Disambiguation from the political and social musings of Jack Altschuler

Voting Rights

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.

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.

Ending the Tyrannical Minority


America has always lived with a minority, although we haven’t always been at its whim. The bad news is that it has taken great acts of hypocrisy, reality denial and blatant power grabs to bring us to where we are now, at the whim of a tyrannical minority. The good news is that we can do something to make this a democracy, as in: self-governing majority rule. To make that happen, we’ll have to do something different, because if we don’t, we’ll just get more of the same. Here’s a plan.

Insanity in the Senate
1. Reform the Filibuster

The Founders envisioned the Senate as a “great deliberative body,” which, I suppose, it has been for short periods and from time to time. However, that entire concept became impossible when the filibuster became a phone-in exercise. The Senate immediately became brain dead because majority rule was exterminated. Nothing controversial can get done because the filibuster makes it necessary to have a super-majority (60 votes) to break a filibuster and then to at last vote on something – anything.

The result of that is that the majority of Americans most commonly do not get what we want.

Example: 90% of Americans want universal background checks prior to the sale or transfer of any firearm, as well as a ban on the sale and the ownership of military style assault rifles.

Example: The majority of us favor pro-choice, universal healthcare and no corporate money in our politics.

All of that and far more are things We The People want, but which we don’t get because of an intransigent minority in the Senate with its finger always on the filibuster trigger.

I don’t think we should eliminate the filibuster, because that would inevitably accomplish nothing more than switching from minority tyranny to majority tyranny. Plus, it would enable extremists to cram through Constitution crushing legislation. All we have to do is to make the filibuster more difficult to initiate and more painful to sustain.

2. Make the Senate Proportional to Our Population.

It makes next to no sense for Rhode Island to have the same representation and power in the Senate as does California. The way it is now gives Rhode Islanders about 36 times more power than Californians. If you can find fairness or even a smidgen of sense in that, be sure to spell it out in the Comments section below and teach something to the rest of us.

Otherwise, it’s time to balance senatorial power. Here’s how.

There are roughly 331 million of us and 100 Senate seats. Do the math: we establish the rule of one senator per 3.3 million Americans. In this plan the Dakotas, Montana and Wyoming together will have 1 senator; California will have 13; Florida will have 9; Utah will have 1; Illinois will have 4; Kansas will have 1; Nebraska and Iowa together will have 2; Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont together will have 2. You get the picture.

You’ve seen the electoral map showing that the vast, non-coastal parts of this country are red. Those areas have far more head of livestock than people and entire counties that are home to just a few dozen citizens. The practical effect of that is that they punch way above their weight class in the Senate. Good for them. Not so good for high population states or our country as a whole. Change that to make representation fair to everyone by making Senate representation proportional.

Insanity in the House
1. End Gerrymandering

It’s just a legalized form of cheating. It’s power grabbing that is funded by disenfranchising citizens. It is a way to undermine the Constitution. It is a sleight of hand that permanently impoverishes millions. It is a slimy way to make sure that lots of us aren’t represented in Congress at all.

Former Attorney General Eric Holder has done some remarkable work on this as Chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee. He and the committee have clear, actionable plans to end this monstrously inequitable practice that empowers clever bad guys (the minority) and dis-empowers millions of us (the majority).

2. End Obstructions to Voting.

Yes, I’m talking about the practice of removing citizens from voting roles for idiotic reasons, like because they didn’t vote in the last two elections (Ohio and elsewhere) or because they’re Black and poor (North Carolina, Georgia and Florida) and more. The Constitution doesn’t say a thing about restricting such people from voting. In fact, it doesn’t suggest disenfranchising former felons, either. I’m looking at you, Florida Governor DeSantis.

Insanity in Campaigns and the Supreme Court
1. Reverse the 2010 Citizens United Decision

In an colossal act of larceny, the Supreme Court decided the Citizens United case in 2010 by deciding that inanimate, non-sensate corporations have all the same rights that you have. All of them. It’s larceny because that decision gave corporations and big money individuals way more impact on our elections than you have. That decision effectively stole elective power from you and gave it to big money interests to elect members of Congress who would do their bidding.

And that’s what Congress does. Blame Chief Justice John Roberts for that.

Want to fix that and restore the system intended by the Founders?

  1. Write a law that allows money and money equivalents to be donated to any candidate or political party only by flesh-and-blood, actual human persons. To accomplish that,
  2. Establish by law that money is property, not speech.
  3. Establish by law that inanimate objects like corporations do not have all the same rights as human beings. Corporations are not people, Mitt Romney.
  4. Establish by law that corporations cannot do back door political influencing by means of Super PACs and the like.

This will be tricky and the process will be fraught with comically feigned and eagerly performed indignation and impassioned idiocy. Keep in mind, though, that our current system is a perfect machine to ensure sub-optimal results for We The People. It discourages good people from running for office. It ensures the continuing enrichment of already fabulously wealthy people and corporations and the impoverishing of everyone else. It underlines in blazing colors that we don’t care about the intent of the Founders or anything else other than power grabbing.

