Supreme Court

Consequences v2.0


POST 1057


A Baltimore Bridge Collapse Question

As you know, on March 26 a mammoth container ship, the Singapore flagged Dali, crashed into a pylon supporting the Francis Scott Key Bridge that spans Baltimore Harbor, the country’s 11th busiest port. The ship is 984 feet long (over 3 football fields in length), weighs over 116,000 tons and was traveling at 9.2 mph, so the force of the collision was enormous and it took out a huge portion of the bridge. Six people died, two were saved and both land and sea transportation in Baltimore are severely hampered. The loss of life would have been much greater had first responders not quickly blocked access to keep others off the bridge. And had this collision happened at 1:30PM instead of 1:30AM, losses would have been far worse because the bridge would have been full of cars and trucks.

I had Joan Esposito’s radio program* on for the first few minutes of her program the day after the disaster and she asked an intriguing question. First, some background on what happened.

The ship impacted the pylon around 1:30AM. By 2:00AM Maryland Governor Wes Moore had been alerted, briefed on what had happened and had declared a state of emergency. By 3:30AM Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg had called the governor pledging whatever support was needed.

From C-Span:

“NTSB investigators, who are leading the investigation, arrived at the bridge scene at 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday [just 4-1/2 hours after the collision]. Twenty-four NTSB staffers were on site, including several specializing in nautical operations, human performance and engineering.” – NTSB chairwoman Jennifer Homendy

All of that is a really fast whole-of-government response.

A little later that morning President Biden said, “This is going to take some time. The people of Baltimore can count on us, though, to stick with them, at every step of the way, ’til the port is reopened and the bridge is rebuilt,” and he vowed to send federal funds. Later that day Secretary Buttigieg was on site in Baltimore and reiterated President Biden’s commitment.

For now we can ignore the instantaneous Republican demonizing, finger pointing and vows to help only if they can get other unrelated things they want. So much for whether Republicans give a damn for the people of Baltimore, the people of Maryland or some guy in Alabama who won’t be able to get his new pickup truck because the ship carrying it was supposed to dock in Baltimore but now is stuck at sea.

Now on to Joan Esposito’s question.

Imagine that this exact event had instead happened four years ago on March 26, 2020. How would President Trump’s team have responded? Try this.

Trump didn’t trust Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao. After all, she’s married to Mitch McConnell, who by then had greatly distanced himself from Trump. Plus she’s Asian. He didn’t invest her with any significant power to take action, so she wouldn’t have responded to the governor at 3:30AM like Pete Buttigieg did. She would have been reduced to going to Trump for a “Oh leader, may I?” conversation much later in the morning because Trump always watched TV looking for coverage of himself until nearly noon every day.

Trump certainly would not have wanted Chao to get attention when there was an opportunity to snare it for himself. He likely would have called a press conference in the White House to declare how we were going to build the greatest bridge – greater than anyone has ever seen. After grandstanding for as long as he could, he would have left the podium. He wouldn’t conference with then-governor Larry Hogan, a Black man, and he would have promptly forgotten the people of Baltimore. After all, what would be in it for Trump to bother with them? They wouldn’t vote for him, so there was no upside for him. Besides, it wasn’t infrastructure week. It never was.

Esposito asked, “When did Trump ever do the right thing? When did he ever, despite all of his false words, do anything to help any part of the country that was in need?” You know the answers.

The main point of the answer to Esposito’s original question is that elections matter – there are consequences to them. Competence matters. Clarity and dedication to our nation and to our people matter. The present administration is packed with extremely competent people in whom the President vests great power, so they are wonderfully effective and quick to respond. It would devastate our nation to go back to the all-about-Trump unreality show.

Mifepristone

Dear ethically challenged Supreme Court justices,

There are just a few things for you to keep in mind in this case, now that you’ve heard oral arguments on the attempt to ban this FDA approved drug.

  1. The doctors and scientists of the Food and Drug Administration are qualified to determine if a medication is both safe to use and effective. They are slow in their approvals because they are very deliberate in their work. Justices who are neither doctors nor scientists are not qualified to make such determinations. Second guessing the FDA from a position of ignorance is foolish at best and dangerous at worst. As Ruth Marcus put it, “[Alito’s] job is to interpret the Constitution. Would he rather run the FDA?” Supreme Court, you should drop this case and never again enter the realm of judging executive branch agency actions.
  2. The plaintiffs in this case have experienced no harm from Mifepristone. They have no standing to be bringing this case. Supreme Court, you should drop this case and never again accept a case where the plaintiff has no standing.
  3. The district court judge decided to ban this drug based on, 1) nonsense written in random, non-medical blogs by people ignorant about the drug and the field of medicine, and, 2) discredited studies that were withdrawn because they were false. Supreme Court, you should drop this case and never again accept a case that is based on zero evidence and the religious beliefs of a district court judge.

The points above were well known in advance of the Court agreeing to hear this case. The really important question now is why the Court would agree to hear this obvious loser of a complaint. I’m hoping it wasn’t to further advance the desire of 6 members of the Court to move us to become a terrifying 15th century theocracy. Think: both Dobbs and the comments of Thomas and Alito wanting to ban all birth control other than abstinence and the rhythm method. Like in the 1400s. And you know how well those work.

There remain significant consequences of Trump having won in 2016. His having seated three extremist Supreme Court justices is a crucial one. We continue to suffer from that and his other punitive actions, like $7 trillion in additional debt. On November 5, think about consequences.

One More Consequence

If you were a real enthusiastic Trump sucker and bought into his Trump Media merger scam, this past Friday was a nasty day.

Lets say you dug into your retirement money and bought $100,000 of stock at the offering price of  $79.38. Two days ago the stock was trading at $40.59, making your investment now worth $51,134. Congratulations: You lost $49,000 in just 12 days. You’re now just like Trump: a loser. And you’ve been conned – grifted – again. There are consequences to refusing to learn.

