Terrorism

Integrity


You’re Not God, Mob Boy

Click me

So, you want this to be a Christian nationalist country, a Christian theocracy. Got it. You’re all about Jesus and have carefully picked Bible quotations, as well as excerpts from the Federalist Papers that you think justify your actions. Got it. You’re certain that some elite others are a cabal of Satanic and cannibalistic sex-trafficking pedophiles bent on world domination and you believe other conspiracy claims, too. Got it. You believe that the ends you desire justify whatever means you employ. Got that, too. But consider just a couple of things.

Like that your opinion doesn’t eclipse mine. That your fantasies about truth and reality don’t replace actual truth and reality. That your accusations in the absence of any evidence aren’t the same as conviction. There’s still that “prove it” thing, you know?

The unavoidable result of your certainties is you threatening violence and murder and brutalizing others. That is prima facie evidence that you believe that you have the right to end human lives if, gosh, someone doesn’t toe your line. But that right isn’t yours anywhere or under any circumstances. That belongs to a higher power and I’m absolutely certain that you are not God.

Honestly – and you can take this as gospel – your claims of being a Christian were demolished the moment you picked up your phone to threaten an election worker, or brought your AR-15 to the Michigan Capitol Building to intimidate government workers, or as you chanted, “Hang Mike Pence,” or when you climbed the Capitol steps and vandalized the building, or when you shouted hatred at a school board meeting or when you showed up for Trump rallies and cheered the abuse of protesters, or when you drove your pickup truck with its oversized hatred flags and tried to run President Biden’s campaign bus off the highway, and every time you repeated Trump’s lies. Really, now, would Jesus do any of that?

You have no right to threaten or harm anyone, no matter how pissy you become when you don’t get your way or how puffed up you feel when you fondle your assault rifle or inflict your cruelty on others. One honest look in the mirror will tell you that this isn’t 1776, you’re no Minuteman and vengeance isn’t yours. You’re not God, Mob Boy. You’re just a guy who put his integrity into long term storage.

And all of that goes for you seditious members of Congress who are trying to tear down our democracy. It goes to your shame for violating your oath of office. You remember that “protect and defend” stuff about the Constitution, right? The stuff to which you swore with your hand on a Bible? You remember integrity, don’t you? Perhaps not.

Like the Mob Boys, you can take one look in the mirror and you’ll know instantly that you’re no nation’s Founder, no “originalist.” You’re just a thug in a suit and you’ve abandoned your integrity.

“The fault, dear seditionist, is not in your stars, but in yourselves .  .  .  “

With apologies to William Shakespeare, Cassius and the entire ensemble of Julius Caesar.

The Important Part Is .  .  .

Elise Stefanik in June, with jellyfish Kevin McCarthy proudly looking on

Elise Stefanik, the No. 3 Republican in the House, Is all about getting Republican women elected to Congress. She’s raised over $4 million for her “Elevate PAC” to grease those wheels. In a most interesting piece in The New York Times she bragged,

“My own experience going through impeachment No. 1, where I played an outsized role on the House Intelligence Committee — we built up a national donor list,” Stefanik said Wednesday at a briefing at the Republican National Committee about the midterm elections. “We’ve been able to have that donor list support other women candidates across the country.”

Let’s see, there was an impeachment of the President of the United States going on and in her “outsized role on the House Intelligence Committee” Stefanik’s key accomplishment was building a donor list. Not dealing with the President’s extortion of the president of Ukraine. Not ensuring integrity in the highest office. Not solidifying of our democracy. Creating a donor list!

This is the woman who replaced Liz Cheney as the No. 3 Republican in the House.

One more time, Elise, and this is about your integrity: the most important part of what you do is .  .  .  what?

The Economy

In an effort to combat inflation, the Fed has raised the interest rate by 3/4 of a point in each of the past 3 months, which has caused interest rates on the street to more than double and investors to get a serious case of the heebie-jeebies. They’re fearing a recession, a nearly inevitable outcome when business investment drops off, which it does when money becomes too expensive to borrow.

The interest rate is the only tool in the Fed’s inflation fighting toolbox, but it is a bludgeon of a tool and is excruciatingly slow to combat inflation. What big interest rate hikes are exceedingly good at doing is stimulating recession and putting people out of work. The estimates are that about 1,000,000 people will lose their jobs due to the Fed’s recent wild swings. They figure we’ll stop buying as much stuff – that’s especially true for the newly unemployed, of course – and that will induce lower prices which will curb inflation.

Some day.

But reduced inflation will come at the cost of misery to a great many people, especially to the 1,000,000.

Our inflation is like that of every other developed country. We’re suffering the enormous discombobulation of the logistics system for everything from raw materials to finished goods and that reduced supply is sustaining a glut of unmet demand. That raises prices. That’s largely due to Covid-19 throwing sand into the machinery of the commerce engine worldwide, as well as the huge disruptions caused by Putin’s adventure into AtrocityLand.*

There are other drivers of inflation, too, including the breathtaking profiteering by shipping monopolies, fossil fuel companies, retailers with margins 30% above normal and others who are charging more for a classic reason: because they can. Fossil fuel profiteering has caused soaring prices at the gas pump and that has contributed significantly to inflation. But that, like war and the disrupted supply chain, is unrelated to the Fed’s interest rate hikes.

We’re in for some very turbulent times, as the Fed attempts to club our economy back to 2 – 3% inflation. Bummer for newly unemployed people and for all who can’t get that first job. Look for a huge spike in the number of people living in Mom’s basement, as well as some world class politically stupid claims.

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* The O.E.C.D. estimates the war’s toll on the global economy to be about $2.8 trillion for 2023.

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Highland Park Strong


Ed note: The last section of this post – The Community – was added after the video recording was completed. Scroll down and check it out. It was a most moving ceremony.


Last Wednesday evening, the 6th of July, I attended a vigil. It was just 2 days after the Highland Park massacre. Sitting next to me in the over-crowded sanctuary was a woman who had traveled from West Rogers Park in Chicago to be with her daughter who lives in Highland Park. She had a thick Eastern European accent and fear in her eyes.

She made it clear that she feels the weight of the danger and the evil that assaulted all of us on July 4th and she asked me, “Who will save us?” I thought about her profound question for a few moments and then realized the answer. I told her, “We will.”

That isn’t new or insightful. It’s simply the way it’s always been. The cavalry isn’t going to come over the hill, so we have to save ourselves.

