Constitution

Let Me Simplify These For You


POST 1082


It Almost Doesn’t Matter Who It Is

Pundits, journalists, editorial boards and experts with bed wetting tendencies have put their advanced stages of hand wringing on public display since the first moments of the debate debacle on June 27.

Full disclosure: We were at a watch party that night with fellow democracy loving people and I confess that shortly after Biden made his opening statement I blurted, “He just gave the presidency to Trump.” He looked and sounded like a great uncle who spends his day staring into the unfocused distance. He’s just not a good model of a strong and vibrant leader for our fractious nation.

My thinking now is that Biden’s apparent cognitive abilities* don’t matter. Here’s why.

Righties will vote for Trump. Democrats will vote for the Democratic candidate. Undecideds and independents are counting on us to convince them to defeat the Trump monster.

In other words, it’s time for all of us to put away our amateur psychologist notions, our confirmation biases, our certainties and even that light saber you’ve kept for so long and instead focus solely on banishing the monster. It’s time for reality and it’s time for action and the light saber won’t help us.

There is only one overarching imperative: protect and defend our Constitution and our democracy.

That’s about our way of life, our rights, our freedoms and our safety. This is the sine qua non.

The only way for that to happen is for us to elect leaders dedicated to the America intended by our Founders, the one we know we can become, and send the faux patriots packing.

It almost doesn’t matter who the nominee is for the Democrats. It’s entirely about ensuring massive turnout so that Donald Trump never gets his hands on power – ever. That is the battle. That is the call to duty. That means that we must dedicate ourselves to voting even for a smear of brain cells in a Petri dish if that’s the only candidate on the ballot to oppose Trump. At least we’ll have a president capable of intelligence.

So, abandon your certainty that Biden should quit the race or that he should not. Your certainty is worth nothing if Trump wins.

So, Biden, Newsom, Harris, Whitmer, Moore, Princess Leia – it doesn’t much matter. We must get behind the nominee and we must agitate, motivate and activate literally all registered voters to vote against Trump and all other hateful MAGAs. Then we will have leaders who will take action to reverse the abhorrent Supreme Court decisions violating our rights and intended to obliterate our democracy.

It’s time to muscle up the courage to do what must be done. Abandon your notions of a perfect candidate because there isn’t one.

Any candidate standing in opposition to Trump will do. Go campaign with all the depth and breadth and height of your soul. Put on your big boy or big girl pants and march directly to the Democrat campaign office nearest you and volunteer your very best, your passion and your intellect, to beat Trump. Campaign for that smear of brain cells in a Petri dish, if need be. When we make democracy the winner, with gratitude and relief I will send you a red, white and blue “I BANISHED THE MONSTER !!!” sticker.

Perhaps all of that can give you some comfort in the midst of our national quit/don’t quit mania.

The Immunity Death Star Is Real

Regular reader, periodic contributor and boyhood pal Frank Levy wrote a speech for Joe Biden to deliver. Here’s a piece of it.

Beginning today, shielded by the immunity given to me by the Supreme Court, I will use the Insurrection and Patriot Acts to arrest and imprison in Guantanamo:

• every member of Congress who refused to certify the 2020 Presidential Election

• every citizen not already in jail, including Donald Trump, who participated in false elector schemes and/or the attempted overthrow of the United States government

• every oligarch who sought and seeks to buy influence in Congress and the Supreme Court

• every media/internet mogul who allowed and allows their network and platforms to spread lies and misinformation.

I will then order Congress to:

• pass a rule to end the filibuster

• set term limits on Supreme Court Justices

• impeach Justices Alito and Thomas

• make Roe and marriage equality the law of the land

• eliminate the Electoral College

• secure our treaties with NATO, Europe, Ukraine and other allies

• pass whatever other legislation is necessary to secure American democracy, freedom and justice at home and abroad.

I don’t think that the notorious six Heritage Foundation Supreme Court justices intended for all that to be possible, but they actually did make all that possible through their justice defying presidential immunology insanity.

To add one more log onto this raging inferno of an issue, Sheila Markin, author of The Markin Report, offered a cure.

The Supreme Court must be expanded and the current senior jurists – Thomas and Alito – must go to lower courts. The Constitution says they have lifetime appointments but does not say they must be on the Supreme Court for life.

Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution states:

The judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour . . .

Setting aside the implied not-good-behavior disqualifier, it’s a matter of interpretation whether Sheila’s notion of demotion of justices is Constitutional. If it is, too bad for Clarence Thomas. There would be no more obscenely expensive freebie vacations for him, nor a fancy million dollar RV.

To better understand this draconian presidential immunity assault on our nation, watch this video from Rachel Maddow.

Finally

Last Thursday was America’s birthday party – number 248. Perhaps you barbecued, quaffed a beverage of choice, watched a parade and went to the fireworks on a hot July day. Such things are what we do.

We stand on the shoulders of giants whose vision and courage were greater than most of us can imagine. They imbued us with certain responsibilities and the opportunity for greatness.

Read what Steve Schmidt had to say about that in his 4th of July message, Happy Birthday, America.

_____________________________________

* Be sure to check out the Cognition post this Wednesday. You can remember to do that, right? So can Joe Biden.


“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.

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.
.

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.

Haters


POST 1078


I’m finding it ever more difficult to tolerate the haters. It went over the top long ago, when Trump first gave permission to White supremacists to  snarl and spit their real or imagined grievances; to beat up protesters; for cops to bang the heads of perps; and to vomit vitriol attacking “others.” This has often been done in ways that dare us to figure out if haters’ claims are more repugnant or more laughably stupid. Maybe both.

From 1984, by George Orwell:

“In a lucid moment Winston found that he was shouting with the others and kicking his heel violently against the rung of his chair. The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but that it was impossible to avoid joining in. Within 30 seconds any pretense was always unnecessary. A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledge hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people, like an electric current, turning one even against one’s will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic. And yet the rage that one felt was an abstract, undirected emotion which could be switched from one object to another like the flame of a blowlamp.”

