Rights

A Great America


POST 1074


The Two Greatest Days in Politics in the 2000s
  1. November 4, 2008: Barack Obama won the presidential election. We were with him in Grant Park. It was beyond glorious.
  2. May 30, 2024: Donald Trump was convicted of 34 criminal counts. Accountability is at last sinking its righteous claws into him. It is beyond glorious.
Camelot

Experts estimate that between 100,000 and 150,000 people were crucified by the Romans. Along a lovely 120 mile length of the highway between Rome and Capua, the Romans crucified 6,000 people in a single day. So, it wasn’t just Jesus and the two robbers hanging on crosses nearby. Crucifixion was the blood sport of the Romans for centuries. There is no point in denying this. It was chronicled and it happened just that way.

We could reasonably consider the Romans the inventors of industrialized murder and we know that such brutality became more efficient through the centuries. Those who have a need to refuse reality might not consider that at all. I’m looking at you, White Supremacist, and your boundless fears and cruelty and your joy of hatred. I have no notion that you will ever open your eyes and consider the reality of the brutality of humankind or your part in enabling it today.

See Note #5 below.

As long as we’re doing some considering, let’s consider the final paragraph of the introduction to political theorist and philosopher Hanna Arendt’s superb work, The Origins of Totalitarianism.

“We can no longer afford to take that which was good in the past and simply call it our heritage, to discard the bad and simply think of it as a dead load which by itself will bury in oblivion. The subterranean stream of Western history has finally come to the surface and usurped the dignity of our tradition. This is the reality in which we live. And this is why all efforts to escape from the grimness of the present into nostalgia for a still intact past, or into the anticipated oblivion of a better future, are in vain.”

Arendt wrote those words in the summer of 1950 amid the overwhelming deluge of the hideous truth, the soul shattering reality of the Holocaust, as the world was fighting for even just a foothold on a path to sanity.

Historical note to the hateful and intentionally ignorant

Like the Roman crucifixions, the Holocaust was chronicled, even by its perpetrators. It happened.

But Arendt’s words weren’t just for that day, There are millions in America right now wearing MAGA hats and tee shirts, chanting epithets in the perplexing notion that there was once some longed for American Camelot. They demand that we “Make America Great Again.” Of course, it’s the “Again” part that is a vaporous Camelotian myth and a deeply troubling threat for the rest of us.

It seems that these MAGA folks think there really was a Camelot in America somewhere around the same time when Arendt wrote the paragraph above. O’ those were the days, when Whites, no matter their ignorance or poverty, towered over Blacks, no matter their education or financial station. It was a time when in their hearts, millions of White Americans felt they were like Bull Connor, free to dispense hatred, discrimination and brutality. That’s when America was great, they tell us. And that might have been true, if you were White and the word “great” meant power over others.

But then someone realized that segregation in our schools was inherently unequal and, therefore, unconstitutional, this in the face of the earlier, segregationist Plessy v. Ferguson decision. School integration was the end of American greatness for many, of course, and other laws and norms further distanced that Camelot dream. Backlash has been constant ever since.

Now the calls for White supremacy and Christian nationalism are mainstream. What a time it is for them to proclaim their hatreds and grievances because Camelot for haters and discriminators has largely slipped away, so they’re angry and they nurse their venom glands.

But the thing is that it isn’t Camelot if it isn’t Camelot for everyone. That is the key Constitutional point that MAGAs just don’t get – that they refuse to get. They are entirely about domination. Not too oddly, “others” don’t care to be dominated.

Arendt was and still is right. “We can no longer afford to take that which was good in the past and simply call it our heritage, to discard the bad and simply think of it as a dead load which by itself will bury in oblivion.” There was plenty of good in 1950, but it was in no way guaranteed for all, nor was it the full story. The bad wasn’t and isn’t a dead load and it has not and will not be buried in oblivion, unless we insist on forgetting the past. If we do that we will then repeat the horrors.

Perhaps the most virulent of the White Supremacists really mean it when they call for death to all Jews and, effectively, slavery or expulsion of Blacks, Asians and Hispanics. Maybe the less violent ones just want all of them put on transports and returned to wherever the exporters think they came from. Maybe we should scrub all the non-European names from the records at Ellis and Angel Islands.

Insanity like that is key to the totalitarian’s playbook. In fact, the rounding up like cattle of over 11 million people into concentration camps, then transporting them to who-knows-where is exactly what Trump has said he will do if he’s re-elected. And, like every totalitarian before him, he won’t stop there. The dissolving of freedom and rights won’t end until there are no more freedom and rights to eliminate. Should you have any doubts about that, take a quick look at today’s Russia, Hungary and so many other totalitarian states and even ancient Rome. The expansion of oppression is continuous.

“But Trump won’t do all that,” some say. During the 2016 campaign he vowed to prevent anyone from a Muslim majority country from entering the U.S. and, once elected, he tried to do just that in 3 failed attempts. Finally, a slightly watered down version went into effect. Get over your notion that Trump won’t do the abhorrent things he says he’ll do. He’s proven that he will and he’s sufficiently diabolical to try to do all of them. Ref: The 2025 Project of discrimination, cruelty and subjugation.

Some of the past surely was great. Some was miserable and cruel. What the future will be depends upon our insistence on recognizing the full reality of both the great and the grotesque and deciding to live into the great.