I wrote last Wednesday about what I believe the shooter hoped to accomplish and that topic deserves more attention. It’s reasonable to assume that he saw himself as having been victimized by people in his town. We don’t know who he imagined were his victimizers, but judging by the random nature of his shooting, it didn’t matter to him. He was quite content to shoot anybody in sight. And that makes fine pathological sense, because one of the things we know about victims is that most often they victimize others, often randomly.

He wanted to stop hearts and injure people. He accomplished that. And he wanted to break your heart so that you would suffer pain as payback for whatever grievances he holds so tightly. He accomplished that, too.

And that’s the point upon which everything turns: We have it in our power to heal our hearts and take action and thereby ensure he remains the loser.

I wrote that we must never let the bad guys win and I believe that way deep down inside. The way to make sure the bad guys don’t win is to save ourselves, to hold one another in love and community. And it’s to take action. The way for us to win and make the bad guys lose is to be what the signs and T-shirts say:

Highland Park Strong

just like

Boston Strong

just like

Waukesha Strong

and Uvalde Strong

and Buffalo Strong

and Parkland Strong

and Sandy Hook Strong

and all the rest.

I’m not at a point where I can entertain forgiveness. The hurt is too close and too strong and I’m just not that evolved. But I am definitely committed to being strong in the face of this and every mass horror – strong for myself and others, strong for our community and strong for our country. I will not let the bad guys win.

From Lee Goodman, head of Peaceful Communities, Inc:

We will seek comfort and healing, and we will support one another and our communities.

The one thing we cannot do is give up.

We are in this together. We will stand strong together and we will find safety together, including for that frightened woman from West Rogers Park. We will hold vigils and we will hold hands. And we will find the way to save ourselves from those who would hurt us. Here’s how.

Activist Nancy Kohn makes it clear that our safety will come as a result of electing people who will do the will of We The People – things like enacting laws with teeth to protect us from those who would do us harm. She wrote,

Congressman Eric Swalwell reminds us that the NRA, which he rightly calls an evil terrorist organization, doesn’t cast any votes in Congress. Senators and Representatives cast votes, and they can only do that [cast the right votes] if we elect them. In the end, our votes are the most powerful weapon we can yield. We have taken small, but important steps toward sensible gun safety laws. It’s time to elect people who will do much, much more.
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Click here for a must watch explainer.
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If you want a list of the key Senate races that need your support, contact Nancy. To read her current post and to subscribe to her NKC Occasional Update (highly recommended), click here.
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We will not give up, we will not give in. We will not let the bad guys harden our hearts or continue to use our communities as shooting galleries. And we won’t let them chip away at our country. We will vote and we will encourage others to vote and we’ll support the right candidates so that we come to be represented by people who stand for America, not the gun lobby.

The Community

Just a fraction of the community who came out – for the community

Yesterday, July 9, I attended another vigil, this one in a park in Highland Park. Maybe it was a healing. Maybe it was a grieving. For sure it was a community come together to face truth. Make no mistake, there was a lot of anger over the wrong done to so many people.

Rep.Brad Schneider (D-IL 10) called out the names of the murdered and told a bit about each of them so that we would know and remember that these weren’t statistics. These were real people who lived and loved, who were unjustly killed and who continue to live in the hearts of so many.

Rep. Schneider in the black shirt

The youngest of the injured is an 8-year-old boy, now with a severed spine. This is brutal and cruel and real stuff. So, keep the injured in your heart, too.

And keep in your heart the first responders, the police and fire, the ambulance folks, the county professionals, the Chicago specialists, and the FBI and ATF people. because they were face-to-face with the horrible truth lying in blood on the street and sidewalks. I doubt if any of those folks is sleeping well. Next time you see one of them, thank them for what they did and for what they do every day.

There are so many pieces to this ongoing threat to all of us. Most of these horrific shootings are done by 18 – 21 year olds. I don’t have any idea how to deal with this, but once again I ask, “Where the hell have the killer’s parents been for the past two decades?”

Beyond that we have so much to deal with. This is not a single solution problem. The parts include over 20 million assault weapons in America and that they are easier for an 18-year-old to buy than a pack of cigarettes; the total, undeserved protection from liability of the gun industry; our sieve-like system of background checks; the red flag laws that don’t red flag much of anything; the almost nonexistent requirement for proper firearms training and so much more.

That’s why you’re going to contact your state representative and senator and your congressional representative and senators and demand action. Contact Moms Demand Action and ask what you can do to help.

One more time: We will vote and we will encourage others to vote and we’ll support the right candidates so that we come to be represented by people who stand for America, not the gun lobby.

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

The Insurrection Report


Click the pic for the Washington Post story

The January 9 Hearing

“Tonight, I say this to my Republican colleagues who are defending the indefensible: There will come a day when Donald Trump is gone, but your dishonor will remain.” – Liz Cheney (R-WY)

Cheney is right, of course, and there are more steps to this.

  1. Some of the dishonorables will face the accountability they so richly deserve. That’s what will help to dissuade future bad guy wannabes to instead toe the line – the rule of law.
  2. The Republican Party has fully transformed into a personality cult. When the personality is gone, so, too, will a large number of people who followed and supported the personality; i.e. the herd will be culled. Those will be votes lost to dishonored Republican extremist politicians, the votes of the very people these cowards fear.
  3. Another dishonorable personality ready to end our democracy will come along. Then another. We have to learn to crush their assaults on democracy early.

It may take a generation or two, but there is a real possibility that the tsunami of Republican lies, cheating, hatred and cowardice will cause Republicans to take an enormous hit – if Democrats stand up and consistently tell the truth about how Americans have been duped and betrayed. We’ll see if they’re up to it.

What If  .  .  .

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

Answer: No

They were bashing the Capitol Building, defecating on its marble floors and urinating on its walls, ransacking offices, bear spraying cops and viciously mauling every person and every thing that stood for our Constitution and our country. They tried to overturn the will of We The People. They tried to paralyze the very government that is outlined in the Constitution. They sought to establish mob rule and authoritarianism in place of democracy.

They were motivated and led by Republicans – lots of them – who lied them into hysteria. The Republicans have been working to overturn and end our democracy since at least 1960 and probably since FDR and they nearly succeeded this time. The Republican Party may as well have burned the Constitution themselves decades ago.

So, what if the insurrectionists and seditionists had lit a bonfire and burned the Constitution? They as much as did that, as they did their best to end America. And, moronically, the people of this hateful mob claim they are patriots.

