accountability

The Death Knell


POST 1081


The Supreme Court rang the death knell on our democracy on Monday, July 1, 2024. They announced the end of presidential accountability, something neither found nor implied anywhere in the Constitution, and declared the official start of American despotism. It was upon us instantly.

They could have easily decided the deplorable presidential immunity case months ago by not taking it, as the appellate court had rendered a masterful decision unmasking the villainy of it. Alternatively, having accepted the case, the Court could have decided in just a few days that it was trash and then dumped it into the burn pit it deserved.

Instead they put months of delay into both federal cases against Trump:

One is the classified documents case over his theft of secret documents, violations of the Espionage Act, his intent to impede, obstruct or influence federal government activity, his disclosure of secret documents to foreign nationals and illegal removal or destruction of federal government records.

The other is the case against Trump for instigating an insurrection against the United States, conspiracy to defraud the United States government and conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding.

And of course, the Court’s decision bollixed up the Georgia election interference case and made the hush money case, already decided against convict Trump, subject to review and more delay.

But the substance of Monday’s decision is far more impactful and lasting than the Supreme Court’s abuse of justice through wanton delay,

The Court has terminally wounded our country by declaring that presidents – and specifically Trump, the twice impeached, 4 times indicted and criminally convicted felon, defamer and sexual abuser – has immunity from prosecution for his official presidential acts while in office. I don’t know if that means that if Trump were to become president again that he could imprison or assassinate his political enemies as he’s promised to do, and then avoid prosecution for his crimes, but it sure sounds like that.

But wait a second: Joe Biden is president now, not Trump. It appears that the Supreme Court has just given Biden permission to commit illegal acts while he is still president and then avoid accountability. In light of that Court-created insanity, consider this.

Donald Trump is a clear and present danger to our Constitution, our democracy and all aspects of our nation. There’s no need to elaborate reasons why that’s true because you already know. President Biden carries the charge to protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies, both foreign and domestic. Given that Trump is a domestic enemy of our Constitution, President Biden should rightly use all avenues to prevent Trump from harming our nation, whether Biden uses legal means or not.

He could use rendition of Trump to Gitmo. A few months of George W. Bush’s “enhanced interrogation methods” should end the threat of Trump.

Alternatively, Biden could have SEAL Team 6 do what they did to Osama bin Laden. Or he could invite Trump’s pal Vladimir Putin to send a hit squad armed with nerve gas to visit Trump at Mar-a-Lago.

Each of those would be an illegal act – well, maybe not Gitmo, given the official opinion of Dubya’s Deputy Attorney General John Yoo and his “torture memo.” But as president and while fulfilling his oath of office in an official presidential act of protection of our nation, Biden will retain full immunity from prosecution. The Supreme Court says he can get away with it. Note that the Court is silent on consequences for those who carry out a president’s illegal orders.

Of course those ideas are outrageous. But that is exactly the kind of thing Trump is promising to do if he’s re-elected.

Worse than that:

There will be no possibility of removing a criminal president via impeachment, because all presidents will be immune from accountability for high crimes and misdemeanors.
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We no longer have any recourse.

Questions

– Can our democracy long endure under the great burden of our distrust of our justice system?

– How long do you think our nation can tolerate decisions like this one and also for us to remain free?

– Are you still opposed to Biden packing the Court?

Gazing Into The Crystal Ball

We are suffering terribly from minority rule. We have to give credit to the extremist authoritarian schemers of the past several decades for the success of their evil manipulation of us and of our system of self-rule. They’ve done an impressive job of taking away our rights, our freedoms and our safety and of amassing great wealth for themselves at the expense of the the rest of us. Now they’ve done far worse via this spectacularly un-American, extremist Supreme Court. They have permanently damaged our future.

This isn’t just about Trump’s unhinged, self-serving cruelties. The day will come not long from now when grease from his most recent Quarter-Pounder will fully clog a coronary artery and Trump will be gone. But this Supreme Court invitation to despotism will still be here and some other tyrant, perhaps worse than Trump, will take his place. Perhaps s/he will be an Afghan warlord type or an American version of a Serbian or Sudanese ethnic cleansing maniac or a slave plantation proponent who will find new ways to destroy everything you hold dear.

The pundits and legal experts are dissecting the implications of this deranged decision, but in the end it means that Lady Justice’s imperative of equal justice – blind justice – under law and our oft-announced claim that nobody is above the law are just so much hot air. Those proud declarations mean nothing.

Six supremely partisan justices have betrayed our rule of law, our nation and We The People.

.

The bell has been rung. What do we do now? *

Do you think I’m over-heated, hyperbolic, unglued and reactionary? Then I invite you – no, I implore you – to explain why our country isn’t terribly imperiled. Put your thoughts in the Comments section below. Please.

Quote of the Century

From Justice Sonia Sotomayor:

“In every use of official power, the President is now a king above the law… with fear for our democracy, I dissent.”

Clarifying Video

Watch this from Rachel Maddow.

Last Thoughts

Given that six Supreme Court justices enshrined despotism in America and that their act is patently un-American and in violation of their oath of office, shouldn’t they be impeached and removed from office?

CLICK ME! Read David Pepper’s insightful words. Absorb his clarity and wisdom and take action. Apathy just won’t do. Many thanks to JN for pointing out this excellent piece.

_____________________________________________

* Click the pick above and read David Pepper’s post.


“Friends do not let friends vote for con artists.”

  • – Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), 2016
  • 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!

  • 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 ALL 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.
    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.
    6. Clicking on most pics in these posts will take you to the source information.

    Click me

    JA


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

Joe Biden Has To Be Better Than Super Bowl Commercials


Post 1,042


However odd it might be, we love our Super Bowl commercials as a form of entertainment. Millions tune in just for them, not so much for the football game. And with the cost for just 30 seconds of ad time at $7 million, the ad agencies and the companies they create ads for better make you want to buy their product.

So, here’s a test: Name all the brands or products you remember seeing in the 59 commercials you watched on February 11. I’m guessing you won’t remember many of them, so let’s try this another way.

There were roughly 101 celebrities in the ads. How many can you name and what is their connection to the product they hawked? (Answer: none)

Far more to the point, having seen the Super Bowl commercials and had your arm twisted by celebrities, are you likely to buy any of the advertised products? Betcha you’re not. And there is a point to this that goes well past your product buying habits and Super Bowl commercials.

While we might have been entertained by some of these ads (whether or not we could figure out what they were for), our behavior will be largely unchanged. The reason for that is the same as for poor political messages.

