Disambiguation from the political and social musings of Jack Altschuler

Rights

Taking Sides


Post 1,027

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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.
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There Is a Corollary To This In America Today
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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.
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Peace will come when these extremists
love the Constitution and our democracy
more than they hate the rest of us.
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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.
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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.
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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.”
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Let that sink in. They hate everybody.
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“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.
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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! *
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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!

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

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* 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

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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.
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“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

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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.

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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.
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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.

What Have/Could We Become? – Part 1


Ed. note: Be sure to read Frank Levy’s response in the Comments section at the bottom of this post.


Eugene Robinson wrote in The Washington Post on August 24,

To understand how completely Donald Trump has transformed the Republican Party, all you had to do was watch Wednesday’s debate and Trump’s surrender to Georgia authorities on Thursday. The vibe was a mash-up of “American carnage” and aggrieved victimhood.

Aggrieved victimhood?

David Corn of Mother Jones used this pic in his newsletter of August 23 that was a takedown of a David Brooks piece in The Atlantic. Brooks had attempted to explain the meanness, the cruelty, the rudeness and the violence of the MAGAs, which are every day events.

I’m no sociologist, but I think there are many reasons for this craziness, this MAGA “aggrieved victimhood.”

  1. Their valid anger at being forgotten, betrayed by our own government
  2. Their invalid whining and rage because life isn’t exactly what they want it to be (jeez, grow up!)
  3. Their all-too-human and pathological need to blame

But that fails to nail down the core of how we became so terribly aggrieved. Steve Schmidt has a clear take on this and he centers it on lost trust, a sense of betrayal. I believe he’s right and my notion is that the loss of trust can be traced directly to our tolerating things we should never have tolerated. For example:

We tolerated decades of deceit over the Viet Nam war, notwithstanding the protests.

We tolerated Ford pardoning Nixon, instead of skewering him with the justice he deserved.

We tolerated the Republicans hiring Ken Starr to go through Clinton’s garbage cans searching for something slimy to smear onto him, even as ethics violator Newt Gingrich and the rest of the thumpers wailed holy paeans to their own purity and goodness.

Reagan and H.W. Bush skated from their Iran-Contra lawbreaking. Republicans made a martyr of Ollie North, as he testified in his medal-bedecked uniform, hand raised high in his declaration. He swore he would tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth and then he lied. He and several other perps went to prison – then Bush pardoned them.

As bad as the Great Recession was, with the homes lost, the futures decimated, the hopes dashed, none of the perpetrators went to jail for violating SEC rules and existing laws. Perhaps worse was the elimination of regulations designed to prevent just such a financial collapse. The cost of learning the lessons of unfettered greed was paid following the Great Depression. But ever-present greed won out decades later and we danced to the financial ruin tune once again. Then we put laws back in place (Dodd-Frank), which the Republicans chipped away at until there’s nothing left to protect us. The rich got richer and we’re left waiting for the other shoe to drop. Plus we footed the bill.

There have been decades of “off-shoring” of factories, industries and, most important, jobs for Americans. Towns have been hollowed out and their citizens set adrift, even as our institutions promoted this craziness. Mass layoffs were labeled “right sizing” and millions lost their jobs, their security and their hopes for their children. And the rich got richer.

The mania for deregulation persists, even after the horrid train derailment in East Palestine, OH. That train was over two miles long and had only two workers aboard, as the deregulated and abandoned inspections and safety procedures allowed that toxic, deadly swamp to happen. But removing those regulations did reduce costs for the railroad and provide more money for the executives and shareholders.

And, of course, there were the sex scandals in religious institutions done by televangelists and the Catholic Church.

These betrayals are major trust killers that hurt people. That leads to aggrieved victimhood.

We could go on and on listing betrayals of the American people by our all too self-serving government officials, but you get the point and could easily construct your own list. The point is that the American people have lost trust because we have been betrayed. It isn’t our imagination. And our sense of betrayal is just what a demagogue like Trump or any of the liars use to stoke fear and anger to promote themselves.