__________________________________________

* Click on the link and select the March 27 recording. Listen to the first 11 minutes.


Today is a good day to be the light

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

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

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA


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

Delusion


Post 1,050


Not Looking Too Supreme

Yes, the ballot disqualification decision was unanimous and it may well lead to further disapproval of this ethically challenged court. We don’t know if that unanimity was because every justice dug deeply into their vault of jurisprudence and agreed or because the justices feared a violent public reaction to banning Trump from ballots and office. You know: like it says in the 14th Amendment. That is to say, they chickened out, which is exactly what bullies hope for.

Here’s what CREW, the plaintiff in this 14th Amendment case, said of this decision:

The Court had the opportunity to clear Trump of the finding that he incited insurrection, and the Court chose not to. Instead it simply ruled that states do not have the power to enforce Section 3 of the 14th Amendment unless Congress says they can. [I.e. the Court’s decision was based on a technicality.]

It’s disappointing that the Court failed to bar Trump from the ballot. This was a test for the Court, and it failed to meet the moment.

But in this ruling, there is a win for our democracy: Trump will go down in history as an insurrectionist. [emphasis original]
.

See this for a clear explanation of what this means. Sadly, the Supreme Court effectively erased Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, essentially adding a 28th Amendment. They did it without the formal process required by the Constitution. The notion of doing that should be delusional.

American Terrorists – Constant Delusion

You’ve seen the shaved head militia crazies, AR-15s strapped to their chests, fingers covering triggers, Glocks strapped to their thighs just above their cargo pockets filled with ammo clips. This look is their macho swagger, their tattoos giving messages of death and so-called patriotism. They seig heil their leader, muscles a-popping, brows furled in intensity and they promise death to the elite scum who they say are traitors to the true America.

Sure, it’s a stereotype, maybe a bit immoderate, but you’ve seen these guys in television news coverage invading the Capitol Building on January 6 and in state capitol buildings in Wisconsin and Michigan and just outside polling places (here and here) on missions of voter intimidation, as though that’s their patriotic duty. Sometimes they parade in a forest of Trump flags, American flags and Nazi flags. The mixed symbols clash in a display of confusing bravado, but the testosterone, absolutism and love of violence messages are clear. And while you didn’t see all the automatic weapons they had on January 6 (many were stashed in their hotel rooms in Virginia), these are members of the army of angry people who stormed and desecrated our Capitol Building looking to murder the Vice-President and the Speaker of the House.

These people are itching for a fight and they think they are going to retake control of America (that means control of you) and establish their notion of patriotic purity by means of their might. They have plenty of would-be Rambos standing by and over 400 million guns in their arsenals.

I’m reading an old Tom Clancy novel, Dead or Alive, and it is, of course, a good guys versus bad guys macho tale. One paragraph (p. 115) describes bad guy Islamist terrorists. See if it makes you think of anyone else.

” .  .  .  they thought of themselves as Holy Warriors and sought after their seventy-two virgins but were in fact young people with few prospects, to whom religion was the path to greatness they would otherwise never achieve. It was remarkable that they were too stupid even to see that.”

Strip that description of the seventy-two virgins and replace religion with MAGA and you have our delusional American crusaders. They believe their mission is holy and they can justify it with quotations like a Jeffersonian Tree of Liberty “spilling of blood” phrase and demonization of immigrants bringing their “poisoning blood.” These are the people who will bring Trump’s “bedlam” when things fail to go Trump’s way.

We don’t need any more standoffs, like Cliven Bundy’s chest puffing idiocy. We surely don’t need a Ruby Ridge or a WacoBranch Dividian catastrophe. So, when these guys, these self-styled American crusaders, decide to provoke a confrontation, what are we going to do?

I hope our government people are working scenarios that will result in the security of our nation and that they have a notion of how to accomplish neutralizing these Rambo wannabees with minimal loss of life. But that’s a tough challenge when dealing with people who think their cause is holy and pure and who are willing, some eager, to die for their cause. You know enough history to recognize the delusional pattern.

Now, This Is Delusional So, Bless Her Heart!

Click the pic for the SNL version of Sen. Katie Brttt’s (R-AL) cringe-worthy rebuttal to the SOTU. Start at 2:26 or watch the Biden lead-in first.

Delusional Senator Endorses Violence

Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH) brought his usual cerebral fuzziness to the issue of aid to Ukraine, as reported by PBS:

MUNICH (AP) — A Republican opponent [Vance] of new U.S. funding for Ukraine argued at an international security conference Sunday that the package stuck in Congress wouldn’t “fundamentally change the reality” on the ground and that Russia has an incentive to negotiate peace.

Ukrainians are dying. Their cities are being destroyed by Russian bombs, artillery and rockets. The country is being obliterated. That’s Putin’s stated goal – to erase Ukraine and rebuild it as part of Russia.

What you need to know is that Vance has never served in combat, so he knows nothing about battlefield realities. He has never served in uniform, so he knows nothing about any nation’s military. And he knows nothing about any incentive for Russia to negotiate peace. He is an ignoramus lacking the sense to keep his ignorant mouth shut.

Many thanks to JN for the pic

That package stuck in Congress is designed to bolster Ukraine’s ability to defend itself and to drive the Russian army out of Ukraine. Without that aid, Ukraine will run out of munitions and all will be lost. And Putin has publicly stated that he will then set his sights on the Baltic countries, Romania and eastern Poland. Happily for Putin and the Russians, Trump has invited them to do “Whatever the hell they want.

People are dying as Vance displays his boundless ignorance and cowardly fealty to Trump, who told Vance to oppose military aid for Ukraine. Decide for yourself why Trump would insist on blocking aid to Ukraine and, as a result, provide aid to Putin.

Vance is not just spineless. He is a promoter of Putin’s butchery.

