thanks to Rep. Jamie Raskin and his book Unthinkable for that descriptor.

Raskin warns us to be “alive to the perils facing democracy,” questioning, ” .  .  .  will the minority Trump party be able to rule through anti-democratic mechanisms like voter suppression and gerrymandering backed up by political violence?”

The answer to that stunning question depends on you and me.

————————————

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.

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.

————————————

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Where The Plan Leads


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back to Trotsky.

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

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

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

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

Must Read of the Week

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

Must Watch of the Week

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

Think: Then Act

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

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

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

Hope

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

————————————

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


Copyright 2023 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.

—————————————-

* 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 2023 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.

————————————

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 2023 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.

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 2023 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
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  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 2023 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.

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* 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.

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Copyright 2023 by Jack Altschuler
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