But we don’t have to be like that.

Clearly, if we want something better, we’ll have to do something better, like,

2. Reverse the 2012 McCutcheon v. FEC Decision

Prior to this case the McCain-Feingold bill limited the amount any individual could contribute to any candidate to $2,600 per-candidate, per-election, or $5,200 for a primary and general election. It also limited the aggregate any individual could contribute to all candidates in any one election to $123,200. Shaun McCutcheon sued to have those limits abolished.

The Supreme Court shot down his hope of eliminating the per-candidate limit, claiming that allowing more financial leverage would be seen as, or effectively would be legalized (gasp!) bribery.

But in a truly contorted and galactically illogical opinion the Court decided that eliminating the aggregate limit somehow didn’t amount to authorizing legalized bribery. The 5-4 “We don’ need no stinking stare decisis” conservatives struck it down, popping the top off the bribery equivalent.

Just image if Mr. McCutcheon were to give $5,200 to every Republican candidate in any one election cycle. Do you suppose that might give him oversized influence in our politics and amount to legalized (gasp!) bribery?

If we are to be a representative democracy, this decision has to be reversed by Congress.

The Point

The playing field must be level if We The People are to be in charge (as in: self-government majority rule). For that to happen we have to remove the unfair, inequitable influences on our politics. What’s above isn’t the complete medicine for what ails us, but it’s a start.

Are you feeling a glow of gratitude, what with Thanksgiving right over the horizon? That’s fine and that’s good, because in this country we still can do something to move us toward a more just nation, that more perfect union.

Wishing you a heartfelt Thanksgiving.

————————————

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.

I Don’t Know Whether to Believe Justice Clarence Thomas


Now it’s your turn.

Friend, activist, Witness at the Border reporter and founder of Peaceful Communities, Lee Goodman, has a facility for clarity. While I’ve been beating the drum for center-and-left-thinking people to vote for quite a while, Lee’s recent essay is the best I’ve seen to communicate what’s at stake. Here it is as a Guest Essay. All emphasis is his except the last sentence of his post. That emphasis is mine.  JA

I’ve sprinkled throughout this guest essay pics from the White House Fact Sheet on what today’s Republicans want to do to you. This looks mostly at health related issues, but the same kind of Republican “screw you” attitude applies to infrastructure rebuilding, re-shoring of manufacturing and all the great jobs re-shoring will create and more. They offer only cutting anything that will help ordinary Americans and cutting taxes on rich guys. You know: trickle down economics that hasn’t trickled down for over 42 years. This is why you can’t vote for any Republican.


During oral arguments on a case challenging affirmative action, Justice Thomas said he didn’t “have a clue” what “diversity” means. Could he really be that stupid? Former President Trump’s behavior demonstrates that he has no idea what “decency” means. The campaign literature I have been receiving in the mail leads me to suspect that a whole lot of Republican candidates have no idea what “honesty” is. Leaders of the Republican party have shown that they don’t know what “civilization” means. The new owner of Twitter, who has given the green light to hateful incitement, doesn’t care what “responsibility” is all about. An entire political party that says it is “conservative” clearly doesn’t remember what that word means.

The right wing has discarded the vocabulary of normal human relations. It is rewriting the dictionary of political thought. Things that are not “people” are, to them, people. Intimidating folks by carrying assault rifles is peaceful demonstration. Riotous insurrection is free speech. Making it difficult to vote is democracy. Refusing to accept the results of elections is patriotic. Truthful reporting is “fake” news, while nonsensical conspiracy theories are revelation.

See the footnote* below.

Can so many people be out of their minds? Are we surrounded by idiots, oafs, and lunatics? Can it really be that our the Supreme Court is determined to eliminate fundamental rights and freedoms?

It was hard enough to accept over the years that there were places in our country that were behind the times, populated by intolerant religious zealots and ignorant bigots. It is harder to accept that their worldview may now have the support of the majority.

We are not just squandering our national heritage of accomplishment. We are engaged in dissembling our country.

Actually, they want to be able to eliminate those benefits EVERY YEAR.

I have never been more worried about an election. As in all prior elections, large numbers of registered voters will not vote. Those uncast ballots will decide who wins, just as much as the ballots that are counted. On the news last evening, I heard people say they would not vote because they don’t feel that the people in power are listening to them. I can’t think of a better way to guarantee that you won’t be listened to than to not say anything.

Our country is not alone. Demagogues and dictators are plentiful. Repressive regimes are thriving. People are fleeing danger in their homelands and are being expelled from the places where they seek refuge. The upbeat stories at the end of evening newscasts of firemen giving firetruck rides to sick children do not balance out the reports of drought, floods, famine, war, and other misery.

