Politics & Democracy

The Woe Factor


I wring hands. You wring hands. He, she and it wring hands. Woe is us.

There’s plenty of worrisome stuff over which to obsess and bad stuff is in our faces constantly. That’s part of why so many Americans don’t watch or read the news any more. They’ve dropped out of the cycle of woe, which leaves them both happier and less informed. That’s a problem.

Thomas Jefferson told us that,

“An enlightened citizenry is indispensable for the proper functioning of a republic. Self-government is not possible unless the citizens are educated sufficiently to enable them to exercise oversight.”

You can read “oversight” as “accountability” and of course, Jefferson was right. There are cheaters, democracy killers and liars on the loose around the country. These guys desperately need accountability in their dishonest little lives. Or rather, we need them to face accountability. So, how are we to live in these times that deeply try wo/men’s souls? How are we to remain enlightened citizens able to exercise that needed oversight without succumbing to the woe factor? Good news: An obvious and good idea about that just dropped in my lap.

Have a look at this short video, then come back.

You couldn’t help but be touched, right? Perhaps there were tears in your eyes. This is the stuff of good sportsmanship, good citizenship and good kids. What if we paid a bit more attention to the good things our fellow citizens do, like that kid, like the neighbors helping neighbors in flooded, washed out Kentucky and like the good folks who rushed the stage to protect Salman Rushdie from that would-be killer and to provide him aid? What if we walled off time to celebrate one another and did it regularly?

Yes, you’re right. I’m talking to myself because I probably need my own medicine more than most.

My dear friend Brian spoke to me years ago after I had just wailed my woes. He said that was just my story and I could stick to it. I could bemoan the pain from those who had hurt me, but I would be stuck with nothing but my story. It would be impossible to learn, to grow, to get past my past without releasing my death grip on my story. That angered me in the moment because what I wanted was validation – tell me how supernaturally right I am – and he had none of that for me.

I quickly realized that Brian was right. Full disclosure: I still wanted to be told how supernaturally right I was.

When we stick to our story we cement ourselves as victims of whoever we’re blaming for whatever real or imagined wrongs they’ve done to us. Surely, you’ve had a bellyful of loud voices bemoaning the horrible “others” who have victimized them. Perhaps you’re as tired of the victim stories as I am, like the fictions from those rageful, self-righteous killer wannabes shooting innocents and threatening election workers, as well as the presidential victim nightmare that won’t go away.

We’re not going to run out of people with their stories, whining about not getting their way all the time and blaming others, so I have an image for them just to the right.

We still have to be enlightened, as Jefferson instructed, and we still have to exercise oversight and hold leaders accountable. Even as we’re doing that, let’s keep in focus the things that give us hope, like our Gen-Zs, who I truly believe will save us from ourselves. Zs like that Little League kid.

————————————

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!)

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Hartmann Agrees


I think that it isn’t the system that needs reform. It’s the people who are undermining the system who need reform – or replacement. Click for the story – see Item #3.

Not long ago I posted a love note to Millennials and Gen-Zs. It was something of an apology for what we  Boomers have done that threatens them and for the huge pile of political poo we’re piling at their feet. It isn’t pretty and it won’t be easy. But it’s critical that they grab hold of this mess, shackle it in irons and imprison it for the life of this planet.

I laid out some of the key challenges and let our Ms and Zs know that we believe in them, that they can do this. They can restore what has been stolen, they can take the critically important steps to save our planet and themselves and they have the power to replace our national dishonesty, denial and mindless rage with truth and reality.

It turns out that Thom Hartmann agrees with me and he’s laid out far more clearly the reasons that Ms and Zs are so screwed – his word. I encourage everyone to read his message and see it as a laying out of the challenges that must be met.

These challenges should not be partisan or political, but the sad truth is that they are. There is only one party that tolerates and promotes hatred. There is only one party that fights against the advancement of gun safety.* There is only one party that rejoices in taking away our rights. There is only one party that consistently takes from the poor and middle class and gives to the super rich. There is only one party taking away your vote and working to destroy our democracy and replace it with a fascist autocracy.

There is more bad stuff that they do, of course, but the point is that the Republican Party, the one that used to be conservative, standing up for the values you believe in, no longer exists. They stand solely for enhancing their own power and wealth at our expense.

Read Hartmann’s piece and you’ll understand.

While you’re at it, read The Democrats Need to Wake Up and Stop Pandering to Their Extremes, a forehead slapper from The Economist. You’ll understand that one, too.

See? It just doesn’t take that many words. This took 30 seconds to think of and about 15 minutes to construct.

BTW

I’ve pummeled Democrats repeatedly for their astonishingly poor communication skills. They’re nearly always way too wordy, taking what would be said by Republicans in under two dozen words and instead expanding them into unintelligible paragraphs that not even the author can remember and which put readers to sleep.

President Biden’s July 9 essay in the Washington Post explaining/defending his trip to Saudi Arabia was just such a communication disaster. It demonstrates that in 1,387 words. Yes, over 2 pages of dense text!

What are the communications people in the White House thinking?

I did muscle through it on my second attempt. It is boring. It is W-A-A-A-A-A-Y too long. And it feels like an old prize fighter recounting a win from years ago.