“When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross.” – Sinclair Lewis, probably.

But the attackers weren’t patriots or Christians.

The Atlantic’s Jonathan V. Last Thinks Mike Pence Is an American Hero
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You read that right.

Pence was on the wrong side of nearly every issue, like reproductive rights, gay rights, making an Indiana HIV outbreak worse and more. His public religiosity didn’t extend to who got hurt. And he knowingly sucked up to Trump and his malfeasance for four years plus two campaigns.

All he did on January 6 was to obey the rules of the Constitution and do his clerical job. He at last did something right. For that he’s a hero?

We all know that he was under great pressure from Trump, who didn’t want to be Pence’s friend anymore unless he would lie and cheat Trump back into the White House. Pence didn’t knuckle under. That one time.

And we also know that Pence could have blown the whistle on Trump’s assault on our democracy at least a month sooner when the heavy machinations to corrupt the election were underway, as was the heavy pressure being dumped on Pence – but he didn’t. He could have short stopped a lot of pain and death – but he didn’t.

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

One More Time

We’ve known all along that Trump knew he lost the election fairly. We know from testimony to the January 6 Committee that he was told that by an army of his own people. He was begged by his own people, including his own daughter, to tell the insurrectionists to stand down and he didn’t listen to any of them. He sat watching and enjoying the destruction being done in his name. And there is exactly one reason why.

Trump was desperate to remain president because he knew that as soon as he was an ordinary citizen once again he would lose the protection from prosecution every president enjoys. That would mean that prosecutions for election tampering, money laundering, suborning perjury, obstruction of justice and so much more would come down on his head. He knew that he would spend the rest of his life defending himself in courts and then in prison. That’s why he was and is willing to do any corrupt thing, mouth any stupid lie and do even more to stay in office.

Plus, there’s his narcissistic, sociopathic, disordered personality.

“Desperate people do desperate things.” – Rachel Caine

How Do We Start To Move Forward?

We have an enormous amount of work to do to glue this country back together. There is room for the disagreement and policy disputes that are a normal part of finding our way in a pluralistic society. We live in a great variety of circumstances and we order our values in different ways, so finding a way forward for all of us is a daunting challenge.

What there is not room for is insurrection and violence. We will need to convert or marginalize those who believe in such things. This is going to be messy and it is going to take a long time. And the public hearings of the House January 6 Committee telling the truth about what happened is a very good way to start.

Next step: Department of Justice indictments, because accountability matters.

————————————

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA

 


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

DO SOMETHING! – Part 1


I was talking with my long time friend David Ellman the other day. Actually, we were venting our rage over 19 more kids and two more teachers being massacred. We were livid.

We, like most of the American people, are sick of the constant stream of innocent dead people, the hypocritical thoughts and prayers, the stupid non-solutions (only one school door and it’s locked all day, Sen. Cruz? Really?) and the intransigence of the suck up wing of the Republican Party (that’s roughly all of them). More on that coming in DO SOMETHING! – Part 2.

Anyway, Dave had an interesting solution – actually a few solutions – to help cops to intervene to stop murderers. You know: like, DO SOMETHING!

  1. Install small, inexpensive cameras in classrooms and hallways that can be streamed to dispatchers and cops so that the cops know where the bad guys are. That way they’re not breaching a door without knowing which way to shoot to stop the bad guys.
  2. Install peep holes between rooms. This solution has a couple of extra benefits, like being super cheap, plus cops can stop the threat without actually entering the room by shooting through the wall.
  3. Same idea as #2, but with schoolroom false ceilings.

He went on to say,

“I bet there are hundreds of retired men and women in every community who have mechanical skills (basic construction), and who would gladly donate some time to assist in the installation of peep holes, cameras, etc. in local classrooms. All it would take is one knowledgeable (and properly licensed) person to lead a team of workers. Labor would be donated by everyone. I’m sure that teams in every town could be created in days, not years.”

None of Dave’s ideas requires battling the NRA or its bought and paid for politicians. And yes, I agree that there will be privacy issues to contend with over cameras and peep holes, but Dave continued,

“In a country that allows an unhinged 18 year old boy to buy an AR-15 with a thousand bullets, and Donald Trump to have total control over a button that could initiate a nuclear war, I don’t think it’s a stretch that a school principal should be able to turn on a camera in a grade school classroom that has just been taken over by an armed shooter.”

The point is that there can be simple and inexpensive solutions that don’t get stymied by self-serving, disingenuous, mealy-mouth politicians. Of course, such measures won’t stop every attack, but they’ll stop or at least limit some. What if we can come up with additional simple and inexpensive solutions? Do you think that we just might gradually reduce the body counts in America? So do I.

The people of Uvalde and Buffalo have spoken, telling us what to do and they are right: DO SOMETHING! That’s what they told President Biden. That’s what they’re telling us: DO SOMETHING!

I haven’t faith that 10 Republican senators can be found who will vote for whatever compromised-to-near-nothingness bill is negotiated and presented to them. It comes down to us – you and I – to take whatever steps We The People can take right now. Later, as the magenta below makes clear, we’ll Fire the bastards!

Here’s the action summary of this One-Two DO SOMETHING!

One

This is going to take everybody’s hands on the rope to pull this wagon to get it to where we want it to be. You’ve heard Dave’s ideas. What creative ideas do you have? Scroll down and you’ll find the Comments section where you can contribute your ideas to stop or limit our ongoing national death march. My commitment is to compile a list and forward it to all members of Congress.

Two

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

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

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

The Onion provides context. Click the pic and watch the slide show.

All of our noodling over solutions that can do something about our national carnage is way less of a problem than our being perpetually livid – most of the country is livid right now. We’re livid over 19 little kids and 2 teachers, plus shopping grannies and church goers being killed and with 25 being injured, too, all in the space of just 10 days. And during those same 10 days there were 15 other mass shootings in America. Those tallied 11 more dead and 61 more injured and that count doesn’t include Tulsa. See for yourself here.

“It goes up to 11. That’a louder, i’nit?” From This Is Spinal Tap

The Uvalde and Buffalo survivors are right when they say, “DO SOMETHING!” We can’t count on Congress now, so it really is up to us. Crank up your creative ideas machine and set it to 11.

Many thanks to Dave for his ideas and for stimulating this post.

