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The Best We Can Do


Disarming the Monterey Park shooter – Click me

Monterey Park, CA

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

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

You know in your bones that she’s right.

Here Are The Totals:  January 1 – 28**

Click me

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

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

Is this the best we can do? Really?

Speaking of Violence

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

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

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

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

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

Is this the best we can do? Really?

It Ain’t Over

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

Click me

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is this the best we can do? Really?

Education

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

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

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

IGNORANCE R US

.

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

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

Is this the best we can do? Really?

Finally, a Chuckle

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

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

_______________________________

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

Elect good lawmakers.

** Source: www.GunViolenceArchive.org

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

______________________________

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


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

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    JA


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

The Through-Line


Last Sunday’s post dealt with the goal of extremist Republicans: destruction. They want to destroy democracy and replace it with autocracy – fascism. They want to destroy the Constitution and replace it with some tool of absolute power only for themselves. They want to destroy facts and truth and replace them with propaganda and self-serving fictions – “alternative facts” – which, as you know, are lies wearing an enemy uniform.

And they don’t care who gets hurt. That was perfectly captured by Trump’s soon-to-be-indicted lawyer, John Eastman, who, at the rally of insurrection on January 6, 2021, proudly declared, “We’re kicking ass and taking names!” I guess that works happily for the kickers, but not so much for the kick-ees. The bad news is that you are intended by the extremists to be one of the kick-ees.

This post is my promised through-line offering to help to explain this behavior, why the self-righteous extremists would want destruction.

I believe this is driven by a primitive, tribal fear of “others.” It is intentionally exclusionary of those not of “our clan.” It is a defense against anything different, anything that might upset what is familiar and feels safe. It is existential tribal warfare.

We pick up a major thread of this to use as example: our 400-year habit of persecuting Blacks. They are different, as White supremacists will have you know. We have bounced around hating many “others” over the centuries, too, including indigenous people (happily misnamed “Indians”), Asians, Irish, Italians, Jews, Catholics and more – really any group that isn’t Anglo-Saxon Protestant and even some who are. The problem now is that Whites are losing their place as our majority racial group and – gasp! – some of those other people have already secured some rights for themselves. Even women! If this is a zero sum game as so many believe, what’s a frightened White supremacist to do?

My stab at understanding this is aided by the pages of Andy Borowitz’s Profiles in Ignorance (see Fine Print #5 below):

“In 2020, Stuart Stevens, who worked on both of George W. Bush’s presidential campaigns, published It Was All a Lie: How the Republican Party Became Donald Trump. Stevens points out what few Republicans have acknowledged: the views that people find abhorrent in Trump make him not the antithesis of Reagan but his rightful successor. “What happens if you spend decades focused on appealing to whites and treating nonwhite voters with, at best, benign neglect?” Stevens asks.

“You get good at doing what it takes to appeal to white voters. That is the truth that led to what is famously called “the southern strategy.” That is the path that leads you to becoming what the Republican Party now proudly embraces: a white grievance party .  .  . Today, in the age of Donald Trump, the most openly racist president since Andrew Johnson or his hero Andrew Jackson (to the extent a know-nothing narcissist is capable of having a hero), many Republicans who find Trump repulsive or at least consider him abrasive and uncouth hark back to Reagan as the standard compared with whom Trump is woefully inadequate .  .  .

But in the area of race, there is a direct line from the more genteel prejudice of Ronald Reagan to the white nationalism of Donald Trump.”

“As for Reagan’s ‘civility and personal grace,’ as Peter Wehner put it, which Reagan, exactly, was he describing? The one who used racist dog whistles like ‘states’ rights’ and ‘welfare queen’? The one who said, of student protesters, ‘If it takes a bloodbath, let’s get it over with’? The one who wished that California’s hungry would contract botulism? The one who permitted his press secretary to turn AIDS into a joke? The one who called African leaders cannibals and monkeys? The Party of Reagan seems pretty recognizable to me [now].”

The through-line also picks up grievances against government. “Government is the problem,” declared Reagan at all campaign stops and at his first inaugural. It moves that line through Trump’s efforts to undermine all government, leading the way to today’s Republican Rabid Rabies Caucus. They amplify America’s original sin in order to appeal to White voters. They pick at the scabs of both real and imagined grievances, giving people something to use to justify their tribal fear-turned-to-anger-turned-to-hatred.

It didn’t start with Reagan. He was hundreds of years too late to have begun that. What he did do is to pick up the ball that Richard Nixon had carried (his “Southern Strategy”) and run way downfield with it. That was “Saint Ronny,” as the myopic, “O’ for the good old days” folks call him, but there was nothing saintly about him.

Pogo was right

Be clear that this post looks mostly at the issue of race being used to polarize our citizens. The important part is that this and more were used to lead to a violent attempt to end our democracy, commit murders and subjugate our people. Worse, some of our elected officials participated in this attempted coup to destroy our country. Here’s a list of the 147 Congressional dishonorables who violated their oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution. They instead chose to surrender their honor and integrity to a would-be tyrant in order to serve their petty selfishness. And they’re still doing that.

History is full of examples of self-serving dishonorables who stoke fear and hatred in order to seize power for themselves. Our challenge today is that many of our dishonorables are still in positions of power and influence. They stoke amygdala stimulated fear and hatred of “others” – that primitive tribal thing – and seek to crush E Pluribus Unum.

That is the through-line.

I’m not sure that John Lewis was right when he declared powerfully, “We’re better than this.”

But we could be.

Finally, this Great Trampling of Rights is well underway by these tribal terrorists. That’s what all the destruction is about. If a right is to endure, there must be a mechanism to ensure it against these assaults. So, here’s a question for us and for our rights:

What is a right without a remedy?

It seems to me that the remedy is up to us.

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


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

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    JA


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

Destruction


It’s painfully obvious that the primary purpose of the debt ceiling is to provide a leverage point for Republican wackos to use to pretend to be deeply concerned about government spending. They know they’re unable to club government to death like a baby seal or put it in the dryer and shrink it like a cheap wool sweater until it’s small enough to flush down the bathtub drain. Instead, they pretend that refusing to allow the government to pay its bills and holding the economy of the world hostage until they get their way is powerful negotiating juju.