For a message to cause us to take action, it has to move us. We have to feel something that lights our fire or brings tears to our eyes. It doesn’t matter if there are celebrity endorsements unless the message speaks to us deeply.

So, here’s the deal for Joe Biden. He has to stop doing whatever it is he’s doing now and speak to us from his gut to ours. He has to make us feel why we should care.

We know that the other guy is entirely bad for our country and bad for us personally. We get it and it’s okay for Joe to tell us about that. But nobody wants to vote for Joe Biden only because he isn’t as bad as the other guy.

Joe, ya gotta make us want you bad. You have to reach into us and touch our hearts and our guts. Then your gaffs and your verbal and physical stumbles won’t matter to us and we’ll vote for you.

When the message digs into our innards we remember it and we just might be moved to give the product – Joe Biden – another try, as did the best Super Bowl ad ever, the 1984 Macintosh ad.

You clicked through to watch that Macintosh ad, didn’t you? If you hadn’t seen it already you were curious and if you saw it back then, you remember it because it did more than entertain you. it moved you. It shook your world and made you think differently about what is possible. Maybe it changed you. You were hungry to see whatever that Macintosh thing was going to be and how it was going to leave behind the boring stuff the big boys had and how it would make your world not just better, but really cool, too. That feels really good and motivates us to take action.

Click me – and then see point #5 below

Simon Sinek has a wonderful TED talk and a book called Start With Why. He points out that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t tell us that he had a plan. King told us, “I have a dream today” and we were grabbed down deep by that dream. We were captivated and motivated and had tears of passion in our eyes. His message was moving and memorable through the great magic of hope and that’s just what we need right now in order to restore our democracy, revive America and heal our deep, self-inflicted wounds.

Biden has a plan to do that, and nobody wants to hear about it.

In other words, Joe, you have to be what the Superbowl LVIII commercials were not: moving and memorable. Tell us about your dream for us, Joe.

What if the people running Biden’s campaign were that good? What if his messages truly spoke to us and were more powerful than the largely ineffective Super Bowl LVIII commercials? What if Joe Biden told us about his dream?

Super Bowl Ad Clunker

Boyhood pal Frank Levy reacted in a FaceBook post to the Jesus “He gets us” Superbowl ad:

“I always thought the point of Christianity and Christians was that they are supposed to get Jesus, not the other way around.

He’s right.

Who’s Counting?

$5M + $83.5M + $453.5M .  .  .

and the interest meters keep on running.  Plus. the threat of prison time is looming.

Accountability: It’s a good thing.

Have I ever mentioned that I love it when a bully gets punched in the nose?

Finally

There was a campus shooting resulting in murders last week. I know someone living nearby the scene. That it was nearby makes our ongoing mass murders more than horrible. It makes them very personal.

I wasn’t having an empathy outage during the Kansas City and Atlanta and Fayetteville and Claxton and Baltimore and Bronx and Jackson and Huntington Park and Chicago and Birmingham and Carson and Montgomery and Burnsville and Middleton and Indianapolis mass shootings (those are just since Super Bowl Sunday). It’s just that this campus shooting, being close to home (as in: heart) brings it into stark reality for me. It’s funny how sometimes we don’t fully “get it” until it’s personal.

Well, I don’t need that up close and personal wake up call to feel the pain and awfulness of these murders. Nevertheless, these shootings do carry more voltage for most of us when they are personal. And every one of them is personal to real live people, like you, me, our families, our friends and our neighbors, whether across the street or across the country. Now two more are dead and more families wail and grieve.

See my post about this here.


  • 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 ALL 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.
    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.

    Click me

    JA


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

What Have/Could We Become? – Part 1


Ed. note: Be sure to read Frank Levy’s response in the Comments section at the bottom of this post.


Eugene Robinson wrote in The Washington Post on August 24,

To understand how completely Donald Trump has transformed the Republican Party, all you had to do was watch Wednesday’s debate and Trump’s surrender to Georgia authorities on Thursday. The vibe was a mash-up of “American carnage” and aggrieved victimhood.

Aggrieved victimhood?

David Corn of Mother Jones used this pic in his newsletter of August 23 that was a takedown of a David Brooks piece in The Atlantic. Brooks had attempted to explain the meanness, the cruelty, the rudeness and the violence of the MAGAs, which are every day events.

I’m no sociologist, but I think there are many reasons for this craziness, this MAGA “aggrieved victimhood.”

  1. Their valid anger at being forgotten, betrayed by our own government
  2. Their invalid whining and rage because life isn’t exactly what they want it to be (jeez, grow up!)
  3. Their all-too-human and pathological need to blame

But that fails to nail down the core of how we became so terribly aggrieved. Steve Schmidt has a clear take on this and he centers it on lost trust, a sense of betrayal. I believe he’s right and my notion is that the loss of trust can be traced directly to our tolerating things we should never have tolerated. For example:

We tolerated decades of deceit over the Viet Nam war, notwithstanding the protests.

We tolerated Ford pardoning Nixon, instead of skewering him with the justice he deserved.

We tolerated the Republicans hiring Ken Starr to go through Clinton’s garbage cans searching for something slimy to smear onto him, even as ethics violator Newt Gingrich and the rest of the thumpers wailed holy paeans to their own purity and goodness.

Reagan and H.W. Bush skated from their Iran-Contra lawbreaking. Republicans made a martyr of Ollie North, as he testified in his medal-bedecked uniform, hand raised high in his declaration. He swore he would tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth and then he lied. He and several other perps went to prison – then Bush pardoned them.

As bad as the Great Recession was, with the homes lost, the futures decimated, the hopes dashed, none of the perpetrators went to jail for violating SEC rules and existing laws. Perhaps worse was the elimination of regulations designed to prevent just such a financial collapse. The cost of learning the lessons of unfettered greed was paid following the Great Depression. But ever-present greed won out decades later and we danced to the financial ruin tune once again. Then we put laws back in place (Dodd-Frank), which the Republicans chipped away at until there’s nothing left to protect us. The rich got richer and we’re left waiting for the other shoe to drop. Plus we footed the bill.

There have been decades of “off-shoring” of factories, industries and, most important, jobs for Americans. Towns have been hollowed out and their citizens set adrift, even as our institutions promoted this craziness. Mass layoffs were labeled “right sizing” and millions lost their jobs, their security and their hopes for their children. And the rich got richer.

The mania for deregulation persists, even after the horrid train derailment in East Palestine, OH. That train was over two miles long and had only two workers aboard, as the deregulated and abandoned inspections and safety procedures allowed that toxic, deadly swamp to happen. But removing those regulations did reduce costs for the railroad and provide more money for the executives and shareholders.

