Patriotism

Smart, Educated, Experienced and Skilled


POST 1058


Sheila Markin posted a fine explainer and updater of what has happened to Trump’s lawyers. Her piece caused a sociological question to bubble up to top of mind.

I’ve wondered many times about all those attorneys, every one smart, highly educated, experienced and with considerable skill at their craft. The wonder, of course, is why they allowed themselves to be lured to crash onto the rocks by the siren song of the Orange Siren.

Of course, Trump deserves legal representation, as any dirt ball con man would. He deserves the presumption of innocence, too, even in the face of overwhelming evidence of his guilt. But,

Why would these smart, educated, experienced and skilled people aid and abet Trump in breaking the law?

Why would they associate themselves with Trump’s defamatory statements and invitations to violence?

Why would they file idiotic motions, like an absurd claim of absolute and permanent presidential immunity and why would they in good conscience attempt an inversion of the Presidential Records Act?

Why would they risk their law licenses aiding or defending illegal actions, lying to authorities and saying the most obviously idiotic things?

Why would they do such abhorrent things, knowing that the stink of Trump will be all over them and it won’t wash off for the rest of their professional lives?

Indeed, why would they do anything for Trump, knowing that there is a better than even chance that they won’t get paid for their work?

These Trump lawyers paid a huge price in dollars, work effort, time, hopes and dreams to get JD appended to their names. Then they betrayed their integrity and threw it all away – but for what?.

In her courtroom statement regarding her Georgia RICO plea deal, Trump attorney Jenna Ellis declared with great contrition, “If I knew then what I know now . . .”
.
Really? She didn’t know that Trump would do with her what he does with everyone, including all of his former lawyers? She didn’t know that loyalty with Trump is a one-way street leading only to Trump and that at the first sign of an advantage for himself he would discard her like a used motor oil rag? She hadn’t a clue that she was joining a team that was conspiring to violate the law and the Constitution, working to overthrow the will of the people? It never occurred to her that the infamous Green Bay sweep was nothing less than a traitorous conspiracy, a coup plot?
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I have the same questions for all the rest of the lawyers who schemed to replace electors chosen by the people with phony “alternate electors”; lawyers who cajoled Mike Pence to violate his duty and the Constitution; who demanded pointless vote recounts and filed over 60 evidence-free lawsuits. Eastman, Giuliani, Chesebro, Powell, Habba, Navarro and more – there just doesn’t exist a remote possibility that they didn’t know in advance what they were getting into and, once there, that they didn’t realize that they were violating the law. So please, Jenna Ellis and anyone else with an, “Oh golly, I really didn’t know” claim, just shut up.
.
I think I’m right – that this legion is of lawyers who are are smart, educated, experienced and skilled. And I believe that they are also boundlessly foolish at best and perhaps far worse. That will be confirmed when we find more of them censured, some imprisoned and later, some selling insurance because they’re no longer allowed to practice law.
.

Meanwhile, I suspect that I’m not the only one wondering why these smart, educated, experienced and skilled people would do what they’ve done. And I wonder why some of them are continuing to promote and defend Trump’s dishonesty, when the obvious truth is almost blinding. So please, if you have some insight, even just a flicker of light to shine in this dark cave of the undermining of everything we claim to value and believe in, please share it in the Comments section below to help all of us understand.


Today is a good day to be the light

  • _____________________________
  • 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 ALL 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.
    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.

    Click me

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Something For Nothing


Post 1,053


Late Addition

.
NBC News Hires Former RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel
The GOP political veteran will become an on-air contributor to NBC News and MSNBC.
.

Yes, that Ronna Romney McDaniel. Be sure to click the headline and read the astonishing spin the networks put on this brainless move.

Here’s a piece of what Steve Schmidt said about this yesterday:

Ronna McDaniel is unfit to join any news organization because she is an inveterate liar. She is a chaos agent, who went fully along with Trump’s madness — right through the insurrection and beyond. She didn’t just show indifference towards Trump’s threats of violence, societal mayhem and revenge, she abetted them, aided them and raised money for them. A hard count of the documented lies she told during her tenure at the RNC would number in the tens of thousands.

I’m fine with MSNBC bringing former Republicans and traditional conservatives to their otherwise progressive team, people like Nicolle Wallace, Michael Steele, David Jolly, Joe Scarborough and more. I listen to what these honest Americans have to say because they are intelligent, insightful and worthy of my trust.

I’m very not fine with the total undermining of trust NBC News and MSNBC do by bringing in this Trump toady, this spineless coward. In it’s utter contempt for viewers and disdain for professional journalism, they present us this assassin of truth and reality, this election denier, this enemy of democracy and serial liar.

Can you imagine Rachel Maddow welcoming McDaniel as a guest analyst to her program, calling her a valued colleague? Neither can I.

To MSNBC and NBC News Management:
.

You just lost me.


Something For Nothing

If things are to get better, we’ll have to stop doing what makes things worse and start doing what makes things better. We’ll have to face up to the fact that there’s no such thing as something-for-nothing. We’ll have to invest in ourselves.

Here’s a starter list, in no particular order of importance. For most items there will be no immediate benefit, but we’ll have a beginning for the cultural shift needed to make things better for all of us.

  1. Teach 1 – 2 semesters of civics to every high school student (we used to do that), with a passing grade required for graduation, for entry into higher education and for the check box on job applications. In a few years, maybe a generation, most adults will be able to name the three branches of government and more than one president. We might even return to believing in a peaceful transfer of power.
  2. Teach American history in high school – including the parts that aren’t pretty. Two semesters minimum. Our kids are strong enough to deal with truth. It’s the parents who need an infusion of starch in their spines, the courage to look at reality and accept it. Maybe they should be required to take two semesters of American history, too – including the parts that aren’t pretty.
  3. Universal public service – 2 years minimum following high school graduation. That will throw people in with “others.” Maybe they’ll learn to get along. Plus, they’ll have a personally earned investment in our country.
  4. Enact strict firearms laws. I care far less for the tortured, twisted NRA version of the Second Amendment than I do for keeping people alive. So do you.
  5. Create policies that reward jobs and growth and eliminate policies that reward only narrow enrichment of the few, like supply side economics.
  6. Expel elected officials calling for what’s best for them and instead elect leaders who call for what’s best for our towns, our states and our country, like preparing for the next pandemic and standing up to tyrants. That election job is on all of us.
  7. Reverse all legislation and Supreme Court decisions that give non-sentient beings (e.g. corporations) the right to influence our elections in any way, like Citizens United. Severely limit the amount of money individuals can contribute to candidates. In short, eliminate the influence of big money on our politics so that only the voices of We The People are heard and represented. Mitt Romney was wrong: corporations are not people, my friend.