Just think: They can dramatically harm hundreds of millions of Americans due to the jobs that will be wiped out and interest rates will soar and impoverish everyone. Whole industries could be wiped out. If that weren’t good enough work by the extremists, submarining American trustworthiness around the world will spread financial ruin across the globe, causing a worldwide depression. Plus, our allies will see that we aren’t reliable, so they’ll run for cover, looking for something stable to align with. Maybe Vladimir Putin, who’s stable because he kills his opponents with poison in their underwear. Good thinking, Republican financial and national security geniuses!

That begs the question of why they would want to drive all that destruction. Hint: It isn’t because they don’t want granny to receive her Social Security checks. It’s for one related and one unrelated reason.

The related reason is that they don’t want those freeloading Blacks to get any form of welfare. Not Social Security, not Medicare, not Medicaid, not food stamps – nothing. That’s because they know those people are welfare queens and young bucks up to no good. Ronald Reagan told them so, even though he was unable to point to a single person matching those descriptions that he repeated at every campaign stop in 1980 and again in 1984. The annoying fact that more Whites than any other racial group benefit from such programs doesn’t influence the calculus of these extremists about Blacks in the slightest.

The unrelated reason that’s driving all this “If I don’t get my way I’m gonna hold my breath until I turn blue!” behavior has nothing to do with debt, be it a ceiling or otherwise. These people are dedicated to tearing down our institutions, our government, our way of life and the stability of our society and our culture. They are chaos agents – anarchists – in a constant rage and without a care about who gets hurt. These are nihilists with a bottomless pit of negativity and a complete absence of moral conviction. Their goal is destruction.

Lest you think this description is overblown, listen to anything that comes out of the mouths of Jim Jordan, Marjorie Taylor-Greene, Paul Gosar, Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert, Louie Gohmert, Mo Brooks and the rest of the Rabid Rabies Caucus that just extorted control of the House from Kevin McCarthy. Listen to their incoherent rages and what you will hear is tear-it-down cruelty. Think: the stolen election fraud that they promoted. There is nothing they want to build. Their goal is destruction.

Who are you here for?

Democrats in the majority in the Senate and a Democrat in the White House won’t help a bit to staunch the flow of blood from school kids shot up by a mass murderer because the House extremists won’t lift a finger to make things better. Have a look at how Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) spoke to this in a House committee hearing last year. It’s clear that the Republicans on this committee had no interest in creating safety for our kids. They were just fine with the carnage – the chaos. They still are, because their goal is destruction.

DHA Secretary Alejandro Majorkas

Try this for chaos. The Republicans wail White supremacist tears about our broken immigration system (southern border only) and want to impeach Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Majorkas (a Cuban American) because it’s still broken and he’s an easy target. Yet they refuse every opportunity to take action to improve our immigration system. That’s “every” as in: every. So, the hits just keep on coming from our southern border, because

If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got.

And it’s funny how the chaos spawners never complain about immigration at any other port of entry. Gotta wonder what that’s about. Or not, because we already know that their White Supremacist goal is destruction.

They dislike democracy because of that pesky business of others having a voice about what happens. You know: that annoying majority rule thing. Besides, democracy is slow and messy, not like autocracy where all that’s needed comes from an absolute autocrat. No, a policy of “tear it all down and leave what’s left in the hands of thugs” suits them just fine because their goal is destruction.

It’s possible that a Senate controlled by Democrats will provide the necessary shield against some of the self-destructive insanity of these people. What it will not do is allow us to raise the debt ceiling and avoid national and international disaster.

  • What was formerly common decency is now under attack from malicious thugs nearly everywhere. You can see it every day in our lying, cheating politicians, in the violent actors, like the thugs who shot up the houses and offices of Democratic politicians in Albuquerque, and in the quiet refusal of school boards to declare heritage months because they “exclude people.” That’s really woke stuff coming from people who claim to abhor woke. Worse, they refuse to teach children the whole truth and they burn books. Want chaos? Just destroy education, take away learning and stoke fear. You’ll get more chaos and destruction than you can imagine.
  • Quotations of the Week
  • But when you talk about destruction
    Don’t you know that you can count me out
  •                 “Revolution,” Lennon/McCartney
  • .
  • What are the struggles that have your name on them?
  •                      Rev. Dr. Willie Dwayne Francois III
  • Note: Look for the through-line on this destruction business in Wednesday’s post.
  • __________________________
  • Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem with the same solution:
  • Fire the bastards!
  • The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.


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

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

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

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

    JA


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

Brutality


Reading time: 91 seconds

I’m thinking about the honoring of Dr. Martin Luther King, jr. earlier this week and doing something of an inventory.

For example, it’s striking – stunning even – to hear Dr. King’s hopes, indictments, demands and predictions in his I Have A Dream speech, as delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall, August 28, 1963 and to realize yet again that his words are timeless. They shouldn’t have to be.

He said, “We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.” That was in 1963, just 18 months before Bull Connor and his Selma Police thugs, along with Alabama State Trooper thugs, brutalized defenseless people doing nothing more than crossing a bridge in order to march to Montgomery, the state capitol, to demand their rights. I’m sure glad that couldn’t happen today.

Except that two weeks ago Keenan Anderson, a 31 year old Black teacher and father was repeatedly tasered by Los Angeles police. They brutalized him, even as he begged for help. Indeed, he was brutalized to death. By police.

To be fair, Anderson had committed the grievous crime of seeking help following a traffic accident while Black. Think: George Floyd treatment; and Breonna Taylor; Ahmad Aubrey; Trayvon Martin; Duante Wright; Philando Castile; Freddie Gray; Eric Garner; Laquan McDonald; and, and, and .  .  . It’s still a death defying act for a Black person to encounter police or a self-appointed White police helper, even if all s/he is doing is seeking help or walking away or walking home with a can of Coke and a package of Skittles. Brutal.

The Rabid Rabies Caucus of the Republican Party, the party of voter suppression and disenfranchisement, is waging a ferocious war on “others” to reestablish White Citizens Councils, jelly bean jars at voting places, Whites-only drinking fountains and minority rule in cities, states and in Congress. They are brutalizing our nation with their White supremacy. So are the Albuquerque thugs who shot up the homes and offices of Democrats.

We are told that there are some moderate Republicans who don’t support the mouth foamers, but they’ve been genetically modified so that they can neither stand tall nor speak. As useless, the primary job of the Republican Speaker of the House has degenerated into being a doormat for the foamers, as they rush us – brutalize us – headlong into Jim Crow v-2.0.