Must Reads

Yolanda Renee King is a 14-year-old granddaughter of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. She has a message for her peers that you need to both read and then distribute to the teens and 20-somethings in your life. She has the spirit of her grandfather and we surely need that spirit right now. Many thanks to JN for pointing out this remarkable piece.

And read Allie Carter’s piece in the Washington Post, At school, we prepare to be shot at. This is how it feels.

Livid: A Question For Our Time

Where were the parents of that Uvalde shooter for the past 18 years?

Or the parents of the Buffalo shooter for the past 19 years?

For that matter, where were the parents of all of our Glock-, AR-15- & AK-47-armed, body-armored teenage mass murderers for all of their years?

WHERE THE HELL WERE THE PARENTS?

Every one of them raised a monster.

From President Biden:

Enough. It’s time for each of us to do our part. It’s time to act. Add your name to urge Congress to take action to end gun violence.

  • Finally, read this if you want to know why 18 – 23 year olds commit mass murders. Then, DO SOMETHING!

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Choices


We have choices every election day, of course, which is the whole point. But the next two exercises really will be different in ways we have never faced before, even in 2020 and after, with the ongoing efforts of traitors who are explicitly trying to defeat the will of We The People. The reason the next two elections will be different is because 2020 was a training wheels exercise. These treacherous people are now largely geared up to either win elections or to commit larceny and steal them in plain sight.

For example, Colorado Republican candidate for governor Greg Lopez is promising to eliminate one person, one vote by giving more weight to the votes of rural voters and undervaluing the votes of urban voters. It’s better for Republicans that way, you see. It’s also a strategic nuclear strike on our democracy.

Republican candidates for secretary of state in many Republican controlled states are promising to ignore the popular vote and certify their preferred candidates (read: Republicans) as the winners, even when they have decisively lost their elections.

What about this is not enraging you and scaring you?
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These people are promising the end of the America envisioned and designed by the Founders, the people who set this up for us, all at great peril to their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. Today’s cheaters dishonor the millions of our ancestors who fought and some who died for the land of the free and the home of the brave. These anti-Americans want to make our country into a banana republic run by cruel, self-serving despots. They want us to emulate and even suck up to authoritarian so-called “strongmen,” as though being a thug is a good thing. But it isn’t.

Nearly half a million Americans died to stop the Nazi murderers, thugs and psychopaths. Now we have Americans waving swastika flags right here in America. And we have candidates for office promising a fascist autocracy.

There is only one thing that can stop this race to oblivion:

You and I must beat the bastards.

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MUST READ of the Week

Thomas Friedman’s post, My Lunch With President Biden isn’t about lunch.

Friedman will explain to you what is at stake far better than I can. Hint: The next elections aren’t between Republicans and Democrats. The choice is between having our democracy where your voice is heard and your vote is counted or an end to everything you value.

You need to read Friedman’s post and pass it along to at least three others. This is a patriotic imperative.

Quotes of the Week

From comedian Hal Sparks:

  1. The universal Republican campaign slogan is, “Government can’t do anything right. Elect me and I’ll prove it.”
  2. There is no Hunter Biden laptop. There is only a 10th generation hard drive from a laptop that might have belonged to Biden, but nobody is sure about that because there is no chain of custody record or even verifiable receipts.

I’ll add that Republicans don’t care about the complete lack of legitimacy of their wanting to smear Joe Biden by smearing his son. They used Benghazi hearings to smear Hillary Clinton, this in the complete lack of evidence of wrongdoing or incompetence.

I’ll say it again: There is no low that is too low for today’s Republicans. That is why this Eisenhower Republican says to do what you have to do, even to the point of holding your nose and then voting for Democrats up and down your ballot to stop these un-American liars and thugs from trashing our country.

Broken News

Nineteen second, third and fourth grade children and two teachers were killed  – gunned down – at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas yesterday. Three more kids are in critical condition as of this writing. The shooter was a messed up 18 year old high school kid who also murdered his grandmother. He was killed in a shoot out with police, but right now I don’t much care about him.

You already know about how our mostly Republican legislators at both the state and federal levels have been bought by corporate money and by threats, especially from the NRA. That’s what prevents anything from happening to stem the flow of blood from gun violence in America. I have a message for them and for the gun crazies in America. This time, though, I’ll address them by addressing Texans, since their home is where this most recent massacre of little kids took place, but the message goes to all of them.

So, what do you say, Tex? Do you still think your own freedom to swagger is what’s most important? Do you still think everyone should have access to firearms, even the angry guy who thinks that he’s the fastest gun in the west, the meanest and toughest camo-boy, the dude who got his man card punched? Because if you do, then we know that neither of those teachers was a relative of yours and none of those little kids who just got shot to death was your kid. And we know that you don’t give a damn about anyone else’s kid, either, you selfish son of a bitch.

Watch and listen to Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) as he asks the question,

WHAT ARE WE DOING?

.

Answer him after hearing what basketball great Steve Kerr has to say. And what President Biden has to say. Then tell me what we’re doing.

It’s always a choice and we’re not choosing well.

—————————————-

PS Our governance and electoral corruption and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem.

————————————

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

It’s Almost 1972 – Again


If we assume for the moment that people who promote fantastical and dangerous lies aren’t willfully ignorant or intelligence challenged, we’re left with some unattractive explanations. Why, for example, would Kelli Ward, Arizona GOP Chair, perpetuate the “Biden is an illegitimate president” crazy?

“I want to see arrests. I want to see perp walks. I want to see people in jail for stealing this election,” she demanded.

Is she following orders as a proud soldier in the Army of the Delusional? Does she expect some personal benefit from her performance of reality denial? Has she been bamboozled by the lies, distortions, conspiracy claims and manipulations that have been fogged out for years? Does she think she’s a patriot as she promotes GOP insanity?

Does destroying democracy to save democracy actually make sense to her?

I’m betting all of that is the answer for her and thousands of Republicans. I’m betting that they will keep pounding away until they get their way, and that’s why this spouting of insanity is a serious threat. This kind of thing has happened before.

Coming into the 1972 Olympic Games the USA basketball teams had never lost an Olympic game. They had collected seven gold medals over the years and this team was the odds-on favorite to win an eighth.

They played the team from the Soviet Union in the gold medal game and were behind through most of it. With just one second left the Americans sank two free throws to go ahead 50-49. The Soviets in-bounded the ball but didn’t score. Game over, Americans win. But a judge had the clock reset to three seconds and the Soviets had another chance. Again, they failed to score. Game over, Americans win. But that’s not what happened.