Add your notion of must-do items in the Comments section below.

The Big Long-Term Item

We have to stop pretending this is an 18th century agrarian society so that we can overhaul education. We continue to shoot ourselves in the foot with our shortsightedness, financing education primarily with property taxes. That works great in affluent areas, where tax collections are robust and provide what is necessary for a fine education for kids. But in poor towns and in poor neighborhoods the kids get a comparatively lousy education, which dramatically limits their lifelong opportunities and cheats all of us of the contributions they might have made.

Think: When you are dying of cancer, how will you feel when you realize that the kid who would have grown up and developed a cure for your disease was instead left half-educated because we refused to fund his/her education? We’ve seen this craziness happening for most of the past century, leaving kids with poor or even destructive options. We don’t have to stay on this self-defeating path.

We can’t pay teachers a poverty wage and refuse necessary educational resources and also give our children the preparation they need to succeed in this century. There is no something-for-nothing.

Our kids need up-to-date text books; secure schools where the roofs don’t leak and the walls and ceilings aren’t mold and mildew breeding grounds. Kids need engaged, motivating teachers and proper nutrition to learn. And they need books in classrooms and on library shelves that are protected from the Nazi book banning/burning censors. If we fail at this we’ll have ignorant kids, clueless citizens and world class failure. Magical thinking won’t fix this.

Do you suppose we have a need for lots of educated people? I know the Chinese believe they do. Every year they graduate five times the number of students from 4-year universities than we do. We won’t be able to compete with them over the long term if things continue that way.

We have to stop acting as if we are both ignorant and dimwitted. We are neither. Rather, we are adherents of magical, wishful thinking or even no thinking – like the comments above about education. Here are some other examples.

  1. We can’t buy cheap consumer goods made in foreign countries and also have our living wage American jobs. Ref: Any town with a Walmart.
  2. We can’t ship our jobs overseas and also have the American Dream.
  3. We can’t allow legislators to undermine our democracy and prevent solutions to our challenges and at the same time keep our values and our way of life.

If we are to continue to be a version of America we believe in, we’re simply going to have to face up to reality.

A while back George Will said that Americans want about 1/3 of a billion dollars more in services from government than we’re willing to pay for. Adjusting for inflation, population growth and a rise in the “I want” factor, that number is probably well into the billions now. If we want better, we’ll have to pay for better.

What? You don’t like this message that there’s no something-for-nothing and we’ll have to pay to get what we want?

Of course you don’t like it! None of us does. That’s the first challenge to overcome.

Oops – I think I just disqualified myself from public office.

Coda to This Post

Kristi Noem, Republican governor of South Dakota, infamous for her dental infomercial (and here) recently, advanced her campaign to be Trump’s running mate with her declaration at CPAC saying:

“There are two kinds of people in this country right now. There are people who love America, and there are those who hate America.”

I am astonished that this airhead has at last said something to which I agree. Not in the way she means it, of course, as her notion of loving America is to renounce everything that is America and make this a Christo-Fascist theocracy. Still, she’s right – there really are two kinds of people in this country. It’s just that she’s the other, the hateful kind.

BTW: Kristi – Nice teeth!


Today is a good day to be the light

  • _____________________________
  • 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 ALL 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.
    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.

    Click me

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

There Are Two Kinds of People


Post 1,051


Comedians say that there are two kinds of people in the world. There are people who laugh and there are people who make people laugh.

I, too, say that there are two kinds of people in the world. There are people who see nuances, shades of gray as well as of color; and there are people who only see black-and-white.

The black-and-white vision people are most fond of absolutes. Something is either good or bad, black or white, up or down and there is only one way to see things – their way. There is something satisfying in such simplicity. It’s the absence of troublesome “yeah-buts” and a lack of discomfort from uncertainty. Plus, there is the ease of never having to expend the energy to understand others. These people haven’t the rods or cones or whatever it is that allows some to see complexities and other possibilities. For these folks, there is no need for others’ conflicting opinions because those opinions are wrong.

We have many people in positions of authority who are black and white absolutists, unable to see anything but their own certainties. We saw that in the in vitro fertilization decision from the Alabama Supreme Court recently. The judges’ decision was supported by absolutist biblical understandings and beliefs. They included biblical quotes and invoked God multiple times in their written opinion. Apparently, they believe that everyone should believe as they do. That’s the law. Just ask them.

The First Amendment begins, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion .  .  .  ” If that prohibition against establishment of religion is the real deal, then that Alabama Supreme Court just violated it with their religious justification for their decision.

The absolutist judge who wrote that opinion effectively mandates, “You have to follow my religion just as I see it.” He is both wrong and dangerous.

He’s a threat to our Constitution, our democracy, our freedoms and what the Revolution was all about. Whatever his personal feelings about in vitro fertilization or religion, none of that belongs in this legal issue.

This is compounded by a U.S. Supreme Court which likely will affirm that decision when a case is brought to it, because they seem to sing, “Gimme that old time religion.” Today’s Supreme Court seems to have difficulty understanding plain language and has made clear that settled law isn’t settled at all. Pay no attention to their having sworn fidelity to stare decisis (leaving settled law alone) in their confirmation hearings. Nothing to see here. Move along.

Which brings us to my favorite West Wing scene. Watch it here. But before watching it decide if you believe that learning stopped several millennia ago. Because if we are limited to what pre-science, largely ignorant people believed and the fanciful stories and rules they made up about their universe in a hopeful but vain effort to explain what they could not understand, you won’t like that clip. Otherwise, go ahead and enjoy a view of human foolishness.

You Need To

Last weekend the New York Times Opinion Today newsletter ran this headline:

Humanitarian aid should be a bipartisan issue. Congress needs to unlock the needed aid funds. There’s no time to lose.
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It was linked to the author’s guest essay on famine.

We all should stand and applaud that, just as Mike Johnson and his fellow smug Republicans should have stood and applauded at the SOTU after Biden said there should be no violence in politics and that we should make sure every kid can read by the time they’re in the third grade. But, of course, they didn’t applaud or stand and the Republicans are proudly resisting aid to starving people.

Gotta hand it to Republicans for their consistency of doing anything and everything to ensure that no Democrat, especially one residing in the White House, is ever allowed to have even the smallest win. It doesn’t matter to Republicans who gets hurt by their intransigence.*

The Republicans cling to their small-mindedness and their lack of care for anyone other than themselves and their monomaniacal lust for power and money. With each mean spirited, foolishly proud event we learn more about their adherence to the Dark Side and these lemmings march ever closer to the cliff. One can hope.

