Politics & Democracy

Connecting Dots


Post 1,006

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Congressional Republicans have pseudo-patriotic, brain damaged explanations for not supporting Ukraine. Of course, they’re either making up “alternative facts’ or clutching their boundless ignorance to their chests, the place where courage should reside but obviously does not. The reality is that Ukraine is fighting our fight for us. It is the fight for Western civilization, for our values and for democracy everywhere. Now why would these elected congresspeople oppose fighting for our values and our democracy? The answer to that question is the first dot for making a picture.

There was an active shooter at a middle school in the Milwaukee suburb of Germantown, WI on Monday the 23rd. The only casualty was the shooter, killed by police, who arrived quickly and acted immediately. We sure could have used those folks at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX last year.

On Wednesday the 25th there were what the experts call “spree shootings” at a bar and grill and at a bowling alley in the towns of Lewiston and Auburn, ME. The suspect, now dead by his own hand, was a former military firearms instructor. He had been committed to a mental health facility last summer. He is reported to be “hearing voices” and made threats against others, including against the National Guard base in Saco, ME.

He was in possession of a military style rifle designed not for deer hunting or target shooting, but to kill lots of people at a really fast rate. Plus, he was apparently carrying a large supply of ammunition. The shooter killed 18 people, injured 13 others and broke hearts throughout the state and our country.

The alleged shooter legally owned that assault rifle, all that ammunition, a hand gun and whatever other killing implements he carried. Why do you suppose he was able to do that?

One of the senators representing the people of Germantown, WI is Ron Johnson (R-WI). He’s a steadfast opponent of any and all legislation that might have kept a gun out of the hands of both of those alleged shooters. There are many dozens like him in Congress. Now, why would so many of our nation’s senators and representatives oppose safety in that way, especially when the overwhelming majority of We The People want it? The answer has nothing to do with originalist Constitution notions or even bravado and chest thumping about the Second Amendment. The answer to that question is the second dot for making a picture.

It took the majority Republican House 22 days to find a replacement for Kevin “Cut Mine Off’ McCarthy. He gave away nearly everything, so it took only eight flaming radical congresspeople to dump him. Matt Gaetz (“he who partied with under-age girls”) led that attack on McCarthy, pretty much only because after McCarthy gave away everything to become Speaker for less than 10 months, Gaetz wanted what was left of his dignity, this in order to please Trump. That’s the third dot.

The extremists supporting their second nominee for speaker, Gym Jordan (R-Hell), threatened other Republicans and their families with violence if they opposed his nomination. That’s thugocracy. Those threats deeply divided the Republican caucus and resulted in a complete standstill in the House during a worsening crisis in Ukraine and the Hamas terrorist attack on Israel.

Without the Republican paralysis of Congress they would have been able to take action. But the flamers blocked that and all other congressional action for over 3 weeks. Some are promising to ensure that the government is made to shut down just before Thanksgiving. Now, why would they do any of that? Consider that the fourth dot.

Now they’ve elected Mike Johnson (R-LA) as the new Speaker of the House. He’s the guy who led the effort in the House to overturn the 2020 presidential election. He’s an election denier. A Big Lie guy. A Trump toady. A fanatic. A legislative insurrectionist. Yes, every Republican voted for him.*

“To sin by silence when we should protest makes cowards of men.” – Ella Wheeler Wilcox (Many thanks to MG)

He’s a God-invoking hypocrite who is guilty of attempted destruction of our democracy and our Constitution. Perhaps you remember the Constitution as that thing to which Johnson swore his solemn oath, hand on the bible he thumps, to protect and defend our Constitution from all enemies, both foreign and domestic. Then he enthusiastically led Republican representatives to violate it in legislative insurrection. Consider Mike Johnson guilty of dereliction of duty, a breaker of his word, unfit to serve and the fifth dot.

We could go on, but all the dots inevitably become a picture of destruction, of American terrorist attacks on our nation. These people are robotic acolytes of Trump and Steve Bannon. Doing what is best for America is not their motivation. What they want is to “tear it all down.” They want to demolish our government, our institutions, our rule of law, our notions of equality, our Declaration of Independence and Constitutional guarantees that no person, no race, no nationality, no religion is above others. Our 234 years of laws make clear that White Christian men have no claim of dominion and power over the rest of us. But that’s no obstacle to these extremists. Doubt that?