Best Phrase of the Week

Zanny Minton Beddoes, Editor-in-Chief of The Atlantic, wrote about the enormous backlash against the abortion bans triggered by the Dobbs decision. It has put reproductive healthcare out of the reach of one-third of American women. She called this backlash,

a revolt of the reasonable.

Gotta love that.

Fact Check of the Week

On Friday, May 31, Trump delivered his post-conviction comments to a Trump Tower lobby full of his employees and sycophants, this following his becoming a convict the day before. It was a reprise of his 2015 golden escalator announcement.

I say reprise because, like the 2015 event, not one accusation, not one statement about others, not one characterization was true. Not one. It was all abhorrent lies.

This is the standard extremist, authoritarian tactic, now used by most Republicans, of sweeping, grotesque accusations without even a hint of evidence or justification. These defamatory statements are not false facts or alternative facts. They are lies. And they come in a torrent, making fact checking almost impossible.

There are two true things to say about the lies and about Trump and his followers.

  1. Lying is almost the same as breathing for Trump and his acolytes.
  2. MAGA supporters believe all of it, unable to think critically about their leader. They will send money.

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.
    6. Clicking on most pics will take you to the source information.

    Click me

    JA


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

Not That Giuliani


POST 1065


Giuliani Can Wait. First Crime, Anti-Social Behavior and Cookies

All the statistics tell us that our rate of crime is decreasing. Nevertheless, we rage at one another as though it’s a holy exercise against crime, as some may well feel that it is. What could better demonstrate our goodness and integrity than frothing at the mouth our declarations that we are right and those who disagree are agents of the devil? More important, what is it that drives us to distrust one another so vehemently?

Thom Hartmann explored this once again in a recent post. Here are some snippets to give you a clue.

Poverty doesn’t cause the societal disintegration that leads to most crime, it turns out: inequality does. And America is now, far and away, the most unequal developed country in the entire world.

So how does inequality provoke criminality? The research on the topic is pretty exhaustive, albeit poorly publicized, and the simplest explanation is among the most easily understood: humans are wired to rebel against unfairness. Unfairness thus destroys social trust.

Walk into a preschool class and give one child a pile of cookies while giving everybody else only one each and see what happens. In fact, it’s not just humans; this holds true across all mammalian species from rats to dogs to apes.

In just reading those words about cookies I bet you can feel the words forming on your lips: “THAT’S NOT FAIR!” You’ve rebelled against unfairness all your life because, well, unfairness is unfair. It’s offensive. It’s cruel. And you’ve seen a lot of unfairness.

As research across 33 nations published in Oxford’s European Journal of Public Health found, inequality devastates social trust among people, opening the door to antisocial crime, including violent crime .  .  .

While billionaires who pay less in federal income tax rates than you do blast themselves into space on giant penis-shaped rockets, the majority of Americans are struggling to get by. I say “the majority” because a decade ago the number of Americans who could call themselves “middle class” slipped below 50% for the first time since the Eisenhower era. [all emphasis original]

Billionaires now pay a lower rate than the bottom half of income earners. Click the pic for the story and  read Thom Hartmann’s comments here.

Little wonder that we are a nation of pissy people, some violently pissy, looking for others to blame. Just listen to the victim raging at Trump rallies and at White supremacist demonstrations, the bullying at school board meetings and the intimidation of voters. The ragers are brainlessly claiming voter fraud in the presence of exactly zero evidence of it, but they are disenfranchising millions nevertheless, leading to more power and wealth transferred to the rich and more dis-empowerment and impoverishing of everyone else.

We are four decades into the very intentional program of the transfer of massive wealth from our poor and middle class to our wealthy and ultra-wealthy. This has been incrementally baked into our economy and our psyches and we haven’t even noticed the shift because generally the individual changes have been small, except for the trillions of dollars of tax reductions for the rich, engineered by Bush II and Trump. Those led to $ trillions more national debt that you and I are paying for. Collectively they have undermined your prospects and your wallet massively. Somewhere in our innards is our scream, “THAT ISN’T FAIR!” And we are right.

Worse, we are wrongly taking it out on one another. The fair target of our anger over loss of trust in ourselves lies with self-serving politicians and ultra-wealthy manipulators. For a current view of how these people intend to take all the rest from you, see this. Don’t be bamboozled by the apparently patriotic claims in that document. It is a blatantly anti-American plan to destroy our country and hoard all the wealth and power for the already massively rich.

It’s no longer about cookies. But it’s still about unfairness. And, like Justice Potter Stewart commenting about pornography, you know unfairness when you see it.

Yeah, He’s a Creep, But .  .  .

.  .  .  for a moment, set aside the bad taste in your mouth caused by Rudy Giuliani’s behavior over the past two decades and try to remember this.

Click me – watch all 8 minutes of this video – and remember

In the aftermath of the 9/11 attack Rudy Giuliani, then Mayor of New York City, attended every funeral for the 343 first responders who died on that awful day. He spoke words of empathy and encouragement that the people of the city and across the nation, wounded as we were, needed to hear. They called him “America’s mayor.” He was what the nation needed in that moment, especially since Dubya had failed us so terribly and allowed that attack to happen.