What do you suppose Dr. King would say about these people? Re-read his speech – better yet, listen to it and hear his voice. Then you’ll know what he would say. Do it, because those people are brutal.

Click to watch this Guardian report.

Questions:

    • 1. Do you have a dream today?
    • 2. What will you do to bring it into existence?
      • Hint: Hope is neither a strategy nor an action.
    • 3. Is today’s reality the best we can do?
  • __________________________
  • Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem with the same solution:
  • Fire the bastards!

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


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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Full Transcript – First Press Conference


Outside the Office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives
.

Jones:  Mr. Speaker, Cynthia Jones here – Laughing Stock News. We cover the Congress.

You know about the blistering list of lies George Santos told in order to get elected in New York’s 3rd congressional district. You’ve been asked about that repeatedly and have refused to make a statement condemning his dishonesty, much less calling for Santos’ removal from the House. Why are you so passive in the face of this enormous breach of trust?

Kevin McCarthy: We will follow the Constitution for this as for any questionable action. This matter has been referred to the House Ethics Committee and we will abide by their decision. Besides, it’s not as if the Democrats don’t lie. Why aren’t you pursuing Adam Schiff for all the unethical things he’s done?

Jones: What are the unethical things you think Representative Schiff has done?

McCarthy: Miss Jones, everybody knows about his misbehavior. People are saying – many people are telling me – he’s done terrible things.

Jones: Can you name just one thing, Mr. Speaker?

McCarthy: I’m not going to do your work for you, Miss Jones. Look it up yourself. Next.

Altschuler: Mr. Speaker, Jack Altschuler of Disambiguation News. Untangling politicians’ word salads and mis-directions. We’re still recovering from reporting on Herschel Walker.

As you know, your Republican caucus has recently dramatically reduced the power of the Ethics Committee. In addition, that committee is notorious for taking an extremely long time, sometimes years, to decide anything. Please explain why referring Representative Santos and his obvious lying to that committee is a proper path to deal with him and to restore trust in the House.

McCarthy: As I’ve said many times, he was elected to Congress by his constituents and their wishes must be followed, as well as the dictates of the Constitution.

Altschuler: First, Mr. Speaker, to be more accurate about the election, George Santos wasn’t elected to anything. His phony résumé and his phony personal history were elected. Further, the Constitution has nothing to do with a representative being a flagrant liar and subsequently being punished for lying.

McCarthy: Yes, well of course we’ll abide by the Constitution and the recommendation of the Ethics Committee. Don’t be surprised if we find Democrats have lied, too. And what about those classified documents Biden hid in his garage? Who was he making secret deals with? He could have compromised our national security! See, that’s what you journalists do. You let Democrats slide and then viciously attack Republicans.

Jones: Who told you that journalists do that, Mr. Speaker?

McCarthy: Everyone knows that, Miss Jones, if that is your name. President Trump knows that. People are saying – many people are telling me – there’s so much unfairness in the mainstream media. You’re so unfair.

Connors: Mr. Speaker, Phil Connors, Groundhog Day News. Again.

Let’s stay focused on the Santos issue.

Last week The Gallup Organization released their survey findings of who Americans trust. Only telemarketers were found to be less trustworthy than members of Congress. Aren’t you perpetuating that distrust by refusing to act promptly and decisively to deal with Mr. Santos for his blatant and pervasive lying?

McCarthy: No, not at all. The American people didn’t send us here in the majority expecting us to eat our young. Besides, he was a solid vote for me when I needed that vote. I won’t forget it, either, unless, of course, I hear from President Trump and he says to get rid of that loser.

Connors & Jones: WHAT!?!

Altschuler: So, you’re saying that you getting the Speakership was more important than the veracity of this entire institution and that you’ll dump Santos if Trump tells you to do that?

McCarthy: I’m saying that Santos can help our country by voting the way I tell him to vote, which is how President Trump tells me to vote. That’s how we’ll begin hearings into the corrupt FBI to get to the bottom of their phony investigations.

Altschuler: Mr. Speaker, you’ve spoken many times about wanting to investigate the investigators, claiming “weaponization of the federal government,” but are you aware that every FBI Director beginning with J. Edgar Hoover and up to the present has been a Republican? Does that information change your desire to make accusatory claims against the agency?

McCarthy: Absolutely not! Those people have been so unfair to President Trump with their witch hunts. They raided his home in the dead of night and all they found were a few pieces of paper, but they’re making it sound like a breach of national security or something in order to persecute him.

Altschuler: Seriously?

McCarthy: Our special subcommittee under the purview of Rep. Jim Jordan will get to the bottom of this weaponization swamp.

Repeat: Mr. Speaker, Ralph Repeat of Culture Wars Review. Reporting the oldies again and again.

Back to Representative Santos.

What do you say to the people of New York’s 3rd congressional district who feel insulted, betrayed and, as of this morning, have made it clear that they realize they have no representation in the House because George Santos has shown that his word means nothing?

McCarthy: We’ll be extra careful to consider their opinions. In fact, we’ve already told them what their opinions are. Plus, we’re ready to investigate Hunter Biden and his incriminating laptop. We’re going to get to the bottom of Benghazi, too. We’ll repeal and replace Obamacare and we’re going to expunge the impeachments of President Trump. Plus, we’ll block any socialist Democrat efforts to raise the debt ceiling. We’ll put a stop to their tax and spend craziness.

Altschuler: Mr. Speaker, your Republican caucus has promised to hamstring our nation by refusing to pay for “things such as Medicaid, food safety inspections, border control and air traffic control, to name just a handful of thousands of programs.” Does that mean you’re okay with the breaches of safety that will cause? And are you okay with the United States defaulting on its debt which the prior Congress authorized and, most importantly, with failing to protect the full faith and credit of our nation?

McCarthy: Of course. My caucus is prepared to make all abortion illegal, end or privatize all those entitlement programs, put prayer back in our school rooms and have good guys with guns everywhere to ensure our MAGA way of life, regardless of the cost to anyone or the whining of liberal economists. We know we’re right. That’s why we never listen to anyone.

Jones and others: HUH!?!

McCarthy: Of course, we’ll listen to President Trump. He’s a great businessman and an expert on economics. He knows how to make great deals to make America great again and eliminate our national debt.