The referee had given the ball to the Soviets for the in-bound pass before the official clock was reset, so the judge ruled that what had happened didn’t count and the Soviets were given a third chance to play the last seconds of the game. This time the Soviets scored and won the game 51-50. You can hear Bob Costas explain all of this.

I remember watching the end of that game and, like most Americans, was screaming at my TV set. How many chances do they get? Do we just keep doing it over until the other guys win?

And those are the same questions I’m asking today, but they’re no longer about a basketball game. They’re about a past election and all future elections. The fraudulent claims and the demand for do-overs continue, and the indignant ones howl for prosecutions of people who actually played by the rules. I’m afraid that this dangerous insistance could bear poison fruit.

Trump started the bogus whining about fraud in 2016, claiming that there was no way he could lose and that if he didn’t win that the election was rigged. That should sound frighteningly familiar, because not only did he claim that same thing in 2020, but other Republican candidates for various offices are now making that claim. They’re insisting that if they don’t win that they were cheated. They’re refusing to concede. They want do-overs. They only accept their desired outcomes as the legitimate ones.

It doesn’t matter that their claims are entirely false. They are inflaming millions with their hateful, fraudulent declarations and the anger is growing. What’s going to prevent rigged do-overs in Republican controlled states until the outcomes are in favor of Republicans? Surely, not today’s United States Senate, where all 50 Republicans and two Democrats voted against allowing a vote on the two voting rights acts that would prevent such thievery. These politicians are today’s version of the 1972 Olympic basketball judge.

There is more

The 1972 Olympics were held in Munich, where Palestinian extremists – terrorists – kidnapped and murdered 11 Israeli athletes. Violence is what extremists do – like on January 6 at the Capitol Building. People were murdered. More will die unless we – that’s you and I – put a stop to this. All we have left are just 289 more days to do what must be done.

We’re on the road to 1972 again unless we stop the thieves – the extremists – right now.

What I wanted President Biden to say

The problems we’re having with inflation, the economy and sickness and death from the pandemic are ALL a function of right wing obstruction to fighting the pandemic.

North of 90% of our COVID sickness and death is of unvaccinated people, causing massive spread of the disease. And these people are being instructed, coaxed, mandated and directed to refuse our common sense solutions by self-serving Republican governors and legislatures prohibiting protection of our citizens. Our people are being influenced by Republicans and blatherers who spread lies and disinformation.

One more time: Other than trying to ensure this administration fails (that’s the only thing Mitch McConnell declared he’s for), “What are Republicans for?”

Q. Who is paying the price for Republican self-serving obstruction?

A. The American people. And democracy.

The Supreme Court smack down

Trump’s legal team made such a joke of an argument to prevent the House January 6 Select Commission from having access to records from Trump’s presidency that the Supreme Court didn’t even bother to hear oral arguments. That decision came down to two things:

  1. Executive privilege belongs to the executive while in office. After that there is little executive privilege and none with regard to materials relevant to Congressional inquiry.
  2. Once out of office, all of a former president’s records go to the National Archives. The former president doesn’t own them, nor has control of them. They belong to We the People.

Smack down.

————————————

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Domestic Terrorism and Your Ancestors


Likely, the first part of the title of this post makes you think of the kid who killed 4 classmates in Michigan’s Oxford High School last week. Maybe you also remember the Las Vegas shooter, the Tree of Life Synagogue and Mother Emanuel AME Church shooters and the murderer in Charlottesville and the insurrectionist murderers at the Capitol Building. You’d be right using that title for all those murderers. But I’m thinking about our terrorist elected officials.

Like the terrorists who made it a felony to give a bottle of water to someone waiting in line to vote. And the ones who made it legal for thugs carrying Glocks and assault rifles to patrol the grounds right outside polling places. What could possibly go wrong there?

And like the terrorist legislators who use minority rule to make second class, powerless citizens of those who likely wouldn’t vote for them.*

And the terrorists in Congress who regularly threaten to shut down the U.S. government whenever a Democrat is in the White House. They’re the same terrorists who threaten to cause our country to default on its debts. They do that every year a Democrat is in the White House, too.

“Hey, world, we just decided we won’t pay you what we owe you. Too bad for you and goodie for those of us who refuse to pay our national credit card bill, ‘cus we just stuck it to the President and our opponents in Congress. That’s how you know that we’re very tough guys. You’re just collateral damage and honestly, we really don’t care what happens to you or our standing among nations, as long as we get our way now.”

There was a time when terrorists putting a gun to the nation’s head to get their way wouldn’t have been tolerated. Back then the idea of claiming that an election was stolen, this in the total absence of any evidence to support the claim, would have earned censure, rebuke and ridicule. Storming the Capitol to stop the peaceful transfer of power wouldn’t even have occurred to anyone. But all of that and more have gone on and much is still going on right now, energized by a constant fire hose of lies. We’ve always had politicians who lie, but there are few if any other examples of a coordinated, extremist attack on reality.

If we’re to deal with this domestic terrorism we’ll have to figure out some things, like:

How is it that ignoring the will of the people is standard and lying to the public every day is both commonplace and smart politics?

How is it that we wring hands and then move on as though nothing has happened every time some whack job guns down kids, shoppers, concert goers and worshipers? Then we refuse to do anything to prevent the next murderer wannabe from getting his hands on a gun.

And how is it that the extremists, the radical terrorists, have manipulated the Supreme Court into a being a mob of partisan hacks that,

– invites huge money into our politics so the rich can buy their legislators (Citizens United). Worse, they exaggerated that harm with an issue unrelated to that case (“legislating from the bench”) that gave full human rights to corporations

– blocks gun safety legislation at every opportunity (Heller) and snuffs countless other attempts to obey the will of We The People – NOTE: a minimum of 80% of us want those gun safety laws.

– is now almost certain to ignore established law, decisions and the precedent of generations (no more stare decisis), leading to mistrust of the rule of law and making Supreme Court justices nothing more than political hacks**

– is now almost certain to tell women that they are not full citizens with the right to make decisions for themselves and that the government will be their daddy for life**

– is now almost certain to stimulate huge growth in the back alley abortion business, leading to otherwise preventable sterilizations, sickness and death – we’ve seen this movie before**

How is it that we tolerate such wanton disregard of decency and responsibility and we abandon the most fundamental rule of democracy, majority rule?

What has happened to us such that we allow all of this to go on?