Giuiliani went on SNL just 18 days after the catastrophe. With him and filling the stage were the fire chief, the police chief and as many NYFD and NYPD personnel as they could fit. Standing in the long and strong applause, he took no credit for himself, telling us that the first responders behind him and those not there that Saturday night were the heroes. His message was strong. He threw a humorous jibe at Lorne Michaels when he was asked if it was okay for the SNL cast to be funny. He told us that New York was open for business. We got the message. It was okay to smile again.

That clip brought to mind our present troubles. We are under attack from a large and sometimes violent portion of our countrymen, now properly labeled domestic terrorists. We have thousands of public servants who refuse to do the will of the people, making them a threat to our democracy, a roadblock to solving our problems and to forming a more perfect union. Indeed, these people are working to create a system of permanent minority rule, the very antithesis of democracy. Even our Supreme Court, once the most honored and trusted institution in the nation, is now distrusted by nearly 2 of every 3  of our citizens. Around 45% of voters intend to vote for a sexual attacker, defamer and likely to be convicted felon. These are very dark times indeed.

When the time is right, who will stand in leadership and tell us that we remain the most important democracy in the world, the place of We The People, the shining city on the hill?

Who will declare that we are the keepers of the flame of freedom and justice?

Who will tell us that we can once again talk with our neighbors and even strangers and that we are still America?

Who will tell us that it is okay to smile again?

We need to be thinking about that and deciding who we want to stand in that place of trust and of leadership on January 20, 2025. Our military professionals are taught “Mission first. People always.” What about the rest of us – what are our marching orders?

Our mission is clear. We need to be doing whatever it takes so that the right person is standing before us and announcing to the world and to ourselves, “We The People are America.”

And that it’s okay to smile again.

Remembrance

Tonight starts Yom HaShoah, the day we remember those caught in the betrayals, the cruelty and the death of the Holocaust. We remember for many reasons, including that genocides continue to occur. But mostly we remember the innocents who suffered and the ones who died – were murdered – then.

They were just like you. They worked hard, they loved their children and their children loved to play. Until they no longer could. Light a candle today in their honor.

We remember, lest they be forgotten. May their memory be for a blessing.


Today is a good day to be the light

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

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

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA


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

Horrible, Horribler, Horriblest


POST 1061


Horrible

Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire had been a Nikki Haley supporter making Never Trump sounds, this in his blowhard-y way, but that doesn’t work now that Haley’s candidacy is over. Now he’s backing Trump. He even says Trump shouldn’t drop out of the campaign even if he’s convicted of felonies. Here’s his exchange with George Stephanopoulos last Sunday, as reported by Heather Cox Richardson:

Just to sum up,” Stephanopoulos said, “You support [Trump] for president even if he’s convicted in [the] classified documents [case]. You support him for president even though you believe he contributed to an insurrection. You support him for president even though you believe he’s lying about the last election. You support him for president even if he’s convicted in the Manhattan case. I just want to say, the answer to that is yes, correct?”

Sununu answered: “Yeah. Me and 51% of America.” *

Aside from its overstatement of Trump’s national support, Sununu’s answer illustrated the triumph of politics over principle. Earlier in the interview, Sununu explained that he could swallow all of Trump’s negatives because he wanted a Republican administration. “This is about politics,” he said.

That exchange was on the eve of jury selection in the first trial of the only ex-president to be charged with felonies. It seems that Trump isn’t the only fraud and Republicans are in a cowards conga line, meekly peeing on Trump’s command. Don’t confuse Sununu’s bluster with strength or integrity. He’s nothing more than a wimpy Trump suck up.

Horribler

From a newsletter from AVOW, a Texas organization working to protect abortion rights:

Here are just a few of the policies Texas extremists are pushing:

Direct district attorneys to investigate and prosecute abortion support funds and their donors for helping people who travel out of state for care.

Censor and shut down websites with information about accessing abortion care — including educational websites like Avow’s NeedAbortion.org.

Expand the abortion bounty law out of state for medication abortion.

It wasn’t enough for them to ban abortion care in Texas — now they want to block free travel and information. [all emphasis original]

You’re reading that correctly. The state of Texas wants to end freedom of speech and the right to travel freely between states. Plus, of course, they want to eliminate everything related to pregnancy except waiting, regardless of the viability of the fetus or whether the mother will survive the ordeal or if she was raped by a thug or is the victim of incest by Uncle BillyBob. They want to eliminate all contraception but abstinence and, it seems, stop all sexual activity unless a government official observes and approves the act. Don’t even think of getting funky.

All that prohibition is very odd, in that Texas used to proclaim itself as having a starched spine over liberty and independence. “Don’t mess with Texas,” they proudly declare. Those folks used to believe in freedom. But now we see that they only want those things for people who agree with those in power, the freaks who want to control others’ lives. Looks like those guys have taken over the job of messing with Texas.

All of that is happening in extremist Gov. Greg Abbott’s Texas, he who proudly declares, “Slice ’em with razor wire and drown ’em in the river” cruelty; he of the defying of a Supreme Court ruling; he of the un-American way.

Horriblest

We wondered why a mean spirited creep snarling, “You’re fired!” was somehow entertainment for so many. And we lived in the frustration of millions accepting obvious fantasy, lies, cruelty, sideshow hucksterism and plain-to-see narcissism, resulting in all that and more being visited upon all of us. As bad as that was, it has become far more dangerous.