Nickname Rhymes with “Tucker”

Tucker Carlson outdid himself by directly promoting Vladimir Putin and, in consequence, undermining democracy everywhere. He did so in a suck-up interview witnessed by pinheads in Red states and by some already shaky allies. That has earned Carlson a special award.

Many thanks to JN for the pic.

I wonder if MAGA Americans can remember when we were the good guys and the Russian oppressors were the bad guys, especially when they invaded another country and committed war crimes. The righties used to be good at standing up to Russian tyrants. Now they cower before Trump and his despotic pals Orbán, Erdoğan and Putin and they puff their chests as though they are brave.

Congratulations on your award, Comrade Tucker. You’re delusional.


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

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

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA


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

Is It Time to Surrender?


Post 1,043


CAUTION!

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unless .  .  .

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

Unless we still believe in liberty and justice for all.

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

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

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

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

—————————————-

* From The average number of eggs retrieved during IVF:

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

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


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

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

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA


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

Elections, Amendments & Tunnels


Post 1,037


A little longer today because there is so much going on .  .  .

Winning Elections

A piece in The Economist in December accidentally provided yet another reminder of what wins elections. We used to believe that honesty and moral character were our guides, but we’ve been disabused of that fanciful notion for many years by poundings upside our heads from brutal reality.

We want to say that sound policy and good solutions leading to sensible goals are what get our votes. Surely the right policies for both our nation and for We The People individually are important to us. So, too, is a leader’s strong backbone to lead our national defense. That’s all nice and good, but that’s not what drives most voters’ choices.

In that Economist piece they report from a recent Harvard Youth Poll:

“Most of those who favoured Mr. Biden – 69% – said they did so more out of opposition to Mr. Trump; by contrast, 65% of those favouring Mr. Trump said they felt loyal to him.”

That’s touchy-feely stuff, not policy driven choice.

The Economist also reports from Joe Mitchell, who operates Run GenZ to recruit young conservative candidates, saying:

“Mr. Biden, he says, has passed more progressive legislation than Mr. Obama but is less admired by progressives because he lacks Mr. Obama’s cachet. By contrast, the indictments of Mr. Trump have restored his celebrity gleam.”

There’s that touchy-feely thing again. Sensible judgment need not apply.

If you listen to the comments from Trump supporters being interviewed, what you will hear consistently is visceral declarations of support charged with passion and certainty. If they are pressed for reasons for their enthusiasm they say that Trump kept his promises, that the economy was so much better when Trump was president, that he has the strength to stand up to other strongman leaders, that immigration was under control and our borders were safe when Trump was president. They say these things with great certainty and as though that’s what’s behind their support for Trump.

But they are wrong. Factually, provably wrong. He didn’t keep his wall promise or infrastructure week promise or pretty much anything else. The economy was worse, he was sucking up to dictators, our immigration system was as bad as it is now and Trump was locking up babies. We were far sicker and hundreds of thousands died. Yet even when presented with these and other incontrovertible facts, Trump enthusiasts remain certain in their beliefs. His moral failings like grabbing women you-know-where and raping them somehow don’t repulse his female followers. His nonstop vomiting of racist filth somehow doesn’t inflame his Black supporters.

They don’t follow and support Trump for his policies or for his moral foundation. Their enthusiasm is more about his showmanship and his tough guy talk. His followers think that the victimhood he whines about makes him like them, that when the bad guys from our justice system come after him, he speaks of that as coming after “us.” It’s a “We are a band of brothers under siege” appeal – and they eat that stuff up. They believe it.

It’s that touchy-feely thing again and millions are led to the ballot box by no more than that and an invitation to give their adulation.

Biden can’t come close to that. He just doesn’t have the stuff to strut. He’s further hobbled by the far left in his own party, people who are never satisfied and always complaining and demanding what he cannot possibly deliver.

Thanks go to JN for passing this along

I’ll make the assumption that nobody who reads these posts is a Trump supporter, so I can reasonably expect that even if you aren’t a Biden supporter, you want to see Trump defeated. Maybe you don’t trust any Republicans, so you don’t want Nikki Haley to win when she’s their nominee once Trump is wearing orange. Fine. What should Biden do to win?

Remember: Winning elections isn’t about policy. Winning may not even be about reality or about any version of truth. Winning elections most definitely is about emotion, passion, beliefs, style, entertainment, heart-thumping pie-in-the-sky promises, excitement and pretty much anything touchy-feely.

And that is a huge challenge that not-so-exciting Joe Biden must meet if he is to win a second term, so:

  1. What should Biden do in order to win?
  2. What must you do to ensure that happens, so that you get what you want and, so very importantly, so that you don’t get what you deeply don’t want?

Here’s a little help for you:

Link to this Sheila Markin post and scroll down to the “USE YOUR WORRY TO ACTIVATE YOURSELF” section. Admit it: you’re worried. You’ll find a list of places to go where you can pitch in, take action, alleviate some of your anxiety and make a difference.

Click to join The Union. Their Action Center will give you all the direction you need for where to go and what to do to make a difference.

Link to Mobilize and register so they can aim you geographically and find ways for you to mobilize and make a difference.

Subscribe to The Grassroots Connector and see how you can make a difference.

Are you seeing the pattern? It’s time for us to make a difference.

Supreme Court

It looks quite likely that the Court will strike down the State of Colorado’s decision to remove Trump from its 2024 ballot. The questions of the justices during oral arguments often focused on distinctions without a difference, like whether a president holding office is an officer of the government. And it gets worse.

Section 3 of the 14th Amendment is a plain language statement that those who have taken an oath to the Constitution – like a president does – and who then participates in an insurrection against our government or who gives aid and comfort to those who rebel in such a way, may not hold office. The framers of this Amendment were exquisitely clear that people like Jefferson Davis must never hold power again. They felt the pain of our Civil War acutely, so they knew how important it was to prevent those who broke faith from holding office.