“Joe, I want  to hear about how what you’re doing today will help me tomorrow. And I want to hear about it in a maximum of 60 seconds.”

I think Biden is doing a really good job of doing his job. But he and the Ds are so dreadfully, painfully, self-destructively lousy at communication that even Democrats can’t see the good stuff that’s happening right in front of them. Look at this from the New York Times:

Sixty-four percent of Democratic voters prefer a candidate other than President Biden in 2024, a Times/Siena College poll shows.
.

That’s happening as we are in an existential battle to save democracy from the Rs who would crush it. If we’re to win that battle and succeed in saving our nation, voters will have to feel good about voting for Democrats.

Crappy communication won’t help.

NOTE: I reached out to the DNC with an offer to help. So far no reply.

Covid Corner – post-video late addition

In an interview with Politico and discussing his retirement, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the lightning rod and target of extremist right wing paranoia, said, “If somebody says, ‘You’ll leave when we don’t have Covid anymore,’ then I will be 105. I think we’re going to be living with this.”

A STAT report commenting on Fauci’s interview response reported, “That statement is a concession that we never flattened the curve of cases and we’re instead living with the virus and its variants.”

I’m left gobsmacked by the profound impact 22% of the U.S. population has had by refusing to be vaccinated and by having temper tantrums over masks. “Living with the virus and its variants” is the price we all pay when the fierce independents and the power and money opportunists hold sway over the common good. Read the charts.

Just a couple of weeks ago we were losing 327 Americans per day to Covid. Now it’s up to 417 per day. And 98 – 99% of those who die are unvaccinated. Have a fiercely independent day, Bubba – while you still can.


* “And I believe it is insane that Republicans in the U.S. Senate — who accept the Second Amendment as a death warrant for tens of thousands of Americans each year — will not even agree to legislation raising the minimum age to purchase such weapons of war [AR-15 style assault weapons] to 21.”

“Shame on this country for refusing to take those guns out of the shooters’ hands — or to prevent them from buying those guns in the first place.”

Eugene Robinson, Washington Post, July 19, 2022

————————————

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!)

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

It’s Almost 1972 – Again


If we assume for the moment that people who promote fantastical and dangerous lies aren’t willfully ignorant or intelligence challenged, we’re left with some unattractive explanations. Why, for example, would Kelli Ward, Arizona GOP Chair, perpetuate the “Biden is an illegitimate president” crazy?

“I want to see arrests. I want to see perp walks. I want to see people in jail for stealing this election,” she demanded.

Is she following orders as a proud soldier in the Army of the Delusional? Does she expect some personal benefit from her performance of reality denial? Has she been bamboozled by the lies, distortions, conspiracy claims and manipulations that have been fogged out for years? Does she think she’s a patriot as she promotes GOP insanity?

Does destroying democracy to save democracy actually make sense to her?

I’m betting all of that is the answer for her and thousands of Republicans. I’m betting that they will keep pounding away until they get their way, and that’s why this spouting of insanity is a serious threat. This kind of thing has happened before.

Coming into the 1972 Olympic Games the USA basketball teams had never lost an Olympic game. They had collected seven gold medals over the years and this team was the odds-on favorite to win an eighth.

They played the team from the Soviet Union in the gold medal game and were behind through most of it. With just one second left the Americans sank two free throws to go ahead 50-49. The Soviets in-bounded the ball but didn’t score. Game over, Americans win. But a judge had the clock reset to three seconds and the Soviets had another chance. Again, they failed to score. Game over, Americans win. But that’s not what happened.

The referee had given the ball to the Soviets for the in-bound pass before the official clock was reset, so the judge ruled that what had happened didn’t count and the Soviets were given a third chance to play the last seconds of the game. This time the Soviets scored and won the game 51-50. You can hear Bob Costas explain all of this.

I remember watching the end of that game and, like most Americans, was screaming at my TV set. How many chances do they get? Do we just keep doing it over until the other guys win?

And those are the same questions I’m asking today, but they’re no longer about a basketball game. They’re about a past election and all future elections. The fraudulent claims and the demand for do-overs continue, and the indignant ones howl for prosecutions of people who actually played by the rules. I’m afraid that this dangerous insistance could bear poison fruit.

Trump started the bogus whining about fraud in 2016, claiming that there was no way he could lose and that if he didn’t win that the election was rigged. That should sound frighteningly familiar, because not only did he claim that same thing in 2020, but other Republican candidates for various offices are now making that claim. They’re insisting that if they don’t win that they were cheated. They’re refusing to concede. They want do-overs. They only accept their desired outcomes as the legitimate ones.

It doesn’t matter that their claims are entirely false. They are inflaming millions with their hateful, fraudulent declarations and the anger is growing. What’s going to prevent rigged do-overs in Republican controlled states until the outcomes are in favor of Republicans? Surely, not today’s United States Senate, where all 50 Republicans and two Democrats voted against allowing a vote on the two voting rights acts that would prevent such thievery. These politicians are today’s version of the 1972 Olympic basketball judge.

There is more

The 1972 Olympics were held in Munich, where Palestinian extremists – terrorists – kidnapped and murdered 11 Israeli athletes. Violence is what extremists do – like on January 6 at the Capitol Building. People were murdered. More will die unless we – that’s you and I – put a stop to this. All we have left are just 289 more days to do what must be done.

