Patriotism

The Through-Line


Last Sunday’s post dealt with the goal of extremist Republicans: destruction. They want to destroy democracy and replace it with autocracy – fascism. They want to destroy the Constitution and replace it with some tool of absolute power only for themselves. They want to destroy facts and truth and replace them with propaganda and self-serving fictions – “alternative facts” – which, as you know, are lies wearing an enemy uniform.

And they don’t care who gets hurt. That was perfectly captured by Trump’s soon-to-be-indicted lawyer, John Eastman, who, at the rally of insurrection on January 6, 2021, proudly declared, “We’re kicking ass and taking names!” I guess that works happily for the kickers, but not so much for the kick-ees. The bad news is that you are intended by the extremists to be one of the kick-ees.

This post is my promised through-line offering to help to explain this behavior, why the self-righteous extremists would want destruction.

I believe this is driven by a primitive, tribal fear of “others.” It is intentionally exclusionary of those not of “our clan.” It is a defense against anything different, anything that might upset what is familiar and feels safe. It is existential tribal warfare.

We pick up a major thread of this to use as example: our 400-year habit of persecuting Blacks. They are different, as White supremacists will have you know. We have bounced around hating many “others” over the centuries, too, including indigenous people (happily misnamed “Indians”), Asians, Irish, Italians, Jews, Catholics and more – really any group that isn’t Anglo-Saxon Protestant and even some who are. The problem now is that Whites are losing their place as our majority racial group and – gasp! – some of those other people have already secured some rights for themselves. Even women! If this is a zero sum game as so many believe, what’s a frightened White supremacist to do?

My stab at understanding this is aided by the pages of Andy Borowitz’s Profiles in Ignorance (see Fine Print #5 below):

“In 2020, Stuart Stevens, who worked on both of George W. Bush’s presidential campaigns, published It Was All a Lie: How the Republican Party Became Donald Trump. Stevens points out what few Republicans have acknowledged: the views that people find abhorrent in Trump make him not the antithesis of Reagan but his rightful successor. “What happens if you spend decades focused on appealing to whites and treating nonwhite voters with, at best, benign neglect?” Stevens asks.

“You get good at doing what it takes to appeal to white voters. That is the truth that led to what is famously called “the southern strategy.” That is the path that leads you to becoming what the Republican Party now proudly embraces: a white grievance party .  .  . Today, in the age of Donald Trump, the most openly racist president since Andrew Johnson or his hero Andrew Jackson (to the extent a know-nothing narcissist is capable of having a hero), many Republicans who find Trump repulsive or at least consider him abrasive and uncouth hark back to Reagan as the standard compared with whom Trump is woefully inadequate .  .  .

But in the area of race, there is a direct line from the more genteel prejudice of Ronald Reagan to the white nationalism of Donald Trump.”

“As for Reagan’s ‘civility and personal grace,’ as Peter Wehner put it, which Reagan, exactly, was he describing? The one who used racist dog whistles like ‘states’ rights’ and ‘welfare queen’? The one who said, of student protesters, ‘If it takes a bloodbath, let’s get it over with’? The one who wished that California’s hungry would contract botulism? The one who permitted his press secretary to turn AIDS into a joke? The one who called African leaders cannibals and monkeys? The Party of Reagan seems pretty recognizable to me [now].”

The through-line also picks up grievances against government. “Government is the problem,” declared Reagan at all campaign stops and at his first inaugural. It moves that line through Trump’s efforts to undermine all government, leading the way to today’s Republican Rabid Rabies Caucus. They amplify America’s original sin in order to appeal to White voters. They pick at the scabs of both real and imagined grievances, giving people something to use to justify their tribal fear-turned-to-anger-turned-to-hatred.

It didn’t start with Reagan. He was hundreds of years too late to have begun that. What he did do is to pick up the ball that Richard Nixon had carried (his “Southern Strategy”) and run way downfield with it. That was “Saint Ronny,” as the myopic, “O’ for the good old days” folks call him, but there was nothing saintly about him.

Pogo was right

Be clear that this post looks mostly at the issue of race being used to polarize our citizens. The important part is that this and more were used to lead to a violent attempt to end our democracy, commit murders and subjugate our people. Worse, some of our elected officials participated in this attempted coup to destroy our country. Here’s a list of the 147 Congressional dishonorables who violated their oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution. They instead chose to surrender their honor and integrity to a would-be tyrant in order to serve their petty selfishness. And they’re still doing that.

History is full of examples of self-serving dishonorables who stoke fear and hatred in order to seize power for themselves. Our challenge today is that many of our dishonorables are still in positions of power and influence. They stoke amygdala stimulated fear and hatred of “others” – that primitive tribal thing – and seek to crush E Pluribus Unum.

That is the through-line.

I’m not sure that John Lewis was right when he declared powerfully, “We’re better than this.”

But we could be.