And, of course, there were the sex scandals in religious institutions done by televangelists and the Catholic Church.

These betrayals are major trust killers that hurt people. That leads to aggrieved victimhood.

We could go on and on listing betrayals of the American people by our all too self-serving government officials, but you get the point and could easily construct your own list. The point is that the American people have lost trust because we have been betrayed. It isn’t our imagination. And our sense of betrayal is just what a demagogue like Trump or any of the liars use to stoke fear and anger to promote themselves.

Trump delivered his American Carnage address and told us that only he could save us. Millions believed him because they were and are prepared to believe and follow anyone who tells them they are right and righteous and who points a finger at those to blame.

What we’ve become is a nation of millions of voluntary dupes. Some of our leaders stoke fear of the “other” and that has incited hate crimes, murders of our fellow citizens, making us geckos eating our own. Sadly, so many have succumbed to putting most of their mental energy into looking for someone to blame for their ailments – and then acting out.

We’ve let our lost trust and anger fester into a mania to abandon every value we claim to hold dear. In more benign phrasing, we are throwing the baby out with the dirty bath water.

But the solution is not to abandon it all, to “tear it all down.” The solution is to hold accountable all who violated American values and the American dream. Discard the liars who have stoked anger for their own benefit and the cowards who stood by and let it happen.

We can and we must fix this by restoring our democracy – majority rule.
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There is a start to rectifying this going on now, but it isn’t an easy path forward. Justice is at last coming to a lot of high level perpetrators, traitors to our values, who wrapped themselves in the flag and then spit on the brave words of the Declaration of Independence and the Preamble to the Constitution and on our laws and on our norms.

There is powerful juju driving this vitriolic behavior and we better confront that with something better before the haters seething over betrayals and calling for a civil war start amassing an army of reality denying dupes armed with AR-15s.

Maybe you’ve heard about the song Rich Men North of Richmond. It was written and performed by Oliver Anthony, a guy with no professional music experience and who never had anything on a top 100 chart. But this piece has gone viral – over 47 million listens and over 161,000 comments – in less than a month.

Anthony’s song tells the story of middle Americans – hard working people – and their suffering at the hands of (in the pockets of) rich guys. The “elite.” The cabal of thieves who have taken their country and their dream from them. I urge you to listen to his song and, as important, read the comments. You’ll begin to understand the depth of the people’s anger that infects this country owing to decades of betrayal.

Aggrieved victimhood.

Just an Idea

Adam Grant calls for a better way to find leaders in his essay The Worst People Run for Office. It’s Time for a Better Way. He reports,

Voters overwhelmingly favor candidates who are tall and male and white. We also have a bad habit of attracting and electing candidates with tendencies known as the dark triad of personality: narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy

Do you suppose that if we found leaders who aren’t self-centered and deranged that perhaps we’d be led to be less cruel to one another and might just find a way to continue our democracy? Maybe even make this into a place where people are treated fairly and decently?

Crazy, right?

Quote of the Week

From David Corn of Mother Jones:

Cults are cults. Rules, norms, facts, the law, reality, decency—none of that matters. The true believers are enrapt[ured] with the phony narrative Trump feeds them. For these millions of Americans, it’s theology.

And there is little as murderous and destructive as fervent religious anger.


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 ALL 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.
    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.

    Click me

    JA


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

Justice


The Presumption of Innocence is Still True

But, c’mon:

Click me for the story.

I can hear Ray Charles singing Georgia On My Mind.

Our addiction to Non-Accountability

Why do we do this self-defeating dance? I’ve concluded that it’s an addiction, a sickness, a commitment to rationalization, cowardice and self-imposed helplessness. Here are a couple of examples.

I’ve often wished I could have been a fly-on-the-wall to listen to the discussions between Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford before Nixon nominated Ford for the vice-presidency. What did Ford have to promise in order to get that job?

The abuse to our Constitution done by President Gerald Ford in 1974 was both unprecedented and terrible. He gave “a full, free, and absolute pardon to Richard Nixon for all offenses against the United States which he, Richard Nixon, has committed or may have committed or taken part in during the period from January 20, 1969, through August 9, 1974.”

Ford didn’t even wait for Nixon to be charged with a specific crime. He gave him a free pass for any crime Nixon “may have committed” and effectively made it clear that Nixon – and perhaps any president – is above the law.

As bad, it set the stage for more criminality in high places, as in the Iran-Contra crimes. That was where George H.W. Bush repeated the non-accountability travesty 18 years later.

From Prof. Heather Cox Richarson’s Letters From an American of August 9:

When the story of the Iran-Contra affair broke in November 1986, government officials continued to break the law, shredding documents that Congress had subpoenaed. After fourteen administration officials were indicted and eleven convicted, the next president, George H. W. Bush, who had been Reagan’s vice president, pardoned them on the advice of his attorney general William Barr. (Yes, that William Barr.)

The independent prosecutor in the case, Lawrence Walsh, worried that the pardons weakened American democracy. They “undermine…the principle…that no man is above the law,” he said. Pardoning high-ranking officials “demonstrates that powerful people with powerful allies can commit serious crimes in high office, deliberately abusing the public trust without consequences.”

Brown University has a fine summary of that sordid affair, including the laundry list of crimes committed by the Iran-Contra perps.

Reagan Teflon-ed his way past those crimes, having known full well what was happening on his authority. He got away with it with his cute “aw shucks.” Then H.W. Bush put the whipped cream and cherry on top with his blizzard of pardons for the perps.

The Reagan and the Nixon scandals were episodes 1 and 2 of modern day presidential malefactors escaping accountability. Is it possible that we’ve learned our lessons, that we’ve completed some national 12-step program to end our non-accountability addiction? Maybe so.

We have a third modern times presidential (alleged) criminal. The difference this time is that for those at the top, the day of reckoning looks to be on the horizon. We seem to have prosecutors with a spine.

Of course, if the next president is a Republican s/he will likely make pardons fill the air like biblical locusts. The candidates have said that they would do that.

Our job today is to support an end to that self-inflicted wound to justice and democracy that we seem to have encouraged by chickening out of doing the right thing in the past. We have to summon the courage to defeat our non-accountability dysfunction and do the right thing.

This is a perilous moment in our history. We must be up to the challenge or we will set the stage for the next crook to do worse.

Republican Sleaze – The World We Live In

Sen. Joe McCarthy (R-WI) might have ruined more lives through his treachery, cruelty and Trump-magnitude lying than any single individual in the history of Congress. After a particularly cruel attack on a young attorney by McCarthy, attorney Joseph Welch, asked McCarthy, “Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last?” Although McCarthy didn’t respond, the answer, of course, was a resounding NO! In the Republican Party today, it’s still NO.