Despite what Clarence Thomas, Elon Musk, Mitch McConnell, Ron DeSantis, Gregg Abbott, Mike Pence, Alex Jones, Rudy, the pillow guy, and the rest of the Fox News alternative universe say, there is something called “reality.” There must be “dignity.” We cannot let greed, hypocrisy, hate, jealousy, and fear-induced fantasy destroy hope.

If you haven’t decided yet whether to vote, assume that the people you don’t want running your life already have.
.

  • Lee Goodman can be reached at [email protected].
  • Click the logos for more.
  • ———————————–

“Don’t boo. VOTE!” – President Barack Obama

“Voting is what you’re going to do [this] Tuesday.” – JA

———————————–

*As he was headed out of Congress in 2004, 12-term congressman Billy Tauzin (R-LA) inserted a little addendum into George W. Bush’s thousands-of-pages-long Medicare Part D plan (which nobody read). It said that the government – Medicare – was prohibited from negotiating drug prices with pharmaceutical companies. Tauzin then left Congress and took a new job as president of PhRMA, the lobbying organization for Big Pharma. That gave him an increase in pay of 7,110% and ensured the highest cost of healthcare for seniors.

Extremely Late Addition

Friend Mardy Grothe publishes a weekly offering focused primarily on literature and language, always including memorable quotations. One offered today is from Scotty Reston of the New York Times that captures our solvable problem today:

“All politics is based on the indifference of the majority.”

Indifference simply isn’t an option today.

————————————

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.

SPECIAL SATURDAY EDITION: Aren’t You Tired of Being Lied To?


It’s your turn now.

Cuban-Americans in Miami-Dade county are particularly sensitive to anything that smacks of Communism. They and their lucky ancestors fled Castro’s cruel dictatorship and now these Americans will vote against anything that even sounds like “Communism.”

So, Republicans are blasting them with disinformation, saying that President Biden is a socialist and that he will foist socialism on them, which, factually, is absurd, since Biden is a centrist, a capitalist. But these Hispanics are being lied to over and over to scare them into voting against Democrats.

Hey Cuban-Americans: Aren’t you tired of being lied to?

Paul Pelosi was attacked by an intruder intent upon attacking his wife, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. She wasn’t at home in San Francisco, so the intruder beat Paul Pelosi with a hammer. He’s at last left the hospital and is recovering from his wounds and surgeries to his head and hands.

The new owner of Twitter, Chief Twit Elon Musk, wasted no time suggesting Pelosi and the attacker had a gay relationship. Then Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Green amplified that, essentially blaming the victim for the attack. Donald Trump, Jr. tweeted a picture of his underwear with a hammer sitting on it.

There are dozens (possibly hundreds) more Republican attacks on the Pelosis.  And there are the silent cowards who refuse to offer any statement of empathy or caring. They all lie and inflame violent extremists like the Pelosi attacker and at the same time tell you and me that they are the patriotic ones.

Hey Americans:  Aren’t you tired of being lied to?

Brian Kemp beat Stacy Abrams for the governorship of Georgia 4 years ago. He was the Secretary of State then, in charge of elections. I’m sure it was just a coincidental that while he was campaigning that he purged the voting rolls of 560,000 voters, 107,000 of whom should never have been “purged.” Guess what color most of them were?

This year Kemp doesn’t directly have a hand on voter registrations, so he only removed 90,000 voters. Guess what color most of them were?

He tells everyone what a patriotic guy he is.

Hey Georgians: Aren’t you tired of being lied to?

Kari Lake is having a time of it running for governor of Arizona, spewing multiple false statements in a single sentence. And she’s following the Trump skulduggery, recently telling an interviewer who asked if she will accept the results of the election that she’s going to win the contest to be governor of Arizona, so, yes, she will accept the result of the election.

Woe be to Arizonans if she doesn’t, because she will claim fraud, stolen election, locusts, frogs and fire. She will demand recount after recount and threaten a zombie apocalypse. She will claim that she’s seen headless corpses in the desert like her former deranged governor Jan Brewer and will threaten to make more of them.

The singing group the Zombies (the name is so appropriate for today’s liars) had a hit in the 1960s that anticipated Lake:

.

Now you’ve been told.

Hey Arizonans: Aren’t you tired of being lied to?

Regardless of the other worldly idiocy that will come from the Supreme Court over Affirmative Action and the majority opinion that will be written by Clarence Thomas (because he’s Black and is pleased to be a tool), Whites are not being discriminated against in our colleges and universities. Thomas’ opinion will be just as stupid as John  Roberts’ opinion that gutted the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Roberts said that discrimination of non-Whites was over and we no longer needed to stop racist voting suppression. North Carolina and several other states immediately expanded their gerrymandering to dis-empower Black voters, did gross purging of voter registrations and closed polling places in poor areas. Thomas’ opinion on affirmative action will be packed with just as many lies and reality denying stupid stuff that similarly hurts people who need protection from White supremacy.

Aren’t you tired of being lied to?