Those better-than-the-rest-of-us straight (they claim), White Christian (they claim) men – no women – would be pleased to enslave you if you are not one of them. We know that, because that was the very essence of the South before the Civil War and that is what the present day domination seekers promise. They want to dominate you. They want to own you.

The Republican picture is one of destruction, domestic terrorism, hatred, fear mongering and subjugation of the great masses of us by a privileged class that believes they are above us.

That’s what people voting Republican are voting for.
.

When the dots are connected they reveal a democracy and freedom apocalypse, a picture that you and I will deeply dislike.

Quotes Of The Week

From Sheila Markin in The Markin Report of October 27, “The Coup Caucus Won:”

The extremists don’t want government to work. If government doesn’t work then Biden can be blamed and democracy can be seen as a failed form of government. The goal of GOP extremists is to trash the system and crash our government .  .  .  For them, chaos IS the goal.

In a webinar on Friday Rep. Sean Casten (D-IL-6) answered my question about what the magic pill is to get the right people into Congress who will pass legislation that delivers what We The People want, like democracy. He made some insightful comments and ended by focusing on hope. It’s not in robust supply in these politically dark times. Here’s his final comment:

“The magic pill is us.”

That rather smacks of then-candidate Barack Obama declaring what was so plainly true:

“We are the people we’ve been waiting for.”

They are both right. It’s up to us.

_____________________________________

* From Steve Schmidt’s The Warning on October 26:

Perhaps the best way to understand this point [of difference in Speakers] is by appreciating how cynicism can fuel fanaticism. Kevin [McCarthy} believed in nothing but power, while [Mike] Johnson sees power as a means to impose his fanaticism.


Today is a good day to be the light

______________________________

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

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

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA


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

The Core Issue


From STAT, August 21, 2023:

More children are dying from guns, and disparities are deepening
.

In 2020 guns caused the most deaths among U.S. children and adolescents, for the first time surpassing motor vehicle deaths. In 2021, it got worse. A new analysis of CDC data in Pediatrics shows that from 2018 to 2021, the death rate climbed by 41.6%. “With the unexpected sharp uptick of pediatric firearm deaths noted in 2020, rates did not return to prepandemic levels in 2021, but rather continued to increase and surpassed initial pandemic levels,” the authors write.

The breakdown of children who died:

– In 2021, 84.8% were male, 49.9% were Black, 82.6% were 15 to 19 years-old, and 64.3% died by homicide.

– Black children accounted for 67.3% of firearm homicides and white children for 78.4% of firearm suicides.

– From 2020-2021, the suicide rate increased among Black and white children but decreased among American Indian or Alaskan Native children.

– Higher poverty correlated with higher gun-related deaths.

Our obsessive craziness and lethality over guns is a core issue of mine. With over 27,000 gun deaths already this year, it should be a core issue for all of us. The sad truth is that we will never confront and stop this travesty if we continue down the path of ceding our rights to those who fight against what should be common sense. Indeed, we will never tackle any of the issues that the majority of us care about if we cede our rights to those who fight against what we want. That leads us to an uncomfortable reality. Steve Sheffey nails it in his post of August 20:

Democracy must be our new litmus test. We all have non-negotiable issues but democracy must come first and foremost because only in a democracy can we advocate for the other issues we care about and only in a democracy are our other freedoms protected. Under the old paradigm, we could take for granted that both parties shared a fundamental commitment to democracy and the rule of law.

But it’s different now. Here’s the necessary action piece, also from Sheffey:

Only the Democratic Party respects democratic norms today, which means that only the Democratic Party deserves our support. That’s not what we want to hear because it deprives us of agency. But if we support democracy then that means the GOP fails our litmus test and if we believe what we are saying, we have to vote Democratic. That’s not easy to accept but it is reality.

Steve Schmidt weighed in on the core issue of democracy in his post of August 20,

Democracy dies in the plain light of day
.

The masthead of The Washington Post has read “Democracy Dies in Darkness” for the last six years. It stands as a daily monument of naïveté, smug self-seriousness and delusion that will be a beacon to our descendants in the task of unraveling how the country became so lost in this moment. What will be most obvious is that democracy dies at noon, in the plain light of day, slowly and painfully over many long tedious years.

Never one to mince words, in another post Schmidt offered,

There is no fringe in the MAGA majority. It is an undulating blob of layered imbecility, cowardice, vice, extremism, ignorance, ambition, incompetence and scheming, bubbling and gurgling together in a ceaseless assault against democracy. The fringe and its middle are identical. MAGA is round and without edges.