Altschuler: You do know that our national debt grew 40% under Trump, right?

McCarthy: There you go with that unfair press business again. Why don’t you instead ask about Biden’s horrible judge picks and how he’s undermining our nation, like with that Ketanji woman? She’s really black, you know.

Econ: Mr. Speaker, Eric Econ of 4N – No Nonsense Numbers News, cutting through the math.

Last week Treasury Secretary Janet Yellin said, “failure to meet the government’s obligations would cause irreparable harm to the U.S. economy, the livelihoods of all Americans, and global financial stability.” How do you respond to her dire warning as you threaten governmental default?

McCarthy: That’s just socialist Democrat talk. We don’t pay any attention to it.

Altschuler: Back to George Santos, Mr. Speaker. Are you comfortable being in the House of Representatives seated just a few steps from this liar? How can you count on him to honor his oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution when nothing he says can be counted on to be truthful?

McCarthy: Easy. Watch me.

(Turning to his right) Miss .  .  .  I forgot your name.

Taylor-Greene: It’s Susie Taylor-Greene, Mr. Speaker.

McCarthy: Right

Taylor-Greene: My sister asked me to let you know that we’re behind you all the way, locked and loaded.

McCarthy: Excellent!

Now, I understand that you had a question for me about the new drapes in my Speaker’s office. They’re really beautiful and they don’t remind me of my awful predecessor at all. Be sure to look at my golden gavel, too. It’s really cool.

Altschuler: That’s not gold, Mr. Speaker. It’s a lot of brass.

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

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


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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Cluelessness


Struggling to Understand

New York Times Senior Opinion Staff Editor Alexandra Sifferlin wrote a piece on Monday triggered by the Covid-19 death of sports journalist Grant Wahl while covering the World Cup in Qatar. Her story was not about his death. It was about the “anti-vaxxers [who] were quick to blame his death on the Covid-19 vaccine.”

Questions pop off the page, like why would people believe fact-free conspiracy rumors about the vaccines, canards that were spread by non-doctors and non-scientists and hateful rumor generators? Think: injecting bleach. And why would anyone invade the grief so many are feeling and dump cruelty on these innocents? Wait: this gets worse.

Sifferlin continues, “Céline Gounder is an infectious disease doctor and epidemiologist [i.e. a doctor and a scientist] and has been a prominent voice on the Covid-19 pandemic. She is also Wahl’s widow and has been sent numerous emails and voice mail messages blaming her for his death because of her support for vaccines.” Cruelty amplified.

Let this stand as a placeholder for so many forms of anti-social behavior that have become commonplace, like:

neighbors yelling vitriolic slurs at school board meetings

bullies making death threats to citizens doing patriotic things, like being poll workers

thugs committing murder – mass shootings or otherwise – that are encouraged by people broadcasting loathing in order to inflame anger and hatred

I’ve just begun reading Andy Borowitz’s new book, Profiles in Ignorance: How America’s Politicians Got Dumb and Dumber (see Fine Print #5 below). In his introduction he writes,

“We’ll retrace the steps of the vacuous pioneers who turned ignorance from a liability into a virtue. By relentlessly lowering the bar, they made it possible for today’s politicians to wear their dunce caps with pride. Gone are the days when leaders had to hide how much they didn’t know. Now cluelessness is an electoral asset and smart politicians must play dumb, or risk voters’ wrath. Welcome to the survival of the dimmest.”

The standout part of that is that cluelessness is mandatory or politicians will “risk voters’ wrath.” That means that the driving force of politicians’ proud ignorance is a public that wants them to be clueless. What’s going on with us that we rejoice in being uninformed and, worse, dumb? And why wouldn’t we want our leaders to be smart – smarter than the average bear – so they can make good choices for us?

We must want to be clueless and dumb in order to believe absurd conspiracy idiocy, like that there are giant Jewish space lasers igniting wild fires in California, that the moon landings were faked, that there is a Hillary Clinton sex trafficking operation in a non-existent basement of a DC pizza restaurant and all the rest.

Surely, there’s more to this than cluelessness. Ignorance doesn’t explain the ongoing undermining of our democracy by people proclaiming themselves to be patriots. (See: “oxymoron” with emphasis on the “moron.”) It doesn’t explain thousands trashing the Capitol Building and preparing to lynch the Vice President and Speaker of the House and defecating in the Rotunda. It doesn’t explain thugs in camo carrying AR-15s strutting around the entrances to polling places. Love of ignorance is a prerequisite for all of that, but it doesn’t explain the fear and rage and cruelty.

I’m a Boomer and distinctly recall President Kennedy declaring, “College is America’s best friend.” Of course, there were practical reasons for that, such as that we were in a cold war against a belligerent Russian bear and we needed smart, well educated people to be technical geniuses so we could defend our nation. Nobody argued for cluelessness. Nobody declared war on wisdom and learning, but that’s changed.

What’s going on that we cram theocracy into our public schools and steal public school tax money and give it to fund parochial schools? Why did we let George W. Bush get away with his attack on the First Amendment by shifting government education funds to “faith-based initiatives?” What’s going on that some opportunistic politicians are Big Brothering our schools to limit what children can learn and they’re burning books? How come some seem to want us to return to the massive ignorance that existed prior to the Age of Enlightenment?

Somehow a great deal has changed and we have a profound disdain for wisdom and learning. Far more dangerous is the anger toward people who think. We’re in an age of visceral primacy, where “Me getting what I want is all that matters and I’m pleased to stomp on anyone who sees things differently. Fie on education, learning and critical thinking!”

How did we elect pretty-face-empty-head Ronald Reagan? Why did we elect doofus frat boy George W. Bush? Why did we fall for an obvious con artist, Mr. 30,000 lies? Why don’t we want all of our presidents to be smart and well informed? Also, patriotic.

What has happened that we seem to prefer rage over everything else? Are we to return to some semblance of appreciation for learning and wisdom and of one another, or will we continue until the few of us left are living in caves? If we are to drop the primacy of cruelty that endangers us all, what has to happen? How will that come about?

I’m struggling to understand this.

Do Some Supporting

The mouse is now Speaker of the House and the legislative terrorists – the “Tear-Down Party” – are in control of him. Brace yourself, because this is going to be an extremely turbulent two years.