Sounds much like a Trump rally.

Consider the idiocy unleashed in the wake of the cargo ship destroying the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore. Both the mayor of Baltimore and the governor of Maryland are foolish enough to be Black, so the racist attacks began almost immediately.

From Eugene Robinson’s post of April 1 (and no, this wasn’t an April Fools Day trick):

“This is Baltimore’s DEI mayor commenting on the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge,” one such troll [on Musk’s X platform] posted, along with a clip of [Mayor Brandon] Scott’s remarks [about this “unthinkable tragedy”] to his more than 275,000 followers. “It’s going to get so, so much worse. Prepare accordingly.”

Wait – Black mayor has his job only because of DEI and he’s responsible for the bridge collapse, plus things are going to get “so, so much worse?” That’s both hateful and boundlessly stupid, but there’s more. Another troll wrote as though addressing Baltimore Mayor Scott,

“DEI: Who cares when your city is going to sh-t because of drugs, increased crime, defunding police and poor infrastructure when you have a Mayor that ‘looks like you’, WINNING!!!!!”

I hate to interject inconvenient fact into this hater’s rant, but nothing – no, really nothing – he wrote is true. Other ranters went on to attack Maryland’s Black governor and a Black woman who sits on the Port Commission:

“This is what happens when you have Governors who prioritize diversity over the well being and security of citizens,” posted Phil Lyman, a Utah legislator who is running for governor of his state. “DEI did this,” posted Anthony Sabatini, a GOP congressional candidate in Florida’s 11th District, over a video clip of the bridge’s collapse.”

Pray that the voters in Utah and Florida have enough sense to send these guys packing.

Seeing the racism is one step in understanding our national quagmire of hatred, but there’s more.

Tom Nichols’ piece in The Atlantic on April 1, originally titled Is This Who You Are?, is a must-read essay. He calls for making moral choices, just as if we Americans still have morals and convictions.

The haters claim that this was intended to be a Christian nation. If you want to know what the Founders actually intended, read this. It will disabuse you of any notion that the Founders intended this to be a Christian theocracy. Indeed, avoiding that kind of despotism drove the Pilgrims here.

The mouth foamers want to protect Confederate statues, retain the names of Confederate traitors on schools and military bases and continue the fraud that is their “lost cause” of slavery and cruelty of every sort. Read Jennifer Rubin’s take on these people.

Today’s flamers are as traitorous as their revered Confederate ancestors. They are openly disloyal to our Constitution. In fact, they are pushing for a post-Constitutional America. Lest that sound to you like just so much MAGA conspiracy idiocy to ignore, what they want to do is:

PUT THE CONSTITUTION IN A DUMPSTER AND LIGHT IT ON FIRE!

TAKE AWAY ALL YOUR RIGHTS AND ALL YOUR FREEDOM!

MAKE THIS A NATION WHERE ALL POWER IS OWNED BY WHITE CHRISTIAN MEN ONLY!

No need to take my word for this. Read the Project 2025 document and it’s there in plain language. You might have to skim past the faux patriotic blather to find it.

Meanwhile, it’s important to remember that hating makes people feel powerful. It’s a drug. It is what Orwell said: a “hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture.  .  . “

But What About You and Me?

The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves .  .  .

Julius Caesar, Scene II, Shakespeare

So, we rail over the frustration, seeing and hearing those doing harm to others and even to themselves. But rather than hating them, I confess that I’m simply without respect for those who disrespect, somehow comfortable in my double standard. And the self-defeating part is that the sociologists tell us that the haters are the way they are largely because they feel disrespected. I think I may not be helping to calm our national turbulence and devotion to insanity.

I want to be better than that, but for now I’ll settle for defeating the immediate threat.

Best Quote

Inae Oh, writing for Mother Jones about reproductive freedom (you remember that thing, right?):

When knowledge is power, what happens when information goes dark? People, especially society’s most vulnerable, needlessly suffer. And two years after the fall of Roe, this suffering has crept into nearly every crevice of health care and straight into the GOP mainstream. We’ll see if Democrats can successfully get that message across today and every day leading to November.

Perhaps we can help spread the word of what must be done. Think about that as you watch the first presidential debate tomorrow, Thursday, June 27 at 9:00PM EDT on CNN.

Best Read

Take a look at Adm. William McRaven’s (ret’d) essay, How Do We Want America to Be? He lays before us a truth we so often refuse to see and a possibility – even a hope – for something better. That’s refreshing in this time of so many doing their best to dash our hopes.

It will take all of us. As Simon Rosenberg of The Hopium Chronicles reminds us,

The magic pill is us.”

Just For Fun

In case you missed the craziest play in baseball ever, watch this from the Chicago Cubs.

And for more fun and some fine life lessons, watch Adm. McRaven’s commencement address to the graduates of the University of Texas in 2014. Afterward, you’ll want to make your bed.


“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.

Potpourri v21.0


Post 1,038


As we sigh romantically and fondly for those we love on this Valentine’s Day, we embrace their hearts. May that be true for you.

Who’s Next?

We continue to lose roughly 200 American sweethearts to Covid every day. Of course, that number lacks the shock value of refrigerator trucks used as emergency morgues during the peak of the pandemic. And, of course, we’ve been distracted by our ongoing outrages, so we’ve moved on from paying attention to the horror of over 1.1 million dead from the disease. But now there is different statistic for the daily 200.

Over 90% of daily Covid deaths are of unvaccinated people.

That’s right: Most vaccinated people are protected from lethal complications of the disease.

Our enthusiastic vaccine conspiracy lovers continue to make fantastical and lethal claims*, like that the vaccines don’t work**, that they’ll infect users with Covid, that the vaccines will make people sterile or that giving them to children will both cause autism and keep the Tooth Fairy away. Let’s just face the fact that some people need to see a boogeyman behind every tree. Meanwhile, convincing granny not to get vaccinated is accessory to suicide.