The proposition at hand for the country is whether a majority will tolerate the lies, corruption, malice and cruelty offered by the MAGA GOP because of the imperfections of the Democratic Party. There is no comparison between the two in terms of comportment, ethics and political morality. MAGA tried to overthrow the government, and is running on a scorched earth platform of revenge and retribution. Alongside the confederacy, Jim Crow and McCarthyism, MAGA is amongst the most odious concoctions ever created from the fumes of American nativism and know- nothingness. It is a pestilence.

We are seeing the alt-right assault on democracy happening every day in ways that are far larger than they might seem at first and it’s only coming from what used to be called conservatives.

But they are not conservative.

Today’s alt-righties are promoting a scheme to grab all of your power, your voice and your money. They have been actively working to steal from you and to destroy our democracy for decades and have gained enormous traction in today’s pugilistic, fantasy-driven politics.

Their power grab is what makes protecting and defending democracy the core issue of our time. It overrides everything.

That is why I’ve become active in The Union, the only issue of which is to protect and defend our democracy. Check it out.

Just For Fun

The Behr Paint Company has announced its color of the year for 2024. It’s

CRACKED PEPPER!
.

From the official Behr color palette

The Behr marketing folks would have you know that,

“Cracked Pepper is a versatile soft black that elevates any room and the way you feel in it.”

Huh?

“As we look into 2024, creating a sense of comfort and belonging will continue to drive design decisions—but now, as life returns to its more familiar rhythms, it’s time to allow our senses to come alive,” says Erika Woelfel, Vice President of Color and Creative Services at Behr Paint Company. “From heightening the aromas of a dining room to feeling the softness of a living area, Cracked Pepper enhances the natural expression in any space.”

What does an “elevated room” look like and how does paint do that? How does their product “allow our senses to come alive” and “height[en] the aromas of a dining room?”

C’mon, man. It’s just paint that’s almost black. Seriously, who comes up with descriptions like this for paint? And what are they smoking?


  • Today is a good day to be the light

    ______________________________

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

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

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA


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

Break Glass


I can’t listen to another pundit drivel on about whatever certainties s/he has about the election outcomes or the most important voter issues or which candidates were the most ineffective or whatever they think the unreliable polls tell us. I’ll shoot my TV if I see another ad for a politician conflating unrelated information shards to insinuate evil awfulness upon his/her opponent – and I don’t own a gun.

I’m really glad I can stop transferring my entire snailmailbox contents to the recycle bin without even glancing at what’s there. And if I get yet more solicitations from candidates I’ve never heard of clogging my email Inbox or my text message app, blaming, shaming or just begging for cash, I’ll shoot my iPhone. Did I mention that I don’t have a gun?

Regarding the election, the fat lady ain’t sung yet and it ain’t over ’til it’s over.

On the other hand, Trump and his minions of soul-less election candidates will be wailing poisonous red tears to stop the vote counting because they were ahead on Tuesday night. But here’s the thing.

The votes of millions of early voters are prohibited from being counted before election day in most states and some states don’t start counting those ballots until after election day. That means that it will take days beyond Tuesday – maybe weeks – to register all those millions of votes and determine the free, fair, real election winners, not just who was ahead in the counting on Tuesday night. These are the votes and the voters – We the People – Trump and his cheaters want to ignore. Poor babies, it’s so inconvenient for autocrats and fascists to have all the votes tallied fully and accurately.

Meanwhile, I have good news and bad news.

The good news is that this election cycle is at last over. Or it would be if the anti-American, Constitution-denying, self-serving Piglets of Populism would stop lying and accept the will of We the People. Instead, they work to undermine us – We the People – this for their own benefit. Steady yourself for an onslaught, a never-ending tsunami of stupid stuff designed to submarine the Constitution, our democracy and us in order for these crepes to gain more power and money. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that the 2024 campaign formally began last night.

The election denying, evidence-free lies and hollow-brain temper tantrums over yesterday’s election will go on, adamantly rejecting the facts, denying reality and attacking values the liars claim to have. Today’s election denying will be super-glued to the same evil, evidence-free claims still being made about the 2020 election. Once again, we must be conscious of the established fact that there is no bottom below which they won’t slime themselves.