We’re on the road to 1972 again unless we stop the thieves – the extremists – right now.

What I wanted President Biden to say

The problems we’re having with inflation, the economy and sickness and death from the pandemic are ALL a function of right wing obstruction to fighting the pandemic.

North of 90% of our COVID sickness and death is of unvaccinated people, causing massive spread of the disease. And these people are being instructed, coaxed, mandated and directed to refuse our common sense solutions by self-serving Republican governors and legislatures prohibiting protection of our citizens. Our people are being influenced by Republicans and blatherers who spread lies and disinformation.

One more time: Other than trying to ensure this administration fails (that’s the only thing Mitch McConnell declared he’s for), “What are Republicans for?”

Q. Who is paying the price for Republican self-serving obstruction?

A. The American people. And democracy.

The Supreme Court smack down

Trump’s legal team made such a joke of an argument to prevent the House January 6 Select Commission from having access to records from Trump’s presidency that the Supreme Court didn’t even bother to hear oral arguments. That decision came down to two things:

  1. Executive privilege belongs to the executive while in office. After that there is little executive privilege and none with regard to materials relevant to Congressional inquiry.
  2. Once out of office, all of a former president’s records go to the National Archives. The former president doesn’t own them, nor has control of them. They belong to We the People.

Smack down.

————————————

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Now Yer Talkin’


Republicans have done a truly excellent job of demonization. They call anything proposed by Democrats “socialism,” making clear that Democrats want to change America into a socialist state. That’s heavy stuff in this country, where most Americans think socialism is the same as communism, which, they are certain, is the political embodiment of evil. It’s even more potent than that when it comes to getting the votes of independent voters. Imagine how the socialism label plays for Cuban Americans in Florida, whose parents and grandparents fled Castro’s brutal communist regime.

The good news is that the Democrats have snappy labels and taunts for Republicans, too.

“Republicans hate your children and don’t care if they starve.”

“Republicans want you working with infected co-workers so that you get sick and die of COVID-19.”

“Republicans want you to have to work 3 jobs just to get by.”

Yes, it’s thrilling to see those billboards and see those TV commercials, too. Gotta love the over-dub of Trump’s “shit hole countries” speech, where the Democrats made it clear how much Trump and the Republicans hate all Hispanics, right?

No, not right. You didn’t see that video and you have not heard those slogans or seen them on billboards, because the Democrats are the worst political fighters in the history of history. They haven’t an attack element in their entire wimpy Party. And that is why the minority Republicans spanked them and got 50% of the Latino vote in 2020.

Have you heard any push back to the Republican and QAnon claim that Democrats are part of an international sex trafficking, child blood drinking cabal, even just to call them liars? Neither have I. Note, too, how that horrid characterization plays nicely with the ages old, idiotic and cruel anti-Semitic claim that matzos is made with the blood of Christian children. I’m looking for push back from Democrats against that hatred, against that blatant appeal to White Christian supremacy, and have yet to hear even a whimper of opposition. I haven’t heard any attack on Republican dishonesty.

John Kerry refused to confront the fictions of the Swift Boat liars, not wanting to dignify their lies. He waited way too long to speak up, giving the lies time to gain a strong footing and then he lost the 2004 presidential election. Triple amputee war hero Max Cleland (D-GA) lost his senate seat the same way. He waited too long to counter the slime and the lies of his opponent, Saxby Chambliss, and lost his Senate seat.

Survival means we must speak up and attack – or our democracy will die. Quod erat demonstrandum.

If the Democrats play their cards just right, if they stay the course with their eunuch communication and attack-free attacks on Republicans, they will continue to look like buffoons and will give away the government to the democracy-hating Republicans.

Just get this: If we lose our democracy to the authoritarians, there will be no getting it back. Not in the next election, if there is one, and not in any election after that. All will be permanently lost.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are nine quick stick ’em lines for Dems to use:

“Republicans hate your democracy.”

“Republicans oppose every plan to support working families.”

“How do you like being lied to by Republicans?”

“If something helps your family, Republicans are against it.”

“If Republicans win it will be like you being sent back to Cuba (or El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, the Soviet Union, the Philippines, etc.).”

“Republicans will steal your vote – if they haven’t done that already.”

“Republicans don’t care if the sea swallows your house or your children are killed by a hurricane or tornado.”

“Republicans don’t care that there are rats in your kid’s school.”

“Whatever is dear to you, Republicans are against it.”

There now, that wasn’t so hard, was it?

It matters what Democrats are saying – and what they’re not saying. And they better speak up, or the authoritarian Republican cheats will be the only ones talking, the only ones voters hear.

This post is focused on hitting and on hitting back. Democrats also have to be the party of what is good and right in America and of making things better. That’s for another post. Here’s a tickle of that from the November 17 post:

No, not just the President. Every elected official with a “D” after their name, every pundit, and every cabinet officer has to sell the benefits and call out Republican hypocrisy and lies.

Winning in Three Simple Steps
    1. Call out Republican cheating, lying, hypocrisy, anti-democracy and anti-We-The-People words and actions. Just tell the truth. Forcefully.
    2. Sell Democratic successes and benefits for We The People. No more public hand wringing or endless talk about cost.  Put President Biden’s name in BIG letters on every infrastructure project so that Americans connect the dots from the President to their own well-being. When the Build Back Better bill passes, label those projects “Courtesy of President Biden and your Congressional Democrats.”
    3. Do what’s required to produce massive voter turnout.

