Science

The Best We Can Do


Disarming the Monterey Park shooter – Click me

Monterey Park, CA

After hearing an interview with Brandon Tsay, the man who disarmed the Monterrey Park shooter, Shannon Watts, Founder of Moms Demand Action, said,

“We are asking everyday civilians to stand up to gunmen because our lawmakers are too cowardly to stand up to gun makers.” *

You know in your bones that she’s right.

Here Are The Totals:  January 1 – 28**

Click me

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  • All gun deaths                 3,244 – 116 per day
  • Mass shootings                   43 – 3 every 2 days
  • Children killed                    128***
  • Children injured                  297***

Those aren’t just numbers; they’re people. Like granny. Like your kids. Like you.

Is this the best we can do? Really?

Speaking of Violence

You know that Tyre Nichols was beaten by 5 Memphis cops and that he later died from that attack. You may have watched the videos that were released Friday evening. You may be tempted to share your horror with others by inviting them to watch the video.

Before you do, read this from Bear Bellinger of Indivisible. In part, he writes,

“Sharing the video is sensationalizing violence while minimizing the pain that it imparts on Black bodies. Share solutions. Share actions. Share outrage. Do. Not. Share. The. Video.

So, hold on to your horror, your sadness, your rage. Your feeling that way and more proves that you are a human being with empathy, but that’s not enough.

We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.”– MLK

Is this the best we can do? Really?

It Ain’t Over

Here’s a graph of total Covid deaths since the first, then-mysterious one in February 2020.

Click me

As you can see, we’re continuing to raise the death count, now at the rate of 543 dead bodies per day – and the rate is increasing. Weirdly, the pile up of bodies has faded into national background noise, as we seem to have forgotten the over 1.1 million already dead – roughly equivalent to everyone in Dallas, TX – the nearly 104 million total cases reported (likely, there are many more) and all the suffering. The point of showing you the graph is to help you realize that this isn’t over. The war isn’t won. Not all the boys are coming home.

  • I’m over 70 and my age alone makes me a pretty good target for any variant of this virus. And it found me. I hunkered down with Paxlovid and got better. Then it came back, laughing at me for my foolish belief that I had beaten it. I think it’s gone now.
  • I didn’t like having Covid, but the point is that I’m still here and able to say so.
  • Thank you, vaccine people!
  • Fie on vaccine conspiracy crazies!
  • The majority of us took one or two vaccines, but only about 16% of Americans have taken the bivalent vaccine for protection from the primary variants that are stalking us right now. You need to get it into your head that you need to get the updated booster into your arm. Not tomorrow; today, if you want to avoid being one of the 543 tomorrow.
  • Did I mention that only 16% of us have protection against the new viruses that are trying to take us down?
  • Is this the best we can do? Really?
  • Congress
  • Fifteenth ballot winner for Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy (R-Hypocrisy), is convening a new select committee, which means he gets to select its members. It is the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government (“HSS-WTF”). Per Heather Cox Richardson,

“Yesterday in The Bulwark, Jill Lawrence explained that the true goal of the committee is ‘shoveling paranoia and distortion into the news stream’ to make right-wing voters distrust the government even more than they already do. David Jolly, a former Republican congressman from Florida who left the party in 2018, told Lawrence: ‘It’s a drug they’re going to put out on the street for conservative media and conservative voters.'”

No surprise there. No surprise, either, that Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Rabies) will chair the WTF committee to ensure it is a circus of hateful delusion. It’s just what he does.

Plus, McCarthy has evicted Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Eric Swalwell (D-CA) from the Intelligence Committee and plans to remove Ilhan Omar (D-MN) from the Foreign Affairs Committee. He falsely claimed that Schiff and Swalwell had lied to the American people and that allowing either of them on that committee would compromise national security. And, as is quite obvious, Omar is a Muslim. He didn’t say that part out loud.

So, he’s packing the committee with far right extremists who tried to overthrow our government on January 6. All this is a matter of integrity to McCarthy, he told us. Seriously, he said that.

I figure that removing Schiff and Swalwell and replacing them with brain-free extremists will significantly lower the overall intelligence of the Intelligence Committee. My recommendation is to have low expectations of it.

That’s where the Republican majority is focused as we face a debt ceiling debacle.

Is this the best we can do? Really?

Education

Ron DeSantis, the Republican governor of Florida and 2024 presidential wannabe, is doing his best to keep kids in his state ignorant and to polarize his citizens. He recently removed AP (Advanced Placement) African-American studies from the high school electives offerings, claiming it is not education, but “indoctrination.” That was his word choice.

It’s interesting that De Santis doesn’t consider AP French to be indoctrination. Neither does he claim AP European History or AP American History or AP World History or AP U.S. Government and Politics or AP Spanish or any other AP course to be indoctrination. It’s only indoctrination if it’s about Blacks. Stoking culture wars in a “one up, all others down” society: does it get any better than that for that self-serving extremist?

This is his latest move to promote ignorance in Florida, following his book banning and the threat of 3rd degree felony charges against teachers or librarians who so much as whisper words suggesting anyone or anything that is not straight – the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law. This has led to a new state motto flapping above the capitol building in Tallahassee:

IGNORANCE R US

.

In the long run, a hierarchical society was only possible on a basis of poverty and ignorance.

  • “1984”, George Orwell
  • Many thanks to my lifelong friend, Frank Levy, for the quote.

Is this the best we can do? Really?

Finally, a Chuckle

Of course you remember Hurricane Ian that devastated Ft. Myers, FL last September and threatened states all the way to North Carolina. I pinged friends there to see if they were OK – they were – and they sent the pic of Mar-a-Lago to the right.

Ian, was that the best you could do? Really?

_______________________________

* The only thing that stops a cowardly, bad lawmaker with a vote is a good lawmaker with a vote.

Elect good lawmakers.

** Source: www.GunViolenceArchive.org

*** Firearms are the Leading Cause of Death for Children in the United States, But Rank No Higher Than Fifth in Other Industrialized Nations – Kaiser Family Foundation

______________________________

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


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

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    JA


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

Rationalizing Anything


I’ve done a little research in order to understand standard issue alt-right rationalizing behavior. Here’s a sampling from right wing politicians, pundits and the little folk on the far right (non-traditional Republicans – the ones whose sound bites make the news). See if this comports with your experience of your crazy Uncle Bob and now of the Mark Meadows texts just being made public.

They make sweeping accusations and assertions in the complete absence of evidence to support such claims. Usually done serially and at high speed in order to overwhelm challengers and not have to answer questions.