40 years later, every Republican politician and member of that party were sure they knew that Bill Clinton was dirty. Maybe he had something to do with Vince Foster’s death. Maybe Hillary played fast and loose in the Whitewater land deal when she was an attorney in Little Rock. Surely, Bill was a serial philanderer and adulterer. That might not be criminal, but it’s worthy of self-righteous finger pointing, tongue wagging and holier-than-thou shock, shock!, I tell you.

So, they recruited Ken Starr to dig into the Clintons’ underwear drawers and waste baskets for evidence of heinous actions. Starr poked through every dumpster near their residences looking for trash on the Clintons. He did that for FIVE YEARS! and he found nothing. NOTHING!

Then Bill did The Big Stupid. Linda Tripp coaxed her friend, former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, to tell all to Starr about her sexual affair with Bill in the Oval Office. Clinton’s Big Stupid was lying to a Grand Jury about it, and that was Starr’s gotcha. Five years and millions of dollars of public money spent and all Starr and the Republicans accomplished was to show the country that Clinton got a blow job.

Republicans cheered in their self-righteousness. Even Newt Gingrich, ethics violator supreme, cheered. They had embarrassed and impeached Democrat Clinton.

Then it was Hillary’s turn. She was put through the congressional meat grinder 33 times in congressional hearings and 4 times in public hearings at a cost of $7 million, all investigating the Benghazi tragedy. The Republicans never found any wrongdoing on her part, but they kept something that looked like a scandal in front of the public for years. Same thing with her email server.

Now it’s Hunter Biden’s turn. Five years of investigation by DOJ attorney David Weiss and all he found were the late payment of taxes and a lie on his application for gun ownership. But that’s not enough to satisfy the Republicans.

Trump-appointed White has trashed the plea deal that he himself negotiated with Hunter Biden and will now dig for more dirt with his new Special Prosecutor credentials, this in an attempt to smear President Biden by association.

Here’s Pop Quiz question #1:

Name all the Democratic Party generated, multi-year sensational witch hunt investigations over the past 75 years.

Right: You can’t name any. The witch hunt theater is entirely Republican sleaze.

Quote of the Week

First, 3 Predictions:

  1. 2024, especially the first 8 months, is going to be a year of circuses like no other.
  2. Biden will win re-election, largely through Republican cowardice and default.
  3. Over the next 10 years, domestic terrorism will be our biggest challenge – by far.

Now to the quote.

It’s tied to the predictions, which are based on decades of Republican lunacy and cruelty.

The fierce and mindless pugnacity of the MAGA mob has many of the traits of religious fanatics. They have the passion, anger and certainty of their rightness as any Crusader, Inquisition zealots, witch burner and more.

So, from the upcoming book by Brian Muldoon, The Luminous One,

This, perhaps, was the original sin of religion—to claim one’s own beliefs are the only truth and to assault anyone who does not agree.

Instead of a continuation of that sin, we’re looking for actual justice.

Justice, justice shall you pursue .  .  .  ”  Deuteronomy 16:20


  • 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 ALL 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.
    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.

    Click me

    JA


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

From the Way-Back Machine


Cliven Bundy is a rancher in Nevada who rented grazing land for his cattle from the Federal Bureau of Land Management. By 2014 he had failed to pay his grazing fees for over two decades and owed over $1 million.

He claimed that his refusal to honor his agreement was because of federal government overreach – he’s a state and local government sort of fellow. In addition, he aligns with “the sovereign citizen movement (which holds that people are answerable only to their particular interpretation of the common law and are not subject to any government statutes or proceedings).” That must be a very self-satisfying worldview.

Following years of invoicing, cajoling and threatening Bundy to get him to pay his bill, all to no effect, people at the BLM had had enough of his deadbeat act and sought to collect up close and personal. That led to Bundy’s armed standoff against state and federal government personnel. Bundy and hundreds of supporters brought their full-chested puffery, their assault rifles and their children to be used as shields. I guess that’s what real men do.

President Obama, a thoughtful man, sought a non-violent solution to the standoff, not wanting a repeat of the debacles at Waco and Ruby Ridge. Government troops backed off and two years later Bundy was arrested by the FBI at the Portland International Airport. He had been on his way to support the standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. That was another middle finger demonstration against the federal government, this one led by Bundy’s son, Aamon. Unfortunately, Bundy’s court adventure for his freeloader fiasco ended in a mistrial and he was not re-tried.

The point of detailing this sad episode of “You can’t tell me what to do” is that there was no accountability for Bundy for his wrongdoing. Other than having to defend himself in court, Bundy paid no price for flaunting our laws. That is arguably a brick in the foundation underpinning the violence, lawlessness and profoundly anti-Constitutional beliefs and actions challenging law and order in this country right now.

For example, given Bundy’s having gotten away with his highly rationalized lawlessness, why wouldn’t Stewart Rhodes, leader of the treasonous Oath Keepers, imagine that he could get away with seditious conspiracy, obstructing an official proceeding and more? His self-certainties about his imagined patriotism were right in line with Bundy’s.

With our national bent for conflict avoidance, we had unintentionally told Rhodes and everyone like him that they could do as they pleased. We gave that same clear message to the thousands who showed up on January 6 to attack and deface our symbol of democracy and to overthrow our government – the government We The People elected.

Our national lack of accountability didn’t start with Bundy. Reagan got away with his Iran-Contra lawbreaking. Ford pardoned Nixon for the entire line up of his crimes against the Constitution. George W. Bush lied us into two wars, where tens of thousands died and he paid no price. Our message of impunity for committing crimes has encouraged wrongdoing for a very long time.

And that is why it’s imperative that the Department of Justice nails every one of the January 6 perps, especially those at the top. It’s critical that we demonstrate that our words and our laws mean something.

We need the insurrectionists, the seditionists, to experience the consequences of their actions. We need them to understand down to their bones and at the price of their freedom that our words and our laws mean something.

So, cheer for DOJ Special Counsel Jack Smith, Fulton County District Attorney Fani T. Willis, New York County District Attorney Alvin Bragg and New York Attorney General Letitia James. We’re counting on them to drive an immovable stake into the sand. The Stewart Rhodes conviction is a really good start.

Time to take a stand, America. Here’s why.

Trump calls for the overthrow – the subversion – of our Constitution. The fantastic thing is that no Republicans are speaking out against this traitorous man.