For clarity about the danger we face, read this Twitter thread – all of it.

Brought To You Today by the Number Seven

From Common Cause:

“MOST FRIGHTENING OF ALL: if just seven more states sign on, the Koch network, the Mercers, corporate funders, and their extremist allies will reach the two-thirds supermajority required to convene the [Constitutional] convention they need to tear apart the U.S. Constitution.”

Learn more here.

Time

No, not that kind. I’m talking about Time Magazine and their poor choice for their 2021 Person of the Year. Read Eugene Robinson’s clear, compelling case that Eugene Goodman is the real deal and should have been on that magazine cover.

That Manchin Thing

There is lots of room for indignation, wailing about betrayal and more, but rather than having tantrums, let’s stay focused on what’s important. We have millions suffering economically, medically, educationally and more and we have the plan to cure huge swaths of that suffering, so let’s stay zeroed in on getting the cure for what ails us. To that end, read Paul Krugman’s clear explainer of why Build Back Better really is better in, What We Lose If We Don’t Build Back Better.

Finally

We’re on the bright side of the road now. We just passed the winter solstice and we will be gaining about 2 minutes of daylight every day until June 21, when we will have 6 more hours of daylight than today. Flowers will bloom. Children will play in the park. Neighbors will rediscover one another. And we, you and I, will be doing our part to make for a joyous November 9, the day after Election Day.

————————————

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Existential


Steve Bannon told us long before the 2016 election that he wants to “tear it all down,” meaning the administrative state. That includes our Constitution, democracy, learning and wisdom and the institutions that uphold our moral foundation. He wants it all blown up.

He is a nihilist, a hater of authority and a manufacturer of chaos and hatred. I have no interest in understanding his deep and profoundly debilitating daddy issues that drive him to create destruction, because doing so is useless to the critical task at hand. What is important is to recognize how impactful Bannon is and has been to Trump becoming the first American dictator and what that means to us.

Trump used Bannon first to get himself elected, then to convert the presidency into a money machine for Trump. Neither of them has even a consciousness, much less a concern for all who get crushed by their maniacal, mentally ill lust for ever more power and money. And, of course, Trump has used hundreds of sycophantic goons to subvert every agency of all three branches of government, demonstrating just how easy it is to get people to sell out and be manipulated for what they think are self-serving reasons. Even with regular examples dangled in their faces they just can’t seem to get it into their heads that they themselves will be next to be fed into Trump’s guillotine.

Many of us want to preserve our democracy and don’t agree with the 20% of Americans who are both Trump followers and who think violence is justified in order for them to get their way. That leaves us with critical challenges, chief among which is to answer the question, “What are you going to do about it?”

One option is to give in to the threats. History is teeming with examples of people cowed into submission by the threat or use of force. That means that they willfully made themselves serfs without rights, just pawns to be played and sacrificed for the benefit of the bullies. It’s understandable how fear could make people allow that, but if we do that we invite the despotism the bullies seek to create and which you and I don’t want.

In a recent webinar presented by The Atlantic one of the topics discussed was how to deal with millions of our fellow citizens who accept accusations that are completely untethered to any facts and who reject out of hand any observable evidence that counters their beliefs. The point made by the experts is that we don’t have an option of changing such peoples’ minds because they are set in concrete. They are impervious to all information that doesn’t support their predetermined certainties, so we must do things to appeal to those who have at least one foot on real ground if we are to protect our democracy.

I don’t have confidence in the Democrats’ willingness to face reality and do what needs to be done. Test my lack of confidence by listing all the times in a week you hear or see any Democrat directly and specifically unmasking the insurgents, the liars, the cheats and the haters. Include the times that you see the bad guys get punished for doing things like Lauren Bobert’s attack on Muslims and the White supremacist, anti-Semitic statements of Paul Gosar and Marjorie Taylor Greene and the homicidal representatives with their AR-15 Christmas cards. Where are the smack downs of Jim Jordan and Matt Gaetz? Add up all the incidents of push back to the crazies that you find in a week. I’m betting that the number on your list will be zero or very close to it. I’m afraid that we just can’t count on the Dems to do the right and necessary things – yet.

But what if we can turn up the heat on them?

We need people who will primary our confrontation avoiding senators and representatives. We need those people to be on the fiery point of the arrow aimed at the Trump conspiracy to end our nation. We need people who will organize giant protest marches in the streets of our towns and cities. We need people to show up at the protests and demand justice be visited on the law breakers and that democracy be assured for We The People. We need people to canvas door to door and encourage the non-voters to show up because that’s in their own best interests and because they’re screwed if they don’t.

We need you and I to get up off our BarcaLoungers and make noise. Lots of noise. We need for us to show up at protests and put lawn signs out front where the neighbors will see them. We need to write opinion pieces online and in local and regional newspapers (where they still exist). We need us to call into online talk shows and blast back against the hypocrites and haters so that other listeners might have their eyes cracked open just a bit. We need to go to town hall meetings and smack down the smack of the violent ones.