Asking for evidence to support their accusations and assertions elicits some version of, “Everybody knows” or a restatement of the accusation, but with amped up volume. The simple declaration of their claims is all they need for conviction and a subsequent hanging in the town square.

They project alt-right wrongdoing onto others. Whatever the far right is doing, they accuse the “socialist Democrats” of it, once again without any evidence. It’s always someone else who is the bad guy. Expect a world class performance every time.

Stand back, because they volcanically erupt focus-transferring what-about-isms. This is a bit like “throwing their voice” – ventriloquism – but they’re actually trying to throw reality.

Dismissing all news or evidence that counters their story is a requirement for membership in this club. For example, news stories they don’t like are eviscerated by calling them lies (“lame-stream media”) to make them go away. That seems to prove to themselves the truth and accuracy of their own counter-factual beliefs and reestablishes their power position.
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They claim there is outrageous wrong being done to totally pure, patriotic righty extremists, like the horrible abuse being done to January 6 insurrectionists – oops, legitimate, peaceful protesters – by our illegitimate federal government.
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They are adept at performance politics of any description done to “own the libs.” There’s really nothing quite as satisfying as demonizing others, especially if they are so weenie that they won’t march a Confederate battle flag through the Capitol Building or claim that an election was stolen.
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All in all, it’s what you could call “aggressive ignorance” that seals off brain functioning from learning. Plus, there’s the anger attendant to these folks. Very dangerous.

Those things and more are what make it hard to have any conversation with a MAGA conspiracy theorist, alt-right extremist or pretty much anyone who self-identifies as a Republican. The question for the rest of us is, “How can we deal with people who rationalize and fervently believe their Through The Looking Glass alternate reality in order to prevent them from destroying our democracy?”

Ideas? Bueller? Bueller?

Here’s another example of rationalizing.

Prof. Heather Cox Richardson’s Letters From An American are always interesting and most often educational. After all, she is a teacher.

Her post of December 2 concerned the issue of treason and detailed John Brown’s attempt to launch a slave rebellion in 1859. He was captured and hanged, the first American to be executed for treason.

This behavior geek moment concerns the State of Virginia, which conducted the hanging.

Richardson wrote,

“The execution of John Brown for treason set a precedent.

“And in just over a year, Virginians themselves would take up arms against the federal government.”

Hmmm .  .  .

Humans are such a reliable source of entertainment, as we display our boundless ability to rationalize.

Indeed, here’s a 2024 pre-campaign tweet from Ron DeSantis’ wife, Casey:

Thanks go to Jim Nathan for this.

Nobody has a clue why she figures she’s speaking for millions of people. Really, that’s some impressive turf grabbing. Plus, the freedom to which she refers apparently only applies to those who are White, Christian, straight and probably male. How do they rationalize that? Click the tweet and read the comments.

And be sure to watch the black-and-white electioneering ad below the tweet. It mentions God 10 times in just 96 seconds, thus setting a new land speed record for attempted manipulation of the ignorant. Implied is, “A vote for ‘I love you, Ron’ is a vote for God.” That’s beyond rationalizing. It’s delusional and truly gag-able.

Worse is the rationalizing away of the cruelty DeSantis has inflicted on those who aren’t exactly like him and his bible thumping wife. Contrary to Casey DeSantis’ claim, “I love you Ron” actively and enthusiastically works to take away people’s freedom, like his “Don’t say gay” bill. That’s the opposite of “fighting for freedom” and is world class rationalizing.

I know nothing more about Casey DeSantis, but Ron DeSantis can be counted upon to rationalize all manner of extremist notions to penalize others in order to appeal to his extremist base and promote himself.

To Republican voters: Caveat emptor. What you see is what you get.

Sooner or later DeSantis will have you and your freedom in his sights. He’ll have a fabulous, rationalized justification for attacking you, but you won’t like it. Didn’t we learn this lesson when Trump failed to become “presidential?” Perhaps not.

Avoiding Rationalizing – Here’s How

Maureen Dowd’s column of December 3 is an appeal to support those combating child killing cancer and more. She details her friend, College Football Hall of Fame coach Lloyd Carr (University of Michigan) and the tragic story of his grandson. In her piece she offers a couple of Carr’s football mantras that apply to fighting cancer and, really, anything needing to be championed:

“You can’t do everything but you can do something.”

“Blame no one, expect nothing, do something.”

I strongly recommend that you write Carr’s directives in big, bold letters and post them where you see them every day.

  • ————————————

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

Fire the bastards!

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Do You Remember?


In the beginning there were no tests. There was not even one single test for Covid in the entire world. There wasn’t even the name “Covid.”

A former president told us to inject bleach and Lysol and ultra-violet lights. When tests became available to healthcare professionals he told us that we should do fewer tests because that would make the reportable number of infections lower and he would look better that way. He attacked our experts and flagrantly lied to us about how dangerous this virus was and about how to protect ourselves. Do you remember?

Then bodies started swarming our ERs. They filled every room, every bed, every gurney in every hallway. Nurses, docs and techs were wearing space suits to protect themselves from a virulent disease for which they had no treatments. Some became sick and died while trying to save others.

They jammed respirator tubes down patients’ throats until they ran out of respirators. Some made a way to split the feed from a respirator so as to keep two patients breathing. Do you remember?

The healthcare professionals were working insane hours and failing every day because they couldn’t do much more for patients than hold their hands as they died. Later they held iPads so that families could say good-bye. And they wept every day for all their failing to help patients, and the bodies piled up in refrigerator trucks. Do you remember?

One day during the worst of it I heard car horns honking in my neighborhood. I don’t know how I knew, but I was certain that it was a parade past the house of a healthcare worker, so I jumped into my car and quickly found and joined the lineup of cars on the next street. At last I passed the house and a nurse or doc still in scrubs and a labcoat stood at her door waving to us, mouthing “Thank you.”

We honored our healthcare heroes with reception lines outside hospitals at shift changes. We sent pizzas. One fellow sang Nessum Dorma to those heroes. They were paying a terrible price to save our lives and we did what we could to say “Thank you.” Do you remember?

I recall during the worst of it, when the virus was spreading so terribly fast and we didn’t even know the methods of transmission, so plexiglass shields were installed at retail shops, hoping that would help to prevent us from infecting one another. I went to check out at the supermarket and there was a girl at the cash register wearing a mask and gloves and I realized that she was doing a death defying act just so that I could purchase groceries. Yet another hero. Do you remember?