Trump’s mental decline is apparent to anyone paying any attention at all. As nonsensical, as vacuously performative as he has always been, things are far worse now and are becoming clinically perilous.

You must read Trump’s Brain Is Not Okay. This is not some updated Trump bashing or progressive leveraging. This is a serious examination by serious mental health professionals of what every one of us can observe any time Trump speaks or acts in public. He is becoming incompetent in ways that unmask his inability to operate on an executive level.

Dementia in various forms isn’t uncommon, but he is campaigning to be the next President of the United States. He has declared he will be a dictator, that he’ll be your “retribution,” that he will order Seal Team Six to assassinate his political opponents, that he will order our armed forces to take hostile action against lawful American citizens. He will babble like a toddler and

He will have the nuclear codes!
.

Don’t imagine that if he is elected that sane adults will be in the room to stop him all the time. Rather, imagine him as a tyrannical child having spontaneous and unpredictable temper tantrums with the world’s most destructive toys at his disposal.

Read: Trump’s Brain Is Not Okay.
.
Actually Horriblest-er

In the House of Representatives of the United States, its Republican members brought forth an impeachment resolution and puffed with great thundering bombast and imperiousness over the managing of our southern border, effectively blaming Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas for the ongoing debacle. They presented no evidence of any high crimes or misdemeanors.

On Wednesday the full Senate of the United States took up the matter, with Republicans vying for an opportunity to get a video clip to use in their campaigns for reelection in November. After a few hours of pointless blathering, the impeachment was discarded.

The debacle that is our southern border is the result of exactly one thing: Congress has failed to deal with the problem for decades.

Two months ago the Senate passed a very tough bipartisan bill to deal with the problem, but the House Republicans were told by Donald Trump not to even bring it up for a vote. He prefers to use immigration problems as a campaign talking point. So, the Trump-owned Cowardice Caucus of Republicans sits on its hands as terrified immigrants wait and suffer. Plus at Trump’s insistence the cowards made sure that aid didn’t get to Ukraine, Taiwan or to Israel/Gaza for over 480 days.

Our Congress is doing all that in our name as people are dying.

Finally, Some Good News

The scene is a time worn courtroom in New York City. It is Friday, April 19 and all are tired from the now completed arduous task of jury selection. As the day is ending the defense is challenging yet another decision by the judge.

Justice Juan Merchan:

“The defense is targeting my decisions one by one by one. That has to end .  .  . There comes a point where you have to accept my rulings. There’s nothing else to clarify. Nothing else to argue. We are starting this trial Monday morning.”

Like it or not, Orangeman, Justice Merchan is in charge, you are not and there’s nothing you can do about it.

________________________________________
* Nope – sorry, Governor. It isn’t 51%. It’s 42%. Now, what are you going to do when that number plummets because, unlike you, Americans won’t tolerate a crook, a fraud, a traitor, a cheat, a rapist, a liar and a convicted felon in the White House?


Today is a good day to be the light

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

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

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA


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

Hope


Post 1,049


Thomas Paine

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

Click me

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

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

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

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

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

Click me – and read Note #5 below.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Speaking Of Hope

Photo credit: Al Jazeera

Hey Bibi!

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

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

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

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

You liked Ronald Reagan, right? To paraphrase him,

Mr. Netanyahu, tear down your attacks.

______________________________________

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

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

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


Today is a good day to be the light

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

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

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA


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

Joe, Ya Gotta Listen To This Guy


Post 1,047


The Message

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

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

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

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

“And I think what ties those together is:

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

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

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

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

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

“The threat and danger is Republicans.

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

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

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

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

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

The Vote And You

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I Support Donald Trump

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA


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

Is It Time to Surrender?


Post 1,043


CAUTION!

Contains both snark and sarcasm. Sensitive readers are advised to be holding both Teddy and blanket prior to reading further.


It’s time to give up. Wave the white flag. Throw in the towel. Nothing left to do but for Trump to kneel before Putin and surrender the ceremonial Presidential Sword.

MAGAs keep saying how they love Putin; how America is a failed state; how democracy is over; how a strongman American ruler allied with murderous international despots should be our future. They show their muscle by refusing aid to Ukraine, allowing Putin to continue his megalomaniac genocide in that country.

We know MAGAs will let him rampage through eastern Europe because Trump has already invited him to do so. Putin plans to invade and annex Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Moldova and all of Eastern Poland. Belarus is already a vassal state. Viktor Orbán in Hungary would immediately prostrate himself before Putin, as would Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Turkey. Go look at a map and you’ll see that at that point Putin will have effectively reconstituted the Soviet Union, the long term goal of his KGB thug heart. Why shouldn’t we let him do that? Like, who cares?

The MAGAs align with brutal leaders in many ways, like by refusing aid to Taiwan, leaving those people to wonder when Xi’s communist hoard will cross the Taiwan Strait and crush them. They cheer as Seyyed Ali Hosseini Khamenei of Iran further emboldens Hamas, Hezbollah, the Houthis in Yemen and more. He threatens to invade Iraq and he murders Iran’s citizen protesters. Not our fights – why shouldn’t we let these dictators do what they want to do?