Finally, this Great Trampling of Rights is well underway by these tribal terrorists. That’s what all the destruction is about. If a right is to endure, there must be a mechanism to ensure it against these assaults. So, here’s a question for us and for our rights:

What is a right without a remedy?

It seems to me that the remedy is up to us.

  • __________________________
  • 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.

Brutality


Reading time: 91 seconds

I’m thinking about the honoring of Dr. Martin Luther King, jr. earlier this week and doing something of an inventory.

For example, it’s striking – stunning even – to hear Dr. King’s hopes, indictments, demands and predictions in his I Have A Dream speech, as delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall, August 28, 1963 and to realize yet again that his words are timeless. They shouldn’t have to be.

He said, “We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.” That was in 1963, just 18 months before Bull Connor and his Selma Police thugs, along with Alabama State Trooper thugs, brutalized defenseless people doing nothing more than crossing a bridge in order to march to Montgomery, the state capitol, to demand their rights. I’m sure glad that couldn’t happen today.

Except that two weeks ago Keenan Anderson, a 31 year old Black teacher and father was repeatedly tasered by Los Angeles police. They brutalized him, even as he begged for help. Indeed, he was brutalized to death. By police.

To be fair, Anderson had committed the grievous crime of seeking help following a traffic accident while Black. Think: George Floyd treatment; and Breonna Taylor; Ahmad Aubrey; Trayvon Martin; Duante Wright; Philando Castile; Freddie Gray; Eric Garner; Laquan McDonald; and, and, and .  .  . It’s still a death defying act for a Black person to encounter police or a self-appointed White police helper, even if all s/he is doing is seeking help or walking away or walking home with a can of Coke and a package of Skittles. Brutal.

The Rabid Rabies Caucus of the Republican Party, the party of voter suppression and disenfranchisement, is waging a ferocious war on “others” to reestablish White Citizens Councils, jelly bean jars at voting places, Whites-only drinking fountains and minority rule in cities, states and in Congress. They are brutalizing our nation with their White supremacy. So are the Albuquerque thugs who shot up the homes and offices of Democrats.

We are told that there are some moderate Republicans who don’t support the mouth foamers, but they’ve been genetically modified so that they can neither stand tall nor speak. As useless, the primary job of the Republican Speaker of the House has degenerated into being a doormat for the foamers, as they rush us – brutalize us – headlong into Jim Crow v-2.0.

What do you suppose Dr. King would say about these people? Re-read his speech – better yet, listen to it and hear his voice. Then you’ll know what he would say. Do it, because those people are brutal.

Click to watch this Guardian report.

Questions:

    • 1. Do you have a dream today?
    • 2. What will you do to bring it into existence?
      • Hint: Hope is neither a strategy nor an action.
    • 3. Is today’s reality the best we can do?
  • __________________________
  • Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem with the same solution:
  • Fire the bastards!

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


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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

The Mouse in the House*


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click the pic or the essay

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

———————————

  • * “[McCarthy’s] mistake was convincing himself that a party obsessed with dominance would reward submission.”
  • Leopards Eat Kevin McCarthy’s Face
  • by Michelle Goldberg,
  • New York Times, January 4, 2023
  • ————————————
  • Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem with the same solution:
  • Fire the bastards!

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Science Fair Project, An Update, Hanukkah and the Weather


A Saturday post – because you might be busy tomorrow.

Voyager 1 – traveling for over 45 years, now 14.3 million miles from Earth in inter-stellar space, 22 light-hours away, traveling at over 36,000 mph – and still exploring.

Science Fair Project: The Search For Alien Life
Hypothesis:

There is detectable alien life in the universe.

Procedure:

Observe behavior.

Observation #1

I stumbled upon a short post from October 7, 2010 (edited here for brevity). Read it to observe behavior.

Lemmings and Leaders

It’s a common belief that those cute little lemmings follow one another over a cliff and are dashed on the rocks below to their instant demise. In point of fact, lemmings aren’t particularly smart, but they do have enough innate survival instinct not to follow their pals over a cliff.

Mark Kirk was a congressman (R-IL-10) for 10 years.  He did what he was told to do by Republican leadership, voting for every Republican spending bill. He helped to double the national debt, adding more to it than all previous administrations combined since George Washington, this because Kirk was a good little doobie follower. But we didn’t elect him to be a follower.

When the issue of war, any nation’s gravest question, came before him, Mark Kirk asked not a single question in session. He didn’t offer any skepticism or even appear to raise an eyebrow. He just voted as he was told, in lock step with the rest of the Republicans for Bush’s wrong war, taking us over the metaphorical cliff. He was a suicidal/homicidal follower.

We need our leaders to be bolder than that and, certainly, we need them to be at least as smart as lemmings and not follow anyone over a cliff.

We are beset by leaders who don’t lead, who instead take a cowardly path. Because this is ultimately self-destructive to our nation and is in conflict with our natural drive for self-preservation (Ref: lemmings), this behavior must be caused by some non-native force and is likely the result of alien influence.