We were constantly at the edge of running out of N95 masks and people sewed masks at home and gave them away so that the meager supply of N95s could go to our healthcare people. There were so many cloth masks made that it was nearly impossible to purchase elastic and nobody knew if cloth masks did any good. We did our best to stay at a distance from one another and didn’t know if that did any good, either. Do you remember?

Back in high school most kids avoided the nerdy kids. They weren’t cool. Many were socially awkward. Some kids even tormented them. But they persevered and took their nerdiness into science, where they invented magical vaccines in less than a tenth of the time it normally takes to do such a thing.

We gave them first to our healthcare workers, for obvious reasons. Then to the elderly, especially those trapped in the Petri dishes of nursing homes. Following that, the magical vaccines began to be available to all of us, and we scrambled to find a place where we could make an appointment and be vaccinated. Some of us drove long distances to get a shot in the arm. Do you remember?

And we gained some protection, all because those nerdy kids persevered and went into science – you know, the stuff our reality deniers deny? – and they made magic that has helped all of us, including the reality deniers.

Before those vaccines were available thousands of Americans were dying – not just getting sick, but dying – every day. We’re still losing around 400 per day and nearly all of those who die and nearly all of those who require hospitalization are people who have refused to take the magical vaccines.

Meanwhile, the rest of us are chugging along just fine and, no, Bill Gates can’t track us because there are no nanobots in the vaccines. And the vaccines don’t make anyone sterile or cause people to contract Covid.

We’ve reassured and coaxed and begged people to protect themselves and the people they love, but millions still hold out, some for religious reasons, some for doubt about efficacy of the vaccines and a huge number because they think their freedom is somehow being abridged. Do you remember?

The nerds did even more for us. They developed multiple types of at-home tests for Covid. When tests became available President Biden did an all-hands-on-deck distribution of them, as he had done with the vaccines, to get these healthcare tools into our hands and up our noses. Have you thanked a nerdy person lately? Have you thanked President Biden? You should, because they saved your life.

This has been a stroll down Covid Memory Lane and it’s for a reason.

Our news cycle can be measured in fractions of a second. There is breaking news breaking our attention constantly. There are horrid things that steal our attention, like our ever-present mass murders and elections that are existential threat events. All of that makes us move on from important things as though they’re unimportant. All of that moves us away so fast that we forget to say “Thank you.”

So, this is my reminder and, in this season of what should be gratitude, my humble request that we all thank our everyday heroes. They’re all around us, like the firefighters who run into burning buildings to save us. They’re all doing wondrous things for us every day.

Please, say “Thank you.”

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

Fire the bastards!

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Mostly Serious – Part Two


This is a continuation of the Mostly Serious- Part One post of October 9, 2022.


Page 4: This Isn’t New, But

The Russians and the Saudis just decided to cut oil production by 2 million barrels per day. That will lower world supply, driving prices higher, which you will feel every time you fill your gas tank. We’ve done this dance with oil producers many times and we always get our feet stomped on. Same thing when the gouging comes from our domestic refiners. Think: Arab oil boycott in the 70s and price gouging this year.

In addition, many people have noticed that there probably is something to the claims of over 97% of international climate scientists who say that we humans are the biggest contributors to global warming. That’s leading to things like vastly more destructive hurricanes (I know you noticed that), droughts of Biblical proportions, rising sea levels that will flood coastal cities and more.

What that means is that drilling to produce more oil to lower costs probably isn’t a good solution to anything except more profit for the fossil fuel industry companies in the short term and ever worsening ecological disasters for all of us. Good news! We’re not required to be that, hmmm, what’s the word? – oh yeah: Self-destructive.

Maybe it’s a good time to start weaning ourselves off our dedication to self-destruction. We could do things like:

    • Start a massive program to install solar collectors on every roof and wind farms everywhere it’s windy.
    • Start upgrading our electric grid.
    • Make big incentives for people to replace their gas guzzlers with electric cars.
    • Begin construction of a huge number of charging stations.
    • Incrementally shut down coal and oil fired power stations.
    • Fund ongoing research to produce better power generation and storage.

You get the idea: Initiate a Manhattan Project to bring this country into the 21st century. Sooner or later we’re going to do this because we have to; otherwise we, our kids and grandchildren are gonna die.

I’m completely serious about all of that.

“If we want to make a difference, we need to maximize our energy security, national security and economic security, all at once. The only way to do that effectively is to incentivize our market to produce a stable and secure supply of energy with the lowest possible emissions at the lowest possible costs as fast as possible.

“The only truly effective way to do that is with a strong price signal – either taxes on dirty stuff or incentives for clean stuff – plus steadily increasing clean energy standards for power generation .  .  .  “

Page 5: A Final Serious Note

Republicans are fighting progress with all the hypocrisy they can muster, and they  can muster a lot of it. They excoriate Biden and Democrats for inflation, including high gas prices, but produce not even one idea to combat it. With blithe disregard for victims of global warming events they indifferently mumble something about “thoughts and prayers.” That probably won’t help the people in Lee County FL, any more than their thoughts and prayers have helped mass shooting victims anywhere. And they continue to support the candidacy of mentally scrambled Herschel Walker because for them it’s Power Uber Alles.

From Dana Loesch, former spokesperson for the NRA:

“I don’t care if Herschel Walker paid to abort baby eagles. I want control of the Senate.”

From David Corn of Mother Jones:

” .  .  .  how much does it matter if a Republican says he or she is a conservative, moderate, or liberal, if he or she believes Barack Obama was born in Kenya, the 2020 election was stolen from Trump, and Democrats are scheming pedophiles?

“The polling numbers on these reality-free propositions for Republicans .  .  . are 40, 50, 60 percent.”

“This is not an ideological polarization. It is a divide over reality and rationality.”

Which is all about grabbing power at the expense of all higher brain functions. Minority rule.

Tell me you’re getting this.

Too many Americans are sleep walking in a metaphorical democracy fire. The fire trucks are at the ready in the firehouse, but they’re just sitting there with nobody at the wheel, even as the 911 phone is screaming its alarm, the huge bell is clanging, sirens are wailing and everywhere flames are scorching the halls of democracy.

WAKE UP!

.

If you’re already awake, jab an elbow into the ribs of the people on your right and on your left to wake them up. It’s time for all of us to climb aboard the fire engine to answer the call of democracy.

All of us should be serious about that.

