Cut The Crap – Part One

Broken News

In a stunning display of muscular, applause sucking fantasies, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) announced that he is a candidate to become his party’s nominee for President of the United States.

He dutifully blamed President Biden for all problems, stopping just short of blaming Biden for mosquito bites. As significant, he claimed credit for everything that has gone well, including the things that most or all Republicans voted against, like the infrastructure projects they tried to kill, then went home and bragged to constituents about how they had brought home the bacon for them.

Cut the crap, Tim.

More Broken News


The May 22 AI generated picture of a FAKE bombing of the Pentagon (to the left) isn’t even a good fake, but it was good enough for Bloomberg News to pick it up. It went viral on Twitter and elsewhere and first responders had to show up before it was announced that this is a completely FAKE picture. There was no fire or harm done to the Pentagon or to any personnel.

The technology to produce fakes is only going to get better and we stand to be fooled so often that we’ll learn to distrust news reports, government – everything. That leaves us with this core question:

Who stands to benefit from the undermining of public trust?

Post your answer in the Comments section below.

Pig Troughs and Justice

We’re being played for chumps by industry and by political toadies who are in the pocket of Big Money. Here’s the key to what needs to be done for We The People.

Reverse the Citizens United decision – the one that reinforced the Boston v. Bellotti decision that legalized political bribery*. And while we’re at it, impeach Chief Justice John Roberts for

– lying to the Senate Judiciary Committee in his  confirmation hearing, saying that he believes in stare decisis (honoring past Supreme Court decisions, like Roe). Same for Kavanaugh, Gorsuch, Alito and Coney Barrett

– lying to that same committee, saying (or implying) that Roe is settled law. Same for Kavanaugh, Gorsuch, Alito and Coney Barrett – probably Thomas, too.

– and most egregiously, for causing the lawyers to return to the court following the CU decision on the case that was presented to the court. This time Roberts directed the attorneys to argue rights for corporations, something that was not in contest in the Citizens United case. That debasement of our system of justice and the Court’s decision on it gave corporations the same rights as people like you, including the right to give huge sums of black money to PACs that distort our election system in favor of rich guys.

In his dissent from this nefarious decision, Justice Souter said that in addressing an issue that was not raised by the litigants, “ . . . the majority changed the case to give themselves an opportunity to change the law.” Souter was right. This is a prime example of right wing manipulation of our laws and institutions for the purpose of destroying our democracy.

For all their wailing about spending, Republicans don’t want to touch programs that line the pockets of their big money donors. Instead, they want our poor and disadvantaged to carry the load. Here’s what that means.

McCarthy and his hollow-headed, far right extremists have figured out that the American people like Social Security and Medicare A LOT and that cutting those programs would be political suicide, so they want to cut other stuff instead, like veterans medical benefits and

” .  .  .  public health; food safety inspections; air traffic control operations; the administration of Medicare and Social Security; housing and other assistance for families with low incomes; education and job training; and scientific and medical research, to name just a few.” – Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

They want to cut everything that helps actual people.

Kevin McCarthy and his co-conspirators are trying to bring down the government of the United States in every way possible. Right now they are attempting extortion using the debt ceiling approval process to get budget concessions like those listed above. “After all,” they say, “spending is directly linked to our national debt.” That’s like saying that we can’t send a rocket to the moon because there’s that gravity thing on Earth. Moronic.

If Republicans were serious about wanting to trim spending they could have done so with their congressional majorities during the Trump or the George W. Bush years. In fact. with the support of his congresses, Dubya piled up more debt than all previous administrations combined. Don’t forget there were those two “off balance sheet” wars.

Both Dubya and Trump increased spending every year while cutting taxes for the ultra rich and thereby ballooning our national debt.

So, no, the Republicans aren’t serious about dealing with spending or debt. They just want to bludgeon Democrats by cutting programs that help people in order to prove how tough they are. They want to brag about their phantom fiscal responsibility and crash our government and our democracy so that they can take over in a fascist putsch. You know: fusing industry with government in a despotic rule over We the People.