Observation #2

The First Amendment reads, “Congress shall make no law .  .  .  abridging the freedom of speech .  .  .”

That has nothing to do with whether any private company, including pre-Musk Twitter, may decide to blank out liars and hate speech.

Also, the First Amendment has nothing to do with Apple deciding to abandon Twitter and instead put their advertising dollars where the company won’t be associated with liars and hate speech. Musk’s whining about freedom of speech is factually empty and is highly indicative of aberrant behavior, possibly from an alien source.

The government won’t stop Musk from his senseless blabbing – that’s prohibited – but millions of exiting employees, users and advertisers may well stop him.

Oddly concurrent with his visionary, marvelous stuff, Musk wants to promote (or at least allow) extremism that harms people. This is solid evidence of a diabolical alien influence.

    • “Elon Musk is a geyser of gibberish, so it’s important not to make too much of anything he says.”
    • – Frank Bruni

With pasted on smirks, Lauren Boebert and Matt Gaetz sat, refusing to honor Ukrainian President Zelinskyy. Could they be aliens?

Hypothesis Proven True

Hypothesis: There is detectable alien life in the universe.

These observations of terrestrial life compromised by extraterrestrial afflictions should be enough to give us pause. We don’t need the new NASA moon program or the SETI Array or listening probes sailing beyond our solar system to establish that there are alien life forms about. They’re unmistakable, as they emit unstable, intelligence-impersonating signals that weaken us. We have Marjorie Taylor Greene, Paul Gosar, Donald Trump, Kevin McCarthy, Kari Lake and so many more proofs of alien life forms right here.

Most of the time they fiddled with their phones (texting one another?). That was after they had crashed security and refused screening. Yeah, they’re probably aliens.

Many alien forms are without skeletal support, spineless and weak. Others amass protection via insulation made of cash. Most babble fantasies constantly. They hide behind our laws and our protections, using our good will to attack and destroy us. They have infiltrated our planet, set us into tribal conflict and polluted our gene pool.

Conclusion

With such a mass of evidence, we are left without doubt of the existence of alien life. Even more significant, they walk among us!

Worst of all, they create deadly conflict among our people, putting us more at risk every day.

Recommendations

The key for us will be to minimize the influence of these aliens and to take steps to eradicate this infestation. We must be smart and clever, as we go about purifying our planet. Otherwise, Earth will become just another rock in the vastness of space that is absent of any intelligent life.

———————————-

An Update

In my December 14 post I listed many of the clinically crazy things far righties do. Among them was,

They project alt-right wrongdoing onto others. Whatever the far right is doing, they accuse the “socialist Democrats” of it, once again without any evidence.

As though to cast a bright light on such behavior, last weekend Trump posted on his Truth Social fantasy grievance platform:

“They say that the Unselect Committee of Democrats, Misfits, and Thugs, without any representation from Republicans in good standing, is getting ready to recommend Criminal Charges to the highly partisan, political, and Corrupt ‘Justice’ Department for the ‘PEACEFULLY & PATRIOTICLY’ speech I made on January 6th. This and my actions were mild & loving, especially when compared to Democrats wild spewing of HATE.” [Copied and pasted in full from Trump’s post. All emphasis, incorrect grammar, punctuation and spelling are his except the bold – that’s mine. JA]

It’s the “Democrats wild spewing of HATE” piece that is the projection. See how that works?

Now that the January 6th Committee report is out, expect continuous vomiting of such stupid stuff. Brace yourself.

Hanukkah

In addition to tomorrow being Christmas, it is also the eighth night of Hanukkah – all candles blazing. It is the celebration of the end of a long and brutal oppression, a victory for freedom and the restoration of justice.

Last week the members of the January 6 Committee gave our country the gift of a vital step in the same direction. They declared their referrals for criminal prosecution to the Department of Justice and referrals to the House for ethics violations.

The journey to freedom and justice is a hard and constant struggle. Light some candles tonight to celebrate our victory.

Weather

You don’t need to be told that it’s nasty, dangerous cold outside, but here’s the real deal.

You and I are inside heated dwellings and we stay comfy – and that’s great. It’s also true that right here on the North Shore we have homeless (“unhoused”) people trying to survive by staying inside a refrigerator box. It isn’t warm there and they most definitely are not comfy. But you and I can do something about that.

Rotary of Northbrook has a “Coat Off Your Back” project to collect and distribute “gently used” winter coats to people who need them. Here’s a link to find drop off points. If you aren’t near Northbrook, just check Rotary or other do-gooder organizations near you. The Rotary effort ends today, so hurry. People are cold.

On behalf of cold people, please pass along this message to family, friends, neighbors – even Trump voters. We’re in this together.

————————————

  • Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem with the same solution:
  • Fire the bastards!

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

The Central Cause


“The central cause of January 6th was one man, former President Donald Trump, who many others followed. None of the events of January 6th would have happened without him.”