The Lady Doth Protest Too Much, Methinks

Surely, you must have noticed long ago that the loudest Bible thumpers, those who declare ownership of the moral high ground, the stiff necked definers and owners of family values, the wrath-spewing judges of those who succumb to the devil’s call are often the most flagrant violators of their own puritanical absolutism. Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD) and her flame, Corey Lewandowski, did and perhaps still do that

Kenzie Bryant lays this out (phrasing interntional) in her Vanity Fair piece,

Governor Kristi Noem, “God-Fearing” Family Woman, and Corey Lewandowski, Trump Creep, Reportedly Had “Yearslong” Affair.
.

She offers this subtitle,

It’s always the ones who insist that marriage is “a special, God-given union between one man and one woman” that forget how to count.
.

And forget they apparently did, that 1 + 1 = 2, not 4. But, oh what fun they’ve had over their years of mutual adultery. She rides her horse to rallies, proclaims her Christian values and then snuggles with Lewandowski, heedless of their hypocrisy.

But there is a price for hypocrisy. Just ask Jim and Tammy Faye. and Newt Gingrich.

The Border

Republicans bray like donkeys that Joe Biden has created open borders and eliminated national security. He’s the guy, they say, who won’t protect this country, refusing to put together laws to stop all those you-know-who-they-are from doing you-know-what to our blood.

But wait just a second. Article I, Section 1 of the Constitution (immediately after the Preamble you had to memorize in high school) is:

“All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.”

That’s a job description. Congress is charged with and has “All legislative Powers,” meaning only Congress can make laws. All laws. Nobody else can make laws.

Article II of the Constitution outlines the office, duties and responsibilities of the President of the United States. Section 3 of that Article ends this way:

” .  .  .  he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed .  .  .”

Nowhere in Article II is there any suggestion that the President has “legislative Powers.” The President is powerless to create legislation – Laws. His only job regarding Laws is to “faithfully execute” them.

That begs the question of why anyone would berate Joe Biden for not creating the laws for an improved immigration system that everyone agrees we need. It is neither his job nor in his power to do that.

You know: Like it says in the Constitution.

So, as you hear Trump and Republican legislators and news shills on the far right criticize Biden for failing to make laws to improve our border security and our immigration system, you’ll know what that criticism really is.

Hint: It pertains to the end of the digestive system of male bovines.

Gaza

Here’s the headline from The Times of Israel, February 7, 2024:

” .  .  .  IDF uncovers largest Hamas rocket factory to date”
.

Link through, read the short article, look at the photos and read their captions. That’s why Israel cannot stop being aggressive. Note: Hamas is still firing rockets into Israeli civilian populations. Keep that in mind as you read the post.

Here’s another thought on that deeply troubled area.

Innocents

Everybody knows that Palestinian Hamas fighters are the bad guys. They wantonly killed over 1,200 Israelis, they raped females from babies to grandmas and took hostages and set it up for Palestinians to be “collateral damage,” as Israel does what it needs to do to stop and punish the killers. There is just one thing about the innocent Palestinian civilians.

I need someone to tell me all the things those innocents did to stop Hamas from constructing those tunnels, building weapons factories underneath hospitals, mosques, apartments, schools and houses. What did they do to stop the building and firing of rockets designed to kill Israeli civilians? How did the innocents fight the killers to stop them from using Palestinians as human shields, disposable victims? All of that leads to a question of who the real innocents are.

I know it isn’t pretty to spell it out in that way, but I’m not sure of the innocence of the “innocents.”

To The 36%, 20% and 42%

This is for the 36% of women who favor Donald Trump in 2024.

That is a man who wants to reduce women to nothing more than sexual objects, play toys to grab you-know-where. You’re a bauble to him, a pretty thing on his arm or in a department store dressing room. Unless you’re not his “type,” as he claims about E. Jean Carroll, in which case you’re dismissed, discarded. Then you mean nothing, you’re of no value, like his ex-wives.

So, in saying you’ll vote for him, what are you thinking?

Now to Blacks and Hispanics.

Five recent polls show that 20 percent of Black voters and 42 percent of Hispanic voters favor Trump now. To them I say:

He hates you. He disrespects you. He shows his disdain for you in a constant stream of racist statements, so here’s that same question:

In saying you’ll vote for him, what are you thinking?

———————————-

* From STAT, Feb 7, 2024:

“Here’s an update on the vaccine misinformation stories found by NewsGuard, a group of journalists and information specialists who have tracked false narratives spreading online since 2018. Today, in Covid’s fifth year, they report there are more than 300 vaccine-related false narratives circulating on social media and in online search results, emanating from 4,387 news sites and other sources.”

** Let’s consider what “works” means.

The vaccine developers and manufacturers were clear from the start that the vaccines weren’t designed to and do not prevent anyone from catching Covid. They are designed to prevent serious symptoms and consequences, like needing a respirator tube to be shoved down your throat to prevent suffocation from the disease. I.e., they’re only designed to prevent terrible consequences, like dying.

So, when some conspiracy minded person tells you that he knows that the vaccines don’t work because Uncle Fred was vaccinated but he got Covid anyway, gently remind him, “Nuh-uh.”


  • 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.

Elections, Amendments & Tunnels


Post 1,037


A little longer today because there is so much going on .  .  .

Winning Elections

A piece in The Economist in December accidentally provided yet another reminder of what wins elections. We used to believe that honesty and moral character were our guides, but we’ve been disabused of that fanciful notion for many years by poundings upside our heads from brutal reality.

We want to say that sound policy and good solutions leading to sensible goals are what get our votes. Surely the right policies for both our nation and for We The People individually are important to us. So, too, is a leader’s strong backbone to lead our national defense. That’s all nice and good, but that’s not what drives most voters’ choices.