Now this from Common Cause:

Donald Trump’s disinformation machine is already preparing to call to overturn midterm election results in swing states… before most voters have even cast their ballots! [emphasis original]

You read that right – over the past few months, Trump has mobilized extremist attorneys and dark money groups – all towards a desperate attempt to reverse any results he doesn’t like.

I suppose you can call these the “pre-lies” or “there was no penalty for the 2020 election lies, so these are pile-on lies” or “our pants are already on fire, so why not lie?” or “we don’t care if our nose is as long as a telephone wire lies” or “paving the way for more grift lies” or “deflate you to keep you from voting lies.”*

Aren’t you tired of being lied to?

It’s all they have. Republicans, MAGA, alt-right – they don’t have any policies, concern for your welfare, any notion of honoring of values except grubbing for power like pigs at a trough and backroom deals to get them money.

Seriously now, aren’t you tired of being lied to?

Because there’s something you can do to stop the right wing lying attack on America:

VOTE!

Vote for any candidate who opposes the liars. Vote against the insanity. Vote as if our way of life – yours and mine –  is at stake.

Because it is.

Doubt that? Read this.

———————————

* As Sen. Joe McCarthy was defaming a quite innocent young attorney, Army lawyer Joseph Nye Welch intoned, “Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator. You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?”

Of course, the answer to Welch’s question was a firm and resounding “NO!” McCarthy had no sense of decency and neither does Trump, nor does any of his spineless followers, like Kari Lake. Their only interest is more power and more money. But you already knew that.

Note that the Mr. Cohn referred to in the recorded exchange is Roy Cohn, Donald Trump’s father’s hydrophobic lawyer and Trump’s rabid model for his decades of chicanery.

Vladimir Lenin is quoted as saying, “When it comes time to hang the capitalists, they will vie with each other for the rope contract.” It seems that now as then we can be bought for a relative pittance, this at our grave peril.

The cheap lies will kill us just as dead as Lenin’s rope if we let them.

————————————

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 – just 3 days left. Get up! Do something to make things better – VOTE!

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 2022 Pond Scum Awards


Pond Scum Award #1

The 2022 Pond Scum Awards

Elon Musk put in a bid to buy Twitter some months ago. Then he tried to slime out of the deal when it didn’t look too good for him anymore. However, even in the face of right wing extremists constantly vaporizing integrity, good sense and reality, a contract is still a contract (for the moment). Musk and his co-investors ponied up the cash and Musk has already started the corporate executions. He did that right after his bathroom sink “look at me” stunt, apparently as if to say, “I bought it – let that sink in.” Turns out that does sink in – in a really personal way.

I have a day job delivering leadership keynotes and workshops. I do those in the lofty hope of ending the motivation for any employee to ever again utter that horrible, life sucking sentence, “My boss is a jerk.” If I keep this up long enough perhaps I’ll have made a modest dent with my Fully Alive Leadership offerings. Here’s the connection of that to the change in Twitter ownership.

David Hogg is a survivor of the horrific mass murders at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL and a spokesperson for Never Again.

I have Twitter accounts for both my leadership work and for these posts, both in the pursuit of reaching more people. Nobody knows if Twitter is useful in that way, but I do know that I don’t want to contribute in any way to Elon Musk inviting extremists to spew hatred, lies and vitriol. I want nothing to do with a platform that invites Donald Trump to further radicalize violent people and move us to abandon democracy and to embrace authoritarianism.

So, this is my last post to be linked to Twitter, as I will be closing my accounts there permanently.

Will Musk lose sleep over my exit from Twitter? Of course not. But I would lose sleep if I thought I were helping to enable evil that is unscrupulously masked as free speech.

CRITICAL DIFFERENTIATOR: The first amendment guarantee of free speech has to do only with preventing government from restricting our speech. It has nothing to do with Twitter or any other non-government public platform and the speech they allow or disallow. Those decisions are no more than company policies. None of us has a free speech right to publish on any of those platforms.

A boy and his sink enter Twitter HQ in San Francisco. It’s a proud moment for all plumbing.

So, Musk can make all the self-serving, self-congratulatory claims he likes about Twitter and free speech. That’s just a disguise for appealing to extremists in order to maximize his return on his dubious investment. And if his new Twitter handle is “Chief Twit” – he picked that – well, I agree. And he gets this 2022 Pond Scum Award.

Anyway, that’s what I sink.

Adios, Elon.

Pond Scum Award #2

My pal Jim Nathan is nothing if not an excellent unearth-er of great political commentary in the form of cartoons, pictures and clever statements. Here’s one he just sent to me:

Here you see a group of self-satisfied, ego-puffed Republicans congratulating themselves like a bunch of bratty high school juniors having successfully towel snapped all the freshmen boys in the locker room. These congressional embarrassments are so very proud that the only thing they accomplished (other than all the destruction, like trashing high speed mail sorting machines in order to slow down your mail service) was to give rich guys a huge tax cut and to stiff you.