So declares the Executive Summary of The United States House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol. Yes, that’s the full name of the Committee and yes, the 161 pages of this Executive Summary, plus over 40 pages of footnotes, are an introduction to the full report. That will be released today and it will be a weight lifting appliance, over 1,000 pages long.

The good news is that this opening report is most readable and is remarkable for its clarity (here’s a link – see for yourself), giving the promise of similar accessibility of the full report. The bad news is the collection of despicable and dangerous people and actions it details, actions that caused the death of five people, injured 140 police officers, were a death threat to all in Congress and to the Vice President, vandalized the citadel of our democracy and nearly ended this brave experiment in self-government.

The Committee is referring the disgraced, twice-impeached former President, Donald J. Trump, to the United States Department of Justice – i.e. recommending indicting and prosecuting him – for:

  1. Obstructing an official proceeding
  2. Conspiring to defraud the United States
  3. Conspiring to make false statements
  4. Inciting insurrection

These charges are well fleshed out in the Executive Summary.

Any non-lawyer can compile a long list of Trump’s illegal actions over the past 6 horrendous years, but the Committee constrained its investigation to solely those related to his actions and those of his co-conspirators attendant to the events of January 6. Of course, these are forehead slappers for anyone who has paid attention and who is not in mindless thrall to this would-be authoritarian. pharaoh, king, monarch, fuhrer, emperor, god – choose your own label.

There are so many outrageous things detailed in this summary. Here’s just one.

John Eastman, Trump’s lawyer who crafted a multi-point, devious plan to subvert the will of the people and the Constitution, told Trump that his plan, if executed by Trump, would violate the law. Trump ignored that inconvenient fact. That surprises nobody.

Neither is anyone surprised by his cruelty toward Mike Pence or his reveling in the riot and its carnage for hours, watching it on TV from the White House dining room. Nor is anyone surprised at his ongoing lies and vitriol and grift.

As I watched the violence unfolding on that awful day I could not stop myself from yelling at the TV, “Where’s the National Guard? Where the hell is the National Guard?” Unsurprisingly, Trump never ordered them to deploy and come to the aid of the besieged Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police. Those officers were bravely trying to do the impossible and were getting severely beaten for their efforts. And they got no help.

There has been talk since the the attack that Trump ordered the DC National Guard to stand down. The preliminary report doesn’t speak to that. Perhaps the full report will.

Gov. Larry Hogan (R-MD) tried to get authorization to send the Maryland National Guard to reinforce those officers. He was refused. Perhaps the full report will speak to that, too. I assure you that the police officers who were there that day can speak to that.

When the committee comes to me for my recommendations to prevent another such episode of destruction I will have a ready answer: Install easily accessible fire hoses at strategic locations around the Capitol Building, including doors and first floor windows. Half a dozen fire hoses spraying the insurrectionists on that cold January day would have kept them out of the building and would have put down the riot.

There has been criticism claiming there were intelligence failures, but intelligence that predicted this attack was reported. Our agencies detected the planning for this attack, but they shared it – get this – with the White House and Secret Service. That’s where that kind of information is supposed to go, but this time the recipients of the information, especially the key recipient of the information, had no interest in taking action to prevent the attack. Indeed, he and they were all guns blazing to incite and expand the attack.

There is far more in this Executive Summary and I urge you to read it. You’ll learn much about so many bad guys and felons. These people are insurrectionists. They are traitors to the oath to which they swore and to our country. They are still in Congress and they walk free. So does Trump.

Outrageous, but fixable.

Meanwhile, great thanks goes to every member of the January 6th Committee for their courage, for their insistence upon finding truth, for speaking truth, for grace and clarity in their presentations, for their even-handedness, for their work to wade through over 1,100 interviews and over 1,000,000 pages of documents and for their uncompromised integrity. How very refreshing that is for all of us and o’ the joy of the beginning of a return to justice! That’s good news.

More Good News

Today is the winter solstice, the day when the sun is in it’s southernmost location in our sky, resulting in our shortest hours of daylight and our longest hours of night. The reason that’s good news is because tomorrow is the day when daylight begins to grow longer by a few seconds per day, accelerating to 2.5 minutes more per day by March 20.

That’s good news, indeed!

Meanwhile, it will be nasty, potentially killing cold in most of the country. It started a couple of days ago in parts of the lower 48 and if it hasn’t visited your door yet, it’s going to soon. Give a warm coat and hat to a homeless person – they don’t have central heating – and practice safe winter.

————————————

  • Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem with the same solution:
  • Fire the bastards!

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Special Tuesday Post – Read This First


The case is from North Carolina, Moore v. Harper, and it is perhaps the most threatening challenge to our freedom and to our way of life in our nation’s entire history. It will be heard in the Supreme Court oin December 7. We better hope that it doesn’t become a day of infamy.

This state bill is a brazen step to undermine the fundamental principle of checks and balances and to destroy election integrity by vesting all election power in state legislators, not We The People. It would prohibit all state court and executive review of legislative tampering with our rights, regardless of how outrageous and democracy crushing a legislature is.