We need people who will challenge every calm and reasonable approach to our crisis of democracy, because those calm and reasonable tactics are powerless to stop an authoritarian coup backed by 20 million armed people who believe violence is okay. Doubt that? Grab your history book and read about Nazi Germany in the 1930s – and no, that isn’t hyperbolic and yes, it’s an apt comparison. We are in that kind of danger.

This is no thought experiment. This is existential – an actual life and death battle for democracy. Steve Bannon and the rest of the bad guys say they want to tear it down. I say, “Not on my watch.”

What do you say?

475

That’s the number the Associated Press published in an illuminating examination of our bemoaned, hallucinatory plague of voting fraud.

They looked at the 2020 election votes in the six so-called battleground states – Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – where 25.5 million votes were cast. The total of all suspicious votes (like people voting for dead relatives) reported by those states was just 475. That’s 0.00186% of the total vote.

President Biden’s cumulative margin of victory in those states was 311,257, which places the suspicious votes at 0.15% of the margin. Even if all those sketchy votes actually were fraudulent and even if all of them were added to Trump’s vote count in just one battleground state (pick one, any one), they still wouldn’t come close to making a difference in the outcome.

Some of us think that there is a firm reality that can be counted upon, like gravity, verifiable facts and counting. The rest aren’t interested in reality. For them, it’s evidence, schmevidence. So, sadly, nobody’s views will be modified even a little by the AP reporting. Such is the state of our political trench warfare and the failures of education to overcome primitive beliefs. Turns out we really aren’t much beyond beating drums in the jungle.

And Just For Fun

Thanks go to SS for the pointer.

————————————

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Domestic Terrorism and Your Ancestors


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About your ancestors

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

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

That’s how far we’ve strayed.

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

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* From Prof. Heather Cox Richardson:

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

**  From Dan Rather:

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

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

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

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

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The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Antipodean


That was a new word to me, too. From Dictionary.com:

Antipodian – adjective: 1. of, relating to, or originating from places on the opposite side of the globe, especially Australia and New Zealand

That sounds suspiciously similar to “the Orient” – meaning the East. Like Antipodean, it’s an area defined by its location relative to the West, specifically, Great Britain. Defining places relative to the Brits is so very 19th century. Seems rather self-important of them. But it’s the antipode that is the focus for us today.

The Economist reports that

Antipodean anti-vaxxers are learning from America’s far right
.

More than 85% of Australians and New Zealanders are vaccinated and some of the strictest pandemic prevention efforts have combined with that to make for pretty good COVID statistics relative to the rest of the world. But, of course, not even all Kiwis and Aussies can tolerate such good news for long and instead they balk at restrictions and being told what to do, just like Americans. Clearly, that visceral, primitive reaction isn’t continent limited. The worse news is how Australians and New Zealanders are learning from our very own anti-vaccine extremists.

The death threat spewers, those calling for reform via rifle and shotgun, the hystericals over imagined theft of their freedom are in the minority but they are loud and vocal. Reports The Economist,

“‘Protesters are taking inspiration from America’s far right,’ says Mr Spoonley. Some wave flags featuring Donald Trump, wear red hats and threaten journalists. They have started calling politicians ‘traitors’ and calling for lynchings. Placards mentioning QAnon, an incoherent conspiracy theory which is taking off in the Antipodes, are increasingly common.”

The red hat on the guy with the bullhorn in the pic to the left reads “Make Adelaide Great Again” – MAGA. I’m sure the power trip he appears to be on helps him to feel more in control; same for the sign carriers and those just yelling.

Protesters in New Zealand on November 9 chanted and carried signs reading, “Kiwis are not lab rats.” That’s a valiant effort to characterize their protest, but it’s more than a bit upside down. What they seem to be missing is that refusing vaccinations and rebelling against public health safety restrictions essentially puts everyone into a lab experiment – rats in a box with infection stalking them at all times. Indeed, the resistors are making themselves into those lab rats by openly sharing the dangerous variants of the virus. So, those Kiwis really are lab rats. They volunteered for the experiment and their rage will not protect them from sickness or death.

That’s what we Americans do in our spreader and super-spreader events, like the Harley Davidson mash up last summer in South Dakota and our football games and going unmasked indoors among strangers.

What’s at stake is life and death and our pandemic problem is made much worse by the human “You can’t tell me what to do!” riddle.  Who do you suppose has a good idea how to solve that riddle?

And That’s Related To

Hatred is hatred, no matter its origin or excuse or self-righteousness or self-satisfying justification. People who want to hate will find both a way and a target.

The example above is, on the surface at least, a tantrum over individual liberty and rage over imagined victimization. That it casts aside any vestige of good sense or duty to others is quite beside the point. People have found a way to feel wronged and they are venting their rage, hating whatever phantom bad guy they can conjure, like vaccine mandating politicians, the media, imaginary fascists or socialists or communists and more. It’s very little different than burning at the stake women imagined to be witches, this in order to cast away evil spirits or those believed to be summoning them. For some, it’s just hatred and rage for the feeling of power that their rage gives them.

So, it will come as no surprise that hatred based on race and religion is pretty much the same as any other. In America we have a multi-centuries long trail of duplicity, subjugation and violence against anyone whose ancestors were not from northern European countries or England and who were not Christian.