Just In Time

The case is from North Carolina: Moore v. Harper. It will be heard by the Supreme Court this Wednesday. You can join Common Cause-Ohio’s listening party for oral arguments at 8:45- 10:15 AM CST this Wednesday, December 7, or listen on the Supreme Court web site. Look for a fuller description of what’s at stake – free and fair elections by We The People – in my post this Wednesday morning.

Link Of The Week

‘Tis the season and there really is a war on Christmas. I know you want to be on the right side in this fight, so read John Pavlovitz’s insightful explainer here.

  • ————————————

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

Criminals


Did You Ever Wonder .  .  .

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) tells Fox News that he was grateful to have been in Washington instead of helping his constituents in Florida during Hurricane Ian. After the barrier islands off Fort Myers disappeared into the ocean he said, “Just think how much worse the hurricane would have been if global warming were real.”

.  .  . how the former Criminal-in-Chief has gotten away with so much obvious lawlessness for so long? Here’s an excerpt from Sheila Markin’s explainer, One Two Punch for Donald Trump:

Of course, the reason he has gotten away with so many travesties is that he was shielded by Republicans who were eager to use his power as president to get power for themselves and benefits for their ultra wealthy funders [emphasis mine]: tax cuts for the wealthy, right wing judges on the federal bench to protect corporate interests, culture war victories, a border wall instead of a reasonable border policy, the end of women’s reproductive rights to keep evangelicals loyal voters and an undercurrent of threat from white supremacy mixed with militias to keep low information aggrieved white men happy. Next, Trump knows how to talk out of both sides of his mouth as every good crime boss does, which allows him plausible deniability. And third, it takes time for investigations to be carried out when they are done thoroughly, factually, and investigators follow the rules which they must do to have an unbeatable case.

More is needed to explain Trump’s years of alleged money laundering, stiffing of contractors and lawyers, bribing skin dancers and calling it a campaign expense and far more, but you get the idea. Meanwhile, I find the part about his Republican shields (a.k.a. cowards and jellyfish) to be most interesting, what with the lying and reality denial. If you want to understand more of how lying became not just acceptable to, but required of Republicans, be sure to read Carlos Lozada’s piece, The Big Joke That Became the Big Lie.

Lozada defines the Big Joke as, “the idea that American politics is, in essence, a joke, and that it can be treated as such without consequence.” He goes on to give examples of the Big Joke, as when,

“politicians publicly defend positions they privately reject”

“they give up on the challenge of governing the country for the rush of triggering the enemy” [“own the Libs”]

“they intone that they must address the very fears they have encouraged or manufactured among their constituents”

“their off-the-record smirks signal that they don’t really mean what they just said or did”

Read the piece. I promise that you will not laugh at the joke.

Meanwhile, the good news is that our very own supremely bad guy – the former Criminal-in-chief – is going down in at least a half dozen really nasty ways. Be patient and be ready to celebrate. I already have a special post prepared for his first of many courtroom defeats. And that’s no joke.

Speaking of Criminals

Republicans have entered a new phase of national sabotage by threatening to refuse to fund the government unless President Biden and the Democrats reverse all their policies.

Yes, really: All!

This refusal to raise the debt ceiling is a favorite bludgeon Republicans use to try to get their way with Democrats. Basically, they threaten to hold their breath until they turn blue (fine with me) unless they get what they want. They’ve been playing this self-destructive game since Newt “Mr. Amoral” Gingrich was Speaker of the House in the 1990s, slyly fingering his never executed “Contract With America”. He and his phony, power grabbing posse acted as though there weren’t always a contract, an obligation of Congress to the American people. But there was and there is. Back then Clinton was president and he was a Democrat, so the extremist Republicans shut down the government. Twice.

To review, raising the debt ceiling (done over 100 times since it was first a thing roughly 100 years ago) is simply allowing our government to pay its debts that it has already incurred. It’s like paying your credit card bill. Raising the debt ceiling is not more government spending. It’s avoiding being a deadbeat. Congress did it 18 times under Reagan and 3 times under Trump. But last year under Democratic President Biden the Republicans refused to pay our bills and they’re refusing again this year. Are you seeing a pattern?

But that’s not important to Republicans. Their propeller hats are spinning wildly now, as are their eyeballs, glorying in this wonderful opportunity to show everyone how testosterone-y they are.

The Senate passed a short-term extension of government funding to December 16. During the week prior to that date look for a most entertaining spectacle of Republicans wildly grabbing the big gun to see who can shoot more holes in America’s foot, telling the world that we are a most undependable nation. “Don’t trust us,” they’ll tell the world, “because we’ll Trump you with non-payment of our debts.”

This is yet another example of why Republicans must be defeated at the polls. That happens in just 37 days and you are the engine that will make that happen.

Speaking of Criminals – Again

22-year-old Mahsa Amini died while in the custody of the Morality Police in Iran following her arrest for improperly wearing the hijab last month. As I understand it (let me know if I have this wrong), the requirement for wearing the hijab is based on the well known fact that the very sight of a woman’s hair can cause men to go mad with lust. Anything they might do under such a spell is the fault of the uncovered woman. It’s quite like the rapist’s defense, claiming that the way she was dressed or acted caused his assault.

Shifting to a national perspective, our insurrectionist thugs and our Republicans would have us believe that their malfeasance, like sedition, is someone else’s fault.

I think I’ve been clear on these pages that accountability – personal responsibility – is a real thing and that there is a price that must be paid for wrongdoing.

So, MAGA boys, even if you think there are elites controlling poor, oppressed you, even if you’re the most absolutist pickup truck driving, AR-15 toting, Jim Crow loving cowboy, you may not threaten, attack or kill others and claim that the elites or Democrats made you do it. You’re just a criminal thug blaming someone else for your crimes.

Hey Merrick! Make those guys pay the price.

On the other hand, perhaps we can export the “blame somebody else” types to Iran. I’m sure they’ll love it there. Maybe the rest of the Republicans will go, too. They can blame any women who are not wearing the hijab and get away with their cruelty.

Hypocrisy of the Week

“President Biden, I take back all the idiotic and false things I’ve said about you. Okay. Now that we’re buddies, how about some emergency help for Florida? What if I throw in returning those Venezuelans to San Antonio? I could ditch the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, if that would help and I can pressure Florida school boards to stop burning books. What do you say?”

Ron DeSantis was elected to Congress in 2013 and proudly voted against a $9.7 billion federal flood insurance assistance package for the victims of Hurricane Sandy in New York and New Jersey. Now, as governor of Florida, he’s begging President Biden for emergency help for his state. DeSantis explained, “We all need to work together, regardless of party lines.”

Funny how things work differently when DeSantis is the one in need. Insert your own label for him in the Comments section below.