“The times have found us.” – Thomas Paine

————————————

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

A Love Letter To Millennials and Gen-Zs


Ed. notes:

  1. In these dispiriting times it can be easy to let our sense of love and awe for this country be dampened. But this Fourth of July weekend is exactly the right time to face that challenge, to find our inner red, white and blue and to cheer for the country we’ll make. Set out your flag and blast Stars and Stripes Forever for the more perfect union we are all tasked to create.
  2. If you’re not a Millennial or Gen-Z (and even if you are), please pass this along to all you know. Their future is at stake.

Dear Millennials and Gen-Zs,
.
Warning: This is not a 3-minute TikTok video. This requires critical thinking. You know how to do this. Buckle up.
.
Plus, what you think matters. Put it out there in the Comments section below to help we clueless Boomers understand how you see things.
.
Now on to your love letter.

————————————-

Do you like what Boomers have done to things you care about? I mean things like not being safe in school; like that tens of thousands of American citizens have been prevented from voting; like that women have lost the right to choose what happens to their bodies; like that babies were ripped from their mothers’ arms at our southern border; like that nobody in charge seems to give a damn if we cook this planet and suffer the terrible consequences. Just guessing you’re not okay with any of that.

The cruel irony of this situation is that Boomers are the ones who caused civil and voting rights to expand and who made that awful war in Viet Nam end. We’re the ones who fought segregation and made assault weapons illegal (for a little while – more on that later). We’re the ones who spoke truth to power, so you might have expected better from us, but here’s where it gets dark.

Majority rule simply doesn’t exist in much of America. Playing by the rules has become optional. And we Boomers did this.

For example, the conservative Boomer majority on the Supreme Court recently decided a case from Maine that effectively says that government must provide financial assistance to students even when the school they want to attend is a so called “faith-based” school. “Faith-based” means that their curriculum is based in religion.

But wait: isn’t religious freedom and freedom from religion a key reason the Pilgrims came here? Isn’t that a tenet of our Constitution, as in the First Amendment? Didn’t the Founders demand that there be no connection between government and religious institutions?

Yes, yes and yes, but that’s no bother to these justices. They’re just 6 Boomers cramming their minority held personal preferences into our lives. This is yet another step in the direction of churches controlling our government, which is just fine if you want a theocracy. It’s what they have in Iran. Go there. You’ll love it.

Not!

Here’s another example.

A cowboy Boomer president lied us into two wars that killed thousands and displaced millions of people. He also ended the assault weapons ban, which is handy if you’re 18 years old and want to kill little kids and Black people. He actively promoted deregulation that plunged the world into financial crisis and none of the fat cats were held accountable.

But I’ll argue that the very worst thing that has happened is that the Republican Party, now a fully Boomer asylum, has turned into a lying, cheating cult and the majority of Americans don’t want that. So, how come they hold power in so many places? Maybe we should do something about that.

Republicans have been claiming voter fraud when they lose elections at least since 1994, this without so much as a shred of evidence to support their wild claims – ever. Don’t imagine that Boomer Trump started this, although he certainly has perfected the lying and cheating parts. So have his sycophants who perpetuate his lies, as well as the Boomer radio and cable talkers who make lots of money spewing lies. Think: accusations of Democrats as pedophiles, operators of an evil, world-wide cabal and igniters of wild fires via space lasers.

Now the Boomer Republicans are stoking violence to crush democracy and replace it with fascism. Doubt that? Click here and read Thom Hartmann’s frightening chronicle of it. If all that truth doesn’t scare you, something’s wrong. But I promise you that it will scare you.

In their fight to destroy democracy, Republican Boomers have trained ordinary citizens to make death threats to fellow citizens – it’s mobocracy. And in their decades-long quest to upend government, they’ve turned their backs on fundamental service to our countrymen. That has allowed and encouraged our mass shootings and expanded death and suffering from disease. You must read the interview of Dr. Peter Hotez, 1 Million Deaths Was a Choice and you’ll understand immediately.

I tell you without hesitation or doubt that the choice of death was made by our first fascist wannabe president. He threw tank car loads of gasoline on the anti-science fire in this country and a million people paid the ultimate price for that.

The point is that we idealistic 60s Boomers don’t have a good track record of adhering to our professed ideals. The dishonesty and corruption against which we railed in the 60s has been dramatically expanded. The Republicans are thugs and the Democrats don’t seem to have the cojones necessary to stop the carnage. And rules just don’t seem to matter any more.

This is about deciding whether we are our brothers’ keeper or whether we’re just in it for our selfish selves. This is about whether we keep our word and are true to the values we espouse or whether cheating, lying and violent attacks on others and our cherished institutions should be our code of conduct.

I’m guessing that you don’t want the crazy stuff and you cannot count on Boomers to fix this because we created this mess.

Here’s the key:

Unless things change, nothing will change.

The good news is that you’re the ones who can and will make real change happen.

Pearl S. Buck, a recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature, unknowingly wrote this note for you in her 1967 novel, To My Daughters, With Love:

“Upon the profound discontent of the young…do I set my faith.
I beg you, the young, to be discontented.
I pray that you may rebel against what is wrong, not with feeble
negative complaining but with strong positive assertion.” *

From a Millennial/Gen-Z reader:

Past young generations have led groundbreaking movements that have shaken the system for the better. Through petitions, walkouts, and other disobedience, we’ve brought about change in the past.

So, Millennial/Gen-Z person, we Boomers are dumping a gigantic pile of political crap in your lap. This is completely unfair, but,

  1. You have enormous, perhaps not yet recognized power.
  2. The old guys who made the mess will be gone, no longer an obstacle.
  3. Did I mention that you have gigantic power and can outsmart and out-muscle the people who selfishly want to make things worse?

So, it comes down to this:

All the things you care about, like our country and our future survival are in your capable hands.
.

Here is the same message from the 1980 movie Airplane! It’s ancient history to you, of course, but one scene captures well your grim circumstances and the unreasonable tasks before you. Click the pic below.

Click me

Late Additions

The Senate, composed almost entirely of old Boomers, passed a “gun safety bill.” That’s an odd descriptor for legislation regarding killing machines. The good news is that 15 Republicans voted for the bill. The bad news is that 33 Republicans voted against it. Apparently, these 33 prefer dead grannies and dead school kids over a little inconvenience for gun owners. It’s absolutely astonishing that senators have to be shamed into protecting little kids.

Still, this bill is a first step to help to prevent your younger brothers and sisters from being gunned down while sitting at their school desks.

But don’t get too happy, because the twisted, far right Supreme Court 6 struck down a 109 year old New York law prohibiting carrying guns in public. That will be a huge boost to road rage shootings and bar fights in the Big Apple.