Cut the crap, Republicans.

Because these industry representatives (meaning senators and representatives in the pockets of Big Money) will not cut the crap, we’ll have to dump them and replace them with people who will cut the crap. Repeal and replace is the phrase the Republicans like to use about Obamacare, so let’s use it for what We The People want – to repeal and replace these Republican industry toadies.

The replacements will be the same people who will create sensible gun safety legislation, will restore abortion rights, will refuse to abandon our most vulnerable, will honor and keep faith with our military .  .  . you know the list. It’s all the stuff that the vast majority of We The People want. We’ll only get it when we dump the bad guys who are doing the crap – delivering minority controlled tyranny – and replace them with those who will serve We The People.


In case you were thinking Biden would get rolled by right wing extremist Republicans who want to hold our nation hostage, take a look at this, posted last Sunday.

And here’s a love tweet for Kevin McCarthy, who still hasn’t replied to my request for all those January 6 videos he sent to Tucker Carlson.

 Watch for Cut The Crap – Part two this Wednesday, May 24.


* From Thom Hartmann:

“The following year Richard Nixon put [Justice Lewis] Powell on the Supreme Court, where he personally authored the 1978 Boston v. Bellotti decision that claimed corporations are persons with rights under the Bill of Rights and corporate money in politics wasn’t bribery or corruption (as it had been under the law since the founding of the republic) but merely an exercise of First Amendment-protected free speech. Money wasn’t money: it was speech.”

And that “speech” is way louder with orders of magnitude more money powering it. Citizens United took that farther and wider and has effectively silenced you.

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 a lot of us to get the job done.

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


    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


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

Domestic Terrorism and Your Ancestors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About your ancestors

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

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

That’s how far we’ve strayed.

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


* From Prof. Heather Cox Richardson:

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

**  From Dan Rather:

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

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

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


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

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The Fine Print:

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


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

Love Thy Who?

Reading time – 3:43; Viewing time – 5:41  .  .  .

At an evening meeting on April 20th the discussion drifted to the issue of our political divide. The characterization of Trump voters included words like moron, racist, ignorant and a few other choice descriptors. The demonizing fell from lips as easily as rain from the sky – or manure from a barnyard animal – my protestations notwithstanding.

It’s just a guess on my part, but I don’t think character assassinations will be anything but destructive, this in a time when more than ever we need to come together to solve perhaps the largest accumulation of Gordian knot challenges we have faced.

Our vexing political divide is the focus of this post.


Ezra Klein and Alvin Chang did a report on the issue of political identity – our political divide – for Vox entitled “Political identity is fair game for hatred”: how Republicans and Democrats discriminate. They found what you already know to be true, that we politically polarized Americans seem to be unable even to talk with our neighbors who hold political views different from our own. People are even selecting where they will live based upon whether the neighbors are politically aligned with them. And woe be to a daughter or son who marries someone with membership in the other political party.

The dysfunction we see among politicians is exaggerated because we tend to elect zealots; however, we’re not doing a very good job ourselves of even tolerating our “other party” neighbors, much less loving them. Indeed, we seem to be in an age where “other-ing” is not just accepted, but is encouraged.

In my pal Brian Muldoon’s book, The Heart of Conflict, he identifies what he sees as the fundamental reason people are so often unable to talk about differing religious beliefs without the conversation devolving into conflict. He says that it’s because any challenge to our fundamental beliefs challenges our sense of identity and that shakes our tectonic plates, so we go into fight-or-flight mode the same way our caveman ancestors treated threatening saber tooth tigers.

It appears that our political views have reached the same kind of base-of-the-skull level. As Klein and Chang write in their article, “  .  .  . rising political polarization was showing something more fundamental than political disagreement – it was tracking the transformation of party affiliation into a form of personal identity that reached into almost every aspect of our lives.”

It seems to me that invites fight-or-flight into arenas where there are no actual mortal threats; nevertheless, we treat ordinary opinions – like political differences – in the same life-or-death manner we do religious differences.

