Disambiguation from the political and social musings of Jack Altschuler

Rights

Campaign


Michelle Goldberg had an interesting piece in the New York Times last Sunday entitled “To Understand The Midterms, Meet Joe and Marie.” They are the Republican and Democratic candidates for Washington state’s 3rd congressional district seat and, as you likely suspect, they are quite different from one another.

Goldberg explains that Joe Kent has

.  .  . attempted a dance that’s become common in today’s G.O.P.: remaining in the good graces of the far right while putting some distance between himself and its most abhorrent avatars.

It’s like the now common, phony Republican candidate dance around abortion, attempting to mask how foamy-mouth wacko they’re against it. Then, having pulled a fast one on voters to get elected, they plan to let fly their true inner goggly-eye wacko.

In contrast, Marie Gluesenkamp Perez is running a straight campaign, saying what she believes and giving indication of how she will represent the voters, emphasizing abortion rights and protecting democracy.

Goldberg uses the entire center spread of the Opinion section of the Sunday paper to flesh out what’s happening in Washington’s 3rd . Not surprisingly, the fuller reality is freakier than the short paragraphs above suggest. Goldberg reports:

Here’s what Kent [said he] intends to do in his first two years in office:

“Impeachment, obstruction and oversight. The Biden agenda dies off in the crib.”

In his speeches Kent promised to impeach

“Biden on Day One, and then Vice President Kamala Harris (‘one of the lead fund-raisers for antifa and B.L.M. during the summer of 2020’), Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas.”

At [a] town hall, he emphasized his willingness to shut down the government: “I used to work in the federal government,” he said [he is a former Green Beret]. “It can shut down. It’s really not a big deal.”

Kent promised to hold Anthony Fauci “accountable” for the “scam that is Covid.” “Criminal charges,” said Kent. But what charges, I asked. “Murder,” he replied, as if it were the most obvious answer in the world.

It’s messy and awkward quoting someone who is quoting someone else, so apologies to Goldberg for my quotation mark clumsiness.

Meanwhile, you’ve just read a fine litany of the insanity and dishonesty that is today’s G.O.P. It’s a continuous loop of imagined and contrived grievances and absurd, tough guy payback. I mean, does Kent actually believe that Congress will impeach all those people? What are their high crimes or misdemeanors? Wait – scratch that last question. That was my mistake – I was being logical.

And Kent says he wants to go back to a full court press of obstruction so that nothing We The People want will come about. Welcome back to the Obama years dealing with the GOP Congress, the party of NO:

NO to all Democrats and Democratic policies, even if they’re identical to Republican ideas

NO to anything that will deal with our substantial national challenges

NO to everything that supports democracy

NO to kids being safe in school

NO to reproductive freedom for pregnant women and NO to anyone who wants to use any form of contraception other than the rhythm method

Old Joke:

Q. What do you call people who use the rhythm method of contraception?

A. Parents

Just get used to NO. If the Republicans gain control of even one house of Congress, NO is what we will have voted for.

And wait: Anthony Fauci is a murderer?

Just to be clear, having been a Green Beret doesn’t make Kent a congressional or budgetary genius or an expert on the price that is paid when the G.O.P. shuts down the government – AGAIN! – basically giving the finger to all 330 million of us.

But he’s right about one thing: Blathering this angry, baseless, stupid stuff in red and red-leaning areas, then being Jim-Jordan-Marjorie-Taylor-Green inflammatory is the way to get and stay elected. But that leaves us with having to deal with the Trump manipulation contrivance:

They spew a continuous fire hose of reality-free absurdity (commonly called bullshit) at a pace that prevents factual refutation – like the Kent idiocy listed above. Besides, their inflammatory lunacy appeals to voters driven by victim-hood.

So, how does one campaign against these Loony Tunes cartoon candidates? How can a reality-based candidate engage with voters poisoned by hateful G.O.P. fantasies? How can you even have a conversation or debate with people who believe the unreal and who wear a chip on their shoulder as though it’s a badge of honor?

These are the people vying to take control of our school boards, our library boards and our local, state and federal governments. They want to subjugate the rest of us in their puritanical, totalitarian horror show. That’s what’s at stake in the November midterm election and in every election for the next “who knows how many?” years. This is no sprint. This is a marathon of colossal duration and monumental consequences and we must win every race or everything you hold dear will be lost.

————————————

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Over Just The Past Few Days


Education

Ron DeSantis blasted President Biden’s student debt relief program – just another entrant in the “Nothing So Stupid That the Republicans Won’t Say It” contest.

We established publicly funded public schools 170 years ago to educate our people. From How Stuff Works:

“Massachusetts passed the first compulsory school laws in 1852. New York followed the next year, and by 1918, all American children were required to attend at least elementary school.”

From QuestionAnswer.IO:

“By 1918, all U.S. states had some sort of mandatory attendance law for [high] school.”

Each level of education became necessary for the welfare of our nation and for individuals to be ready for the challenges of our rapidly changing life and world. We funded schools publicly then, as now, because both we-the-public and our nation benefit. Ignorance just doesn’t work well for our country.

The world has progressed and much of what it takes now to succeed simply cannot be supplied solely by a K-12 education. Ever-finer, more advanced skills continue to be required. We’re late coming to the realization that we must publicly fund college just as we do public grade schools and high schools. Here’s an example of why that’s true.

We graduate about 70,000 engineers annually. China graduates about 600,000 and India graduates about 350,000. They are both dramatically out-educating their young compared to us.

We’re in a global competition and we will remain unprepared to compete and win as long as we continue to refuse to fully educate our citizens for today’s world and tomorrow’s. Keeping our people unprepared would be a huge economic and national security mistake.

Doubt that? Read this.

And recognize that student debt relief and public funding of colleges and universities necessarily mean a redistribution of wealth – the haves will be required to subsidize the education of both the haves and the have-nots. Everyone else will have to pitch in, too. That brings us to the never ending conflict over wealth redistribution, which traces its angry origin at least as far back a the Civil War, and that brings us to,

This Gallup Moment

Check the graph below from Gallup’s This Week In Charts and you’ll have no difficulty seeing the massive shift to public approval for heavy taxes on the rich to finance the commons, which importantly benefits our poor and middle class with schools, roads, etc.

I suspect this change in public attitude has been accelerated by the past 50 years of legislation favorable to the rich and which penalizes the rest of us. The change may also be traced to the lack of enforcement of laws to prohibit rich guy favoritism. Example: only one guy went to prison for the massive fraud and deceit of the George W. Bush financial meltdown of 2008, even though many violated SEC regulations and fraud statutes. Then there are all the massive “trickle down” tax breaks, about 85% of which benefited already rich people, not you and I.

You’re right: that isn’t fair.

So the rich have benefited enormously for decades – for generations, really – while the rest of us just muddled by. It seems that now over half of we Americans think that rich people should pony up their fair share for the benefit of all of us. Imagine that!

Click me for the story.

The IRS and (probably not) You

On August 26 German Lopez wrote in The Morning newsletter of the New York Times, opining on the Biden announcement about increasing the number of IRS agents and resources, “Kari Lake, the Republican candidate for Arizona governor, tied the increase in [IRS] agents to the F.B.I. search of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home and warned, ‘Not a single one of us is safe.’”

I sure hope she’s right, if by “safe” she means “protected from being audited and indicted for tax evasion.” I don’t want anyone to be safe from that.