This travesty of a bill would allow state legislators to:

– end early voting and vote-by-mail

– close polling places to make it difficult for opposition voters to vote

– rig voting maps to favor one party and keep them in power forever (gerrymandering)

– bring back Jim Crow voting laws

  • THIS BILL WOULD ALLOW STATE LEGISLATORS TO COMPLETELY IGNORE THE WILL OF THE VOTERS!

This is cheating-by-substitute-electors on steroids. In contrast to Trump’s lying, his  “stop the steal” fraud, these legislatures would actually have the power to steal elections. We know that’s true, because doing so is the entire intent of this heinous bill. It is an effort to make legal what Trump, John Eastman and their cult of thieves tried to do on January 6.

Follow this link to Vox’s description of this seditious North Carolina bill and read about it in Sheila Markin’s explainer.

It’s as clear as can be that this North Carolina perversion is an effort to end elections altogether and to vest all power in the legislators of one party – NOT WE THE PEOPLE. That’s how Russia, China, Hungary, Iran, North Korea and all authoritarian countries operate. If the Court enshrines this nuclear bomb into our democracy, all swing states (predominantly Republican) will pass identical laws and our experiment in self-rule will be over. Dead. Your voice will be silenced permanently.

I wrote “clear as can be,” but it may not be clear enough for six far right Supreme Court Justices, who have their religion and their extremist rationalizations blinding their eyes. Should they decide in favor of the petitioners (the North Carolina state legislators), they will claim their conservative bona fides, but there is nothing conservative about disenfranchising all voters in the state, nor of ending the safety of checks and balances.

What’s really odd and so deeply troubling is that the Supreme Court decided to hear this case at all. It’s so plainly anti-Constitution that they should have refused it immediately.

These justices have proven their immunity to public opinion (see Dobbs or ask that raped, 10-year-old Ohio girl), and I’m not at all clear what we can do to stop this Constitution killing machine, the Supreme Court.

During the Senate confirmation hearings on John Roberts, Neil Gorsuch, Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, they all assured us of their belief in stare decisis – to leave Supreme Court precedent unmolested – and that Roe was settled law.

So-called “moderate” Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) was the deciding vote on the Kavanaugh confirmation and she declared that in a private meeting he had given her his assurance about Roe. She believed him, too, just as the Senate believed all 6 extremist justices.

Where did Collins’ common sense go? How did she allow her BS detector to become inoperative? For that matter, how did senators fail to believe Anita Hill and instead they believed Clarence Thomas and his “high-tech lynching” deception?

Now these extremists are in a position to end our democracy. Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever. There will never be a chance to vote it back. That’s why this is perhaps the most threatening challenge to our freedom and to our way of life in our nation’s entire history.

NOTE: For best clarity about this case you must read Sheila Markin’s post. She has the legal bona fides to analyze what’s at stake and she puts it in plain English for us.

Meanwhile, you can join Common Cause-Ohio’s listening party for the oral arguments in this case at 8:45 – 10:15 AM CST tomorrow, or listen on the Supreme Court web site.

————————————

  • 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.

From the Way-Back Machine


Cliven Bundy is a rancher in Nevada who rented grazing land for his cattle from the Federal Bureau of Land Management. By 2014 he had failed to pay his grazing fees for over two decades and owed over $1 million.

He claimed that his refusal to honor his agreement was because of federal government overreach – he’s a state and local government sort of fellow. In addition, he aligns with “the sovereign citizen movement (which holds that people are answerable only to their particular interpretation of the common law and are not subject to any government statutes or proceedings).” That must be a very self-satisfying worldview.

Following years of invoicing, cajoling and threatening Bundy to get him to pay his bill, all to no effect, people at the BLM had had enough of his deadbeat act and sought to collect up close and personal. That led to Bundy’s armed standoff against state and federal government personnel. Bundy and hundreds of supporters brought their full-chested puffery, their assault rifles and their children to be used as shields. I guess that’s what real men do.

President Obama, a thoughtful man, sought a non-violent solution to the standoff, not wanting a repeat of the debacles at Waco and Ruby Ridge. Government troops backed off and two years later Bundy was arrested by the FBI at the Portland International Airport. He had been on his way to support the standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. That was another middle finger demonstration against the federal government, this one led by Bundy’s son, Aamon. Unfortunately, Bundy’s court adventure for his freeloader fiasco ended in a mistrial and he was not re-tried.

The point of detailing this sad episode of “You can’t tell me what to do” is that there was no accountability for Bundy for his wrongdoing. Other than having to defend himself in court, Bundy paid no price for flaunting our laws. That is arguably a brick in the foundation underpinning the violence, lawlessness and profoundly anti-Constitutional beliefs and actions challenging law and order in this country right now.