In that Economist piece they report from a recent Harvard Youth Poll:

“Most of those who favoured Mr. Biden – 69% – said they did so more out of opposition to Mr. Trump; by contrast, 65% of those favouring Mr. Trump said they felt loyal to him.”

That’s touchy-feely stuff, not policy driven choice.

The Economist also reports from Joe Mitchell, who operates Run GenZ to recruit young conservative candidates, saying:

“Mr. Biden, he says, has passed more progressive legislation than Mr. Obama but is less admired by progressives because he lacks Mr. Obama’s cachet. By contrast, the indictments of Mr. Trump have restored his celebrity gleam.”

There’s that touchy-feely thing again. Sensible judgment need not apply.

If you listen to the comments from Trump supporters being interviewed, what you will hear consistently is visceral declarations of support charged with passion and certainty. If they are pressed for reasons for their enthusiasm they say that Trump kept his promises, that the economy was so much better when Trump was president, that he has the strength to stand up to other strongman leaders, that immigration was under control and our borders were safe when Trump was president. They say these things with great certainty and as though that’s what’s behind their support for Trump.

But they are wrong. Factually, provably wrong. He didn’t keep his wall promise or infrastructure week promise or pretty much anything else. The economy was worse, he was sucking up to dictators, our immigration system was as bad as it is now and Trump was locking up babies. We were far sicker and hundreds of thousands died. Yet even when presented with these and other incontrovertible facts, Trump enthusiasts remain certain in their beliefs. His moral failings like grabbing women you-know-where and raping them somehow don’t repulse his female followers. His nonstop vomiting of racist filth somehow doesn’t inflame his Black supporters.

They don’t follow and support Trump for his policies or for his moral foundation. Their enthusiasm is more about his showmanship and his tough guy talk. His followers think that the victimhood he whines about makes him like them, that when the bad guys from our justice system come after him, he speaks of that as coming after “us.” It’s a “We are a band of brothers under siege” appeal – and they eat that stuff up. They believe it.

It’s that touchy-feely thing again and millions are led to the ballot box by no more than that and an invitation to give their adulation.

Biden can’t come close to that. He just doesn’t have the stuff to strut. He’s further hobbled by the far left in his own party, people who are never satisfied and always complaining and demanding what he cannot possibly deliver.

Thanks go to JN for passing this along

I’ll make the assumption that nobody who reads these posts is a Trump supporter, so I can reasonably expect that even if you aren’t a Biden supporter, you want to see Trump defeated. Maybe you don’t trust any Republicans, so you don’t want Nikki Haley to win when she’s their nominee once Trump is wearing orange. Fine. What should Biden do to win?

Remember: Winning elections isn’t about policy. Winning may not even be about reality or about any version of truth. Winning elections most definitely is about emotion, passion, beliefs, style, entertainment, heart-thumping pie-in-the-sky promises, excitement and pretty much anything touchy-feely.

And that is a huge challenge that not-so-exciting Joe Biden must meet if he is to win a second term, so:

  1. What should Biden do in order to win?
  2. What must you do to ensure that happens, so that you get what you want and, so very importantly, so that you don’t get what you deeply don’t want?

Here’s a little help for you:

Link to this Sheila Markin post and scroll down to the “USE YOUR WORRY TO ACTIVATE YOURSELF” section. Admit it: you’re worried. You’ll find a list of places to go where you can pitch in, take action, alleviate some of your anxiety and make a difference.

Click to join The Union. Their Action Center will give you all the direction you need for where to go and what to do to make a difference.

Link to Mobilize and register so they can aim you geographically and find ways for you to mobilize and make a difference.

Subscribe to The Grassroots Connector and see how you can make a difference.

Are you seeing the pattern? It’s time for us to make a difference.

Supreme Court

It looks quite likely that the Court will strike down the State of Colorado’s decision to remove Trump from its 2024 ballot. The questions of the justices during oral arguments often focused on distinctions without a difference, like whether a president holding office is an officer of the government. And it gets worse.

Section 3 of the 14th Amendment is a plain language statement that those who have taken an oath to the Constitution – like a president does – and who then participates in an insurrection against our government or who gives aid and comfort to those who rebel in such a way, may not hold office. The framers of this Amendment were exquisitely clear that people like Jefferson Davis must never hold power again. They felt the pain of our Civil War acutely, so they knew how important it was to prevent those who broke faith from holding office.

If the Court decides as it appears it will, the justices will have by-passed the requirement of Article V of the Constitution requiring a 2/3 vote of both Houses of Congress and the affirmation of 3/4 of the states. That is because this Court will have voided Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, something that should require a new amendment.

Think of that: This Court may unilaterally amend our Constitution. That puts every one of us in peril, as it can unilaterally steal our rights and our freedom.

Tunnels

Click me for the story about humanitarian aid that Hamas is keeping from the hostages

The strife in Gaza continues and, like nearly everything in the Middle East, things are complicated and rarely what they seem to be. Bret Stephens posted a most clarifying piece, The Meaning of Gaza’s Tunnels. He wrote,

“Hamas’s tunnels measure between 350 and 450 miles in a territory that’s just 25 miles long. (By comparison, the London Underground is only 249 miles long.”

Here’s another comparison: The entire New York City subway tunnels are only 145 miles in length.

Q. What do you suppose that enormous Gaza excavation is for?

A. To provide command centers, shelter for Hamas fighters and to build and warehouse huge factories to construct rockets and other munitions for the sole purpose of attacking and killing Israelis.

Palestinians have been impoverished for decades by the diversion of resources intended for the benefit of the Gaza people. The resources have been used instead solely to build this subterranean military fortress. Again, its only purpose is to enable Hamas to kill Jews and eliminate Israel.