The MAGAs in the House are once again holding up aid to Israel, just as Sen. Rand Paul likes to do in the Senate. Their delay, of course, emboldens and supports Hamas and Hezbollah, which in turn strengthens the tyrants running Iran.

So, MAGA supports what Pres. George W. Bush called the Axis of Evil and they denigrate America. So what? Even though these might-makes-right people once declared themselves to be the tough guy party, ready at a moment’s notice to stand up against what Reagan called the Evil Empire, that was so yesterday. Instead, their leader has vowed to take actions that will end NATO and the peace and economic welfare it has promoted and guarded for 75 years. Perhaps that is what we need to do. Maybe we should get out of the way. Besides, the MAGAs can more easily roll over non-MAGAs if we just sit in the stands instead of getting onto the field of play. No bloody noses that way.

Our American love affair with macho men is long standing. The toughs in our own South went to war against our nation in the 1860s, quite happy to demonstrate their love of domination of others, to the point that 620,000 soldiers died. No problem, they say. Even these 159 years later they still mourn their “lost cause” of cruelty and subjugation and they even threaten another civil war if they don’t get their way. We don’t want a war, so maybe we should hear their saber rattling and let them have their way.

Nearly 1,000 Americans in Nazi uniforms marching in New Jersey in 1937. Click me.

There were the toughs of the German American Bund of the 1930s, when red, white and blue Americans, their goose bumps a-popping, seig heiled swastikas and the likeness of Adolph Hitler. Clearly, a lot of us really like tough guys. It would be a shame if something were to happen to our nice little country, they tell us, like another Civil War, so we ought to just give in to their demands.

In fact, we have a sizable portion of Americans who long for a strongman ruler, who have little regard for the rule of law or for the lives of people they see as “others.” They love democracy only when they win. Shouldn’t we just let them have their way?

Some guys think everything is theirs to piss on. Original photo credit Pixabay.

The MAGAs suck up to Trump, Putin and absolutist, fundamentalist preachers and politicians who worship only power. Millions of sheeple are prepared to follow their every word. It seems many of us have already surrendered, so why shouldn’t the rest of us? These MAGAs are in charge with their minority rule because we don’t vote them out of office, so maybe we don’t care and should turn everything over to them.

The MAGAs in the Alabama state Supreme Court recently took a bold step toward Christian Nationalism – MAGA rule – by declaring that frozen human embryos from Invitro Fertilization efforts are children with all the rights of anyone. They declared that such embryos cannot be destroyed, as that would be murder.

Standard IVF practice is to fertilize many more eggs than necessary for one successful pregnancy in order to allow for various difficulties that might occur. The effect of the Bible-thumping ruling of the Alabama Supreme Court, with its imaginary, God-declared ruling, means that a couple who supplied the eggs and sperm for as many as 34 frozen embryos* would have to carry all 34 to term or suffer multiple counts of homicide. Clearly, our best move will be to let over-certain religious zealots dictate our every move, lest we face felony charges.

Finally, we now have the clarity we need, stated by Jack Posobiec at the 2024 CPAC convention. He said (begin at 0:50) that MAGAs are here to overthrow our democracy. More to the point, the crowd cheered his declaration.

MAGAs are a mutually reinforcing, self-generating engine of anger and destruction – and there are so many millions of them. Besides, there really is no need for us to stand up for what we know is right because there are no principles worth fighting for anymore. America is done. It’s over. it’s time to get on our knees and surrender.

Unless .  .  .

Unless we are willing to listen to our Founders, who knew so much about the cruelty of living under the thumb of a totalitarian.

Unless we still believe in liberty and justice for all.

Unless we know in our bones that once again Thomas Paine is right, that these are the times that try men’s souls and we hear his call to service.

Unless we are willing to give America what it needs – what it always needs – us.

If we make the decision, we can stand strong to make sure that we are and continue to be the shining city on a hill, the beacon of hope to the world. To keep our light shining will take all of us – all of we freedom and democracy loving people. Nobody left behind.

Do we still have the right stuff for the continuing battle? Does it still burn within us?

—————————————-

* From The average number of eggs retrieved during IVF:

“Generally, retrieving between five and 14 eggs is considered adequate for women under 35. For a woman who is 38, this number increases to between 10 and 34.”

I’m not at all clear how a 38 year old woman would deal with 34 pregnancies.


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

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

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA


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

Taking Sides


Post 1,027

___________________________________

Golda Meir, 1964

Golda Meir

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elie Wiesel, recipient of The 1986 Nobel Peace Prize

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hurry: People are dying.

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

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

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

Start the new year right:

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

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

There is a word to describe this:

COWARDICE!

.

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

____________________________________

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

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

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


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

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

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA


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

Prep for 2024: Existential


Post 1,024

___________________________________

Definition
  • existential: [ eg-zi-sten-shuhl, ek-si- ]
  • adjective

    1. of or relating to existence:

    Does climate change pose an existential threat to humanity?

    2. of, relating to, or characteristic of philosophical existentialism; concerned with the nature of human existence as determined by the individual’s freely made choices.

___________________________________

So, it’s about existence. Being-ness. It’s a lot like life – your life. And it’s the same for our democracy.

Either you have it or you don’t.

And the existence of our democracy, of our republic, hangs in a critical balance and will tip to either continuing its existence or to death this November 5.