If the Court decides as it appears it will, the justices will have by-passed the requirement of Article V of the Constitution requiring a 2/3 vote of both Houses of Congress and the affirmation of 3/4 of the states. That is because this Court will have voided Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, something that should require a new amendment.

Think of that: This Court may unilaterally amend our Constitution. That puts every one of us in peril, as it can unilaterally steal our rights and our freedom.

Tunnels

Click me for the story about humanitarian aid that Hamas is keeping from the hostages

The strife in Gaza continues and, like nearly everything in the Middle East, things are complicated and rarely what they seem to be. Bret Stephens posted a most clarifying piece, The Meaning of Gaza’s Tunnels. He wrote,

“Hamas’s tunnels measure between 350 and 450 miles in a territory that’s just 25 miles long. (By comparison, the London Underground is only 249 miles long.”

Here’s another comparison: The entire New York City subway tunnels are only 145 miles in length.

Q. What do you suppose that enormous Gaza excavation is for?

A. To provide command centers, shelter for Hamas fighters and to build and warehouse huge factories to construct rockets and other munitions for the sole purpose of attacking and killing Israelis.

Palestinians have been impoverished for decades by the diversion of resources intended for the benefit of the Gaza people. The resources have been used instead solely to build this subterranean military fortress. Again, its only purpose is to enable Hamas to kill Jews and eliminate Israel.

Read Stephens’ piece, as well as another of his posts linked from the bottom of his current one. I promise you’ll learn important things you don’t yet know. They just might change how you see this awful, ongoing Gaza war.

Late Addition

Take this pledge for democracy and then link through.

Click me


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

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

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA


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

Our Young, Our Poor and Our Indicted


Post 1,035


Our Young

No Republican candidate for the presidency has captured the majority of voters under the age of 30 for decades. Hmmm . . . now why would that be?

Could it be that they explicitly court and favor old rich guys and old rich guy wannabees? They say that all we have to do is to crush the evil fascist/communist/socialist/whatever, baby blood drinking Democrats. Not too attractive.

For reasons that seem to be opaque to Republicans, young people today, our best educated generations, people who actually have critical thinking skills, don’t buy that crap. Seems like they actually learned something and can smell a scam all the way from DC.

They’ve learned that those very same Republican liars are the ones making their future prospects so very bleak that most young people figure they’re screwed and won’t be able to afford marriage, children, a house, a car – you know, the American Dream. Plus they’ll always be saddled with their forever student loans, like living in a recurring nightmare. And, of course, global warming is coming to kill them.

Here’s the problem: Our disaffected young don’t vote in great numbers. That leaves them and the rest of us at risk. But Trump may be fixing that for us.

That idiot has picked a fight with Taylor Swift. She endorsed Biden in 2020 and is likely to endorse him this year, but it will be different this time. Now young voters will show up to vote in big numbers because they’re angry about his attacks on their favorite entertainer – it’ll be personal this time. They’ll be angry about Republican attacks on abortion rights, too, and the Republican cruelty toward immigrants. So, in the interest of our democracy, let’s hope Trump cranks up his attacks on Swift. That will make him a useful idiot for democracy. Whooda thunk it?

Our Poor

From STAT:

FIRST OPINION
A prescription against poverty

Pediatricians around the U.S. are having to deal with a stubborn condition: poverty. Parents who can’t afford diapers, stable housing, or even clean clothes are increasingly more common, and children’s health simply can’t thrive when the most basic needs are not taken care of, writes Ben Hoffman, the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, in First Opinion

“Although I can’t write my patients prescriptions to address poverty, Congress can take action right now and enact a proposal that can,” he writes, urging representatives to pass a bipartisan proposal that would help the child tax credit reach more families, and could lift as many as 400,000 above the poverty line in a year. Read more.

But there’s help on the way. I’m sure that the Republicans in the Senate and House are eager to help poor kids.

Oh, wait – they’re the ones who let SNAP benefits lapse and let millions of kids go hungry. They’re the ones who fought the American Rescue Plan that cut our poverty rate for children from over 12% down to 5.2%.  Then they let that program lapse and now another 7% of kids are back in poverty. Looks like we’re going to have to do something about children’s health some other way, because Republicans aren’t going to help. Indeed, under Trump and his Black Shirt leader Stephen Miller, the cruelty was and likely still is the point.

Our Indicted

Reading #1 –  Explaining the 14th Amendment Case

Trump’s reply brief in the 14th Amendment case is due tomorrow, Feb. 5. On Thursday the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in that case.

You need some context for what is about to happen, so read the very readable amicus brief (kind of an FYI to the court to assist in deciding a case) submitted by three eminent scholars of history. It’s just 34 pages (double spaced and with huge margins – i.e., it’s short and easy to read). Find it here. Learn some fascinating history so that you will be able to understand the true meaning of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment and be ready for the upcoming blockbuster decision.

For a somewhat shorter explanation, read the essay from The Atlantic of August 19, 2023 penned by Prof. Laurence Tribe and Judge Michael Luttig, entitled The Constitution Prohibits Trump From Ever Being President Again. Their clarity and their logic are impeccable. You can also watch an interview with the authors here.

Reading #2 – Explaining what’s at stake

Read Prof. Timothy Snyder’s short essay. Don’t let the words of the title, Constitutional Self-Defense, cause your eyes to un-focus. This is no academic sleep inducer. Because you’re a card carrying American, you need to read this. You’ll see why.

Also strongly recommended is Prof. Snyder’s explainer, Bad Arguments and Good Historians – The History of Section 3 and the Future of the Republic. As he writes, “Anyone who can read the Constitution knows that Donald Trump cannot hold office.”

He lists Trump’s arguments to the Court of why the Amendment doesn’t apply to him, then proceeds to explain why these arguments are a total load of bovine excrement. Read his post here.