Somebody has to explain to me why middle-class Americans would want to give power to these selfish dopes. These guys are so very worthy of their very own 2022 Pond Scum Awards.

Pond Scum Award #3

Here’s another pic from Jim:

First, that’s right. Second, a generation later your grandmother didn’t fight to be in charge of her own body just so you could sit at home in November, either.

The Pond Scummers shown in the pic in section #2 above are threatening to take away your freedoms, even all forms of birth control. There’s no telling how many more freedoms they will take away from you if they get their scummy hands on power. There is only one way to stop them, to prevent them from making you powerless:

You have to vote for people who will protect your freedom and your rights.
.

You cannot count on any Republican to do that. They are unpatriotic and they are insane for power. They’re still lying about the 2020 election. They’re promoting idiotic child trafficking and cannibalistic child eating conspiracies. They are stupid-claiming that the only possible outcome in any election is that either they win or that Democrats cheated and stole the election.

These people are unpatriotic and they are insane. You must not vote for any Republican. Those guys are 2022 Pond Scum Award winners, all. Here’s why:

  1. Republicans have no ideas and no policies to tackle inflation or any other challenge. They have admitted this. They have abandoned you to struggle in the face of national challenges entirely on your own. This is literally true.
  2. Republicans are spineless sycophants of Trump who chicken out of speaking truth. They want to take away your freedom and your rights just so they can grab more power. And they spew hatred, racism and antisemitism every day. This is literally true.
  3. Republicans want to end our democracy and make this country a dictatorship – Seig Heil, Trump! That would make you a powerless peon. This is literally true.

And you don’t want any of that!

That’s why you have to vote for sanity. Vote for Democrats because:

  1. They aren’t hateful, hypocritical thieves and liars. They won’t pick your pocket and give your money to rich people and they won’t make your kids ignorant and stupid. This is literally true.
  2. They believe in democracy and will protect and defend it and the Constitution – just like you would. This is literally true.
  3. They have ideas and policies in place to make your life better. E.g. gas prices are already falling, major new job opportunities are on the way and your bridges and roads are already being repaired. Every Republican voted against all of this. This is literally true.

Go vote for Democrats, just as your great-grandmother, your grandmother and your mother want you to. Make their work and their sacrifices mean something enduring.

And the answer is YES! Pass this along to every voter you know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

————————————

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.

Inside President Biden’s Head


Page 1: Conjuring

He has not invited me into his head, nor has he shared his inner politician or inner President with me. He and I have had no Vulcan mind meld, nor any spooky transmissions. But there’s stuff going on in President Biden’s brain and, blurt-prone though he may be, not everything he thinks gets spewed publicly. We’re left to conjure his intentions.

And conjure, I do! About things like our blatantly political and extremist (did I mention radical?) Supreme Court as an arm of the Republican Party, exactly what the Founders thought they were protecting us from.

People were calling for Biden to expand the Court with centrists and center-leftists even before he was inaugurated, afraid that the things we feared would come about – things like yet more voter disenfranchisement, the end of Roe, more onerous gerrymandering, preventing the EPA from regulating the emission of greenhouse gases, defeating efforts to keep guns out of public places, tearing more bricks from the wall separating church and state and the flood of corporate cash into our politics (what did I miss?). Our fears have been realized, as all of these things have come about.

The bad news from the Court may not be done. On the docket now is a case to decide if state legislatures can take away your vote – literally negate your citizenship (Harper v. Moore). That’s exactly what Republican controlled state legislatures are attempting to do. If they get their way via this radical Supreme Court, it will be a time stamped event that will mark the moment when democracy was permanently crushed and died. The decision is now in the hands of the Court, with oral arguments having been presented on October 4. If this doesn’t scare you, re-read this paragraph.

So, how come President Biden has been silent, not even speaking to something as simple and non-aggressive as imposing ethics rules on our Supreme Court justices – rules like those on judges in other courts? Or establishing term limits so that we can shed grumpy and radical old men? And how come he has refused comment on expanding the court to 13? Two reasons.

First, attempting any of that before the mid-term election would likely produce an overwhelming wave of Republicans in Congress, at which point all progress would grind to a halt and a Republican would win the White House in 2024. Trying to do any reform would be a near-perfect strategy for losing.

That could change following the mid-term election because Biden has Captain Kangaroo pockets full of major legislative wins. But that’s not likely, which leads us to the second reason Biden has been silent.

He doesn’t like any of those ideas. His refusal to so much as have a conversation about any effort to moderate this radical Court tells you all you need to know about what’s in his head. Expect reform of the Supreme Court in about half a century. Maybe a full century. If we still have courts and if we still have a democracy.

That’s what I conjure about Biden’s conjuring about the Supreme Court. I really want to be wrong about this and fear that I won’t be.