While squatting in the Oval Office for four years, Trump dramatically reduced IRS resources in a stunning effort to protect himself and his rich buddies from scrutiny. That worked. Now Biden is working to restore the agency to a level where it can actually do its job. Got a problem with that, Kari Lake? We can fix your problem by defeating you in November. Go back to your hollow-head TV gig.

Covid Corner

Covid continues to rear its ugly head and promises to keep doing that until all the unvaccinated people either get vaccinated or die. It’s just that simple.

Below are the new cases chart and the death tally chart. These are cases per day averaged over 10 days. We’re still reporting nearly 100,000 new cases every day, and that number doesn’t include the cases identified via home test and those who never get diagnosed (the ones who just tough it out).

Nearly 500 of our fellows are dying every day from Covid. Almost every one of those 500 had refused to be vaccinated. Some have religious objections. Got that. But some just refuse as a demonstration of their stubbornness, masked in a mantle of self-identified freedom. And some refuse to be protected because they believe the cruel and evil lies about both the disease and the vaccine that have been crammed down their throats since Covid was identified and then vaccines became available.

Regardless of the why of their intransigence, our vaccine refusers are over-burdening our medical professionals and institutions and are walking super-spreaders who endanger the rest of us.

Whatever happened to “promote the general welfare” and concern for others and our freedom to not be infected by stubborn people?

Source: STAT, 8-29-22 – click me

Everything’s Okay Now

Following the virulent Republican anti-abortion campaign of fear and moral outrage over the past 49 years, the extremist Supreme Court killed Roe and now everything is just great for Republicans.

Wait – it’s not?

The national outrage over Republicans ending rights and promising to end still more has caused Democratic voter registrations to double those of Republicans and has caused Kansas to declare there’s nothing wrong with it. They defeated the extremist minority, killing the anti-choice state constitution amendment by 18 points.

The mid-term election is just 69 days away and proclaiming an anti-abortion position is threatening to be an anti-get-elected certainty for Republicans. What’s an extremist, hair-on-fire, Trumpy-MAGA candidate to do? Well, they figured it out.

Republican candidates are removing anti-abortion everything from their websites, their campaign literature and their campaign stops, hoping you won’t remember it was there. They haven’t changed their toxic minority position and they still want to force their medieval ways onto the majority of us and they’re just as authoritarian as before. But they think you’re dumb enough to forget who they are and what they stand for, now that they ditched the evidence.

See? Everything’s okay now.

Finally,

All of this happened over just the past few days. This list doesn’t include the Donald Documents crimes and his threat to our national security, extremist violence, mass shootings or stupid Ted “Cancun” Cruz or Lindsay “Weather Vane” Graham statements. It omits Doug Mastriano, Hershel Walker and Dr. Oz inanities, billionaire Barre Said’s $1.6 billion gift to an ultraconservative PAC that avoided taxes, and, and, and.

We didn’t used to have so many unforced domestic errors.

 

————————————

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Guest Essay: Elections Have Consequences


Boyhood pal, smart person and activist Frank Levy cares about justice, fairness, inclusiveness, freedom, rights and more. Come to think of it, he’s a lot like you in that way. That’s why I asked his permission to share his recent FB post about what we must do to make sure all those good things we care about actually are ours.

Just to be clear, Frank’s message is motivated by the destructive fact that Republicans consistently vote against all those things you care about. For example, they had to be shamed into passing the PACT Act to help our veterans harmed by exposure to toxic burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan. And that happened after they first killed the bill. That’s a fact – the Republicans voted against our vets! That and so much more are why it’s mandatory to remove these anti-We-The-People politicians from public office.

Frank’s post follows. Read it slowly and let it sink in, because he’s right. And note his number “10”. He’s right about that, too.


Elections have consequences. Legal, untainted elections make a difference. If Hillary Clinton had won the presidency in 2016, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett would not be sitting on the Supreme Court and Roe would still be the law of the land. Elections have very real consequences.

If Joe Biden had not been elected, Merrick Garland would not be Attorney General and no one would be prosecuting the police officers who murdered Breonna Taylor.

There are JUST 86 DAYS until the November midterm elections.

If we are to have any chance of keeping our fragile and imperfect democracy alive, Republicans at all levels of government [the people who oppose what you support – ed.] must be soundly defeated in November.

If we are to have any hope of passing a national law allowing access to safe and legal abortion, Republicans must be defeated in November.

If we are to have any chance of passing meaningful and sensible national gun laws, Republicans must be defeated in November.

If we are to have any chance of expanding the Supreme Court, Republicans must be defeated in November.

If we are to have any hope of retaining the right to marriage equality, retaining legal protections for LGBTQ+ individuals, interracial marriage, access to birth control, the right to vote, and the right to free and fair elections, Republicans must be defeated at every level of government in November.

If we are to have any hope of living in a thriving, diverse, equitable, inclusive, and just America, each of us must do everything we can to ensure Democrats win state and local elections and increase their majority in the House and Senate.

Here are some things each of us can do to help ensure that Democrats defeat Republicans at every level of government on November 8, 2022:

  1. Make sure you are registered to vote.
  2. If you are not registered to vote, register to vote now.
  3. Make a specific plan to vote on November 8, 2022 or sooner depending on election laws where you live. [Now comes the “10” thing – Ed.]
  4. Convince 10 people you know who don’t normally vote to this time register to vote, to make a plan to vote, and to vote Democratic on November 8, 2022.
  5. Convince each of those 10 people to convince 10 of their friends who normally do not vote to, 1) register to vote; 2) to make a plan to vote; 3) and to vote Democratic on November 8, 2022. Easy as 1-2-3.
  6. Get involved with one or more of the national efforts listed below to get out the Democratic vote.

https://naacp.org/actions/power-your-vote
https://democrats.org/take-action/
https://www.rockthevote.org/get-involved/https://statesproject.org/
https://swingleft.org/


Ed. Notes
  1. Now that Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago hidey-hole and contraband warehouse have been searched by the FBI and sensitive government documents have been recovered and secured, the incitement to violence from elected Republicans and talking empty heads has exploded. So, too, have threats of violence from far right militants. Their self-righteous fantasies of 1776 won’t go away any time soon and their promises of savagery must be met with appropriate protections provided by the proper authorities. That means we need people who believe in the rule of law and who deploy those we count on, like the FBI and police. So that all of us will be safe, follow Frank’s advice and elect Democrats. Our children, grandchildren, our families and friends – we’re all counting on us.
  2. Extra Credit Questions: Some of the classified documents Trump stole are TS/SCI*, so critical to our national security, that neither the DOJ nor the National Archives is allowed to even catalog them. Like things that include the word “nuclear”. And Trump kept them in unlocked boxes in an unlocked, unguarded basement at unsecure Mar-a-Lago. What could possibly go wrong?  Here are some extra credit questions about that.
    1. In how many ways has Trump already imperiled our country by using these stolen documents as bargaining chips?
    2. What do you imagine he thinks he can get for them? To start your thinking, consider things like a Trump Tower in Moscow. Or Budapest. Or Pyongyang. Or Tehran. Or refuge for him and his crime family in a country with no extradition treaty with the U.S.
    3. Click me

      Explain why Americans who consider themselves super patriots would froth at the mouth and threaten to kill FBI agents, Democrats and election workers to put this (at best) careless, cheating  moron back in the White House. Earn 5 extra points for each of the following included in your answer: narcissist; authoritarian; despot; over 30,000 lies; “very fine people on both sides”; double-down; criminal; the wall; con-man; unpatriotic; insurrection; sedition; martial law; Mexican “drug dealers, criminals, rapists”; fraud; election interference; jail; autocrat; liar; Muslim ban; babies ripped from mothers’ arms; “my Negro”; infantile; “acting” cabinet appointees; private phone for classified conversations; prison; racist; traitor; money laundering; Russia; suck up; toadies; golf; fake electors; sycophants; thief; tantrums; “do us a favor, though”; “Mexico will pay for it”; high chair; “very stable genius”; Lafayette Square; alternative facts; American Carnage; grab women by the p###y; “losers” buried in Arlington National Cemetery; stopped-up toilet – “toiletgate”; Ivermectin and bleach; Big Lie; “But her emails“. Use ’em all for 250 extra points!

