Riddle Me That, Batman

Join the Disambiguation Gang right over there (scroll down just a bit)


The Riddler, aka E. Nigma

We human beings are walking contradictions. We say we want to be fit and healthy but we forget the New Year’s resolution and drop the gym membership before January 20 (to get the full membership refund) and we eat stuff that tastes good, but we know it’s bad for us.

We know the climate is warming, causing not just more natural disasters, but far more destructive ones. Check with Uncle Phil who lives in the California mountains to hear what he has to say about that right now – if you can get through to him. Or what Aunt Gloria in Ft. Myers, FL said about the hurricane last September. Or check with anybody in the still not fully rebuilt Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans, these 18 years after Katrina, or any farmer who’s watched his crops wither and die in a massive draught. These disasters really are becoming more frequent and more devastating, but we still go out and buy a 17 mpg SUV or a 13 mpg pickup truck. Riddle me that.

Sometimes we’re contradictions in ways that are devastating in immediate and very personal ways.

For example, pro-life people are staunchly against abortion. They offer various rationales for their views, including calling abortion murder, stating their religious justifications and more. Here’s the riddle me part.

These folks are often in favor of capital punishment. That is decidedly not pro-life. You could ask any of the former death row inmates who were released due to the fine work of The Innocence Project. They know a lot about capital punishment from a perspective you don’t have and they’re quite sure that capital punishment isn’t pro-life.

And what about the pro-lifers who don’t want us to support healthcare for poor people, some of whom die for lack of healthcare? Or those who don’t want to provide supplemental food for poor children. Or those who won’t support a first rate education for kids regardless of their home address? This is starting to look very much like these people aren’t pro-life at all and perhaps aren’t even pro-kids. They’re just pro-fetus and don’t demonstrate much caring for kids following their birth. Riddle me that.

And while we’re on the subject of giving birth, how is it pro-life to refuse an abortion to pregnant women whose lives will clearly be in peril if their pregnancy continues? And how is it pro-life to force a 10-year-old girl in Ohio, a victim of rape and incest, to carry a fetus to term, endangering her life? Riddle me those life-of-the-mother contradictions.

Should you take issue with my indictment of pro-life, read Thom Hartmann’s exquisitely clear unmasking of it.

Our military people were ordered to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, this to ensure our fighting forces would be ready when needed, unlike the sailors and ships the Navy had to sideline in 2021. Some refused the order to be vaccinated. Bear in mind that they were required to receive various vaccines upon entering military service, so their objection surely wasn’t about vaccines.

They took an oath freely and without reservation, they affirmed, both to protect and defend the Constitution and to obey orders. And they kept their word, right until the moment when they didn’t. Riddle me that one, too.

Click me for the story

There was a gang of thugs who were going to kidnap and execute the Governor of Michigan because of her mask mandate and the 2021 lock down. They were conspiring to violate a bucketload of laws, all the while calling themselves patriots. That looks a lot like the January 6 insurrectionists carrying Blue Lives Matter flags, the flagpoles of which they used to beat and stab police officers. They proclaimed that they were true patriots, too. Riddle me those cruelties.

How about the mania for book banning and book burning that’s sweeping states with extremist, self-serving governors and legislatures? It’s always done with some excuse about protecting our delicate children from the truth, always with the patina of some invented notion of parents’ rights. But in the end it’s about what a minority of hair-on-fire types want and the ignoring of the truth that the majority wants taught to their kids. Riddle me that, too.

People exercise their rights by parading outside polling places carrying intimidating assault rifles. They scream insanely at school board meetings and threaten peaceful protesters. They repeatedly lie in Congress and claim the right to abuse asylum seekers and kidnap their children and more. Pay no attention to the constitutional rights they deny others. Riddle me that.

That’s very much like the right of state officials to gerrymander fair representation out of existence, and to wipe people off voting roles for the sneakiest, most manipulative of Jim Crow-like reasons. It’s about the right of states to remove polling places and ballot drop boxes in order to make it far more difficult for a select group of citizens to vote. It’s about the right to bollix up the system such that it takes 20 minutes to vote in White areas and 8 hours to vote in Black areas.

It’s always about the freedom and rights of those in the minority but who are in control, as they deny freedom and rights to others. Effectively, they tell us, “Freedom for me, but not for thee.” Riddle me that, Batman.

Oh, and Florida SB1316 requires bloggers who make comments about the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and others to register with the state. This is a blatant attack on freedom of the press.

That control freak power grab of a bill is not without precedent, as Vladimir Putin passed that same law in Russia in 2014.

That raises the question of why some of our Republican elected officials, self-proclaimed patriots, support dictators Putin, Orbán, Erdoğan, Duterte and other authoritarian bullies who strip rights and freedom from their people. Why do our homegrown anti-Americans call for us to abandon Ukraine, as it fights for freedom and democracy? Why do these elected officials call themselves patriots, even as they hate our democracy? Riddle me that, too.

Like I said: we’re walking contradictions.

Except when there isn’t a contradiction, as when all that matters is, “It’s all about me and what I want.”

For a fine explainer of our self-contradictory and often cruel crowd, read Ed Gurowitz’s offering, “Woke Is the New Code for Fascism.”

And if you have struggled to understand decades of dirty tricks and the mind numbing cacophony of cruel and self-contradictory absurdities Republicans spout, you must read Prof. Heather Cox Richardson’s explainer here.


The International Criminal Court has indicted Vladimir Putin for his war crime of kidnapping thousands of Ukrainian children. That prompted me to wonder what plans he has for them. Try this awful scenario.

We know that he is sending untrained soldiers to die in his war, using political criminals and other Russian undesirables as his canon fodder. He sends many to fight without weapons.

Now imagine him putting uniforms on older Ukrainian children and sending them unarmed to the front lines, forcing the Ukrainian army to kill their own kids. He’s diabolical enough to do that.

Let’s hope I’m wrong.



In my last post I observed that “woke” is commonly used as a pejorative but there’s no definition of what it means. Turns out I was wrong. Here’s an explainer.

Today is a good day to be the light.


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

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

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


    The Fine Print:

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


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

What do you think?

Your name and e-mail address are required, but your e-mail will not be disclosed.

Keep the conversation going by both adding your comments and by passing this along to three friends.
That´s how things get better.