Which brings me to the words above from the Times. The troublesome part is “Congress needs to.” Does that mean that all in Congress have that need? Because if the Times does mean that, I think they should double check their sources. I think rather that we’ve picked up the “need to” phrasing as a weenie, chickening out of what is really meant: “Millions of Suffering People Need Congress to Unlock the Relief Funds.

It’s much like the very popular phrase following a statement of opinion, “Just sayin’.” It’s a way of trying to avoid responsibility for taking a stand. Both phrases – “they need to” and “just sayin'” – chicken out of standing upright and making a clear declaration.

Here’s the thing: We don’t need any of that chickening out in Congress. Indeed, we need straight talk and sticking to what we know is right. Like ensuring that third graders can read.

So, in keeping with the theme, there are two kinds of people in the world: people who can think beyond themselves, who care about others and whose word means something. They say what they mean and they mean what they say. Then there are people who are weenies.

This is my shot across the bow of the USS Weenie. And no, I’m not just sayin’.

See Note #5 below

Today’s Quote

From Cassidy Hutchinson’s book Enough, page 354:

“I had seen how fragile democracy is, and my conscience recognized our duty as citizens to attend to it for its survival.”

There are two kinds of citizens in this country. There are people who believe in the Constitution, democracy and the rule of law. Then there are people who want to tear everything down and cause us to devolve into a brutal, feudal existence ruled by a despotic tyrant. On November 5 we get to vote on which we will be. Choose wisely.

Hint: You can do more than vote like a real American. You can encourage others to do the same. Click here.

__________________________________________

* Read Thom Hartmann’s post, How Come Everything the Republican Party Stands for Involves Other People Dying? The horrible part is that Hartmann is right.


Today is a good day to be the light

  • _____________________________
  • 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 ALL 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.
    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.

    Click me

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Delusion


Post 1,050


Not Looking Too Supreme

Yes, the ballot disqualification decision was unanimous and it may well lead to further disapproval of this ethically challenged court. We don’t know if that unanimity was because every justice dug deeply into their vault of jurisprudence and agreed or because the justices feared a violent public reaction to banning Trump from ballots and office. You know: like it says in the 14th Amendment. That is to say, they chickened out, which is exactly what bullies hope for.

Here’s what CREW, the plaintiff in this 14th Amendment case, said of this decision:

The Court had the opportunity to clear Trump of the finding that he incited insurrection, and the Court chose not to. Instead it simply ruled that states do not have the power to enforce Section 3 of the 14th Amendment unless Congress says they can. [I.e. the Court’s decision was based on a technicality.]

It’s disappointing that the Court failed to bar Trump from the ballot. This was a test for the Court, and it failed to meet the moment.

But in this ruling, there is a win for our democracy: Trump will go down in history as an insurrectionist. [emphasis original]
.

See this for a clear explanation of what this means. Sadly, the Supreme Court effectively erased Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, essentially adding a 28th Amendment. They did it without the formal process required by the Constitution. The notion of doing that should be delusional.

American Terrorists – Constant Delusion

You’ve seen the shaved head militia crazies, AR-15s strapped to their chests, fingers covering triggers, Glocks strapped to their thighs just above their cargo pockets filled with ammo clips. This look is their macho swagger, their tattoos giving messages of death and so-called patriotism. They seig heil their leader, muscles a-popping, brows furled in intensity and they promise death to the elite scum who they say are traitors to the true America.

Sure, it’s a stereotype, maybe a bit immoderate, but you’ve seen these guys in television news coverage invading the Capitol Building on January 6 and in state capitol buildings in Wisconsin and Michigan and just outside polling places (here and here) on missions of voter intimidation, as though that’s their patriotic duty. Sometimes they parade in a forest of Trump flags, American flags and Nazi flags. The mixed symbols clash in a display of confusing bravado, but the testosterone, absolutism and love of violence messages are clear. And while you didn’t see all the automatic weapons they had on January 6 (many were stashed in their hotel rooms in Virginia), these are members of the army of angry people who stormed and desecrated our Capitol Building looking to murder the Vice-President and the Speaker of the House.

These people are itching for a fight and they think they are going to retake control of America (that means control of you) and establish their notion of patriotic purity by means of their might. They have plenty of would-be Rambos standing by and over 400 million guns in their arsenals.

I’m reading an old Tom Clancy novel, Dead or Alive, and it is, of course, a good guys versus bad guys macho tale. One paragraph (p. 115) describes bad guy Islamist terrorists. See if it makes you think of anyone else.

” .  .  .  they thought of themselves as Holy Warriors and sought after their seventy-two virgins but were in fact young people with few prospects, to whom religion was the path to greatness they would otherwise never achieve. It was remarkable that they were too stupid even to see that.”

Strip that description of the seventy-two virgins and replace religion with MAGA and you have our delusional American crusaders. They believe their mission is holy and they can justify it with quotations like a Jeffersonian Tree of Liberty “spilling of blood” phrase and demonization of immigrants bringing their “poisoning blood.” These are the people who will bring Trump’s “bedlam” when things fail to go Trump’s way.

We don’t need any more standoffs, like Cliven Bundy’s chest puffing idiocy. We surely don’t need a Ruby Ridge or a WacoBranch Dividian catastrophe. So, when these guys, these self-styled American crusaders, decide to provoke a confrontation, what are we going to do?

I hope our government people are working scenarios that will result in the security of our nation and that they have a notion of how to accomplish neutralizing these Rambo wannabees with minimal loss of life. But that’s a tough challenge when dealing with people who think their cause is holy and pure and who are willing, some eager, to die for their cause. You know enough history to recognize the delusional pattern.

Now, This Is Delusional So, Bless Her Heart!

Click the pic for the SNL version of Sen. Katie Brttt’s (R-AL) cringe-worthy rebuttal to the SOTU. Start at 2:26 or watch the Biden lead-in first.

Delusional Senator Endorses Violence

Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH) brought his usual cerebral fuzziness to the issue of aid to Ukraine, as reported by PBS:

MUNICH (AP) — A Republican opponent [Vance] of new U.S. funding for Ukraine argued at an international security conference Sunday that the package stuck in Congress wouldn’t “fundamentally change the reality” on the ground and that Russia has an incentive to negotiate peace.

Ukrainians are dying. Their cities are being destroyed by Russian bombs, artillery and rockets. The country is being obliterated. That’s Putin’s stated goal – to erase Ukraine and rebuild it as part of Russia.

