child tax credit

Groundhog Day Special Edition


Pick a City

Madison, WI

Baton Rouge, LA

San Bernardino,  CA

Des Moines, IA

Birmingham, AL

Rochester, NY

Tempe, AZ

Modesto, CA

Tacoma, WA

Grand Rapids, MI

Tallahassee, FL

Little Rock, AR

Bill Maher and Bari Weiss made quite a lot of noise on his program on January 21. They insisted that we’re so over the need for restrictions against COVID – masks required in public places, having to show vaccination cards, distancing from one another, school children never seeing the lower half of their friends’ faces and more.

Worse, it just isn’t necessary, they said. Hundreds of millions of us are vaccinated and millions have been sick and recovered, so they have some level of immunity. Bill and Bari are just so done with COVID, they told us. Can’t we just get back to normal?

Nope. Not yet. That’s because we’re killing over 2,000 of our fellow citizens every day with this virus. Here’s what that means.

Pick your favorite city from the list above – your choice. COVID is killing our people so fast that it can completely wipe out everyone in your favorite city in roughly 100 days. Everyone. COVID kills at a rate that could eliminate every man, woman and child in Punxatawney, PA in less than 3 days. That’s why we still need to continue to practice safe COVID.

Over and over we foolishly succumb to frustration and have the argument about getting back to normal. That’s why it’s Groundhog Day yet again.

To all the Bill’s and Bari’s, whatever their name, who are just so over COVID, read Dan Rather’s piece. Read some of the many comments, too. Then come back here and write in this Comments section about whether you’re still so over COVID.

BTW – There’s life changing news for our anti-vaxxers who refused because the vaccines were “experimental.” The FDA has fully approved both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, so we should be seeing queues of anti-vaxxers in front of their pharmacies and other freebie vaccine dispensing locations. Check out Walgreens and tell me if you see a line of people with their sleeves rolled up. *

Children’s Brains

From STAT:

“Just as a child tax credit for low-income families prompted by the pandemic has expired, new research points to benefits in brain development for babies whose families received unconditional cash assistance through a randomized clinical trial. The study was small and the changes were modest, but its conclusions align with previous observational studies. Published yesterday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the analysis covers 435 1-year-old children and their mothers who got either monthly cash gifts of $333 or monthly gifts of $20 starting shortly after birth. Children in the higher gift group exhibited more high-frequency, rapid brain activity on an EEG, compared with the lower gift group. Because that brain activity pattern is associated with developing high-level cognitive skills, the authors say, the results reveal a link between poverty reduction and early childhood brain activity.”

Good thing we killed the child tax credit. We wouldn’t want babies born in poverty to be smart, right?

That regularly occurring, self-defeating governmental stinginess and neglect of We the People is why it’s Groundhog Day yet again.

And Of Course

Republicans are already criticizing President Biden’s Supreme Court nominee, even though he hasn’t yet named one.

Republicans are criticizing how Biden is dealing with Putin, even though they don’t have a clue what he’s doing.

Republicans voted in congressional goose stepping unison to prevent two voting rights bills from even being debated.

There’s no point in extending this list because you already know that Republicans are only interested in opposing everything any Democrat might support, this in order to secure their own minority control. It’s been that way at least since Reagan, that great champion of democracy (for some) and Iran-Contra. And, surely, you remember Mitch McConnell’s brave, anti-democratic words: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”

He said that as the economy was in the free-fall of the Great Recession, businesses where closing, millions were losing their jobs and their housing and we were mired in two intractable wars. Nevertheless, all the Republicans focused on was political combat designed to help themselves and harm Democrats. They hadn’t a care about We the People or our country.**

And, of course, now we have (yet again) the flaming Nazi-like,  Fahrenheit 451 Republican states of Florida, Texas, Tennessee and some other wannabe censor states. In their Salem Witch Hunt revival to cast out the evil spirit of education, they want to ban books that speak of that which must not be mentioned. Fine. I’ll do the mentioning.

They want to protect our apparently fragile White children from the realities of racial discrimination, sex, violence, the Holocaust and other topics that might inform students. “Better to keep them ignorant and mindless,” think the geniuses in our book burning states.

John Pavlovitz thinks that in their list of books to be banned they’ve missed the most ban-able book: the Bible. He writes:

“If Republicans want to ban books that perpetuate violence and inhumanity or tell stories of generational racism and discrimination, and they’re being honest—they’d better start with the Bible.

Thanks go to AT for the cartoon

“Christians who are responsible students of history, know that the Bible is the single most weaponized piece of writing on the planet: responsible for unjust wars, systematic genocide, generational anti-semitism [sic], violent extremism, subjugation of women, and pervasive racism. This isn’t really up for debate. From the Crusades to the Inquisition to the Troubles to The Holocaust to slavery, to racism and homophobia in America, the shadow of the Bible looms large.”

The present craze to ban books is just the newest wash-rinse-repeat cycle of Republican purity hypocrisy. We’ve seen these flames before. That’s why with the Republicans, every day is Groundhog Day, as they display their inner rodent.

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* Have a look at this for the entertainment of international temper tantrums based on disinformation.

** Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner regularly declared that the Republicans were all about, “Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!” Then he and his Republican majority proceeded to kill every bill designed to stimulate job growth, leaving millions of Americans unemployed. They had to be shamed into passing a bill designed to help military veterans leaving the service get jobs, this after having first killed that bill. That’s how far Republicans were willing to go to prevent President Obama from having a win. They have nothing to lift us; only actions to diminish their opponents. And we and our country pay the price.