DeSantis is a “drown government” guy. Leave everything to the private sector – “the market,” he believes. I’m just wondering what part of “the market” is going to pony up $90 billion to glue Florida back together and help all those suffering people.

Required reading on this topic: The White Man’s Burden, Revisited, by Ed Gurowitz.

————————————

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

We Can Make This Worse – Or Better


In 1974 Gerald Ford, the guy whose only professional ambition had been to one day be Speaker of the House, found himself to be President of the United States. That followed the crystal clarity of the breathtaking criminality of Richard Nixon that drove Nixon from office just ahead of a Senate impeachment posse. With Nixon’s disgrace on view across the globe and the passions in this country still white hot over Watergate, what would Ford do?

According to his public statement, Ford gave Nixon,

“a full, free, and absolute pardon…for all offenses against the United States which he, Richard Nixon .  .  . has committed or may have committed or taken part in”

Ford excused his accountability-killing action by saying that prosecution of the perp would,

“cause prolonged and divisive debate over the propriety of exposing to further punishment and degradation a man who has already paid the unprecedented penalty of relinquishing the highest elective office of the United States.”

And so Nixon avoided being held accountable. That left us wondering if the pardon was part of a shady deal that had made Ford Vice-President following former Vice President Spiro Agnew’s sordid bag man criminality and forced resignation.

In his third interview with David Frost, Nixon declared that, “Well, when the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.” That stunning Nixon moment of Through The Looking Glass lunacy left many of us dumbfounded and enraged. This is the man who abused his power by ordering the Watergate break-in, obstructing justice, illegally bombing Cambodia and using the apparatus of government (FBI, IRS, etc.) to persecute everyone on his “enemies list.”

According to Nixon’s idiotic declaration, all of those crimes he committed weren’t crimes because he was President when he committed them. He was a self-serving, counter-factual, inherently evil man making a statement that matched his derangement. Yet Ford had pardoned him even before he was indicted, much less convicted.

The Nixon get-out-of-jail-free card wasn’t the last one issued. In fact it was modern history’s bedrock upon which an expanding avoidance of accountability has been built.

From 1985 – 1987 Ronald Reagan’s administration committed multiple crimes captured under the banner of the Iran-Contra affair. The basic framework was that a team headed by Vice-President George H.W. Bush sold arms to Iran, then funneled the proceeds to the Contras in Nicaragua to help them overthrow the far left government ruling their country.

The problem was that only Congress has the power of the purse, not the Chief Executive. As well, Congress had made specific law that prohibited the actions of the Reagan-Bush cabal. Once the illegal activity was exposed, we got an “Oh, golly” from Reagan, as he took responsibility in scripted Hollywood fashion, playing nothing more than a pretend role. The significant part came later.

Eleven administration officials were indicted, convicted and sent to prison for their Iran-Contra crimes. Both Reagan and Vice-President Bush were implicated in the scandal, but not a thing was done about that. When Bush became President he pardoned all of the convicts – on advice from his attorney general, William Barr. Yeah, that William Barr. And all the criminals were freed. So much for accountability.

Barr was and is a strong proponent of the “unitary executive,” the main point of which is the belief that the President, as head of his own branch of the government, is not subject to oversight or check on his actions by Congress or the courts. That theory would make a President a dictator, completely above the law and any accountability. Hello Viktor Orbán.

In 2004 George W. Bush told us that he was a strong proponent of that cockamamie notion, which is handy for him, because he had lied us into two intractable wars. And he refused to accept intelligence warnings before the 9/11 attack, leaving us completely unguarded and unprepared. And he led us into the Great Recession of 2008. When a CV includes such things, it’s good to have a Get Out of Jail Free card in order to avoid accountability.

Look at the progression:

Nixon sent out thieves and then obstructed justice and the Congress.

Reagan flagrantly violated the law and covered it up.

H.W. Bush pardoned all the criminals of the Iran-Contra affair.

W. Bush’s lies led to wars that killed hundreds of thousands and his dereliction of duty led to 9/11 and the Great Recession.

Lack of accountability does exactly what you would expect: it leads to greater and more harmful wrongdoing, because the message is that if you’re high enough in government you’ll never pay a price for your criminality or incompetence.

Which brings us to today.

The doomsday predictions of far right violence if Trump is indicted and convicted might actually come about. But what we know with certainty will happen is that if he isn’t indicted for his alleged string of crimes, like incitement to riot and sedition, obstruction of justice, election interference, wire fraud, money laundering, extortion, violations of the Presidential Records Act, lying to federal agents, violations of the Espionage Act and more, we’re setting the stage for – wait for it – worse things to happen.

Because as horrid as Trump’s alleged crimes are, if Trump gets away with them, the next President will do far worse, because s/he will know in advance that there won’t be a price to pay for breaking the law. We’ve seen the continuing descent into ever worsening lawlessness, so we know how this works.

And the next guy may be – probably will be – way smarter, more manipulative and far more clever than Donald Trump. That will be the moment when everything is lost.

But we don’t have to wait for that and then cry “woe is us.” All we have to do is to establish solidly that nobody – not anyone – is above the law. All we have to do is to hold Trump and his operatives fully accountable for every one of their might be, could be, likely are crimes.

Hey, Merrick Garland: got a minute to chat?

————————————

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!)

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

Accountability & The Questions


Regular readers of these disambiguations know that I have strong views about accountability. There are two reasons.

One is that we’ve known since childhood that wrongdoing should be punished. The absence of punishment is an affront to our sense of right and wrong and it leads to the second reason.

In the absence of punishment for wrongdoing, the wrongdoer will do more wrong. Often, the bad acts become worse because there is no impediment to bad behavior.

Vladimir Putin got away with crushing Chechnya, Georgia, the eastern section of Ukraine and the Crimea and he used chemical weapons on Syrians. The world did almost nothing to stop him.

World War II comparisons are fraught with the danger of mistaken causalities and correlations, but this one fits. Hitler rolled over Czechoslovakia, Poland and more and the world did nothing but ignore or try to appease him for far too long. With 80 million killed, that didn’t work out too well for the world.

Putin has now invaded all of Ukraine, perhaps expecting a similar non-reaction from the world. He’s laying waste to all of Ukraine’s cities and endangering the world by bombing its nuclear power plants. Our human reactions include sadness, grief, anger and the desire to step in and stop the atrocities and step on Putin’s neck. The constraint is that engaging with Russia militarily will likely have unintended and disastrous consequences.

Consider this question: If the world had stepped up to stop this megalomaniac from one of his other outrageous assaults on life, liberty and sanity – i.e. had we held him accountable – would we be facing today’s dire circumstances?