What you need to know is that Vance has never served in combat, so he knows nothing about battlefield realities. He has never served in uniform, so he knows nothing about any nation’s military. And he knows nothing about any incentive for Russia to negotiate peace. He is an ignoramus lacking the sense to keep his ignorant mouth shut.

Many thanks to JN for the pic

That package stuck in Congress is designed to bolster Ukraine’s ability to defend itself and to drive the Russian army out of Ukraine. Without that aid, Ukraine will run out of munitions and all will be lost. And Putin has publicly stated that he will then set his sights on the Baltic countries, Romania and eastern Poland. Happily for Putin and the Russians, Trump has invited them to do “Whatever the hell they want.

People are dying as Vance displays his boundless ignorance and cowardly fealty to Trump, who told Vance to oppose military aid for Ukraine. Decide for yourself why Trump would insist on blocking aid to Ukraine and, as a result, provide aid to Putin.

Vance is not just spineless. He is a promoter of Putin’s butchery.

Nickname Rhymes with “Tucker”

Tucker Carlson outdid himself by directly promoting Vladimir Putin and, in consequence, undermining democracy everywhere. He did so in a suck-up interview witnessed by pinheads in Red states and by some already shaky allies. That has earned Carlson a special award.

Many thanks to JN for the pic.

I wonder if MAGA Americans can remember when we were the good guys and the Russian oppressors were the bad guys, especially when they invaded another country and committed war crimes. The righties used to be good at standing up to Russian tyrants. Now they cower before Trump and his despotic pals Orbán, Erdoğan and Putin and they puff their chests as though they are brave.

Congratulations on your award, Comrade Tucker. You’re delusional.


  • Today is a good day to be the light
  • _____________________________
  • 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 ALL 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.
    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.

    Click me

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Hope


Post 1,049


Thomas Paine

248 years ago the slightly known young patriot and freedom zealot Thomas Paine* penned the first pamphlet of The American Crisis, a series of 13 pieces published periodically over 6 years. This first was written as Washington and his army were retreating across the Delaware River and was published in the Philadelphia Journal on December 19, 1776.** That dispirited army then had to endure a dreadful winter, with many freezing or dying of disease at Valley Forge.

Click me

Paine wrote Crisis because we in the Colonies were at a flex point of either knuckling under to a capricious and abusive king with his greatest army and navy in the world, or standing up and saying, “No more!” That decision looked to be anything but certain.

The American crisis was, indeed, most real. Paine sought to reach the masses with his pen, hoping to inform and inspire. He opened his work with words familiar to us even today.

These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.” [caps original]

Of course, Paine was right then – and he’s still right. Today we rebel against no unstable monarch across the sea, yet we are in danger of creating our own home-grown capricious despot, eager to steal our highly revered and celestial FREEDOM.

Here’s how Professor of History Heather Cox Richardson closes her 2023 perspective,  Democracy Awakening – Notes on the State of America:

Click me – and read Note #5 below.

“[Lincoln] called on his neighbors to defend equality before the law and the right of everyone to consent to government under which they live. They must reclaim the history of America so that it would have ‘a new birth of freedom.’

“When Lincoln said those words in 1863, it was not at all clear his vision would prevail. But he had hope because after decades in which they had not noticed what the powerful were doing to destroy democracy, Americans had woken up. They realized that the very nature of America was under attack. They were divided among themselves and at first they didn’t really know how to fight back, but ordinary people quickly came to pitch in however they could, using the tools they had. ‘We rose each fighting, grasping whatever he could first reach – a scythe – a pitchfork – a chopping axe, or a butcher’s cleaver,’ Lincoln recalled. Once awake, they found the strength of their majority.

“In Lincoln’s era, democracy appeared to have won. But the Americans of Lincoln’s time did not root out the hierarchical strand of our history, leaving it there for other rising autocrats in the future to exploit with their rhetoric and the fears of their followers.

“So far, the hopes of our Founders have never been proven fully right. And yet they have not been proven entirely wrong.

“Once again, we are at a time of testing.

“How it comes out rests, as it always has, in our own hands.”

I’m grateful for the optimism in Richardson’s title, Democracy Awakening, and hope beyond reason that her optimism is well founded. But, as many have said, hope is not a strategy. Hope by itself is allowing inertia or others take over direction and, ultimately, inertia concedes the battle. Hope needs action and awakening requires effort. That’s where we find ourselves today.

The current assault on our democracy isn’t a sudden event. It was concocted through decades of scheming and incremental undermining of our institutions and our culture to make it possible to take away our rights and FREEDOM. The schemers learned how to inflame Americans to fight against America with false claims unmoored to facts. Nevertheless, the usurpers didn’t just sit with their hope of conquest. They took action and oddly, in that way, they offer us a message, a road map for stopping them, for holding fast to our values and promoting our true American hopes and dreams.

Our task as patriots is to hear the call, that these are, indeed, the times that try men’s and women’s souls. Ours is not to grab “a scythe – a pitchfork – a chopping axe, or a butcher’s cleaver.” It is to awaken and to stand a post with a voter registration clipboard to register new voters. It is to canvass and make phone calls and send postcards to voters in battleground states, reminding them that their FREEDOM is on the line, that their American dream is at stake, that their children’s future is in peril of collapsing beneath them before they’ve even started. It is to show our people that they and we can win the days to come by standing for the America that Lincoln taught us we are meant to be.

As Richardson makes clear, “How it comes out rests, as it always has, in our own hands.” It’s time for us to put our hands to work, to stand and say to those who would crush our democracy, “No more!” Then we will have put hope to work and we will be worthy of it.

Speaking Of Hope

Photo credit: Al Jazeera

Hey Bibi!

We know that you feel like you can’t make peace in Gaza because there would immediately be an election in the Knesset which will throw you out of office and into court to stand trial. And we know there is validity to wanting to demolish Hamas before it demolishes Israel, as it has promised to do. But you cannot kill an idea.

Really, Bibi, does this little kid look like a threat to you? Or does the bubbe standing behind him? Or any of the people in any of the Al Jezeera photos here?

Shocking truth #1: Regardless of the destruction you rain down on Gaza, Hamas will not surrender. Ever. And they will only release the hostages when they feel they no longer need them. Bombs won’t set the hostages free or protect Israel for more than just a short time.

Shocking truth #2: This is not all about you. You’re not the center of the universe. You’re just a guy bombing helpless people. The world needs you to wake up. Step over to the right side. Call yourself a mensch if it helps you to do so. Regardless, turn off the attacks. You know: like a statesman. Or a mensch.