Trump delivered his American Carnage address and told us that only he could save us. Millions believed him because they were and are prepared to believe and follow anyone who tells them they are right and righteous and who points a finger at those to blame.

What we’ve become is a nation of millions of voluntary dupes. Some of our leaders stoke fear of the “other” and that has incited hate crimes, murders of our fellow citizens, making us geckos eating our own. Sadly, so many have succumbed to putting most of their mental energy into looking for someone to blame for their ailments – and then acting out.

We’ve let our lost trust and anger fester into a mania to abandon every value we claim to hold dear. In more benign phrasing, we are throwing the baby out with the dirty bath water.

But the solution is not to abandon it all, to “tear it all down.” The solution is to hold accountable all who violated American values and the American dream. Discard the liars who have stoked anger for their own benefit and the cowards who stood by and let it happen.

We can and we must fix this by restoring our democracy – majority rule.
.

There is a start to rectifying this going on now, but it isn’t an easy path forward. Justice is at last coming to a lot of high level perpetrators, traitors to our values, who wrapped themselves in the flag and then spit on the brave words of the Declaration of Independence and the Preamble to the Constitution and on our laws and on our norms.

There is powerful juju driving this vitriolic behavior and we better confront that with something better before the haters seething over betrayals and calling for a civil war start amassing an army of reality denying dupes armed with AR-15s.

Maybe you’ve heard about the song Rich Men North of Richmond. It was written and performed by Oliver Anthony, a guy with no professional music experience and who never had anything on a top 100 chart. But this piece has gone viral – over 47 million listens and over 161,000 comments – in less than a month.

Anthony’s song tells the story of middle Americans – hard working people – and their suffering at the hands of (in the pockets of) rich guys. The “elite.” The cabal of thieves who have taken their country and their dream from them. I urge you to listen to his song and, as important, read the comments. You’ll begin to understand the depth of the people’s anger that infects this country owing to decades of betrayal.

Aggrieved victimhood.

Just an Idea

Adam Grant calls for a better way to find leaders in his essay The Worst People Run for Office. It’s Time for a Better Way. He reports,

Voters overwhelmingly favor candidates who are tall and male and white. We also have a bad habit of attracting and electing candidates with tendencies known as the dark triad of personality: narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy

Do you suppose that if we found leaders who aren’t self-centered and deranged that perhaps we’d be led to be less cruel to one another and might just find a way to continue our democracy? Maybe even make this into a place where people are treated fairly and decently?

Crazy, right?

Quote of the Week

From David Corn of Mother Jones:

Cults are cults. Rules, norms, facts, the law, reality, decency—none of that matters. The true believers are enrapt[ured] with the phony narrative Trump feeds them. For these millions of Americans, it’s theology.

And there is little as murderous and destructive as fervent religious anger.


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.

Indictment


Clarification

In the midst of my joy over the beginning of accountability for wrongs done in association with January 6, I wrote last Wednesday, “O’ happy day!” And it was a happy day by reason of accountability. Let’s be clear, though, that this indictment of a former president is not one dimensional. Another dimension is fear.

I fear several things about this indictment. I fear that prosecuting Trump will galvanize hotheads to do stupid, destructive things, perhaps to attempt to use chaos and violence to take down our government, our freedoms and our rights. That’s been done more than once before.

I fear that a lone gunman, perhaps many lone gunmen, will kill and injure innocent people, including those who uphold our laws. They did that on January 6, so we know they won’t hesitate to attack cops.

And I fear that an extreme Trump supporter will slip into the jury and prevent justice from being done.

Another dimension to this indictment is the clarity that this is a profoundly proud moment for democracy.

This is how we declare to ourselves that there is no rule of one person, but that we are a nation of laws. This is how we say to those on the far right that while they proclaim that they are the true Americans, our rule of law flag is planted in the bedrock of justice and is what real Americans support. There is no need for anyone to like that or to agree. There simply is an absolute requirement for everyone to obey the law, not the rule of Trump.