This is why Putin cannot win.

This time, in this globally connected world, we’re not letting him get away with it entirely and he, his cronies and all the Russian people are paying the price. We’re strangling Putin and Russia economically by governmental action, by private businesses bailing from Russia and even through the actions of international hackers, yet there is danger in that.

Putin appears to be unhinged and is becoming forced into an ever-tightening corner. We all know what cornered animals do. Even a rabbit will attack if sufficiently threatened. The problem is that this rabbit has nuclear weapons and is threatening to use them. That makes accountability really tricky, but it is nevertheless necessary. We all must hope that our VSPs (very smart people) are working day and night to figure out how to avoid global annihilation.

What About Here?

We can and must extend the issue of accountability to our domestic challenges. Trump has gotten away with wrongdoing for decades, largely because he has not been held accountable. He was impeached twice for his wrongdoing, but our polarized Senate failed to make it stick and – guess what? – he then did worse by inciting an insurrection. He is still working to end our democracy, all because he has not been held accountable.

There is a hint of the cavalry coming over the hill in the forms of the Secretary of State of Georgia, the State of New York, the SDNY, the Justice Department in DC and maybe more. The hope for accountability lies with them and their courage do to what we all know must be done if we are to both punish the wrongdoer and make a statement to the next miscreant wannabe, who may be smarter and more cunning than this convict-in-waiting.

And we must hold accountable all the sycophants, dupes, spineless ones and selfish villains who have done so much to allow all the wrongdoing. No amount of their back pedaling should be allowed to exonerate them.

From Thom Hartmann:

You may remember [Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL)] as the guy who ran the company convicted of the largest Medicare fraud in the history of America, who then took his money and ran for Governor of Florida, where he prevented the state from expanding Medicaid for low-income Floridians for all the years he ran the state.

Now he’s the second-richest guy in the senate and, IMHO, the leading candidate for the GOP nomination for president in 2024. [emphasis original]

And he wants to:

.  .  .  raise taxes on poor and working-class Americans, end Social Security and Medicare, jack up pollution and corporate profits, all while continuing to pamper their billionaire donor base.

No worries about Scott back pedaling, because he needs to appeal to his basest base, but he must be held to account for being a selfish villain, fundamentally dishonest and probably a lot more nefarious things.

We The People must punish these – let’s call them “bad guys” –  in their next elections. If we fail to do that, we will have told them and future sycophants, dupes, spineless ones and selfish villains that they can get away with their dishonesty. *

It’s long past the time when we should have been holding people accountable and punishing them for their wrongs. Think of it in either (or both) of these easy questions.

Trump and these Republican officials are your employees; they work or worked for you. It says so in the Constitution. If you have ever had a job working for someone else, what do you suppose your employer would do if s/he learned that you had been working to destroy the company? Now, what do you think we should do to our employees in government who are working to destroy our democracy?

Here’s a second take on this: What would Mom and Dad have done to you had you behaved as dishonestly as these “bad guys”?

Accountability. It’s a good thing.

The Ukraine Questions For The Moment

Russia and Putin’s standard M.O. is to pound cities and people into submission and there is no limit to the methods of brutality, including chemical weapons, they will use. Putin first raises a false flag (lies claiming awful things the other guys did) which he then uses as justification for his barbarity. Count on hearing about phony Ukrainian awfulness from Putin in the days to come.

Infants, babies, children, mothers, grandmas, grandpas and young, fit men are being killed by Putin’s army of murderers. President Zelenskyy is begging for an enforced no-fly zone to help his fighters battle the invaders. Everyone understands his insistence.

The west has assaulted Russia with massive economic penalties, but refuses to become physically engaged in a conflict with Russia to stop Putin’s murder spree. We all understand that, too. Here are the questions.

  1. When will Putin’s madness and cruelty be too much for us to tolerate and to counter only indirectly?
  2. If Putin uses chemical weapons on the people of Ukraine – or biological warfare agents or tactical nuclear weapons – what will we do?
  3. If the answer to question #2 is that we will intervene to stop Putin from committing such horrid acts, why would we wait for him to kill millions of people before taking action?

——————————

* From friend and CWP (Certified Wise Person) Mardy Grothe:

“If politicians can’t condemn Putin as a war criminal,

what does that say about them?

And if those politicians still get your vote,

what does that say about you?”

Click here for Mardy’s recent newsletter, which concludes with his lines above. If you’d like to subscribe, just send him an email at [email protected] and write “Subscribe” in the subject line.

And read Paul Krugman’s piece, America’s Right Has a Putin Problem. Then think about what we should do to our anti-democracy officials.

——————————

1,476 more dead from Covid on Friday. Q. Can we spike the ball in the end zone now? A. Ask a Red state governor.

————————————

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

That Elusive More Perfect Union


There are always impassioned young men who are quick to anger, who instantly deliver a snarl and vitriol, are over-eager to dominate and impatient for violence. Some remain that way for a very long time. They love their hate and anger and the rush of power they get from that, as their spittle flies. Ignorance is no impediment and they are easy targets for manipulators. They are heedless of who gets hurt in their quest for power and vengeance. Indeed, hurting others is more than collateral damage; it’s their reason. *

Click me and discover our violent reality

It should come as no surprise to any of us that people nurture their grievances today much as the Southern traitors did in 1861. They justify their rebellion in their victimhood. They have the power rush and their absolute belief in their righteousness. They hunker down and plot ways to attack, to hit back. We’re seeing it today in a continuing assault on reality, on our democracy and in their cowardly, selfish retreat from integrity.

Our ongoing mass carnage is testament to our national belief in violent solutions to all problems. The Gun Violence Archive tracks our mass shootings (that means bullets ripping apart 3 or more people in a single incident). To understand the efficiency with which we execute violent solutions, there have been 25 mass shootings in just the past 12 days, with 18 killed and 96 wounded. Click on the pic above or the inline link in this paragraph in order to read the page. Then scroll through the other pages. It might come to you that our killing one another isn’t just horrible; it’s normal. It’s every day. And that’s just the gun violence.

Smug, arrogant Jefferson Davis and his ministers. Nine men, each with a metaphorical White supremacist, self-righteously raised middle finger. Sound familiar? Click the pic for Jamelle Bouie’s essay.

Timothy McVeigh thought he was a patriot and hero for bombing the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City and killing 168 people. Dylann Roof thought he was doing the right White supremacist thing by killing all nine people present at the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. And the January 6 insurrectionists are still sure they are the true patriots, having beaten, bear sprayed, stabbed, blinded and killed the very people they pretended to champion with their Blue Lives Matter flags. May the rivers of testosterone forever flow!