  3. !KANSAS! Read Ed Gurowitz’s take on the message to us from !KANSAS!
    1. Ed’s message comports perfectly with Frank’s.
    2. Hint: This isn’t about Dorothy or Toto and it’s more powerful than a twister, Auntie Em.
    3. Attention: Here’s a special message about Republicans from Oz (no, not Mehmet, the New Jersey carpetbagger in Pennsylvania) – watch this 7-second clip. Couldn’t resist.
Finally,

Here are two pics of a reservoir in northern Mexico. You can find pics of Lake Meade and other reservoirs in the U.S. that look just like these – because the west is in a drought of Biblical proportions, this as Kentucky drowns, as California burns and as coastal waters inundate ever more land. Be sure to show the pic to your climate warming denial friends, especially if they like to visit the west and southwest.

This crisis has been made possible by decades of Republican reality denial and obeisance to the fossil fuel industries. Also look here.

Many fossil fuel captured Republicans simply don’t believe in the reality of global warming and the catastrophes it creates, like how unlivable areas are when there is no water or too much water or fires or hurricanes or tornadoes. Optimistic you, you’re hoping tomorrow will actually happen and that’s why you’re going to vote for Democrats at every level.

Click the pic for the WaPo story.

From the Onion:

“If Trump can get investigated, then by that logic, that implies our country has laws and when those laws are broken, there are consequences. What kind of hell are we living in?”

—————————–

* TS/SCI means “Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information.” Available only to those necessary to the project. Must be discussed, used, and stored only in secure locations. Its release to the public would cause “exceptionally grave” damage to our national security.

————————————

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Any Representative Democracy . . .


Freshman wing of Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School – still a crime scene. Click to read the story

.  .  .  should be representative of the people.

Ours isn’t.

Well north of 80% of us want far greater regulation of guns than we got with the recent milquetoast bill. And even that weenie bill required accumulating hundreds of thousands of murdered people to sufficiently motivate legislators captured by the gun industry to find the courage to stand up for little school kids. Not representative.

Emma Gonzalez: “We call B.S.” Don’t you? Click the pic

BTW – Canada just banned the importation of handguns. They are taking substantive steps to make their country safer. Tell me again why we can’t take strong measures to stop, oh, say, school shootings. Note that the words “school shootings” is a sanitized version of what actually happens. The reality is children are ripped to pieces by bullets from assault weapons. Read the linked article.

Memo from the Supreme Court: “Did you remember to set your clocks back 400 years?”

Nearly 70% of us want abortion to be legal, but the Supreme Court killed that at the federal level, this in a Bible thumping tantrum. You can download the 15th century based majority opinion written by Justice Alito here, although I warn you that it is 79 pages of drivel.

At the same time, half the states are in the process of making abortion illegal at that level. Ref: Kansas, where the state legislators are thumping their Bibles to end abortion, but the people just deep-sixed the proposed amendment to their state constitution that would have done just that. But the self-righteous zealots in Topeka have promised to be back to thwart the will of the people. Not representative.

The vast majority of We the People want democracy. Nevertheless, the Republican Party is doing everything it can to destroy the democracy the majority of us want, as legislators raise fists, lie and pass laws to steal elections from – guess who? – We the People. Not representative.

It used to be unthinkable for a political candidate to declare before an election that if they win it was a free and fair election, but if they lose that the election was stolen by massive voter fraud. Heads I win; tails you cheated. There are a bunch of Republicans claiming that now, before the upcoming mid-term election. 26% of Americans actually believe that deceit, but the majority of We the People see the dishonesty and manipulation and say no. Still, that’s what the autocrat wannabees are saying to us. They’re unrepresentative.

Orbán the Terrible Beware the jaws that bite, the jaws that catch.

Viktor Orbán, the dictator of Hungary, was the keynoter of the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC). He spouted racist, anti-Semitic hatred and immigrant slurs, “a pure Nazi speech worthy of Goebbels”. The rabid attendees cheered him wildly. Why are Republicans celebrating dictators like Orbán and Putin?

All this and more would not have been possible just a short time ago. Can you imagine Republicans as autocrats trashing democracy during the Cold War? Or during Reagan’s presidency? Unthinkable. And it would have been unrepresentative.

To be fair, we’ve always had a minority population of Christian nationalism zealots who want the United States to be a theocracy. That’s an autocracy with a religious text as its constitution, full of sufficiently vaguely worded rules, ripe for interpretation in any way desired by the autocrats. The only theocracies these despot lovers criticize and even hate are Muslim theocracies in Iran, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Be clear, though, that the inevitable result of the “My theocracy is better than your theocracy” insanity is a new Crusades.

Wait! That’s it! Let’s send drones and a bunch of Navy Seals dressed as palmers and knights to all those Muslim countries to force them to change to our pure Christian nationalism ways. Forced conversion always works so well.

“There be monsters here!”

And we can apply that same technique to our coastal elites to change their colors to bloody red. This is shaping up to be a joyous global spectacle of outrage and murder on an exponential scale that might satisfy even the apocalyptic world enders. Of course, we’ll need world maps to be redrawn showing both that the Earth ia flat and that there be monsters off the edges. O’ the glory of the age of darkness we’ll create with our country run by unrepresentative autocrats!

Or we can come to our senses and vote out of office the traitors to democracy, the unrepresentative ones, and once again be that shining city on the hill, holding the lamp for all the world to see. And we’ll tell Viktor Orbán to go away and never come back.

————————————

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

MAGA Time and Time For A Moon Shot


I was thinking about what the term “MAGA” means. I don’t mean the words; rather, the reference point.

If the goal is to make America great again, the construct requires an antecedent when America was deemed to be great, a glory from which we’ve foolishly slipped. That’s what the MAGA folks want to restore, it seems. Okay, when was that?

Could they be thinking about the Revolutionary War period, when the inhabitants of the Colonies were all engaged, shoulder to shoulder, in the great quest for freedom from King George III? If so, that’s misguided, because about 20% of the colonists were loyalists to the King and the vast majority were fence sitters. The revolutionaries were a small minority. That’s why Thomas Paine had to exhort colonists to enlist in the fight. Was America great then? There were heroics, to be sure, but probably not overall greatness.

It’s hard to imagine the Civil War period as great, as we killed 620 thousand Americans. Or perhaps that was a great time for some, proudly enslaving others and reaping the benefits and when poor Whites were pretty much our national trash. The White land owners were the undisputed kings of their realms. Maybe that was when America was great.

I’m not confident that the Reconstruction and Jim Crow periods qualify. Not a lot great there, if “liberty and justice for all” means anything, although we did manage to kill and displace uncounted numbers of Native Americans in our westward expansion and lynching was a semi-national past time.