Read Stephens’ piece, as well as another of his posts linked from the bottom of his current one. I promise you’ll learn important things you don’t yet know. They just might change how you see this awful, ongoing Gaza war.

Late Addition

Take this pledge for democracy and then link through.

Click me


  • 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.

Our Young, Our Poor and Our Indicted


Post 1,035


Our Young

No Republican candidate for the presidency has captured the majority of voters under the age of 30 for decades. Hmmm . . . now why would that be?

Could it be that they explicitly court and favor old rich guys and old rich guy wannabees? They say that all we have to do is to crush the evil fascist/communist/socialist/whatever, baby blood drinking Democrats. Not too attractive.

For reasons that seem to be opaque to Republicans, young people today, our best educated generations, people who actually have critical thinking skills, don’t buy that crap. Seems like they actually learned something and can smell a scam all the way from DC.

They’ve learned that those very same Republican liars are the ones making their future prospects so very bleak that most young people figure they’re screwed and won’t be able to afford marriage, children, a house, a car – you know, the American Dream. Plus they’ll always be saddled with their forever student loans, like living in a recurring nightmare. And, of course, global warming is coming to kill them.

Here’s the problem: Our disaffected young don’t vote in great numbers. That leaves them and the rest of us at risk. But Trump may be fixing that for us.

That idiot has picked a fight with Taylor Swift. She endorsed Biden in 2020 and is likely to endorse him this year, but it will be different this time. Now young voters will show up to vote in big numbers because they’re angry about his attacks on their favorite entertainer – it’ll be personal this time. They’ll be angry about Republican attacks on abortion rights, too, and the Republican cruelty toward immigrants. So, in the interest of our democracy, let’s hope Trump cranks up his attacks on Swift. That will make him a useful idiot for democracy. Whooda thunk it?

Our Poor

From STAT:

FIRST OPINION
A prescription against poverty

Pediatricians around the U.S. are having to deal with a stubborn condition: poverty. Parents who can’t afford diapers, stable housing, or even clean clothes are increasingly more common, and children’s health simply can’t thrive when the most basic needs are not taken care of, writes Ben Hoffman, the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, in First Opinion

“Although I can’t write my patients prescriptions to address poverty, Congress can take action right now and enact a proposal that can,” he writes, urging representatives to pass a bipartisan proposal that would help the child tax credit reach more families, and could lift as many as 400,000 above the poverty line in a year. Read more.

But there’s help on the way. I’m sure that the Republicans in the Senate and House are eager to help poor kids.

Oh, wait – they’re the ones who let SNAP benefits lapse and let millions of kids go hungry. They’re the ones who fought the American Rescue Plan that cut our poverty rate for children from over 12% down to 5.2%.  Then they let that program lapse and now another 7% of kids are back in poverty. Looks like we’re going to have to do something about children’s health some other way, because Republicans aren’t going to help. Indeed, under Trump and his Black Shirt leader Stephen Miller, the cruelty was and likely still is the point.

Our Indicted

Reading #1 –  Explaining the 14th Amendment Case

Trump’s reply brief in the 14th Amendment case is due tomorrow, Feb. 5. On Thursday the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in that case.

You need some context for what is about to happen, so read the very readable amicus brief (kind of an FYI to the court to assist in deciding a case) submitted by three eminent scholars of history. It’s just 34 pages (double spaced and with huge margins – i.e., it’s short and easy to read). Find it here. Learn some fascinating history so that you will be able to understand the true meaning of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment and be ready for the upcoming blockbuster decision.

For a somewhat shorter explanation, read the essay from The Atlantic of August 19, 2023 penned by Prof. Laurence Tribe and Judge Michael Luttig, entitled The Constitution Prohibits Trump From Ever Being President Again. Their clarity and their logic are impeccable. You can also watch an interview with the authors here.

Reading #2 – Explaining what’s at stake

Read Prof. Timothy Snyder’s short essay. Don’t let the words of the title, Constitutional Self-Defense, cause your eyes to un-focus. This is no academic sleep inducer. Because you’re a card carrying American, you need to read this. You’ll see why.

Also strongly recommended is Prof. Snyder’s explainer, Bad Arguments and Good Historians – The History of Section 3 and the Future of the Republic. As he writes, “Anyone who can read the Constitution knows that Donald Trump cannot hold office.”

He lists Trump’s arguments to the Court of why the Amendment doesn’t apply to him, then proceeds to explain why these arguments are a total load of bovine excrement. Read his post here.

Reading #3 – Explaining the inexplicable

Art Friedson is an insightful commenter on our political insanity and he’s allowed me to post some of his writings as guest essays in these offerings. Read his recent post (here) about what’s really going on and why, because, 1. It can happen here, and 2. We can do things to stop that from happening, even as Gov. Greg Abbott is taking secession sounding, anti-American actions and Trump has strong-armed Republicans to refuse to do anything to improve our chaotic and sometimes lethal immigration mess.


  • 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.

Common Sense Is So Uncommon


Post 1,030

___________________________________

It’s been decades of a continuous onslaught of outrages, lies and disinformation, but not just from Trump. It’s also from the toadies, the suck-ups, the cowards, the opportunists, the angry, the power larcenists, the religiously impaired and the intentionally ignorant. They grab megaphones and microphones and aim them straight at our faces and at our democracy.

They’ve told us that the world is flat, that Trump is the new Jesus (or the old one who’s returned to run the Trump hotels), that Covid doesn’t exist, that the Holocaust didn’t happen, that the moon landings were faked and that any election that Trump or any republican lost was stolen. They bray googly-eyed that vaccines don’t work and that they cause autism, sickness and death, and, gasp!, that history books that teach actual history are permanently damaging our children.

The list of inanities is very long and should be embarrassing to everyone. Now they’re telling you that the Constitution doesn’t apply to Trump. That may be comforting to people who are “.  .  .  easy prey of a clever con man, or for normal people unfamiliar with their conscious minds, or for those suffering from a dissociative psychiatric disorder.”* There should be some common sense to inoculate them and us from this crazy.