Steve Schmidt’s post on December 25 recalled the early days of our revolution and compared the existential threat of that moment to what we and our nation face today. About the many current day traitors to the core of the meaning of America, Schmidt wrote:

There are no great speeches from the racists, Confederates, Klansmen, know nothings, lynch mobs, Bund or any of a dozen other lesser totalitarian movements that have sprung to life in America during our history. They have left behind rivers of blood, pain, suffering and oppression, but no great ideas or monuments to achievement.

The words that gave life to the Confederacy, Jim Crow and January 6 were poisonous and unworthy ones. They came from the lips and pens of America’s villains.

Think about that term: villains. You know what it means. You know one when you see one. And you see one every time you see anyone connected to MAGA, however intentional or duped-to-mindlessness they may be.

Thomas Paine

Schmidt called upon the words of Thomas Paine,* who challenged his countrymen as the Continental Army was struggling, writing,

“THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered;”

We are challenged today in much the same way as were our revolutionary patriots. We’re threatened by a powerful force using all of its cunning, all of its hatred and all of its might to crush what we hold dear. That force promises tyranny. That’s what villains always do.

The question for us in our time is the same as it was in that frigid winter of 1777: Will we be summer soldiers, sunshine patriots, or will we stand by our country and insist upon – fight for – the values we declare are ours?

Think of a value you hold dear. The MAGA mob is already trying to take it from you. Will you fight for it?

The choice is before us. If we succumb to the comfort of self-imposed immobility, wearing blinders to the in-plain-sight daggers at the throat of our freedoms, if we let the villains dominate us, we will be without freedom not only for our lifetimes, but for those of our children, our grandchildren and beyond.

More from Schmidt:

All Americans who love freedom should feel the deepest contempt for the hustlers, charlatans, cynics and opportunists who have attacked [our country] in recent years under the MAGA banner. All American patriots should have a special contempt for the weakness and cynicism of the politicians who so easily, effortlessly and willingly got on their knees to service Trump.

Schmidt calls for contempt, but a deep and potent contempt for these swindlers is not enough. Action is demanded of us right now to defeat the hustlers, the charlatans, the cynics and the opportunists who would steal our freedom from us by the cheap tricks of vitriolic lies and manipulation of our system of government.

We all know right from wrong and we know wrong when we see it. We cannot walk past this one, this existential battle calling our names, imagining someone else will stand and fight.

Here’s an example of standing and fighting for what’s right. Look at what Kirk Bangstad is doing in the battleground state of Wisconsin:

In case you can’t read this, these are the opening words of a filing with the circuit court of Wisconsin seeking a declaratory judgement to take Trump off Wisconsin election ballots and to disqualify him from serving as President. Trump earned that by inciting and supporting insurrection, a rebellion against our Constitution and an obvious violation of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.**

Bangstad is just a guy, a private citizen, a small businessman with a little local brewery. He’s taken up arms (metaphorically speaking) against a cruel and powerful enemy.

You can fight the good fight, too, and you don’t have to file a lawsuit to do it. There are plenty of things you can do, including,

Link to Sheila Markin’s post and you’ll find a terrific action list.

Join The Union (a Lincoln Project project) and they’ll connect you to organizations doing work that tickles your sense of democracy and makes a difference.

You can contribute to Kirk Bangstad’s efforts to make America America.

At root, making America America is what this is all about. It’s about stopping the thieves, the traitors, the turncoats who are using our bedrock values and sacred symbols and our heartfelt love of America to corupt all that we cherish. They have turned against our own country, perverting what generations of our countrymen and women have fought and died to protect and defend.

This is existential. This is our time to stand and be counted. This is our call to battle stations for our country and to have one another’s back.

The time to take action is now.
.

“Every generation has a moment where they have to stand up for democracy. To stand up for their fundamental freedoms. I believe this is ours.” [emphasis original]

President Joe Biden

I believe that, too.

So do you..

Join the battle!

___________________________________

* Heather Cox Richardson wrote further of Paine’s Common Sense on December 29.

But how long it took to establish that new nation would depend on how much effort people put into success. “I call not upon a few, but upon all: not on this state or that state, but on every state: up and help us; lay your shoulders to the wheel; better have too much force than too little, when so great an object is at stake,” Paine wrote. “Let it be told to the future world, that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive, that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet and to repulse it.”

** Here is Section 3 of the 14th Amendment:

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

Do you find any part of that to be unclear? Neither do I.


Today is a good day to be the light

_____________________________

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

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

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA


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

Forget About Finding the Why – We Already Know – Part 2


Post 1,012

—————————————

First, an Update to Part 1

It’s maddening, deeply sad and quite astonishing that so much of the world is waving Palestinian flags, cheering terrorists, and demanding a suicidal Israeli ceasefire. As of this writing it appears there will be a temporary halt of hostilities to exchange prisoners for hostages. No one knows what will happen after that or the likely fate of the remaining roughly 190 hostages.

Meanwhile, in the cacophony of demands for an Israeli ceasefire, I have not heard anyone demanding that Hamas cease firing its rockets into Israeli cities. So many seem to have lost their powers of critical thinking and even of simple observation. What was and remains predictable is virulent or useful idiot anti-Semitism.