Same problem with Freedom Summer in 1964, when Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman were tortured and murdered in Philadelphia, MS. They were there for the very American activity of registering citizens to vote. Their murders still stand as a symbol of the period. Was that a proud epoch in our history – a MAGA idealized period – when brutality ruled over civics and basic decency?

Maybe the MAGA folks think of the 1950s as the time when America was great. It did work pretty well for Whites. Ours was the only industrial economy left intact after WW II. Jobs were plentiful and wages were good. It was a time when “others” knew “their place.” And it was well before the radical Blacks and college kids were making trouble with all those pesky protest marches for civil and voting rights and against the Viet Nam war. Yeah, that was a great time to be White in America. That must be the MAGA reference point.

It seems to me that when the almost completely White* MAGA crowd spouts “Make America Great Again” what they really mean is to make the country great for them. Just them. This is the very definition of White supremacy, selfishness and the refusal of equal protection. It’s all for me and who cares about anyone else?

That’s what the enslavers said until the Civil War. They continued to believe all their lives that “The South will rise again!” touting their “Lost Cause” totem, and it seems to have done just that with our current insane far right populism. That’s what the Jim Crow South enforced. That’s what hundreds of years of cruelty and broken promises to native Americans were all about. That’s what Reagan worked to create, albeit with carefully written and highly choreographed terms that made selfishness sound patriotic.

And that is what Trump and all the ideological, far right extremists in Congress and elsewhere want to create. It’s about the absolute right of the individual over the common good. All for them and who cares about anyone else?

I should have told you that there will be a pass-fail exam. To prepare, you must watch the history lesson from Professor Heather Cox Richardson, as she digs into the deeper meaning of the Roe-killing Supreme Court Dobbs decision. It’s likely much farther reaching than you now realize. So, grab your cup o’ joe and listen up.

To close this section, here’s a fine and insightful, pre-massacre comment from the July 4th weekend:

“Even though our politics is toxically polarized right now, we don’t need fewer arguments right now; we just need less stupid ones.”

  • Eric Liu, CEO, Citizen University
  • PBS News Weekend, July 3, 2022
Time For A Moon Shot

Picture credit: NASA and Wikipedia

Surely, there can’t be many doubters left that we are at the whim of the fossil fuel industry. The craziness of U.S. gas prices that have gone over $6 per gallon is actually dwarfed by what customers are paying in Europe. So, let me say this with as much clarity as I can muster: We travel about and stay warm in the winter at the pleasure of and discretion (if any) of oil producers, and many of them have no interest at all in what works best for us. Think: Russia; Saudi Arabia; Iran – and even the myopically focused, shareholder and  C-suite-centric U.S. fossil fuel companies, still selfishly thinking Milton Friedman got it right. **

Add to that the actual, real life fact that we are in the process of cooking our planet, making huge areas uninhabitable, reducing crop yields, killing people in freak storms that are so common that they aren’t freaks anymore and incrementally drowning coastal land areas. It’s possible that the smart move is to let go of our petty insecurities and short term thinking that lead to nothing good and instead do something about what matters. Like staying alive.

Apparently, Coal State Joe doesn’t care about his grandkids.

This just might be the moment to rally the U.S. and perhaps the world to a moon shot, a dramatic shift from fossil fuels to renewables that won’t kill all of us. This just might be the time to create incentives for solar panels on every roof, for far more fields of wind generators, for the development of power from tides and all the rest of the things that we will eventually do anyway. The only question is when our circumstances will have become sufficiently dire and scary for us to break out of our denial and do the obvious.

Right now is the time for that moon shot. We can start with a Presidential call to action and by firing all politicians who refuse to accept reality. I’m thinking about you, Joe Manchin (D-WV), as you abandon any concern for your grandchildren (see the graphic to the left). You, too, Marco Rubio (R-FL), as you mealy mouth about climate warming, while the Mayor of Miami Beach is on Highway A1A and the sea water is over his ankles. Read a related CBS story here.

In the face of Manchin’s Luddite refusal to support fighting global warming and the Supreme Court having hamstrung the EPA’s power to regulate, read Four Ways the United States Can Still Fight Climate Change. It’s not enough, but it’s something.

——————————–

* Don’t let a few Black faces in the audience behind MAGA speakers fool you. They’re placed where they are to make these hate rallies look more inclusive for TV viewers, but there are actually very few non-Whites attending. If you want to test that, watch any video of the January 6 insurrection and count the non-White faces.

** Friedman Doctrine: “An entity’s [corporation’s] greatest responsibility lies in the satisfaction of the shareholders.” Friedman’s tortured logic said that focusing solely on maximizing return to shareholders would result in the best outcomes for all stakeholders (employees, customers, suppliers, the community, etc.).

Today’s era of high inflation is caused, in part, by whimsically puffed up prices (whatever the market will bear) for energy, transportation, food and more. Per corporate reporting, this has resulted in greatly inflated corporate profits and, therefore, a far greater return to shareholders.

Is that resulting in the best outcomes for all stakeholders, as Friedman predicted? How is Friedman’s notion working for workers and small businesses? How is that working for you, as you stand at the gas pump and watch the numbers climb?

I really don’t think that Gordon Gecko (“Greed is good“) was entirely right. Self-interest is fine, but not in the absolute and certainly not to the exclusion of everyone and everything else. If we’re to keep this planet habitable, it’s going to require us all to work for the common good, irrespective of shareholder satisfaction.

————————————

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Are You Seeing The Pattern Yet?


The people at the not-for-profit Citizens United were on a mission. They hated Hillary Clinton. A lot. They filmed what they called a documentary, Hillary: The Movie, and planned to release it in 2008 in an effort to submarine her candidacy for the Democratic Party nomination for the presidency. They wanted to air their hit job film just prior to primary elections in the various states. But they had a problem.

One of the provisions of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (commonly called McCain-Feingold) banned the airing of corporate funded “electioneering communication” for the 30 days before a primary election and for 60 days prior to a general election. The Citizens United people wanted to blanket the airways with their electioneering communication attack piece all the way through the primaries, so in December 2007 they filed suit to challenge that provision of McCain-Feingold. If they won, they would be able to run their electioneering film in the then-upcoming campaign season of 2008.

The district court refused their application for injunctive relief. In the appeals court Citizens United claimed their 90-minute film was a documentary, not electioneering. The court easily saw through that smoke screen and refused that argument, stating what was perfectly clear to everyone, that it was not a documentary film, but a 30-minute attack ad. It was an attempt to affect the election (the very definition of electioneering). Further, the court saw that their intended use of the movie was expressly at odds with established law.

On the case went to the Supreme Court (Citizens United v. FEC), which decided in favor of Citizens United in January 2010, overturning the lower court’s ruling. The court declared that the corporate electioneering communications restrictions of McCain-Feingold were unconstitutional and Citizens United could air their film as they wished. That should have been the end of the case, but it wasn’t.

Chief Justice John Roberts directed the attorneys to return to the court and re-litigate the case, this time specifically testing the rights of corporations and speech equivalency. It’s important to note that those issues were not part of the case brought by Citizens United.

—->  In other words, the court fabricated an entirely new case focused on issues that were not in contest in the Citizens United case.
That is not supposed to happen.
.

And in this fabricated case, the Supreme Court decided in a 5-4 vote that corporations have full First Amendment rights.

Let me be clear about this:

—-> The Court majority effectively declared that non-sentient, non-human corporations have all the rights of flesh and blood human beings.
Like you
.