This madness has been going on for a long time, if you include Trump’s birther idiocy, the Tea Party stupid stuff and Ronald Reagan’s trickle down, voodoo economics lunacy that put your money on the express train to the top 1%. All of it is of a piece with Chico Marx’s character in Duck Soup, saying, “Who ya gonna believe, me or your own eyes?

Millions of Americans refuse to believe their own eyes and instead believe the liars with the megaphones and microphones.

One way to switch from the craziness is to actually enforce the requirements of the Constitution.

You remember that “rule of law” thing, right? It’s the thing that says we all have to obey the law or face the consequences of violating it. But we have to get past the conspiracy zombies and truth murderers to make that work, because the crazies see that laws were broken, but believe that Trump is an suffering victim of the Justice Department and that the rule of law shouldn’t apply to him.

Frightening Fact:

These people walk among us.

That madness why there is so much discussion about attempts to enforce Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. Here it is:

Section 3 Disqualification from Holding Office

No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

No advanced academic degree or legal training is required to understand what that says in plain English, even if you have to read it slowly or more than once. An average 7th grader gets it. It says:

Nobody can be a traitor to his/her oath to our country and then hold office.

That ought to be common sense. It was when Section 3 was written.

Nevertheless, some legal fiction writers today (e.g. Trump’s lawyers and some TV blabbers) are challenging the application of Section 3 to Donald Trump. They’re doing so with fatuous (read: brainless) arguments, like that a president is not an officer of the United States, or that there was no insurrection on January 6, 2021, or that Trump had no part in the insurrection, or that he didn’t give aid and comfort to the insurrectionists.

It’s stupid stuff, we know, but those are some of the arguments Trump’s lawyers have presented to lower courts, some of which endorsed their idiocy, like the Colorado District Court judge who decided the president isn’t an officer of the U.S.

Trump’s lawyers will present that same brain rot to the Supreme Court. The justices will sit with due seriousness listening to the drivel from Trump’s lawyers, giving thoughtful, furrowed-eyebrow consideration to what deserves none of that.

Before that we’ll find out if Clarence Thomas has sufficient integrity to recuse himself from this case that is so obviously connected to his wife, an enthusiastic supporter of the insurrection. Low expectations are recommended.

We will be left to worry whether the extremist justices will once again defy the reality we see with our own eyes and will wantonly ignore common sense.

The six extremist Justices might create some fictitious reason why Section 3 of the 14th Amendment doesn’t apply to the biggest insurrectionist of them all. But we have common sense and we know that it does.

From the abstract of The Sweep and Force of Section Three by William Baude and Michael Stokes Paulsen, published in The University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Vol. 172: **

First, Section Three remains an enforceable part of the Constitution, not limited to the Civil War, and not effectively repealed by nineteenth century amnesty legislation.

Second, Section Three is self-executing, operating as an immediate disqualification from office, without the need for additional action by Congress. It can and should be enforced by every official, state or federal, who judges qualifications.

Third, to the extent of any conflict with prior constitutional rules, Section Three repeals, supersedes, or simply satisfies them. This includes the rules against bills of attainder or ex post facto laws, the Due Process Clause, and even the free speech principles of the First Amendment.

Fourth, Section Three covers a broad range of conduct against the authority of the constitutional order, including many instances of indirect participation or support as “aid or comfort.” It covers a broad range of former offices, including the Presidency. And in particular, it disqualifies former President Donald Trump, and potentially many others, because of their participation in the attempted overthrow of the 2020 presidential election. [edited with paragraph breaks for easier readability]

Once again, there is no need for an advanced academic degree to understand the plain meaning of this explainer. You know what it says. So do the Justices of the Supreme Court. This is common sense stuff.

The scary question for us is whether the Supreme Court Justices have sufficient backbone to refuse pressure from the extremist, power hungry mob and from the Justices’ rich and financially generous friends and influencers. We will learn if common sense is common to them and if it is sufficiently compelling to them to refuse insurrectionists the opportunity for office, as they are so plainly required to do by Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.

  • “This isn’t a crime scene.
  • “It’s a crime in progress.”
  • – Jeff Sharlet

________________________________

* Adapted from Carl Sagan’s The Fine Art of Baloney Detection. This is a great and entertaining essay from a fine wordsmith.

** If you are sufficiently nerdy you can download the full 126-page paper from this link.


  • 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.

Taking Sides


Post 1,027

___________________________________

Golda Meir, 1964

Golda Meir

As Israeli Prime Minister during the Yom Kippur war and so many other murderous events aimed at killing all Jews and wiping Israel from the globe, Meir said:

“When peace comes we will perhaps in time be able to forgive the Arabs for killing our sons, but it will be harder for us to forgive them for having forced us to kill their sons. Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.”

Golda Meir, A Land of Our Own: An Oral Autobiography

True and sad words, these. There has been progress, of course, but the Iranians, Qataris and Syrians continue to pour money and tools of murder into the hands of angry, violent men who are all too eager to kill and to force others to kill them, and causing the deaths of non-combatants by the thousands.
.
There Is a Corollary To This In America Today
.
It is the verbal and physical violence of right wing extremists who puff themselves up with claims of patriotism, yet are working every day to demolish our Constitution, to end our democracy and to inflict “retribution” (read: murder) on those they see as, not opponents, but enemies.
.
Peace will come when these extremists
love the Constitution and our democracy
more than they hate the rest of us.
.

The top line reads “During the arrests around the capitol attack, police seized .  .  .” From Every Town for Gun Safety – click me

We are facing an existential threat, a constitutional crisis in the form of extremists who are working every day to tear down what we have painstakingly built for our rights and our freedoms over the past 248 years. We taught the world that people can be free, that self-government can work, that it isn’t necessary to make war both within and without. We aren’t perfect at that, which is why we are tasked by our Founders to continually work to create a more perfect union.