That has continued most proudly in what has passed as the Republican Party since the Voting Rights Bill became law in 1964. It carries on today in voting restrictions and other efforts to maintain minority control of power and money. You saw it in Charlottesville, on January 6 at the Capitol Building and in hateful, incoherent blogs and brainless attacks on people and on reality in Congress and from the twice-impeached, disgraced former president and his sycophants.

This is not new, but it has reached a critical point in this country. For clarity about this, today’s required reading is from Thom Hartmann in his piece, Revealed: The Racist Plot To Tear America Apart.

Finally

Ten Republican controlled states have successfully prohibited the President’s vaccine mandate for healthcare workers.

Eleven Republican controlled states have filed suit against the President’s vaccine mandate for employees of private companies with over 100 employees.

Nine Republican controlled states have banned school mask mandates.

An uncountable number of Republican legislators, operatives, pundits and TV, cable and radio blabbers have had tirades of faux patriotism against masks and vaccinations. With false propaganda – lies – they have exhorted the public to rage and to refuse to comply. Never mind the risk to health and even survival.

These are the very same people who are publicly criticizing President Biden for poor performance in combating the pandemic and, in consequence, the economy. Indeed, if their lies can maximize the pandemic suffering and death for another 11 months, that should keep inflation high and the economy doing poorly. Then perhaps Republicans can retake power in Congress.

It’s nearly all unvaccinated people who listen to that propaganda and are dying from COVID at the rate of about 1,000 per day. There are 342 days until the 2022 election, and that leads to the key question:

Is it okay for over 300,000 more Americans to die so that Republicans can rule?

Like I said, hatred is hatred, no matter its origin or excuse or self-righteousness or self-satisfying justification. And it takes a lot of Republican hatred to view 300,000 additional deaths as just collateral damage in their selfish, diabolical quest for power and money.

Here’s a question I heard posed not long ago: Are you okay with the way things are now? If not, what needs to be changed and in what way?

I’ll be posing those questions periodically, hoping to trigger your critical thinking.

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Winning, Part Two: Republican Obstructionism


Unavoidable Observation

Kyle Rittenhouse is on trial for killing two people and seriously wounding another using his illegal AR-15 assault rifle. He brought his illegal assault weapon to a BLM protest in the summer of 2020 in Kenosha, WI. His mother drove him there. With his AR-15. His mother! *

He has claimed he went there to help people; plus, he wanted to be famous. Somebody please explain to me why he needed an AR-15 to give first aid to injured people or to put out dumpster fires. On the other hand, the AR-15 did help to make him famous, but not in a good way, unless you’re a hate spewing radical looking for a martyr.

During his testimony on Wednesday he was asked to describe his shooting one of the victims. He became distraught, sobbing to the point of being unable to speak coherently, so the judge called a recess. But here’s the thing.

It’s true that Rittenhouse sobbed, convulsed and scrunched up his face, giving the clear indication that he was very upset about what had happened. The press reported that he, “broke down into tears.”

But he didn’t shed even a single a tear. Not one.

In his apparent crying, he didn’t tear up at all – you know, like people do when they’re actually upset and crying. If his was an act, it was a pretty good one – but it was fatally flawed. It’s possible he isn’t the Boy Scout his defense team made him out to be. See for yourself here.

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Republican Obstruction

The pandemic continues to ravage our country.

Republicans refuse to participate in solutions to make us all safe and they prohibit efforts to contain the pandemic, causing massive suffering and death.

The west is burning and the south and east are drowning because of the climate crisis.

Republicans refuse even to acknowledge the reality of climate warming, much less participate in finding solutions. In fact, they oppose any action that would be a positive step to combat the climate catastrophes that are staring us in the face.

We have millions of angry people and had a murderous insurrection on January 6.

Republicans are blocking the Congressional inquiry into the riot in every way they can, spreading lies and stoking rage every chance they get. Plus, many of them encouraged the insurrection.

Millions believe the anti-democracy lie that the 2020 election was full of voter fraud and that Biden is an illegitimate president.

Republicans actively promote this Big Lie, knowing full well that it is a lie that undermines our Constitution and our democracy. And they are bastardizing our future elections in order to subvert the will of the people.

Donald Trump continues to undermine democracy.

Republicans continue to either help to destroy our country or they chicken out of standing up to Trump’s bullying and sit meekly, watching the ongoing carnage.

Our State Department – the people who represent us to other nations and support our international efforts – continues to be not only understaffed (it’s been that way since George W. Bush formally replaced diplomacy with military invasions), but without ambassadors in dozens of countries.

That’s all due to Republican obstructionism in the confirmation process of ambassadors. That same obstructionism is why hundreds of federal judgeships remain unfilled. Say hello to Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans and say good-bye to diplomacy and justice.

Obviously, this list could be much longer. The point is that all the Republicans have are:

– Obstruction of government

– Culture wars to upset us, to stoke hate and fear and division and tribalism

They’ve made clear that they only care about low taxes for really rich people and ultra-conservative judges who will decide cases in their favor. They haven’t even a single policy that would serve We The People or the country. That leaves us with the key question of our time:
.
How long are Democrats and Independents going to let them get away with that?
.