Reading #3 – Explaining the inexplicable

Art Friedson is an insightful commenter on our political insanity and he’s allowed me to post some of his writings as guest essays in these offerings. Read his recent post (here) about what’s really going on and why, because, 1. It can happen here, and 2. We can do things to stop that from happening, even as Gov. Greg Abbott is taking secession sounding, anti-American actions and Trump has strong-armed Republicans to refuse to do anything to improve our chaotic and sometimes lethal immigration mess.


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

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

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA


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

Keeping Score


Post 1,031

___________________________________

Keeping Score of Republican Voters

In a recent ABC News/Ipsos poll we learned that 45% of Republican-aligned adults responded that Trump “Best represents [my] values.” That’s more than double such identification with the next nearest Republican candidate.

Click me to make it easier to read this chart.

They’re talking values here. Not policies, not patriotism, not democracy, not America. Values.

AND THEY IDENTIFY WITH TRUMP!

Something has gone terribly wrong when nearly half of Republicans think Trump even has values (other than for himself) and they think he best represents their own values.

MAGAs, thoughtless sheep that they are, are followers without consciousness or conscience, excusers of verbal and physical violence. Those are values. So is hatred. And they most identify with Trump.

I have a question for all of them:

What is it that makes you need to hate people so much?

Okay, another question:

What happened to the values Mom & Dad taught you and that you learned in Sunday School or at the 4-H, or in the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts or even in kindergarten? What in the world made you sell yourself out?

Hint: Watch for answers in my post on Wednesday, January 24.

These people and their hatred have moved the needle not to the right, but to the wrong. All those self-righteous Evangelicals, for example, certain of their holiness, believe they’re doing God’s work and they’re are encouraged by their extremist political overlords and their pastors. That they support and promote vileness that is entirely anti-Christian makes no difference to them. They are bonded in a brotherhood of other-ing everyone not exactly like them. That is the America they insist upon. Those are quite odd values for bible thumping Americans to hold. But they do hold them, just the way Trump spouts them.

I don’t know how to create the counter to that, to stop the march to oblivion. Worse, it appears that Democrats don’t know either.

However imperfect, the America we used to have (or at least were working toward) is, in reality, the America we believed in not so long ago. Now those notions are at best quaint to many and at worst they are the enemy of the angry millions.

So, Republican voters’ score: D-
.
Keeping Score On The Supreme Court

We suffer under six extremist justices because in order to get through the Senate vetting process they lied or misled about their beliefs:

including their intent to honor stare decisis (leave prior Court decisions alone)

including Roe v. Wade being settled law

including opposition to legislating from the bench – nevertheless, they made up cases so they could make new, extreme partisan law

That’s how they got on the Court: dishonesty. There’s lots more, but we’ll save that for another day.

Don’t expect Clarence Thomas, whose wife was a key supporter of the insurrection, to do the right thing and recuse himself from cases concerning January 6. He’s just not into doing the right thing.

Trump lawyer Alina Habba, speaking on Fox News (begin at 6:00) about the Supreme Court case regarding Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, said the most un-American thing. She said,

“I think it should be a slam dunk in the Supreme Court. I have faith in them. You know, people like Cavanaugh, who the president fought for, who the president went through hell to get into place, he’ll step up. Those people [the other Trump appointed justices] will step up .  .  .  “

She finished, saying that their stepping up will be because of the law and fairness. But everyone can see that her intent was to declare that they owe Trump, so they’ll pull his butt out of the fire.

She might be right.

So, Supreme Court score: D-

Trump attorneys’ score: F

Keeping Score Of Begs

It isn’t surprising that no Republicans hit me up for campaign solicitations. I think I got hit on once by Trump and possibly many times, as I’m sure I tagged that first email as spam, so I don’t see those exercises in victimhood, retribution and grift.

Meanwhile, many Democrats have found me. I mean many. Here are a noteworthy few.

Elizabeth Warren contacted me once and Gavin Newsome a few times.

Independent Krysten Sinema has written to me with her hand out six times. Good luck with that, Krysten.

Adam Schiff gets the award for the most interesting, thoughtful and well written begs. He’s knocked on my door 79 times.

AOC writes the most friendly, caring and grass roots informative solicitations. She’s hit me up 183 times.

The winner is Joe Biden and all those who write solicitations for him. They have reached out to touch my wallet over 594 times since he announced last April. That’s an average of two per day. Even if the rate of his solicitations doesn’t increase, given the number of days until the election, I’m looking at about 558 more hits just from Biden. I’ll help him, but woe be unto my Delete key.

Stand by for the final count in my post of November 10, 2024.

So, political donation begging score: Don’t get me started.
.
Keeping Score on Speakers of the House

On February 23, 2023 I sent a request to the then-Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy. He had given 41,000 hours of video recordings of the January 6 riot and insurrection to Tucker Carlson – and only to Tucker Carlson. Carlson then cherry picked the recordings and put together an impressively dishonest and misleading piece of propaganda, suggesting that the insurrectionists were ordinary peaceful tourists. That’s why I asked McCarthy to send the videos to me, too. Oddly, I never heard from McCarthy, despite repeated requests.

The new speaker is a bible-thumping extremist, so I don’t expect him to do the right thing, either. In fact, he posted footage of the insurrection on his website and blanked out faces to protect the villainous perps. Odd, since we’ve seen the videos of these perps many times and many have already been convicted of their crimes, so their faces are known.

Consequently, this is your final update about those videos. They aren’t going to show up in my Inbox unredacted, so you’ll just have to live with what your own eyes have toldl you – no gaslighting. What a concept!

So, Speakers of the House: F
.
Keeping Score of Republican Legislators
    • “The GOP is more interested in nursing grievances and stoking anger than actually solving problems. That’s exactly what Donald Trump has trained them to do.”
  • Eugene Robinson
So, GOP legislators: F

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

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

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA


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

Prep for 2024: Existential


Post 1,024

___________________________________

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

    1. of or relating to existence:

    Does climate change pose an existential threat to humanity?