Jack Smith and the members of his DOJ army are operating in a shooting gallery. They know that even as they stand for justice that they are at the center of the bulls eye of angry people. The death threats they’ve received haven’t stopped them and they remain willing to risk their lives for our Constitution and for We The People. So we stand with Jack Smith and his army because these heroes are standing for us.

Trump Supporters

There are millions of Trump supporters who are not dissuaded from their loyalty to him, even in the face of his well over 30,000 lies, his bumbling, our national debt exploding on his watch, his intentional estrangement of our allies, two impeachments and multiple felony indictments. That support seems curious to many of us so I’ve put some thought as to why they continue to follow and support him. Here’s a shopping list, pretty much off the top of my head.

  1. Many of these people are aggrieved for various disappointments felt as betrayals, a feeling of having been blown off, left behind by a government that simply doesn’t care about them. They aren’t entirely wrong about that. Think: offshoring of jobs encouraged by decades of government programs and policies that hollowed out whole towns. Because of that, they easily fall in line behind a defiant strongman, the “deep state” slayer. Leaving that line feels to them like going without a protector.
  2. Following and supporting Trump feels good, like they’re sticking it to the man who’s been sticking it to them for so long. Trump constantly models a middle finger for these folks and in that way they feel powerful.
  3. Leaving Trump would require people to admit:
    1. They were wrong to follow him. Nobody likes to say, “I was wrong.” Fonzie couldn’t say that at all.
    2. They were duped. Nobody likes to admit they were fooled.
    3. That the rule of law means more than the rule of Trump and that maybe intentional cruelty isn’t such a good idea.
  4. Conviction on felony charges would show Trump to be un-American, even anti-American. At that point, his followers would have to admit that following Trump made them un-American, a total betrayal to how they see themselves. That’s a nearly impossible trick to pull off.

The psychologists can craft a better, more  substantial list, but you get the picture. Leaving the support of Trump involves real loss for his staunch supporters and the various pains that go with doing that. It’s much easier and less painful to stay where they are and write yet another check payable to Trump.

So, cut these folks some slack in your comfortable judgement of them. They’re in a tough spot, albeit of their own making.

Focus instead on reaching those whose minds have not been enslaved and provide motivation to them to show up and vote.
.

BTW: Something is upside-down. Instead of we voters supporting candidates and elected officials, shouldn’t they be supporting and championing us?

Action Imperative

No vote is more urgent and important right now than Ohio Issue 1 in the election on August 8. The minority rule Republicans in the Ohio legislature have crafted a democracy killer of a bill. it’s a product of their brutality, as they seek to silence and dis-empower the majority of Ohio citizens. You know – the ones who believe in majority rule, aka democracy?

That bill would change the citizen ballot initiative process to require a 60% majority in order to pass a citizen ballot issue. A super majority. No more simple majority wins, the way we all were taught contests were supposed to be won. That would make it nearly impossible for citizens to stop the tyrannical minority Republican legislature. Voting for that bill is the equivalent of voters tightening a noose around their own necks. It would be volunteering to be electorally neutered, to have their democracy – rule by the people – killed.

This is anything but hyperbolic. Just one example: The Christian nationalists are all about forcing their views onto everyone else. Passing this bill would be a major stop toward the theocracy they hallucinate we’re supposed to be.

If you live in Ohio or know someone of voting age in Ohio or have ever been in Ohio and can remember the first name of someone you briefly met there, call, text or email them and urge them to

VOTE NO

on Tuesday.

For more on the terrible danger this bill portends, read David Pepper’s essay detailing a meeting of the extremists who want to take all the power from Ohioans. Be clear that when they’re done there, they’re coming for you wherever you live.

Quote of the Week

From Eugene Robinson in The Washington Post, August 3:

Personally, I wish jurors could return a verdict that goes beyond “guilty as charged.” Maybe something like “guilty as hell.”

Quote of the Decade

From former Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL):

America is strong, but democracy is delicate. It depends on leaders who swear an oath to protect the sacred rights enshrined in our Constitution; it depends on citizens working to elect reasonable, ethical leaders; it depends on our brave men and women in uniform to defend it; and it depends on YOU, ME, ALL OF US putting our country over party. [emphasis original]


  • 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


!!! NEWS FLASH !!!