But now we are beset by home grown terrorists, liars and cheats, as well as the cowardice of those who know better but knuckle under. They focus only on their own short term welfare, heedless of the harm they are allowing to be done to our people and to our nation. We are plagued by well armed haters acting out their meanness and cruelty, cowards who lash out in physical and verbal violence, whipped up by those who would be our overlords.
.
Because of the brilliance and beauty of our Constitution we are being given one more chance to set ourselves back onto the path carved out of a wilderness of dominance from others. It will take our dedication and our blood, sweat and tears to set things right. Should we fail, it will lead to an enduring night of suffering.
.

Elie Wiesel, recipient of The 1986 Nobel Peace Prize

Elie Wiesel survived Holocaust death camps, then spent the rest of his life in the role of teacher, hoping to help craft a better world and forcing us to remember, lest we forget. Here’s a little of what he had to say about hatred and suffering:

“In any society, fanatics who hate don’t hate only me – they hate you, too. They hate everybody.”
.
Let that sink in. They hate everybody.
.

“We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant.”

Are you seeing it? We must take sides, whether you or I are being persecuted or if it’s someone else. The side we must take is against the tormentors and in aid to the tormented. We must stand for and with those who need our help. And if that isn’t compelling in and of itself, driven solely by our empathy, it will become compelling when we realize that we are next to be tormented.
.
We Must Take Sides

The next 10 months are all the time we have to stand and be counted, to take sides. Every one of us knows the difference between right and wrong, good and evil. Silence favors the wrong and the evil. Therefore, choose right and good. Stand for it and speak for it. Our silence will not do.

It means to talk to your friends and family members. Yes, I know it can be awkward to risk getting crosswise with close ones. And I also know it will be far worse than awkward if we allow our home grown haters and traitors to steal our democracy from us.

It means that we must take the action that our pathetic Congress won’t take.

They use the lives of Ukrainians as pawns for their own political advantage, leaving millions to suffer and die. That isn’t just cruel; it’s self-defeating, because the Ukrainians are fighting to preserve the same freedom that benefits us, too. Link through to Safe Skies and read what Professor Timothy Snyder has to say about how you can help to keep Russian-fired Iranian drones from killing Ukrainian civilians. We shouldn’t have to do this individually, but that’s what our spineless congressional Republicans have left us.

Hurry: People are dying.

Terrible things happen when we fail to take sides. You don’t have to be a Holocaust survivor or a history professor to know that’s true. You just have to see how we’ve normalized violent behavior and have refused to do anything to stop it. We’ve accepted lies and outrageous propaganda and allowed the theft of our majority rule. We’ve even allowed our children’s education to be taken from them and for hatred inspired terrorists to kill our children.

Elie Wiesel knew this lesson far too well and suffered terribly from its reality. His righteous call to us to take sides is to make sure such things don’t happen while we can still do something about it.

We – you and I – have to take a stand. Refusing to do so is effectively the same as standing for the wrong side. It’s tacitly helping the oppressor.

Start the new year right:

Take Sides! *
.
The Side to Take Isn’t Republican

Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis each took questions at their town halls in Iowa last Wednesday. Each was asked why they don’t go after Trump. Each of them responded by attacking the press. Neither even mentioned Trump.

There is a word to describe this:

COWARDICE!

.

Perhaps you can think of additional descriptors. They apply to all who fail to speak up, to take a side and make a stand.

____________________________________

* From the New York Times, January 6, 2024, This Election Year Is Unlike Any Other:

Re-electing Mr. Trump would present serious dangers to our Republic and to the world. This is a time not to sit out but instead to re-engage. We appeal to Americans to set aside their political differences, grievances and party affiliations and to contemplate — as families, as parishes, as councils and clubs and as individuals — the real magnitude of the choice they will make in November.

Click the link and read the opinion piece. The danger we face isn’t just about Trump. It’s time to TAKE SIDES.


  • 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.

The Speech You Never Heard


Post 1,020

___________________________________

On the morning of November 22, 1963 everything changed. President John F. Kennedy was in Dallas, TX to deliver a speech at the Trade Mart that afternoon and, as is quite obvious, that speech was never delivered.

Back then we were ever vigilant against our sworn enemies, communism and the Soviet Union. In contrast, today only half of our Congress opposes Russia and many openly support murderous Vladimir Putin. Our wonderful Civil Rights and Voting Rights bills were still in the dream stage in 1963 and now they’re being incrementally dismantled. Back then social media was just the AM radio playing top 40s hits and 5 minutes of news per hour.

In some ways, the world of 1963 was quite like today, as we struggled to balance competing needs and overly aggressive people could be found behind many podiums spouting self-serving nonsense.

Kennedy’s intended comments on that dreadful day are still available and he has some valuable words for us yet today. You can find the complete speech here. Meanwhile, here is a sampling.

In a world of complex and continuing problems, in a world full of frustrations and irritations, America’s leadership must be guided by the lights of learning and reason or else those who confuse rhetoric with reality and the plausible with the possible will gain the popular ascendancy with their seemingly swift and simple solutions to every world problem.

There will always be dissident voices heard in the land, expressing opposition without alternatives, finding fault but never favor, perceiving gloom on every side and seeking influence without responsibility. Those voices are inevitable.

But today other voices are heard in the land – voices preaching doctrines wholly unrelated to reality, wholly unsuited to [today] . . .

We cannot expect that everyone, to use the phrase of a decade ago, will “talk sense to the American people.” But we can hope that fewer people will listen to nonsense. And the notion that this nation is headed for defeat through deficit, or that strength is but a matter of slogans, is nothing but just plain nonsense . . .

Our security and strength, in the last analysis, directly depend on the security and strength of others, and that is why our military and economic assistance plays such a key role in enabling those who live on the periphery of the Communist world to maintain their independence of choice . . .