For example, given Bundy’s having gotten away with his highly rationalized lawlessness, why wouldn’t Stewart Rhodes, leader of the treasonous Oath Keepers, imagine that he could get away with seditious conspiracy, obstructing an official proceeding and more? His self-certainties about his imagined patriotism were right in line with Bundy’s.

With our national bent for conflict avoidance, we had unintentionally told Rhodes and everyone like him that they could do as they pleased. We gave that same clear message to the thousands who showed up on January 6 to attack and deface our symbol of democracy and to overthrow our government – the government We The People elected.

Our national lack of accountability didn’t start with Bundy. Reagan got away with his Iran-Contra lawbreaking. Ford pardoned Nixon for the entire line up of his crimes against the Constitution. George W. Bush lied us into two wars, where tens of thousands died and he paid no price. Our message of impunity for committing crimes has encouraged wrongdoing for a very long time.

And that is why it’s imperative that the Department of Justice nails every one of the January 6 perps, especially those at the top. It’s critical that we demonstrate that our words and our laws mean something.

We need the insurrectionists, the seditionists, to experience the consequences of their actions. We need them to understand down to their bones and at the price of their freedom that our words and our laws mean something.

So, cheer for DOJ Special Counsel Jack Smith, Fulton County District Attorney Fani T. Willis, New York County District Attorney Alvin Bragg and New York Attorney General Letitia James. We’re counting on them to drive an immovable stake into the sand. The Stewart Rhodes conviction is a really good start.

Time to take a stand, America. Here’s why.

Trump calls for the overthrow – the subversion – of our Constitution. The fantastic thing is that no Republicans are speaking out against this traitorous man.

Just In Time

The case is from North Carolina: Moore v. Harper. It will be heard by the Supreme Court this Wednesday. You can join Common Cause-Ohio’s listening party for oral arguments at 8:45- 10:15 AM CST this Wednesday, December 7, or listen on the Supreme Court web site. Look for a fuller description of what’s at stake – free and fair elections by We The People – in my post this Wednesday morning.

Link Of The Week

‘Tis the season and there really is a war on Christmas. I know you want to be on the right side in this fight, so read John Pavlovitz’s insightful explainer here.

  • ————————————

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.

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.

Bolts


The call and response could go this way:

What do we want?

Certainty!

When do we want it?

Now!

We humans prefer predictability. It makes us feel secure. We aren’t such frightened little bunnies when we know what we can count on today and tomorrow, too. Sadly, we live in a world that simply isn’t all that predictable, due in part to the ever-accelerating rate of change in our world of non-stop breaking news.

America has always had a share of its citizenry who mouthed the words of support for democracy but didn’t really like or support it. That majority rule thing means that sometimes some people don’t get what they want. Some people just can’t handle not getting what they want all the time.

Plus, everything takes so much longer to decide and to do when everything is effectively a function of a committee, which is what democracy implies. Besides, some people don’t like to share and want all the power for themselves. They operate under the assumption that the “others” are too lazy or ignorant or less worthy somehow, so power grabbing by them, the “more equals,” just makes sense to them. And it’s so very self-satisfying.

We tried that anti-democracy thing with King George III at the top of the power pyramid and didn’t like that too much. That led to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, saying that we’d rather do that ruling thing ourselves.

It was intended to include all of us (eventually). But anti-democracy is really attractive to some, especially in the face of change and uncertainty.

Last September 11 the New York Times published an opinion piece by Elizabeth Rush entitled What Antarctica’s Disintegration Asks Of Us. She calls for having a different attitude toward this aspect of climate warming, yet my big takeaway was just one sentence in her piece:

“How do we go on living when the very things we once depended upon have become undependable?”

We are decades past the time when it became clear that we are killing ourselves and our planet on the installment plan, one tank of gas at a time, yet practically nothing has been done to ameliorate the problem. Not long ago there were the Paris Climate Accords and we earthlings have a perfect record. Of the 195 nations pledging specific action to deal with global warming, not even one country has kept its promise and most haven’t done a thing.

The Anasazi cliff dwellers lived for over 1,000 years in what is now southwest Colorado. It was a very dry climate, yet they managed to grow crops and scratch out their existence. It had always worked for them.

Right up until it didn’t.

One day between 1275 and 1300 A.D. they left. They didn’t leave a note about why they were departing or where they were going.

Something had become undependable. Best guess: years of drought forced them to leave in order to find a place where there could be a dependable supply of food and water.

The Anasazi liked dependability and predictability just as much as we do today. But they had an existential problem, so they made a decision and all of them left. Nobody knows how they came to their decision, but if drought was the impetus, what they had to do probably looked fairly obvious. Other times, solutions don’t look as obvious and decisions are difficult and slow to be made.

Now we’re facing a challenge every bit as dire as that of the Anasazi and increasingly as obvious. The Antarctica glacier that Elizabeth Rush and the scientific and journalistic team investigated is melting and has the volume to raise sea levels 10 feet. Say good-bye to all coastal cities on the globe. Nobody knows what other climate changes that much sea level rise could trigger.