And stunningly, the Court ruled to dramatically limit the ability of the EPA to regulate climate warming emissions from power plants, which are responsible for about 30% of our carbon dioxide emissions. What could possibly go wrong?

Technical note: Science doesn’t care if we believe in it. It just is.
.

This is the kind of idiocy we Boomers are leaving to you. Like I said at the beginning, buckle up. It’s time to get to work to make this what you want it to be.

A Final Thought – and It’s Optimistic

If you feel despondent and, perhaps, mired in apathy, it’s because you care, yet are tired of feeling frustrated and hopeless. Understandable.

We are back to the beginning, when Thomas Paine** wrote, “These are the times that try men’s souls.” He was right then and he’s right again now.

What Paine knew was that democracy is a participation sport. That’s the only way it works. We Boomers have had our time at the plate and we punched out some singles and doubles and even a few home runs. We also struck out a lot. Now, it’s your turn at bat.

You are the ones who can do this. You are the ones who are the best educated and most open both in your attitude and in your acceptance of others. You’re the ones thinking beyond the stimulus du jour and you have the energy to take action. And you know that you are the ones who will live with whatever consequences you create, so you have huge skin in this game. And millions of  you are united in all of that. That’s a lot of power. It’s why so many of us believe in you.

So, to torture the baseball metaphor one last time, grab a bat, because you’re up.

You can do this!
.

Love and kisses,

The Boomers

PS – A Request

What’s your reaction to this in-your-face dose of reality? What is it that Boomers just don’t get and need to understand? How do you see things? What are you willing to do to make things better?

There’s a Comments section below for the purpose of answering those questions and others and for airing your views. If there’s anything we need now it’s open discussion to bridge the I Don’t Get It Gap. So, please put it out there to help us all to understand how you see things.

Thanks!

——————————-

* Many thanks to friend and quotemeister Mardy Grothe for the Buck quotation.

** Interesting factoid: Paine was 39 when he wrote Common Sense, which would make him the equivalent of a Millennial.

————————————

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.
.

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Excess Deaths


Excess death is what happens when a virulent killer arrives at civilization’s door. It’s the number of people who have died over and above the number who would have died in the absence of, say, bubonic plague, the Spanish Flu or Covid-19.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently announced that there were 15 million excess deaths worldwide over the first two years of Covid. The Economist has done an exacting study of this issue and concludes the number is 18 million additional dead people.

We just passed the dreadful mark of 1 million Americans dead from Covid in just two years and we know that’s a low number for reasons identified below. For now, let’s put that into perspective by comparing that number to our battlefield war dead.

Here’s a chart from Statista – you can click the chart for details and to read the labels more easily.

For a more thorough comparison, have a look at this WaPo analysis.

Simple addition tells us that our total battlefield war dead from all major conflicts since 1775 is 1,284,702. In all cases the deaths from our wars were horrific and a tragedy and we were shocked by the losses.

It’s crazy that we’re well on our way to surpassing that number solely due to Covid and in just two years. In fact, we could surpass that number this year; certainly by next year. How strange that we continue to mourn our war dead but seem to have accommodated the ongoing massacre of our countrymen from Covid and have relegated their deaths to background noise.

One of the fascinating denials in the early days of our pandemic was the claim that Covid was far less of a threat than the flu, so what’s the big deal? I heard claims that the flu kills “only” 65,000 Americans every year and that Covid’s reach was far less, Eat, drink and be merry.

Turns out it hasn’t been that merry.

The CDC shows us that, depending on the flu variant, between 12,000 and 52,000 Americans die each year from influenza. That’s between 39 and 142 deaths from flu per day.

Here’s a chart of new daily Covid deaths through May 12:

 

As you can see, we’re now at 445 deaths from Covid per day – that’s a rate of 162,425 for the year. That’s more death from Covid than from the flu this year or in any recent year – at least 3 times more. And that math doesn’t take into consideration the escalating number of deaths from Covid expected as this year progresses.

Here’s a STAT chart of our 1 million Covid deaths through March:

Click the chart for the story of wonderful scientific achievement and horrible systemic failures, some willful. Indeed, read Politico’s assessment of the ongoing, conscientious Republican insanity to promote the death of Americans. Key point: “It was a deliberate effort by members of the House Freedom Caucus, in the House, some U.S. senators, amplified nightly on Fox News.”

Yes, it’s true that vaccinated people can contract Covid and a few can die – see the blue lines at the bottom of the chart. The difference is that most don’t die from it. They just need medical help for a while and then they go home and resume their normal lives.

This chart only reflects the officially reported Covid deaths since vaccines became available. They don’t count the people who died without a diagnosis or who died away from a medical facility that tallies the numbers, two of the reasons that the total Covid death count is almost certainly much higher than 1 million.

This chart also doesn’t count those who died because they couldn’t get help for an unrelated affliction, and if the present trend continues we are going to have lots more excess deaths like that. These people will be, for example, heart attack, stroke, cancer and car crash victims who were unable to access the medical care they needed in time to save them because their medical facility was overrun by Covid patients.

Think: Dad died from a heart attack while waiting in his car in the Emergency Room parking lot. He was there because unvaccinated Uncle Bubba had Covid and was in the bed that dad needed and was taking the time, attention and energy of the doctors and nurses who could have saved Dad.

So, don’t imagine that you’re safe from Covid because you’re vaccinated and boosted and you’re a good little mask wearer. You might one day require medical help that you can’t get because of all the unvaccinated people who are sure that Covid isn’t as bad as the flu, or because they think that vaccines cause all manner of imaginary symptoms or are loaded with Bill Gates’ nanobots or because their freedom is more important than anything, including your life – and who are in hospital beds needed by others.

These are the numbers. Factual, empirical data. Again, the current daily Covid corpse count is 445 and that number is expected to rise. Making that worse is that we don’t know how many more people will die because the unvaccinated are clogging hospitals. I sure don’t want the people I love or me to be among those excess deaths. Just guessing you feel the same.

Video of the Week

If you paid attention during the Democratic primary season of 2020 you learned that Pete Buttigieg is a really smart fellow. He’s clear, articulate and is a no drama presenter. Take a listen to his discussion of the implications of the Supreme Court’s likely smack down of Roe during his visit to the Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago last week. Note especially his metaphor that now might be the last high water mark for rights and freedom in America. Brian Tyler Cohen’s commentary following Buttigieg is well worth the watch, too.

For the full Buttigieg session, click here.