Making things worse, Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, reaffirmed that money was effectively the same as speech. He declared that the First Amendment doesn’t allow prohibitions of speech even if the speaker is a corporation.

And that started a deluge of corporate money – dark money – into our politics that persists today.

To be sure there were earlier cases that chipped away at our protection from big money influence in our politics, including Buckley v. Valeo, which effectively declared that money is the same as speech. That assertion, of course, is ridiculous.

While money used for a campaign contribution certainly enables speech, that doesn’t make it the same as speech. Indeed, if you follow the Court’s Buckley logic, they’d have you believe that if I use money to buy a car, that money is the same as a car. Utter nonsense.

Money is property that is used in exchange for other things. That doesn’t make it the same as those other things. Nevertheless, the Roberts court wasn’t able to or refused to see the difference and the Citizens United case became the back breaker of integrity in our elections.

Key Point: That decision was driven by John Roberts legislating from the bench in a case that was not even brought before the court by a plaintiff! One has to wonder if this was a predetermined decision he wanted to reach. Otherwise, where did that secondary case come from?

Put a bookmark here.

Professor Heather Cox Richardson reported this in her July 6 edition of Letters From an American:

“Both the Organization of American Historians and the American Historical Association, the flagship organizations of professional historians in the U.S., along with eight other U.S. historical associations (so far), yesterday issued a joint statement expressing dismay that the six Supreme Court justices in the majority in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision that overturned Roe v. Wade ignored the actual history those organizations provided the court and instead ‘adopted a flawed interpretation of abortion criminalization  .  .  . ‘ “

” ‘[t]hese misrepresentations are now enshrined in a text that becomes authoritative for legal reference and citation in the future, ‘an undermining of the imperative that historical evidence and argument be presented according to high standards of historical scholarship. The Court’s majority opinion…does not meet those standards.’ ” [emphasis mine]

Translation: the Supreme Court ignored evidence that was inconvenient to the decision the justices wanted to make (i.e. overturn Roe). As in the manufactured case derived from the Citizens United law suit, the court clearly had its mind made up to push the doctrines it wanted, irrespective of precedent, facts and even without having a case before it.

And that radicalization is the true danger of this gerrymandered Supreme Court. It appears these justices want to roll back rights and progress 90 – maybe 150 – years.

Are you seeing the pattern yet?

You better see it, because this Court has already invited yet more cases to give them the opportunity to end yet more rights of the people.

For further reading, review Harry Littman’s troubling forecast of Supreme Court malfeasance.

—————————————–

Special Note: According to an ongoing Gallup survey, public confidence of the Supreme Court has plummeted down to 25%. And this study update was conducted before any of the end-of-term Court decisions were announced, including Dobbs. A fresh study will almost certainly show a sharp drop from the already historically low public confidence in the Court.

A similar drop in confidence is what Justice John Paul Stevens predicted in his blistering dissenting opinion in the Citizens United decision in 2010. As you can see, that is what happened.

Click me for the story

For Nerd Readers

You must read Jeffery Toobin’s explanation of this sordid story in The New Yorker. For a sampling, here’s a section of Toobin’s comments on Justice John Paul Stevens’ dissent in the Citizens United case:

So it was especially galling that the Court converted Citizens United from a narrow dispute about the application of a single provision in McCain-Feingold to an assault on a century of federal laws and precedents. To Stevens, it was the purest kind of judicial activism.

Or, as he put it in his dissenting opinion, “Five Justices were unhappy with the limited nature of the case before us, so they changed the case to give themselves an opportunity to change the law.” [emphasis mine] The case should have been resolved by simply ruling on whether McCain-Feingold applied to “Hillary: The Movie,” or at least to nonprofit corporations like Citizens United.

Stevens was just warming up. His dissent was ninety pages, the longest of his career. He questioned every premise of Kennedy’s opinion, starting with its contempt for stare decisis, the rule of precedent. He went on to refute Kennedy’s repeated invocations of “censorship” and the “banning” of free speech. The case was merely about corporate-funded commercials shortly before elections. Corporations could run as many commercials as they liked during other periods, and employees of the corporations (by forming a political-action committee) could run ads at any time.

Stevens was especially offended by Kennedy’s blithe assertion that corporations and human beings had identical rights under the First Amendment. “The Framers thus took it as a given that corporations could be comprehensively regulated in the service of the public welfare,” Stevens wrote. “Unlike our colleagues, they had little trouble distinguishing corporations from human beings, and when they constitutionalized the right to free speech in the First Amendment, it was the free speech of individual Americans that they had in mind.” Congress and the courts had drawn distinctions between corporations and people for decades, Stevens wrote, noting that, “at the federal level, the express distinction between corporate and individual political spending on elections stretches back to 1907, when Congress passed the Tillman Act.”

As for Kennedy’s fear that the government might regulate speech based on “the speaker’s identity,” Stevens wrote, “We have held that speech can be regulated differentially on account of the speaker’s identity, when identity is understood in categorical or institutional terms. The Government routinely places special restrictions on the speech rights of students, prisoners, members of the Armed Forces, foreigners, and its own employees.” And Stevens, a former Navy man, could not resist a generational allusion: he said that Kennedy’s opinion “would have accorded the propaganda broadcasts to our troops by ‘Tokyo Rose’ during World War II the same protection as speech by Allied commanders.” (Stevens’s law clerks didn’t like the dated reference to Tokyo Rose, who made propaganda broadcasts for the Japanese, but he insisted on keeping it.)

Stevens’s conclusion was despairing. “At bottom, the Court’s opinion is thus a rejection of the common sense of the American people, who have recognized a need to prevent corporations from undermining self-government since the founding, and who have fought against the distinctive corrupting potential of corporate electioneering since the days of Theodore Roosevelt,” he wrote. “It is a strange time to repudiate that common sense. While American democracy is imperfect, few outside the majority of this Court would have thought its flaws included a dearth of corporate money in politics.” It was an impressive dissent, but that was all it was. Anthony Kennedy, on the other hand, was reshaping American politics.

————————————

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

A Different Take


The Atlantic’s Jonathan V. Last Thinks Mike Pence Is an American Hero
.

You read that right.

Pence was on the wrong side of nearly every issue, like reproductive rights, gay rights, failing to prevent an Indiana HIV outbreak from becoming far worse and more. His public religiosity didn’t extend to caring about those who got hurt by his policies. And he sucked up to Trump and his malfeasance for four years plus two campaigns.

All he did on January 6 was to obey the rules of the Constitution to do his clerical job. He could have spoken up at least a month before the insurrection and that might have saved lives, but he refused to do that.

We all know that he was under great pressure from Trump, who didn’t “want to be Pence’s friend anymore” if Pence wouldn’t lie and cheat Trump back into the White House. Pence didn’t knuckle under. That one time. I guess they aren’t friends now.

Sorry, Mr. Last, but this guy’s no hero. His tombstone might read, “At long least I got one right – in the last minute.” The sub-text will be all the things he got so terribly wrong for such a very long time.

Similarly, we learned from the June 23 public hearing of the January 6 House Select Committee proceedings that DOJ men of integrity had prevented Trump from invoking the Department in his efforts to steal the 2020 election. But, like Pence, they didn’t speak up when it could have prevented the injury, death and destruction of the January 6 insurrection.

What If  .  .  .