As those fifteen embarrassing elections were happening in the House of Representatives, I emailed my congressman, Brad Schneider (D-IL10), with a simple message:

Hang in there! Gotcher back as you fight the good fight.
.

He sent an appreciative reply.

There are a lot of people in Congress who do that every day – they fight the good fight. That’s in spite of the fact that they hear every day from people who are mad at government and mad at them. They get irrational demands thrown at them. They get hate mail. They get threats.

I figure that now and then they need to hear from the people who know they’re doing the right thing. They need to hear a thanks for standing tall in the face of cruelty and oppression and madness. They can use some validation that they’re on the right side, reassurance that they’re representing us properly.

So, I have a suggestion and a request: Call or text your senators and congressperson and let them know that you appreciate them fighting the good fight and that you have their back. https://www.house.gov/ and https://www.house.gov/

And if they’re on the wrong side, call or text them and say that you see them for what they are and what they’re doing and that you have the back of whoever opposes them.

Classified Documents Found in Biden’s Old Office

I’m shocked – SHOCKED!to learn that Fox-Never-Was-News is horrified by a revelation about a Democrat.

O’ the stupefaction of it all!

An Update On the Rotary of Northbrook Coat Drive

Ref: The last section of this post.

Text pasted from Rotary:

The Final Count.  831 winter coats plus around a dozen boxes of gloves/hats/scarves/boots.  In terms of winter coats, we are confident this is more than last year. Most have already been distributed to 9 charity organizations/locations, with the final boxes (pictured below) for World Relief Chicago, PADS, and a fifth dropoff at Connections for the Homeless all scheduled for next week.  Two Men and a Truck will donate transportation for these boxes for a fourth straight week. So far, five organizations have received at least a first installment of coats:  Refugee One, Stock the Shelves, Connections for the Homeless, Ethiopian Community Association (refugees), and Deerfield Free Store.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A bunch of people will be warmer now. Thanks and kudos to all who contributed!

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

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA

 


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

The Mouse in the House*


As I watched the spectacle in the Republican-controlled House of self-inflicted embarrassment, it became clear that we’re pretty much a country of Never Kevins.

Kevin McCarthy has no principles other than a mania to become Speaker of the House. He has given away anything and everything to get that title, even as doing so leaves the speakership impotent. That makes him completely unreliable, untrustworthy, and even unnecessary.

If McCarthy had any true leadership ability, sometime around his 5th election defeat last week he would have shown that he has a spine, saying he’s had enough humiliation and that he’s abandoning his long time quest to become Speaker. He would quit his job, put his personal things in a box and go back to California. Just before leaving he would stand at the podium in the well of the House and say,

“Madam clerk and my fellow representatives-elect, we have held many elections this week for Speaker of the House and it is now clear that I will not be able to win that post. The time has come to put aside both party and personal desires and act solely in the interest of our country. To that end, I am formally withdrawing my name from consideration to be speaker.

“All agreements I have made in negotiations for votes with reluctant members of my party are terminated immediately. They are null and void. We begin again, now with a clean slate.

“I ask that this body of representatives of We the People choose the best among us to lead this House for the next two years. I ask that party not be part of the calculation, but only what is best for our country. I ask everyone to stand behind that leader to move our nation forward.

“Madam clerk, I yield the floor for the last time.”

But of course, he didn’t say that and doing so would never happen because McCarthy does not have the spine or the vision or the selflessness to do such a thing.

Click the pic or the essay

Instead, he bought his way into the speakership on the fifteenth ballot by giving away all the power of the gavel. He put the power into the hands of the arsonists, the 10% of his party who are the very ones who aided and abetted the insurrection. These are the people who moved to overturn the 2020 presidential electoral vote count even after the mob had come to lynch the Vice President, the Speaker of the House and possibly more legislators. They now have the reins of power in the United States House of Representatives. They are legislative terrorists and that is going to have consequences.

There’s nothing conservative (much less ultra-conservative or far right) about supporting an insurrection, attempting to tear up the Constitution, threatening to shut down the government, refusing to pay our bills, denying the results of a free and fair election, threatening innocents with violence, preventing people from voting, remaining silent in the face of corruption, standing as obstacles to government functioning, stealing rights from We the People and all the rest of the abhorrent things Republicans rejoice in doing. And if Republicans are not conservatives, then the crazies, these legislative terrorists, can’t be “far right.” They are in a completely different category.

Call them the Tear-Down Party, because they’re focused on “tearing it all down,” “deconstruction of the administrative state,” dismantling our government. They are out to prove that government doesn’t work by sabotaging government. They are anarchists, destroyers, the sowers of chaos, the opposition to nearly all you hold dear. They are lovers of hatred, fear mongering and domination of others. They insist on total victory all the time, leaving impossible any form of compromise, because they are all about themselves and about nobody else. They are a virulent and deadly invasion of “me-ism” that threatens our republic with destruction.

The Republican blaze of anger began with Reagan and was stoked into an inferno by Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, Grover Norquist and yet more self-inflating egomaniacs. They and today’s version of them, like Tucker Carlson, plus the people they manipulate into supporting them, are the members of the Tear-Down Party. And they are the obstacle to our common welfare and to our entire nation.

They are about tearing down our foundation as a country, so they cannot be considered conservatives. The Democrats are the true conservatives, because they stand for conserving our Constitution and our democracy.

The Tear-Down Party radicals are prepared to do nothing but destruction, including non-stop muckraking of Hunter Biden and his laptop, our exit from Afghanistan, the ongoing dysfunction at our southern border and more. We know that they won’t be searching for solutions or policy improvements, because they told us so. They just want to blame “others” and undermine our belief in ourselves.

They will refuse to authorize an increase in the debt ceiling this September. That means that the federal government won’t be able to pay its bills. We will officially be a deadbeat nation, unable to care for our people, meet our obligations at home or abroad, provide for our national defense or do anything else. There will be profound and destabilizing global economic and political consequences and all of them will be very bad.

These legislative terrorists of the Tear-Down Party wave the banner of red, white and blue right now, but they will wipe their dirty boots on that banner as they do everything in their power to tear down our government and put us all at risk.

I see only two sources of hope for the next two years. First is that the Presidency and the Senate are controlled by Democrats, so they can stop any legislative lunacy from the House legislative terrorists.

Second is the hope that our Department of Justice will prosecute and incarcerate the January 6 conspirators now in the House and that they will be replaced in Congress by non-radicals. You know: actual patriotic Americans.