————————————

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Show-And-Tell


There have been an uncountable number of rallies and protests since the draft copy of the Justice Alito-written decision of the Supreme Court to crush Roe was made public. My observation is that public outrage is on a level with that over the murder of George Floyd (say his name). Even Stephen Colbert couldn’t manage mirth – there were no smiles in his delivery. The chants at protests are angry. The editorials are biting.

This is rage over the abuse of the majority by the activist, dishonest minority that has gone on for decades. This is fury over the horrific betrayal of the public trust and the near certainty that more betrayal is on the way. And this is outrage over the inevitability that women will suffer and women will die because of this Supreme Court’s culmination of the Republican Party’s march backward to Puritanical psychosis.

Don’t imagine that a strike down of Roe will make for the end of abortions. There have always been abortions. The difference will be that without Roe we’ll return to the dark days of back alley abortions. Women will suffer from procedures conducted in filthy rooms by semi-educated quacks, instead of getting the help they need in certified, hygienic medical facilities from licensed doctors and nurses.

Read the complete piece from Monika Bauerlein, CEO of Mother Jones. Meanwhile, read this excerpt:

“As Ari [Berman] explained, ‘Republicans invest so much energy into voter suppression…because it allows them to enact cruel, unpopular policies with no accountability at the ballot box. The GOP doesn’t need to have the support of a majority of the state’s voters if it skews who actually gets to vote.’

“Same in Washington, DC. Five of the Supreme Court’s nine justices were appointed by presidents who lost the popular vote. In the Senate, the 50 Republican senators represent 41 million fewer people than the 50 Democrats. The GOP controls state legislatures and congressional delegations through an absurd degree of gerrymandering: In Wisconsin, 75 percent of districts are heavily Republican, even though Joe Biden won the state in 2020. In Texas, just under 40 percent of the population is white, but white voters are the majority in 60 percent of state legislative seats. (It took me a minute to wrap my head around that math.) The Texas legislature that passed a ‘heartbeat’ bill, which forces women to leave the state for abortion care, is 73 percent male and 61 percent white. It’s hard not to think of apartheid-era South Africa when you look at numbers like that.”

Don’t think even for a moment that this Roe betrayal is about anything but a return to the full patriarchy of White Christian supremacy and the powerless non-citizenship of everyone else. I can’t help but wonder in astonishment at the women who want that powerlessness.

If there is ever to be a more perfect union, this destruction of rights, as well as the destruction of rights caused by voting/voter suppression in all its diabolical forms must be reversed. There’s only one way to do that:

Remove the thieves from office
.

The pictures above are from the rally last Saturday in Skokie, IL, with several hundred in attendance. I’ll leave you with one last image from there. It’s a bit hard to make out the coat hanger at the top of the sign. If you don’t know what it means, ask your grandmother. She knows about the desperation and self-mutilation of women before Roe. That’s why we must never go back.

————————————

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA

 


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

Getting Attention, Statistics and Projection


Hey! Over Here!

The New York Times gathered for a discssion Four Opinion Writers on How the G.O.P. Fringe Took Over American Politics. Here’s a comment from Ezra Klein from that discussion.

“Democrats have a lot of theories of policy. They have a lot of theories of politics. They just do not have a theory of attention. And what I would say for the Trumpist Republican Party is it mostly doesn’t have a theory of policy. It has a middling theory of politics, and it is overwhelmed by its own theory of attention. And I don’t think there’s some kind of grand strategic plan happening over there.

“But I think that one way to think about the asymmetry, or maybe the inversion of the two sides right now, is that Republicans know how to get attention, but they don’t know how to be strategic about it. And Democrats know how to be strategic, but they don’t know how to get attention.”

I maintain that messaging from Democrats is uninspiring and commonly submarines their value to Americans. Klein is adding that they don’t know how to get attention, this in the face of Republicans who are experts at getting attention. I’m certain he’s right.

The key tools Republicans use to get attention are:

  1. Stoking fear of “the other”, be they Democrats or Blacks or Mexicans or Muslims – all the usual suspects. Those “others” aren’t real Americans, Republicans would have us believe.
  2. Saying crazy, even stupid things and being outrageous.

Clearly, Democrats aren’t going to stoke racial fears and hatreds in order to get attention and votes. But what about being outrageous? They can:

Call out Republican lies and label them that way – not falsehoods or misstatements: LIES! And ask Americans how they like being lied to.

Many thanks to JN for passing this along.

As the food stamp program is ending they can make headlines saying, “Republicans don’t care if poor kids starve!”

They can go on the Sunday news programs and tell America that Republicans are banning and burning books, just like the Nazis.

Speaking of books, Democrats can proclaim that Republicans want to cut short your kids’ education – leave them ignorant and prepared to be losers. They even want to close your public school.

Beto can tell Texas women that Gov. Abbott wants them to carry their rapist’s baby to term. And carry the babies from incest, too. Even if they’ll likely die in childbirth. Same thing in Mississippi, Oklahoma, Florida and other states.

Declare that new strains of Covid are already here and it’s killing our unvaccinated, but Republicans don’t care if they die.

Speaking of Covid, Republicans are spreading anti-vaccine and anti-mask disinformation, fighting against everything that would help end the pandemic. They’re doing that to attack Democrats over the inflation caused by the pandemic! Clearly, they don’t care if Americans go broke or die. That last sentence is the important one.

You get the picture. It’s how it’s said that gets attention.

One of the reasons so many liked Trump is that he seemed to them to be strong. No politically correct phrasing comes from him. He’s all about groundless accusation and promises of “unbelievable” and “huge” great stuff that never materializes. And he’s about “hit back harder,” as declared by Kellyanne Conway, as though hitting back harder were a good thing. Many see that stuff as strength.

There’s no need for Democrats to mimic Trump’s cruelty and stupidity. All they have to do to appeal to those wanting strong leaders (that’s all of us) is to speak plainly.

For example, when Ted Cruz was abusing Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson over kids’ books, Democrats should have said the same thing publicly as they screamed while watching their TVs: “What a jerk! That guy wouldn’t know the truth if he read it in a children’s book.” I.e., Democrats must speak the outrage plainly.

Instead, we got Dick Durbin doing nothing. When he did speak he seemed to have a mouth full of oatmeal.