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

___________________________________

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

Either you have it or you don’t.

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

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

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

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

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

Thomas Paine

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

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

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

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

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

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

More from Schmidt:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The time to take action is now.
.

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

President Joe Biden

I believe that, too.

So do you..

Join the battle!

___________________________________

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

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

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

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

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


Today is a good day to be the light

_____________________________

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

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

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA


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

Oh No – Reality!


Post 1,023

___________________________________

Republicans have been trying to kill Social Seciurity only since it began in 1935. Just a few years ago Paul Ryan (D-WI) tried to replace Social Security with a voucher system that he insisted wasn’t a voucher system. But it was and his sneakily misnamed scheme didn’t fly.

Since that Ryan skirmish over reality, Republicans have reverted to periodic bouts of phony statistics, victim whining and magical thinking. But they’re just politicians doing what today’s Republicans do. What about the way the rest of We The People feel about the Social Security system and what to do about it?

First, start with the plain fact that everyone loves Social Security. That is true at least for old people and also for others who know old people and for people who hope to one day become an old person. So, if there is any truth to the claims that Social Security will one day run out of money (and the math suggests that it will on some hotly disputed date), then we are left to figure out what to do about that.

Should we:

Raise the retirement age?

Limit benefits to some generations?

Limit benefits to all generations?

Eliminate cost of living adjustments (COLA)?

Let Granny starve or freeze to death?

Put old people in retirement city collectives, which would be cheaper than individual dwellings (we won’t call them “concentration camps”). After all, we do public housing so very well.

Offer them a bonus to die so we can eliminate the cost of their upkeep and then harvest their organs?

Eliminate the cap on contributions so that rich people and corporations pay their proportionate share of taxes on all payroll, not just some?

Raise the Social security tax rate on everyone?

Make the tax rate progressive instead of a flat tax?

The Gallup organization did a recent study of how we Americans want to see this issue solved. Here’s the chart of their surprising findings:

That’s right: By a 2 to 1 margin We The People would rather raise taxes on ourselves than cut benefits. And I’ll bet you can guess who’s in the 31% in favor setting Granny adrift. Here’s the full story.

Don’t expect any Republican to show this chart as support for his/her speech on the floor of the House or Senate – not when they can instead go histrionic over their fantasy of a deep state. They’ll be arguing yet again against what We The People want, like the way they vote against gun safety laws and abortion.

BTW – and I shouldn’t have to tell you this –  If you don’t want to worry about what the Grinches want to do to your retirement benefits or to Granny’s, elect people who will protect your benefits.

That’s right: If you want Social Security to be there for you, you have to do something about it. That’s the reality.

Boomers Strike Back

All true. All Boomers can do those things.

Truth be told, not only can I write in cursive, but sometimes later on I can read what I wrote. And I can use it to prevent Trump from reading my secret messages – kind of like our WW II Navajo Code Talkers – both because of my semi-undecipherable cursive and because he can’t read anything but a teleprompter (not well) and Mein Kampf (too well).

That’s reality, too.

Worst Person of the Month Award

So many worthy candidates but just one award .  .  .

Ken Paxton, the Republican Attorney General of Texas, has made it his holy mission, his crusade, his bible-thumping idiocy to be the fundamentalist decider in all things in the lives of all Texans.

He’s fighting the federal greenhouse gas rule, as though global warming will somehow skip around Texas and too bad for the rest of us.

He’s snooping into records from a Seattle hospital regarding gender affirming care for Texas kids. You read that right: in Seattle.

He loves the Texas concertina wire fences that slice up people coming to this country from the south. They’ve already killed some asylum seekers. Why aren’t there murder charges against the perps? Oh, right – it’s Texas.

All of that and more is contrary to the will of the majority of Texans, but that’s okay, because Paxton can bible-thump away at anyone who disagrees with him.

One last thing: his impeachment trial on corruption charges is getting close to a verdict.

  • Query: How come so many moral zealots are found
  • to be hypocrites and morality violators?

The worst part of the Paxton story involves Kate Cox, a pregnant Texas woman carrying a fetus that has severe medical problems that make survival outside the womb nearly impossible. Plus, continuing her pregnancy to term with this fetus might cause Cox to lose the ability to have another child and might even prove to be lethal to her.

She went to court in order to obtain an exception from the draconian Texas abortion law. Her case was based on the threat to Cox’s life. She won in the circuit court, allowing her to have an abortion. That’s when Ken the Merciless showed up and appealed to the Texas Supreme Court to block the whole thing. Paxton’s halo glowed like the sun, as he ensured that both Ms. Cox and her baby would likely die. Ms. Cox was running out of time to take action, so she left Texas to get the medical care she desperately needed elsewhere.

That’s why the Worst Person of the Month Award is hereby slimed upon Ken Paxton, the self-appointed dictator of Texas morality, This well-earned derision is for driving Kate Cox out of Texas without even a moment’s thought to her welfare. He’s quite like the medicine man with a bone in his nose, driving witches out of the village to die in the jungle.

“Congratulations, Ken! You’re the Worst Person of the Month, a first class hypocrite and a world class jerk.”

Come to think of it, he’s just like his boss, Republican Governor Greg Abbott.

Tell you what, crepes: You come after me and leave that poor woman alone. She has enough to handle without having to fend off your cruelty and overcompensation for your inadequacies.

Sadly, that’s reality, too.


Today is a good day to be the light

_____________________________

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

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

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    Click me

    JA


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

America Today


Post 1,013

—————————————

Put ‘Em Up

Markwayne Mullin is a brand new Republican Senator from Oklahoma. He stood vainly proud a couple of weeks ago for all Americans to see and emulate.

He was challenged by Teamsters boss Sean O’Brien, himself not an exemplar of gentlemanly conduct. Not one to let a stupid challenge go, Mullin challenged back, stood and took off his ring, daring O’Brien to a fist fight right there in the Senate hearing room. It took all the power committee chairman Sen. Bernie Sanders could muster to stop the idiocy.