———————————

  • * “[McCarthy’s] mistake was convincing himself that a party obsessed with dominance would reward submission.”
  • Leopards Eat Kevin McCarthy’s Face
  • by Michelle Goldberg,
  • New York Times, January 4, 2023
  • ————————————
  • Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem with the same solution:
  • Fire the bastards!

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Raison d’Être


An essay in The Washington Post arrived last Wednesday shortly after my post about Biden’s accomplishments was posted. The WaPo piece is penned by Marc Thiessen and bears the not-so-enlightened title The 10 Worst Things Joe Biden Did in 2022. To be fair, Thiessen also offered a day earlier what he calls The 10 Best Things Biden Did in 2022.

I’m a WaPo subscriber, but I know nothing about Mr. Thiessen other than what I can conjure from his essays. I urge you to read his 10 Worst piece with an open yet critical mindset. He is a master of misdirection via implication.

For example, he starts by saying that Biden’s presidency is the worst in his (Thiessen’s) lifetime. Given the national disaster that were the Trump years, that should set the stage for you on what to expect. Here are a few specifics, numbered per Thiessen’s points.

10. Thiessen begins with, “On Biden’s watch this year” and goes on to list “disasters,” like inflation, gas prices and food prices, as though those are unrelated. But aren’t gas and food prices part of inflation? Besides, they’re out of any president’s control, so hanging them on Biden is senseless.

He goes on to include, “the worst crime wave in many cities since the 1990s. Not since Jimmy Carter has a president unleashed so many calamities at once.” Thiessen deftly ignores that Biden inherited the highest crime rate in 20 years and that crime rates went down in 2022. He implies Biden’s ineptitude with his “Biden’s watch” thing and the “unleashed” bit, as though Biden were attacking the country. Nonsense.

9. He slams Biden for his Jim Crow 2.0 accusation of Georgia’s voting restrictions, saying he owes Georgia an apology. What he fails to note is that Georgia’s governor managed to get over half a million Black and poor Georgians removed from the voter roles, this for major infractions, like being Black or poor. Sounds pretty Jim Crow-ish to me.

7. He criticizes Biden for discharging thousands of our military troops for their having refused an order to take a Covid-19 vaccination. This is forehead-slappingly absurd.

We were facing an assailant of monstrously debilitating power. Were it to sweep through our military we would be unable to defend our country. Do you remember the USS Theodore Roosevelt, on which a huge percentage of the crew went down with Covid? Do you want to have to count on that ship in that condition to protect the nation? Neither did Biden.

Besides, all military people get vaccinated for various illnesses when they report for duty for just such a reason. This is a really myopic and senseless criticism of Biden.

4. “He has failed to avenge the Kabul airport attack that killed 183 people, including 13 Americans.” That happened in August 2021. George W. Bush failed to get Osama bin Laden at all and it took until May 2011, nearly 10 years, for President Obama to get him and avenge 9-11. It took over 34 years to get the guy accused of making the bomb that brought down Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.

The ISIS-K bad guys in Kabul will get their day of reckoning for their murderous bombing. Criticizing Biden for not having captured or killed them yet is senseless.

1. “He slow-rolled military aid to Ukraine out of fear of provoking Vladimir Putin.” Thiessen cannot be so simple minded that he thinks that military aid to Ukraine is a single issue challenge, right? Maybe I’m wrong about that.

Maybe he thinks that poking Putin in the eye over and over would never have bad consequences for us. Nevertheless, we’ve been the biggest cheerleader for Ukraine and provided far more munitions than anyone else. Plus, we supplied the leadership for sanctions on Russia. So far Putin hasn’t been provoked into using nukes. Maybe Biden’s thoughtfulness and caution are the stuff of wisdom.

Oddly, Thiessen’s headline about “slow-rolled military aid to Ukraine” sounds like a positive to me, not one of Biden’s 10 worst.

Throughout our ongoing Constitutional crisis that is Donald Trump and his extremists, posts like Thiessen’s have come in a constant torrent and most are free of critical thought. Their raison d’être (literally, “reason for being;” their purpose) is to tear down, to be cruel.

I have described such people, most often in an effort to understand and explain their behavior. To be honest, sometimes it was just to hit back. But the report of the January 6 Committee is out, so I leave it to those patriotic people of the Committee and to bright, insightful observers like Tom Nichols and Peter Wehner to give further insight into the Cruellas.

I don’t know if Mr. Thiessen is an extremist, but his knuckle headed criticism of Joe Biden suggests a commitment to outrage and cruelty, rather than to reasonable thinking and solutions. I’ll read his offerings again someday, concurrent with welcoming other extremists – when they atone for their sins as fervently and as publicly as they committed them.

The New Year

My friend Mardy Grothe publishes a weekly post focused on literature, language and thinking. Suffice it to say that I read his post first every Sunday.*

Last Sunday he quoted Zora Neale Hurston from her 1937 book, Their Eyes Were Watching God, in which the narrator says, “There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” Then Mardy challenges us, asking, Will 2023 Answer Questions for You, or Ask Them?

Responding in the political arena, we face enormous challenges, most alarmingly from extremists who want to “tear it all down,” as Steve Bannon exclaimed. That positions those whose sole raison d’être is to grab power as little more than obstructionists at best and sideshow executioners at worst. Will their behavior answer or ask questions for/of us?

It seems to me that seeking answers must focus on the questions of how to deal with entrenched outrage and anger and still make progress on our national challenges. That makes me wonder where Democrats will focus. It’s very easy to simply be reactionary, but most commonly that’s only momentarily satisfying, while remaining unproductive of anything worthwhile.

2023: A year of questions or answers? What will be our raison d’être in this new year?

——————————-

* To subscribe, send an email to Mardy at: [email protected] with “Subscribe” in the Subject area.

————————————

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

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

For The Hand Wringers


Note: No post on Sunday. We’ll reconnect in a week.


We have hand wringers on the right .  .  .

.  .  .  complaining that all Democrats are socialists, that Biden is a useless wimp, that a Congress controlled by Democrats hasn’t and can’t accomplish anything for real Americans and that Biden is a pitiful Lex Luthor who will be slain by some right wing Superman. Plus, he’s too old now, much less for a second term. Besides, he stutters.

We have hand wringers on the left .  .  .