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STOP THE GROUNDHOG DAY INSANITY!
.
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. 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 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

There Is No Difference


We’re told that there was fraud in every state, every county, every precinct and behind every tree. They tell us bad people brought boxes and suitcases full of fraudulent ballots to vote counting centers and that they destroyed legitimate ballots for Trump. People are righteously incensed at what they believe is a theft of our democracy and of their victory and they’re demanding that we “Stop the steal!” They pay no attention to the total lack of evidence of fraud. Well, there was a small handful of perps casting ballots for Trump in the name of dead relatives (here, and here), but not nearly enough to make a difference in any election outcome anywhere.

Gen. Jack D. Ripper – “Precious bodily fluids”

Right wing pundits, cable and radio blabbers and unhinged, googly-eyed senators and representatives are proclaiming that Democrats are forcing socialism on America. They rant that we are destroying our democracy and capitalism and that the Build Back Better plan is Marxism and it’s polluting our American precious bodily fluids. Okay, that “precious bodily fluids” thing is from the 1964 movie Dr. Strangelove, but the lunacy is parallel. The ranters aren’t even a little subtle in accusing Democrats of being communists.

They decry Democrats as part of an evil cabal running this country. They say Democrats are child sex traffickers and that they kill children for their blood in order to extend their own lives.

Surely, you remember the insane right wing conspiracy claim that Hillary Clinton was running a child sex trafficking ring run out of the basement of a DC pizza shop – “Pizzagate.” A North Carolina man traveled to DC to free those children. He was going to be a hero. In his rescue attempt he even fired a couple of bullets through the floor of the pizza shop – no clue why he would do that if he thought there were innocent children down there.

He would have been a hero, by golly, except that there were no children in the basement. There wasn’t even a basement.

Pizzagate Boy and millions of others had been fed that horrid story of child abduction, trafficking and murder and he believed it, as did many others.

Then there is the Jewish space laser thing. According to this piece of absurd hate mongering the wild fires from California to Colorado last year were started by – and I’m not making this up – an orbiting laser owned by Jews. Except there is no Jewish space laser. To the best of anyone’s knowledge, nobody has a laser in space that could even light a match. But people peddled this idiocy and millions believed it – some still do.

I’ve heard many interviews with Stop the Steal people being asked about their beliefs. To a person they puff up with righteous indignation and certainty, declaring that the election was stolen from Trump. When asked what evidence they have of that, the best they can do is to either repeat their assertion or declare that it’s obvious and everybody knows. They’re unable to cite even a single fact to support their certainties. To be fair, some have repeated ridiculous lies about bogus ballots. They have no interest in the near-perfect record of Trump court losses, wherein he claimed election fraud and was laughed out of court because all he had were wild accusations and no evidence. None.

There is no evidence of voting fraud beyond just a handful of idiots, most of them stuffing ballot boxes for Trump. It’s clear why some people peddle this lie. What isn’t as clear is why so many believe it. They truly believe what they have been fed by self-serving liars. They are certain that they are patriots standing up for truth, justice and the American way. And their certainty is as simplistic as Superman TV fiction for children.

So,

  1. Why would millions of people abandon their critical thinking and believe outrageous, baseless claims – like Pizzagate Boy did?
  2. Why would people believe physically impossible things or cruel, vicious allegations – like the Jewish space laser gullibles do?
  3. How did it come about that accusation is now the same as conviction? No evidence or proof is required – just a repeated accusation.
  4. How come working White guys have shifted in huge numbers to the Republican conspiracy Party, such that it’s now 90% White?

Rebecca Solnit took up these questions and wrote in part, “Distinctions between believable and unbelievable, true and false are not relevant for people who have found that taking up outrageous and disprovable ideas is instead an admission ticket to a community or an identity.” [emphasis mine]

Facts? Reality? Who cares, as long as I can be in a group with my peeps who validate me! And nothing drives us together like the passion of hatred of “others,” especially when we do it in a mob. It feels so good to blame and I feel so big when I make others small!

You don’t suppose all of that is somehow connected to our having elected a Black man as President of the United States, do you? You don’t think that privileged Whites harboring centuries of bigotry felt shaken when power went to the one who they think was born in Kenya, do you? Or that they were sure they were being displaced by less-thans? You don’t suppose that what they called the illegitimate president annihilated their sense of privilege and security, such that they’re eager to join in the choruses of snarling anger and hatred, do you?

Nuremberg Rally, 1934

Last weekend I was a judge at the junior high school science fair. One 8th grader’s entry sought to determine if the stress of peer pressure had more influence on introverts or extroverts. Interesting study. Would that this student scientist could have had a few million MAGA hatters to test. The peer pressure to chant “Stop the steal!” must be overwhelming, just like Hitler’s Nuremberg Rally chants. And it turns out that,

There is no difference between “Stop the steal!” and “Seig Heil!
.

None.

It’s so easy to manipulate people into hate and violence. The fallout from this stuff is nuclear waste. It’s poison. It’s deadly. And it’s now American red, white and blue.

We’ve seen this movie before and we know how it ends.

Republican Follies

The announcement of Justice Stephen Breyer’s retirement wasn’t even 24 hours old when Republicans started bashing President Biden’s not-yet-picked replacement. Gosh, that’s so surprising.

Reading List

Click me. Watch, listen and read. Again.

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————————————

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

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

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

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

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

JA


Copyright 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

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