Rent, Rights, Stupid & The Best


Rent

Recognizing the reality of the very present question of whether we can still govern ourselves, I offer to you two questions from a Thomas Friedman essay, flavored by a quote from Muhammad Ali:

“Do [we] want a country that is inclusive and capable of offering respect and dignity to all of its citizens or a country based on the negation of the other?”

“[W]hat kind of country do we want to be, what kind of leaders do we want to have, what sort of soul is at the core of America?”

Here’s the Ali flavoring:

“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.”

If Ali was right (and I strongly believe he was), then our answer to Friedman’s questions must be governed by Ali’s assertion. Consider it akin to the Constitution’s “promote the general welfare” phrase in the Preamble, the introduction that explains the “Why” of the Constitution and of our nation. Glad to have your responses to Friedman’s questions. Post them in the Comments section below.

Here’s a fun little experiment,

Pose the Ali-related statement to any of our conspiracy and MAGA folks, our vaccination refusers and our immigration opponents, most of whom are going through life with a raised middle finger:

“How are you paying your rent?”

I suspect many are dramatically in arrears in their payments.

We don’t evict those who freeload and who refuse to lend a hand to others, but somewhere along their path there will be a lot of back rent due as well as substantial accrued interest owed.

Rights

Yoda

I’m not partisan by nature, but the past 40 years have made me a non-Republican, as that party ran headlong into autocracy mania and embraced it enthusiastically. Even the few remaining so-called traditional Republicans have frequently ducked and run from what is actually traditional, leaving the Democrats the only ones to vote for if we still want a democracy.

But here’s the real deal: keeping our democracy is the only way to preserve our rights. “On that everything depends,” Yoda instructed us.

So, if we are to have rights, we must do everything we can to preserve our democracy, like voting against the authoritarians – the dictator lovers – the Republicans who work every day to end our rights and our democracy.

Nothing So Stupid

O’ the wailing, the indignation, the fury of Republicans in Congress over the bashing and poisoning of our fragile little ones by forcing Critical Race Theory into their impressionable brains. Surely, they will be scarred for life by this perversion of American history, bemoan our extremists, saying that CRT makes so many of them feel guilty for their whiteness.

Out with it! demands Florida Governor Ron “anything to get attention from the extremists” DeSantis. We’ll have none of that in our classrooms of little children. Teaching CRT in Florida is strictly forbidden.

There’s just one thing: There is no grade school or high school in Florida that is teaching or ever taught CRT. I can’t find a single school anywhere in the nation, from kindergarten through 400 level classes in university that teaches CRT. It’s a theoretical construct discussed in law schools by people age 22 and older – i.e. adults. Still, the Republicans are caterwauling their false claims that they are protecting our little ones from imminent harm.

There is nothing so stupid that Republicans won’t say it.

Ronald Reagan, the former patron saint of Republicans, fired off a tax cut blast, the benefits of which accrued almost entirely to rich people. He told us that the wealthy would use that money to invest in businesses, which would then create jobs for we little people and wages would go up. He claimed that the benefits from the tax cut would “trickle down” to the masses and he used the idiotic theory and graphs of Arthur Laffer to justify his predictions. I wish I were kidding about Laffer’s name, because it matches his theory, but I’m not and it does.

Deficit hawks of that time worried that cutting taxes without cutting spending would disastrously balloon the national deficit. Cleverly, Reagan had his budget director reprogram the computers that calculate such things to make them show that a deficit wouldn’t happen. And he passed that lie along in order to sell his giveaway to his fat cat buddies. Here’s the surprise inside.

Lots of money went to rich people and nothing – literally nothing – trickled down to workers. No new jobs. No increased wages. And the deficit ballooned, just as the deficit hawks feared. Oh, golly, as he was fond of saying.

Saint Ronny got his buddies the wallet stuffing they wanted by lying to us and stiffing us. That’s trickle down economics. And it’s been the same story with every tax cut lie since then.

There is nothing so stupid that Republicans won’t say it.

Sen. James Inhoff (R-OK) holding a snowball made from snow outside the Capitol Building to prove there’s no global warming.

This is about stupid lies constantly brayed by Republicans. Here is just a handful more:

The 2020 election Big Lies

Ivermectin and bleach

Any history that doesn’t favor Republicans and White guys

Claims that vaccines will make you sterile

Obama’s coming for your guns and besides, he wasn’t a “real” American

Biden is senile

There’s no such thing as climate warming

Benghazi – 14 times

Space lasers igniting wild fires

Pizzagate

The insurrectionists were “just tourists”

Mexico will pay for the wall

Anything about Hillary

The FBI planted evidence at Mar-a-Lago

“Witch hunts” that aren’t

Obama tapped Trump’s phone

Democrats are Satan worshiping pedophiles

Trump’s inaugural crowd was the largest in history

Obama “pals around with terrorists”

There are hundreds more, of course, so please post the stupids that come to mind in the Comments section below to entertain us all. Note that some Republican will read what you wrote and will repeat it as though it’s true.

Because with each of these, there is nothing so stupid that Republicans won’t say it.

Saving the Best For Last

We face episode after episode of law breaking, lying and fabricated outrage in search of greater power for the authoritarian wannabes. Worst of all are the elected and appointed officials in whom we placed our trust and who betrayed us and our country.

These are the people who swore an oath – most often with their hand on a Bible – to protect and defend the Constitution. Instead, they’ve done everything they could to subvert it. Their self-serving reasons are meaningless and are evidence of both their treachery and their cowardice. They are a grotesque stain on our nation and we are left to decide how to deal with that.

I have argued many times in these posts for strict accountability, not only because the absence of it proclaims our stated values to be false, but also because lack of accountability invites still worse in the future.

The New York Times editorial board has taken the clearest and most patriotic stand on this issue. I urge you to read Donald Trump Is Not Above The Law.

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

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JA


Copyright 2022 by Jack Altschuler
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