I highly recommend that you watch this discussion between Piers Morgan and British journalist Douglas Murray. You may want to put your fingers in your ears whenever Piers Morgan’s lips are moving, but it’s worth the bother to hear what Douglas Murray has to say. For example:

  1. Israel is the only country in the world that is never allowed to win a war. The world always jawbones Israelis into moderating their actions, much as it now demands a ceasefire, which will inexorably lead to a faster replenishment of arms by Hamas and an earlier next attack on Israel.
  2. Upon viewing the videos they posted online, there is no mistaking the joy, the glee, the rapture of Hamas terrorists celebrating their raping, mutilating and burning to death their Israeli victims. There is no such thing done by IDF soldiers when Palestinians die.

Watch the interview. Then come back and post your comments. I assure you that you will have some.

And watch this video. Scratch your head, if you must, as she reveals the near-complete lack of any Arab support for Palestinians – ever. Then wonder in amazement over how angry so many are at Israel for the plight of Palestinians.

.

Key question for protesters: “Where were you when  .  .  . ?”

Many thanks to MZ for this.

Now, Part 2

It’s hard to understand, but in the face of Trump’s painfully obvious racist and misogynist statements and behavior that there are Blacks for Trump and Women for Trump. They wear the tee shirts and wave Trump flags. They are placed behind Trump at rallies so that everyone sees them. Their self-defeating beliefs appear to be as mindless as they are impassioned and we are left to wonder why they would be so masochistic and so mindlessly ignorant and reactionary.

For a clear explanation of at least some of the reasons for that and to explain the general scrambling of minds, read Sheila Markin’s report. Short version: change is happening and people fear loss of their privilege and status, so they rage.

Perhaps you’ve seen Jordan Klepper’s interviews of Trump supporters. It’s a marvel how these people contradict themselves and then brush that off as meaning nothing. They hold firm to their idiocies. Listen to their rationalizations and their denial of reality, mimicking Trump in his grift and his lies. He’s taught an entire nation that being gaslighted is normal. That’s very dangerous, as now 43% of Americans believe there will be a civil war in the next 10 years. And many are okay with that! They just want to rage and be violent.

I had believed since Reagan’s rantings about things like “welfare queens” and “young bucks” and “trickle down” economics that understanding why people believe the unbelievable, the stupid, the false and the lies was important. Then we could figure out what to do to counter the gleeful acceptance of gaslighting and self-imposed destruction.

Now, honestly, I don’t care about the why of the MAGA insanity, the reality deniers, the willingly gaslighted. I don’t care about the why of the people who go to extraordinary lengths to avoid critical thinking or who love to hate. I don’t care about the reasons behind the fervor of cult members or the people who hate what this country was intended to be and yet claim to be patriots. I don’t care about the why of empty-headed demonstrators or the insane chants of anarchists or the hatreds promoted by Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, Mike Johnson or any of the others.

We know what’s behind our self-destructive tailspin to authoritarianism:
We love to hate and we love our rage.
.

We have a crisis of confidence in our democracy and our Constitution. It’s driven diabolically and cruelly by far right extremist nihilists, chaos lovers, hatred stokers – add any negative moniker you prefer. These people have lied and cheated their way into power and they use their positions to tear down what we hold dear, the rights and freedoms we cherish. That’s why preserving and protecting our democracy from these thieves is the number one job for us right now.

To that end I’m recommending a webinar on November 30 at 8:00PM EST from The Union: Project Democracy Town Hall. Here’s the program description:

Join us and Senior Advisor to the Lincoln Project, Trygve [Olson], as we delve into the issues surrounding the extreme party and the vital choices we face in the coming years for a crucial discussion on the upcoming 2024 election. The importance cannot be overstated, as there are significant concerns about preserving democracy and the sanctity of the constitution. This goes beyond any individual, including Trump.

Use this link to register. No need to be shy about it – invite friends and family to this freebie event. We all need to learn about this.

For motivation, watch this video from The Lincoln Project. This is serious business.

Rights and Freedoms

Roughly 50 years ago then-Rep. Gerald R. Ford (R-MI) used a bit of House legerdemain to dislodge the Equal Rights Amendment of 1972 from committee in order to bring it to a vote. Two years later as president (shortly before he pardoned Richard Nixon and thereby weakened the rule of law) he put his support to that amendment, urging congress to pass it.

It has been a rocky road since then and it still isn’t formally ratified. The resistance has come nearly entirely from those bearing the label “Republican” or “conservative.” The conservative term may be accurate, as describing the continuation – the conserving – of patriarchy. Clearly, we wouldn’t want women to have all the rights and protections that men have. What might happen then?

Chief Justice John Roberts was the driver in the Shelby County case that gutted the power of the Voting Rights Act. Roberts wrote for the 5-4 majority, saying that the need for voting rights protections in the former slave states is long gone. It’s a cruel irony that immediately following that fateful decision that North Carolina and a number of other southern states enacted laws to protect Republicans from the pesky votes of non-White people.

Now the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has decided that ordinary citizens cannot file suit challenging gerrymandering. And, of course, our presently torqued to the extreme right court killed the rights established by Roe. The Republican rights killing hits just keep on coming.

The steady march of the destruction of American rights and freedoms goes on, with fearful and angry citizens on the gerbil wheel that propels our nation backward. They are all Republican gerbils.