Those aren’t idle or rhetorical questions. I want your insight on how we came to allow our values to be desecrated, because I surely don’t have answers. Here’s something to stimulate your thinking.

About your ancestors

Imagine for a moment that you could talk to your grandparents or great-grandparents for an hour or two, people of the Greatest Generation and perhaps the generation before them, born in the late 19th or the earliest part of the 20th century. You’d tell them what is happening in today’s America. What do you suppose they’d say? Here’s my guess.

It would take most of that time for them to begin to believe you, because they’d be shocked and horrified. Your report would be of an America that is unimaginable to them. Much of the story you’d have told them would describe some of the very reasons we went to war against countries that did the things we’re doing right now.

That’s how far we’ve strayed.

Look for a clear call to action on Wednesday, December 8.

—————————-

* From Prof. Heather Cox Richardson:

“After 19 Republican-dominated states have passed election laws suppressing the vote and gerrymandering districts, a reactionary minority controls them. Although Biden won Wisconsin, for example, the state supreme court today left in place districts that likely will enable Republicans to control 60% of the legislative seats in the state (and 75% of the state’s seats in the U.S. House of Representatives). Ending federal protections for civil rights means handing to these reactionaries power over the majority of us.”

**  From Dan Rather:

“The issue of abortion is one on which fair minded people, honest to their own beliefs and moral codes, can disagree. But today was not about personal choice. It was about the law of the land that will make no exceptions other than those carved out by the states. And if the history of a time before legal abortions is any guide, and there is no reason to suspect otherwise, today will beget many personal tragedies, ruined lives, hardship, and despair.

“What transpired in the marbled halls of the Supreme Court was not genteel, even if it was wrapped in the ceremony and vocabulary of polite legal discourse. It was a traumatic reckoning. First and foremost for the rights of women to have control of their bodies and their lives. And secondly for a nation of laws, where precedent is supposed to matter. Instead, we saw a fixed legal right, enshrined in jurisprudence for half a century, likely shredded by a handful of unelected and unaccountable arbiters of what our nation of more than 300 million souls can and cannot do.”

“There are many subplots to this drama. We can talk about how a majority of the justices on the reactionary side of the ledger were appointed by presidents who lost the popular vote, and what that means for the health of our democracy. We can talk about how many of the justices were less than truthful, or outright lied, in their confirmation hearings when they acted like they would judge an abortion case on precedent and the law instead of having their minds made up. We can talk about the politics of the court and whether Democratic voters slept-walked on the issue for too long.”

————————————

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Winning, Part One: The Numbers, Rage and Yoda


This is just simple math.
.

                                STATE                           POPULATION (millions)

Wyoming                                    0.58

Vermont                                      0.62

Alaska                                         0.73

North Dakota                              0.76

South Dakota                              0.88

Delaware                                     0.97

Rhode Island                               1.1

Montana                                       1.1

                TOTAL                         6.73

Those eight states have 16 senators representing them.

Indiana has as many people as all those states combined, but has only 2 senators to represent them. It’s about the same for Massachusetts, Tennessee, Missouri and Maryland.

New York has over 3 times as many citizens as the total of those eight states, but has only 2 senators to represent them.

California has 6.5 times as many citizens as the total above, yet Californians have only 2 senators.

All power to the low population states! Minority rule today! Minority rule tomorrow! Minority rule forever!*
.

And it’s nuttier than that.

There are roughly 40 million more people in blue states than red states, yet senatorial representation is roughly equal, which means that 40 million blue state people are under-represented and discounted in the Senate. To be fair, that is due not just to our two-senators-per-state rule, but also because of voter suppression and gerrymandering that favors and keeps red states red. No way to paint a happy picture about that. It’s just what Republicans do.

In case you wonder why this mangled representation exists, read the explanation from Senate.gov.

What that explanation won’t tell you is that the Framers didn’t trust our mostly illiterate population to select well, so they created both the Electoral College and this presumably deliberative body, the Senate. Both were supposed to be safer when chosen by land-owning, literate white men.

Kyrsten Sinema

That assumption of the Framers has brought us presidents elected by a minority of voters (2 of the last 6 elections, plus some others and Republicans have lost the popular vote in every presidential election but one since 1988). It has also brought us a non-representative Senate. The primary present-day duty of the Republicans in the Senate is to obstruct progress for our country and to manipulate for their individual power – minority rule – which means they’re all about protecting and promoting the interests of big money donors. (See: Kyrsten Sinema receiving huge money from Big Pharma, then refusing prescription drug pricing reform. Just a coincidence, I’m sure.)

Red-Blue politics ebbs and flows (at least it used to), but common sense says that head count representation ought to be proportional in the Senate. It isn’t. That has substantive impact on the lunacy of our current politics and it’s related to our vaccine refusers in a very loud way.

The refusers are exhorted every day to refuse vaccines by breathtakingly false and destructive information coming from state and national leadership. They’re told to refuse the very thing that can save their lives and the lives of those they love. They surrender their facility for critical thinking and embrace only what stokes their rage.

They scream about the infringement of their freedoms. They proclaim entirely untrue propaganda, like that the vaccine will make them sterile, or that there are nanobots in the vaccine and Bill Gates will be able to track and control them, or that vaccines have killed more people than the disease or any of a hundred false claims from sick imaginations. And Americans continue to die at the rate of 1,400 per day.

The constant is the presence of  rage. It’s stoked every night by Tucker Carlson and during the day by Ted Cruz, Ron DeSantis, Greg Abbott and the know-nothing TV and radio blabbers who rake in money from advertisers because our rage-ists tune in. And the refusers vote for red state politicians who tell them what they want to hear and who then go to Congress and state legislatures to fulfill the role of rage in minority rule. That’s the Senate-rage connection and the Republicans work it to perfection to win elections.

I think there’s something else going on and it fits hand-in-glove with rage. It’s fear. Fear of being controlled. Fear of being wrong. Fear of smart people. Fear of science. Fear of change. Fear of government. Fear of globalization. Fear of “others.” Fear of the future. Fear of needles. Fear of their own ignorance. Fear of complexity. Fear of everything they don’t understand. Fear of a world they can’t make sense of.

Keith Olbermann says it more flamboyantly than I do and I’m not crazy about the name calling parts of his post, but fundamentally, I think he has it right: our refusers are afraid. They won’t acknowledge that, because doing so wouldn’t be manly. It would pop their rage-puffery and they wouldn’t get to feel as powerful. Their refusal, though, doesn’t erase their fear or the tribalism it spawns. And their fear, stoked every day by Republicans, is causing more of us to die from the pandemic and is igniting violence around the country.