The point is that it’s time for Democrats to stop being door mats and start doing what will win elections. That better happen VERY soon, and I’ll show how to do that and put the Republicans permanently in a corner. It’s just three things.

See Winning, Part Three on Wednesday, November 17 for what Democrats need to do to win.
.
Must Read
.

There’s so much that’s a downer and it’s been that way for so many years, including all the racist dog whistles and outright calls to hatred, the lies and the threats. Sometimes we deeply need reminders that we can be good, decent people, that some are mindful and doing the right things in the face of the brutality of daily life. It turns out that the murder of Ahmaud Arbery has ignited just such a thing.

Read this timely post from CNN about the friends, family and teammates of Arbery, what they are doing and how strong, good men and a united community are being forged in the wake of that hateful tragedy.

Must Watch
.

Do you really think that voting is important, perhaps the most important of our rights? Yes? Then watch this video from the RepresentUs folks.

Correction – Sort of
.

An earlier post noted that 2 of the last 6 general elections brought us presidents elected by a minority of voters. That’s true, yet the far more important point is that since 1988 Republicans have lost the popular vote in every election but one.

———————-

* Please see the comments below for more specific clarity.

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

The Challenge and The Hand Wringing


This post is a preface, an introduction to the three-part series beginning this Wednesday focused on winning.

——————————

The Middle-East Comes to America

This quote is focused on the Middle-East in the very early 2000s.

“It became clear that there was a confluence of interests among Iran, Hezbolla and Syria, and that the three of them were uniquely suited to work together and help one another in their times of need. Thus, an alliance – which Israel’s intelligence community called “the Radical Front” – was born.

“The alliance of a terrorist organization, a pariah theocracy, and a modernized nation-state allowed a sprawling network of guerrillas, self-styled revolutionaries, and criminal thugs to operate with an unusually robust level of military efficiency.”

from Rise and Kill First, 2018 by Ronen Bergman, page 570

I got chills reading that, because you can substitute today’s names and this applies right here, right now.

  1. Terrorist organization / a sprawling network of guerrillas, self-styled revolutionaries, and criminal thugs – Think: militias and AR-15 carrying thugs, like Kyle Rittenhouse in Kenosha and Robert Bowers at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh and the rest of the criminals
  2. Pariah theocracy – Think: January 6 insurrectionists in the well of the Senate screaming The Lord’s Prayer; radical evangelists abandoning all principle, promoting lies and liars while thumping bibles; neo-Nazis and White supremacists everywhere demanding that Christianity be our formal national religion, like disgraced, convicted former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.
  3. Modernized nation-state – Think: the Republican Party *

That is America’s “Radical Front,” the self-righteous and greedy monster that’s rotting us from within. It’s slithering through our house, poisoning our water, terrorizing our people and murdering innocents. It’s subverting our Constitution and democracy itself, all the while certain of its holiness and patriotism.

These people have abandoned all fidelity to American values. They are aligned with one another and radicalized to refuse everything that isn’t them and isn’t what they want, including election results, regulations, taxes, immigrants, any non-White person, freedom for others, any sense of duty to the common good, sacrifice for others and more. And in their obsessive zeal, they’re claiming that they are the true patriots, as though their violence and lies make it so.

“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”

– commonly ascribed to Sinclair Lewis or Huey Long, but the actual source is unknown

These people are not the opponents; they have made themselves the enemy. We all have to get that into our heads and keep it there.

This is our existential national challenge and why Democrats have to learn to win.

Democrat Hand Wringing

Brace yourself.

I recall a TV commercial where the football coach is addressing his team in the locker room after a game. He excoriates them for lack of execution, for dropped passes, lost scoring opportunities and more. It’s a blistering assault. When he pauses one of the players quietly asks, “Hey coach, didn’t we win?”

And so it is with Democrats following the election on November 2.

In an astonishing piece of bucking the trend, they won the governorship in New Jersey. They won multiple mayoral races and state legislature seats and all they seem to be able to do is to wring their hands over one lost gubernatorial contest, one that history says was pre-ordained by the gods of elections to be lost no matter what they did. They should be cheering how close that election was. And as they do their moaning and groaning they are giving Republicans the playbook to use against them next year.

Here’s a little secret, but you have to promise not to tell anyone.

We added 531,000 new jobs in October. The Dow, S&P 500 and NASDAQ are all at or near all-time highs, pension funds are strong for teachers, firefighters, cops and millions of other workers and we’re in a strong economic recovery.

In a complete abdication of duty to the American people, every Republican opposed the Democrats’ $1.9B American Rescue Plan that helped every American bounce back from the economic devastation caused by Trump’s intentional bumbling of the pandemic. That Plan of the Democrats has caused us to add 5.6 million new jobs since January 20. Here’s a bonus: a million new seasonal jobs are about to sprout this month.

Little kids are getting vaccinated against COVID and their parents and grandparents are getting booster shots. The daily deaths from COVID are down 25% over the last month. We’re beating back the pandemic even in the face of Republicans doing all they can to keep Americans at risk of suffering and dying.

(Psst: All of that and more means things are getting way better – but keep that to yourself. Democrats always do.)