Page 2: Hurricane Ian and President Biden

From former colleague Nora Paller:

Community In Action

Watching the scary, dangerous, horribly damaging Hurricane Ian devastate Florida and beyond was tragic. Many people will never be able to come back financially [or] from the emotional trauma of this event. The only good thing was to see all the people who reached out to help – to see community in action. Pulling together to face a larger threat can bring people at odds with each other to let it go and work together. All of sudden, DeSantis wants to talk to Biden. Instead of wasting Florida’s money sending asylum seekers to Massachusetts [link is mine], he is doing something direct[ly] for the people of Florida. Could we stop all this nonsense and work together? Turns out they could and we can.

President Biden, you can lead a Community In Action parade with just your words. Here’s hoping that’s in your head, because the people of Puerto Rico, Florida and the Carolinas need a parade right now.

Page 3: What Is In President Biden’s Head

Securing solid majorities in both houses of Congress is in the front of President Biden’s frontal lobe, because all progress depends on that. Absent those majorities, hateful fools like Republican Joe Kent will get their way and obstruction is all that will happen.

We had eight years of The Party Of No when President Obama was in office and people like Speaker of the House John Boehner and Tea Party Republicans were pledged to Mitch McConnell’s hateful commitment to “Make Obama a one-term president.” True to their word, that’s all – that’s everything – they attempted to do. The Republicans opposed everything Obama proposed in goose-stepping, moronic uniformity. They were and are The Party Of No.

And that’s what we’ll get again unless there are solid BLUE majorities elected next month. That’s in President Biden’s head for sure. He knows that. You know that, too.

————————————

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Lawn Chairs and You


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


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

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

For example,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They show up in big numbers relative to their overall size. They overwhelm the votes of the lazies and thereby get their way.
.
That’s how the extremist, Trump sucking candidates win elections.
.

Translation: the voices of the extremists drown out the rest of us because the rest of us couldn’t be bothered to get up off our butts and vote.

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

” .  .  .  someone is to blame.

“But who?

“You. It’s your fault.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click me for the GoodReads page

————————————

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

Elections Have Consequences


April 7, 2022

On Thursday the Senate of The United States voted 53 – 47* to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court. Without Georgia having elected two Democrats to the Senate in 2020 and the country having elected a Democrat to the presidency at the same time, you likely wouldn’t even know Judge Jackson’s name. But you know it now.

Caroline Randall Williams, Writer-in-Residence at Vanderbilt University, said of Jackson’s confirmation that once again a Black woman had, “dragged democracy back into the light.” It’s good to hear from the poets in order to put things into proper perspective.

We’ve taken another small step toward a more perfect union.

Elections have consequences.

————————————

It was early 2000 and Governor Jeb Bush of Florida and his Secretary of State, Katherine Harris, had completed the enormous job of removing tens of thousands of Black people from the voting rolls. POOF! Voting rights were evaporated from people – citizens – to whom the right to vote was supposed to be guaranteed.

But these citizens were likely to vote for the Democrat in the upcoming presidential election, so the Republicans put their thumbs on the scale to prevent that from happening. Well done, Jeb, and a really in-the-family thing to do for your big, doofus brother. But even with Jeb’s cheating, the election was a nail biter and a recount was ordered.

With the recount proceeding and the vote count close but slightly in his favor, George W. Bush brought suit to stop the recounting of votes. The case went to the Supreme Court (Bush v. Gore) where Republican Chief Justice William Rehnquist presided and the Court declared that the vote recount must stop.

Instantly, that disenfranchised about 20,000 voters in the panhandle of Florida, because their votes had not yet been recounted. That’s a lot of voter disenfranchisement and it did the trick, because that area was slightly more Democratic than Republican. The state’s electoral college votes went to Bush and he became President. Later, full counts of the vote would show that Gore actually won by over 300 votes. Too bad for him and too bad for the nation. Here’s why.

Not long after that election I was having breakfast with a CEO I coached. The restaurant owner unexpectedly turned on the radio so that all could hear the breaking news of the disaster that came to be called “9/11.” Once we realized what was happening my friend said, “Good thing Bush won. Can you imagine what it would be like if Gore were President now?”

Actually, I could, but that’s for later.

Bush lied us into a war in Iraq, having preposterously told us that secular Saddam Hussein was in cahoots with radical Islamist Osama bin Laden. He made up the “yellow cake” and “aluminum tubes” lies and had his National Security Advisor, Condoleeza Rice, terrify the nation, warning us repeatedly that the the smoking gun could be a mushroom cloud.

So, we went off to war against a nation that had not harmed us in any way. Bush told us that the Iraqis would receive our military as liberators from the evil Saddam Hussein and would greet them with flowers. That didn’t happen. And he told us that the war would be paid for with Iraqi oil. But the Iraqi oil belonged to the Iraqis, not the U.S., so it wasn’t ours to take as payment for invading. Anyway, the oil money plunder didn’t happen, either.