In the face of this we’re told to love our (“different from me”) neighbors. That’s a tough assignment for we human beings.

Nevertheless, that is the assignment. Should we fail to complete the assignment and get a great grade, our democracy will be at mortal risk. We better figure out how to do something other than fighting or fleeing.

In other news

House Joint Resolution 48 is what we need. It’s what I’ve been calling for in my presentations to groups all over the country since that dark January day in 2010. This is a cure for the deepest ailment of our democracy.

HJR 48 is a bill to reverse the tsunami of corporate and fat cat cash in our politics that was unleashed by the disastrous Citizens United decision. The bill currently has 23 cosponsors; that’s where you come in.

Call your representative now and request that s/he cosponsor this critically important bill. Do this even if your representative is already a cosponsor – they need your support for this.

To find your rep’s phone number, go to and enter your zip code in the box in the top-right corner of the page. Then pick up your phone, dial it and tell the nice staffer who answers that you are a constituent and you want your rep to cosponsor HJR 48.

Do it now, and we’ll slay this mother of our political dysfunction.

Finally, we have a whole new level of stupid coming from Washington. From The Root:

Paul Reickhoff

According to the Military Times, House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) has drafted legislation that would charge soldiers $100 a month for access to the GI Bill. The bill would deduct a total of $2,400 from each soldier’s paycheck to make them eligible.

“Pushing this GI Bill tax proposal on troops in a time of war is political cowardice,” said Paul Reickhoff, CEO of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America “Some politicians would rather make backroom deals than raise taxes or find other ways to support our troops as bombs continue to fall overseas.”

Let’s see, the geniuses in DC want to send our young off to fight and die for the oil we have to stop using if we’re to avoid hard boiling the planet, and also in order to fill monstrous political egos. As a way to say thanks, our legislators want to tax our troops.

Yes, really.

Bonus Section

Watch this Vox piece for clarity about cable news manipulation and the advancement of “alternative facts.”


Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we are on a path to continually fail to make things better. It is my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That is the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue.

YOUR ACTION STEPS: Offer your comments below and pass this along to three people, encouraging them to subscribe and engage.  Thanks!  JA

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

Action Alert – TODAY!

Senate LogoReading time – 19 seconds .  .  .

Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) has sponsored a bill to amend the Constitution and has 37 co-sponsors. His bill will overturn corporate rights and begin to get democracy killing big money out of our politics and start us on the road to solving the complex problems that are keeping you from getting what you want. The bill is in committee and is scheduled for debate and a vote on the language of the bill on Wednesday, June 18. The members of the committee need your voice to ensure that they offer an amendment to the full senate that actually makes for positive change we need.

Go to the website here and just follow the instructions. Fast and simple. Make some calls, per their instructions.

I know the frustration and reasonable belief that this won’t change anything, but I assure you that doing nothing is certain not to make things better. So set aside your skepticism for just a few minutes and do this now, because you want this mess of stagnation fixed for you, for your children and for your grandchildren.


Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we are on a path to continually fail to make things better. It is my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That is the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue. Please help by offering your comments, as well as by passing this along and encouraging others to do the same.  Thanks.  JA

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

R2D2 And You

A few days after one of my Money, Politics and Democracy presentations, an attendee wrote to me, saying,

“After asking you a question at the DUUC presentation, I went home and began re-reading the Constitution, thinking that the Supreme Court decision re: Citizens United basically indicated that corporations were persons and therefore were entitled to freedom of speech.  I got as far as Article 1 Section 2 [paragraph 2]: ‘No person shall be a Representative .  .  .’ and thought, ‘No corporation could be elected a Representative,’ so how can those esteemed justices equate corporations with persons?  Surely, the Founding Fathers didn’t envision corporations as persons, so those strict constructionist justices violated their own philosophy and stretched the applicability of the amendment to make it possible to rule in favor of corporations.”

It seems an absurd stretch to extend all the rights of human beings to inanimate objects, in this case called “artificial persons” – that seems to be some kind of a legalistic term for corporations – but that is what the court did.