The question we are going to have to answer is whether we will allow our democracy to solve this riddle. Doing so will be much slower than by authoritarian dictum. Also, it will likely be better reasoned and actually workable. That’s what happens when extra wisdom is applied.

You’ve watched would-be authoritarians over the past years and even now, as they work tirelessly to undermine democracy in order to grab power for themselves. They want to solve problems by fiat.

As of this writing Kari Lake is continuing to say that she will refuse the election results in the Arizona gubernatorial election if she doesn’t win. That’s the very stuff of authoritarianism. Would you trust Kari Lake or anyone like her to make life and death decisions for you or for our nation?

Now, for a collision of muddled metaphors.
.

We don’t have certainty and we will never have it. The people trying to sell you their authoritarian bucket of bolts are calling it dependability and predictability and saying theirs is the best answer. They are singing a siren song to lure you to crash on the slippery rocks of authoritarianism. They claim theirs is the patriotic way and that all you have to do to secure their promise for yourself, to have the predictability you crave, is to surrender your freedom and your voice.

They will be trying to get you to bite into their poison apple two years from now. If there is any certainty anywhere, some of them will be doing that every two years for the rest of your life. So, always be prepared with your decision.

Otherwise, you’ll be left clutching slimy authoritarian rocks and holding a bucket of worthless bolts.

Covid Update

No, it hasn’t gone away. Here’s an updated chart of daily Covid deaths:

We endured thousands of daily Covid deaths for over two years. Then magical vaccines came along, rationed first to healthcare workers, then to the elderly entrapped in nursing facilities and at last to the general public and there was a drastic reduction in Covid deaths. We still lost over 400 of our fellow citizens every day to this pandemic for a long time. As you can see from the chart, the daily death count began to decline in late October and is now below 300.

The fact remains that over 95% of the people who die from Covid every day are or were vaccine refusers. The same percentage applies to those sick enough to be hospitalized but who don’t die. Meanwhile, you do the math on how very few would die from Covid if vaccine refusal went away.

295 people dead from Covid every day is better than before, but hardly something to celebrate.

Oh, wait – we’ve already moved on and are now paying no attention to Covid at all. There are too many fresh distractions every day in this hyped up, always-breaking-news environment for us to stay focused on any one thing for very long. So, no celebration.

Ukraine Update

Ukrainian troops have recaptured the city of Kherson in the southeast of Ukraine along the Dnipro River where it empties into the Black Sea. Russian troops ran away from the advance of liberating Ukrainian troops and the Ukrainian flag flies in that city once again. It appears we’re coming closer to the day when President Zelenskyy can demand Putin’s surrender, as outlined last March.

Ukrainian flag is raised in Kherson with President Zelenskyy attending – 14 Nov 2022. Click the pic.

————————————

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 v16.0


Very late edition – Dateline: America
.

EXTRA! EXTRA!

EXTRA!

Republican Red Wave Just a Little Splash!

Dems Retain Control of Senate!

Control of House Still Too Close To Call

In a stunning surprise on Saturday night the Senate race in Nevada was called in favor of Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, giving Dems 50 votes plus the vote of the VIce-President in the upper chamber. Control of the Senate will remain with Dems. That will assure that Republicans cannot universally block President Biden, including in the ability to place judges onto federal benches, all the way up to the Supreme Court if such a replacement comes to be needed.

Still to be decided is the 100th seat in the Senate, as the Georgia seat presently held by Rafael Warnock will be contested in a runoff election on December 6 against former football star and Word Salad Party candidate, Herschel Walker. The outcome of that race will not influence control in the Senate.

This happened in a week that began filled with dread and ended with the most powerful of statements. The Republicans had said that they stood for ignoring the will of the majority, lying, stealing, stripping rights from Americans and ending our democracy.

The American people stood up and said, “Not on my watch.”

Reports are coming in that the flag atop the Capitol Building is flying just a bit higher today and one witness noticed a tear of joy in the eye of Lady Liberty in New York Harbor. The Founders are said to be resting undisturbed in the presence of this important news.


Russians and Republicans

From Prof. Heather Cox Richardson on November 7:

Today, Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Russian oligarch and the leader of the private military company the Wagner Group, who is close to Russian president Vladimir Putin, boasted that Russians had interfered in U.S. elections and continue to do so. “We have interfered, we are interfering and we will continue to interfere. Carefully, accurately, surgically and in our own way, as we know how to do.” He added: “During our pinpoint operations, we will remove both kidneys and the liver at once.”

Prigozhin is apparently behind the Russia-based “troll farms” that try to affect U.S. elections. Steven Lee Myers of the New York Times writes that Russians did indeed target the 2022 elections to make right-wing voters angry so they would vote to undermine our own national security interests and also to undermine trust in U.S. elections. Their hope is to erode American support for Ukraine’s struggle to repel the Russian invasion by getting us to elect Republicans who side with – even love – Putin.