He let Lindsay Graham get away with his temper tantrum, false accusations, stealing 50% more time than was his, and then storming off like a 7-year-old brat. We got next to nothing in leadership from the #2 senator at a time when strength was called for. What we should have heard from Durbin was,

“The senator’s time is done – we’re not negotiating more. The senator will silence himself or he will be removed from this chamber. He will not be allowed to come back until he is prepared to apologize for his rude, insulting behavior and write on the board, ‘I will follow the rules, I will follow the rules,’ 100 times.”

That would be outrageous, of course, yet appropriate. And it would have made the 10:00 o’clock news across the nation. The Ds would have gotten some good attention as the strong ones. It would have been clear what they stand for. Instead, it was just another lost opportunity and a show of weakness.

Democrats have managed to disagree with Republicans, but only in nicey-nice Democrat-speak. That gets no attention. But it just isn’t that hard to get attention. The question is whether they have the courage to do what’s necessary.

Must Read

Late find following the writing of this post:

Thom Hartmann writes, “It seems that Democratic leadership is suffering from a serious deficiency of outrage.”

Statistics of the Week

From the Center for American Progress:

“There are 139 elected officials in the 117th Congress [109 representatives and 30 senators] who still deny the scientific consensus of human-caused climate change.”

These Republicans “have received more than $61 million in lifetime contributions from the coal, oil, and gas industries.” [emphasis original]

Projection Speak of the Week

Democracy is failing and authoritarianism is rising because of democracy’s bad moral foundations, said Sergey Karagonov, former advisor to Vladimir Putin, from back in the days when Putin had advisors. Vyacheslav Nikonov, a member of the powerless Russian legislative body, attacked democracy as the evil against which good guy authoritarians fight. Think: Putin as a warrior for all that is good and right in the world.

Somebody please tell me when there has been an authoritarian whose primary motive wasn’t amassing wealth and power for him/herself. For extra points, name one who made the lives of ordinary citizens better. Name even one authoritarian (another word for “dictator”) who wasn’t amoral or immoral and who didn’t descend into some form of debauchery and cruelty.

Oddly, an authoritarian is exactly what our extremist political righties think they want. Set aside whether that is an American thing to do. Focus for the moment on whether you want to be under the thumb of a self-serving, amoral, cruel dictator. See this Sunday’s post for more.

Sadly, our home grown authoritarian lovers don’t even get to the point of thinking about such things. They get a short-lived jolt of power from their tirades as they demand non-democracy, but they’re left powerless immediately after the power rush fades.

The science is well known about how anger short circuits logic and reason and it is that short circuit that we have to confront if we are to avoid a Vladimir Putin wannabee in power over the United States of America. For more, read this from Heather Cox-Richardson.

————————————

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Exposé


BREAKING NEWS!

In a shocking exposé released moments ago, Red State TV, Red State Talk Radio and Red State Cable News simultaneously released the results of a three month investigation. They reported,

“We found that the vast majority of Red State Americans who have heroically refused to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus, as well as having ferociously refused masks and mask mandates, have instead been quietly receiving other preventives called “alternative treatments.” This was revealed in an exclusive interview with Kellyanne Conway, the former President’s spokesperson, who introduced the world to “alternative facts.”

Most Red State citizens interviewed for this investigation admitted to some discomfort over their preventive actions. They claimed to have the feeling they may have gone too far beyond the officially sanctioned loud proclamations of their freedom to refuse vaccines and their fierce demonization of maskers.

The most common of the alternative treatments by far (87.1%) is that Red Staters have been receiving brain injections of Botox.

“The medical explanation provided by practitioners is that Botox glaciates the brain, much like subcutaneous injections of Botox in the face. When used cosmetically, Botox prohibits voluntary facial movement, leaving patients looking very much like mannequins. In the case of brain injections of Botox, the brain becomes frozen in a similar manner with similar consequences.

“In a city council meeting in Enid, OK, Dr. I.M. Bubba, Chief Frozier of the Red State Pandemic Treatment Center explained, ‘A medical trial of Botox brain injections was conducted over a 10-month period, following 20,562 unvaccinated people, ages 5 – 79. The trial established that this methodology is effective in alleviating patients’ concerns over both vaccinations and COVID-19. Indeed, the majority of patients contracted COVID-19, but remained placidly unaware of their symptoms and did not need anesthesia when being intubated. That is highly unusual, as most people react strongly to a tube being pushed down their throat. Many died a day or two later.'”

The CDC has peer reviewed the documentation provided to it by the Red State Pandemic Treatment Center and has issued this statement:

“Upon review of the documentation of the Brain-Botox treatment process we have concluded that if a person refuses proven vaccines against COVID-19 and elects instead to take alternative treatment by brain injection of Botox, at least the corpses will look younger.

“The CDC continues to promote the standard panel of vaccinations, including boosters, as the best preventive treatment against COVID-19. In addition, we strongly recommend wearing an N95 or KN95 mask whenever in public and near others who might have come from a Red State. Our national experience over 18 months of pandemic has made clear that Red Staters do not care if they infect fellow citizens, regardless of whether they have taken Botox injections. Therefore, always wear a mask.”

Concurrently with it’s peer review of this treatment, the CDC issued this alert:

CDC Safety Alert: Even if they are in an obviously infected condition and under the influence of Botox, Red Staters probably still know how to get to school board meetings to rage against vaccines and masks. Stand clear of them at such gatherings and protect young children and sensitive others from exposure.”

Watch this space for further BREAKING NEWS! on this treatment protocol and others, including cold turkey refusal and obstinate denial. All of these alternative treatments are likely to accelerate our changing national demographics through significant population attrition and will eventually have a large impact on our politics moving forward.

This Just In, Too

Each Thanksgiving New York Times opinion writer Maureen Dowd turns her column over to her brother, Kevin. I’m not sure what label he uses for himself, as the meaning of words like “conservative” and “Republican” have morphed into something quite different from what they were just a few short years ago. Whatever it’s called now, that’s the side of the political center Kevin falls on.

This year his Thanksgiving offering was delayed due to his contracting a nasty and lingering case of COVID (yes, he was vaccinated). His essay is now available here.

Last year I posted a reply to Kevin’s Thanksgiving offering – Oh, Kevin. As then, this year’s Kevin essay also includes claims that are upside down and accusations that are over-broad and unsubstantiated, but he also has some comments worthy of consideration. I say that even in the presence of the satiric brain-Botox comments above about anti-vaxxers. That was just for fun. Finding common ground is mandatory.

I encourage you to read his piece. Recognize that he’s clear-eyed about many things and he’s no Trump sycophant, nor is he delusional about authoritarianism.