You liked Ronald Reagan, right? To paraphrase him,

Mr. Netanyahu, tear down your attacks.

______________________________________

* For a glimpse into the world in which Paine wrote his charged missives, read this fine piece on that history by Steve Schmidt.

** The first pamphlet of The American Crisis was, by order of the Commander – Washington – read to his troops at Valley Forge. It provided sufficient inspiration so that shortly thereafter Washington and his little army re-took Trenton.

The final pamphlet of The American Crisis was published on April 19, 1783 on the 8th anniversary of the first shot of the war, the one “heard ’round the world” from Lexington and Concord. I invite you to link through and read Emerson’s short poem out loud. In a surprising and metaphorical way, we today are required to be the embattled farmers standing by that stream.


Today is a good day to be the light

  • _____________________________
  • 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 ALL 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.
    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.

    Click me

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Joe, Ya Gotta Listen To This Guy


Post 1,047


The Message

Joe, here’s former Republican, former Rep. David Jolly (R-FL) on Nicolle Wallace’s program, March 5, Super Tuesday (lightly edited). He has a message for you.

“There’s a healthy suspicion that the Biden camp has been relying on Donald Trump as a [flawed] candidate to do a little bit of the work for them, to help close the gap. And Joe Biden has to do a couple things at the same time.

“He has to defend democracy, whether or not that informs voters’ opinions. I don’t think that informs a lot of voters’ opinions today.

“But then he also has to take the role of a traditional president and candidate to say, ‘This is what I’ve been doing for the country all along.’

“And I think what ties those together is:

“Only in a healthy democracy are your fundamental rights protected.

“Only in a healthy democracy does an economy work for all people and reproductive freedoms are protected.

“Only in a healthy democracy can we give equity to communities that Republicans want to punish.

“And I think part of that is Joe Biden and the Biden administration has to take control of the narratives that they’re losing on. Don’t avoid issues like the economy and the border. Own them and re-frame them.

“It is morning in America again. More people will go to work tomorrow than ever before. Home ownership is at historic highs. The stock market is breaking records. Retirement accounts are at an all time high. Inflation is coming down and real wages are going up. Joe Biden has led a bipartisan border security package and families have better access to healthcare and to education than they have ever had before.

“The threat and danger is Republicans.

‘Instead of rooting against the economy and instead of rooting for chaos at the border, join us and try to fix it and try to move America forward.’

And you saw Joe Biden do that at the border last week. He said to Donald Trump, “Come help me.” And I suspect at the State Of The Union address we will see that again.

“This is a guy who played rope-a-dope on Rick Scott on Medicare last year [and won]. If Republicans think they can just walk into this election making it about the economy and the border, it’s up to Joe Biden to say, “Okay, let’s talk about those issues, because I’ve got something to say on them, too.”

Joe, this sounds a lot like Ronald Reagan’s re-election campaign in 1984. And Reagan won.

Give this to your campaign people, Joe. Tell them to stop moping and find a new attitude – like this from David Jolly. Then distribute this to all your surrogates and make sure We The People hear this message of success and hope over and over.  Start at the SOTU tomorrow.

The Vote And You

This is from Steve Schmidt’s post of March 5:

“The hour of crisis imagined by Alexander Hamilton and James Madison has fully arrived. The simple truth is that a man like Trump could never have risen when the World War II generation was here. They would have been collectively revolted and [would have] discharged him from public life in a manner appropriate for a dime store Mussolini, who can’t speak in coherent sentences, yet somehow captivates his cult with flourishes of inanities and slurred non-sequiturs. He would have been laughed out of the room, but now they are all gone.

“It is up to us. The question at hand is very simple: do you see what is looking back at us through the night from the edge of the woods? It is a malevolence, and it is coming. Thankfully, the generation that recognized it left us monuments and museums to memorialize it so we wouldn’t forget.

“2024 will be a year during which the proverbial hand will be called.

“It will be time for America to show the world our cards. The deficiency of the choice at hand is not what will be remembered. The choice of Trump will be. It will change everything. Forever. Nothing good will come from it. When fascists take power societies get poisoned. It is exactly what will happen to America.”

And THAT, my fellow American, is the reality of what is going on. It is existential. It is why you and I are going to vote and encourage others to vote in November. Check the clock below, counting down our opportunity to keep the dream alive.

And that’s the thing about clocks: They keep on counting down until there is no time left.

And just in case you need more clarity about how dire things have become, read this Times editorial.

I Support Donald Trump

– for incarceration in the Attica Correctional Facility in New York for criminal fraud and election interference

– next for imprisonment in a Georgia State Penitentiary for election interference, racketeering and conspiracy

– then for federal imprisonment for the theft of classified and other government documents, lying to the FBI and for defiance of a subpoena

– then, if he’s still alive, I support him going to another federal prison for his blizzard of crimes surrounding the insurrection

All sentences to run sequentially. He should be eligible for parole by the time he’s 167 years old.


  • Today is a good day to be the light
  • _____________________________
  • 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 ALL 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.
    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.

    Click me

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

What’s Most Important


Post 1,040


The President of the United States has a lot of responsibilities, including that ” . . . he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed . . .” as required by Article II of the Constitution. The to-do list is long and demanding to the point of being inhuman. There is significant long term impact from nearly everything the President does.

He has to manage:

immigration

the economy

safeguarding our democracy

transportation, like rail and air safety and highways

the health and welfare of the American people

Enough. You get the idea.

But which job of the President is most important? The sine qua non. The one for which all others can be made to take a number and stand in line. As critically important as it is, even in this age of grift, fraud, treason, insurrection and more, it isn’t justice. Even as the cost of groceries is frustratingly high, it isn’t the economy. Our immigration system has been universally pilloried for decades, as Congresses have steadfastly refused to do anything to make it better. That has left us with the chaos we see every day. But even fixing that isn’t the most important duty of the President.

The most critical task of the President of the United States is national security. Protecting us from bad guys who would do us harm must take precedence, because if we are at risk of foreign attack, none of the other issues will matter.

The task is never ending. There is no box to check and then say “next.” On December 8, 1941 it was obvious and easy to identify what must be done. Such clarity is exceedingly rare. National security is most often devilishly complicated.

For example, consider the Ukraine war. In 2022 when Putin’s Russia invaded Ukraine in an effort to destroy that country and to make it part of Russia, it wasn’t obvious that we had a dog in that fight. But it quickly became clear that Putin’s genocidal war crimes adventure has consequences that can impact us.