.  .  .  complaining that Biden is timid, that he always falls short of the progressive desires of the majority of Americans, that he isn’t a strong leader, that he has accomplished a lamentable not much, that he’s an inept presenter and that he’s too old now, much less for a second term.

That’s just a small sample of the wailing. Doubtless, you can add to one or both of those recitations of hand wringing material. But there’s just one thing:

The record of Biden and the Democrats in Congress is shockingly, fantastically stellar.
.

Here’s a partial list of what’s been accomplished in just 23 months. This list is lifted directly from Biden-Harris Accomplishments:

  • Biden passed the Inflation Reduction Act – to bring down costs, reduce the deficit, and take aggressive action on climate – all paid for by making sure the largest corporations and billionaire tax cheats finally pay their fair share in taxes. Yippee! And no, your taxes won’t go up even a penny if you make less than $400,000 per year. Plus it lowers health care costs for millions of families and allows Medicare to negotiate drug prices for the first time*, caps seniors’ out-of-pocket spending for prescription drugs at $2,000 per year and ensures no senior on Medicare will pay over $35 per month for insulin. Thirteen million Americans, covered under the Affordable Care Act, will see their health insurance premiums reduced by $800, plus this act takes the first steps to fight global warming.
  • Biden passed the PACT Act – the largest single bill in American history to address our service members’ exposure to burn pits and other toxins. Can you believe that it took Biden’s leadership and an act of Congress to take care of our poisoned vets? Note that 11 Republican senators and 174 Republican representatives voted against this bill. Hey wait: that’s the same number of Republican extremists who tried to clog up the electoral college vote certification on January 6 after they and the Constitution had been threatened by the January 6 mob.
  • Biden passed The CHIPS and Science Act – this bill will accelerate semiconductor manufacturing in the United States. That means that we won’t have to count on a possibly hostile foreign government for the microchips that control our smart munitions. Plus it brings thousands of manufacturing jobs back home.  Biden did that.
  • Biden passed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act – breaks a 30-year streak of reprehensible federal inaction to deal with gun violence. Requires people under 21 to undergo enhanced background checks, closes the “boyfriend loophole,” provides funding to address youth mental health and takes a step to curb “ghost guns.” Plus Biden issued numerous executive orders to curb gun violence. Makes me wonder how many more Sandy Hook, Parkland and Club Q massacres we’ll need before we all rise up in furious demand for a crackdown on weapons of death. Still, this is a step in the right direction.
  • Biden has revitalized our alliances and restored America’s position of leadership on the world stage – Trump had undermined our alliances and our influence in world affairs. Biden has restored our relationships with allies to the point that they are all in supporting Ukraine in its battle for freedom and democracy against Russian oppression and the United States is the leader. Plus he’s gotten tough with China.
  • Biden ended our longest and arguably our dumbest war – Three presidents refused to take the dirty, messy, horrible but necessary step of ending that unwarranted 20-year war in Afghanistan. There was never a remote possibility of ending it cleanly, but Biden had the courage to do it. It will take years to meet our obligations and keep all of our promises there – that’s the dirty, messy part – but the plug needed to be pulled. American troops are no longer in harms way thanks to Biden’s leadership.
  • Biden passed an expanded version of the Violence Against Women Act, now reauthorized through 2027 – 172 Republican representatives and 22 Republican senators voted against this bill. How could it be controversial to protect women from domestic violence and sexual assault? Trump let the original act expire. Biden set it right again.
  • Biden got the American Rescue Plan through Congress – delivered 500 million shots in arms to protect Americans from COVID-19 and put a few bucks into citizens’ wallets, too, this at a time when people were hunkered down and income was constricted. Plus this act expanded the Child Tax Credit to put a few more bucks into the wallets of parents.
  • In 2021, the U.S. economy added over 6.5 million jobs – the greatest year of job growth under any President in history. At the same time, we saw the largest annual decline in unemployment ever recorded and the strongest year of GDP growth since 1984. Biden’s hands were in the reins for all that.
  • Biden passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law – It’s finally infrastructure week! We’ve been waiting for this for decades. Provides funding for critically needed repair of bridges and roads, replaces every lead pipe in America, upgrades our ports and airports and expands broadband access to all. It also includes the largest federal investment in public transit ever and the biggest investment in Amtrak since its creation.
  • Passed the Omnibus Spending Bill – keeps the government in business, funds support to Ukraine, reforms the Electoral Count Act to prevent another coup like January 6th and far more.
  • If you have a problem with any of that you are in the minority of people most likely to be dedicated to misery.
  • Key Rule: Misery is optional. So is happiness.

You get the point. And you get the benefits. So, please, America, stop wringing hands because things aren’t getting done or done fast enough to suit you or that they aren’t perfect. Lots of really good things are getting done, plus, “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” Thank you, Barack Obama for the reminder. He was right then and he’s still right.

President Biden has accomplished an astonishing list of great stuff for America and Americans in a very short time. As important is our sense of ourselves. Read David Brooks’ comments following President Zelinskyy’s address to Congress, Biden’s America Finds Its Voice. Many thanks to reader and friend David Lindgren for his pointer to Brooks’ piece.

We’re just starting to crawl out from under the oppression of unreality and intentional cruelty that has afflicted us for so long. At last we have an opportunity to feel proud once again. It’s time to recognize the reality of what President Biden has accomplished.

Not everything is fixed. We have much work yet to do and that will always be true. So, use those wringing hands to instead roll up your shirtsleeves and let’s get to work in this new year.

Here’s to a better America this year and every year – that “more perfect union” thing.

Most important
Happy Birthday Beautiful Marilyn!
.

———————————

Former Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-LA), income maximizing expert.

* “[Former Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-LA)] crafted a[n amendment to the] bill to provide prescription drug access to Medicare recipients [Part D], one that provided major concessions to the pharmaceutical industry. Medicare would not be able to negotiate for lower prescription drug costs and reimportation of drugs from first world countries would not be allowed. A few months after the bill passed, Tauzin announced that he was retiring from Congress and would be taking a job helming PhRMA for a salary of $2 million.”

PhRMA is the lobbying arm of the pharmaceutical industry. That $2 million salary was a 7,110% bump in pay for Tauzin. Now you know how he earned it. Yes really.

————————————

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

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Science Fair Project, An Update, Hanukkah and the Weather


A Saturday post – because you might be busy tomorrow.