Did it occur to you before now that Republicans would side with a Russian dictator in his invasion of a sovereign nation? These guys used to be the commie haters, the Red baiters, the muscular bashers of everything east of Poland. How did they go so far right that they now sound more like fictional ultra-extremist wacko lefties from the 50s that Sen. Joe McCarthy (R-Hades) invented and lied about?

Militia Letter

Thanks go to the Founders for the Second Amendment that guarantees that anyone can have a gun. This is because we still need a militia at the ready and for the original reasons: just in case the Brits invade for a third try to reverse the revolution and to put down an uprising if southern slaves try to rebel yet again.

The Amendment specifically states,

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

It’s recognized not just in common sense but also in the writing of our foundational document that we need a well regulated Militia. So, here’s an open letter to our many tough guys in our many so-called militias.

Guys (plus Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene), you aren’t a Militia unless the state you’re in declares you to be so – in writing. And you have to be under the direction and limitations prescribed by your state government – certainly not as prescribed by yourselves. That’s just how we roll in this country.

Indeed, our Militias are now called the National Guard, like the Michigan National Guard and the Kentucky National Guard. You guys aren’t any state’s National Guard. You get that, right?

You aren’t well regulated, as required by the Second Amendment. In fact, you aren’t regulated at all. Being regulated would require civilian government oversight, regulation and a clear chain of command to the governor, and you don’t have any of that.

In fact, you are a perfect example of what is not patriotic. The New York Times is publishing a series of essays on “The Danger Within,” as in: domestic terrorism. That’s you. The first essay is Political Violence Is Threatening Our Democracy. Click the title and read the post and learn how un-American your actions actually are.

Look, just face the fact that your veneer of freedom loving patriotism has been scratched off. We know who you are and what you do and no amount of self-puffing is going to turn you into what the Second Amendment requires. Intimidating voters and pedestrians with your weapons and black ski masks and camo pants and boots and marching in military columns won’t make you a militia or a patriot. You’re just a bunch of pissed off guys skulking around in the woods pretending to be Rambo.

Doing your pretend Special Forces playacting will make you and keep you an enemy of the state, of the red, white and blue. It will make you a threat to innocent people who have done you no harm, nor have they done harm to anyone else or to our nation. Yours is the very stuff of bullying.

It never occurred to the Founding Fathers that any citizen would take up semi-automatic firearms and threaten our state capitols, our polling places and the Capitol Building itself in DC in an act of insurrection. They couldn’t have envisioned a bunch of huffing and puffing thugs making death threats to grannies counting votes or to any elected official who doesn’t toe your line. You’re an embarrassment to the Constitution you pretend to be protecting and defending.

But you don’t have to be that.

Fellow Kari Lake vote denialists displaying their gullibility and their complete lack of evidence.

You can stand down. You can take meaning from the 2022 election and its repudiation of extremist candidates and extremism itself. You can join the tens of millions of Americans who voted for our rights to be restored and protected, including the right not to be intimidated or harmed by you. If you were to do that, you could be – you just might become – a patriot. Red, white and blue all over.

Come to think of it, here’s a note for the 170 members of Congress who cheered on and were apologists for the January 6 insurrectionists:

Each of you could become a patriot, too. All you’ll need is a spinal implant (so you’ll actually be able to stand for something constitutional and decent) and a brain transplant (you know why).

From the most unlikely source on integrity:

“One of the most indelible lessons of human history is that those who adopt the doctrine that the end justifies the means inevitably find the means become the end.” –  Richard Nixon

Speaking of Integrity

As of this writing it is not clear which party will be in the majority in the House of Representatives and it matters who’s in charge. Here’s why.

If the House comes to be Republican controlled, Republicans will enthusiastically revert to being the Party of No. They have said publicly that they have no policies and no positions other than to accuse and criticize. They propose no solutions to our very real problems. They offer only their intransigence to anything even remotely associated with any Democrat, so they will proudly stymie all progress.

If Republicans are in the majority in the House beginning in January, set your expectations to literally nothing getting done for the next two years. Then expect Republicans to criticize the President and all Democrats for nothing having gotten better.

Integrity. It’s just so confusing for some people.

Just Sayin’

I’ve had this perverse notion that all Democrats who lost an election for any office this cycle should band together in a Stop the Steal Movement. They’ll claim there was massive voter fraud and declare themselves the winners of their elections. Each will file a lawsuit against their Republican opponent and their election officials. They’ll demand a recount, an apology from the law-flouting vote counters and a mea culpa from the phony Republican winners, along with a nice box of chocolates and a hand written note of contrition.

One more thing. We’ll send a nya-nya Hallmark card to Trump for his infantile blaming of Melania for telling him to endorse New Jersey candidate hoping to be a senator from Pennsylvania, Mehmet Oz. What a weenie!

Just sayin’.

PS

I closed my Twitter accounts, as promised. What message have you sent to extremist promoting Elon Musk?

————————————

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.

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JA


Copyright 2023 by Jack Altschuler
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