It’s plain to see that this former KGB tough is trying to reconstitute the Soviet Union. That puts our NATO allies at risk and that means that war would be at our doorstep if Putin succeeds in Ukraine and then starts after our NATO friends. He’s already suggested that annexing the Baltic states might be next. Maybe eastern Poland, too.  Article V of the NATO charter would pull us into the conflict and our national security would be immediately compromised. That electric shock up your spine just now is you recognizing how close we may be to World War III. Prof. Heather Cox Richardson has more on this here.

That’s why national security is job one and why it is devilishly complicated. Let’s look at this situation just a bit more.

It’s well established that Putin kills his critics and political opponents, so it’s little surprise that he murdered Alexei Navalny. Putin had him tried and convicted on trumped up charges and sent him to a gulag in the Siberian Arctic and held there in solitary confinement. There was little Navalny could do to Putin from there. so why bother killing him? Here’s my theory.

Putin is an incrementalist. He pushes the envelope, finds that he can get away with something and then pushes some more. Ukraine is a perfect example.

After annexing the eastern section of Ukraine and the Crimea in 2014 he stopped there, waiting for world reaction. All he got were blabbers blabbing. No one came to the rescue of the Ukrainians to push Putin back, so in 2022 he went after the entire country. That’s incrementalism.

He didn’t get away with that recent invasion yet, but he may be in position to do so. Our spineless Republican Trump suck-ups have followed Trump’s demand to prevent Biden from having a win, so they refuse any further funding for Ukraine. These House cowards are leaving the Ukrainian fighters running out of munitions. They just ceded the bombed out city of Avdiivkak to the Russians, giving them a major win and a retreat for the Ukrainian forces.

That kind of battlefield advance made it time for Putin to push the envelope in a different direction, so he had Navalny murdered. Now Navalny is out of his way permanently.

Steve Schmidt wrote of Navalny:

One day, his name will be known in the same breath as Gandhi, Mandela, Churchill, Lafayette and Lincoln around the world. One day, when Russia is free, Alexei Navalny will be exalted. Today, he is simply dead, murdered for demanding that each individual human has a right to live in freedom.

Anne Applebaum wrote in The Atlantic:

Only minutes after his death was announced, I spoke with Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the Belarusian opposition leader. “We are worried for our people too,” she told me. If Putin can kill Navalny with impunity, then dictators elsewhere might feel empowered to kill other brave people.

More incrementalism.

Now the world is howling, including freedom loving Russians, but my guess is that the howling will slowly quiet and Putin will have gotten away with his crime. The envelope will have been permanently expanded.

That devilishly complicated national security task which comes above and before all others becomes not just more difficult, but more likely murderous when our own team is in constant conflict with itself, undermining our efforts and our options. It used to be that our political differences stopped at the water’s edge. We came together as one to protect and defend our country. Now that imperative has been betrayed, over-laid by petty self-interest and the infestation of cowards. Now the MAGA crowd sides with Putin.

We have elections coming up. Many candidates will thump their chests and proclaim what true Americans they are. They will tell you that their opponent is a weenie, soft on immigration, wanting open borders and willing to let our blood be poisoned by “others.” Those alt-right people are enemies of our country because they are spineless cowards, traitors to our Founders and our Constitution and violators of their oath of office, regardless of the holy verbiage they vomit.

Vote for the other candidates. The ones who have demonstrated that they will go to the Congress or their state capitol to fight for America, to honor their oath of office and to demand justice everywhere. Vote for the candidates who believe in this America, not some dreadful replica of the murderous nation led by Vladimir Putin.

That’s what’s most important for us to do.


  • Today is a good day to be the light
  • _____________________________
  • 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 ALL 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.
    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.

    Click me

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Common Sense Is So Uncommon


Post 1,030

___________________________________

It’s been decades of a continuous onslaught of outrages, lies and disinformation, but not just from Trump. It’s also from the toadies, the suck-ups, the cowards, the opportunists, the angry, the power larcenists, the religiously impaired and the intentionally ignorant. They grab megaphones and microphones and aim them straight at our faces and at our democracy.

They’ve told us that the world is flat, that Trump is the new Jesus (or the old one who’s returned to run the Trump hotels), that Covid doesn’t exist, that the Holocaust didn’t happen, that the moon landings were faked and that any election that Trump or any republican lost was stolen. They bray googly-eyed that vaccines don’t work and that they cause autism, sickness and death, and, gasp!, that history books that teach actual history are permanently damaging our children.

The list of inanities is very long and should be embarrassing to everyone. Now they’re telling you that the Constitution doesn’t apply to Trump. That may be comforting to people who are “.  .  .  easy prey of a clever con man, or for normal people unfamiliar with their conscious minds, or for those suffering from a dissociative psychiatric disorder.”* There should be some common sense to inoculate them and us from this crazy.

This madness has been going on for a long time, if you include Trump’s birther idiocy, the Tea Party stupid stuff and Ronald Reagan’s trickle down, voodoo economics lunacy that put your money on the express train to the top 1%. All of it is of a piece with Chico Marx’s character in Duck Soup, saying, “Who ya gonna believe, me or your own eyes?

Millions of Americans refuse to believe their own eyes and instead believe the liars with the megaphones and microphones.

One way to switch from the craziness is to actually enforce the requirements of the Constitution.

You remember that “rule of law” thing, right? It’s the thing that says we all have to obey the law or face the consequences of violating it. But we have to get past the conspiracy zombies and truth murderers to make that work, because the crazies see that laws were broken, but believe that Trump is an suffering victim of the Justice Department and that the rule of law shouldn’t apply to him.

Frightening Fact:

These people walk among us.

That madness why there is so much discussion about attempts to enforce Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. Here it is:

Section 3 Disqualification from Holding Office

No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

No advanced academic degree or legal training is required to understand what that says in plain English, even if you have to read it slowly or more than once. An average 7th grader gets it. It says:

Nobody can be a traitor to his/her oath to our country and then hold office.

That ought to be common sense. It was when Section 3 was written.

Nevertheless, some legal fiction writers today (e.g. Trump’s lawyers and some TV blabbers) are challenging the application of Section 3 to Donald Trump. They’re doing so with fatuous (read: brainless) arguments, like that a president is not an officer of the United States, or that there was no insurrection on January 6, 2021, or that Trump had no part in the insurrection, or that he didn’t give aid and comfort to the insurrectionists.

It’s stupid stuff, we know, but those are some of the arguments Trump’s lawyers have presented to lower courts, some of which endorsed their idiocy, like the Colorado District Court judge who decided the president isn’t an officer of the U.S.

Trump’s lawyers will present that same brain rot to the Supreme Court. The justices will sit with due seriousness listening to the drivel from Trump’s lawyers, giving thoughtful, furrowed-eyebrow consideration to what deserves none of that.