Washington DC, 7:00PM local time, August 1, 2023

A federal grand jury has indicted the twice impeached, twice indicted, disgraced former president, Donald J. Trump on four counts:

  1. Conspiracy to Defraud the United States
  2. Conspiracy to Obstruct an Official Proceeding
  3. Obstruction of and Attempt to Obstruct An Official Proceeding
  4. Conspiracy Against Rights

Incitement to riot is not charged, nor are several other charges that might have been brought.

These charges all have to do with Trump’s attempt to overturn (“steal”) the 2020 presidential election from We The People. There is much to say about this, including, “O’ happy day!” but that will have to await study of the document. You can read the indictment here. Perhaps it will cause you to take sides.

It’s Time To Take Sides

Courtesy of Steve Sheffey

“The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who in time of moral crisis preserve their neutrality.” – John F. Kennedy

We all know right from wrong. This applies most especially now, as our nation is under attack from home grown extremists and terrorists.

It’s Time To Take Sides.

At this point in his first term, Ronald Reagan’s approval rating stood at just 35%. Remind me again what the problem is with Joe Biden’s approval rating in the 40s.

Yet he will be verbally eviscerated with false accusations by dishonest extremists over the next 15 months. But if we stand up for the truth, we will see public approval for him steadily climb. The economy will continue to improve, more people will gain good paying jobs, the metaphorical and literal potholes will get fixed and America will be looking better and better to us.

It’s time to take sides.

I’ve written here several times about the reasons people say false things and it is an unholy trinity:

  1. They’re too lazy to learn the truth, so they just make up self-serving .  .  . stuff. Or they’re too spineless to stand up to the screamers.
  2. They’re too dim witted to understand the truth and too dumb to know to keep their mouths shut.
  3. They’re liars.

Now, that just isn’t pretty. But it’s accurate.

There’s one more thing to consider and that is why politicians and even those in the general public lie; i.e. say things they know to be false. This one is easy to identify. It’s because they get some perceived benefit from the lies. Think:

– politicians spouting incendiary lies in order to garner votes from their extremist constituents or to gain campaign contributions from those who will benefit from their election.

– ordinary citizens spouting lies in order to puff up their egos or justify their hatred and anger or to feel a sense of belong, a kinship with other extremists.

  • We cannot live long enough to slip truth and reality into such minds. What we can do is to immunize the rest of us from the lies. This is no time for neutrality.
  • It’s time to take sides.
  • It’s time to take sides because the vast majority of us want gun safety legislation, the right to abortion, open voting rights for all citizens, immigration reform, racial fairness, LGBTQ rights, the right to contraception (Justice Thomas wants that one gone) and so much more. The reason we don’t have these things is because entrenched special interests (read: the greedy and power hungry people) have locked We The People out of power. But if we stand up to them – if we vote – our democracy will have worked for We The People and we will end this reign of terror.
  • It’s time to take sides.
  • And that means that it isn’t enough to have mutually reinforcing discussions with those who agree with us. We actually have to do something beyond our own tribe. Otherwise the lies stand to overpower our nation.
  • Taking Sides on Staying Alive
  • Click me for the full story from Everytown

    I confess my extremism: domestic abusers should not have access to any firearms. No excuses, no exceptions. This should be an absolute. And this should be obvious good sense to everyone. It already is to battered wives and children.

  • Sadly, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals thinks violent abusers should be able to buy, borrow and possess guns with the same impunity as non-offenders. These judges apparently think the Second Amendment is an absolute, in contradiction to what former and very conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said in plain English.

“Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited,”

So, yeah, we can keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. Violent people. We just have to do it.

  • This case is on the docket for the Supreme Court to hear this fall. Let’s hope they surprise us with some uncommon common sense and strike down that 5th Circuit Court of Appeals murderous ruling.
  • It’s time to take sides.
  • Oh Golly, Gipper: You Were Wrong and So Are Today’s Crazies

“Bidenomics is proving to be the most impactful and transformative public investment program since FDR’s New Deal, with even Morgan Stanley acknowledging that economists broadly underestimated the positive effect of Bidenomics.”