Here’s a short list of things standing in our way of making things better:

  1. The lack of courage to enforce our laws evenly and fairly.
  2. Politicians whose primary driver is their self-interest.
  3. As a subset of #2, politicians who are terrified of their constituents and are spineless to the point of complete refusal to lead.
  4. Politicians who know they can’t get reelected unless they lie, cheat, steal and undermine our democracy, so they do it all.
  5. A rapidly changing world that has left millions in terrible circumstances. That’s matched with a Congress and state legislatures that are bereft of solutions, are intransigent and useless for everything but stoking the fire of rage in their “base” in order to get reelected.
  6. Idiots promoting guns, encouraging “Second Amendment remedies” and the message that everyone should be packing heat.
  7. Our refusal to energetically teach and promote civics.
  8. Our lack of a requirement for service to our nation, leaving us ignorant of one another and unwilling to sacrifice for our common good.

Clearly, this list could go on for pages. Glad to have your important additions – use the Comments section below.

It’s satisfying to point fingers, especially at politicians, but the truth that we really don’t want to acknowledge is that Pogo was right – see the cartoon to the left.

We met US in Oklahoma City, Charleston, Ft. Hood, Parkland, the Pulse Night Club and the Las Vegas concert, at Sandy Hook, the Capitol Building and in so many other places. And in every case we were and are Americans committing violence on Americans.

It is still true that the behavior we tolerate is the behavior we get. And we have tolerated far too much.

Click me for the story from The Onion.

If becoming an actual United States in a more perfect union is the goal, then that begs the question of what we are willing to do make that happen. We have some congresspeople, mostly ex-military, who get the idea of protecting and defending the Constitution, who are wired for duty, honor, country and who understand integrity and accountability. One thing we can do is to elect more people like them, irrespective of party labels.

It’s painfully obvious that pointing fingers will not be useful. If we are to get better results, we’re going to have to do something different.

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  • The spoken words are often shouted by overheated individuals who evidently believe that the lungs are the seat of wisdom.” George Will
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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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The Fine Print:

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

JA


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

The American ISIS – Part One


When al Qaeda bombed the World Trade Center in 1993 they thought they were doing God’s work. When they upped their game on September 11, 2001 they thought they were doing God’s work. When ISIS beheaded American journalist Danny Pearl they thought they were doing God’s work. When ISIS murdered the staff of Charlie Hebdo they thought they were doing God’s work.

And when rioters stormed and desecrated the Capitol Building on January 6, 2021 they thought they were the true patriots and that they were doing God’s work. They even paused their befouling to profanely rage out a prayer in the Senate chamber.

The New York Times has published a narrative and a 40-minute video chronicling what happened on that awful day of self-righteous rage. I urge you to read and watch, because it’s highly likely that you don’t know the extent of the carnage to people, to physical structures and to our democracy that were visited upon us that day. I promise you that you’ll be left with new questions about how this happened,

The starting point occurred long ago when it was determined that power, fame and money could be gained by lying, cheating, stealing and peddling outrageous and cruel fantasies to angry Americans. This obscene manipulation has been refined to an art form, with people so overwhelmed by false claims that no charge is too fantastic for millions to believe.

These fantasies have led to violence, like mass shootings. One led a North Carolina fool to drive to Virginia and fire his gun into what he thought was the basement of a pizza parlor. He believed the outrageous conspiracy claim that there was a child sex ring run by Hillary Clinton operating there. Luckily, the building has no basement or he likely would have killed someone.

These fantasies and lies have led to millions believing that the 2020 election was stolen by Democrats committing fraud on a national scale. Thousands felt they were more than justified in attacking government.

That’s the starting point, but there’s far more to identify, like,

– why repeated warnings of a violent confrontation coming to DC weren’t heeded by the Capitol Police, DC law enforcement and the federal government

– who gave reconnaissance tours of the Capitol Building to insurrectionists on January 5

– why it took hours for reinforcements to arrive – then hours more for additional help to show up

– who dragged feet in quelling the insurrection

– why there weren’t hundreds of tear gas canisters deployed into the crowd and fire hoses at the ready to disperse the mob

– why law enforcement was so woefully under-resourced and why they showed so much restraint in their actions as they were being beaten and maimed and the building was being desecrated

– why Republicans in Congress opposed and killed an independent commission to investigate this most reprehensible attack on our country. Who and what are they protecting from daylight?

There is conjecture that the goal of the rioters was to prevent the Electoral College votes from being counted. The insurrectionists screamed that they were taking back “their” country. They chanted their intent to hang Vice President Mike Pence and that they were coming for Nancy Pelosi and even Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts (Note: Roberts doesn’t work in that building). They failed at all those goals and more, yet they proudly declared their insurrection to have been a victory. Do you suppose that means they’re done with wreaking havoc and violence on America?

There were perhaps as many as 10,000 anti-democracy, authoritarianism loving* rioters assaulting the Capitol and every one of them broke at least one law. The FBI is pursuing violators, but so far they’ve grabbed and charged only about 535 of them. The vast majority will get away with their criminality. They’ve gone home with the personal satisfaction of knowing that they have destroyed property, injured hundreds, killed 5 and temporarily disrupted the machinery of government.

From The Onion, of course – click me

Perhaps far worse, hundreds of senators and congressmen/women are still there, lying about what happened and protecting lawbreakers by obstructing the investigation of that mass criminality and even of justice itself.

The January 6 riot was a battle in a much larger war against reality, order and democracy. Even if all 10,000 are charged, convicted and imprisoned, the war will continue. As I write this, charges have been filed against Trump’s company and his CFO, Alan Weisselberg. Indictments of Trump himself are sure to follow from the State of New York, the State of Georgia and perhaps from the U.S. Justice Department. As we rediscover our long lost national accountability, how do you suppose Trump’s self-righteous, rage-filled followers, the American ISIS, will respond to that?

It is one of the great ironies of life that people who most angrily proclaim their independence are little more than tools of those who control them. – Mardy Grothe

Watch for The American ISIS – Part Two this Sunday, July 11, 2021.

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* Click through to the article and see for yourself. And download the right-wing authoritarian (RWA) scale referenced in the essay. Prepare to be amazed, but not surprised.

To put the critical urgency of this phenomenon into context, read this letter, entitled with enormous reserve, a “Statement of Concern.” It’s signed by 100 scholars of democracy. What they explain is far more than a “concern.”

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

Said John Maynard Keynes, “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” So, add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  3. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.

JA


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

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