Before that we’ll find out if Clarence Thomas has sufficient integrity to recuse himself from this case that is so obviously connected to his wife, an enthusiastic supporter of the insurrection. Low expectations are recommended.

We will be left to worry whether the extremist justices will once again defy the reality we see with our own eyes and will wantonly ignore common sense.

The six extremist Justices might create some fictitious reason why Section 3 of the 14th Amendment doesn’t apply to the biggest insurrectionist of them all. But we have common sense and we know that it does.

From the abstract of The Sweep and Force of Section Three by William Baude and Michael Stokes Paulsen, published in The University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Vol. 172: **

First, Section Three remains an enforceable part of the Constitution, not limited to the Civil War, and not effectively repealed by nineteenth century amnesty legislation.

Second, Section Three is self-executing, operating as an immediate disqualification from office, without the need for additional action by Congress. It can and should be enforced by every official, state or federal, who judges qualifications.

Third, to the extent of any conflict with prior constitutional rules, Section Three repeals, supersedes, or simply satisfies them. This includes the rules against bills of attainder or ex post facto laws, the Due Process Clause, and even the free speech principles of the First Amendment.

Fourth, Section Three covers a broad range of conduct against the authority of the constitutional order, including many instances of indirect participation or support as “aid or comfort.” It covers a broad range of former offices, including the Presidency. And in particular, it disqualifies former President Donald Trump, and potentially many others, because of their participation in the attempted overthrow of the 2020 presidential election. [edited with paragraph breaks for easier readability]

Once again, there is no need for an advanced academic degree to understand the plain meaning of this explainer. You know what it says. So do the Justices of the Supreme Court. This is common sense stuff.

The scary question for us is whether the Supreme Court Justices have sufficient backbone to refuse pressure from the extremist, power hungry mob and from the Justices’ rich and financially generous friends and influencers. We will learn if common sense is common to them and if it is sufficiently compelling to them to refuse insurrectionists the opportunity for office, as they are so plainly required to do by Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.

  • “This isn’t a crime scene.
  • “It’s a crime in progress.”
  • – Jeff Sharlet

________________________________

* Adapted from Carl Sagan’s The Fine Art of Baloney Detection. This is a great and entertaining essay from a fine wordsmith.

** If you are sufficiently nerdy you can download the full 126-page paper from this link.


  • Today is a good day to be the light
  • _____________________________
  • 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 ALL 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.
    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.

    Click me

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

O. J. and Today


Post 1,029

___________________________________

The verdict came down from the jury at the O.J. Simpson murder trial.

NOT GUILTY

Not only I but most people I knew were incredulous. With all that evidence against him, how could anyone believe he was innocent of that double murder? Yet millions applauded the verdict.

The many comments aired publicly were often polarized by race, which seemed nonsensical. Blacks saw the same evidence that Whites saw. Then at last one Black fellow spelled it out in terms I could understand. This is pretty close to exactly what he said:

“You White people think Black people are stupid. We know he did it. We know he’s guilty. We just wanted to see a Black guy beat the system this once.” *

That’s when I got it.

After being beaten down by “the system” for centuries, beating that system meant more to them than Simpson getting the justice he quite obviously deserved. Sometimes long held feelings of injustice, disrespect and marginalization are what is most powerful.

Which brings us to our current national psychosis. **

MAGA people know that Trump is crooked, a liar, a criminal, un-American, someone they would hate in different circumstances. But over and over he gives a middle finger to “the man,” to so-called elites, to those powerful people who have blown off so many of We The People for longer than any can remember. He flips off whatever is proper and MAGAs cheer.

When he’s caught lying, he repeats his lie and even exaggerates it. That is intoxicating to those who feel wronged. It’s more powerful than any rational analysis of Trump’s obvious guilt and reprehensible behavior. Flicking off “the man” and behaving the way Mom said to never behave brings ultimate satisfaction, an orgasm of vitriol unleashed.

They are so enamored of the flick-off that they are unmoved by Trump telling Iowans following the mass shooting in Perry, IA on January 4 that, “.  .  . [they] just have to get over it.” To be fair, we have to question whether that was worse or not as bad as his calling our fallen military heroes losers and suckers, which MAGAs ignored. Somehow that wasn’t enough to disqualify Trump in the minds of MAGAs who think of themselves as the true red, white and blue.

Neither were his claims of grabbing women by the pu**y or “fine people on both sides” at the racist Charlottesville hate rally in 2017, or any other Trump outrage. Favoring Vladimir Putin over our own intelligence services should have told even MAGA people that they cannot trust Trump with our foreign affairs or our national defense. But, of course, there was that compelling extended middle finger seduction to help them forget Trump’s appeasement of a despot and to have them actually applaud his sucking up to the Russian murderer.

The MAGAs fancy themselves patriots, which makes it curious that they would be incurious about Trump wanting the “termination of the Constitution” and declaring he’ll be a dictator. It’s so very satisfying to scream over and over, “F**K YOU!” or to wallow in the mire of someone else doing the screaming. That makes it easy to abandon any requirement of our leaders to protect and defend. Besides, it’s so old fashioned to insist that they honor their oath. It’s so swampy.

O.J. was clearly and plainly guilty of murder and Trump is clearly and plainly guilty of an uncountable number of felonies and impeachable offenses. O.J. got away with it. We must not let Trump get away with it.

From Steve Sheffey on January 7, 2024:

No matter what your issues are, no matter which side of the political spectrum you’re on, if democracy is not your litmus test, you need to question your instincts for self-preservation.

Speaking of Democracy

Have a look at this Gallup survey chart:

Click me for the full story.

Apparently, we aren’t too happy with the way our democracy is working. There is little wonder about that, as we are tormented by minority rule. Our laws and our Constitution have been bastardized to serve a minority and especially the very rich, this at the expense of the rest of us. And all the while big mouth, would-be usurpers continuously vomit a barrage of lies and propaganda assaulting our democracy and our values.

Maybe we ought to do something to make ourselves satisfied with our democracy.

For reinforcement of what commitment to democracy looks like, read Steve Schmidt’s essay that includes Gen. Mark Milley’s letter of resignation from his post as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It wasn’t delivered, but it remains a piece of clarity about patriotism. The old fashioned kind.

For the Hand Wringers

This from Mother Jones:

A bunch of places—22 states and 43 cities and counties, to be precise—enacted new minimum wage increases [as of January 1], according to a report from the National Employment Law Project. Six of those states—California, Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Washington—now have a minimum wage that reaches or surpasses $15, which has been the goal of the decade-long “Fight for $15” movement. The increases should disproportionately benefit Black, Hispanic, and female workers, who make up more than half of the workers receiving pay bumps, according to an analysis from the Economic Policy Institute.