Perhaps you thought the dishonesty and hypocrisy of the Rs was the entire problem, but I tell you with certainty that it is not. Its matching bookend is wimpy Democrats enabling their anti-democracy, letting Republicans get away with that.

In 2002 Republican Senate candidate Saxby Chamliss cruelly attacked Viet Nam vet and triple-amputee Sen. Max Cleland (D-GA), who was slow and not aggressive in response. He lost his reelection bid.

In the 2004 presidential race John Kerry was attacked and called a coward by a Republican group that came to be known as the Swift Boaters. He kept silent about them, not wanting to give them credibility by responding to their their lies. When he at last did speak up it was too late and he lost the election.

Both of those Democrats were defensive and failed to attack. They failed to aggressively call out the lies. That’s how to lose an election, as both of them did. And I’m disgusted by Democrats who won’t do what’s necessary to win an election now.

Required homework assignment

Read Sheila Markin’s exceptionally clear, shocking and sadly accurate post. This will count for 50% of your Civics grade. The final will be on November 8, 2022.

Wisdom Wake-Up Call

From my Yoda-like friend, Ozzie (all italics mine):

“Reality always (and probably all ways) wins. Our only job is to get in touch with it.”

Enough with the illusions and wishful thinking.

“Or as the Little Prince shared: It is with the heart that one sees rightly. For what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

Enduringly true. And there is plenty that is essential and easy to see with the eyes. Keep them open and see what is plainly before us.

“Or: If you want to live your dream: #)#_!%^ WAKE UP!!! (Screamed as loud as humanly possible).”

If your dream includes a healthy democracy that serves the people, sleep walking through life just won’t do. #)#_!%^ WAKE UP!!!

See Winning, Part Two on Sunday, November 14 to learn what to do about it.

—————————

* Paraphrased from Gov. George Wallace’s (R-AL) inauguration speech, January 14, 1963. Even with the word swapping, my meaning is pretty much the same as his, except that I mean it as sarcasm. Wallace meant it as enduring hatred.

————————————
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. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  3. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  4. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town vibrant.

JA


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

The No Surprises Taliban


It didn’t start with imaginary WMDs (weapons of mass destruction). Our national war of insanity began years earlier.

The Supreme Court decision following the 2000 election was led by Republican Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who stopped the vote count in Florida. He disenfranchised tens of thousands of voters and gave the election and the presidency to the candidate who actually lost the state by 537 votes and who would have come in second in the Electoral College vote had all Florida votes been counted.

That got us the silver spoon cowboy, an illegitimate president. He was the same guy who managed to avoid service in Viet Nam by joining the Texas Air National Guard. He spent his active duty having a good time flying jets around Texas. Nobody ever shot at him, so he didn’t know the first thing about the horrors of combat. He later declare that he wanted “to be a wartime president,” as though war s just a toy for his self-aggrandizement.

I don’t recall Bush ever expressing a believable concern for those who would prosecute his wars, leaving us to speculate that he saw it like a movie, where everyone goes home after a day’s shoot or like a video game and it’s just pretend. But it doesn’t work that way in real wars.

He went on to ignore warnings of 9/11 and then, having failed that national security test, declared he’d get the varmint what done us wrong.

After 9/11 the CIA had Osama bin Laden bottled up in the caves at Tora Bora and asked for additional resources to smoke him out, but Bush refused. The Taliban offered to arrest bin Laden and turn him over to the U.S., but once again Bush refused. Instead, he lied to Congress and the American people. He asked for and received the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), which amounted to Congress ducking its Constitutional responsibility regarding declaring war. They chickened out and gave that power to Bush, exactly as the Founders DID NOT intend, because they knew full well what such power could lead to.

Bush got his authority and sent American troops to invade Afghanistan to capture or kill bin Laden and his band of terrorists. He managed to disrupt al Qaeda, but never got bin Laden. Bush could have ended the invasion then, but, of course, he didn’t.

The goal in Afghanistan was changed to eliminating the Taliban, not bin Laden. Bush failed at that, too. Later the goal of that war was to set up a central government and modern democracy – nation building – something we had failed at again and again elsewhere. We used to say that the goalposts kept getting moved, but it’s probably more likely that there never were any goalposts.

A strong central government and democracy are things the Afghans had never had, didn’t understand and were culturally unable to accept, so there was never even a remote possibility of creating a modern democracy in that place where empires go to die. All the world knew that except Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld. But the failure of that unwinnable war is what all the lies about that war and the one in Iraq, the hypocritical Mission Accomplished banner and all the pseudo-patriotic chest thumping got us. There was just war so that a cowboy could be a wartime president.

The one positive outcome of the Viet Nam war was Colin Powell’s Powell Doctrine. According to the doctrine, all of these questions must be answered in the affirmative before going off to war.

  1. Is a vital national security interest threatened?
  2. Do we have a clear attainable objective?
  3. Have the risks and costs been fully and frankly analyzed?
  4. Have all other non-violent policy means been fully exhausted?
  5. Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement?
  6. Have the consequences of our action been fully considered?
  7. Is the action supported by the American people?
  8. Do we have genuine broad international support?

Click me for the story

Decide for yourself whether any thought was given to any of those questions before sending our military into harm’s way.

We spent 20 years, thousands of American lives, trillions of American dollars and an unknowable number of Afghan lives pursuing that no-goalpost war. We were lied to for 20 years about what was really going on there, as we refused to heed the obvious and painful lessons from our debacle in Viet Nam.

To be clear, we got bin Laden, but that had nothing to do with our war in Afghanistan.

A year and a half ago Trump cut a deal with the Taliban that said that we would leave Afghanistan. All the Taliban had to do was to promise to not attack U.S. troops as they depart and not allow al Qaeda or other extremist groups to operate in Taliban controlled territory.

Trump left the Afghan government completely out of the discussions and kept them out of the deal. The message to the Afghan security forces was clear: the Taliban now had tacit approval from the U.S. government to take over the country. Plus the Taliban almost immediately began to assassinate Afghan provincial leaders.

As bad, we have absolutely no way to ensure the Taliban won’t let al Qaeda ramp up again in Afghanistan, leaving us exactly where we were on September 10, 2001. The common notion among our talking heads and many politicians seems to be that this end was unforeseeable.