Maybe you’ll like this explainer even better:

.Many thanks to Jim Nathan for pointing out both pieces.

These are based of the same idiotic and cruel concept as “skills training” that was given to African slaves by their White slave masters, per Ron DeSantis. Maybe we should stop paying him for being governor of Florida because of the fine skills of cruelty and lying he’s acquired.

When crazy satire like this makes sense,

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.

Changing Minds


The Economy

For those dedicated to wringing hands over the economy, here’s the beginning of Prof. Heather Cox Richardson’s post of July 25:

President Biden’s determination to “build the economy from the middle out and the bottom up,” appears to be paying off. Last Friday the global financial services company Morgan Stanley credited Biden’s policies with driving a boom in large-scale infrastructure and manufacturing, a boom large enough that Morgan Stanley revised its gross domestic product growth projections upward to 1.9%, a projection almost four times higher than its original projection.

Analysts doubled their projections for the fourth quarter, and raised forecasts for next year, as well. “The economy in the first half of the year is growing much stronger than we had anticipated,” Morgan Stanley’s chief U.S. economist Ellen Zentner wrote.

Read her essay. It’s full of wonderful news and vitally important truth, stuff that the crazies attack and lie about.

Will our outstanding economic performance change the minds of Trump voters or the hallucinatory far right crazies?

Answers: NO and NO.

But that doesn’t matter. They’re the crowd that’s super-glued to conspiracies and obstruction.

The battle is for those who are open to accurate information. This positive economic news just might change their minds and motivate them to show up to vote for candidates who will fight for our democracy because there’s something in it for them. It’s about changing these minds with the truth.

Lies

From reader and contributor Diana Dobrovolny Hefter:

It’s all beginning to fall apart.
.
Last [Tuesday] Rudy Giuliani admitted in a court filing that he made false claims about Georgia election workers Shaye Moss and Ruby Freeman.
.
These are the two individuals that Trump, his attorneys and his followers claimed to have committed election fraud in the state of Georgia, leading to Biden’s victory.
.
Giuliani now admits that it was fabricated.
.
Will this change the minds of Trump voters who still believe Trump’s lies of massive election-changing voter fraud? Will Trump stop pushing these lies?
.
Answers: NO and NO.
.
Once again, from an election perspective, the truth is only valuable to people who are not super-glued to fantastical, extremist lies. The rest of us think democracy, rights and freedoms are good things. We think lying like Giuliani lies is a bad thing. If we can change some minds, these folks just might get off their La-Z-Boys on election day and vote. That would be most democratic – lower case “d” – and helpful – for a change.
.
The Fall of the FBI
No, it didn’t fall. But trust in the Bureau is extremely low. The important part is why it’s so low and it turns out that it’s extremist propaganda, conspiracy lunacy and a very large number of googly-eyed lies told over and over. You know, like The Big Lie.
.

Dana Milbank has detail on this in his Washington Post piece, Republicans celebrate their successful deception of voters. Here’s a summary.

The extremist Republicans are and have been on a relentless tear of  telling lies to poison the minds of We The People. And they’ve been quite successful at undermining trust in the FBI, the Justice Department and our intelligence agencies. Here’s a piece from Milbank’s post:

[Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA)], the leadoff questioner at Wednesday’s hearing, told [FBI Director Christopher] Wray about a recent NBC News poll in which “only 37 percent of registered voters now view the FBI positively, down from 52 percent in 2018. That’s a serious decline in the people’s faith, and it’s on your watch,” he told Wray.

Milbank goes on to say,

The Republicans are well aware of “those numbers” — because they are the ones who assassinated the reputation of the nation’s premier law enforcement agency. [emphasis mine]

Those prevaricators sure did change some minds, but not for the better.

Sensitive readers are cautioned to read Milbank’s piece with no sharp or heavy objects nearby. The story is, let’s call it, unsettling.