And, of course, Bush sent our people after Osama bin Laden. They had him cornered in the caves at Tora Bora in Afghanistan and needed additional military muscle to seize him. Bush refused and instead invaded the entire country.

His lies and ineptitude led us into 20 years of war there and seven years of war in Iraq. Over 6,700 Americans were killed, about three times that many were injured and an uncountable number of Iraqis and Afghanis were either dead, wounded or displaced. He squandered trillions of dollars and managed to destabilize the entire region.

Click the pic to see more. BUT: See Note 5 below.

Bush led Republicans on a new testosterone march, where “supporting our troops” meant no critical thinking was allowed about what we did as a nation. Any challenge to his divine word was unpatriotic, we were led to believe, because “You’re either with us or you’re against us.”

At the same time the NRA was glorifying weapons of war and much of the nation began to equate violence, bravado and bullying with patriotism. Indeed, in Ryan Busse’s frightening book Gunfight, My Battle Against the Industry that Radicalized America, he writes,

“By the time Bush left office, the US public bought nearly seven thousand AR-15s every single day [italics original]. The country embraced even larger numbers of the guns as symbols of freedom, symptoms of fear, and statements of patriotism.”

Elections have consequences.

So, yes, I can imagine what it would have been like if Gore had won. He wouldn’t have lied us into those two catastrophic wars, the region might be stable today, there would be a buffer on Iran’s western border and a bunch of people who died would still be alive.

Maybe we wouldn’t have enthusiastically embraced bullying as a main tool of our politics and even our interpersonal relationships. Maybe AR-15s and other weapons of war wouldn’t be so popular and we wouldn’t have far more guns in this country than people.

To be fair, had Gore been president we still would have our pathological daily mass shootings, assault rifles likely would still be the dream of couch commanders and testosterone junkies. The NRA and right wing extremists would still be blaming lefties for every problem in America and they would seek to divide us using their us-versus-them hate speech. But we might have some common sense restrictions on guns and gun ownership. And justice would have found Osama bin Laden in a Tora Bora cave about 10 years earlier.

Elections have consequences.

Next came an intelligent, even-tempered Black President who offered a welcome groundedness. He was obviously guilty of the felony of being President While Black and that lit the racist torches and brought us constant insane propaganda and power grabs. Opposing and making Barack Obama a one-term President became the Republicans’ “job number one” and they completely abandoned their job of dealing with America’s vexing challenges.

And, of course, there was the nonstop blizzard of lies, even about Obama’s birth. The lying was so common that it became a repugnant snowball of hatred rolling downhill. It grew and launched an unstoppable avalanche of cruel fictions and propaganda.

Elections have consequences.

40% of the public loved the lies and cruel fictions and the self-righteous power rush of hatred that brought them. And that brought us Trump.

When he announced his candidacy he let us know immediately what he was about by declaring that Mexicans are rapists and murderers and later told us that he could grab women .  .  . anywhere. You know the rest of the mental derangement, but his Russia-fueled election brought us a dismantling of our societal and constitutional norms that had been honed over the centuries, as well as his incitement to hatred.

What is most striking is the spinelessness of the people who could have prevented his worst. All it would have taken was for Republicans to speak out and act with integrity.

From Busse’s book, quoting a highly respected firearms editor at Field and Stream Magazine,

“A United States in which someone can be ruined for voicing an unpopular opinion is a dangerous place.” p. 195

Again quoting Busse, now writing about a revered writer on hunting and guns who spoke out against assault rifles:

“They’re crucifying the guy, and none of us [industry people] dare say anything, or we’ll end up like him!” p. 195

That’s what myopic self-interest looks like and our spineless Republican politicians know it well.

Opposing Trump might, indeed, be an unpopular thing to do in Red State America and doing so has proven disastrous for more than a few traditional Republican congressional careers. But what if all the Republicans had stood as one and opposed Trump’s hatred for others and for our Constitution? Perhaps Trump could have been contained.

The engine section of a Russian missile from Vladimir Putin. It exploded at the Kramatorsk train station, killing 50 and wounding over 100 Ukrainian women, children and old people on April 8. The hand-painted Russian words on it translate to “For the children.”

But they didn’t and he still isn’t. And that’s a key outcome of the 2016 election. It had huge consequences, to the point that our democracy itself is now at risk.

Self-styled American faux-patriots with big mouths and even bigger egos are siding with Vladimir Putin, as he rampages through Ukraine, intentionally killing civilians and committing other war crimes. At the same time, the big mouths are castigating President Biden for doing too much to support Ukraine or too little, anything at all, as long as they are criticizing and belittling the President. There isn’t anything remotely patriotic about siding with Putin or baselessly attacking the President, yet millions listen to these blowhards.

All of that and more are consequences of the Bush stolen election, the racist reactions to the Obama election and Trump’s Russia-fueled election.

Elections have consequences.

They have repercussions that reverberate for decades and can be ruinous if we allow it.

But we don’t have to do that.