Voyager 1 – traveling for over 45 years, now 14.3 million miles from Earth in inter-stellar space, 22 light-hours away, traveling at over 36,000 mph – and still exploring.

Science Fair Project: The Search For Alien Life
Hypothesis:

There is detectable alien life in the universe.

Procedure:

Observe behavior.

Observation #1

I stumbled upon a short post from October 7, 2010 (edited here for brevity). Read it to observe behavior.

Lemmings and Leaders

It’s a common belief that those cute little lemmings follow one another over a cliff and are dashed on the rocks below to their instant demise. In point of fact, lemmings aren’t particularly smart, but they do have enough innate survival instinct not to follow their pals over a cliff.

Mark Kirk was a congressman (R-IL-10) for 10 years.  He did what he was told to do by Republican leadership, voting for every Republican spending bill. He helped to double the national debt, adding more to it than all previous administrations combined since George Washington, this because Kirk was a good little doobie follower. But we didn’t elect him to be a follower.

When the issue of war, any nation’s gravest question, came before him, Mark Kirk asked not a single question in session. He didn’t offer any skepticism or even appear to raise an eyebrow. He just voted as he was told, in lock step with the rest of the Republicans for Bush’s wrong war, taking us over the metaphorical cliff. He was a suicidal/homicidal follower.

We need our leaders to be bolder than that and, certainly, we need them to be at least as smart as lemmings and not follow anyone over a cliff.

We are beset by leaders who don’t lead, who instead take a cowardly path. Because this is ultimately self-destructive to our nation and is in conflict with our natural drive for self-preservation (Ref: lemmings), this behavior must be caused by some non-native force and is likely the result of alien influence.

Observation #2

The First Amendment reads, “Congress shall make no law .  .  .  abridging the freedom of speech .  .  .”

That has nothing to do with whether any private company, including pre-Musk Twitter, may decide to blank out liars and hate speech.

Also, the First Amendment has nothing to do with Apple deciding to abandon Twitter and instead put their advertising dollars where the company won’t be associated with liars and hate speech. Musk’s whining about freedom of speech is factually empty and is highly indicative of aberrant behavior, possibly from an alien source.

The government won’t stop Musk from his senseless blabbing – that’s prohibited – but millions of exiting employees, users and advertisers may well stop him.

Oddly concurrent with his visionary, marvelous stuff, Musk wants to promote (or at least allow) extremism that harms people. This is solid evidence of a diabolical alien influence.

    • “Elon Musk is a geyser of gibberish, so it’s important not to make too much of anything he says.”
    • – Frank Bruni

With pasted on smirks, Lauren Boebert and Matt Gaetz sat, refusing to honor Ukrainian President Zelinskyy. Could they be aliens?

Hypothesis Proven True

Hypothesis: There is detectable alien life in the universe.

These observations of terrestrial life compromised by extraterrestrial afflictions should be enough to give us pause. We don’t need the new NASA moon program or the SETI Array or listening probes sailing beyond our solar system to establish that there are alien life forms about. They’re unmistakable, as they emit unstable, intelligence-impersonating signals that weaken us. We have Marjorie Taylor Greene, Paul Gosar, Donald Trump, Kevin McCarthy, Kari Lake and so many more proofs of alien life forms right here.

Most of the time they fiddled with their phones (texting one another?). That was after they had crashed security and refused screening. Yeah, they’re probably aliens.

Many alien forms are without skeletal support, spineless and weak. Others amass protection via insulation made of cash. Most babble fantasies constantly. They hide behind our laws and our protections, using our good will to attack and destroy us. They have infiltrated our planet, set us into tribal conflict and polluted our gene pool.

Conclusion

With such a mass of evidence, we are left without doubt of the existence of alien life. Even more significant, they walk among us!

Worst of all, they create deadly conflict among our people, putting us more at risk every day.

Recommendations

The key for us will be to minimize the influence of these aliens and to take steps to eradicate this infestation. We must be smart and clever, as we go about purifying our planet. Otherwise, Earth will become just another rock in the vastness of space that is absent of any intelligent life.

———————————-

An Update

In my December 14 post I listed many of the clinically crazy things far righties do. Among them was,

They project alt-right wrongdoing onto others. Whatever the far right is doing, they accuse the “socialist Democrats” of it, once again without any evidence.

As though to cast a bright light on such behavior, last weekend Trump posted on his Truth Social fantasy grievance platform:

“They say that the Unselect Committee of Democrats, Misfits, and Thugs, without any representation from Republicans in good standing, is getting ready to recommend Criminal Charges to the highly partisan, political, and Corrupt ‘Justice’ Department for the ‘PEACEFULLY & PATRIOTICLY’ speech I made on January 6th. This and my actions were mild & loving, especially when compared to Democrats wild spewing of HATE.” [Copied and pasted in full from Trump’s post. All emphasis, incorrect grammar, punctuation and spelling are his except the bold – that’s mine. JA]

It’s the “Democrats wild spewing of HATE” piece that is the projection. See how that works?

Now that the January 6th Committee report is out, expect continuous vomiting of such stupid stuff. Brace yourself.

Hanukkah

In addition to tomorrow being Christmas, it is also the eighth night of Hanukkah – all candles blazing. It is the celebration of the end of a long and brutal oppression, a victory for freedom and the restoration of justice.

Last week the members of the January 6 Committee gave our country the gift of a vital step in the same direction. They declared their referrals for criminal prosecution to the Department of Justice and referrals to the House for ethics violations.

The journey to freedom and justice is a hard and constant struggle. Light some candles tonight to celebrate our victory.

Weather

You don’t need to be told that it’s nasty, dangerous cold outside, but here’s the real deal.

You and I are inside heated dwellings and we stay comfy – and that’s great. It’s also true that right here on the North Shore we have homeless (“unhoused”) people trying to survive by staying inside a refrigerator box. It isn’t warm there and they most definitely are not comfy. But you and I can do something about that.

Rotary of Northbrook has a “Coat Off Your Back” project to collect and distribute “gently used” winter coats to people who need them. Here’s a link to find drop off points. If you aren’t near Northbrook, just check Rotary or other do-gooder organizations near you. The Rotary effort ends today, so hurry. People are cold.

On behalf of cold people, please pass along this message to family, friends, neighbors – even Trump voters. We’re in this together.

————————————

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

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

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