Nonsense!
.

We saw this exact thing happen in Viet Nam, another unwinnable war and failed nation building, and there was yet more foreseeable evidence.

The speed that the Taliban would retake that country was clear from the moment Trump announced we’d be out by May 2021. Were you in the Afghan military, what would you do, as leaders of province after province cut deals with the Taliban or just cut and ran? The central government dissolved in hours and fighters trained by us shed their military garb, hoping to look like civilians. The Taliban overran what was left of the Afghan security forces and secured all the major cities in that country in just days.

As of this writing the process of evacuation continues. We can hope that we didn’t manage to drag feet long enough to avoid keeping our word to those to whom we pledged our undying loyalty and our sacred promise of protection. The fate of any Afghan who collaborated in any way with western forces, be they interpreters, workers with NGO agencies or anything else will be death. The fate of women who had the audacity to become educated or who educated their daughters will be cruel, dehumanizing and eventually lethal.

Survivors will be relegated to a medieval life in the tribal feudalism the area has always known. Its main export will still be opium. In the end our efforts will have accomplished nothing but death and destruction. We knew all of this because that is what the Taliban did in the 1990s before we showed up to make war under false pretenses.

So, you can stop listening to anyone who says that the disaster at the end of our 20-year invasion and occupation of that country was unforeseeable. Anyone with two eyes and a memory has known all along that this is exactly what would happen. The Taliban holds no surprises

Once again, the only surprise is our boundless and willful ignorance.

Something Special For Our Partisan Critics

This is from Professor Heather Cox Richardson:

Some of the same people worrying about the slowness of our evacuation of our Afghan allies voted just last month against providing more visas for them, and others seemed to worry very little about our utter abandonment of our Kurdish allies when we withdrew from northern Syria in 2019. And those worrying about democracy in Afghanistan seem to be largely unconcerned about protecting voting rights here at home.

Most notably to me, some of the same people who are now focusing on keeping troops in Afghanistan to protect Americans seem uninterested in stopping the spread of a disease that has already killed more than 620,000 of us and that is, once again, raging.

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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. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  3. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
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Copyright 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

The American ISIS – Part Two


This is Part Two of The American ISIS. Part One was published on Wednesday, July 7, 2021. You can find it here.

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Kurt Andersen’s 2017 book Fantasyland is a remarkable journey through our 5 century endeavor to perfect our ability to believe almost anything. It’s about how we blind ourselves to obvious reality and embrace outrageous explanations and fantasies to fill our gaping ignorance and feed our passions. We may be reaching perfection in that right now and could achieve escape velocity.

I recommend Andersen’s book to you but caution that you may find some of his views objectionable. Should that happen, simply focus on the basic American manias of belief in whatever puffs our bubble and our need to be wowed by ever more spectacular wow. There are hard consequences to those vulnerabilities. Our enthusiasm to believe the otherwise unbelievable is especially true when we live in fear of the ground shifting farther away from what feels solidly familiar. We clutch after vaporous memories of an imagined better time that never happened and we demand that it return.

He concludes his book quoting Hannah Arendt, who escaped Germany in 1933, came to America and became a leading political philosopher. In her 1951 book The Origins of Totalitarianism she wrote, “The essential conviction shared by all ranks [in a totalitarian movement], from fellow-traveler to leader, is that politics is a game of cheating.” Consider that in the context of our fellow-traveler mobs chanting “Stop the steal!” and their dear leader having whined, accused and lied incessantly since 2015 about rigged elections and who now donkey brays about how the 2020 election was “stolen” from him and his mobs.

Back to Arendt:

“A mix of gullibility and cynicism have been an outstanding characteristic of mob mentality before it became an everyday phenomenon of masses. In an ever-changing, incomprehensible world the masses had reached the point where they would, at the same time, believe everything and nothing, think that everything was possible and nothing was true  .  .  .  Mass propaganda discovered that its audience was ready at all times to believe the worst, no matter how absurd, and did not object to being deceived because it held every statement to be a lie anyhow. The totalitarian leaders based their propaganda on the correct psychological assumption that, under such conditions, one could make people believe the most fantastic statements one day, and trust that if the next day they were given irrefutable truth of their falsehood, they would take refuge in cynicism; instead of deserting the leaders who had lied to them, they would protest that they had known all along that the statement was a lie and would admire the leaders for their superior tactical cleverness.”

Her references were to Stalin and Hitler but she could as well have been writing about 21st century America and Donald Trump. We’re not a different species from any other people at any other time and this story is a recurring one. The difference is that it is being played out on us today and it is our democracy that is in danger.

The Nazi Brown Shirts and Stalin’s Death Squads and Pol Pot’s Kymer Rouge were each absolute followers of an absolute, tyrannical leader. They were constantly infused with propaganda. So, too, were and are the al Qaeda and ISIS vengeful mobs.

Right here at home our American ISIS is propagandized by Trump. He is yet another megalomaniac who will get his way or he will burn it all down. His followers have promised death to whomever he points a stubby finger at, including the Vice President of the United States. There are over 300 million guns in private hands in America and most are owned by a relative few, meaning that we have propagandized militias with over-stocked arsenals and barely contained rage. Even some of our military and police are fully propagandized.

These American ISIS members have promised ongoing violence fueled by their self-righteous certainties of patriotism and their imagined unity with 18th century revolutionaries. They have demonstrated their eagerness to inflict their violence on others. In fact far right extremists are the biggest perpetrators of domestic terrorism in America – by far. Now consider what will happen when their tyrannical leader, their Caligula, is indicted and convicted of his crimes.

Consider, too, how critical it will be to pass S.4263, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and H.R.1, the For The People Act to stop a Republican steal of our upcoming elections and of our democracy.

The facts are before us, so expecting the American ISIS to make good on their threats is an exercise in reality. Believe your eyes.

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Good News!

On Friday President Biden fired the Trump appointed head of the Social Security Administration, Andrew Saul, and solicited and received the resignation of his chief deputy, David Black. Saul spent the past years doing everything he could to deny benefits to seniors, our disabled and others for whom the system is supposed to work. He tried to bust the employee union and more.

Saul’s firing is a fine start to removing all the Trump toadies who have their jobs due to campaign donations and blatant conflicts of interest with the agencies they lead, like Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, who spends his days hobbling the post office system and slowing your mail.

Well done, President Biden. Keep purging!

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Said John Maynard Keynes, “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” So, 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. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  3. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.

JA


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

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