This election was about a lot. Much Republican wailing and gnashing of teeth happened over inflation and the economy and it was a good issue, because voters are being smacked in the wallet every day. And everyone is afraid of crime – it’s in the news and in our neighborhoods. The Rs did a fine job of attacking, insinuating, blaming and making people afraid. They’re good at that. But, once again, here’s the thing:

They never – not even once – said what they would do to make things better.

They offered no solutions, no policies, no nothing for We the People.

They never had anything for us other than telling us to be afraid and who is to blame.*

What Republicans promise. Thanks go to Jim Nathan for this pic.

That was the direction Mitch McConnell gave the Republicans. Even if one of them had had a policy idea at any time over the past 40 years, Mitch the Merciless told them to stuff it. “Never betray that we Republicans haven’t a constructive brain cell among us,” he seemed to say.

That’s been the Republican platform at least since the 2020 race, when the platform was outlined on a single sheet of paper that essentially explained that they have no platform, other than to cut yet more taxes for rich guys and corporations and to eliminate every program that helps We the People. See the graphic to the right.

So, more good news and bad news.

The good news is that the cruel, hollow-brained, nothing-for-the-nation Republican strategy is what you can expect to hear for the next two years. At least you know what’s coming. It will be wrapped in red, white and blue, but it will be anti-American. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that the future of our nation is at stake and about 90 million eligible voters didn’t bother to vote yesterday to preserve and protect it. Question: Why do we celebrate record turnout of 50%?

Break glass. Yell “FIRE!

——————————–

* The movie An American President was written by Aaron Sorkin. Here are some of his words via his fictional President Andrew Shepherd from that film. Substitute for the name Bob Rumson any Republican liar, MAGA extremist, election results denier, voter fraud claiming candidate for any office.

“Why would a senator, his party’s most powerful spokesman and a candidate for President, choose to reject upholding the Constitution?”

“I’ve known Bob Rumson for years and I’ve been operating under the assumption that the reason Bob devotes so much time and energy to shouting at the rain was that he simply didn’t get it.”

“We have serious problems to solve and we need serious people to solve them. And whatever your particular problem is I promise you Bob Rumson is not the least bit interested in solving it. He’s interested in two things and two things only: making you afraid of it and telling you who’s to blame for it. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win elections.”

Woe is us if President Shepherd was right.

————————————

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

Fire the bastards!

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Hypocrisy Runs Deep


Click me

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Caution: The font in the report is Lilliputian. Find your BIGGER button before attempting to read it.


Tweeting Republicans

This is adapted from the Buffalo Springfield song For What It’s Worth.

    • Hypocrisy sure strikes deep.
    • Into your life it will creep.
    • Starts when you’re always afraid.
    • Step out of line the man come and tweet you away.
  • .
    • Think it’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound?
    • Everybody knows what’s going down.

Here’s what’s going down – from Mother Jones Daily of October 10:

Referring to Black people as “the people who do the crime.” Yep, that’s straight from a sitting senator’s mouth. Vowing to put Donald Trump in the White House [regardless of the actual vote count] if he wins Nevada’s secretary of state race next month .  .  . Republican nominee Jim Marchant promised to do exactly that. Asserting that abortion decisions belong to “gentlemen” state lawmakers. Step right up, it’s New Hampshire’s Republican candidate for Senate, Don Bolduc.

And here’s what’s going down per The New York Times “The Morning” of October 11:

Doug Mastriano, the Republican nominee for governor of Pennsylvania, attacked the Jewish school that his opponent, Josh Shapiro, attended, alarming Jewish voters.

The Los Angeles City Council president resigned from her leadership post after leaked audio captured her making racist remarks.

These guys and the other 295 Big Lie Republican candidates running for office this year under the LIES R US flag know better, just as the Republican senators knew better when they voted not-guilty in both of Trump’s impeachment trials. Those poor dears were always afraid that the man would come and tweet them away. That would be bad for them, so they asked, “What oath of office?”

Don’t forget all the Republican lawmakers who voted to kill Biden’s bills and who are now hypocritically bragging about bringing home the bacon to their states and districts.

Hypocrisy runs deep – and all it takes is the threat of a tweet.

What About Rural Women?

Republicans love and honor women, they tell us, except when it comes to being in charge of their own bodies. And this story gets worse.

A recent STAT report detailed “maternity care deserts,” a March Of Dimes term, offering some startling information:

39% of all U.S. counties are “maternity care deserts,” defined as “any county without a hospital or birth center offering obstetric care and without any obstetric providers.” And that number is getting worse.