We all know that 68% of Republicans believe the Big Lie that the last election was stolen from Trump via voting fraud. We’ve seen the grim statistic that there are 20 million who believe violence is justified in pursuit of their angry pseudo-patriotism. But there are millions more who aren’t in alignment with the haters and violence promoters. These people don’t have a big, cruel megaphone, so we rarely hear their voices. They are Americans who believe in an oath to the Constitution. Perhaps it’s time – long past time – that we make an overt peace with them and work together to protect and defend the democracy we both believe in.

The midterm election is just 310 days away. Let’s make this a happy new year.

————————————

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Year End Awards


Hypocrite of the Week

Iron Dome is a defensive rocket system that finds and destroys attacking missiles. During the Gaza war in May 2021 Israel used it against the roughly 4,400 rockets fired from Gaza into Israel and knocked down about 90% of therm. This entirely defensive system is all that stands between Israeli civilians and the next barrage of rockets launched by Hamas in Gaza.

Israel’s supply of these defensive rockets was greatly depleted during that war, so Israel is looking to the U.S., the only source, to replenish the supply. There is near universal support for that in the U.S. Congress, with the notable exception of Sen. Rand Paul. He has blocked the funding bill for Iron Dome four times, leaving the security of Israel in peril for over 90 additional days as of this writing.

ImageThis is the same Rand Paul who voted against humanitarian aid for the people devastated by Gulf Coast hurricanes, but who now has pleaded for help for Kentuckians devastated by that super tornado a couple of weeks ago.

I guess if it doesn’t help Rand Paul personally, it’s just not important to him. And being a hypocrite isn’t a problem for him, either. That makes Rand Paul the winner of the Hypocrite of the Week Award for a lot of weeks.

Hypocrites of the Year

Read these examples highlighted by Steve Sheffey:

More than 800,000 Americans have died from COVID, but Republicans continue to oppose vaccine mandates. Last week marked the ninth anniversary of the shootings at Sandy Hook, when 20 first-graders and six educators were murdered, but Republicans continue to block gun-control legislation.

Gotta add that this Valentine’s Day will mark the fourth anniversary of the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School in Parkland, FL, where 17 students and teachers were killed and 17 more were injured by the bullets fired by a deeply messed up former student. And still Republicans refuse to pass gun safety legislation that over 80% of Americans want. These Republicans are the same people who loudly proclaim that they are pro-life. Yes, seriously.

So, it’s the same deal: If it doesn’t help these Republicans personally, it’s just not important to them. And being a hypocrite isn’t a problem for them, either, just like Rand Paul. That makes them individually and collectively this year’s winners of the Hypocrite of the Year Award, same as last year. And the year before. And next year.

Oddly, Americans selected this hypocrisy by voting these people into positions of power. Ruminate on that a bit.

The 2021 Lucy Award

The Pull-The-Football Award Committee is unanimous in awarding the 2021 Lucy Award to Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia for his steadfast commitment to not committing. Furthermore, the Committee’s deliberation led them to the obvious conclusion that Manchin must also receive the Goalpost Mover Citation of Excellence for his incremental “one more thing-ism.” It’s unclear as of the time of this writing if Manchin will change parties and throw control of the Senate to Mitch McConnell and the obstructionist Republicans, but experts suspect that move may be on the way. That would secure the Benedict Arnold Award for Manchin, too.

Hypocrite of the Century

The votes are in and only one candidate received votes – all of the votes. Congratulations to Donald Trump for securing the well deserved Hypocrite of the Century Award! Here’s what’s amazing about that.

There are 79 years to come in this century, yet all 7.9 billion people on planet Earth agree on the winner of this award. “People are saying,” that it will be impossible for anyone to be a bigger hypocrite. This award is bestowed upon its recipient even knowing that he is on his way to becoming the world’s biggest loser, going from the Oval Office to the Iron Bars Office. He’ll be a hypocrite there, too.

Dupes of The Year Award

Ronald Reagan began the overt demonizing of government four decades ago and it has been amped up continuously by people appealing to the frustrations of ordinary citizens. Donald Trump tapped into that and exponentially increased that anger with the very things that get people to follow him, including his lies, never backing down regardless of how obviously wrong he is, continuously circus barking promises that will not and could not be fulfilled and always appealing to victimhood. And grift.

Trump has manipulated thousands of elected officials and pundits to repeat and even expand his inflammatory lies and together they have fooled millions of Americans. Now over 60% of Republicans believe the 2020 election was stolen and 20 million think violence is appropriate for “taking back our country.”

These millions are once again the winners of the Dupes of The Year Award. Ensuring this honor for them were the hundreds of thousands of their fellow Americans who refused to mask or be vaccinated because of the right-wing lies told to them and who subsequently died. It’s possible that they are worthy contenders for a Darwin Award, too, which each year goes to people who most improve the human gene pool by removing themselves from it.

Wrong Time Award

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

James Webb Telescope rocket lift-off, 12/25/21

The Hope Award

If you watched NASA TV early Christmas morning you saw the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope on an Ariane 5 Rocket. For we science geeks (Key requirement: you must believe in science) it was another lump in the throat success, a reinvigorater of can-do spirit and an ultimately cool way to restore a sense of pride.

The “Of Course I Still Love You” autonomous landing barge

An observation that I found impossible to miss is that the vast majority of NASA scientists are 20-somethings. That’s right, it was kids who put the most sophisticated telescope in the world out of this world. And it’s kids who make Elon Musk’s rockets back down onto their launching pads and onto the “Of Course I Still Love You” barge in the ocean.

And it’s largely kids protesting and demonstrating for action to battle climate warming all around the globe. It’s kids who are jettisoning racial and gender hatreds. It looks as if we Boomers and X-ers at last have done something right: we raised this upcoming generation who just might save us from ourselves and fix upon our times the label: “Hope.” That’s why our 20-somethings get The Hope Award.

Finally

God’s Tech Support – click me

We have skyrocketing infections and deaths due to the twin epidemics of COVID and American pigheadedness, and plenty more threats to send us out on the ledge. But before you climb through the window, reread The Hope Award section above and then read this from Dan Rather. He’s no Pollyanna, but he’s been around the block enough times to have a valuable perspective on the use of ledges.

In this season of wishing for stuff, I wish for us a just nation, where right matters and wins, where democracy always prevails, where we care about one another in the ways that truly matter and where we think and plan far into the future to set things on the best path for our children, grandchildren and all who will come after us. I figure it’s our job to make all of that happen, so wishing isn’t enough.

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

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Copyright 2023 by Jack Altschuler
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