My view is that money is not speech, but instead, quite obviously, is property.  The view of the Supreme Court is that money is the equivalent of speech and, therefore, cannot be regulated.  While I don’t care for their interpretation, at least a  thin case can be made for that equivalency.  For example, it will cost me money to make a documentary based on my Money, Politics and Democracy presentation.  Given that my presentation is an exercise in free speech, the money spent to produce the documentary has some rough equivalency to free speech.  That is a stretch, but, as I said, at least a thin case can be made.

Not so much with rights for “artificial persons”.  In fact, I can make the case that a robot is an “artificial person”, but it is pretty difficult to envision extending all the rights and protections of citizenship to R2D2 or your Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner.

It seems to me that a strict constructionist would see that, strictly speaking, only people are people and that only people are given rights and privileges by the Constitution, a document which makes no mention whatsoever of corporations or “artificial persons”.  Yet somehow we find ourselves with five justices of the Supreme Court who can’t tell the difference between people and robots.

Strangely, an amendment originally designed to protect the then-freed former slaves has now given way to protection of corporations just as though they were flesh and blood human beings.  It seems that for today’s Supreme Court, the 14th Amendment has been lengthened by an additional sentence, such that it now reads:

“No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.  All of the foregoing shall apply equally and without limit to any corporation or institution of any kind or any inanimate object.“ (text in bold italics mine – JA)

And if that is true, then the 1st Amendment protection of free speech applies equally to those same corporations, institutions and inanimate objects.  Just imagine how repugnant the post-Civil War congress of 1868 would find that.

And things may get worse.

In the McCutcheon v. FEC case now before the Supreme Court the plaintiff seeks to remove all limits to political contributions.  Should those five justices continue to fail to understand consequences and continue to be unable to make simple differentiations that are readily apparent to most of us, then our politicians and our government will go to the highest bidder and the sale of our American democracy will be complete.


News Bulletin from AT News
Dateline: Washington DC

The Washington Redskins are changing their name because of all the hatred, violence, and hostility associated with that word.
From now on they will be known simply as the Redskins.

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


VoicesEighty percent of Americans who know of the over-reaching, legislation-from-the-bench Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case – the one that ensured unlimited money influencing our politics – want it reversed.  That number varies by just a handful of percentage points, depending on respondents’ political views.  This issue is the venue where ultra-left tree huggers and hair-on-fire Tea Party members can join hands, sing Kumbaya and wave Don’t Tread On Me flags, all at the same time.  The trick in getting action on this is to expand the number of Americans who know about the CU decision so that we can exert sufficient pressure on lawmakers to pass the 28th Amendment to the Constitution to get big money out of our political process.

It was to that educational purpose that I crafted the Money, Politics and Democracy program that I have been delivering to various local groups for the better part of a year.  I delivered it last week to a fledgling group in DuPage and Will Counties who care enough about this issue to leave their front porches on a lovely summer evening and sit in a hot meeting room in order to learn.

Be clear that I have another motive in my talk.  It is to motivate people to take action.  And it is to that point that I direct you to an essay by Jesmyn Ward in today’s New York Times entitled A Cold Current.  Her story is about racism, the devaluing of people by “othering” and how we react to that.  There is a parallel to her story in today’s economically punitive America.

Think about the America you believe in, the one you want to leave to your children and grandchildren.  Look deep into your notion of The American Dream.  You better think about it, because we are crafting the America we will bequeath to your descendents right now.  It is just possible that the dream that you hold dear for your dear ones and yourself is a different dream than that dreamed by the leaders of our pharmaceutical industry, our energy barons, the fabulously wealthy individuals – the 1%.  That is because those people are exactly like everyone else in this sense:  We all act in what we believe to be our best interests.