Mullin exemplifies much of our national leadership, where differences are worked out with fists, just as they were on the playground in 7th grade. These are the people setting an example for the rest of us. These are the people telling Americans that physical violence is not just appropriate, but that it’s good.

These are the people leading the way to thugocracy, where elbows to the kidneys rule in the Rotunda, where laws mean nothing, where shouting down neighbors in a school board meeting proves that you can out-volume everyone else to get your way. They pave the path to where death threats and mass shootings are the stuff of real Americans, the currency of the realm. They make sure that the biggest bully gets to be President.

Mothers and fathers, teach your children well so that they have the sense not to follow these thugs. Our nation is counting on you.

The Supreme Court

After multiple exposés of big money from extremely wealthy Republican donors falling into the laps of 2 or 3 Supreme Court Justices and the public outrage these scandals caused, the Court has bravely issued its own ethics guidelines. It is a code of conduct much like that which applies to lower courts, but it differs in one key respect: The Supreme Court ethics rules offer absolutely no method of enforcement. It’s essentially a statement of, “Here’s how we should behave, but we don’t have to and you can’t make us. Nya-nya.”

Court watcher Dahlia Lithwick said that this new code appears to have been “principally drafted with the intention of instructing us that they still can’t be made to do anything.”

So, enjoy the Court’s disingenuous “there, there” pat on the back of your hand over their scandalous behavior. They are saying that their ethics rules mean nothing more than that you should ignore their possibly illegal behavior and just shut up about Court scandals.

Should we allow them their continuous self-pardon, the Court, the final arbiter of the law, will officially be the only place in all of America that is formally allowed to ignore the rule of law.

Oh, wait – that’s how it’s always been. What have we done?

The Rule of Law

Last Wednesday was the 60th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. That caused me to remember various events of his foreshortened presidency, including the much resisted admission of James Meredith to the University of Mississippi in 1962.

Governor Ross Barnett did everything he could to prevent the integration of Ole Miss, including appointing himself registrar of the university so that he could personally reject Meredith’s application. At last President Kennedy federalized the Mississippi National Guard to enforce the Supreme Court decision that Meredith must be admitted to the university. Not long after that Kennedy addressed the nation. Here is part of what he had to say.

For our nation is founded on the principle that observance of the law is the eternal safeguard of liberty – – and defiance of the law is the surest path to tyranny. The law which we obey includes the final rulings of our courts as well as the enactments of our legislative bodies. Even among law-abiding men, few laws are universally loved – – but they are uniformly respected and not resisted.

Americans are free, in short, to disagree with the law – – but not to disobey it. For in a government of laws, and not of men, no man – – however prominent or powerful – – and no mob – – however unruly or boisterous – – is entitled to defy a court of law. If this country should ever reach the point where any man or group of men, by force or threat of force, could long defy the commands of our courts and Constitution, then no law would stand free from doubt, no judge would be sure of his writ and no citizen would be safe from his neighbors.

That was 60 years ago and Kennedy is still right.

We have plenty of people breaking the law right now as flagrantly as Gov. Barnett did back then, although they’re often sneakier and more destructive of our democracy and the Constitution today. Think:

– January 6: Both the riot and all the criminal machinations to steal the election to keep Trump in power. You can add in Kari Lake in Arizona and all the other lying, self-centered, election denying defrauders.

– Trump’s promise that if elected in 2024 he will take all federal power for himself and remove all  public servants who aren’t loyal solely to him.

Project 2025, a lofty language guide from the starch-in-their-underwear Heritage Foundation to dismantle the Constitution and all traditional American values and to give all power to a small cabal of rich people.

– The promised return of Trump’s Muslim ban and cruelty to dark skin people at our southern border, including the theft of their babies.

Lawlessness is not new, but we are at a point of dis-integration, where elected leaders gaslight us and incite us to break the law and where destruction fails to raise many eyebrows. The history books tell us what will happen if this progresses. Indeed, with the violence that happens every day, we are already at the point where “no citizen would be safe from his neighbors.” Ask any of the survivors or loved ones of the slain from our daily mass shootings how they’re feeling about their neighbors.

From Steve Schmidt:

We are accustomed to think of sociopaths as violent criminals, but in The Sociopath Next Door, Harvard psychologist Martha Stout reveals that a shocking 4 percent of ordinary people—one in twenty-five—has an often undetected mental disorder, the chief symptom of which is that that person possesses no conscience. He or she has no ability whatsoever to feel shame, guilt, or remorse. One in twenty-five everyday Americans, therefore, is secretly a sociopath. They could be your colleague, your neighbor, even family. And they can do literally anything at all and feel absolutely no guilt.

Given the constant presence of those who would demolish the rule of law, perhaps it’s time to reinvigorate our dedication to it. That will most certainly mean that we elect people who think the rule of law, democracy and majority rule are pretty good things. We’ll need people who have a conscience and possess the ability to feel guilt and shame. Perhaps it’s time that we refuse and eject from office all who think power for themselves is all that matters.


Today is a good day to be the light

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Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
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Headlines


This Headline Gave Me Hope

.I wrote here about the terribly dangerous Moore v. Harper case from North Carolina. That law threatened to take the votes of We The People, throw them into a dumpster, set them on fire and allow a hyper-partisan legislature to hijack elections – a classic case of theft of our rights and the destruction of our democracy. The good news is that this law was rejected by a 6-3 decision of the Supreme Court.

That ugly North Carolina law was a threat to democracy everywhere. It was promulgated by the autocrat wannabes in the NC legislature, those little minds that covet their very own fiefdom. Had the despotic “independent state legislature theory” law been upheld by the Court, all the Republican controlled states would have followed suit and crafted their own version of this democracy crushing stinker. The legal contest worked out right this time, but another attempt at election theft, the end to your voting rights and our democracy, will surely come along.