Democrats allowing Republicans to blame them for global supply chain issues and higher prices instead of saddling Trump and the Republicans with it due to their total mishandling of the pandemic – that totally baffles me. Why aren’t they singing their victories in unison in every interview, in op-eds, in speeches on the floor of the Senate and House, on the Sunday news shows, at the barber shop –  everywhere? Why aren’t they cheering the victories they’ve won and burning Republicans for their complete abandonment of their duties, violation of their oath of office and outright obstruction?

“Hey, Ms. and Mr. America, you can see every day that the Republicans don’t want you to succeed, because they vote against you and everything you hold dear, everything that might help you. We Democrats are proud that we’ve delivered for you and that our country is back on track. We wish you a joyous Thanksgiving!”

I tell you in all earnestness that the Democrats’ wailing over the elections was and is both dumb and unproductive – even counter-productive – and I was sick of it even before it began. That’s matched with their inability to wave the flag of their huge successes in our economy and their giving only puff ball mentioning of our great success in COVID vaccinations. It’s absolutely confounding.

And what’s with the sausage making being done in public? It used to done between Ds and Rs, always behind closed doors, but since the Rs are permanently, legislatively AWOL, the sausage making is being done between Progressives and so-called Moderate Democrats. And it’s ugly. Sausage making is always ugly. But this time the Democrats are doing it in public and it just makes them look ugly and dysfunctional and of no use to voters. They look like children having temper tantrums. Really, Democrats, do you imagine this is the way to instill confidence in voters?

The party’s political angst and sending the “we’re incompetent” message fit perfectly with the Democrats’ usual wimpy election efforts to produce the pathological stasis of, “We won’t do what’s necessary to win and will obsessively sulk about the consequences.”

Democrats: Shut up with the election and economic woe, wave the flags of success and get to work doing what wins elections!

Watch for a 3-part series beginning Wednesday, November 10 focused on what Democrats must do to win.

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* “If a political party does not have its foundation in the determination to advance a  cause that is right and that is moral, then it is not a political party; it is merely a conspiracy to seize power.”

– President Dwight D. Eisenhower, quote courtesy of MG

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Gerrymandering and Self-Neutering


Gerrymandering

Here are results from the 2020 U.S. House of Representatives elections* in some “swing states.” Have a look.

Texas

Republicans won 53.43% of the popular vote, but have 63.9% of the House seats.

Wisconsin
Republicans won 51.43% of the popular vote, but have 62.5% of the House seats.
North Carolina

Republicans won 49.4% of the popular vote (they lost the popular vote!), but have 61.5% of the House seats.

Missouri

Republicans won 57.98% of the popular vote, but have 75% of the House seats.

Oklahoma

Saving the best for last:

Republicans won 67.31% of the popular vote, but have 100% of the House seats!

This is what gerrymandering does to elections and to the will of We The People. It is what causes constant obstructionism in Congress. In the states, it is what produces the most draconian, evil, voting suppression laws, the “we promise to steal the next election” laws, the Texas “we love vigilantes” law and Mississippi’s attack on Roe v. Wade.

If this looks okay to you, there’s no need to do anything. But if this looks to you like a corrupt assault on democracy and an undermining of the will of We The People and like your vote is being tossed into a dumpster fire, contact the National Democratic Redistricting Committee (former A.G. Eric Holder’s shop) and tell them you want to help to repair this hideous abuse of our democracy.

Self-Neutering

Democrats are wimpy. Their words are too nice and they speak with the confusion of different messages, all with way too many words to remember and all at once. They get steam-rolled every day by strong, anger-inducing and unified messages from Republicans, who have the benefit of not being constrained by truth or reality.

Democrats are talking about the cost of the BBB bill, which at best causes eyes to glaze over and at worst scares the hell out of voters. Instead, they should consistently be talking about the benefits of their program, the stuff that voters will feel and love, the stuff that polls at around 80%. Instead, their time is used to bicker among themselves. I don’t know what they are seeing, but I’m seeing a party in disarray that can’t manage to walk across the street without creating a traffic jam. Do they think they’re convincing voters?

Democrats continue their insanity and while that’s happening the Republicans are picking the pocket of our democracy. The theft is going on in plain sight and most of the Democrats most of the time are squabbling with one another, insisting on their version of perfect, instead of protecting our country from the insurgents. What are we to do with this?

Sheila Markin addressed ways to stop the theft of our democracy in her recent post, but I tell you that I am not encouraged. Here’s a point from that essay.

Congress could pass the new Manchin inspired Voting Rights Act that outlaws PARTISAN gerrymandering but to do so Congress would need to carve out an exception to the filibuster and that looks like a pipe dream right now.

Anybody have time for a pipe dream?

I get that a complete end to the filibuster would make it impossible to stop the barbarian hordes when they are once again in the majority in the senate. Fine. Just do a carve-out for voting legislation. I do not understand the Democrats refusing to do that.

What do you think draconian Mitch McConnell as Senate Majority Leader would do were he faced with a situation like this? Right. And he would get what he wants. What is the point of the Democrats self-neutering? Somebody explain that to all of us.

It seems to me that the only way for us to have free, fair elections and to ensure the continuation of our democracy is for Democrats to find the courage to modify the filibuster with a carve-out for voting rights legislation. Then pass both pieces that are ready to go and DO THAT RIGHT NOW.

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* Charts are from Wikipedia

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