But, in today’s world, freedom can be lost without a shot being fired, by ballots as well as bullets. The success of our leadership is dependent upon respect for our mission in the world as well as our missiles – on a clearer recognition of the virtues of freedom as well as the evils of tyranny . . .

Finally, it should be clear by now that a nation can be no stronger abroad than she is at home. Only an America which practices what it preaches about equal rights and social justice will be respected by those whose choice affects our future. Only an America which has fully educated its citizens is fully capable of tackling the complex problems and perceiving the hidden dangers of the world in which we live. And only an America which is growing and prospering economically can sustain the worldwide defenses of freedom, while demonstrating to all concerned the opportunities of our system and society. [all emphasis mine]

Consider Kennedy’s intended words, as you contemplate the ongoing mania of some who call themselves Americans but who, it is plain, want to destroy us, to “tear it all down.” Think of these democracy destroyers’ abhorrent resistance to support an ally in its hour of need, as it struggles against a resurgent Russia modeled after the Soviet Union and fights the fight for freedom for all of us. Consider our struggle to maintain equanimity amidst those who are, “expressing opposition without alternatives, finding fault but never favor, perceiving gloom on every side and seeking influence without responsibility,” as well as the “voices preaching doctrines wholly unrelated to reality.”

It seems to me that Kennedy’s intended call to strength on that November day in Dallas was to be a call we must answer even today. We must be strong against the perfidy of those who plainly no longer believe in the America you believe in. For reasons that defy reason, they want our nation to emulate the cruel autocracies that have always led to war and suffering, the crushing of the human spirit and the loss of freedom for everyone.

I cannot help but wonder about the intellectual and moral principles of our time. So many seem to have embraced anti-intellectualism, denial of reality and have championed lying as though it is a virtue. This very vocal type is not a new species, as they have always been with us, but they are especially loud today.

This is not now nor was it ever a Boy Scout merit badge existence for all, but this is today a denial of such things with far greater passion and popularity than we have seen in a very long time, perhaps since the Civil War. That was not a war of northern aggression, nor was it a victim’s lost cause. It was a tremendous battle to determine if we would follow and even become our better angels, as Lincoln called them. It was an exclamation of our bold claim that we hold as self-evident that all men are created equal, as well as all the rest of our original intellectual and moral principles. It was a test of whether we mean what we say. We ultimately ratified those higher principles with blood.

Yet here we are 159 years later, still beset by liars, cheaters and selfish men and women who would burn books, lest we learn truth, who willingly defy their sacred oath and who take joy in ripping at the fabric of our society and of our nation. Millions listen to that corruption and they incrementally ratchet down our intellectual and moral principles.

We have a great deal of work to do.


 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.

At Last


Post 1,016

—————————————

It took years for our media to stop pointing out the “mistakes” Trump was making in his presentations and to at last state the obvious: He lies and he’s a liar. By the end of Trump’s administration the Washington Post had documented over 30,000 Trump lies. That’s over 20 per day for 4 years. These were not inadvertent errors or little oops moments; they were flat out lies. It took the Post and the rest of the mainstream press years to find the nerve to state that obvious fact. Now we’ve come to another reckoning with reality, this, too, of the forehead slap variety.

It seems that our mainstream media has figured out that Donald Trump and his rabid followers and cowardly tag-a-longs comprise an existential threat to our republic, to democracy, to the Constitution and to our way of life. Journalists have figured out that these unfaithful ones are actually proclaiming their evil intent out loud and promising to deliver destruction.

This promise of a destructive rampage seemed obvious and dangerous to me at least as far back as April 9, 2012, well before the Trump bastardization of our country. Later Trump undercut our intelligence agencies, threatened nuclear war, promised retribution against various opponents and agencies of our own government and far more. Imagine that: it wasn’t enough to demonize Mexicans as rapists and drug smugglers and criminals, as he did during his infamous escalator candidacy announcement in 2015, complete with paid actors pretending to be supporters. Trump has attacked and continues to attack us all directly and repeatedly.

Now he’s promised to take down the Constitution, aggregate all power to himself, kill our generals, imprison political opponents, station our military in our cities to control we citizens, this in violation of the Third Amendment, and more. He’s promising all this in his campaign speeches. If there’s one lesson we should have learned quite well a long time ago it’s that Trump doesn’t do hyperbole. When he promises something outlandish, he means to deliver it, regardless of illegality or harm to others. Now it’s clear that his overriding message is that he plans to tear everything down and build a dictatorship solely for himself; as in: Nothing for you.

No democracy. No shining city on a hill. No last best hope. No lamp beside the golden door. Nothing but serfdom under a mad king, exactly what the colonists rebelled against.

Which brings us to morning in the journalism world.

At last journalists are writing and speaking about the obvious reality of the existential threat promised by Trump.

In the Washington Post Robert Kagan explains that A Trump dictatorship is increasingly inevitable. We should stop pretending. Kagan’s post is a serious buzz kill, because what he lays out has been in plain sight for a long time – we should all have been able to see this coming – and it’s a deadly serious threat to us and our country.

The entire January/February issue of The Atlantic is devoted to the theme: If Trump Wins. It’s a very ugly picture.

The Economist tells us that Donald Trump poses the biggest danger to the world in 2024.

And you can check the New York Times for Donald Trump’s 2024 Campaign, in His Own Menacing Words.

These are just a sampling of current pieces. If you don’t have online access to these publications, go pick up copies at a newsstand. You remember those, right? The big box bookstores have a whole section of periodicals. Go there.

Spoiler alert: The news you’ll find is clear and terrifying.

Like his constant lying, it appears that the secret is out about the doom of Trump looming menacingly on the horizon. Journalists are finally naming names. At last.

You need to be naming these threats, too, especially to low information friends and family members who don’t see what’s coming and which will clobber them if they let it.


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.

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