The point is that the hyperbolic crazies, using a tsunami of misinformation, is driving down public trust in those who keep us safe. It’s a garbage dump of Big Lies. And that affects our elections.

BTW, weren’t Republicans the ones who claimed to carry the mantle of law and order and tough justice? Big supporters of law enforcement? But now they’re ripping the FBI. What happened to that mantle?

Good Guys Winning Elections

It is beyond human capability to change minds of the super-glued crowd. If we’re to get sane, democracy loving officials, we’ll have to appeal to independents, those with minds open to reality. We’ll have to appeal to every non-extremist voter to vote. In short, we’ll have to do whatever it takes to motivate ALL OF US to participate in our democracy. That would be a fine change of minds.

Would that there were moderate Republicans with the courage to speak out against the lies, but alas, we cannot count on them to do the right thing. Those with a backbone seem to be on the edge of extinction.

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

There is but one way to stop the flood tide of dishonesty and that is for us to saddle up and be the cavalry charging over the hill. Obama said it best: “We are the people we’ve been waiting for.”

We are the ones who have to protect and defend rights, freedoms and democracy because we are the ones who believe in reality.

This is no thought exercise. This is a call to action, to canvas, to text, to donate, to make calls so that those who believe in truth and democracy are the ones who take office in January 2025 and in the states following the state and local elections between now and then.

We have to change a bunch of minds – for the better.

Betcha You’ve Never Heard of This Kind of Thing Before

Jadarrius Rose, a 23 year old Black man, was driving his 18-wheeler in Circleville, OH on July 4 when he was stopped by the State Highway Patrol for a missing rear mudflap. He got out of the cab of his truck and was told to get on the ground. Instead, he threw his hands up in obvious surrender.

In the body cam footage an officer can be heard repeatedly telling Circleville Police Officer Ryan Speakman, who was the handler of a police dog, “Do not release the dog with his hands up!”
.
That was when Speakman released the dog. It savagely attacked Rose.
.
  • It’s easy to understand how that might happen, as Rose was quite obviously guilty of surrendering with his hands up while being Black.

Oh wait: maybe you have heard of such a thing. And maybe refusing to teach kids the truth about systemic racism in America is a very bad idea.

A lot of minds need to be changed about this.

Just For Fun

Now that there are 37 charges against Trump in the documents case, it’s time to see how the We The People feel about this.


  • 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.

Facing the ‘mare-ca In America


We’re Right and We Know It

Let’s drop the pretending for a minute and honestly say that while George Floyd’s murder was not okay, it really wasn’t a big deal because, hey, he was just a Black guy. Plus, we stand by our police, except the ones at the Capitol Building and you know why. And we heard that Floyd’s past was sketchy, although me and my posse don’t know what that was about.

And those kids snatched from their mothers at the southern border – I mean, boo-hoo. Gimme a break. Those kids would have grown up to be Brown adults and not so cute anymore and they’d probably be on welfare with me payin’ for them. Glad they’re gone. And their crying moms? Too bad. Nobody invited you. Besides, you’re Brown. Just go away.

Let’s get serious about all those homos demanding rights like they’re so important. Hey, you want a website for your homo wedding, go do it yourself. Don’t try to make a God-fearing, straight, White Christian woman do anything for you. And get that damned rainbow flag out of my face.

And Affirmative Action? Everybody knows that’s just a way to discriminate against White guys, to keep us down. You other races can do that bootstrap thing like we did. Otherwise, just shut up and stay in your place.

We don’t go for no Department of Education. That’s gub-mint telling us what our kids should learn and turning over their future to a bunch of elite coastal bozos and sketchy teachers. We got parents rights, you know. It’s right there in the Constitution. I forget where.

Anyway, don’t go shoveling no lib-ral, anti-‘mer-can crap at us or our kids. We’ll home school ’em and make sure they learn the right stuff, not the lies in your history books. You can’t chop our freedom.

You know this is true: the Founders of this country were all White men – every one of ’em – and they set up this country to be run and owned by White men. That’s a fact. Deal with it, socialist.