We have “the highest maternal mortality rate among comparable wealthy countries.”

” .  .  . states with strict abortion bans have a higher percentage of residents living in maternity care deserts.”

They go on to say,

“It seems ironic that you would both create a system where people were sometimes forced to remain pregnant and forced to give birth, and that in those very same places, there would be a disinvestment in the health care facilities to care for people having babies.”

Let’s see, Republicans want to completely eliminate abortion services regardless of rape, incest or health of the mother, and at the same time leave them with no maternal care. Plus, they’re continuing to try to pull the plug on the Affordable Care Act and leave many of these women unable to afford healthcare even if they were able to find it.

  • And most of these at-risk, under-served women are in
  • rural  red states.

So, the answer from Republicans to the question, “What about rural women?” is, “We Republicans don’t care about you at all.”

Hypocrisy runs deep.

Hypocrisy Becomes Scum

You hear the lies, distortions and grievances all the time, but righties have found a new way to bamboozle voters.

The pic to the right is of the North Cook (as in: Cook County IL) News. It is an 8-page rag that has shown up uninvited in my mailbox for a couple of weeks. Despite its appearance, it is not a newspaper and it is not news. It is far right propaganda disguised as journalism.

Here are the titles of some of the articles:

[Gov.] Pritzker family, Lurie Children’s Hospital promote ‘gender and sex development experiments’ to Illinois public schools

[53rd District State Representative candidate] Vrett says his upport [sic] of law enforcement key distinction from opponent

‘Kink,’ ‘BDSM,’ and ‘trans-friendly’ sex toys for Illinois school children?

Pritzker suffocates free speech (opinion)

This trash comports with MAGA lunacy claiming that Democrats are homicidal perverts and are against law enforcement. In its pimpiness it’s worthy of a Lee Atwater or Roger Stone* scumbag award.

Hypocrisy runs deep.

But It Isn’t Universal

Have a look at Rep. Adam Kinzinger’s (R-IL) “2022 Defenders of Democracy.” The people on his list are singled out and endorsed, not because of party or policy notions, but because they, “put country over party and will uphold their oaths to defend democracy — no matter what.”

There are others like them. Seek them out, support their candidacies and vote for them.

Hypocrisy Smack Down

From Heather Cox Richardson’s Letters From An American, October 12, 2022, responding to MAGA claims that the Alex Jones defamation case was about free speech and political persecution:

” .  .  .  the First Amendment to the Constitution protects us only from the government silencing us. It does not stop legal responsibility for damage our words cause, for which Jones has been found liable. A jury—not the government—has assigned the $965 million award to those whose lives Jones harmed.”

Hooray for truth, justice and the American way!

Finally

I’ve said many times that I’m an Eisenhower Republican. Here’s why (pic courtesy of JN).

Note that this doesn’t mention Ike leading us to invest in our infrastructure, like building the Interstate Highway System. I like that stuff – so do you – but today’s Republican blabbers don’t.

My, how conservatism has changed!

——————————–

* From Robert Reich in a fund raiser email for MoveOn.Org October 16, 2022:

Last week, new video was leaked of Roger Stone in the weeks leading up to the 2020 election encouraging Donald Trump to declare victory no matter the results. He ended his speech by saying, “F*ck the voting. Let’s get right to the violence.” ª

Last month, Donald Trump threatened that there will be a revolt, “the likes of which perhaps we’ve never seen,” if he is indicted. º

Weeks before that, Senator Lindsey Graham made clear that there “will be riots in the streets,” if Trump is held accountable for stealing our country’s secrets. ¨

And all of these statements come on the heels of Republicans declaring, “When does the shooting start?” “Summertime was made for killing fields.” “We’re at war!” in the aftermath of the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago. ˜,*

Sources:

ª “‘Let’s get right to the violence:’ New documentary film footage shows Roger Stone pre-Election Day,” CNN, September 27, 2022
https://act.moveon.org/go/168969?t=8&akid=335815%2E56840332%2Evm4I3n

º “Trump warns of ‘big problems’ if indicted, says he’d still run for office,” The Washington Post, September 15, 2022
https://act.moveon.org/go/168028?t=10&akid=335815%2E56840332%2Evm4I3n

¨ “Graham Predicts ‘Riots in the Streets’ if Trump Is Prosecuted,” The New York Times, August 29, 2022
https://act.moveon.org/go/168029?t=12&akid=335815%2E56840332%2Evm4I3n

 ˜,* “The House G.O.P. is rallying around Trump after the F.B.I. search.” The New York Times, August 9, 2022
https://act.moveon.org/go/165489?t=14&akid=335815%2E56840332%2Evm4I3n

————————————

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Inside President Biden’s Head


Page 1: Conjuring

He has not invited me into his head, nor has he shared his inner politician or inner President with me. He and I have had no Vulcan mind meld, nor any spooky transmissions. But there’s stuff going on in President Biden’s brain and, blurt-prone though he may be, not everything he thinks gets spewed publicly. We’re left to conjure his intentions.