I don’t even remotely imagine that the Koch brothers arise every day with sights on the evil they might do or the mischief they can create for most Americans.  As the titans of Big Pharma spent $390 per second fighting Obamacare, they weren’t doing it to ensure that our healthcare system remains the worst among industrialized nations.  Neither do the leaders of the American Petroleum Institute air its television ads with the pretty blonde in a black pants suit in order to create more super-hurricanes like Katrina and Sandy so that more Americans might suffer and die.  They do those things because it is in their financial best interests to do what they do, so they spend the big money to make their voices heard.  It is all about the voices.

So, rather than putting your effort into demonizing the big bucks class in America, your energy needs to be focused on making your voice heard.  Let go of any notion of instant gratification, because this is a long term push.  Just understand this:  If you don’t make your voice heard, people with a very different dream for America from the one you believe in will have their voices heard, because they will be the only ones talking.

Now go read Jesmyn Ward’s piece.  Read it first for her message about racism.  Then read it again and substitute “classism” and you’ll understand.

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

Crunch Time For Illinois Residents

Uncle Sam Wants YouThere are times that require that we stand up and say what we stand for.  This is one of those times in Illinois.

I’ve written extensively about big money being the mother lode driving the dysfunction in our politics and this is a critical time for doing something about that.

We are very close to Illinois becoming the 15th State to pass a formal resolution to demand the overturn of Citizens United, the Supreme Court decision that is eating at the core of our democracy.

With the help of so many Illinoisans, Senate Joint Resolution 0027 (SRJ0027) passed both the Illinois State Senate and the Illinois House Judiciary Committee and is on the way to the floor of the House for a vote.  We need only one more vote to pass the resolution and send a powerful message to Congress that we want our America back.  With your help, we’ll be able to start solving our very large challenges, like getting Congress to pass meaningful gun legislation, as 90% of Americans want.

Please call your Illinois state representative (not your state senator) and ask him/her to VOTE YES ON SJR0027 when it comes up for a floor vote, which may happen in the next 24 hours.

If you don’t know who your state representative is:

In Cook County, go to: and input your address (number, street name and zip only). Then scroll down to the Illinois House of Representatives section to find contact information for your representative.

In Lake County,  Follow the 4-step process to find contact information for your representative.


Thanks for all you  do!

“If someone like you doesn’t care a whole lot,
nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”  – Dr. Seuss

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

A Special Kind of Nuts


North Carolina’s recently introduced House Joint Resolution 494 tells us that, “.  .  .  each state is sovereign and may independently determine how the state may make laws respecting an establishment of religion .  .  . ,” and that, “.  .  . the North Carolina General Assembly does not recognize federal court rulings which prohibit and otherwise regulate the State of North Carolina, its public schools, or any political subdivisions of the State from making laws respecting an establishment of religion.”  It seems that the state of North Carolina may soon be free of that pesky First Amendment, right up until the time that the Supreme Court of the United States lets them know in a 9 – 0 decision that they are a special kind of nuts.  That will be the end of a legal process that will have cost the state of North Carolina millions of dollars over a brainless political ploy.

Elsewhere, the good citizens of North Dakota will have the scientifically interesting prospect of voting on a new amendment to their state constitution in November, 2014.  The science connection exists because their duly elected state legislators just voted to place on that ballot a referendum for a state amendment that would declare that a human egg penetrated by a sperm is a human being immediately upon their connecting and it has all the unalienable rights of citizenship.  It’s called the “personhood amendment” to their state constitution.

Not to be outdone, the braniacs in the state legislature of Kansas have overwhelmingly passed a bill that declares human life to begin “at fertilization.”  Further, the Kansas legislation will proscribe the information that doctors must provide to pregnant women and to those who might become pregnant, apparently believing that the politicians know more about medicine than do the physicians.

Note that Kansas is the home of the State Board of Education that a few years ago declared that evolution is just a theory.  The board mandated the teaching of “intelligent design,” which is creationism in a different wrapper.  I haven’t checked their genealogical charts, but I suspect that those Kansas Board of Education members are related through unhealthy intermarriage to the geniuses in North Carolina who think it’s okay for them to establish a state religion.

The most poignant part of the current “personhood” effort in Kansas was provided by State Senator Steve Fitzgerald (R – Leavenworth), who is quoted as saying, “The human is a magnificent piece of work at all stages of development .  .  .“  Who could argue with that?