Today is a good day to be the light

_____________________________

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

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

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA

 


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

Idiotica – Part 1


Economy Idiotica

“The biggest picture is that the post-1980 economy failed to deliver the broad-based benefits that Reagan and his allies promised.”

That’s from a piece by David Leonhardt, Explaining Bidenomics. Focusing on the signal and not on the phony Republican noise, look at this chart.

In the 1920s we had our 1%, just as we do today. They got over 20% of U.S. Income and we got the Great Depression. Reagan came along with his brain-free, trickle-down economics lie proposed by an appropriately named propeller hat named Laffer. After the enormous effort of decades to lift people from poverty and strengthen our middle class, instead Reagan made sure that once again the rich got most of the money. We got the Great Recession.

Can we face the fact that when rich people get more money without having created greater value that they like that money and will always do their best to keep it for themselves? There’s no assurance that they will invest it so that anything trickles down to you.

The Republicans still want to steal from the poor and give to the rich. Things won’t be any better for working people, the bottom 95% of us, until the Bidenomics reversal of right-wing grift takes hold and is expanded. That takes time. For now, only wonks are excited by the recitation of improving statistics. That’s a problem.

To the American public that isn’t yet recognizing the benefits of Biden’s economic actions and who still lack confidence in the economy: I get it. But turning this thing around takes years – refer to the chart above. What is needed is for us to stay the course (I hate using Reagan’s phrase, but that one fits). If things are to continue to improve, our job will be to help people see what is hard to see, what they aren’t feeling yet.

“Inflation is down by almost two-thirds since its peak in June 2022, and this has happened without the recession and huge job losses many economists insisted would be necessary. Real wages, especially for non-supervisory workers, are significantly higher than they were before the pandemic,” writes economist Paul Krugman.

He continues, “Poll after poll shows Americans rating economic conditions as very bad” Oddly, “.  .  .  while most Americans feel that they’re doing OK, they believe that the economy is doing badly, where “the economy” presumably means other people.” How do you suppose that’s happened?

There is plenty to chew on here, but one thing is certain: Republicans continue to poison Americans with their stories of American dystopia and carnage, including about the economy. This disconnect between how Americans see the nation’s welfare versus their own experience is yet another example of what a constant torrent of lies can do.

Covid Idiotica

Americans continue to die from Covid. That doesn’t shock anymore, because such news is so yesterday, so back seat to whatever is today’s outrage. But it isn’t going to stay in the back seat.

With the new variants floating just outside our nostrils and people indifferent or even hostile to vaccines, our communal resistance to dire consequences from the disease is pitiful. We could just wait around to see if we become infected and then die, but that would be dumb.

The right wing conspiracy machine is making sure that we continue to be a bifurcated nation. 95% of those dying from Covid are anti-vaxxers. They aren’t stupid people. They are suicidally and homicidally angry and stubborn. The rest of us have rolled up our shirtsleeves, gladly accepted the jab and are unlikely to have serious consequences should we test positive.

Go-Go DeSantis

But not so much in Florida. Democracy hating Governor Ron DeSantis, he of the white go-go boots in a post-hurricane photo op, has buddied up with his brain-free state surgeon general Joseph Ladapo to urge Florida residents under the age of 65 to refuse the new vaccine. That’s the one that will keep people who contract the new variant of the disease from dying. Apparently, DeSantis and Lapado want to ensure that Florida continues to be a major promoter for members of the casket making industry. I wonder if they’re donors.

Republican Idiotica

This brings us to the choices before the American people.

You’re either for supporting Ukraine for as long as it takes, or you’re for Putin, Hungary’s Orbán, Turkey’s Erdoğan and Xi and not for America.

You’re either for the rule of law or you’re for autocracy, fascism and lawlessness.

You’re either for championing NATO as key to our national defense or you’re for Putin and Xi and not for America.

You either believe in democracy and America or you believe in a cult leader who is working to bring it all crashing down.

Republican children in geometry class. Click the pic for an easier to read view.

You’re either for all people’s rights or you’re for bigotry and hatred.

You’re either for full citizenship for women, people of color, LGBTQ+ people – all of us – or you’re for subjugation and hatred.

You’re either for facts, science, truth and reality or you’re for manipulation and boundless fraud. You might even be in favor of ignorance.

You either have a moral compass or you don’t.

You either believe in freedom of belief or you’re a religious bigot.

You either challenge the un-American, anti-constitutional craziness that’s all around or, at best, you’ve resigned yourself and our nation to insignificance.

You either stand up for what’s right or you’re a hypocrite and a coward.

You either love freedom or you think it’s okay to dominate others.

You either care about our national defense or you’re a performative patriot only out for yourself and you don’t care about putting our military people and our nation at risk.

You’re either a patriotic American or you’re just a liar and traitor wearing red, white and blue.

Sadly, what was once the Grand Old Party is now populated by people who choose what comes after the “or” in the choices above. They are

The Republican Idiotica
.

It cannot be that every election finds democracy at the edge of a cliff tipping toward oblivion. Our task for as long as we live is to push it back from that edge, regardless of how many times that’s required, until the voices of hatred of democracy are at last silenced.

__________________________________

Watch for Idiotica – Part 2 this Sunday.


Today is a good day to be the light

______________________________

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

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

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA


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

1 2 3 11  Scroll to top