And conjure, I do! About things like our blatantly political and extremist (did I mention radical?) Supreme Court as an arm of the Republican Party, exactly what the Founders thought they were protecting us from.

People were calling for Biden to expand the Court with centrists and center-leftists even before he was inaugurated, afraid that the things we feared would come about – things like yet more voter disenfranchisement, the end of Roe, more onerous gerrymandering, preventing the EPA from regulating the emission of greenhouse gases, defeating efforts to keep guns out of public places, tearing more bricks from the wall separating church and state and the flood of corporate cash into our politics (what did I miss?). Our fears have been realized, as all of these things have come about.

The bad news from the Court may not be done. On the docket now is a case to decide if state legislatures can take away your vote – literally negate your citizenship (Harper v. Moore). That’s exactly what Republican controlled state legislatures are attempting to do. If they get their way via this radical Supreme Court, it will be a time stamped event that will mark the moment when democracy was permanently crushed and died. The decision is now in the hands of the Court, with oral arguments having been presented on October 4. If this doesn’t scare you, re-read this paragraph.

So, how come President Biden has been silent, not even speaking to something as simple and non-aggressive as imposing ethics rules on our Supreme Court justices – rules like those on judges in other courts? Or establishing term limits so that we can shed grumpy and radical old men? And how come he has refused comment on expanding the court to 13? Two reasons.

First, attempting any of that before the mid-term election would likely produce an overwhelming wave of Republicans in Congress, at which point all progress would grind to a halt and a Republican would win the White House in 2024. Trying to do any reform would be a near-perfect strategy for losing.

That could change following the mid-term election because Biden has Captain Kangaroo pockets full of major legislative wins. But that’s not likely, which leads us to the second reason Biden has been silent.

He doesn’t like any of those ideas. His refusal to so much as have a conversation about any effort to moderate this radical Court tells you all you need to know about what’s in his head. Expect reform of the Supreme Court in about half a century. Maybe a full century. If we still have courts and if we still have a democracy.

That’s what I conjure about Biden’s conjuring about the Supreme Court. I really want to be wrong about this and fear that I won’t be.

Page 2: Hurricane Ian and President Biden

From former colleague Nora Paller:

Community In Action

Watching the scary, dangerous, horribly damaging Hurricane Ian devastate Florida and beyond was tragic. Many people will never be able to come back financially [or] from the emotional trauma of this event. The only good thing was to see all the people who reached out to help – to see community in action. Pulling together to face a larger threat can bring people at odds with each other to let it go and work together. All of sudden, DeSantis wants to talk to Biden. Instead of wasting Florida’s money sending asylum seekers to Massachusetts [link is mine], he is doing something direct[ly] for the people of Florida. Could we stop all this nonsense and work together? Turns out they could and we can.

President Biden, you can lead a Community In Action parade with just your words. Here’s hoping that’s in your head, because the people of Puerto Rico, Florida and the Carolinas need a parade right now.

Page 3: What Is In President Biden’s Head

Securing solid majorities in both houses of Congress is in the front of President Biden’s frontal lobe, because all progress depends on that. Absent those majorities, hateful fools like Republican Joe Kent will get their way and obstruction is all that will happen.

We had eight years of The Party Of No when President Obama was in office and people like Speaker of the House John Boehner and Tea Party Republicans were pledged to Mitch McConnell’s hateful commitment to “Make Obama a one-term president.” True to their word, that’s all – that’s everything – they attempted to do. The Republicans opposed everything Obama proposed in goose-stepping, moronic uniformity. They were and are The Party Of No.

And that’s what we’ll get again unless there are solid BLUE majorities elected next month. That’s in President Biden’s head for sure. He knows that. You know that, too.

————————————

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

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 2023 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 2023 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 2023 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 2023 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.

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Copyright 2023 by Jack Altschuler
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