The problem, of course, is the stage of development we’re talking about.  It appears that the Republican legislatures of those states and those of about 13 others doing similar things had their development arrested around the Pleistocene era, about the time the first human beings scratched on the walls of caves.

Senator Fitzgerald, you and your fellow mental luddites in governments all around America are, indeed, a piece of work, a special kind of nuts.

After the 9/11 attack we heard demands from the Muslim extremist world for a return to the fundamentals of Islam, as they understood them.  These are the same principles that punish petty theft by hacking off a hand of the perp and which make women the property of men.  We decried their backward demands as an attempt to return to primitive, dark ages ways.  Yet here we are in America doing the same kind of regression.

It falls to those of us who think that science and learning are good things and who accept actual, fact-based reality to figure out what is behind this national rush to primitive thinking and then to redirect America to a sane path.  So, you better help others remember the current insanity when it’s time to vote in November, 2014 and 2016.  If you let these primitive deniers of reality off the hook, things will get worse.

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

It’s The System, Stupid

There was a small article in the September 25, 2011 edition of the New York Times reporting on demonstrations that are continuing around Wall Street.  The piece was in a corner of page 18 and was short and bland.  The protest was happening in Manhattan and arguably was a major event in the home city to The New York Times, yet the newspaper barely mentioned it and this apparently self-inflicted self-blinding was happening throughout our national media, as mention of the demonstrations was rare.  That is in stark contrast to how extensive the coverage might have been had this been a Tea Party demonstration, given our national obsession with the radical right, and this vacuum of attention is significant.

The Citizens United v. FEC case, decided last year by a radical Supreme Court, has effectively made American politics exponentially more beholden to corporate influence, since we are now informed that corporations are people and have the same rights as those of us made of flesh and blood, especially the right to contribute boxcars of money to political campaigns.  Of course, only corporations have the means to fill those boxcars, so America is now one giant step closer to becoming a de facto corporatocracy instead of a democracy and that is ominous, indeed, for actual human beings.

W. Edwards Deming taught quality in manufacturing to the Japanese after WW II (after American titans of industry ignored him) and, to offer just one example of the result, the Toyota Camry has been the most popular sedan in America for decades.  One of Deming’s most important lessons is that when there is a problem, we should look first not to the individuals involved, but to the system that drives individual behavior.  That is precisely where we should look to remedy our political paralysis and the obsessive quest for dumb in Washington.

Our political campaigns are hideously expensive, so much so that our politicians and would-be politicians have to spend about half their time both during campaigns and while in office just raising money, which means that they are set up to be at the mercy of the donors of big bucks.  No matter if every legislator inside the Beltway is an Eagle Scout or its equivalent, they cannot afford to stop searching for their mother lode of cash if they are to achieve office and stay there.  That is simply how our system functions.

The most significant reason for our hideously expensive political campaigns is the cost of advertising on television, with cable companies and other major news and entertainment media outlets.  They, of course, are corporations and serve their own interests.  Should we do anything to curtail political spending with them, those media outlets would be financially harmed, so it’s not in their interests to change the system.  Perhaps that’s why you’ve seen so little coverage of those Wall Street protests to do exactly that – change the system.

To state the obvious, corporations have more money than individual citizens.  That results in the voices of the corporations being far louder than all the rest of us can shout.  Some of the loudest voices come from Wall Street.  That’s why those thousands of people are on the streets of so many cities all around this country, “occupying Wall Street.”

If we are to have a democracy in America we cannot have corporatocracy – the two are mutually exclusive.  And if we don’t change the system, the future is both certain and very dark for Americans.

There are people who are going about finding ways to change the system and ensure our democracy and you can find an excellent review at this web site, and also at

You can also sign Dylan Ratigan’s petition to change campaign funding at:

Just understand that your choice is to live in a participatory democracy or to be a serf to the corporations.  The good news is that you still get to choose.  The bad news is that the clock is ticking.

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

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