Another three states and 22 jurisdictions will also raise their minimum wages this year. Twenty of these increases will be to $15 or more for some or all employers; 15 places will reach or exceed $17, according to NELP data.

So, if you know a cynic who loves to bemoan what they imagine is our falling sky, feel free to pass along this win for We The People. And it’s okay to mention Joe Biden, who knows that our minimum wage hasn’t made sense for decades. He’s been a champion for workers and now wages are beginning to be made right. This is a victory for democracy.

__________________________________

* Many thanks to that anonymous fellow who made those days make more sense.

 ** Definition:

psychosis | sīˈ KŌ səs | noun (plural psychoses | sīˈ sēz |)

a severe mental condition in which thought and emotions are so affected that contact is lost with external reality.

– Apple dictionary


  • Today is a good day to be the light
  • _____________________________
  • 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 ALL 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.
    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.

    Click me

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Taking Sides


Post 1,027

___________________________________

Golda Meir, 1964

Golda Meir

As Israeli Prime Minister during the Yom Kippur war and so many other murderous events aimed at killing all Jews and wiping Israel from the globe, Meir said:

“When peace comes we will perhaps in time be able to forgive the Arabs for killing our sons, but it will be harder for us to forgive them for having forced us to kill their sons. Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.”

Golda Meir, A Land of Our Own: An Oral Autobiography

True and sad words, these. There has been progress, of course, but the Iranians, Qataris and Syrians continue to pour money and tools of murder into the hands of angry, violent men who are all too eager to kill and to force others to kill them, and causing the deaths of non-combatants by the thousands.
.
There Is a Corollary To This In America Today
.
It is the verbal and physical violence of right wing extremists who puff themselves up with claims of patriotism, yet are working every day to demolish our Constitution, to end our democracy and to inflict “retribution” (read: murder) on those they see as, not opponents, but enemies.
.
Peace will come when these extremists
love the Constitution and our democracy
more than they hate the rest of us.
.

The top line reads “During the arrests around the capitol attack, police seized .  .  .” From Every Town for Gun Safety – click me

We are facing an existential threat, a constitutional crisis in the form of extremists who are working every day to tear down what we have painstakingly built for our rights and our freedoms over the past 248 years. We taught the world that people can be free, that self-government can work, that it isn’t necessary to make war both within and without. We aren’t perfect at that, which is why we are tasked by our Founders to continually work to create a more perfect union.

But now we are beset by home grown terrorists, liars and cheats, as well as the cowardice of those who know better but knuckle under. They focus only on their own short term welfare, heedless of the harm they are allowing to be done to our people and to our nation. We are plagued by well armed haters acting out their meanness and cruelty, cowards who lash out in physical and verbal violence, whipped up by those who would be our overlords.
.
Because of the brilliance and beauty of our Constitution we are being given one more chance to set ourselves back onto the path carved out of a wilderness of dominance from others. It will take our dedication and our blood, sweat and tears to set things right. Should we fail, it will lead to an enduring night of suffering.
.

Elie Wiesel, recipient of The 1986 Nobel Peace Prize

Elie Wiesel survived Holocaust death camps, then spent the rest of his life in the role of teacher, hoping to help craft a better world and forcing us to remember, lest we forget. Here’s a little of what he had to say about hatred and suffering:

“In any society, fanatics who hate don’t hate only me – they hate you, too. They hate everybody.”
.
Let that sink in. They hate everybody.
.

“We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant.”

Are you seeing it? We must take sides, whether you or I are being persecuted or if it’s someone else. The side we must take is against the tormentors and in aid to the tormented. We must stand for and with those who need our help. And if that isn’t compelling in and of itself, driven solely by our empathy, it will become compelling when we realize that we are next to be tormented.
.
We Must Take Sides

The next 10 months are all the time we have to stand and be counted, to take sides. Every one of us knows the difference between right and wrong, good and evil. Silence favors the wrong and the evil. Therefore, choose right and good. Stand for it and speak for it. Our silence will not do.

It means to talk to your friends and family members. Yes, I know it can be awkward to risk getting crosswise with close ones. And I also know it will be far worse than awkward if we allow our home grown haters and traitors to steal our democracy from us.

It means that we must take the action that our pathetic Congress won’t take.

They use the lives of Ukrainians as pawns for their own political advantage, leaving millions to suffer and die. That isn’t just cruel; it’s self-defeating, because the Ukrainians are fighting to preserve the same freedom that benefits us, too. Link through to Safe Skies and read what Professor Timothy Snyder has to say about how you can help to keep Russian-fired Iranian drones from killing Ukrainian civilians. We shouldn’t have to do this individually, but that’s what our spineless congressional Republicans have left us.

Hurry: People are dying.

Terrible things happen when we fail to take sides. You don’t have to be a Holocaust survivor or a history professor to know that’s true. You just have to see how we’ve normalized violent behavior and have refused to do anything to stop it. We’ve accepted lies and outrageous propaganda and allowed the theft of our majority rule. We’ve even allowed our children’s education to be taken from them and for hatred inspired terrorists to kill our children.

Elie Wiesel knew this lesson far too well and suffered terribly from its reality. His righteous call to us to take sides is to make sure such things don’t happen while we can still do something about it.

We – you and I – have to take a stand. Refusing to do so is effectively the same as standing for the wrong side. It’s tacitly helping the oppressor.

Start the new year right:

Take Sides! *
.
The Side to Take Isn’t Republican

Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis each took questions at their town halls in Iowa last Wednesday. Each was asked why they don’t go after Trump. Each of them responded by attacking the press. Neither even mentioned Trump.

There is a word to describe this:

COWARDICE!

.

Perhaps you can think of additional descriptors. They apply to all who fail to speak up, to take a side and make a stand.

____________________________________

* From the New York Times, January 6, 2024, This Election Year Is Unlike Any Other:

Re-electing Mr. Trump would present serious dangers to our Republic and to the world. This is a time not to sit out but instead to re-engage. We appeal to Americans to set aside their political differences, grievances and party affiliations and to contemplate — as families, as parishes, as councils and clubs and as individuals — the real magnitude of the choice they will make in November.

Click the link and read the opinion piece. The danger we face isn’t just about Trump. It’s time to TAKE SIDES.


  • Today is a good day to be the light
  • _____________________________
  • 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 ALL 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.
    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.

    Click me

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

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