We can vote to silence the haters and the demonizers. We can vote to stop the bullying and find ways to actually live with one another peacefully. We can vote so that elections help us move toward that more perfect union envisioned by the Founders. It’s time to vote to move in that direction – while we still can.

Elections have consequences. Choose yours wisely.

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* Senators Collins, Murkowski and Romney are the Republicans who voted to confirm Jackson. Doing so should not have required courage. All the rest of the Republicans voted against her confirmation. When the count was announced, Democrats and the gallery enthusiastically cheered the Justice-to-be. The 47 rudely stormed out of the Senate chamber. Sadly, that’s America today.

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

States’ Rights and Drowning


Just a few years ago I heard quite a few southerners claiming in sincere and strongly felt terms that the US Civil War wasn’t about slavery. They claimed it was not started by the southern states to protect their lucrative way of life made possible solely through the use of free, involuntary labor. it was, rather, a highly principled fight for states’ rights. Any limitations coming from the federal government, they were certain, constituted tyranny.

Georgia Senator Alexander Stephens was the provisional vice president of the Confederacy in 1861 and he gave what was labeled the Cornerstone Speech. Apparently, those claiming today that the Civil War wasn’t about slavery were absent from school and missed the field trip to learn about Sen. Stephens.

Here’s how history Professor Heather Cox Richardson reports Stephens’s comments:

“Stephens spoke in Savannah, Georgia, to explain the difference between the United States and the fledgling Confederacy. That difference, he said, was slavery. The American Constitution was defective because it based the government on the principle that all men were created equal. Confederate leaders had corrected the Founding Fathers’ error by basing the Confederate government on the idea that some people were better than others.

“In contrast to the government the Founding Fathers had created, the Confederacy rested on the ‘great truth’ that ‘the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.’”

Click me to buy one.

Stephens himself pretty much put the BS sticker on any claims that the Civil War wasn’t about slavery, but instead was about states’ rights. After all, he was there and helping to lead that treasonous insurrection, so I’m confident he knew what he was saying. Sure, anyone can claim that there was a huge component of “You can’t tell me what to do – or not do – federal government!” and that is surely true. But at the end of that argument, the Civil War was about,

greed, control and power over others and the abhorrent belief that some people are naturally superior to others.

And we’re still having that argument.

Today, 19 states, each with a dominant Republican legislature, have passed onerous, discriminatory voting restrictions designed to prevent from voting every citizen who doesn’t look like their ancestors came from Europe, like Black people and Brown people. They also happily extend their discrimination to young citizens of voting age and to poor people. These laws and the over 100 additional proposed laws in those 19 and other states are about,

greed, control and power over others and the abhorrent belief that some people are naturally superior to others.

Building on the morally repugnant foundation of Sen. Stephens, these Republican controlled states aren’t content with simply preventing citizens from voting. It may be fairly claimed that they have perfected their quest for greed, control and power over others by enacting legislation that gives Republican dominated state legislatures the power to ignore the will of the people. They get to claim that a Republican loser of any election has won.

So much for majority rule, democracy, rule of law, integrity, all men are created equal and a bunch of other things we commonly call fair, moral and honest.

Which is why it is critical that the Senate passes the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the For the People Act. These will have the power to stop the Republican states’ decapitation of democracy. They are the the true “Stop the Steal” acts.

Professor Cox Richardson goes from Sen. Stephens’s immoral Confederate rant to the importance of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson being confirmed and sent to the Supreme Court. Read her essay and note the similarity of today’s efforts at human suppression to that of the 19th century.

Drowning

The Senate Judiciary Committee hearings regarding the appointment of Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court were what we should have anticipated. The Republicans spewed demagoguery, false accusations and hypocrisy so thick you could drown in it.

This is how we now vet candidates for a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land. It’s a confidence builder, but not confidence for what is best for our nation. It’s confidence that yet worse toxic tribalism and threats to democracy are on the way, and we’re already drowning in those, too.

Be sure to send a note to the mothers of Lindsay Graham, Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley and Tom Cotton, advising each of them that their son tells huge whoppers that disrespect and demean others and that he is very rude, interrupting other people when it’s their turn to talk. Let her know that her son is focused on creating sound bites in order to get on Hannity’s show, instead of doing his proper job. Suggest to them that they wash out their son’s vile mouth with laundry soap to clean out the dirty lies and that they once again teach them to take turns.

In contrast, send Sen. Cory Booker’s mom a note of thanks for raising a clear, bright, heartfelt son who hangs out in public what he knows to be right and good. True, he didn’t interrogate Jackson – he gave fawning praise. Still, if you didn’t hear his remarks to KBJ, watch here. If you did, watch again. He speaks to America about being America, about a more perfect union. And if your eyes stay dry as you listen, see your cardiologist immediately.

Finally

Have a look at this. It’s a Les Misérables flash mob in Adelaide, Australia. It’s all wonderful, but more important, consider the second song the anthem of Ukraine today.

————————————

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

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