.  .  .  the January 6 insurrectionists and seditionists had started a large bonfire just a short way from the gallows intended to be used to hang Mike Pence?  What if they had brought with them a poster size version of the United States Constitution? What if they had ripped one page at a time from it and fed it into the flames of that bonfire? Would that have been worse than what they actually did?

They were bashing the Capitol Building, defecating on its marble floor, ransacking offices, bear spraying cops and viciously mauling every person and every thing that stood for our Constitution and our country. They tried to overturn the democratically determined will of We The People. They tried to paralyze the very government that is outlined in the Constitution. They sought to establish authoritarianism in place of democracy. They wanted and still want government by vigilante.

They were motivated and led by Republican officials, the likes of which have been working to overturn and end our democracy since at least 1960 and probably since FDR. The Republican Party may as well have burned the Constitution back then.

So, what if the insurrectionists, the seditionists, had lit a bonfire and burned the Constitution? They as much as did that, as they tried their best to end America. And vacuously, ignorantly, they claimed they are the patriots. That was no 1776 event. It was a Benedict Arnold betrayal.

One More Time

We’ve known all along that Trump knew he lost the election fairly and we’ve learned through testimony to the January 6 House Select Committee that he was told that by an army of his own people. They begged him to tell the insurrectionists to stand down, but he didn’t listen to any of them, not even his own daughter. He sat watching and enjoying the destruction. And there is exactly one reason why.

Trump was desperate to remain president because he knew that as soon as he was an ordinary citizen once again that he would no longer have the protection against prosecution that accompanies that office. He knew that prosecutions for election tampering, money laundering, conspiracy to commit a dozen crimes and so much more would come down on his head and he would spend the rest of his life in prison. That’s why he was and is willing to do anything, bray any unpatriotic lie and more just to stay in office.

Plus, of course, he would have to admit publicly that he’s a loser.

“Desperate people do desperate things.” – Rachel Caine

Special from The Texas Republican Party

From the June 18, 2022 report by Professor Heather Cox Richardson:

.  .  . delegates to a convention of the Texas Republican Party today approved platform planks rejecting “the certified results of the 2020 Presidential election, and [holding] that acting President Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was not legitimately elected by the people of the United States”; requiring students “to learn about the dignity of the preborn human,” including that life begins at fertilization; treating homosexuality as “an abnormal lifestyle choice”; locking the number of Supreme Court justices at 9; getting rid of the constitutional power to levy income taxes; abolishing the Federal Reserve; rejecting the Equal Rights Amendment; returning Christianity to schools and government; ending all gun safety measures; abolishing the Department of Education; arming teachers; requiring colleges to teach “free-market liberty principles”; defending capital punishment; dictating the ways in which the events at the Alamo are remembered; protecting Confederate monuments; ending gay marriage; withdrawing from the United Nations and the World Health Organization; and calling for a vote “for the people of Texas to determine whether or not the State of Texas should reassert its status as an independent nation.”

That’s pretty much the horrific bleeding edge of the GOP today and what they want to do to America. So, right now, this minute, mark your calendar to vote – November 8, 2022 and November 5, 2024 – unless you want what’s in that paragraph above.

From reader and writer Steve Sheffey:

Democracy is not a friend of Republicans, and instead of changing their policies to win votes, they are fighting democracy so that they don’t have to change their policies.

A Republican Song Of Today

To the Tune of This Land Is Your Land

Chorus

This land is my land,

I don’t mean thy land.

It’s just for my clan,

Not for those we can’t stand.

So if you’re all woke

You’re sure not our folk.

This land was made for me and mine.

Verse 1

I schemed and hated

And I agitated.

And scammed and ripped-off

And l lied my ass off.

We won’t be lonely

‘Cause it’s White’s only.

This land was made for me and mine.

Chorus

Verse 2

We band together

To hate forever.

Stick it where it don’t shine,

‘Cus you just aren’t me’n mine.

We are the patriots,

Unlike you idiots.

This land was made for me and mine.

Chorus

Verse 3

So, send the Blacks back

To where they came from.

We don’t need Asians

Making us all feel dumb.

And adios to

Hispanics, all of you.

This land was made for me and mine.

Chorus

 

————————————

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Gun Ears


‘You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.” – Winston Churchill

—————————————–

Let’s start with this obvious but enormously powerful basic: Regardless of where we stand, all discussions about guns are loaded with emotional juice, primitive fight-or-flight reactions and mind blanking, logic eliminating passions. We cannot imagine the depth of the stupidity of those who disagree with us.

This is a true “both sides” situation.

Many thanks to Gary Larson for his years of genius exemplified in this Far Side cartoon that just seems to fit our “think-they-know-everythings”

Because of that it’s pretty well impossible to have a thoughtful, logical discussion about guns. Nevertheless, to illustrate my foolishness, I’m going to try just this one time. Plus this other time. Oh, and this one. For more, click on the search box above my pic on the right and search on the word “guns.” BTW, that’s a seagull flying past my nose.

Gun lovers cite the Second Amendment as though that’s all they need to establish their claim that they can keep and bear whatever arms they want. It’s an absolute, they tell us. “What part of ‘shall not be infringed’ is unclear to you?” they ask. Well, there are just a few things about that – here’s a sampling.

First: The reason for the Second Amendment

It was included so that southern states would ratify the Constitution. Basic bribery. Those muskets and militias were for one purpose: to put down slave rebellions. To the best of my understanding, that need no longer exists. That means that amendment is no longer required.

I’m now less confident that another reason for the Second Amendment was because our early government had no money for a standing army, so they needed citizens to be ready if the Brits came back, which they did a dozen years later. Go look it up, if you like.

Second: The “well regulated militia” part

Start buy watching this previously linked video.

The hypothesis in the Second Amendment is, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State .  .  .” Well, the Revolutionary version of a militia has morphed into the National Guard. They are well regulated. There are no other state militias.

And there is no other place for the required regulation (i.e. training) outside of the active duty military, so the rest of the hypothesis for gun ownership according to the Second Amendment no longer exists, either.

Private citizens possessing firearms aren’t members of a real militia, however earnestly some may believe they are, and they aren’t regulated at all. They bear no resemblance to the Second Amendment or to the National Guard.

Read this thread by a vet as he explains the training our military recruits receive – very much like the description in the video above. They are very well regulated. Compare that to the training – regulation – you’d receive if you were to purchase a handgun, hunting rifle or assault rifle at a gun show or from a gun dealer. Or if the 18 year old next door were to buy those firearms. There’s no relationship of that to the intent of the Second Amendment.

Watch this video of former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Warren Burger as he explains the fraud about the Second Amendment that has been foisted upon the American public by the gun industry.

Third: The “shall not be infringed’ part of the Second Amendment

That does sound like an absolute, but here’s what super conservative, “originalist” Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said about that:

Turns out that the right to keep and bear arms may, in fact, be infringed. It already is. Quod erat demonstrandum.

Fourth: The weapons

Go ahead, hold to originalist thinking. Keep and bear arms exactly as intended by the Founders. Stockpile muskets, balls, powder horns and flintlock pistols. I just don’t want that to be extrapolated to any citizen having the right to have any modern weapon. Today’s weapons are killing machines not even imagined by the Founders.

Fifth: Protection against a tyrannical government

The Second Amendment doesn’t say or imply any such thing. Read it above – that’s the entire Second Amendment. There’s nothing about imagined tyranny done by our government or what to do about it if it were real.