The Constitution allowed for slavery, which is why we want to keep those Confederate statues and have our military bases and schools in the South named after Confederate generals. They were great heroes, especially Robert E. Lee. It’s why we honor the Confederate battle flag and do everything we can to make sure only White people can vote and have their votes mean something. It’s the right thing to do because we’re patriotic ‘mare-cans.

You bleeding heart lib-rals make me sick. That lib-ral crap is an insult to the spirit and meaning of our country, so you can take your woke and stick it. If you don’t like that, go someplace else. Maybe back to where your people came from. They sure didn’t come from here like we White people did.

Until then, just remember that most of us are doing concealed carry. Best if you stay in your lane. It would be a shame if something were to happen to you, you know?

We’re right and we know it.


Take a Breath

The above is satire, of course. It’s a caricature of the closed-minded and the willfully ignorant, those intolerant of everything that isn’t just like themselves.

Even as things are exaggerated here to make a point, we as a country rarely care enough about Black, Brown or LGBTQ people. New laws and extremist Supreme Court decisions are ensuring that we care even less. Harm to these people makes the news only because it’s spectacular and brings eyeballs to advertisers. We don’t do much to right the wrongs, so the hits just keep on coming.*

I’m sure it’s comforting to some to deny that there is systemic racism in this country. It’s a relief to some that service can be denied to LGBTQ people on the basis of an impromptu claim of religious beliefs designed to be inflicted on others. All that takes are just a few key words, like God, Jesus, Christian, freedom, liberty and ‘mare-ca. But what you know is that it’s just performative, faux patriotism.

Land of the free, home of the brave? Where’s the bravery that makes sure that all of us are free?

All men are created equal? How equal are we now?

I’m just wondering what it is we really stand for. It’s a terrible shame that we as a nation have lost our ability to feel shame. Maybe we can bring it back. That would help.

About Your Rights and Our Democracy

For a must read satire about the state of our nation that should wake up your blood, read Diane Roberts’ commentary, We’re the Mommies for Liberty and the future belongs to us. It’s focused on the outrageous rights violations going on in Florida today. With that model in mind you’ll see what could be coming to all of America if we don’t set things right. It will give you the shakes, because Roberts’ satire feels frighteningly close to reality.

Another take on democracy and the pummeling of our rights comes from an essay by Anthony Swofford, author of Jarhead, his best-selling 2003 memoir about being a Marine in the first Gulf War, later made into a movie starring Jake Gyllenhaal. His essay in Daily Beast is about book banning, which the vocal extremists in Ottawa County, Michigan did to his book. He ends his post this way:

Make no mistake, they are banning books, but really they are restricting access to ideas. And when one small group of people ban[s] a larger group of people access to ideas, we are in for a closing of the American mind. What begins with banning books ends with a firescape of constitutional rights ablaze. But the fire is already here on your block. [emphasis mine]
 

That stunning image is the threat that faces us, which is why you and I are going to do something about that, like get elected people who believe in democracy and who will stop the ones torching the Constitution.

Quotes of the Week

From David Corn of Mother Jones:

So when the pundits scratch their heads about DeSantis’ attempt to out-flank Trump on the right, they miss the point. He is trying to out-hate Trump. That tells you a lot about the guy and what he thinks of Republican voters.

You could say much the same for Republican politicians who tacitly condone extremism by refusing to speak up.

Thinking more about the not-extreme Republicans who have refused to speak out against the vile lies for these terrible years of political venom, read this, paraphrased from Harlen Coben’s 2023 novel I Will Find You:

Morality is subjective. They could have done the right thing, but they only do the right thing when it doesn’t cost them.

Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger excepted, of course.

Just Sayin’

Monday, July 3 was Earth’s hottest day in the last 125,000 years. Tuesday was hotter.

It’s possible the climate science nerds have been right all along about looming climate catastrophe, even as know-nothing elected officials have denied both the science and what’s right in front of their own noses. Maybe it’s time we elect officials who can see past their noses.

Just sayin’.

______________________________

* Watch Jon Stewart’s explainer here.


Today is a good day to be the light.

______________________________

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