The bad news is that the usual suspects, Alito, Thomas and Gorsuch, voted for the autocracy and despotism promised by that anti-Constitution North Carolina legislation. Do bear in mind that if Mitch McConnell had not stonewalled for 341 days President Obama’s nominee to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the bench, Gorsuch wouldn’t be there and Merrick Garland would. McConnell has said that he is very proud of his anti-Constitution larceny.

If the Senate Judiciary Committee had believed Anita Hill’s claims about Clarence Thomas and not fallen for Thomas’ lame “high-tech lynching” victimhood rant, we would have been spared his massive ethics violations and his extremist votes. I say we set that right by removing him and putting Anita Hill on the Supreme Court.

Click the headline above for the Times story and read Prof. Heather Cox Richardson’s explainer. For more insight into this, read Diana Dobrovolny Hefter‘s comment below my post last Sunday. She gets it and is a fine explainer.  Betcha you’ll have something to say, too.

With this vote to smack down the democracy killing “independent state legislature” theory, it looks like it’s possible that the Republican-packed, stolen, extremist Court might not be entirely reprehensible about rights and democracy. Just mostly.

This Oughta Have a Headline

We’ve always had liars, thieves, cheats and scoundrels in our politics. We’ve always had injustice in our justice system. And we’ve always had poverty, disease and avoidable death. What’s most interesting is how red states seem to excel at all of that and how the people in those states don’t seem to see how they are being manipulated and abused. They’re even dying younger due to Republican policies, but they’re allowing that to happen, too. Your required reading is Thom Hartmann’s report of June 28, where he writes:

“It’s undeniably true (and documented with each hotlink below) that Republican-controlled “Red” states, almost across the board, have higher rates of:”

and he goes on to document a Pandora’s box of awful stuff. Why do otherwise common sense Americans not have the sense to refuse to tolerate that?

If you’re in a blue state, don’t imagine you get a free pass. Read this. You’re getting ripped off, too, by being forced to subsidize red states.

This Headline Made Me Laugh Out Loud

This is for real. Click the headline to read the article to meet your minimum daily requirement of eye rolling.

Here’s Another “Oughta Have a Headline”

Let’s be clear about our military veterans. These people volunteered to put their lives on the line for us, even when they knew that the reasons for doing so were stupid, dishonest or hypocritical. They still kept their word to follow orders and to protect and defend. They did that while we went about our regular lives with nobody shooting at us. And some of our vets have lost their way.

A large number of them are homeless. For them, life is far more than hard. A crazy number of them live in a PTSD despair that drives many to commit suicide. It’s the same for teens who are in a mental health crisis of pain and hopelessness.

So, here are a couple of phone numbers to keep handy:

Veterans Crisis Hotline:    800-273-8255
Suicide Hotline:                    988
.

It turns out that the biblical question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” doesn’t apply only to male siblings. It’s about “brother” in a much broader sense. It’s about a moral obligation to help our fellow human beings when we can.*

The answer to the question is a resounding “YES!” And sometimes your help, our help, is desperately needed. Opportunities to reach out to someone who needs a hand are all around. And as Neil Diamond told us decades ago, that’s what your hand is for. Click the audio below and listen to the words for a reminder.

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Taking This “Hand Thing” One Step Further

On the night of the 4th we went to the concert in Highland Park, IL to see Highland Park native Gary Senise and the Lt. Dan Band. It was a stunning display of generosity, caring and real deal patriotism. Plus, that’s a most wonderful and entertaining band.

The key point is about what those folks do for our military people. The put their lives where their hearts are and give to our active duty and retired vets. They’ve done over 550 concerts and countless visits to our wounded and they’ve donated gobs of money to benefit and honor the people who keep us safe from bad guys.

They were in town for the Highland Park concert, so the day before that they went to the Great Lakes Naval Training Base in North Chicago and did a gig for our new recruits. Those men and women volunteered to go into harms way for us and many will soon be there. Senise and his band showed up to honor them.

There were police from 27 towns around Highland Park to secure the morning dedication and memorial walk, as well as the concert in the evening. There were Secret Service folks, too, and sniffer dogs. They all gave up their day off, their 4th of July with their families, to be of service to all in the community. All stood in the heat and humidity guarding us. All served and protected.

Think about 9/11 and all of our horrific shootings, like in Highland Park last year. These first responders show up in places where you wouldn’t go and they do the dangerous and grisly things that must be done. So, Gary Senise and the Lt Dan Band remember and honor our first responders, too.

Here’s an NBC report about what Senise and the band members do. Because you’d like to support the people who support our troops, here’s a link for that. It’s a good way to say “Thank You” to the people who say “Thank You” as their mission in life. Through Senise and the band, your hand will reach all the way to our brothers and sisters in need.

One Last Fourth of July Follow Up

From Heather Cox Richardson’s July 5 Letters From an American:

Josh Hawley fist saluting insurrectionists – seditionists – trying to destroy America. January 6, 2020

“Yesterday the official account of the Republican National Committee tweeted Independence Day greetings with a graphic of the Liberian flag, which has one star, rather than that of the United States, which has fifty.

“Even more troubling was the tweet from Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) attributing to founder Patrick Henry a false quotation saying that “this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” Historian Seth Cotlar noted that the quotation actually came from the April 1956 issue of a virulently antisemitic white nationalist magazine, The Virginian.”

Ignoring the impressive Josh Hawley ignorance factor for the moment, his is not the United States of America envisioned by the Founders, who bristled at the notion of being controlled by any religion. Neither is the America that today’s White supremacists demand.

So, Josh the Sloppy Opportunist, you can take your phony patriotism and religiosity and .  .  .

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* From Rabbi Hillel:

If I am not for me, then who will be for me?

And if I am for myself alone, what am I?

And if not now, then when?


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

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