Seriously, is some bunch of camo-wearing guys skulking through the woods going to overpower our armed forces and topple what they believe to be a tyrannical government or perhaps bend the government to their will? Doesn’t matter. The Second Amendment has nothing to do with any perceived tyranny of our government,

The Gun Ears Part

This is the hard stuff.

I’ve tried to be logical and level headed about this, even as I became more agitated as I wrote. Like I said, this issue is loaded with juice for most of us and I’m no exception. Perhaps it’s time to hear from someone who disagrees with me.

Try this guy. But first, be clear that your challenge is to listen to him all the way through. Maybe listen twice or even three times, seeking solely to understand him and what he has to say. Your job is not to craft your insightful response to prove him wrong or to impugn his intelligence or to give in to becoming angry and resentful. It is simply to understand.

I warn you that this assignment will almost certainly be difficult, but it’s very important. Click on the pic, watch, listen and learn, grasshopper.

Maybe you noticed immediately that this fellow demonstrates my opening point, that gun ownership – keeping and bearing arms – is a very emotional subject.

Yes, I know you can shoot down some of the things he says, including his redirection away from guns in America to the British gun laws and to our drug problems. Yes, I heard his toxic masculinity about what “real men” do and “going down swinging.” Just ignore that stuff and consider that he is earnest in his distrust of government (aren’t you?) and, by the way, he has some ideas worthy of consideration, like hiring unemployed vets to protect kids.

Could you have a conversation with this guy without it turning into a fight, what with Buffalo, Laguna, Uvalde and Tulsa on your mind? Do you have the courage to listen to him while seeking only to understand? I tell you with complete confidence that’s exactly what it will take for us to begin to mend our deep political divide and learn to live with one another.

I have no illusions about converting this guy. What I have is a notion that we all have plenty to learn and we cannot accomplish that task by yelling at one another. That demand for learning and being respectful is on all of us. So is taking action.

Must Reads of the Week

It is critical that we stay clear about what needs to be done. Read Thom Hartmann’s piece on this because this is going to take a while.

And read the Twitter thread of Sean Castin (D-IL 6). The comments below it are worthwhile, too.

Adaptive Quote

From Monika Bauerlein writing in Mother Jones about the likely Roe decision and minority rule:

” .  .  . I thought about how far gone a democracy is when 54 percent of the population support a constitutional right and 28 percent oppose it, yet the 28 percent position wins out.”

The numbers on gun safety/control are far more lopsided than that, with 80 – 90% of us supporting gun safety laws, yet the minority position continues to win out. That’s deadly.

From Reader FL

For those red-staters who proudly believe that it is safer to live in Alabama than in big, bad, dangerous NYC, here are some numbers to chew on:

The 2021 homicide rate in NYC was 5.5 individuals per 100,000 residents.

The 2021 homicide rate in Alabama was 14.2 individuals per 100,000 residents.

Finally, A Little Lighten Up

Watch Stephen Colbert’s Monday scoop on PuppetGate.

————————————

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA

 


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

Lawn Chairs and You


Ed. note: If this post describes you, this is going to hurt. If it doesn’t describe you, it still applies to a minimum of 36% – 60% of eligible voters. What will we do about that?


We were staggering in our rage and sorrow over 10 grannies, 2 teachers and 19 little kids having been murdered. For most of us it was primarily about the kids. Evolution has hard wired us to protect children, so the wanton slaughter of 9- and 10-year-olds more than rankled us.

And it rankled Christine Emba, too. She’s an opinion writer for The Washington Post and she accurately aimed her blame finger directly at those most responsible for the ongoing American massacre, this in her brilliant piece, You. This Is Your Fault.

For example,

“You, the gun-obsessed minority who lord over our politics and prevent change from being made. You, who mumble “thoughts and prayers” but balk at action.

“You, the “shooting hobbyist” or “gun enthusiast” who advocates against gun control because you think anything that makes your weekend amusement even the slightest bit more difficult to participate in is not to be borne.

“You, the performative patriot who believes that background checks, age limitations, training requirements — any reasonable regulations that could help keep people safe — are insufferable limitations on your freedom.

“You, the sophist who says “guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” as if those people aren’t killing others using guns, as if it isn’t obvious that the havoc they wreak would be much reduced had they not been given easy access to weapons of mass murder.”

She goes on unsparingly and correctly, but I think there’s a missing step in her logic. You can see it clearly by recognizing that We The People want serious steps to be taken to protect us. For example, 80 – 90% of Americans want universal background checks on the sale or transfer of all firearms and it’s been in that range at least since Sandy Hook. How is it, then, that nothing has happened to deliver what we want?

Note: As this is being written a watered down gun safety bill that will accomplish very little is slow-poking its way through Congress. It is legislation that is carefully crafted not to offend gun “enthusiasts” and will protect almost nobody. Still, it’s a first step. Who knows? Maybe our school kids will live long enough to see a second step.

The answer to why We The People don’t get what we want is that we keep electing toadies who make sure that nothing happens that might upset their “base”. But that begs the question of why we elect those people, which gets to the core or our national problem.

Angry people and extremists take action – they vote. The not-so-angry people are less motivated. They vote in pathetically low numbers. Roughly 36% of eligible voters don’t vote in presidential elections and it’s often much worse than that. About 60% of voters blow off mid-term elections and very few bother with primary elections. That puts a lot of power into the hands of angry extremists who show up and vote.

They show up in big numbers relative to their overall size. They overwhelm the votes of the lazies and thereby get their way.
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That’s how the extremist, Trump sucking candidates win elections.
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Translation: the voices of the extremists drown out the rest of us because the rest of us couldn’t be bothered to get up off our butts and vote.

So, to use Emba’s introductory words and mimic her style,

” .  .  .  someone is to blame.

“But who?

“You. It’s your fault.”

You, the self-focused, who are unwilling to look beyond yourself to the grave harm being done all around you.

You, who can’t be bothered to register to vote because it’s a nuisance and, besides, there are millions of others taking care of that voting thing.

You, for whom Roe isn’t a big deal, so you don’t make your voice heard about the outright assault on all women.

You, who think voting rights are important, but you sit mute, as tens of thousands of our fellow citizens are having their right to vote stripped from them in Republican controlled states, resulting in stolen elections.

You, who think global warming is going to be a problem for our children and grandchildren. You worry, too, about our fellow citizens today who suffer and die from monster tornadoes and from once-in-a-century hurricanes that now happen every year, and from our forest fire “season” that lasts all year. But you sit in silence on election day.

You, who hear the horrid lies mouthed by self-serving, self-justifying traitors to democracy and all you can muster is a shake of your head and a click on the TV remote.

You, who sit immobilized as Otero County in New Mexico has become first in the nation to officially overturn the will of We The People, using bogus claims, lies and fraud. And you know that more counties and states will follow the fraudulent pretense, “If we didn’t win, then somebody cheated, so we’re officially claiming victory for our side.” And still you stay home on election day.

Again, if that’s not you, that’s great. But our problem is the passivity of at least 36% of eligible voters in some presidential elections and about 10% more than that in most. That skews outcomes in a self-destructive direction. Roughly 60% don’t show up for mid-term elections and it’s worse for primaries. These people remain idle as our rights and our very way of life are being stolen from all of us. It’s like sitting meekly on a lawn chair watching burglars empty your house and load your stuff into a moving van.

Those voices calling you to register, to vote, to contribute, to rally and more are telling you to take action now, because if you don’t, the angry extremists will not only empty your house of all you hold dear; they will take your entire house and your lawn chair, too.

We are in this terrible fix, where millions believe huge volumes of stupid stuff, including “1776 Returns,” where violence is declared to be okay in pursuit of what they individually and delusionally want, this at the expense of all the rest of us. The angry extremists are doing to our country the kinds of cruelties and injustices that King George III did and against which our Founders rebelled. Worse, our criminal faux-patriot wannabees are going to have their way, taking all your stuff and your house, unless you get off that damn lawn chair.

Thomas Paine spoke to his contemporaries, imploring them to patriotism for their birthing nation. His words live on today, but be clear that they are not for the January 6 criminals or their millions of sympathizers, who try to usurp them. Paine’s words are for you and me.

Click me for the GoodReads page

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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 to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right (IT’S A FREEBIE!). And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. Be sure to add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

DO SOMETHING! – Part 2


Gov. Abbott press conference in Uvalde, TX. Click the pic for the story.

Gov. “Bang-Bang” Abbott of the Shooting Gallery of Texas said he was livid at his press conference following the Uvalde massacre, this because he didn’t get the full, straight story about police actions, if there were any. His cops and his hand picked public safety officials had essentially snow jobbed him, he told us. Of course, we understand anger over not getting a straight story, because most of the time it’s impossible for us to get a straight story from Abbott. That makes lots of people livid.

If he’s livid it may be because this time he got caught as an accessory to the murders of school kids by a really well equipped, Texas authorized shooter. You know, body armor, two AR-15s and lots of ammo, stuff that Abbott wants troubled 18 year olds to have. Of course, Abbott didn’t have what it takes to give us the straight story about that. What we know is that he was livid about looking foolish, mouthing bad information – so very sad for his ego. He gave no indication that he was livid about 19 dead kids and 2 dead teachers. In fact, when he told us he was livid they were still trying to identify those little corpses and eventually had to resort to DNA matching, but he didn’t mention that.

Still, right then and there Abbott promised mental health services for survivors in Uvalde. That’s great, because those people are hurting terribly. It will be generations before the people of that town get over this catastrophe, if, indeed, those folks ever do.

It’s wonderful that Gov. Abbott is promising mental health assistance right there in Texas, which ranks 4th in the nation in prevalence of mental illness, but last in access to care. Plus it’s going to be tougher and extra awful for the suffering people of Uvalde, because Abbott can’t possibly provide the help he bragged about. That’s because he recently chopped the state budget for mental health services by $211 million. It seems we’re back yet again to that business of not being able to get a straight story from Gov. Greg Abbott.

Besides his phantom mental health support, it’s noteworthy that last year Abbott boasted of having signed at least 7 new laws making it easier for Texans to get guns, including one that allows people to carry handguns without a background check, without training and without a permit. Just buy, load and go. More recently he urged Texans to buy more guns because a report said that there were more guns in California than in Texas. Gotta love his competitive spirit. Bang bang.

All of that is in the wake of 23 shoppers killed at a Walmart in El Paso, 10 kids killed in their school in Santa Fe and 26 churchgoers shot dead in Sutherland Springs. Now 19 kids and 2 teachers in Uvalde have been murdered. Read this and this if you want to understand how deeply objectionable this guy is and exactly why people like you and dead gun victims simply don’t matter to him.

I pick on Gov. Abbott for several reasons, chief among which is that he deserves it. I want to be bigger about this, but the truth is that I enjoy verbally beating the snot out of this guy – or any guy – who’s all about promoting himself in the face of the ghastly price paid by others for his bravado. He’s a placeholder for all the “real man” chest thumpers and the “my rights and my freedom” guys who still have not figured out that there are a lot of other people just beyond their noses who also have rights.

Like the right to not get murdered. We’d like for our kids to have the right to stop having to do active shooter drills and for our elderly loved ones to have the right to go shopping without it being a death defying act. We’d like for all the you-and-me regular folks to have the right to go to the entertainment district and not get killed by a monster with weapons in his hands made possible by Gov. Greg Abbott and others just like him. I pick on Gov. Abbott because he is a self-righteous tyrant and promoter of death who deserves a verbal thrashing.

We’ll do well to admit that Gov. Abbott and other officials like him, as well as ordinary citizens described in the above paragraphs, are people who we’ll never persuade, so we’ll have to over-power them. That means that way more of us will have to vote.

To our gun culture enthusiasts:
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I get that having and firing a handgun or hunting rifle or assault rifle is fun. It makes young men and lunatic congressmen and women feel powerful, in charge, important. Gun culture is intoxicating. But here’s the thing: If I care at all about the pleasure you or anyone gets from owning, handling and firing guns, it isn’t even in the same universe as my care for little kids sitting at their desks at schools or grannies shopping or people in church or doctors and nurses at their hospitals.

Your right to own and fire your guns isn’t even remotely as important as our right to life, as described in the Declaration of Independence as an unalienable right. That means that you are not allowed to kill anybody. Your puffed chest Second Amendment right is way behind others’ right to safety.
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Quoting Peggy Hamburg, former FDA commissioner, “If you don’t see the light, you will soon feel the heat.”

Half-size caskets with cartoons for Uvalde kids. Click the pic for the sad story.

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The day is coming when all of this will be self-evident. Greg Abbott will be long gone, as will Ted Cruz and all the knuckle dragging congressional and state legislative candidates firing or handling guns in their campaign ads. Be clear that I respect the guns – they’re dangerous – but I don’t respect those people.

They’re not protectors from a tyrannical government, nor do they protect us from immigrants or from anyone else. What they do is to endanger We The People every day.

These chest thumpers are not the opponent; they are the enemy of American public safety. Some day they must be defeated.

We can hasten the arrival of that day. Indeed, we must hasten the arrival of that day, because over 100 Americans are dying by gunfire every day.

From DO SOMETHING! – Part One:

What creative ideas do you have to get candidates elected who are bold enough to pass meaningful, sensible laws to protect our children and grannies and church goers and concert and movie attendees and .  .  .  wait .  .  .  that’s all of us.

Which candidates will you phone bank for? Will you send out election reminder post cards? How about kicking in a few bucks to a congressional candidate in a swing state? You can even do something to elect state legislature candidates who think my little granddaughter and other school kids shouldn’t have to do active shooter drills. Here’s a link to The States Project. These folks are all about that and you can make a difference that just might keep people from getting killed.

Remember: To Fire the bastards! (see below) we have to replace them with good guys. That’s about promoting the right people and voting. That’s on us.

Key Words: DO SOMETHING!
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Like March For Our Lives – June 11
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Click the button to be directed to the closest march to you.
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Marches Near You!

June 11 – BE THERE!

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Must Reads

How Greg Abbott and Under 4 Percent of Texans Are ruining the State for the Rest of Us

The Epidemic of Mass Shootings is Neither Inevitable Nor Unsolvable

He Did Not Act Alone

Post Script

After little kids and grannies were massacred, after dozens of concert attendees were mowed down, after multiple murders in churches, synagogues and mosques, how can it be that there is any political resistance at all to laws to protect us from these killing machines and from homicidal maniacs?

What has happened to us such that we know what to do and yet steadfastly refuse to do it?

Have no misunderstanding, no fog of ignorance: This is a test. It is a test of who and what we care about, what we value, what is precious to us. The answer to the single test question is not yet another string of hollow platitudes or another chest thumping, self-serving speech. The question is critical. I fear the answer.

————————————

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

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